Part 31: 1429-Rumors of WarRumors of War
In Secondmonth of 1429, as the year was opening, the Royal Army assaulted the node of Nature on Trollsheim, facing there three of the great six-legged lizards it had confronted before, as well as a ferocious mass of bears.
Hrodvaldur succeeded in calling the blessing of the Stalwart Warrior down upon the Army, despite the interference from the node's power, and two of the three massive lizards were slain by bolt and spell before they reached the Army's lines. Hrodvaldur advanced in his mighty armor to confront the already-wounded third, slaying it swiftly.
With the great lizards slain, the bears were met by Hrodvaldur, Hesed, bolt, and spell, and were swiftly destroyed.
In the forest of the node, a suit of dark crimson plate armor and various scrolls were recovered. The armor was destroyed, its power yoked to Dagmaer's works, while the scrolls served to advance her knowledge of Sorcery. She devised means whereby the winds could bear up an entire army to carry them across great distances, then set them down to array themselves in battle.
A month later, in Thirdmonth, the High Queen made breakthroughs whereby great works of magic wrought by other wizards might be bent to her control, reshaping the magic to her benefit, while the Elvenqueen Freya sent notification of her formal dissolution of the pact of peace with the Kingdom of Nine Crowns. After another month had passed, the Elvenqueen formally declared war against the Kingdom of Nine Crowns, condemning it to all realms as a threat to the peace, security, and independence of those realms, for had it not encompassed every realm of Myrror already? Though Freya and the Wind Tribes were far from the lands of the Kingdom of Nine Crowns, nonetheless this drew concern from many.
As the Royal Army continued across Trollsheim, they confronted in Fourthmonth a host of sprites and flocks of wheeling birds that bore some resemblance in appearance to chickens, though sleeker and stronger that they might fly, and as large as great vultures. It became evident to Hrodvaldur's senses that these birds bore sparks of Nature magic within them that could harden and solidify the substance of flesh until it became stone, which to the unprepared could be a great threat.
Nonetheless, though there were great flocks of these birds, they were not so formidable as many foes the Army had faced, and they were vulnerable to bolt and spell such that they fell swiftly. None of the birds came so close that the magic within them might be a threat to the soldiers of the Royal Army.
In searching the ruins that these had roosted in, all that was found of value was a gauntlet bearing something of the strength, skill, and valor of an ancient hero within it, which was claimed by Vigny. With the power of the gauntlet, she became even swifter at the mark, echoing the accomplishments of that forgotten hero.
The gauntlet is our first example of a 'miscellaneous item'. Combat-oriented heroes generally can bear one weapon, one piece of armor, and one miscellaneous item, while dedicated casters generally get one weapon and two miscellaneous items. Staves and wands are special types of 'weapon', unusable by pure fighter-types and the only type usable by pure magician-types. A hybrid fighter/magician like Hrodvaldur can use both conventional weapons and staves; bows are limited to archer heroes, who can also use melee weapons. Attack bonuses from miscellaneous items apply to all forms of attack a hero has, both missile and melee, while weapon bonuses only apply to the appropriate type of combat. The 'appropriate type of combat' for staves and wands is ranged magical attacks.
By Seventhmonth, the Storm Tribes, spurred on by Tauron, who was the true power behind their throne, had committed themselves to war against the Kingdom of Nine Crowns. Their armies were readied, while Tauron summoned up the malice of his magic that he might bring harm to the Kingdom of Nine Crowns.
A month later, the Royal Army confronted and destroyed two companies of dead dwarves on the shores of Trollsheim. The battle was swift, and in the ruins which they haunted, a little cache of enchanted glass was uncovered.
Another battle followed swiftly, with a masterless puppet-spirit still guarding ruins on the coast of Trollsheim. It was destroyed with no difficulty, and the gold and precious things scattered amongst the ruins recovered.
With her awareness of all towns of the worlds and with her attention on the magic being performed by other wizards, High Queen Dagmaer had seen many spells wrought, with creatures summoned by Freya and Tauron and Horus illuminating his towns with holy light. Nonetheless, in Twelfthmonth of 1429, something which she had never seen before came to pass, as Freya called upon the magic of Nature to draw up bulwarks of stone around the halfling town of Torwell, shaping it so that it was as a city wall built by hands, with walkways, crenellations, gates, and towers. This was a marvel of the power of Nature.
Wall of Stone is unusual in that it creates something that isn't supported by magic power, but rather has normal gold upkeep paid on it. The wall created is functionally the same as normal city walls built by the labor of the population, and has the same upkeep.
Over the course of the year, the High Queen was diligent in spreading the blessing of the Sagacious Counselor, and the ferment of innovation spread over all the dwarves of the realm, and on to elves and beastkin, who began adopting more and more methods which had been previously unfamiliar to their ways. The prosperity of the realm continued to grow, although the threat of war now hung heavy over it.
The puppet-spirit exploring Arcanus had likewise continued on its way, uncovering the southwestern reaches of the great land linked to Dvergursheim by the First Tower, and proceeding across the sea to the shores of Horus' land.
The Kingdom of Nine Crowns as of Twelfthmonth 1429
With the spread of the blessings of industry across the realm and the prosperity that has borne up all its towns, the coffers of the crown have shown healthy growth, with investments and interests in printing and trade generating healthy profits for the High Queen. The power available to the Queen to work her acts of magic has likewise grown, despite the new acts of magic she must support, as she has now yoked every node of Heimsveldisland, Northerland, and Trollsheim to her use. In Myrror, only four nodes remain untamed by the High Queen- a node of Chaos in Drachensheim, a node of Sorcery off the southern tip of Dvergursheim, another node of Sorcery in the northern portion of the Great Sea, which Aerie has made Dagmaer promise to leave unmolested, and a node of Nature on a small island at the heart of the Great Archipelago, and guarded by great serpents Dagmaer is reluctant to have the Royal Army face.
The Royal Army has been stationed in a defensive position at the Second Tower, ready to guard Westerland against any threat from Arcanus. The flying ship previously stationed at the tower has been dispatched north to scout the lands of the Storm Tribes, discovering there a land of heavily-guarded cities and a countryside crawling with soldiers. To evade pursuit, the ship has taken a path over a great lake within the land, before flying out to sea to escape this place.
Firesands has completed its own academy of magic, joining other towns of the realm in supporting the learning and study of the secrets of magic. With the town prosperous and secure, its place in the trade of the kingdom thrives, and its people prosper.
Of the Arcanian wizards, only Horus the Holy persists in peace with the High Queen, and, as he retains an alliance with both other wizards of Arcanus, it is uncertain how much longer this will endure. The High Queen warns that Tauron is preparing to unleash the power of Chaos to blight and poison lands somewhere, most probably lands within the Kingdom of Nine Crowns. The people should be wary of this threat. With many of the practical applications of magic within Dagmaer's ability have now been discovered, she has delved deeper into the study of the fundaments behind the powers of magic.
Though the outbreak of war is hardly to be welcomed, and the threat it presents is not to be underestimated, it may be that freeing the High Queen from concerns of diplomacy may allow more of Myrror to be settled. If the people wish to sponsor new expeditions into the wilderness, the realm may well be in a position to found two new colonies.
I will highly prioritise new colonisation suggested by readers, within the limits of our budget. I sort of want to get a second beastkin town, in the interests of diversity, but again will wait to hear what readers say.
1430 approaches, with the future uncertain. Though the realm on Myrror is happy and prosperous, the threat presented by the Arcanian wizards cannot be denied. Let us hope we endure whatever the next year brings with fortitude and dignity!