Smokez83

Captain
82 Badges
Aug 26, 2017
427
4
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Prison Architect
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
Just as a heads up, I have been very busy lately, but this AAR is still active. Will aim to get an update to it soon as we head towards the endgame
 

Smokez83

Captain
82 Badges
Aug 26, 2017
427
4
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Prison Architect
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
The Tal'Akkurian ambassador looked nervous as he spoke. 'We wish to be free. The Government suppresses our people, they torture and kill any who they think might dissent... But...' He hesitated. Nikolai checked the connection, the frequency was hopping, reducing the risk that anyone was listening in. Still... He reached out with his mind, touching the alien at the other end. His powers had grown exponentially since his last foray into the Shroud, and it was little effort to connect their minds, even over such distances. He quickly filtered through the information available. There was no deception that he could feel. Fear... yes, the ambassador felt great fear. 'We need to be free.' The ambassador finished, shaking his head, as though a fly flew too close to his head. Nikolai pulled his mind back and leaned back thoughtfully. 'And how is it that the Union can help you?' he asked, forming a triangle with his fingers and resting his chin on the peak. The ambassador looked around, as though fearful of being overheard. 'We have a system, that I am on now, the Defeenal System. The Government do not believe it is important, a backwater. We have been gathering for months, years even and we are no ready.' As the ambassador spoke, Nikolai pulled up the star charts. The Defeenal system was close, a border system between the Tal'Akkur Interstellar Empire and the Union. He began to understand. 'You want Union protection? You are aware, that would be tantamount to war...?' Nikolai showed no emotion as he spoke, merely speaking facts. The ambassador tried not to look disheartened at the reply, but he failed. Nikolai understood. He was gambling the existence of his people, his tribe, on the Union understanding. 'If... I... Could we not...' The ambassador sighed. Nikolai was right, he knew. If the Union declared the world under its protection, it would be as though they had annexed it. It would give the Tal'Akkur just cause for a war. The war with the Auspicious Axis, though going well, still occupied much of the alliance's military forces. Of course, there might be a way... 'Well, what if Defeenal was independent? And, when declared as such, you asked for the protection of the Alliance of Peace and Prosperity?' The ambassador looked up as he spoke, hope filling him once more. 'That could work! The nearest Government fleet is a distance off... Once we are independent, you would aid us?' He asked, his voice strengthening as he spoke. Nikolai nodded. 'Once you are independent, yes. I have no doubt that we would be able to gain the support of the rest of the Alliance. Your Government will not dare to move against you, so close to our borders, if you are under our protection. I will send a representative to formalise this. He is, currently, in the Aludra system, conveniently. If you declare your independence via international, public channels, we can then open communications. It will be as though this conversation never took place...' He paused, tilting his head thoughtfully 'In your independence address, it may be beneficial if you call to all the alliances in the galaxy, asking to be an associate. Then this conversation need not have taken place.' He smiled at the ambassador. 'Do not worry. We have no interest in controlling you or taking you over. You will be welcome as friends, as equals.' The ambassador smiled back 'Excellent. I will take this to a select few in our community. We will not reveal it outside of those of us who need to know. All will be told that we are ready to declare our independence. It will be seen as risky, but we can manage it.' Nikolai readily agreed. It was risky, but worth it. He cut the connection, the holo-projector going dark. Pushing a button on his desk, he began to think how best to phrase this to the rest of the Alliance. He had little doubt they would agree, but it would need to be put to them as though it was a proposal, not a done deal... Diplomacy was always a delicate thing...

upload_2020-1-29_18-41-27.png

We found a new friend!

