Category Archives: Tales from Midworld

Events that take place in Midworld, outside of Freehold.

June 2018 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

[KRAGLIN MANOR, PORT DAWSON; JUNE 18, 2018]

The manor was neither opulent nor imperial, with a skeleton crew of servants and mercenaries for guardians…but it was enough for their purposes. It peered east over the rest of Port Dawson and a roiling sea. Black banners with white crosses marked its perimeters and the enspelled wardings that protected it from harm and infiltration.

Sister Talia stood by the entrance, a hawk-like totemic mark branding her both as an Adept and as a member of the Brotherhood of the Sword and Cross. Like her mercenary brethren, she wore black, ornamented with a stark white cross. “My favorite part about having the summit here is how this Red Robert hates it as much as he hates us. The hike up to this manor is like the steepest parts of Northwall and this ‘manor’ is just as bad as that plagued hellhole.”

“Mayor or not, Robert can’t stand against the Treaty or the nine Kingdoms that are behind it. He can hate them and us if he wants, but he can either take their money or their steel… I imagine the choice is obvious” Unlike her comrade, Sister Kestrel’s face was unadorned but her garments were festooned with trophies and knicknacks – the yield of many a deadly hunt and battle. She stood within a few arm-lengths of  her battle-sister but Kestrel studied the sea instead of the path before them.

“If this Mayor was smart, he would play them against each other. The Kingdoms’ posturing against each other is the only reason Port Dawson is out of everyone’s hands. The Jotun would never have the Boggers have it. And the same with the Inthians and the Riverfolk, especially after that stunt they tried to pull with Zaalamon years ago. And you know – there’s also the lack of the you-know-what”

A nervous silence fell upon the mercenaries as the front doors opened abruptly to The acting Envoy of Pendrakken nodded to the Brotherhood as he left the manor to seek his evening lodging, doubtless an Inn or somewhere similar. Amidst helm and mail, he bore the colors of his House, the symbols of Faith and the badge of his station.

Behind him, an armored Brotherhood member exited then closed the doors. He bore with him a cruel looking blade with an ax-like construction. The sisters watched him walk the long winding trail to the base of the hill and the rest of Port Dawson proper.

The rest of the Kingdom Summit had yet to exit, save for the “diplomat” for the Labyrinthium’s pick, a masked man named Hawk who was the first to leave. He appeared as happy about things as the Pendrakken envoy did.

“Mercurium” Brother Mercy said somberly “They made that decision last moon – you can say it now… and we’ve always been able to say it”

“I know, it just feels strange to say it so openly” Talia shrugged. “Anyway, only reason for us to keep the peace in Freehold is that…mineral”

Kestrel had started watching a pod of orcas behind a vessel – possibly a trailing a whaling ship for scraps as she had heard them do sometimes, but she had spared a glance to see the doors close. “Did they bring anything new to the table?”

Mercy’s armored shoulders moved only slightly when he shrugged. With the sea breeze, it was cooler out of the manor than it was within. “Nothing of note. Lector and his undead are believed to be afoot somewhere in Jotunbrud, Malak Travak… and the ruins of Northwall. Portia may be advancing beyond the Obsidian Wastes. Tenebrous is loose and somewhere in the Hinterlands, possibly near Lockhaven–”

“Yes, yes” Talia swatted at the air in impatience. “We also know that Vallah and Primus remain under lock and key. They all seem accounted for except –”

“Fang-zhara” it was Mercy’s turn to be impatient.”Her prisons are open, her spirits were released when the arctic stars fell on those cities. She may have been involved in the Pendrakken civil war. And there is the sound of digging beneath the earth… which could her going after her Vaults to reclaim whatever strength she cached away. That’s all we know so far based on their reports and our own informants”

From her perch, Kestrel’s eyes lazily glanced at the masses of humanity at the docks. Any of them could be serving an Immortal, passing through uncontrolled Port Dawson to serve their master’s needs. T even her keen eye-sight, they were tiny and insignificant, trying to hurry their way home from the business of the docks. Any of them could be hiding Fang-zhara’s golemic augments, Lector’s necrotic blood-crowns or even the subtle mark of Primus’ cult.

And then she drew one of her many throwing daggers.

Mercy and Talia took note of Kestrel drawing steel and paid her their full attention. When Kestrel pointed out to the town below, they were just in time to watch with growing horror as the pod of orcas swam headlong into the docks.

