Category Archives: Tales from Midworld

Events that take place in Midworld, outside of Freehold.

November 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

[AN AETHEREAL DOMAIN IN THE AETHER; NOVEMBER 01, 2017 (W.R)]

Nine bright stars hung in the black firmament above a windswept field. At the center of the field, a pillar of brilliant frozen energies reached up from the earth to seek the skies.

Beside the Nexus itself was Anubisath, Witch-King of the North, peering into its depths and seeing nothing but the sins of a forgotten age. His long beard and wrinkled flesh told tale of his advanced age, but his eyes were windows to immense power — mirrored by the glowing serpent staff that he clutched in one hand.

“Not many know of the Arctic Nexus” he spoke into the lights. “And of these, most see it merely as phenomenon in the Aether that ignites during the winter months of Midworld – an eruption of elemental power that moved in tune to the seasons. Some even liken it to a natural force, akin to the setting of the sun and the flowing of rivers”

When nothing but a bitter wind responded to him, he continued.

“But I, and I alone, saw glorious potential and possess the means to harness it. Truly, there are wonders and horrors that can be done with the Nexus’ power!

And thanks to you, Aggamar – this domain is well-warded from intrusion”

The Thane of the Rune-Eater warband stood from beneath the Witch-King’s long shadow, the dozens of runes on his flesh dancing in the elemental glow. Where his flesh was not bare, he was clad in leathers and furs and chains, like many in the Chained Kingdom of his origin.

“Aye, it was a vicious blow!” He laughed and beat his chest once. “Me and my children made short work of their portal and had a few dozen souls added to my runes!”

“You’re laughing?” The wind was vicious and cold, but this voice was colder still. “At your own failures?”

Beside Anubisath, it manifested from thin air with venom in its voice and fury in its gaze, appearing as a Beastling in white. The Pale Serpent pointed its own stave at the Jotunbrud Thane. “The Witch-King gave you power beyond measure and you let the Glacier fall. You let the Birdkin die!”

Aggamar’s eyebrows lifted with surprise, but he stepped forward instead of back.

“They were weak! I am STRONG! And with every blow we strike against our enemies, I become stronger still! With enough souls I may even surpass you, World-Lock! You best behave –”

Anubisath’s voice cut between the two and he faced them in turn, more doting patriarch than Witch-King.

“Peace, Sai-ris! Calmness, Aggamar!

We must unite against our enemies. After this winter season, our work only becomes more difficult: the Immortals must be destroyed, one by one. I did not gather power over centuries to rule over mortals. Remember our true enemies! These Kingdoms will not only fall to them, but they will also feed them or even shield them.

No. This battle must be ended and our foes swept aside so we may face our true adversaries with a united and ordered Midworld at our command”

Aggamar simply bowed  then strode off to further strengthen the domain’s wardings. Sai-ris the Pale Serpent remained beside his Witch-King and they both turned to the Nexus’s glimmering brightness.

“But of course…” Anubisath whispered into the Arctic Nexus. “There must be an answer for Horusath. Even Kings will fall from their thrones when my vengeance for you is complete, old friend”

Anubisath, Witch-King of the North, thrust his glowing staff into the Nexus. Above him, the stars themselves began to glow brighter.

 

Rumors (anyone may read this)
Rumormonger or Lorekeeper skill only:

October 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and Lores

The following is a report written by the leader of a Riverfolk expedition that traveled to the Thousand Rainbow Isles one year ago.

My King,

It is sung that over a hundred years ago, seven Riverfolk ships sailed to the drowned lands that were once our home, to the sunken tower that was once our people’s crowning glory. It was to be a tale of redemption, another victory for our Kingdom’s heroes to add to their own long list of accomplishments.

Seven ships we took as well, your brightest and your bravest and most guileful. I write now as this task to you nears completion – you must forgive your Hand’s poor writing and the many marring scratches on this parchment. At least, this record (and this messenger bird) will survive me and the rest of my doomed expedition.

And just as our ancient heroes met with grim betrayal and ill fate, so too did we find our doom.

When neared the Rainbow Isles, the air was heavy. The sun hid behind dark clouds while we remained among the archipelago’s grasp. Eduardo could hardly breathe, he stayed in my ship’s hold while we did as you bid. We knew in our bones that it would be terrible work, dangerous work. But I am the Hand to my Datu and like the rest of my Fleet, I am bound by sky and sea* to my task.

The few islands we examined were barren, emptied of flora and fauna. These scourged lands were only the fringe of the archipelago, the other islands at its core remained sunken beneath the waves.

The mists crept upon us while we were studying the island of Palavan. They were swift, nipping at our heels one moment and then rendering our Fleet blind the next. Our charts and divinations became of little use, but we tried nonetheless to leave the archipelago…but we were too late.

The mists thinned when we saw Arauan, the sunken tower, grasping at us with an eldritch, purple glow. For all our attempts to escape it, my King — the curse had brought us to its heart.

When we saw that light piercing through the murk, the bells began to toll. Despite its volume, this death knell could not mask the sickening sound of horrors pulling themselves over railing and of tentacles grasping mast and hull.

And… those things… Adarna blind me in her mercy…

They were moaning and writhing in pain, eyes clouded with death sight and sickly black magics. Flotsam and blood and ragged indigo clung wetly to briny flesh. They clawed at us and at their very touch, my shipmates cried out in agony. I saw them grab hold of Celia Many-Fish… she died so quickly. She screamed and screamed like a wounded animal.

