Part 24: 1422-Whosoever Drinketh of the Water I Shall Give HimWhosoever Drinketh of the Water I Shall Give Him
The first half of 1422 passed quietly and peacefully in Greater Dvergursheim, the people of the kingdom going about their lives and business even as more combat magicians were mustered in Bloodrock and Queen Dagmaer summoned the protection of the Righteous Queen upon the forces she was gathering to clear the monsters from the nodes of magic of Myrror. Her studies also continued during this time, marked in Firstmonth by the discovery of a new spell intended to seek out persons of great potential for their service, then in Ninthmonth by another means to summon the kindred of the gods. During this time, also, some of the heavy infantry of the Royal Army that had been garrisoning Goldwash redeployed to Ironbridge, allowing the Ironbridge militia to stand down.
By Seventhmonth, all three planned companies of combat magicians were ready, and began the journey to meet with dwarven forces outside the remaining untamed node on Dvergursheim. Three companies of heavy infantry and three of combat magicians were led by Hrodvaldur the Chosen and his personal guard and Vigny Goldenhair and her scouts.
The army advanced upon the node of Sorcery, which was defended by perhaps half a company of armored giants and six companies of the unreal soldiers that Sorcery can create. Infantry lines formed to defend the scouts and magicians as the unreal soldiers began to advance and the giants hurled searing bolts of lightning at the elven magicians.
Hrodvaldur attempted to summon the power of the Stalwart Warrior to bolster his forces, but the great weight of Sorcery in that place denied his power. The flames cast by the combat magicians were a more reliable method, and the magicians and scouts together swiftly cut down the illusions advancing on the Royal Army's lines. The protections Dagmaer had laid remained in force, and the Chaos of the lightning dissipated harmlessly before the bolts struck their targets.
Magical ranged attacks are unaffected by node interference, as are pre-cast enchantments on units.
With the illusionary warriors reduced to harmless wind, the scouts and magicians turned their efforts against the giants. The thunderous force of Vigny's crossbow dropped giant after giant, with her scouts raining bolts upon others. The flames cast by the magicians were less effective, and, when their ability to cast flames had been depleted, their efforts to call down pure Chaos upon the giants were almost entirely stopped by the power of the node. Still, the giants fell before a single one reached the front lines.
With its defenders slain, the node was claimed and searched. Although there was no treasure there for the crown to claim, more precious still was the knowledge Queen Dagmaer had gained in observing the node, combined with the learning she had already gained by correspondence with learned magicians of the kingdom- a new understanding of the methods of Sorcery presented itself to her, and new ideas for research that could be done grew within her.
A new spellbook is a rare and valuable thing to claim as loot from a node or ruin, which will expand the spells available for research, along with other potential benefits if you have enough books in a given school. One Sorcery book simply gives us a smattering of less-powerful Sorcery spells for research; another Life book, by contrast, would have given us more high-level Life spells and increased our casting and research discount for Life spells.
As this battle raged, Queen Dagmer considered the news she had just learned through her magical awareness- the armies of Fairlands had marched into Krag Pool days before, defeating its armies and casting down its despot, Sherku. With the fall of Krag Pool, Horus was then the uncontested master of the whole of his land, having bound men and orcs and halflings into a mighty empire.
Still, the peace of Greater Dvergursheim remained for the time unbroken. As the year drew to a close, Queen Dagmaer in Twelfthmonth revealed a marvel in the city of Goldwash. She caused a fountain to be built by the work of dwarven hands, and, as her magic filled the fountain, it welled up with cool water that refreshed any thirst of those who drank of it. The illnesses of the sick who drank of the water disappeared, injuries washed in the water sealed themselves, and even the burden of years fell away little by little for those who drank, although the effect over a mere month was difficult to measure. All inhabitants of the town were permitted to draw a measure of the fountain weekly, with the water that remained after this allocation sold by the crown or reserved for its own use. Illness and pain nearly disappeared from Goldwash.
Over the course of the year the puppet-spirit of Dagmaer continued its explorations, uncovering the whole of the land upon which Ulna rested and gathering some measure of knowledge of the western coast of Horus' lands. On the eastern coast of Ulna's island ancient ruins loom over a mercenary encampment of lizardkin armed and equipped at Horus' expense.
The Kingdom of Greater Dvergursheim as of Twelfthmonth 1422
The revenues of the crown continue to swell with the population and prosperity of the kingdom, but the free power available to Queen Dagmaer each month has lessened, even with access to the power of the new node. The protections upon the Army and the wonder she has created in Goldwash provide a load upon her powers, which constant alchemy seeks to compensate for.