The team had scanned the area using all the devices possible. April was starting to lose hope that they would find anything. Scans indicated that there was another chamber beyond this one, but they could not find a way in. Months soon turned into years, April despairing as her team slowly got reassigned to other postings. It did not take long for interest on Earth to be lost, even the Xeno-Archaeology Society, long their greatest supporters, began to focus on other projects. And so it was that April found herself alone in the chamber. She looked about, the floodlights in the chamber slowly flickering. This was to be their last week here, gathering the last details they could before they left. She sighed, tracing her finger against the scorch marks. Whatever this was built out of it was definitely solid. Or protected, she thought to herself, her finger edging the burns. The strongest explosives, the strongest cutting weapons known to the Union. It did not matter, nothing cut through the doorway. Her hand moved towards the wording etched around the doorway. Zarqlan. Whoever they were, they felt powerless at the end. April sighed, reading the script, tracing her finger along the words. She understood that feeling! She had felt great pride when chosen for this task, each obstacle, seemingly insurmountable at first, swept away. Now, like this Zarqlan, she felt powerless as her own ambitions were swept away with the tide. Her mind began to drift as her hand continued to trace the letters etched onto the wall. Something brought her attention back to reality. She shook her head clear of her day dreams. There... she pushed lightly. Within one of the glyphs, barely the size of her fingertip, it had some give... She paused. So far they hadn't encountered any traps, but there was always the chance. The others may have been clear to create a false sense of security... Still... She pushed hard on the button. At first nothing happened. The silence seemingly taunting her as she held the button down. One second. Two, three... She took her finger off, relieved that at least there was nobody else around to witness her attempt. Suddenly, a low rumbling began, trembling beneath her feet. She stepped back, looking around her. The door, long shut, began to slowly grind open. As it did the first thing April noticed was the smell that drifted out. Such a stench! The room ahead was bathed in light, shaped like a cathedral on Earth. At the opposite end to the door was a large, ornate thrown, facing rows of benches and seats. She looked to the throne, the source of the stench that filled the room sat upon it. The carvings at the bottom simply read 'Zarqlan, at your service' She moved down the central aisle, drawn towards the throne. As she got closer, she took in more details of the decayed body upon it. No, she thought to herself. Not decayed. The head... She stopped and activated her comms unit. 'This is April. You won't believe this! Come... Come to the last chamber! Bring cutting tools and storage' she paused 'and make it airtight storage'. She turned and ran from the room, the smell finally overpowering her.

upload_2020-1-29_19-40-35.png

Her lies Zarqlan
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.973
3.657
  • 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
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Deus Vult
  • 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
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • 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
who cares about Zarqlan? :D
 

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
76 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.792
3.166
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
Is there any danger in the room, I wonder? Viruses, bacteria - potent enough to spread wide and far? :eek:
 

Surt

Field Marshal
29 Badges
Jan 29, 2003
7.412
818
Visit site
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings II
Sadly there apparently is no randomisation on the effect of the archlology. In the game the other options could be

  • Zarqlan shoots the archlologist.
  • People who revere Zarqlan declares war on your for desecrating his tomb
  • Zarqlan's head in a jar, giving you "good" advice.
 

Smokez83

Captain
82 Badges
Aug 26, 2017
427
4
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Prison Architect
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
The High Priest seemed almost bored with the proceedings. He had just relayed his message and Nikolai was stunned. Sure, they had heard of this legend, but there had been no indication that anyone still worshipped him... 'I thank you for that offer. We would, of course, be honoured.' he replied after a short pause. The Priest waved his words away 'yes, yes, of course you would be. There is more, of course. As you are clearly the Chosen People, we would offer you aid if needed. A small fleet shall be put to your service. Do not waste them.' He cut the connection suddenly, with those words. Nikolai stood and moved towards the windows at the back of the office. A small fleet of the Watchers... A powerful addition to the Unions forces! But he was worried. The Watchers, strange and enigmatic as they were, did not just offer people things. More information is needed about this Zarqlan and he knew who would have the answers...

upload_2020-2-9_15-49-11.png
upload_2020-2-9_15-49-22.png

The Relic and its effects, and the transmission from the Fallen Empire
 

generalis Julius Caesar

Major
66 Badges
Mar 23, 2019
756
632
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Victoria 2
  • Cities: Skylines
Creepy head, will you use it much?
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.973
3.657
  • 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
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Deus Vult
  • 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
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • 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
One can quite understand Nikolai being a bit stunned.
 

