Part 12: 1410-Like an Orb of Molten GoldLike an Orb of Molten Gold
Firstmonth of 1410 brought another breakthrough in Queen Dagmaer's research, teaching her how magical beings might be summoned or created in far-away places, rather than directly to her presence. Although of some academic interest, this was, perhaps, not the most valuable lore of magic she had ever discovered.
The month following, the Royal Army advanced on the tall tower in northern Dvergursheim, sekking to investigate its secrets. About the tower roamed a herd of beautiful unicorns, as well as great misty semi-material spirits haunting the tower. As the Royal Army approached, the unicorns seemingly stepped from where they stood to a point right by the Royal Army without crossing the intervening space. They fell upon one of the cannon, damaging it, although they could not wreck it in the time they had.
Eigil and the nearby infantry swiftly crushed the attacking unicorns, while cannon and crossbow destroyed several of the spirits advancing on the army. Those that met the army's lines were confronted and destroyed by Eigil, whose mighty gauntleted fists swept through them with terrible force while his sturdy body resisted the lashing counterblows they inflicted.
Unicorns are not all that formidable as fantastic creatures go, but their ability to teleport makes them ideal for getting behind enemy lines and ruining the day of vulnerable ranged units.
With the defenders of the tower destroyed, the dwarves-at-arms of the Royal Army investigated the tower, which still held many notes and documents from the time of the Confederation of Wizards, including research notes on how the ability to pass freely between Arcanus and Myrror might be granted to a ship or to a company of troops. Also in the tower was a shirt of mithril mail of marvellous workmanship and obvious enchantment, weighing only the same as a simple cloth shirt and with mithril links of incredible fineness in multiple layers, providing additional protection beyond what might be offered by a normal shirt of mithril alloy mail. Vigny took this armor for herself, that she might be safeguarded against the attacks of the enemy in battle.
Magical artifacts can be found or crafted that will greatly improve the abilities of heroes in battle. At the moment, crafting of artifacts is beyond us, but this mail definitely will help Vigny's survivability.
As the folk exploring the tower pressed further, they came to a strange, windowless room filling the entire top floor, with both the stair they had ascended from and another stair that would seemingly lead back down where no stair was in the chamber. Exploring further down the other stair, a whole new series of rooms that seemed to fill the space they had just explored were found, with brilliant golden light leaking in through the windows. Then, finally, they reached the ground floor, and stepped outside to see what surrounded them.
The dwarves of the Royal Army stood on a plain on a strange coast, where a terrible sun burned in the sky like an orb of molten gold, and the entire sky glowed blue with its streaming light. Not the gentle shining of Myrror's sun, like a silver lantern in the sky, this. The outdoor world was, impossibly, brighter than a room lit well by lanterns, rather than dim and shadowy. When night fell, the two moons lit the world with a light like dawn or dusk in Myrror- and the two moons themselves were unfamiliar, silver-white and a bloody red, rather than the dim bluish-white and sullen gray of Myrror's moons. Surely this must be Arcanus.
Vigny called for the Army to explore the area surrounding the tower, roaming over a fertile land of fields, forests, hills, and a great and mighty river system, unmarked by current signs of habitation. A high temple on a mountain overlooking the tumbled ruins of a city nearly obliterated by time was still largely intact, and a home to unicorns and spirits, as was the tower. The Army attacked, taking some modest losses to the infantry and losing one cannon to the unicorns' strange ability to teleport, but defeating the defenders handily nonetheless.
The temple held a great store of crystals of glass still charged with magic, as well as documents full of spells and prayers. The secrets of how to call upon the Stalwart Warrior to fortify an entire army in battle that Dagmaer learned were mighty, but still beyond her ability to employ as of yet.
The tempering of battle has ensured that Vigny's elite scouts are a swift and effective fighting force, more lightly geared than the heavy infantry, perhaps, but lethal and skillful in battle with crossbow or sword.
Dagmaer's casting skill is currently approximately 30; spells cast in combat require you have the casting skill to cast them all at once- in this case, we need at least a skill of 60.
The Army eventually returned to the tower, which Dagmaer had commanded should be held against whatsoever remained in Arcanus beyond the regions it had explored. This realm of terrible brilliance seemed a strange and fearsome place, and is one many people were reluctant to enter.
While the Army explored the regions of Arcanus surrounding the tower, the first settlers to Westerland were crossing the Great Sea, while Dagmaer's surveyors and cartographers drew up a potential plan for settlement in Westerland. Three dwarven towns to exploit the gold of Westerland and the rich mineral deposits in the northeast might eventually be founded, while dragonkin could settle the northern desert of Westerland and dark elves could establish a harbor south of the hills of southwestern Westerland.
By Tenthmonth, as well, Snowy Point had grown to be a more securely-settled town, serving as the district market town for local hunters and trappers and for scattered farmsteads.
The Kingdom of Greater Dvergursheim as of Twelfthmonth 1410
The growing town of Goldwash remains the seat of royal power and the hub of the kingdom's commerce. The great wealth of the capital and the fineness of its crafts are renowned throughout the kingdom.
Stonegate is slightly smaller than a year ago, as many of its dwarves have left to make the perilous journey across the sea to settle Westerland. New volunteers are being levied to defend the town, to replace those who have joined with the settlers to seek homes in a new land.
Ironbridge has become, over the last year, an important center of scholarship and learning, home to many savants who correspond and debate with the other savants of the kingdom. It has also seen a growing timbering industry, with new trees planted where the old forest has been felled that continuing harvests of timber and charcoal can be achieved. More hunters and trappers seek the animal wealth of the forests, and more meat finds its way to the town's tables from the hunt than has before.
Stony Peak, like Ironbridge, has seen a great growth in learning and culture. Although timbering and forestry in the district about it is not yet as extensive as that about Goldwash or in the Blackwater valley, it has been growing, and yet more timber should be fed to the kingdom's growing appetite for construction, crafts, and fuel.
The town of Snowy Point has a small population of tradesdwarves and artisans, but its primary function at the moment is as a trading post for furs and meat harvested from the southern woods. As time passes, though, more skilled tradesdwarves are filtering in, and skilled masons may allow for temporary wooden houses to be replaced by strong stone houses as is the custom.
Blademarsh now boasts a small temple to the Great Lady, furnished with such precious and beautiful fixtures as have been selected by the priests. The elves of the town take comfort in her divine blessing, and in this preservation of that portion of their ancestral customs. The outlying district has been slowly improving its cultivation, and the wineries, slaughterhouses, and markets to deal in the bounty of the land are being established in the town one after another.
The priests or monks of Fangrock now gather at a new monastery, a small walled sandstone complex that lets them further attend to their contemplation of the world and of magic, and where occasionally some other dragonkin of the town will stop to meditate. The continued trade with the outside world has seen coin slowly penetrate more deeply into the transactions of the town, and some petty merchants are beginning to rise here.
A major sawmill to convert raw timber to lumber has helped provide more materials to the builders and artisans of Bloodrock, which now has access by the roads to southern Osterland. Families seeking to settle on the western coast of Dvergursheim are gathering here, preparing to make their way south to Blademarsh and then across the Channel of Osterland to Dvergursheim.
The harbor market in Leer is now a busy place, with trade continuing at all times and helping bring wealth to the town. Coinage has begun to eclipse barter in importance in the town, helping smooth difficulties with trade. As the town has prospered, more agricultural improvements in the outlying district's farming villages have begun, which may lead to greater yields are more abundant food in the district.
Granaries and bakeries help ensure Darkhold makes its daily bread, taking advantage of more extensive cultivation in the farming villages of the river valley south of the town. Darkhold also now supports skilled smiths, who help create tools for the use of the folk of the district. The growth of trade in Osterland has started to touch Darkhold, which is slowly developing its own shopkeepers and traders and growing more used to dealing in coin in everyday transactions.
The town of Easthold has grown from a tiny trading post exporting coal and mithril to a modest town with its own artisans and trades, the improved agriculture of the district better-supplying the folk of the town and its busy bakeries. Builders have converted many of the town's houses to fine stone houses, and fine smiths and metalworkers are beginning to call the town home.
The unexplored reaches of Myrror continue to be pushed back, with the previously unknown stretches of northern Westerland now revealed by the Queen's roaming spirit. It continues on, exploring more of the Great Archipelago.
The kingdom prospers, and the crown's finances are good. The magical power to conduct her work is well-supplied to the Queen. In the skies of Arcanus and Myrror, a trio of green stars burn close together, marking a surge in the strength of nodes of Nature.
Conjunctions double the power produced by nodes of their type, and halve the power produced by the other two types of nodes.
1410 begins to draw to a close, time moving ever onwards. What has survived the collapse of the Confederation in Arcanus? What perils await beyond the strange tower? Who would be so bold as to set foot in such a world? May the kingdom continue to prosper in these strange days!