The capital now is by many measures a paradise for those who live there. Learning, culture, and wealth are coupled with blessings from the Sagacious Counselor and Serene Mother upon the bodies and minds of all in the city, and the strength of youth is returning to dwarves who believed themselves in the winter of their lives.
Stream of Life is, frankly, awesome- although there is no direct practical benefit for us in applying it to the capital. It doubles population growth, which would be neat if the population were not capped, it entirely eliminates unrest, which we have completely controlled anyhow, and all units in the city heal completely at the end of each turn, which would make more of a difference if we had damaged units to station there. That said, an ongoing theme of this LP is that I am seeking to maximise the quality of life for my people, even without pragmatic benefit.
The university at Darkshore has been completed, and, with it, it has brought education in business practises that have helped drive usage of moneylending and investment in the town. The potential for profit as an important trade port has led local merchants to invest into shipbuilding, preparing for an expansion of shipping out of Darkshore.
Training in Nature magic amongst the priests of Blademarsh has enriched the fields and orchards of its district, and the growing security of food supply and prosperity amongst the former thralls of the district has allowed the town to reduce the size of its militia. Work is well under way to create a great academy of magic like the one in Bloodrock, providing hope for more research and study of the forces of magic.
The prosperity of Fangrock is well-secured, with investment and moneylending providing capital for businesses and farms, and the town growing in importance as a shipping center across the kingdom. The savants of the town have bred from the small flying creatures they have used as beasts of burden for long journeys true war beasts, the 'lesser dragons'. These creatures, although very small compared to a true dragon, have a hotter fire within them than the dragonkin, and have hides strongly armored and teeth and claws very sharp.
Bloodrock has settled into its prosperity, thriving as a center for crafts and agriculture at the heart of Osterland. It is noted as a great center for the manufacture of silken clothing. With this growth in manufactures, Bloodrock has become the first non-dwarven city in Greater Dvergursheim that is a net profit to the crown's revenues.
The alchemical workshops of Leer have provided supply to the town's magicians, who have begun the work to establish their own academy of magic here. Dark elven experimentation into the nature of magic has grown in the kingdom, and provides a great wellspring of knowledge for the whole realm.
The wealth of Darkhold has grown more secure, with moneylending to the town's crafters and the district's landowners allowing their operations to expand. It too has begun to develop alchemical workshops, helping to feed the great hunger for the materials of magic of the realm.
The past year has brought greater learning to Firesands, as savants have settled in the town or been taught there, as well as a great expansion of the monastery in the town where the priests may meditate. The town has grown as a center of culture, even if it is yet relatively small and poor compared to Fangrock, and one of only two towns in the kingdom yet to gain the blessing of the Sagacious Counselor. The town also has been prepared that Dagmaer may summon spirits to it, in preparation for the claiming of the Chaos node on Westerland and other nodes in the lands surrounding Westerland.
Forestry, hunting, and trapping have greatly expanded in the district about Pyre, with replanting of fast-growth trees for future harvest now in evidence. Many alchemical workshops and foundries have been founded in the town, allowing it to refine metals with alchemical expertise.
The little town of Shadowwood has grown slowly over the past year, and the mines in its district that supply it with coal and mithril have been slowly expanding. It still remains the smallest and least developed town of the kingdom.
The new temple of the Serene Mother in Bantanu has taken its place alongside the temple of the Mighty-Thewed One, and has drawn the devotion of many in the town. Relatively extensive iron mines working the hilly ground beneath the town have grown over the past year, and Torbax has followed his father's example in patronage of learning by working to establish an university in the town to gather knowledge from the other races of the kingdom.
The wizards of Arcanus persist in their mistrust of Dagmaer, although as of yet the peace endures. The fragile alliance between Horus and the Storm Tribes re-established after their war has shattered, the differences between them unable to be reconciled. It might be possible that Dagmaer could barter with Horus for some of the knowledge of Sorcery he has developed, although providing him with spells that he might use could potentially be a foolish thing.
Now that we have a Sorcery book, we're also able to trade for knowledge with another wizard. Whether we want to trade with the single most dangerous other wizard is another question.
As 1422 dwindles, Queen Dagmaer advances this question to her people- it should be possible to create fountains of life in every town in the kingdom over a period of years, but such a project would be an immense expenditure of power every month to maintain. Merely to keep all things in order would require great amounts of alchemy, potentially slowing Dagmaer's ability to perform other acts of magic. The Royal Army could yet be greatly bolstered- powerful equipment for Hrodvaldur and Vigny could yet be created, the blood-kin of the gods could be called upon to reinforce the Army's forces, the health of every member of the Army could be bolstered, or Dagmaer's new learning could be called upon to gather heroes to her banner. Granted this, she wishes to know what acts of magic her people would hold as wisdom for the realm.