Smokez83

Captain
82 Badges
Aug 26, 2017
427
4
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Prison Architect
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
76 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.792
3.166
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
I am, indeed, stunned. :p
 

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
76 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.792
3.166
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
On a more serious note, though, that is quite a boon!
 

Macavity116

The First Stormbreaker
17 Badges
Mar 1, 2018
1.116
395
archiveofourown.org
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
No doubt a lot of excitement will be had when a friendly Watcher fleet shows up over a Union planet.
 

Smokez83

Captain
82 Badges
Aug 26, 2017
427
4
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Prison Architect
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
Nikolai concentrated. He slowed his breathing, so slow that anyone observing might have wondered if he breathed at all. His eyes closed, he focused inwards. In his mind he pictured a field, stormy clouds rolling above, the grass whipping in the wind. He saw himself there and time....

Stopped. He breathed deeply in the foreign land, felt the wind on his face, the grass brushing his calves as he walked. 'We seek answers.' He spoke, softly. He knew The Stranger was watching, was always watching, along with the others that made up his kind. He sensed humour around him. The atmosphere seemed to shift around him. He turned and saw an old man walking next to him, his white beard split by a toothy smile. 'Answers you seek, but ready for them, we suspect not.' The man spoke, his voice like a whisper on the wind. Nikolai paused in his walk, turning to face the man. He tilted his head as he considered how to reply. 'Perhaps we are not, time will tell.' He responded with. The man nodded and reached a bony finger up, tapping Nikolai on his head. Nikolai felt as though he was falling, everything stripped away rapidly, the grass, the stormy sky, all turned black. Only the wind, now increased in fury, remained. Nikolai fell, struggling not to cry out. Slowly, he spread his arms out, free falling now, placing his trust in the beings of the Shroud. Satisfied with his trust, they slowed him. Light returned, slowly, and Nikolai saw a star. Around it spun several planets, the system similar to Sol, but different... There were 7 planets, some asteroids, He reached out and his sight zoomed with his hands. He looked at the planets in turn searching for... There. Life beginning. He realised it was sped up, as he watched millions of years of evolution happening in seconds. He watched as the creatures, some bird-like beings, evolved to sentience, moving through various ages, various wars... Reaching out to space and then... the ultimate war. They wiped themselves out. He zoomed his vision back out in time to see the star expanding, the dead world that was moments ago teeming with life and promise, wiped out as the star moved closer to it's own death. Then...

Falling. A new system. New life. This time they reached space only to meet a grisly end, a horror from another galaxy. Again and again he fell to new galaxies, new systems, watching as each was born and died. Beings from another dimension, an advanced AI, being destroyed by their own creation, asteroids, a deal gone wrong. Countless ways that life died, so few that life survived. 'Enough' Nikolai said softly. He had lost count how many he had seen die, the various horrors, some with technology known to him, some by beings so alien they must have been the things of nightmares. 'I understand. It is futile, but it must be played out. The answers you give me today may change tomorrow. Over and over, life is created and life dies. It is the never-ending cycle.' The man appeared next to him once more. 'Yes. The cycle is the only thing that is constant. Seek not your answers in the Shroud. What if you don't like the answers? What if you don't understand them? What if, as we said, you are not ready for such knowledge? The answers change, as you said. Each passing minute, the game brings new changes that shift the balances. What will help you today will hinder you tomorrow. Play the game. You may win, you may lose. But the cycle will continue.' Nikolai was silent a while, thoughtful. Finally, when he spoke, it was quiet, subdued. 'Is there nothing you can do to aid us?' The old man smiled again, genuine humour reaching his eyes. He waved a hand as he spoke. 'You do not need our help. Try reaching out with your minds, you may find that you can speed things up'. He laughed as Nikolai felt a tugging behind him, as the man gently pushed at his chest. His breathing became rapid as he opened his eyes in his office. In the space of a blink, Nikolai had learned so much more than he imagined. He stood up and moved to his desk, picking up the whisky he had ready. He sat down and drank deeply. 'Computer, take notes.' He lent back and began to talk about his experience. He found it was important to write it all down as soon as he emerged from the Shroud, otherwise the memories slipped from his mind. Reach out with your minds and you can speed things up... He pondered what it could mean...

upload_2020-3-1_14-24-21.png
upload_2020-3-1_14-24-57.png

Another successful trip to the Shroud...
 

Attachments

  • upload_2020-3-1_14-24-33.png
    upload_2020-3-1_14-24-33.png
    232,3 KB · Views: 3

Macavity116

The First Stormbreaker
17 Badges
Mar 1, 2018
1.116
395
archiveofourown.org
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
I see the Shroud is as enigmatic and mysterious as always. I loved how you expanded and built on that flavor text in such a meaningful way.

Yes. The cycle is the only thing that is constant. Seek not your answers in the Shroud. What if you don't like the answers? What if you don't understand them? What if, as we said, you are not ready for such knowledge? The answers change, as you said. Each passing minute, the game brings new changes that shift the balances. What will help you today will hinder you tomorrow. Play the game. You may win, you may lose. But the cycle will continue.

This is a cool way of saying "So it is, an so it shall always be."
 

generalis Julius Caesar

Major
66 Badges
Mar 23, 2019
756
632
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Victoria 2
  • Cities: Skylines
Really cool story telling.
 

Smokez83

Captain
82 Badges
Aug 26, 2017
427
4
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Prison Architect
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
Thank you very much guys!

I must admit, I was inspired by your own descriptions of the Shroud, @Macavity116 in After Everything when writing this. I only had a short time to play and get an update out which, typically, meant this was the only interesting thing to happen. I'm also conscious that Paradox have decided to give me a time limit on completion of this AAR... :eek: We are getting close to the end game, no indications of the crisis yet though, so a few more surprises yet to come! I aim to have this completed before the next DLC hits.
 

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
76 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.792
3.166
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
Very good writing, yes. As always. :)
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.973
3.657
  • 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
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Deus Vult
  • 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
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • 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
Very nice writeup on the Shroud
 

Smokez83

Captain
82 Badges
Aug 26, 2017
427
4
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • BATTLETECH
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Prison Architect
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
Nikolai looked out of his office window. The sun was setting, bathing the city in a fire-like glow, the windows reflecting the red back out across to each other. His thoughts were disjointed as he struggled to focus. Since his return from the Shroud, he had been preoccupied with what he had seen, what he had learned. Perhaps that being was right, Humanity wasn't ready for the answers. He had pondered on the Stranger, and the others. With his frequent visits he had begun to sense the differences between them, the different energies he felt emanate off of them. He still struggled though. Whilst he could discern who was who, their actual natures still eluded him. The more he tried to figure them out, the more fluid they seemed to be. He began to wonder if they were separate beings or different aspects of one. A cough behind him brought him back to the room. The sun had gone now, the inky black-blue of night replacing it, the cities lights slowly blinking on, drowning out any sights of the stars. He turned away from the window, irritated that he had allowed his thought to be turned so deep inward that he had dropped his defences and allowed someone to sneak up on him. He pushed his irritation down. The Cabal protected him, he knew. Samantha stood there, her bag in one hand and a jacket hung over her arm. 'I'm sorry to bother you, Prime Citizen, but I''m heading off for the night, unless you need me?' She spoke quietly, the lighting in the office creating a subdued environment. He nodded, turning towards his desk 'No, thank you. Enjoy your evening.' As she left, he noticed a light blinking on his desk. Ah, he thought to himself, the latest poll results are in. He quickly scanned them. Things looked comfortable for him. He smiled then shut down his system. He grabbed his jacket and walked out. Perhaps he would treat himself to an early evening as well.

upload_2020-3-2_18-51-23.png

Election time

'It is a dark and endless void out there. There are many threats, some we know and many we do not. Nature itself can, at any time, turn her back on us and take away all her boons. We have seen this before, asteroids, supernovas, even more earthly dangers such as famine and droughts. It is easy for us to be afraid. It would be easy for us to question who we are, why we are here, is it all even worth it.' He paused, the crowd silent, hanging on his every word. He looked over them all, he sensed their trepidation, their fear building. This was not what they expected, a bleak outlook instead of a grand vision of the future. He waited longer, heard the buzz as people began muttering amongst themselves. He looked over the crowd and, as the noise started to build, he spoke: 'But!' Loud, the crowd immediately silenced. 'But' softer 'We already know. It is worth it. Our tale could have ended on Earth, there were high chances it may never have begun. We have beaten all the odds, overcome obstacles both known and unknown. Humans have reached deep into space, spread our beliefs and values across the vast distances of the galaxy. We have survived. We have pushed through and we have prospered! And we will continue to do so! There may come a day when we find ourselves in an impossible situation, our backs against the wall with no friends and no way out. And we will fight to the very end. But it is not now. For now, we stand strong. Our fleets delve deeper into the unknown, tackling all threats before they come close to our borders. Our Scientists push light into the darkness, illuminating mysteries that confound others. We are one of many, yes, but where others follow, we lead the way! Our Union will continue to promote equality and freedom, and we will defend this galaxy from all threats.' He paused once more, looking around at the Admirals and Generals that stood behind him, looking out again over the crowd. 'And we will emerge victorious.' The crowd opened into thunderous applause as Nikolai waved out to them. He turned and walked down the steps, passing through the crowd shaking hands. He felt a stirring at the back of his mind. The Shroud beckoned him once more, but he needed to regain his strength before he ventured back in. There was still so much to learn. A chill passed down his spine. Somewhere, something was gathering strength. He felt it, on the edge of his awareness. He only hoped they would be ready...

upload_2020-3-2_19-32-22.png

This guy is unbeatable!

People were out in the street celebrating as strike fighters flew overhead. The fleets were finally making arriving back in Union space, having been fighting on the frontiers for several years. Fireworks were being set off on all continents on all planets across the Union, as well as on other planets of the Alliance. Whilst this was going on, the Council was deep in session. 'We need to do something. This war has drained our resources and something has to give.' The finance minister, Alfredo Geshmitt, looked tired as he filtered through the information available to him. 'At this rate we will run out of energy reserves in 2 years. Our alloy supplies are also getting low. We will have to scrap some of the fleets we have.' Angry shouting met that statement as the Council erupted. 'SILENCE!' Nikolai shouted, standing up. He slapped the table for emphasis. 'Unfortunately, the Minister is correct. Some of our smaller fleets will have to go. We need to get things back into balance.' Silence greeted his statement as all turned their glares back to him. 'However, this doesn't mean he would have to scrap fleets. Maybe some of our smaller ships can go? We have several vessels that were pressed into service. Pushing them back to the merchant fleets will gain us some reserves back as well as earn some favour with our merchants again.' Alfredo looked thoughtful. He quickly made some calculations. 'That could work...' Admiral Naik began to look more optimistic. 'We would need to have some guarantees. Last time we did this, we abandoned those that had fought for the Union, we let them down.' Nikolai nodded 'Of course, of course. Returning these ships to the merchant fleet will mean they will be in need of crews. We can offer retraining for those that wish to end their service, with a generous severance package of course.' Naik looked pleased at the promises, as Alfredo began to scowl once more. Nikolai held up a hand to stave off any further arguments. 'Don't worry, it will be gradual and we will balance it. I would like the plans by the end of the month. Now, we also have to consider what this peace will actually mean. This is the second time we have been dragged into a war needlessly. This must not happen again. We need to reserve and build our strength.' He looked up. 'Gradually, of course' he added quickly before Alfredo could speak. 'Again we need to plan this carefully. So, I suggest a break and we'll meet again in...' he looked at the time 'say an hour?'

upload_2020-3-2_20-3-56.png

The war is finally over!

Nikolai breathed deeply. He closed his eyes and focused inwards. In his mind he was stood on the edge of a cliff. The wind whipped dust, creating small cyclones. He saw himself balancing on the edge, his clothes flowing around him. The sky was clear and bright, though when he looked he couldn't see where the light came from. In his mind he recognised how odd this was, but quickly dismissed it. The Shroud was a creation of his mind... or the beings that lived there projected their own perceptions in his mind? It was an interesting quandary... He shook his head. He was getting distracted. He felt the presence again, familiar, seductive... 'Welcome back. You seem... different.' A young woman appeared this time. He turned to face her and was struck by her beauty. She smiled. 'You prefer this image, I see... You people are so... Well, it matters not.' He laughed with her, understanding. Humans always had a failing for good looks, their history was littered with bad choices made from desire. 'I have questions, as you know. But for answers...' He hesitated. She stopped smiling, her features taking on a more sinister countenance. She smiled, and this time there was no warmth to it. The smile was predatory. Around him the atmosphere changed once more. Storm clouds came rushing in, the wind increased in speed, buffeting at him, threatening to push him off the end. Nikolai put all his concentration into staying still. The rain came, quick and heavy. It soaked him in seconds, the wind chilling him to the bone. When the lightning began, he almost didn't notice the flash. He felt the thunder though, a rumble deep through him. The woman stood through all of this, the rain bouncing off her leaving her dry, the wind having no effect. Her smile remained fixed as she stared at him. He leaned towards her as he felt his feet beginning to slide backwards, unwilling to trust taking a step in case he lost grip. The woman seemed to hover closer to him. 'You have questions. Of course. And we are here purely to provide you with answers, obviously.' She now stood so close to him that their noses were almost touching. Her face was so close it blurred. Nikolai struggled, feeling himself being overwhelmed. The effort of keeping his connection in the Shroud was beginning to overwhelm him. 'You think we are here for your convenience!? For your amusement!?' She was screaming at him now. Nikolai forced himself to concentrate, forcing himself to speak. 'No... We... Do.. Not... Desire... Answers...'

Suddenly he was face down on the ground. The storm that had been summoned stopped as suddenly as it began. He picked himself up, dusting himself off. The woman laughed, loudly and deeply. 'You think we do not know... You... Ah!' She laughed even harder as she waved a hand. Nikolai felt something shift in his mind. The connection to the Cabal had gone! He pushed down the panic starting to rise up in him. 'You actually thought... That...' The woman was struggling to speak from laughter. 'You know he did. This poor creature.' Another voice to his side. He turned, but saw nothing, spinning a full circle. The woman looked annoyed now, her laughter stopping. 'Go away. Now is not your time.' The other presence whipped around him 'Ah, but it is close... you can feel it... This one... Yes...' The woman smiled, that predatory smile that scared him. She waved her hand, and the other presence left. 'You fools! You think you are powerful because, what? You can read minds?' She walked around him as he struggled to stand straight. He reached out with his mind, struggling to connect to the Cabal, but to no avail. 'Don't bother.' She stopped behind him, leaning in. He felt her press against him, her breath on his neck as she took a deep breath... 'They can't reach you here and they can't reach you....' It felt like his stomach was wrenched out, twisted. He felt himself shifting...