They were everywhere, dancing shadows in the wan purple haze. I heard screams in the distance from the other ships. There was a sickening snap as a mast was rendered into splinters – Captain Roanoke’s ship, I think.

For all these tales of brutality, I fear more for those who were dragged away and down into the waves. Their fate will be the worst, if your theory holds truth, my King. 

Before I was dragged away by my crew to safety, I saw her… I saw the Reader. Our records tell us that she sacrificed herself to save us all… but Riza the Reader swept upon our ships alongside those monsters. Everyone that touched her with fists or sliced her with blades fell writhing upon the ground. My memory is mercifully hazy shortly after her appearance. 

​That was last night. With the exception of boatswain Eduardo, who took the other lifeboat, my crew gave their last to ensure my escape. Keralzo, my second mate, shoved my writing box and a bird-cage into my arms before a tendril found his foot and pulled him into dark waters.

The wind is silent now. The skies are dark and the seas churn with… things. There is nothing left to me except hungry mists and tolling bells and the truth behind every guttering, flickering hearth – that warmth and light are fleeting lies in the face of the very end. By I have sworn by sky and sea, by sun and shadow…I would see this task to its very end.

If it please my King… tell my sons I love them. Tell my daughters to be strong. And tell my husband that my return will be delayed until the next season, but I shall bring Callasine spring-wine with me. I know he will understand.

Admiral Imelda Sa-lupa

Hand of Marya II, the King in Jade

“Spring awaits us all”

 

(written with assistance by Vanessa Nichols)

Lore-keeper or Riverfolk Kingdom only
Rumor (anyone may read this)
Rumormonger skill, Labyrinthium Kingdom or Riverfolk Kingdom only

September 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

[AN AETHEREAL DOMAIN IN THE AETHER; SEPTEMBER 05, 2017 (W.R)]

She opened her eyes and was woefully reminded that it was not a nightmare.

Through the blur and the ache, she could see that her ice coffin was one of hundreds standing upright over the muddy slush of Witch-King’s domain and beneath a grey vault of roiling storm clouds. Each coffin was a prison for those who were captured by Anubisath, Witch-King of the North. From time to time, the Glacier, the Birdkin or another of the Witch-King’s minions would take an ice coffin and drag it to the ziggurat that beshadowed them all. And just like that, another fellow inmate was gone – no screams, no struggle, beyond the helpless despair in their eyes.

The cold of the coffin seeped through skin and muscle into the core of her being. Voices spoke to her, quieting her will and her thoughts. From her expertise, she knew them to be the whispers of Muses: wind spirits known to inspire emotions and artists. They instead summoned images and words within her mind, reinforcing memories within the deepest recesses of her spirit. They made her recall the battle at the Aethyric Tear, the desperate pursuit and the ambush that led to her capture. She remembered the Glacier that Walks encaging her into its gluttonous frame and the darkness thereafter. They sharpened most of all her memories of those who had failed her, those who left her behind to endure this torment… and to break beneath its weight.

She would shake her head if she could, but there was no moving nor breathing within the coffin that both imprisoned her and sustained her mortal flesh. There was only her encaged thoughts, nightmare-filled sleep and the poisonous words of the Anubisath’s Muses.

Of course, she resisted. She did everything, negotiating with the spirits, praying to the gods and even filling her head with thoughts of kittens. There was no breathing in her prison, but her freezing blue lips formed the incantations and the prayers nonetheless, hoping for something… anything.

But the Muses’ words were turning true – there was none that came to reclaim her and the only news she ever heard was the Muses singing of Anubisath’s triumph over the Storm Lords in the Aether. Only a handful of the Elemental Lords and Monarchs did not bend the knee to Anubisath or know the chains of his conquest. Whatever plan the Witch-King had was coming to fruition and it appeared contingent upon the Winter season. As the weeks had passed, fewer and fewer ice coffins remained, despite the recent additions that were brought to the frozen field by the Glacier that Walks, Horusath the Birdkin or the strange Jotunbrud man with furs and runes.

When her time finally came, her mind and her will was as foggy as the thick clouds gathering above the ziggurat. Somehow, she knew that similar clouds were gathering across Midworld toward some deadly purpose.

Yet, she still had hope.

Even after weeks of frozen, silent torment…

Even after magics of the Muses were woven around her spirit…

And even when Gjallanir, Eater of Runes and Jotun Giant, picked up her prison and brought her to the Witch-King of the North for her final moments of willful, tattered consciousness…

This hope was a candle-flame and a whisper amidst the howling winds of her despair – but it was there.

Out of Game Clarify: This vision, in jarring bits and pieces, is granted via one or several horrible nightmares to those who have ever been Favored of Violet Rayne (via the Favored of the Spirits skill) within the last five years. It is apparent that it is her but there appears to be no communication or response possible, even by another Witch. 

 

 

Rumors (anyone may read this)

Callas Selvarion or Rumormonger skill only:

Firbolg or Rumormonger skill only:

Gotterdammerung or Rumormonger skill only:

Ixia or Rumormonger skill only:

Jotunbrud or Rumormonger skill only:

Kali-Ishtar or Rumormonger skill only:

Labyrinthium or Rumormonger skill only:

Malak Travak or Rumormonger skill only:

Pendrakken or Rumormonger skill only:

Riverfolk or Rumormonger skill only: