Part 26: 1424-The Mystery and the MarriageThe Mystery and the Marriage
Early in Firstmonth of 1424, Queen Dagmaer completed a mighty work of magic, opening a portal to the realm of the Bright Gods that one of their own blood-kin might answer her call for service. The mighty being that stepped through this door resembled, in some respects, a man or elf, having their height, but his very flesh and hair gleamed like silver and his eyes flashed like the sun of Arcanus. He robed himself in white, bore a sword of some golden metal unknown to either world, and named himself Hesed.
"That your kingdom might be preserved and your world enjoy freedom and happiness under your Queen I have chosen to aid you of Myrror," Hesed spoke to the dragonkin of Firesands where he emerged into the world. "Know that I and my kin are well-pleased at the happiness your world knows, and through the aid of your own Queen you might ever have our assistance!" And those who beheld Hesed were amazed.
Arch Angels are fairly powerful combatants who are immune to illusions and see through invisibility, but their real strength comes in their abilities as powerful Life spellcasters and the Holy Bonus they provide that increases the strength of every friendly unit they are grouped with. In head to head combat with top-tier fantastic creatures from other sorts of magic, Arch Angels tend to falter (although their access to Life magic to counter enemy Chaos and Death creatures is formidable), but they are unmatched amongst fantastic creatures as supporting units for conventional armies. The Righteousness is not an inherent ability of Arch Angels, but an enchantment I put on the Arch Angel to help protect it against Chaos nonsense.
As the year continued and the work of the kingdom progressed, Queen Dagmaer, as well, labored in her studies, and over the period from Sixthmonth to Ninthmonth she made notable discoveries both in calling the blessing of the Stalwart Warrior upon the entire effort of war of a kingdom in its need, and various techniques of Sorcery, including the ability to replicate the ghostly soldiers of wind and illusion so often encountered by the Royal Army where Myrror was touched by Sorcery.
A month following, the news spread that Murdo Milkweed, king of the halflings of Torwell, had agreed to a diplomatic marriage to Elsa, cousin of Freya the Elvenqueen of the Wind Tribes. Though no issue can be expected of this marriage, it nonetheless marks the pledge of loyalty of Murdo and his house to the Elvenqueen, and the joining of the halflings of Torwell to the low men of the Wind Tribes with bonds of friendship and mutual aid.
The only diplomacy possible with neutral towns is a rare random event allowing for their annexation. We are lucky we got to see this over the course of the game.
In Twelfthmonth, even as Horus' control over the winds and his reputation of benevolence amongst his people faltered, Queen Dagmaer completed a work of magic to seek out persons of great potential and provide them the means to travel to her service. The person who answered the call thus sent out proved an enigma to the wise and the learned of the kingdom.
The sorceress who calls herself Aerie appears alternately as a dwarf, an elf, or a man, although in all cases a daughter rather than a son of those races, and none have yet seen her true appearance. Her mastery over sorcery and illusions is beyond compare, and her personal guard consists of the same soldiers of wind and sorcery so often seen. Her knowledge and learning is deep and subtle, while her greed for sapphires is immense- she accepts payment in no other currency. What motive brought her to service under Dagmaer, she refuses to say, and her history before she appeared in response to the call is entirely unknown.
Arcane Power increases the power of her ranged magical attack as she goes up levels. Combined with Illusion to pierce enemy armor, this makes her rather deadly at range. Her abilities as a sage will help with research, as well. Although summoning her allows us to avoid the hiring cost of gold, she still costs a hefty 10 gold a turn in upkeep. Greed for sapphires, indeed.
Dagmaer's puppet-spirit has continued its exploration of Arcanus, uncovering the edges of Arcanus' own Great Northern Wasteland and the site of the tower to Northerland near the town of Ixtu.
The Kingdom of Greater Dvergursheim as of Twelfthmonth 1424
The growing prosperity and population of the kingdom has allowed the royal treasury's health to continue to grow, although at the moment it has nearly been emptied by recent expenditures. The free power available to the Queen's work, however, has been greatly reduced, as the power needed to support Hesed's presence in Myrror is immense.
Hesed, the Royal Army, and a puppet-spirit intended to bond with the node of Chaos have converged on the eastern coast of Westerland. Soon the node of Chaos there will surely fall to Dagmaer's might.
Darkshore now enjoys a position as a thriving trade port, and has imported many fine horses for the use of its folk. The priests of the town have begun to study more deeply into Nature magic, that the land of its district might be blessed by their efforts.
Blademarsh's population now holds steady at fifteen thousand elves, who employ their efforts in creating many useful and beautiful things for trade and sale across the kingdom. The growth in its commerce has made it so that the town no longer is a net expense to the crown, but rather brings in revenue to match its expenses, while yet contributing to the learning, glory, and magic of the kingdom.
The great temple complex built for the use of the priests and monks of the dragonkin in Fangrock is very near completion- easily the largest and most impressive religious structure in the kingdom, and one almost entirely unrelated to the dominant religion of the Bright Gods in Greater Dvergursheim.
Over the past year, the new school of magic in Leer has contributed greatly to research into the mysteries of magic, and the priests of the town have begun employing Sorcery to survey the whole region as is done in Bloodrock. With the greater awareness contributed by this Sorcery, fewer militia are needed to patrol the district, and half the militia in Bloodrock have been stood down. The city thrives as a major trade center, and one that breaks a small profit in taxes for the crown.
The work by the priests of Darkhold to study the secrets of Sorcery under the instructions of local authorities continue. The authorities here do not intend to be caught off guard as the population of their district swells. Darkhold, controlling as it does a vast stretch of the fertile Crimson River valley, remains possibly the single most important agricultural center of the kingdom.
The mines of Firesand's district work furiously, and a new university has been established in the town, which Aerie has at least temporarily established as her own domain. Her insights into the nature of magic and the history of Jerome the Magnificent and his foundation of the Confederation have made her a renowned member of the community of savants almost overnight. The merchants and businesses of Firesands slowly grow better-integrated into the economic system of the kingdom, adopting the methods of the dwarves as the knowledge spreads to them.
Pyre's militia has been reinforced to full strength, and the town has thrown itself even further into crafts and trade for the markets of the kingdom. Although a relatively small town, its wealth in gold and in artisanship makes it an important contributor to the kingdom.
The graceful beauty of the temple of the Great Lady in Shadowwood provides a fine center for worship and culture in the town, and a university here has grown to provide instruction to the folk here. Shadowwood, though still a backwater, prospers happily.
The beastkin of Bantanu have shown skill with industry not less than that of the elves, taking advantage of skillful engineering and clever contrivances to aid their mining and industry. Though not matching dwarven achievements, their skill is still very great. Their priesthood has also studied deeply into Nature magic, a subject which centaurs in particular have shown a knack for. Soon the fields and farms of Bantanu's district should show the benefits of their study.
Relations with the other wizards are perhaps slightly warmer than in recent years, although such changes are subtle enough. Horus has let his control over winds and his show of benevolence lapse, although he has continued to spread the brilliant light he summons throughout more of the towns of his kingdom.
1424 was a year of marvels, untroubled by strife- one can hope that 1425 is so blessed!