upload_2020-3-2_22-58-56.png


'Here.' She stepped back. Nikolai looked around. Everywhere was bright light, blinding, but it didn't seem to affect him. He felt no need to cover his eyes. It was like the heart of a star. And he felt energy, untapped, limitless energy. 'Where are we...?' he breathed, his fear taken over by his wonder. 'We are in a place that never was yet always is.' The voice had changed. The old man was back. He held up a hand, stopping the question. 'I am what you perceive me to be. When I am playful, or angry, you perceive a beautiful woman. I suspect your 'psychiatrists' would have something to say about that!' He smiled. 'When I am imparting wisdom, you see me as this. It is a simple explanation, but it will suffice.' Nikolai looked around him, marveling as he sought out the details, seeing the energy combining and splitting, merging and melting into each other, separating like water, colliding like bricks. 'A place... I do not understand.' The old man laughed. 'Ah, and yet you finally understand.' Nikolai nodded. The beings would teach them, but on their terms. They posed questions and challenges, but not answers. 'Yes.' The being replied simply, reading his thoughts. 'A man could waste lifetimes contemplating this.' Nikolai replied. He began to feel his years, the chill of death hovering over him. 'They could. They have. And they will again. It is a shame, really, how fleeting your lives are.' Nikolai nodded. 'And you? Are you immortal, or just long lived?' The being was amused, Nikolai could feel that, but no answer was forthcoming. He continued to marvel the surroundings in silence, two beings watching the continuous stream of energy. As he watched he saw patterns. He looked closer, now practiced at zooming his vision in at will. He saw that the energy followed patterns and he remembered. It was the same patterns he saw in his last visit, the births and deaths of universes, of galaxies and stars, planets and life. All of it was connected to this energy. It was almost hypnotic. 'Reach out. Take it, and see how much time could be spent learning the mysteries. Just... push... there.' Nikolai reached out, not conscious of his own actions. In his mind, alarm bells were ringing as he pushed towards the energy. He knew what he was about to do was dangerous, to put his spiritual form into such power! He touched the energy!

He felt the jolt run through him, as though he had been struck by lightning, by many different bolts, all at once! His body shook and shuddered, he felt as though he was being stretched and folded all at once, his spine rippling as it curved first one way, then the other. All the hair on his body stood on end, reaching out away from him as though the charge was pushing it away from him. His eyes felt as though they were filled with light, blinding him. His skin felt on fire, then frozen, one straight after the other. The being stood to one side, watching carefully as though judging and evaluating him. He felt as though he had been pushed out of his body, then dragged back in. Slowly, he managed to lift his arms and saw his hands glowing, flames covering every inch, shifting hues from red to blue to green to gold then back to red. He focused on his hands and the fire died down, melting into him. The sensations slowed, the pain subsiding as he concentrated harder. Just when he thought he had it under control, it hit his mind. He felt knowledge tearing through him. He understood everything and nothing all at once. He could compute the entire universe, then struggled to add one and one. He saw all futures, then forgot all pasts. He heard... something. Like an animal in great pain, as though being tortured. It took him a moment to realise it was him! He was screaming! He turned his head, slowly, the effort exhausting him. He looked over to the old man who stood there impassively. He tried to speak, to ask him why. Then, silence. He fell to...

Nothing... He looked around him. It was pitch black, he felt a floor beneath him, but couldn't see it. He lifted his hands and saw a glow at the edges. Not enough to light his surroundings though. He closed his eyes and breathed. 'Good. Excellent. We will be in touch' A voice whispered into his ear. He opened his eyes and turned towards it but... nobody was there. In his office. He was kneeling and the office was empty. He stood, shaking, reaching his hand down, his... still... glowing... hand... He fell against his desk in shock. He moved towards a mirror and looked in. He looked... younger! His eyes were glowing slightly, his skin had a sheen to it that had nothing to do with his sweat. He felt his breathing increase. What had happened in there...

upload_2020-3-2_22-59-32.png

He is... The... Chosen One...
 

Attachments

  • upload_2020-3-2_22-59-18.png
    upload_2020-3-2_22-59-18.png
    305,3 KB · Views: 3

Macavity116

The First Stormbreaker
17 Badges
Mar 1, 2018
1.116
395
archiveofourown.org
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
He is... The... Chosen One...

I knew it!

I freakin' loved your interpretation of the Shroud here, and I've got to ask: Is the spectral woman who accosted Nikolai the Instrument of Desire?