• Hey, Guest! We’re glad you are a part of the Paradox Community and want to know what you think about it. Please let us know by filling out this short survey. We appreciate it!
  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Chapter 49

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Chapter 49: Blessing of the Old Ones

28.01.2044
Arcane beeps break the silence of the royal bedroom to their own strange rhythm, accompanied by the occasional hiss of ancient machinery. The Old One artefact sits unfolded upon a table to one side of the queen's huge bed, illuminating the secluded room with its magical runes. Spread across every other available surface are arcane scrolls liberated from the Sisterhood library, along with an array of more mundane remedies of all sorts.

In the middle of all this lay the queen herself, pale and unmoving but for shallow breaths. One arm is free from the silk sheet covering her body and on this arm she wears part of the High Age artefact like a bulky, metallic sleeve.

At Lyssa's side stands the diminutive Coatopoxt, carefully dripping honeyed water into the queen's mouth. Hardly sustenance for such a great queen, but devouring a small herd of capybara is not an option for the comatose patient.

“Are you going to do it, mistress?” the halfling asks, speaking softly so as not to disturb the queen – or anger her patron.

Azu the Younger looks up from the parchment she is studying. It's nothing more than a hastily scribbled list of herbs and mushrooms from the Swamp of Death, with little to no explanation of their properties, but at this point she is willing to look anywhere for help.

“There must be another way,” Azu insists, resisting the urge to throw the old parchment across the room.

“The chief priestess will be expecting to talk to the queen when she arrives.”

Azu winces at this “helpful reminder”. “Let me worry about the priestess. Our duty is to the queen.”

Coatopoxt carefully dabs the queen's parched lips, then turns to her companion with a worried expression: “The chief priestess is the head of the Sisterhood. That gives her authority over us...”

“As long as the queen lives, Tanya wouldn't dare...” Azu pauses, unbidden images of all the punishments the priestess could visit upon them if she so chose. As a Sister of the Sisterhood it is true she is beholden to the chief priestess, but...

Azu shakes her head: “It's complicated.”

“You're hoping the chief priestess's respect for the queen will protect you. But the queen is unconscious.”

“If she is unconscious, she might still wake. If she is dead...” Azu cannot bring herself to finish the sentence, both for the heresy of speaking of a queen dying and her fear of what that would lead to. “We can't risk it. In her current state, the queen would be much too weak.”

Leaving the useless scroll behind, Azu drags her chair closer to the humming artefact. Her face is bathed in its soft glow as she scans the runes and dizzying light displays. “There has to be something... maybe if we try scrying again, the results might give us a clue.”

Muttering a prayer to merciful Serena, Azu pushes the rune associated with the serpent goddess. As expected the runes shift and rearrange themselves. Even to someone as knowledgeable as herself, the magical glyphs are hard to understand. But perhaps this time she will hit upon the Sacred Sequence.

Regardless, Azu tilts her head to the heavens to plead for the guidance of Wendala, the watchful spirit of the sky. Then she reaches out to touch the corresponding rune – and breathes a sigh of relief when it is clear the gods are pleased and the artefact whirs into action.

The sleeve around Lyssa's arm lights up and hums with a mystical, throbbing sound. In response, the glyphs conjured by the artefact disappear into a swirling maelstrom of magical energy before Azu's eyes. All she can do is wait with baited breath.

After what seems like an eternity the pulsating vortex breaks apart, releasing its energy into runes and lines of light. Azu gasps – and not just because it is working. She cannot completely comprehend the meaning behind the gods' message, but one thing she knows: Green light means “good”.

“I can't believe it. How can anyone be in such good condition after so long without fresh air and proper sustenance!”

Her Miyan apprentice squeezes past the tables and stools laden with poultices and stares, enraptured, at the divine verdict: “Truly Her Highness is blessed by the gods!”

Eyeing an opportunity to both save the queen and her own skin, Azu turns to her companion and declares eagerly: “Coatopoxt, ready the Breath of Shaekal!”




* * *​


She is lying in her bed. Her body is heavy and unmoving. Upon bedsheets of silk that ripple and rushes like the Amaxon River.

The bedsheets are the Amaxon. She is Amazon Island itself, floating in the current. Ganaina is her crown, heavy on her head.

She sees all. Little by little at first, then all of Lustria becomes clear to her.

The mighty temple-city of Tlanxla, standing proud, always out of her grasp. Beyond it lies Gwangee Valley as a whirling dream-mass: Memories of days spent feasting with its ruler, Parthenia. The imposing presence of their great war-beasts. The sting of betrayal.

Her eyes spin in her head, without a care for physical limitations and refusing to respectfully stay in their sockets. A rotating cavalcade of agony: Her friend Calypso's last moments, a scene she did not witness yet now recalls with brutal clarity. Always just out of sight: little Quihuatzin begging for her favour, but as usual it is too late and fire consumes her.

And below her: Nothing. A gaping void. The end of her line. The faces of her daughters, eyes closed, fading away forever. She tries to reach out, but the land itself turns to dust in her hands. Amazonia slipping through her fingers.

Yes, she sees all. All her failures. Everything ends with her and she has failed.

Suddenly the universe grips her, cosmic fingers digging deep into her flesh, holding her chest in a vice. She ascends, being hauled upwards to Rigg's realm. Then a violent reversal, the force of which surely snaps her spine! For an eternity caught within the tiniest of instants she hovers in the nothingness... then she is slammed into the ground with overwhelming force.

Existence itself folds upon the impact, crumpling around her, enveloping her. Smaller and smaller she is crushed until reality is so compressed it turns itself inside out. Her confines expand exponentially and she swells along with them, growing larger and larger until...

She is spit out of the cocoon cradling her, thrust out and into an all-encompassing flash of light that blinds her. As her vision slowly returns, her perception is torn between dream and reality. Yes, the walls are covered in a veneer of surreality, but still they feel familiar somehow.

Lyssa looks around. Her eyes politely remain in her unmoving head. At her bedside stands a small woman, bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. To her chest she clutches an ancient sceptre, its glowing runes slowly fading now.

“Quihuatzin...?” the queen exhales hoarsely, barely able to form the syllables.

“Your Highness,” a seemingly disembodied voice says softly. “This is Coatopoxt. She helped save your life.”

Life? Lyssa thinks, mind reeling in confusion. With a heavy sigh she closes her eyes, suddenly overwhelmingly exhausted. The faint outline of Shaekal's glowing rune is seared into her mind's eye as her consciousness also fades.


"Life?" indeed!


* * *​


“D-does anyone else know?” Tanya says softly. From a fair distance away she and Azu the Younger are watching the queen, snoring softly while Coatopoxt busies herself checking all the equipment.

Azu shakes her head: “I haven't even sent word to my mother. If the nobles catch wind of it I worry what they might do. Not to mention, Inanna would have already broken down the door if she knew.”


Yup, Azu the Elder is still in Xahutec


“Would it not be b-best to reassure everyone?” Tanya counters. “Surely everything would calm down if everyone knew the queen is fine?”

“Her Highness is still... recovering,” Azu explains – again. She understands the chief priestess's hurry, but prefers to be a bit more careful. Especially when they don't really know what state the queen is in.

“But she can still perform the ritual, right?”

Azu hesitates, then nods: “We'll figure out a way to make it work.”

Realizing there's no avoiding it, the chancellor motions for her companion to approach the sleeping monarch.

Tanya clutches her chest in anticipation as she watches Azu gently nudge Lyssa, whispering for her to wake up.

Slowly, the queen stirs. She blinks in confusion, her eyes flitting around the room before finally settling on the women before her.

“Where is Quihuatzin?” Lyssa asks, her voice trembling.

“She's... not with us at the moment,” Azu says diplomatically before giving Tanya a meaningful look.

“Right, right...” Lyssa looks away, pausing to think. For a while it seems she has completely spaced out, but eventually her attention returns to her visitor.

“Wait... you're not Harmothoe...” The queen's eyes linger on the chief priestess's plaque hanging around Tanya's neck, then snap up to glare angrily at the poor woman. “What's going on here??”

“Your Highness... Chief Priestess Harmothoe has been dead for over a d-decade!” Tanya blurts out. Desperation rises in her voice when she realizes this will not be as easy as just letting the queen wake up.

“Dead...” Lyssa's confused rage abates, pausing as if tasting the word in her mouth. She shakes her head, ever so slightly – the most she has moved since waking up. “Right, of course. Of course. Just like Calypso... and...”

The queen's brow furrows as if trying hard to recall something. Instead she gives up, her expression vulnerable when she asks: “And... my daughters...?”

“Your daughters are doing well, Your Highness.” Azu explains slowly and clearly. “You have been in torpor for some time. Everything is fine, but we need you.”

“Then there's still time...?” Lyssa mutters to herself.

“Time to do what, Your Highness?”

Instead of answering, the queen suddenly gasps: “The vanguard!”

She makes to sit upright but can barely lift her head, groaning helplessly.

“Your Highness, please! You still need time to recover!” Azu rushes to her side and gently but firmly pushes her back down. “The Tlanxla expedition is over. You are back in Ganaina.”

Tanya wrings her hands, resisting the urge to speak the truth and tell the queen that they had failed to conquer the temple-city. Choosing her words carefully, she tries to put a positive spin on it: “You returned with much plunder and many sacrifices, Your Highness. Perhaps we should use them celebrate your recovery in Rigg's name?”

Lyssa seems not to hear, instead looking around aimless and asks: “Where did the halfling go...?”

“Oh I'm sure she's around here somewhere,” Tanya says, impatience starting to creep into her voice. “So, as I was trying to say...”

Suddenly Lyssa's head snaps up to look straight at the chief priestess. For a moment her gaze is clear and strong when she declares firmly: “No. We must celebrate all the gods.”

Azu and Tanya exchange worried glances, but then bow in unison: “As you command, Your Highness.”


Pretty sure Option 2 is a localization error, but it does sound on-brand for Lyssa.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
119 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.927
3.109
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
The cat is about to thrown amongst the pigeons...
 

Specialist290

Field Marshal
77 Badges
Feb 25, 2006
6.207
1.111
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris
  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • BATTLETECH
  • Prison Architect
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Supreme Ruler 2020
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Rome Gold
  • King Arthur II
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • 500k Club
Lyssa is back in the land of the living -- perhaps not at full capacity, but it's a start.

That being said, her daughters might want to go ahead and get their succession planning in order, given what has happened this time around...
 

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
The cat is about to thrown amongst the pigeons...
The cat just needs some help getting out of bed first
Lyssa is back in the land of the living -- perhaps not at full capacity, but it's a start.

That being said, her daughters might want to go ahead and get their succession planning in order, given what has happened this time around...
In her coma dreams Lyssa has hit upon the best way to ensure a long life as a CK2 player character: Amass as many bad traits as possible. The Infirm/Incapable/Imbecile/etc. are the ones who just never die.
Of course it's little consolation if she lives to be a hundred when her daughters have no heirs. I forget exactly how old Inanna is now, but she is getting very close to getting hit by that -5000% fertility debuff. And of course Phaedra is Incapable and Maya is already infertile+Unworthy (though I'm not sure how the latter affects her chances to have children).
 

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
As was suggested earlier I have added a list of names and places to the first (prologue) post of this AAR. This should help anyone who isn't too familiar with the world of this mod or has to get caught up whenever I fall off the face of the earth OR simply has trouble keeping all the characters straight when everyone always insists on naming their goddamn daughters after themselves.

I hope it's helpful. Feel free to make suggestions on how I can make it better or if there's anything missing!
 
  • 1
Reactions:
Chapter 50

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Chapter 50: Confusion or Clarity



03.03.2044
Woops and cheers drift up from the large plaza at the foot of Rigg's Shrine. Thousands have gathered here today, pushing in from all sides, the capital's boulevards clogged up as far as the eye can see.

The crowd erupts as one as the sacrifices are led up the innumerable steps to the top of the shrine. Weak from hunger, the lizardmen shuffle along, paying the excited Amazons no mind.

On the opposite side of the plaza from the shrine, the doors open on the uppermost balcony of the royal palace. A burly woman from the queen's guard blows in a massive horn. The booming call quickly gets everyone's attention.

Apart from scattered screams and cheers the crowd falls silent. The queen has not been seen outside her palace since her return from the Tlanxla expedition. Now, no Amazon would ever imagine that the queen's council would hide her condition from her people, but there have been rumours...

“Liberator of Kavana, Uniter of our People, Breaker of Invaders; Her Highness, the Custodian of Rigg's Throne and Protector of Amazonia, Lyssa Anakonda!” a herald announces, putting extra emphasis on the last of the titles.

Resplendent in a vast gown of red silk and covered in golden jewellery and precious gems of all kinds, the queen glides onto the balcony. Her back straight and proud she sits upon an imitation of Rigg's throne, gilded to shine brightly in the radiant Lustrian sun – and distract from the slaves carrying it.

For a while the crowd is in silent awe, taking in the radiant form of their queen. Even at this kind of distance they can clearly see the vibrant colour on her full features. There is a palpable sense of relief that washes over the crowd when they see their queen watch over them, resplendent in her vigour.

“Praise the gods!” Sporadic cheers break out among the onlookers, gradually gaining momentum. “Praise the queen!”

Soon the crowd is unified in chanting their approval. For her part, the queen acknowledges their praise with a slow, dignified wave from her opulent platform.


None of this penetrates down into the bowels of the temple, even as the first victim tastes the kiss of the sacrificial knife and the city erupts in cheers.

Standing alone in the darkened vault, the only thing Chief Priestess Tanya hears is the faint, fading hum of ancient magic. A delicate, dying sliver of magical light emblazons the ancient machine standing before her. Only the most trusted members of the Sisterhood's inner circle has ever beheld it and now its arcane power is expriring.

A rushing sound grows from being barely noticeable to getting closer and closer. Tanya closes her eyes and silently mouths a prayer. It starts as a soft drip-drip, before the torrent is unleashed around her. Creaking pipes reverberate with the flow of sacrificial blood, drowning out all sound.

Tanya's jaw tightens as she steels herself. Her breath catches in her throat once she dares to open her eyes. Keeping pace with the incoming flood, the light emanating from the machine grows stronger, rising towards the sky. What was once a faltering sliver gradually becomes a proud column of light.

The chief priestess breathes a sigh of relief and offers a prayer to each of the Old Ones in turn. The queen had been right to insist they honour all the gods and thanks to her wisdom Amazonia was once more under their protection.

A smile appears on Tanya's lips, allowing herself to feel hopeful for the first time in months. With a spring in her step, she turns and leaves the High Age chamber. After so long she can step out among her sisters and give them good news. Once more Amazonia has the Old Ones' protection.




* * *​


Passing through the massive double doors to the balcony, the royal procession suddenly picks up the pace, rushing inside.

“Wine...” Lyssa demands in a croak while she is swarmed by numerous servants. Chancellor Azu stands aside to let them work, obviously worried from how she is biting her lip.

Liberated from the heavy necklace covering her chest, the queen slumps forward. A veritable harness of jewellery has kept her majestic pose until now, tightly fastened to her throne. Her pallid flesh is revealed in spots as her vibrant make-up sloughs off in pouring sweat from the burning sun.

It is clear the queen is not quite so magnificent close up as she had appeared to the jubilant crowd.

A servant brings the requested wine. Swollen fingers close stiffly around the stem of the goblet. Angry with her own weakness, Lyssa slaps away the servant's attempts to help, but the sudden motion leaves her winded.

“Your Highness...” Azu pleads, reluctant to outright chide the ornery monarch.

“My queen!” Stepping in between the queen and the distraught servant, little Coatopoxt has to climb onto the the throne palanquin itself in order to be seen. Despite this, she addresses Lyssa with firm candour. “You have already done enough today, I recommend you go and relax.”

Pretending not to hear – or perhaps lost in thought – Lyssa wipes a glob of make-up from her cheek with a clumsy hand. Staring at it she suddenly bursts into laughter. It is a faint, reedy chuckle, a far cry from the jovial belly laugh that once would dominate an entire party.

“What a miserable charade!” Lyssa grins bitterly and wipes off the greasy substance on her dress.

A stiff flick of the hand from Azu hastily dismisses the servants. “Your Highness, please, it is necessary to avoid shaking the confidence of the realm.”

Lyssa leans back with a heavy sigh, slipping further towards the horizontal in her seat. With great effort she manages to bring the cup of wine to her lips and drinks greedily.

“At least the bloodwine still tastes the same,” she muses after some deliberation.

“My queen, if you would just listen to my recommendations I believe everything could be the same.” Supporting herself on the armrest of the throne, Coatopoxt leans forward to make sure she has Lyssa's attention.

Sheer physical proximity snaps the queen out of whatever reverie she has lost herself in. She tilts her head and gives the Miyan a meaningful look: “Can you raise the dead? Can you restore my Phaedra's mind? Can you deliver me Tlanxla?”

“My queen, I–” Coatopoxt manages to catch herself at first, but her indignity over these unreasonable demands is simply too strong. “With all due respect, your words are most unfair! I will do what I can to help you get better, but miracles are the sole provenance of Rigg.”

Anger and frustration flares in Lyssa's eyes when this mere halfling has the temerity to stand up to her. Then in an instant it is as if an entirely different person inhabits her body and her expression softens.

“The past is the past,” Lyssa nods, as if suddenly realizing this for the first time. She offers Coatopoxt a weary but apologetic smile. Then her head tilts backwards as if on its own volition and she if left staring at the ceiling for a long time.

Left untouched for millennia, the ancient stone has survived remarkably well. Nevertheless, what were once intricate carvings have long since faded into unrecognizable shallow grooves. In all these centuries, no one has thought to touch up the painted mural that might have graced the vaulted ceiling – much less paint a new one.

“But the future...” Lyssa's voice trails off. Azu and Coatopoxt exchange worried looks while the queen just lies there in silence.

Then all of a sudden Lyssa shakes her head in confusion, staring at each of them in turn. She pauses to think, then motions for the palanquin to keep moving as she mutters: “I... I should sleep...”

* * *​


04.03.2044
Gingerly, Princess Maya unlocks the padlock that keeps her bedroom door closed from the inside. A crude but helpful device from the East. Opening the door ever so slightly she mutters something about wishing she could have brought certain other security measures originating in the Old World.

With her mother incapacitated when she arrived in Ganaina, Maya could not expect to get dispensation to bring Tiziana and so had to leave her pirate friend behind on Xocibiki.

Of course she doubted that the woman would be much use if some Amazons decided to take matters into their own hands to exile or even kill the Unworthy princess. Still, there would have been a small comfort in having someone loyal at her side. Well, perhaps not so much loyal, but at least so disliked no one would stoop to turn her against Maya.

And so, for her own safety while in Ganaina, Maya had to turn to the next best thing. Outside her door, lounging in an alcove, a young Amazon warrior happily tucked into a bundle of imported jerky. Maya still isn't entirely sure why, but she had noticed no one seemed to like young Étaín much.

A few kind words to stroke the young warrior's ego over a lavish dinner or two and Maya has someone to stand between her and angry spears while she is in the capital, if nothing else.


Standing in the way of speartips might in fact be her greatest talent

“I'll be going out for a while, why don't you you take a break. Stop by the kitchen and tell Alek that Princess Maya sent you.”

“Are you sure?” To her credit, the girl at least worries about her patron's safety.

Maya nods, feigning confidence. With her mother seemingly recovered, the princess feels fairly certain no one will dare harm her. And of course, recent events have disorganized the would-be coalition of disaffected nobles that might see her as a threat.

Credit where credit is due, certainly her sister Inanna's outburst at the assembly meeting had made the nobles wary of reconvening – lest the motion to abolish the council would actually pass.

Secondly, the conspirators were left leaderless when Tisiphone Xenara suddenly withdrew home to Tetla. Maya suspects pregnancy complications, and so far Tisiphone is yet to return.

Finally, with the Old Ones satisfied with yesterday's sacrifice the original premise behind challenging the queen's authority is no longer valid.

However, all these small victories remain uncertain so long as Lyssa's health is in jeopardy. Yesterday's display may have convinced Amazonia that their queen is in full vigour. But if that is truly the case, why has her children not been allowed to see her?

These are the worries that haunt Maya as she moves through the palace corridors, heading towards the queen's quarters. As expected, Captain Valasca of the royal guard stands outside. Not the Amazon most hostile to the disgraced princess, but clearly not about to let her pass.

“I assume Mistress Olariche has informed you that I have urgent business to discuss with the queen?” Maya declares confidently, drawing herself up to her full height – and remaining half a head shorter than the captain.

Valasca is unable to mask her surprise, but rather than admit that yet again the council has ostensibly left her out of the loop, she offers a weak “The queen is resting.”

“No problem, I shall simply wait in the antechamber until she wakes up.”

When the captain still refuses, the princess sighs theatrically: “I'd hate to go all the way back to Olariche and the others...” She expertly couches the threat in an exaggeration of her own laziness. Come on too strong and an Amazon will simply grow even more obstinate.

“Well I would not want you to wear out those feeble legs of yours,” Valasca scoffs and steps aside.

You're welcome, Maya thinks wryly for having offered Valasca an opportunity to confirm her own superiority. A small price to pay.

Making herself look even more pitiful for good measure, Maya slips inside. Once the door closes behind her she immediately breaks her promise and steps through the vestibule to peek through the curtains separating it from the bedroom.

She has to wince at the sight. All her life her mother has been this larger-than-life, jovial figure. Even in her darkest moments, after the death of her friend Calypso, Lyssa's vigour and appetites were hardly diminished. Now she lies unmoving, haggard and pale as a ghost.

“You can leave the food on the table. The queen is still... ah, wait... you are not the queen's bodyguard.” Looking almost as drained as Lyssa – if not as sick – little Coatopoxt looks up at the intruder and takes a wary step back.

“No, I am the queen's daughter,” Maya retorts, sounding more amused than offended.

The halfling looks the princess up and down a couple of times, then nods to herself: “Yes, that sounds about right.”

Maya raises an eyebrow at the insinuation. “In that case, it doesn't look like you are doing a very good job of, ah... maintaining the 'family resemblance'.”

“Apologies, Your Highness. I'm doing my best, but the queen will only eat intermittently.”

Ignoring the misplaced deference the halfling shows her, Maya brazenly steps into the bedroom.

“Please, the queen should not be disturbed.” When Maya refuses to heed her warning, Coatopoxt elaborates reluctantly: “The queen... your mother... her mind is... in many places.”

A snarl is as uncharacteristic a sound as the jovial Maya might utter, but this is what she does now as she spins around to demand an explanation.

Coatopoxt shrinks before the distressed woman – neither of them is much of a fighter, but the princess outweighs her at least four times over.


Not good at standing in the way of speartips

“Maya!”

Even more confused, the princess turns back towards the bed. Evidently the queen is not resting so soundly after all.

“I was looking for a future...” Lyssa mutters, apropos of nothing. Her gaze travells far away before it returns to reality and turns hard upon her daughter: “It figures I would be met by you instead.”

This is the final straw. For over three decades Maya has suffered the insults and contempt of her would-be sisters. But to hear such disdain from her mother. Her only protector. Her one true friend.

“Excuse me... what? Do you have any idea what's been going on while you've been... gone?” the princess yells, anger overriding any concern for her mother's fragile health. “Because if you did, you might not be so quick in tossing out accusations like that!”

The queen looks shocked at the outburst and it anchors her firmly in the here and now. Certainly her daughter grew up as a spoiled brat, but all the while Lyssa has been the only thing between Maya and exile, the woman has known better than to challenge her mother too openly.

Chins quivering with poorly contained rage, Maya points towards the exit: “You think I'm the one who stands in the way of your perfect future, or whatever it is you're babbling about? Your 'heir' nearly threw away her birthright, willing to doom as all just because...”

The princess falters, tears appearing in the corners of her burning eyes. “Because... she can't accept a world without you in it...” The brave façade she had put on for her sister now breaks, releasing all the pent up anger and fear – only to leave her deflated and exposed.

Coatopoxt takes the opportunity to wisely make her retreat, leaving mother and daughter alone in oppressive silence.

For a small eternity, Lyssa's thin lips are set in a harsh line, but then quickly melt into a patient smile. A hand slips out from under the silken sheets to beckon her daughter closer.

Maya complies instantly, falling clumsily onto her knees at her mother's bedside. She grabs Lyssa's hand in both of hers and pleads. A small measure of righteous anger still dwells in her voice: “Don't you see?? If you want any future for us at all, you have to get better! You have to stay with us!”

With this off her chest, Maya composes herself and releases her mother's hand to dry her tears. She speaks more evenly when she continues: “I would be in big trouble and Inanna...” She shakes her head. “Inanna just isn't ready to be your heir, mother.”

Lyssa gives her daughter a wry smile, like a bright spark of her old self on her weary face: “Well, do you want to be the heir instead?”

For a moment Maya just stares at her, dumbfounded. Then she bursts out laughing.

Lyssa joins in, though hers is a hoarse chuckle. Wincing against her aching joints she pats Maya's cheek. “It would have been worth it just to see the shock on everyone's faces,” she muses. Her gaze grows distant once more. “Yes. You're not the ones to extinguish the future, my daughters. Our people has never had a future.”

“What?” Maya blurts out.

“What?” Lyssa repeats, brought out of her reverie.

The princess gives her mother a wary look. “Well if you want there to be any kind of future, you have to stick around, mother.”

“Of course,” the queen smiles, her eyes focused once more. “I'll always be here for you, darling.”


The Anakonda girls might be wildly different in some ways but they all have a temper
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
119 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.927
3.109
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Lyssa is never especially sparing with her tongue, but Maya is right - she needs to catch up on what she's missed. If only so the recent past does not trip up the future she suddenly seems interested in.
 

Specialist290

Field Marshal
77 Badges
Feb 25, 2006
6.207
1.111
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris
  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • BATTLETECH
  • Prison Architect
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Supreme Ruler 2020
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Rome Gold
  • King Arthur II
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • 500k Club
Her gaze grows distant once more. “Yes. You're not the ones to extinguish the future, my daughters. Our people has never had a future.”
Well, that's a rather heady revelation -- it's not like Lyssa to be such a pessimist. I suspect there's something more going on here than mere dementia.
 

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Lyssa is never especially sparing with her tongue, but Maya is right - she needs to catch up on what she's missed. If only so the recent past does not trip up the future she suddenly seems interested in.
For once in her life, Lyssa might have to acknowledge the fact that she doesn't know everything. Luckily she is in no condition to run off into the jungle now, so she'll be forced to do so.
Well, that's a rather heady revelation -- it's not like Lyssa to be such a pessimist. I suspect there's something more going on here than mere dementia.
Hopefully it will make sense eventually. I'm trying to make her getting the Infirm trait a bit more interesting than "Oh you're kinda rubbish at everything now". I guess the next few updates will show if I succeed or not :p


In semi-related news: Does anyone know how to decide which set of Councillor sprites a culture uses? I realized there are all these neat female councillor sprites in the Conclave pack, but I dunno how to use them in game. I have the content pack active (but not the expansion itself). Could be it's the mod overriding which sprites are used, since I'm running an ancient version that predates Conclave.
 

Specialist290

Field Marshal
77 Badges
Feb 25, 2006
6.207
1.111
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris
  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • BATTLETECH
  • Prison Architect
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Supreme Ruler 2020
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Rome Gold
  • King Arthur II
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • 500k Club
In semi-related news: Does anyone know how to decide which set of Councillor sprites a culture uses? I realized there are all these neat female councillor sprites in the Conclave pack, but I dunno how to use them in game. I have the content pack active (but not the expansion itself). Could be it's the mod overriding which sprites are used, since I'm running an ancient version that predates Conclave.
I'm no expert, but I'd imagine that's probably the culprit.
 
Chapter 51

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Chapter 51: To Progress

06.04.2044
“We still have not addressed the grand assembly meeting that was held in your, uhm, absence...” Azu the Younger ventures.

Along with spymaster Olariche and marshal Kriemhild, the chancellor sits at the queen's bedside. For now the royal quarters must serve as a temporary council chamber – being able to convene in her presence at all is a small miracle and no one is willing to rush things.

And so the queen's advisors crowd around the queen's opulent bed in an attempt to decide on policy without risking her health. Rummaging around in the background, Azu's protégée Coatopoxt is on hand to make sure the queen does not take a turn for the worse.

As soon as the chancellor finishes, Lyssa's attention quickly turns to the grilled chicken leg in her hand instead. After a few feeble attempts to lift it to her mouth, she digs into it with gusto, content to let the others wait for a reply until she is finished.

Satisfied, Lyssa lets the stripped bone fall onto the platter in her lap. Her head tilts back, as if pausing to gather her thoughts and her strength.

“Even after all this we still live in the past,” she muses, apropos of nothing. The attention she had been paying to her chancellor might not have been so sincere after all – or perhaps she simply doesn't care.

“Your Highness, the meeting itself might be over but the opposition among the nobility still remains.” Somehow Azu manages to mask her exasperation.

“Huh? Oh... the meeting.” The queen makes a half-hearted gesture, dismissing Azu's concerns. “This Tisiphone girl was behind it, right? My Inanna saw her when she went back to Nalixo last week. I hear she has completely wasted away.”

“Giving birth hit her hard,” Olariche nods.

“There you go. Hardly a threat.” Lyssa picks up another piece of chicken, with a bit more grace this time. “That's what excessive temperance leads to.”


Not enough meat in her diet, surely


“There are others,” Azu reminds her. “Melandra of Mamazo is the loudest, but if they sense weakness other nobles will also start seeing things her way.”

“Getting rid of her might help...” Olariche suggests, careful to keep her words at least somewhat vague.

“Our forces haven't fully recovered from the Tlanxla campaign,” Kriemhild says, clearly assuming that the spymaster has a more direct – and more honourable – approach in mind.

“Her conduct at the assembly could perhaps convince our sisters that she is not fit to be matriarch of Mamazo,” Azu adds, eyeing an opportunity to avoid bloodshed.

So far content to let her advisors talk amongst themselves while she enjoys her meal, Lyssa suddenly blurts out: “Out of the question! Melandra is like her mother, and like her mother she can be controlled. You would open up for her sister Elissa to succeed her...? That girl only has thoughts for military matters. She can't be reasoned with.”

“She has acquitted herself well in raids against the elves,” Azu nods, but it is clear that she regards this with concern rather than admiration.

“Surely the most worthy should be matriarch...?” the guileless Kriemhild wonders, but everyone just ignores her.