Monstrously bulbous and pocked, the killer whales beached or impaled themselves upon the wooden construction. The mercenaries at the manor did not need to be at the docks to know the swarming and the buzzing that would come next as the gigantic corpses burst open unto the fleeing, screaming populace. Most of the newly-birthed demonic wasp creatures would descend upon the docks and infect as many folk as possible. More than a few of the monstrosities would instead fly free of the whale flesh immediately to the town’s limits. The Brotherhood needed to act quickly.

Mercy entered the manor immediately, alerting the diplomats and his brethren within — while they were in the manor they were warded and within custody. Talia used her Totemic speed to make her way to the chapterhouse days away and warn the others. When joined by reinforcements from the manor, Kestrel would lead the hunt against the fleeing Spider-Wasps.

The defense of Port Dawson and its docks, of course, would remain in the hands of Red Robert and his Redcaps as well as any civilians joined them instead of fleeing.

The town wanted to stay independent, after all.

Rumors (anyone may read this)

Callas Selvarion Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Fir’bolg Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Gotterdammerung Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Grellken Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Ixia Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Jotunbrud Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Kali-Ishtar Kingdom or Rumormonger only

Labyrinthium Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Malak Travak Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Pendrakken Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Riverfolk Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

March 2018 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

WITHIN THE NURSERY, SOMEWHERE BEYOND MIDWORLD

Shapes, Oaths and Laws — these were the tools of order used by Gods and Archons.

Creatures like the Demon were unbound by such trivial matters. He preferred the malleable word, the obscuring shadow and a lawless reality. Of course, he had uses for Pacts, just as even the greatest of liars and thieves had uses for steel. He always believed that those who cannot be constrained cannot help but also be contrary.

And so, when the Demon entered the Nursery, with rain and battle clangouring nearby, it cared little for the wards and runes that sought to keep it out. Once, he had the strength of a hundred thousand devoured souls to lend him power enough to turn the Wards. But without the Tome, older methods had to suffice. After all, had he not witnessed its creation thousands of years ago?

As he stepped through the spaces between spaces, he remembered the time when Mortals discovered runes and writ. They thought that they had found a way to forever preserve their words. “Here was a way to stay immortal” they believed “Our thoughts and our speech would last for as long as these writings would. We have defeated death!”

But even engraved stone and runed steel turns to dust and rust in the end. The ages themselves eat away at purpose and definition. And there is also the glory and power of Context. With it, words change their meaning. They can lose their worth.

It was in this way that the Demons turned the very Wards meant to keep him out of the Nursery against the place’s Warden.

Breaking the Warden was easy. Even her taciturn features showed shock when he arose from the darkness before her and shattered her back against the wall again and again. She held true, of course, but she failed in the end – just as he had foreseen.

Then, he sent the Warden tumbling back into Freehold – a message that the Demon hoped they would understand. In this case, the Context was right but the Freefolk were always too feebleminded to know when to quit and to surrender. Nevermind that so many of them drank power from the Demon hungrily and many more bought from his markets. And with their souls and their coin, he grew and festered in the underbelly of civilization.

Casting the broken Warden upon the doors of their precious Inn was merely a warning, naturally. It was always better to give the warning first, for the spineless many that would be dissuaded by it and flee instead of fight. It would be they who lived while the brave died by the droves — as it always had been with the Demon.

When the Warden returned to do battle once more, the Demon was only slightly surprised. He should not have been. Was she not once Freefolk? Had she not sacrificed everything to contain the evils of this place? Had she not even deny herself the rest of the Afterlife to save her kin?

It was natural then that the fly would return to the spider’s web — foolish, weak and resolved, to be bound by him and crippled. The Warden was the Nursery after all – it would not do for the Nursery to be destroyed. He had work here to do and it was drudgery of the worst sort.

In the end, he had never meant to breach the Nursery. He had never meant to unleash its inmates upon Midworld. Destruction and desolation were never his goals – only his tools. Yet, the Freefolk had forced his hand, just as the Justicar had done decades ago.

They put him to this.

After the destruction of Freehold was over and done, the Demon would move on and start anew. Eternity was a long time and the only deathless thing in Midworld was chaos.

Rumors (anyone may read this)

Callas Selvarion Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Fir’bolg Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Gotterdammerung Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Ixia Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Jotunbrud Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Kali-Ishtar Kingdom only
Labyrinthium Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Malak Travak Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Pendrakken Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Riverfolk Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

 

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: