Part 16: 1414-The High Protector of FairlandsThe High Protector of Fairlands
1414 opened peacefully for Greater Dvergursheim, with the folk of the kingdom laboring at their various occupations and building up the prosperity of their towns and districts, while the Royal Army continued to be ferried across to a new land. By Thirdmonth, Queen Dagmaer laid the blessing of the Sagacious Counselor upon Stony Peak, making the third town to enjoy the prosperity of divine blessing. By this time, the Royal Army had been assembled on new shores, and was pushing south on its mission of pacification.
In Fourthmonth, the Royal Army enaged nearly two hundred animated beastkin skeletons in a ruin in that southern land. Although crossbows proved nearly useless, cannon shot destroyed almost all the skeletons before they met the lines, and the twenty or so that survived to meet the infantry were quickly destroyed. The ruins were swiftly plundered after the skeletons were cleared, uncovering lost treasures of gold, silver, and precious stones that had survived the long years.
Missile Immunity renders a unit immune to standard archery ranged attacks, but ranged spell attacks and artillery shot from cannons and catapults are unaffected.
This same month, settlers from Dvergursheim lead by one Njall Ragnarsson made landing at the mouth of the Salmon River in Westerland, forming a new colony on the shores of Westerland. In honor of their leader, the settlers dubbed the little village they established Njallshold. Meanwhile, a roaming band of a dog-like race known as gnolls, a group of nomadic warriors along with their males and young, made contact with the sentinels at the tower linking Dvergursheim with Arcanus. Though they were tall, strong warriors, hardened from their earlier battles with roaming monsters and well-equipped with plundered arms from a long-forgetten sealed armory, their attempt to bargain for service and support from rich dwarven patrons met with no success, and they returned to their roaming peaceably.
Periodically, mercenaries will offer their services, depending on your fame and finances. Halberdiers are neither strong enough for me to want them in my mobile army nor cheap enough for me to particularly like them for basic garrison duty, so I turned them down.
The next month, as the Royal Army pushed south into an unexplored corner of the land, they discovered a sixth of the strange towers that linked the worlds, one of the relics of the Confederation's conquest of Myrror. It seemed that it was defended by a great host of Men in armor with pikes, led by a pair of hulking monsters of great size, but the Queen's wisdom discerned that these guardians were naught but thickened wind wrapped in a cloak of seeming. The Royal Army advanced, preparing to meet an unreal army.
Though the defenders had no substance, the Queen, communicating by magic, warned that they still presented a threat to the unwary. The buffeting and lashing of the wind from them was enough to cause injury, and, although their binding Sorcery would swiftly collapse before physical blows, the Sorcery that bound them could drive the minds of their foes into a stupor, leaving them to perish in an unnatural sleep from which the mind could not free itself, despite whatsoever armor protected a warrior.
The Illusion ability allows the attacks of Phantoms to entirely ignore the Defense of their opponents, although the lack of Defense of Phantoms renders them very fragile in turn.
The great 'beasts' that led the host swept forward swiftly, far outpacing the 'men' who marched behind, who collapsed into gusts of cold wind as cannon shot and crossbow bolts fell amongst them. As the beasts struck the infantry, the infantry fought back bravely, and in the first clash of battle the beasts dissolved into a blast of wind that poured over the Royal Army. Those infantry that fell into a stupor were quckly revived from their slumber by the power of the Serene Mother called into them by Queen Dagmaer, and the marching host was destroyed by cannon and crossbow before any of it managed to meet the Royal Army's lines. The battlefield was left eerily empty, with only scattered projectiles and the wind-burned soldiers of the Royal Army to mark the fighting that had just transpired.
With the sorcerous defenders of the tower destroyed, the tower was swiftly plundered, recovering rare texts and documents of value to the Queen, along with a store of enchanted glass whose power she could draw upon. With the aid of these documents, the Queen learned how a great servant of the Righteous Queen might be petitioned for aid, a holy being blood-kin to the gods. As the Royal Army emerged onto Arcanus, they saw that a great desert stretched before them, which though a cold and stony wasteland was pocked with crude tracks and quarries speaking of settlement nearby. Vigny Rolfsdottir and her scouts grew further in renown with this victory, for the lethality of their marksmanship was now nigh-legend and their skill in battle was beyond that of any other members of the Royal Army.