“Azu, why don't you pay Melandra a visit. Bring a cask of that nice eastern spirit Maya sent over the other day. I'm sure she'll see things our way.” The sickly queen is suddenly animated, recalling how excellent her first taste of that particular batch had been.


Only matriarchs who know how to chill out and party are allowed


“That... might work, yes,” Azu agrees. “As for the other domains...”

“Calypso won't be happy until you let her take back Zarmuda, but she is still recovering from her wounds,” Olariche states plainly.

“Kavana is secure. All subversive males have been dispersed to quarries and construction sites. No sign of that disgusting cult remains.” Kriemhild is confident in her assessment, having been responsible for rooting out worship of the pirate god Stromfels among the males of the island province.


No more Pirate Cthulhu (on the main island at least)


“That just leaves the domains ruled by your daughters, Your Highness.” Azu relaxes visibly, satisfied that the remaining domains are in good – or at least non-threatening – hands.

Lyssa, on the other hand, just sighs wearily. She looks lost in thought for a moment, then shrugs: “Inanna is loyal, at least.” She refrains from listing her many worries about her daughter's ability to rule. “But poor Phaedra...”

“I hear a certain Melaina is effectively in charge on Phaedra's behalf,” Olariche informs her.

“Does she have daughters of her own?” Lyssa asks, her gaze distant.

“One, Your Highness.”

The queen's attention snaps back to her chancellor: “Children can be such a handful, don't you agree?”

Azu hesitates. She is, after all, still childless.

“Why don't you ease this Melaina's burden and offer to take care of her daughter? I'm sure she will enjoy it here in Ganaina.” Lyssa's altruistic smile can't really hide the fact that her suggestion is more of a hostage situation than anything else. “Besides, you did help raise Coatopoxt and look how well she turned out.”

At first Azu is taken back by the idea, but ensuring the stability of the realm more than makes up for any misgivings she might have. “I will pay a visit to Amocan while I'm on the left bank,” she nods. Conveniently, both Amocan and Mamazo are on the left bank of the Amaxon river.

“Good. It's so important to raise kids right...” As she speaks, Lyssa is clearly talking less and less to her chancellor and more to herself. “Children are our future, after all...”

The assembled councillors look at each other, silently deciding the meeting has effectively been adjourned. Not that they have any reason to complain. All things considered it has been the most productive meeting with the queen in a long time.


Keep a close eye on the child of the person who is keeping an eye on your child

* * *​

With the agenda set and the queen content to mutter to herself, the three councillors file out of the room. Once they have left, Coatopoxt comes over to take the empty platter in Lyssa's lap. At first she hesitates to speak, but concern overcomes any misgivings she might have: “Apologies Your Highness, but... what did you mean earlier... about living in the past?”

At first Lyssa doesn't reply – or seem to notice the halfling at all. Her hand reaches into her lap, grasping in confusion when the expected meal is nowhere to be found.

“Uh? Oh...” Lyssa pauses to think, her brow becoming increasingly furrowed as she visibly struggles to do so. She shoos Coatopoxt away, angry now: “It was probably nothing!”

“It seemed more important to you than whatever Mistress Azu was talking about,” the Miyan states plainly – but reflexively holds up the platter in her hands like a makeshift shield.

“Are you always this annoying?” Lyssa snaps before she has to clutch her head, groaning in pain. “Ugh... I should have you thrown in the dungeon for your impudence...”

“You keep saying that, yet you still haven't. Why is that, Your Highness?” Coatopoxt sounds genuinely curious.

The queen's discomfort seems to subside and her hands fall limply to her sides. Her eyes slowly focus on the halfling: “You... remind me of someone.”

“I see.” The Miyan nods. “Memories are important. That's why I won't let you let go of them.”

Suddenly exhausted, Lyssa just gives her an exasperated look of confusion.

“After your mishap, it seems your mind has been having trouble holding on to them. The memories, I mean. And if you let them go... I worry you will lose them forever.”

The queen remains at a loss. “Is it... some kind of spell...?”

“I don't know,” Coatopoxt admits. “But even as you work hard to heal your body, I believe you must also work hard to heal your mind.”

Lyssa slips down in her bed with a groan, this time in irritation rather than pain. “Healing the mind is not going to involve getting enough hearty food to eat, is it...” she mutters, anticipating a less enjoyable remedy than what has so far sufficed for her physical ailments.

“Well... the more comfortable you feel, the better you tend to, uh, respond.” As forthright as she tends to be, even Coatopoxt thinks it's best not to tell the queen that she is a lot less likely to bite her head off on a full stomach. Instead she hastily adds a deferential “Your Highness.”

“Well it would not do for 'Your Highness' to waste away like that silly Tisiphone girl,” Lyssa huffs. However, her defensive attitude is half-hearted – and also brief.

Suddenly her gaze becomes distant and she mutters, as if to some unseen presence. “I can't go yet...”

Coatopoxt observes the queen closely. Seeing her drift into reverie, she puts a hand on her arm and implores her: “Please, I'm only trying to help...”

This seems to take Lyssa out of her befuddled state. She shakes her head weakly, then slowly manages to come back to reality. Her expression is suddenly suspicious when she speaks: “Why are you so keen to help, anyway?”

“Your Highness?”

“You're not an Amazon. In fact we used to hunt your people. Why do you care what happens to this old, decrepit queen?”

The self-deprecation takes Coatopoxt by surprise. She so adamantly refuses to admit that her memory is failing, but now seemingly admits her physical frailty...

“Yes, sometimes Amazons came into our lands and treated us as enemies. So did the lizardmen. And so did our own kind. But we also lived side-by-side with Amazons. Well, that's what my parents told me. By the time I was born, chief Ikengrim had sown distrust between the tribes with his wanton cruelty.”

“You're from Amocan,” Lyssa realizes. The domain to the west of Ganaina, where now her daughter Phaedra nominally rules as matriarch.

Coatopoxt nods: “It was only when you defeated Ikengrim that the people could rise up against him. My father was one of the rebel leaders. And this new queen let him do it. We were pretty much left to live as we pleased.”

“After my father died, my mother brought me here. She had heard of the queen's Miyan bodyguard. Perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration – we lived with them outside the walls for a while. But even when we aren't treated as equals, at worst people just ignore us. That's a lot better than being kidnapped and sacrificed to the Cannibal God!”

Lyssa's worried expression eases up, if just a little. “I like to think I protected my subjects fairly, if nothing else.”

“Is that going to change?” Coatopoxt looks puzzled by the queen's pessimistic tone.

“Oh not if I can help it. But many Amazons are stuck in the past. They can't move beyond what happened fifty years ago. The Great Raid...” Lyssa pauses and shakes her head. “No... further back than that.”

“Living in the past,” Coatopoxt nods, sensing that perhaps the queen's memory has been jogged.

Lyssa mutters a vague affirmation before glancing at the bedside table. Right now a pitcher of wine and various ointments litter its surface, but a few weeks ago it would have been home to a humming machine from the High Age. A machine that is now safely back in the temple vaults. At least one would assume it is, since Azu and her halfling protégée have not been caught and punished for “borrowing” it.

“Wine!” the queen demands with a heavy sigh, staring wearily at the pitcher. While Coatopoxt scrambles to comply, she starts thinking out loud: “I didn't fail when Xahutec proved to be an empty ruin. Not even when I couldn't take Tlanxla. No, I failed the moment I thought Amazonia could be restored at all. Why search for High Age artefacts when the Sisterhood will just hoard any trinket the priestesses can't be bothered to understand?”

“Surely the mistresses are just trying to save everyone from the dangers of High Age magic...?” Coatopoxt offers weakly along with a cup of wine, feeling compelled to defend the organization she is ostensibly part of. Practising what she preached about keeping the queen comfortable, she follows up her argument with a platter of exotic cheese.

Lyssa seems unconcerned with the offering, instead drinking deeply before she continues. “But not worried about saving their queen?” she counters sharply and takes another sip. “I know you and Azu took the healing device without permission.”

Coatopoxt shifts uncomfortably and looks away.

“Do you know what would have happened if I had...” Lyssa has to pause. “If I had not woken up. Nothing. There would have been nothing.”

She tips her cup for emphasis and now eats a piece of cheese. “This soothing grape wine. This curdled... cow-nectar snack. We would have none of this if it wasn't for me. And yet, after all these years, there are still Amazons who don't want to move forward. Who would rather scrabble in the dirt for scraps than feast like gods.”

The queen is getting agitated now, casting off her frailty to rail against the injustice of it all. “Everyone is still mourning Queen Thalestris, but did Thalestris ever cross the Great Sea? Did Thalestris take from the Menfolk of the East after they have been taking from us for centuries?”

“I'm sure every queen faces different challenges,” Coatopoxt offers diplomatically.

Lyssa is too busy sampling the aforementioned luxuries to pay attention to the argument. Her ire and passions have been aroused in equal measure.

“Inanna was right about one thing,” the queen muses, as if she found this revelation at the bottom of the wine goblet. “The nobility can't be trusted with the power to rule. Not even the Sisterhood. They're all too blind to see what I have seen. Amazonia's prosperous future is my responsibility.”

“Didn't you just say it was hopeless to try?” Coatopoxt ventures warily.

Lyssa hardly seems bothered by the contradiction. “Perhaps. But I'm not going to let some myopic fools take away all that I have accomplished!”

Coatopoxt wisely assumes this means she should not be stingy with the wine. The queen watches the halfling refill her cup and smiles imperiously: “You aren't one of those myopic fools, right?”

“Uh, n-no. Of course not.”

“Good. Then let us enjoy the taste of progress together.” Lyssa gestures for the distressed halfling to take a cup for herself.

“T-to progress!” Coatopoxt squeaks, raising her goblet. The queen reciprocates the toast and downs her drink in one go.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Lyssa mutters to the empty cup. Where a moment ago she had been full of vigour, now her eyelids are heavy and her body limp.

“Tomorrow...” she whispers as she drifts off to sleep – and perhaps slightly more optimistic dreams than before.



Progress isn't just measured in luxury food: The Amazon capital standing out as the most technologically advanced place in Lustria
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
119 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.927
3.109
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Though luxury food should never be under-estimated.

So Lyssa is coming across as a bit scatter-brained, but still sharp. If she can start focusing her people may yet have cause to be cheer and rue her recovery, for they will not be the same again.
 

Specialist290

Field Marshal
77 Badges
Feb 25, 2006
6.207
1.111
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris
  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • BATTLETECH
  • Prison Architect
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Supreme Ruler 2020
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Rome Gold
  • King Arthur II
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • 500k Club
The brief moments of lucidity make her frail condition in both body and mind all the more tragic. Hopefully she'll be able to see her ambition through to the end, at least far enough to pass it along to the next generation if she doesn't live to see it fulfilled herself.
 

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Though luxury food should never be under-estimated.

So Lyssa is coming across as a bit scatter-brained, but still sharp. If she can start focusing her people may yet have cause to be cheer and rue her recovery, for they will not be the same again.
Indeed! Lyssa is probably singlehandedly responsible for sustaining the Bretonnian cheese and wine export industry at this point!

Jokes aside, without her things would probably stagnate. Even the Azus, although they support her, are too preoccupied with protecting their position whenever the cat is away. And the one ambitious daughter became Incapable too early. So at the moment the choice is between stagnation and Lyssa's wild ride. At least the latter has plenty of booze!

The brief moments of lucidity make her frail condition in both body and mind all the more tragic. Hopefully she'll be able to see her ambition through to the end, at least far enough to pass it along to the next generation if she doesn't live to see it fulfilled herself.
She'll have to start by whipping that next generation into shape. Which, to be fair, is maybe something I should've paid more attention to when I started playing but hopefully it makes for a more interesting story.
 
Chapter 52

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Chapter 52: Dream World


Yes, it's another world update at long last. For context you can find the previous one here


Last she knew she was lying in her bed. She had been speaking to Quihuatzin. No, the face fades when that name enters her mind. In fact everything fades.

In the black void she sees it all; the whole world as a tiny speck below. Was this how the Old Ones saw it when they first arrived to bring salvation to it? Great gods watching from afar.


* * *​


Lustria
In Lustria the borders of Amazonia now spread out along the Scorpion and Tarantula Coasts. Into the deep jungles to Xahutec and up the Amaxon river – tantalizingly close to Tlanxla, though of course that great city still remains out of reach.



On Amazonia's expanded eastern border the Miyan domain situated on the Lambada river is in turmoil after years of bitter infighting. Unlike the halflings of Amocan, in Lambada they worship the Kukaili the Cannibal God. Perhaps it is their dark deity that encourages such discord. Or perhaps it is more worldly concerns for it all began with the death of the great chief Hun-Chowen in 2038.

Rather than allow Hun-Chowen's grandson to succeed, a conspiracy elevated a young boy born to the chief's second wife. Young Cuautalte soon met an unfortunate end, however and the aforementioned grandson finally succeeded as Hun-Chowen II. However, when it was discovered that the unfortunate Cuautalte had been murdered by Hun-Chowen's wife things quickly unravelled.

The two great non-royal families of the realm each raised up their own candidates. The usurpers in-laws in the Tunsiba clan showed him little sympathy, pushing instead the claim of his aunt Imacac. Meanwhile the Tuncita clan of Chotec supported Ixtab, another aunt, but could not stop their rivals from taking the capital. They would continue the fight, however, and in 2044 they have just defeated Imacac's forces. Ixtab takes no chances, sacrificing both Hun-Chowen and Imacac to Kukaili. Still the Tunsiba vow to continue the fight, now supporting Imacac's teenage son – ironically a bastard she bore the former Tuncita clan patriarch before the civil war. It remains to be seen if this might unite the warring factions or if Ixtab's ruthlessness can keep her in power.


By now word has reached Ganaina that Matriarch Parvati of the Gwangee Valley Amazons is dead. She was succeeded by her granddaughter, but in reality Parthenia Tollsa rules as her regent. The Tollsa clan are still bitter from losing their Tarantula Coast domain to Lyssa and this is the kind of anti-Anaconda sentiment the young Parvati II grows up with.

The domain faces a much more immediate threat than the Amazon queen, however: Having conquered and enslaved the Qurveza Amazons, the vile pirates of the Aswad Emirate sail up that river to raid Hualotal. Perhaps the Gwangee Amazons will be the next to suffer subjugation...



Naggaroth
The Dark Elves are still fractured following the death of their king and his mother Morathi succeeding him suspiciously quickly. Still trying to subjugate the rebellious dreadlords, Morathi must dedicate more and more of her magic to prevent the encroaching Nurgle's rot from marring her legendary beauty. However it seems the disease is not the result of any allegiance to that dark deity. Certainly she has instead worked tirelessly to expand the Cult of Pleasure, even going so far as to root out worship of Khaine in what was once his holiest city. Now the temples in Har Ganeth have been reconsecrated to the dark beauty of Atharti. Hellebron, once Blood Queen of Har Ganeth must be rolling in her grave (she was murdered by Malekith before his own untimely death).

Morathi's attempt to unite her people with an invasion of Ulthuan has failed, allowing her greatest rival to make a similar attempt. Uthlan Tyr, the Dragon of Hag Graef commands both that city and the loyalty of the Turrix family of Clar Karond, but he might have underestimated the Hag Sorceress's cunning. Calling upon the wild tribes of Ruath she seeks to take advantage of Uthlan Tyr's arrogance and retake Clar Karond.



