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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Wyvern

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Spell Effects 1744


A dark peace had settled over Asia. A peace before the storm. The Priest King could feel it, some might say he felt it in his bones but he, the one who had seen it all had clearer and more reliable ways to tell such things.

He watched the petty intrigue in Korea as Roeyl established himself there (core on Pusan) and worked on removing Qutb’s influence from the mainland (Nippon loses core on Pusan). He watched Qutb revive himself from the shadow lands and ward himself, but none of the brothers were interested in Qutb. He watched Alvaro perhaps more intently than most as the HorseLord also tried to protect himself with magic yet surprisingly there again noone was interested in Alvaro except Amzad who did little more than work at removing Alvaro’s remaining influence over the Uzbeks (Alvaro loses core). And there the Priest King paused. He had missed something. Something was clearly coming down!

He sped with his astral eye south over the mountains, and then east and south across the hills and swamps of south east asia and there he spied Gothmog preparing his spells and warding himself from attack. He had tried to warn them, yes how he had kept warning Alesso and others to beware, yet none listened. He watched now as Gothmog drew his attention west and cast his mighty power at the Mughals and Amzad.

Amzad?

The priest king was astonished., yet perhaps he shouldn’t have been. Gothmog had fought Amzad before after all for strange reasons the Priest King was still trying to figure out. When Gothmog had finally spent himself his shadow had cast a dark pale over the Mughal lands lowering unrest (-3) and bringing the city of Delhi to its knees. Even the spell of shielding Amzad had raised had done nothing to protect his lands from this devastation.

Delhi was struck as though by an angry God. Madness reigned. Local government practically evaporated (tax collector, legal counsel, governor GONE), the conscription center was overrun by rioters, and fully one quarter of the population died during those days of madness. The spirit of the people had taken a hard blow (base MP -2, base tax -2) and when they looked to the Spirit of India to protect them the general was not present to lessen the blow. In the end order prevailed and after a few weeks the shadow dissipated. At the height of the troubles the rebellious populace threatened the governor of the city himself, but his wrath and the valour of his chosen guard defended his ultimate fortress. Only minor damage was suffered in the defense [fortress -1].

The power of the spell was such that all with even an inkling of power were able to trace the source of the devastation back to Vientiene and Gothmog. Alesso, Bistami, Amzad, Reoyl. Even Qutb and Alvaro the furthest from the center of the attack had to shield their minds from the concussion and had no trouble at all tells from whence it came. Some even recognised the spells from decades past, for this wasn’t the first time Gothmog had used it on one of the brothers and doubtless it wouldn’t be the last.

Even whilst this devastation was striking Delhi Gothmog also came under attack, yet it seems he was at least partially ready for his foe for his defensive ward was enough to block the repeated attempts at sowing unrest across his land (-6 stab blocked in total). Even so his strength was not enough to save the naval manufactory at Santal from destruction as arcs of fire struck down from the sky burning the docks and yards to sinders, and nor could he fend off the curse that embroiled his very being despite his defenses (-2 Mil curse).

The priest king turned away. He knew now who else was playing with fire and it only confirmed his earlier fear. Where could he look to counter this threat? Alesso was too peaceful and would never take action unless it was forced upon him, Bistami just sat in the city of Victory summoning ever greater amounts of gold. Qutb? He tried to fight his dark soul and reach for the light yet he was far far away, too far for the grisly task the Priest King now required.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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EVIL GM NOTIFICATION
- All brothers get to know the following -

Mass sacrifices have been carried out in Delhi and Uzbek on the order of Amzad, the Great Mogul, the Blooddrenched one. He has publicly announced that this is the new policy of the Mughal Empire: To decimate the population of conquered areas pour encourager les autres. Man, woman, child... All shall face the exectutioner on the whim of the Inquisition carried out by the Order of Pure Blood.

Travelers from the Mughal Empire spread the news of Amzad's new policy to all the corners of the world....
 
Jul 24, 2003
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The Mughal Empire 1721-1744 Part Two

Amzad knew what to do…
He thought. But fate has a way of suddenly turning the world totally upside down. Amzad knew this from previous experiences, but the turn of events once again surprised him.

When Amzad rode back to Kabul, after the frustrating meeting with Alesso, he crossed the almost desolated countryside of Quetta. To Amzads surprise he saw smoke at the horizon.
It was a burning farming house. After closer inspection Amzad learned the village was appearently plundered by a group of villains, for the house was in chaos. The old farmer lay dead in the front of the main gate. The furniture was for a large part broken, the cabins were emptied and the animal stack was nowhere to be found.