The Royal Army were swiftly met by a scouting party of orcs-at-arms geared with mail and pole-axes, which led to a brief and lossless battle on the frozen wastes. There the Royal Army saw a little town armed and girded for war, sitting at the center of a cluster of fishing-villages along the frozen coasts. There an orcish despot mustered his hosts, and held his people regimented in his service. Though such orcish despotism was hateful to the dwarves of the Army, they turned north and marched on, not wishing to commit to full-scale war so far from their home shores and for so distasteful a people as the orcs. Meanwhile, even as they began marching north in Seventhmonth, Easthold gained the blessing of the Sagacious Counselor, joining the fellowship of towns whose wealth was assured by the wisdom granted to their townsfolk.
The next three months saw the Royal Army cross the wasteland north to another orcish despotate, set on the banks of a fertile river north of the desert, and then into a pleasant land well-settled by high men, which they called Fairlands, further north and west, crossed by many roads. These roads, sadly, lacked the enchantments that were laid upon the dwarven roads in Myrror, and only dwarven feet carried the Army along them.
In Tenthmonth, the Royal Army met errand-riders from the Fairlands capital town of Baronstown, and soon thereafter High Protector Horus of Fairlands sent magical tidings to Queen Dagmaer: "The interference of heretics in the internal affairs of the most blessed realm of Fairlands is intolerable. Withdraw your troops from the lands under my protection or face the holy wrath of the Four High Gods through the vessel of their servant."
Although the Royal Army paused briefly to allow Vigny and her scouts to chart out the road to Baronstown, they withdrew swiftly enough, making best speed back to the tower they had entered Arcanus by. Baronstown proves to be a town of many temples and schools, held by a strong force with swords and quilted armor. Though most of its defenders are high men, there are a company of men of different kindred wielding curved swords, a company of loyal swordsorcs, and a group of halflings with spears mustered from parts unknown to the dwarves. Despite Baronstown's fine temples, the markets of the town are only thinly-attended, and many of the townsfolk and the sharecroppers of the land round about labor in poverty.
The Archmage ability improves Horus' starting casting skill and doubles the rate at which he can improve his casting skill, while Sorcery Mastery makes his Sorcery spells cheaper to cast and research, improves his power income from Sorcery nodes, and renders his Sorcery spells harder to dispel. I find the lack of any Marketplace in such a built-up town very striking.
With the continued exploration of Myrror, it is imagined that few great mysteries of its geography remain, although the charts are yet incomplete. Arcanus, on the other hand, is largely unexplored, with only three small patches surrounding the towers the Army has plundered revealed to dwarven knowledge.
The Kingdom of Greater Dvergursheim as of Twelfthmonth 1414
Goldwash, Ironbridge, Stony Peak, and Stonegate are the well-established heart of the kingdom, thriving off of their agriculture, manufactures, and trade. Stonegate lags behind the other three in wealth, with lesser resources for agriculture and industry, and yet unblessed by the wisdom of the Sagacious Counselor. Glassware from Stonegate, tools, hardware, and swords from Stony Peak, candies and fine gold and silversmithing from Goldwash, and the mead and fine garments of linen and cloth-of-gold from Ironbridge are famed throughout the kingdom, and they make only the tip of the trade these towns conduct.
The farms and ranches about Snowy Point now are very well-improved, providing meat and mead and bread in plenty for the busy markets of the growing town. Great sawmills to better process the produce of the lumbering of the surrounding district are under construction, and the town thrives.
Darkshore supports skilled smiths who help suupply the town, and enjoys abundant trade with the dwarven towns of Dvergursheim. Common use of coin lubricates the commerce of the town and district within itself and with the outside world. As the town grows more established, the dark elven governor of the town has been raising a militia to preserve peace and public order.