The Empire
With the Vampire War over for now and Vlad von Carstein preoccupied with internal rebellion in Sylvania, it seems the already fragmented Empire has become even more divided. It now seems unlikely that one of the four claimants could reunite the realm any time soon, as each great family turns inward to deal with their own problems. Increasingly the Empire finds itself divided along religious lines, no longer merely accepting each other's faiths as different aspects of the same pantheon. The followers of Sigmar in the west and those that hold to the old Taalite faith in the east are increasingly at odds - and both refuse to bow to the Cult of Ulric in the middle.


In 2040 “Empress” Magritta van der Maacht of Westerland died and her oldest daughter Kim was elected to carry on her imperial claim. The new “empress” lacked her mother's skill and authority and so the succession was challenged by her younger brothers. Kim had also been embroiled in her husband's war against his father, “Emperor” Siegfried of Reikland. The rebellion ended with the upstart's death on the battlefield, but since then Kim's only child has resided in Altdorf with his grandfather – as heir to two imperial claimants.

Many nobles and merchants were loathe to see the two realms unite, giving stronger support to the pretenders challenging “Empress” Kim. In an attempt to gain support, she made her brother Clais graf of Nordland and giving him control of the eastern part of her realm. This was not enough to prevent Kim's defeat at the hands of the Graf of Stirland and her half-brother Pepijn in 2043.

Never an ambitious man, Pepijn was made “emperor” in the resulting negotiations: a convenient puppet for the nobility. As such it remains a rather hollow title, with his brother Clais holding Nordland and his sister Kim holding Westerland – leaving only the capital of Marienburg in the new “emperor's” hands.


It is clear that the van der Maacht siblings have little time for their realm outside of the wealthy western part. All three reside close to the capital, even the so-called Graf of Nordland. Upset by years of neglect the Nordlanders have risen in revolt, led by a brave warrior astride a mighty pegasus. This Sigrid von Salzon has every right to hate the van der Maacht family: her own father was killed in the dungeons of the late “Empress” Magritta. Time will tell if this hatred will be enough to liberate Nordland


Westerland and Nordland, united under "Emperor" Pepijn... but barely controlled by anyone.

Further down the River Reik in Altdorf, “Emperor” Siegfried the Hunter of Reikland still maintains his piece of the Empire. He has fended of the two great threats to his reign: Vlad von Carstein's invasion and his own son's rebellion – killing the latter in battle by his own hand. The peace and stability of his realm is now in peril, however. The “Emperor” is old and infirm and the capital of Altdorf wracked by an outbreak of Nurgle's Rot. His grandson Otho is favoured to succeed, but growing Chaos influence could throw the succession into jeopardy. His uncle Erzbet is secretly a mutant... merely a victim of the warpdust that blows over Altdorf or a pawn of the Ruinous Powers?



Among the four imperial pretenders, the rising star of the last two decades has been “Empress” Ottilia III, Grafin of Talabecland. With the support of the Graf of Osterland, she successfully resisted the vampire invasion and expanded the influence of her dynasty through shrewd marriages.

Her children were married to the imperial claimant Mannfred of Middenheim, the Tzarina of Kislev and the Graf of Averland's oldest daughter (although the youngest had to settle for the daughter of the man who drove out the ancient vampire Urzen the Unrelenting from the small county of Eiskalt). In 2032, the Tzarina died shortly after giving birth to her first child, thereby putting an Untermensch on the throne of Kislev.

However, Ottilia's growing eccentricity prevented her from leveraging her position. She forced the Sisters of Sigmar to open their citadel in cursed Mordheim to her, and moved her court there. Thus removed from the affairs of her realm, the scene was set for a succession crisis upon her death in 2034.

Her oldest child and successor, Ottilia IV was not the person to bring the realm together. Having spent most of her life at her husband's court in Middenheim, she would keep to the Ulrican faith she had picked up there. This angered the primarily Taalite nobility of Talabecland, prompting them to conspire with the Graf of Osterland to make his mother Grafin instead.

Left with only accursed Mordheim in her control, the desperate Ottilia called upon her husband to intervene. Despite the death of a succession of Taalite pretenders, the rebellious nobles would continue to resist the heathen intervention. The death of her husband in 2037 forced Ottilia to acknowledge defeat, leaving her little more than a figurehead.

Her attempts to reassert control over her birthright quickly sparked another civil war, one which continues to this day. To make matters worse, Ottilia's stepson, now “Emperor” of Middenland has recently taken advantage of the turmoil to invade the border counties. It seems the Talabeclanders could be saddled with an Ulrican overlord no matter what...




Kislev
Following the death of the last Tzarina of the indigenous Bokha dynasty, the royal court is now dominated by Imperials who rule on behalf of young Tzarina Brigit. With the only real pretender being her mutated monstrosity of an aunt, the succession went surprisingly smoothly – especially when said aunt conveniently died in an accident shortly after.

Perhaps unsurprisingly in a realm long ruled by a conquering minority, the Kislev nobility has so far tolerated this foreign rule. Some have even converted to the Taalite faith of their new Tzarina to curry favour at court. Time will tell how deep this change of faith sticks. For now Kislev remains dependent on good relations with the Empire to maintain trade with the outside world, for the great port city of Erengrad is still in enemy hands.


The Untermensch dynasty, including "Empress" Ottilia IV and her niece, the Tzarina Brigit


Bretonnia
The vaunted Bretonnian knights failure to stop the vicious Red Duke has seen the peasantry of Aquitaine organize a holy crusade against the vampire. With the support of the Fey Enchantress herself they have met with surprising success.

Perhaps emboldened by this – and the king's apparent lack of interest in offering his support – the rest of Bretonnia has seen a large peasant uprising. The long-reigning King Eduard the Just proves his nickname a hollow title as he ignores the war against the Red Duke in favour of crushing this unrest with tyrannical brutality. So far the nobles have successfully kept the status quo, but if mere peasants can defeat a vampiric tyrant who is to say they cannot also overthrow a mortal one.


Estalia
The brief equilibrium established in Estalia after seemingly the whole peninsula united to grab territory from the once-mighty Communard League. Now the imminent collapse of the Kingdom of Obregon promises to restore the region to its usual chaos and backstabbing.


Following the death of King Chulian, his teenage son became King of Obregon who would severely weaken royal power by handing out his newly inherited demesne to various nobles. Making matters even worse, he died young and left his newborn daughter to inherit. A fragile peace lasted until 2039 when the nobility grew alarmed by the growing power of the regent. After all he is the kind of man most despised by Estalian nobles: of common birth and, worst of all, one who has integrity.

The de Garces family supported young Queen Conchita's aunt Magdalena, while the Vargas dynasty backed the claim of her other aunt Tia. Now in 2044 the loyalists have managed to take advantage of the usual infighting amongst the rebels to imprison Andres de Garces, but for the young queen the troubles have just begun. The growing power of Tigarre has taken advantage of their rival's weakness to take up the fight on behalf of Princess Magdalena. The odds are thoroughly stacked against the young queen, paving the way for Tigarre to dominate the peninsula.


Apparently no one cares about poor Fronilde though


Being a power on the rise in Estalia is always a dangerous proposition, however. One need not look further than across the Irrana mountains from Tigarre. Fighting alongside his wife, the warrior-princess Xene the Lawless of the Island of Sapphiro, King Sancho of Cantonia managed to conquer Magritta, the richest and most powerful city-state in Estalia. Wisely biding his time to consolidate his conquest, the realm remained stable even after his death in 2040 and the succession of his underage son Miguel.