The interesting part, however, was that Amzad knew this particular farmer, Abdul-Aalee, personally. He was a rich farmer, owning his own horses; not like those poorer, smaller men who had to hire them. Abdul-Aalee was a hard working individual and a personal friend of the Great Mogul.
He was one of the 42 people surviving the Quetta disaster…and the one who was the first to take up his life again. Amzad encouraged this by sending him a gift and payed him a visit, which resulted in mutual respect.
But where was Abdul-Aalee’s lovely wife Maliha?
Amzad went on searching the neighbourhood and found her finally…laying dead in the stables.
“She is now gathered to her fathers…” Amzad thought sadly.
But when Amzad was about to turn his back to her, Maliha opened her eyes!
Filled with horror, Amzad was lost when she gazed in his eyes. Maliha said with a terrible voice : “Greetings Great Mogul…”

Terrorized Amzad stuttered:
“How…What…What the hell is going on here?!”


And Maliha responded with her stone cold voice:
“Do not talk about hell, it isn’t something you know much about…yet. I am here to offer you great powers and help you against a very dangerous enemy, wandering this world. I have a gift for you. I possess the power to see beyond this realm, in the metaphysical world. I, Maliha, known as the humble wife of Abdul-Aalee, have the power to tell you your destiny!”


Amzad paused briefly, gathered all his courage and finally responded:
“How? Speak up woman!”

“Bring me to Kabul first. I don’t have the power yet to do it myself. Bring me to the imperial palace and I will tell you your destiny.”


Amzad was struck by the power of Halima’s words. He decided to take the risk and rode her to Kabul. What harm could an undead cause to an immortal one?
When the sun was gone and a full moon reigned the sky, they arrived at the imperial palace. Amzad rode her directly to his personal room and it was there when Halima spoke again:


“Are you willing to sacrifice of your own blood for knowledge? Blood is a very powerful resource and I need it to tell my prophecies.”


Amzad hesitated not and told her:
“The body is just a tool for an immortal one. Amzad is willing to sacrifice his blood.”


And after these words Halima swiftly cutted Amzad’s wrist and filled a bowl with the blood of his heart, his very essence. The blood swirled in the bowl, faster, ever faster and Amzad began to imagine that he saw images in the blood. But, it WERE images, it was not just his imagination!

The Vision

Amzad saw his brothers.... Tainted by shadow, one and all - so unlike himself, they had all fallen.
All but one. One brother was not tainted. He saw Gothmog, and he knew he was just a vessel: Alesso's tale was true.
Behind him, he saw not shadow but bright and burning light.
A light as from the core of the sun itself. A light in the shape of a tall man, with darkness defining its edges.
And Amzad saw from its right arm five tendrils of shadow, five leashes of the mind.
They reached into the darkness beyond the stars and when he peered, for peering he must, he saw the shriveled forms, the broken husks, of his missing brothers at the ends of the leashes.
He saw Ilyar, dead in his folly.
He saw Drake the Mariner
He saw Muhammed, his wealth no bar to this final act
He saw Kraunak, madman, lunatic extraordinare.
But... Amzad could not recognize the fifth shape. His first instinct said that it was a brother, yet he did not recognize it.
It remained shrouded in mystery.... Was it the demon Circe, fallen on the field of battle or some older foe? Amzad might never know. And a voice whispered in his head, a gentle voice, a kind voice....
This will be your fate and the fate of the world...If you do not defeat or enslave Gothmog, it will come to pass. None others can stand against him.

A new image.