Blademarsh has greatly expanded its shipyards and port facilities, and has begun to supply the first orders of larger and more seaworthy roundships to aid the sea-trade of the kingdom. The priestess governing Blademarsh has mustered an additional two companies of militia, in reserve against potential disturbances or sabotage of the shipyards. The growing prosperity of the town has encouraged further expansion of the mines and quarries in its district, which is hoped to supply more adamantine to the kingdom and more iron and stone to the town.
Fangrock has swelled with settlers from the district preparing to leave over the past year. They are now nearly ready to embark on their long journey, having finally gathered the supplies, tools, goods, and seed they hope to use in Westerland to start a new life.
Skilled Nature mages amongst the priesthood of the Great Lady of Beauty in Bloodrock have trained themselves up, and now use their power to ensure that the vitality of crops and herds in the district remain strong and healthy under whatever condition, and that plant and animal shall be fertile and abundant. With the risk of poor harvest nearly eliminated, the commoners in the district have had many worries set at ease, and the magical fertility of the district about Bloodrock has helped to make it the largest exporter of raw foodstuffs in the kingdom. Like Blademarsh, Bloodrock's district is establishing new and deeper mines, digging iron, copper, and stone from the ground for whatever use may be called for.
The expansion of the temple of the Great Lady of Beauty in Leer has been completed, and the graceful arcs of the silk pavillions over its wooden platforms form a striking landmark in the northern portion of the town. The timbering, hunting, and trapping in the forests near Leer have been growing, and the foresters of the town have begun planting quick-growth trees to ensure a continual harvest of wood and the continual beauty of the forest into the future.
Long expansion wings parallel to the main hall of the temple of the Great Lady in Darkhold have started to be erected, slowly being sealed against the freezing blasts of the cold wasteland the town is set in. The town has prospered over the past year, and there are nearly twice as many artisans, traders, and townsfolk gathered in the town amidst its district as a year ago.
Easthold's position as an important trade port on Osterland, the heart of dwarven investment and commerce in that land, its valuable mineral resources, and the divine blessing of the Sagacious Counselor have combined to make this booming town a great center of opportunity. The new library in the town helps ensure the access of its people to books and learning, and their industrious efforts to dig deeper, apply steam power to the engineering difficulties of deep mines, and expand the workshops of the town may soon bear fruit in abundant coal and mithril for the kingdom.
Ironbay's district is now well-cultivated and prosperous, with abundant food for the town and busy markets trading in the produce of the field and the sea. Like most other dwarven towns, it has had a library founded in it, gathering documents recovered from elsewhere in Westerland and hosting copies of the great body of learning previously assembled in the kingdom. The great mineral wealth of the surrounding district is now drawing investment into improved mining and steam-engines, seeking the great riches underground about this prosperous town.
King Reinar has been picked up by a trading ship, and is even now crossing the sea on the way to Dvergursheim. With the new freedom offered by the rule of Greater Dvergursheim, the town has prospered greatly, with rich dockside markets, a district now well-cultivated, and bakehouses, breweries, slaughterhouses, and food markets helping to process a new abundance rolling in from the town's surroundings.
Njallshold, though growing, is still a lonely village at the mouth of the Salmon River, amidst a thinly-settled district of fishers, farmers, and small mining camps. Still, a fine paved road links it to Ironbay, and the town is not as isolated as it might be.
The prosperity of the kingdom continues to grow, and the finances of the crown permit the financing of continual alchemical work to fuel the Queen's magical work, while wealthy merchants and tradesdwarves of the kingdom invest in many of the works across the kingdom. The road across Westerland is beginning to cut into the western hills, pushing closer to Stonehome.
The last corners of the land southwest of Westerland have been explored, revealing a sixth of the great towers built by the Confederation of Wizards to link the two worlds. A few of the perils of this land have been tamed, but many remain.
1414 has brought final proof that civilisation survives in Arcanus. What new wonders and challenges shall 1415 bring?