It became clear that this feat was in large part owed to the boy's redoubtable mother when she died in 2042. After being forced to intervene in a hopelessly mismanaged war instigated by her half-brother, Xene met her fate in battle a backwater province of the Border Princes. The island of Sapphiro was bequeathed to her son, where now her body rests alongside her ancestors.

Cantonia's neighbours are already taking advantage of the power vacuum. As if a metaphor for the kingdom he has inherited, the young king has stopped growing in stature. It is clear that neither literally nor figuratively will he be able to fill his mother's shoes.



Tilea and the Border Princes


Tilea and the Border Princes are also the scene of rise and fall of great ambition as the machinations of the evil Sieghard the Black come undone. As Duke of Kyphria and married to the powerful Princess of Trantio he had been close to creating a powerful realm on both sides of the Apucinni Mountains. As expected his wife died of poor health as a result of her strenuous and hedonistic lifestyle, leaving their son to inherit in 2027.

Things started to fall apart when that son died very young after merely four years. For over a decade Sieghard managed to keep his daughter in power as Princess of Trantio, but in 2043 he lost his power base in Kyphria. Several Norscan slave raids devastated the duchy and Sieghard lost his position to his rival Ernesto von Schnabel.

Without Sieghard there to manipulate them, his two daughters started fighting over Tranto. The two had originally split their brother's inheritance, but now the youngest saw a chance to claim the principality for herself. Chafing under the rule of heathen foreigners and their petty infighting, the people of Trantio finally revolt in 2044, thus putting in jeopardy the last remnants of Sieghard the Black's machinations.


Maybe Sieghard can ask one of his daughters if he can sleep on the sofa. Once they're done fighting over whose sofa it is


With Trantio descending into chaos, Prince Callisto of Luccini emerges as the strongest ruler in Tilea. Already ruling the prosperous city of Luccini itself he has also added the infamous pirate stronghold of Sartosa to his realm. With the help of his genius steward, a former pirate named Demetrio, he has turned Sartosa into a thriving trading port to compliment his capital.


In Aegos, between Tilea and the Border Princes, the aforementioned hapless half-brother of Xene the Lawless now finds himself embroiled in yet another misguided war. In attempt to remove a weak vassal from power he has somehow managed to lose control of half his principality. Aegos could be up for grabs, if only the Cantonian claimants can get their affairs in order.


The Border Princes themselves received a stay of execution when the greenskin horde poised to annihilate them all fell into the usual squabbling. The frighteningly cunning warboss Dorum was slayed in 2039 and his killer and successor was unable to keep the Bone 'Ead Horde together. The Troll Mangla, Grimtooth and other smaller tribes descend upon the weakened Bone 'Eads, but the power vacuum only opened the Badlands to a perhaps greater threat.

At the end of 2043, the largest Waaagh! since the days of Gorbad Ironclaw pours in from across the World's Edge Mountains. The huge warboss Imbus Gubbin' Boy has united all the orcs and most of the goblins of those desolate lands. In one fell swoop he seizes half the Badlands, subjugating many of the tribes feasting on the remains of the Bone 'Eads. So far he continues his march through the Badlands to unite more of his kin under his banner, but when Imbus decides to bring that banner to the civilized world he does so with the largest military force in the world.


For a sense of the scale of the Gubbin' Boy Waaagh!, see the big green blob on the right side of the world map at the start of this chapter

At least some good has come out of the Border Princes' continued existence. In 2041, the rule of the beastly vampire Vorag Bloodytooth came to an end at the hands of an army of Bretonnian errant knights. Although the newcomers occasionally squabble with the Bretonnians already present in the area, together they command most the the eastern parts of the Border Princes – with scattered Strigany managing to remain independent in between their castles.

Also taking the fight to the vampiric tyrant was the Duke of Hvagir, an Imperial adventurer with long ties to the region. Seizing the Duchy of Galat from Vorag as he fled, the Duke can be counted among the Big Three of the Border Princes.

Along with the Bretonnians, the Norse Jergdom of Varmrland makes up the final member of that group. Now a new duke has succeeded in Hvagir and he has declared a holy war to banish the Norscans and bring Sigmar's light to them. Should he succeed, he will surely be close to finally uniting these squabbling fiefs...


Nehekhara, Araby and the Southlands
The world breathes a sigh of relief as Settra the Imperishable remains in his grand city of Khemri. Having put the rebellious tomb kings in their place, he bides his time for his patience is endless and the mortal world will feel his wrath soon enough. Perhaps first he feels compelled to unite the rest of ancient Nehekhara, the great realm that he once ruled in life.


He's "the Imperishable", not "the Impatient" after all!


This is a welcome reprieve for nearby Araby. Here the meteoric rise of the small Nahdi Sultanate has seen it grow to the region's dominant power. The sultan himself is a humble and unambitious man, leaving little doubt that his brilliant wife is the real power behind the throne. However, the favour he shows to the children of his concubines takes its toll and the poor woman has been driven to drink. Time will tell how long she can put up with this for the sake of her children.


Also they're cousins


Further east, the Gulf of Medes has come under the complete control of the League of Atiq. Uniting several mercantile city-states, under the wise lord Narimanzadeh the League has finally managed to dislodge the pirates from their stronghold at Petrum. The death of the imposing pirate lord Samund Ironside in 2039 left his half-wit daughter in charge. She managed to hold out for about a year before running off to Port Reaver for refuge. Thus the Atiq League now commands the Arabyan Sea and is poised to expand their influence at the expense of the rival Olohrad League. This endeavour will no doubt be greatly aided by the latter being gradually encircled by the mysterious Shadow Realm.




* * *​


From her cosmic vantage point, Lyssa's gaze drifts across the world below. From Lustria, through Naggaroth to the Old World in a familiar circle. Once upon a time, this was the path taken by the queen's grand voyage. The furthest any Amazon had sailed. The first time an Amazon raided the shores of wicked men rather than the other way around. A true show of strength.

Opening her eyes to the royal bedroom, the queen knows what she has to do.
 
Last edited:
  • 1Like
Reactions:

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
119 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.927
3.109
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
I somehow doubt that Lyssa intends to invite everyone over for strawberries and cream.

Otherwise a very nice overview
 

Specialist290

Field Marshal
77 Badges
Feb 25, 2006
6.207
1.111
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris
  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • BATTLETECH
  • Prison Architect
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Supreme Ruler 2020
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Rome Gold
  • King Arthur II
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • 500k Club
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war... Wait, wrong sub-franchise :p

The turmoil of a fractured Empire continues with no end in sight, and of course the Tileans, Estalians, and Border Princes will always find some excuse to squabble amongst themselves. That massive Orc Waaagh on the fringes is a bit worrisome, though...
 

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
I somehow doubt that Lyssa intends to invite everyone over for strawberries and cream.

Otherwise a very nice overview
Indeed, Lyssa doesn't share her strawberries and cream!

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war... Wait, wrong sub-franchise :p

The turmoil of a fractured Empire continues with no end in sight, and of course the Tileans, Estalians, and Border Princes will always find some excuse to squabble amongst themselves. That massive Orc Waaagh on the fringes is a bit worrisome, though...
All that "High Age technology" has caused the two properties to bleed together :D


Good to hear this little world update was useful. It's hard to know what to include and how much detail to go into. (Oh and I went back and fixed that name placeholder I forgot to replace. Sorry clan Turrix, don't send assassins after me!)
 

dark_melancholy

First Lieutenant
40 Badges
Jul 21, 2006
290
60
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • BATTLETECH - Backer
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Magicka
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
Adored the update!
Glad to hear it. It's always fun to go around to check up on what sort of nonsense the AI has been up to... but tricky to convey it in a semi-interesting fashion.


In other news, updates will be a bit slow for a while ("wow, really...") for rl reasons. Nothing serious but stuff takes a while to get fixed these days. Hoping to get back into the swing of things in a few weeks!