Amzad sitting on the throne of heaven, Alesso cowering at his feat, Alvaro busy serving drinks to visitors. His other brothers living their lives happy.
And cities, thriving cities, where mankind can finally lift face to the world without fear Amzad facing the hordes of his enemies.
His gaze steely, his vision clear, his heart determined. At his back, the armies of empire. At his side, his royal guard. And he knew....
HE KNEW
That with the defeat of Gothmog all that had been seen would come to pass. He would be gifted beyond other mortals and bring a golden age to mankind!
And with that, the blood stilled… It changed consistency!
Blood to water. Water to molten silver. And in the silver, the visage of Gothmog and it spoke thusly: "Dare not the flame lest it consumes ye, mortal. Dost thou think thy masters care for thee? That they will succour thee against my wrath? That they will shield me and stop my hand? AMZAD, MY HAND IS UPON THEE! I MARK THEE!"
The silver erupted into Amzad’s face. It burned fiercely, and his quickly chanted counterspells availed him naught.
Screaming in pain Amzad fled the bowl even as the molten silver consumed his flesh.
Yet even so, his wits were keen! ....As he took a dive through the second floor window and into the Imperial Swimming Pool.
The silver cooled, and Amzad breathed again...Water...
But death by drowning was not his destiny. He was destined for greater things than such an ignominous death!
Through perseverance Amzad extricated himself from the pool in spite of the excruciating pain.
....And when his servants approached, they fell to the ground at the sight of Amzad and they would not speak.
And as Amzad raised his face to a mirror, he knew why.... His head was as one made of silver. A supple silver that allowed him to speak and eat, to open and close his eyes, but silver nevertheless!
 
Last edited:
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The Mughal Empire 1721-1744 Part Three

The Great Purge

After the terrible vision Amzad asked Halima what the vision meant and if ‘she’ had any advice for him.

She said:
"My lord, the message is clear. Gothmog is your enemy, he is the sole source of pain and misery in this world. He is the one responsible for the dead of already so many innocents. He presents himself as serene one, but what you have thought for a very long time already is true: Gothmog is not serene at all...he is the prime source of evil in this world.
You thought it was Alvaro, but the Gem whispered you the wrong words. Probably because it is a tool of Gothmog of probably for other reaons, but a prophecy of this kind does not lie: Gothmog needs to be defeated, forever.

My lord, do not hesitate, try to destroy Gothmog before he does the same to you. Soon you will learn his formidable powers, be prepared! Take heed!"

And after these words Halima, or her body, collapsed. Appaerently her last bits of energy went and the impact of the vision was too much for the being.

Amzad, who deeply inside knew the vision told the truth, immediately took action. He send messengers to Alvaro, Alesso and Bistami. He told his brothers, his neighbours, what sort of vision he had. He hided his face, he told his brothers something terrible happened to it, and it would take a while before he could present them the effects of it. They recognized him because of the sound of his voice and because of his hand missing.

Masked, he begged Bistami to believe him and form an alliance against the evil in the east, for wasn't Bistami in danger him self? And Bistami seemed to believe Amzad.
He left, hoping Bistami would join Amzad in the war, for wasn't Bistami his ally?

Masked, he begged Alesso to guide him and Alvaro to a peace, for he was deadly wrong regarding Alvaro. He told Alesso that Amzad demanded nothing but peace with Alvaro. He was wrong and his regret was so much, Amzad was ready to give Uzbek to Alvaro plus monetary compensation for deeds done in the past. He asked Alesso to talk with Alvaro about this matter and he hoped Alesso would have the wisdom to make a lasting peace. A peace which also would rejoin the Siberian provinces with the Mughal Empire.
He left, hoping Alesso would create peace between Amzad and Alvaro, for wasn't it Alesso who drawed a plan for peace only a few years ago?

Masked, he begged Alvaro to end all the histolities, for it brought Alvaro nothing else but sorrow and he tried to make Alvaro believe the honesty of his words. He, Amzad, no longer wanted to concentrate on Alvaro, Gothmog was his enemy!
He left, hoping Alvaro would agree on a final peace. For wasn't it Alvaro who longerd for peace only a few years ago?

After this, Amzad gathered all the magical power he possessed to send all of it, but the requirements for a defensive shield, in a fierce attack against Gothmog. Never in his century old lifetime had Amzad casted so many offensive spells together, never had he so furiously tried to harm his enemy, never was his rage so furious. For when a man sees the error of his ways, he often doubles his effort to repair things. And deep in his heart, buried below all other things, Amzad feared Gothmog. With fear, but also with confidence Amzad launched his magical offensive.

But it did not work. Gothmog erected the most powerful shield ever seen. Amzads huge spell almost fizzled, only his personal curse (something Amzad learned to use very efficiently) weakened Gothmog a little. A little building in one of Gothmogs western provinces went in flames. That was it.
No earthquakes, no hurricanes, no riots in the street, nothing of this. Amzad almost imagined Gothmog laughing.

And then Gothmog retaliated. He brought the city of Delhi to its knees. The spell of shielding Amzad raised had no effect at all. His land got devastated.
Delhi was struck as though by an angry God. Madness reigned. The local government practically evaporated, the conscription center was overrun by rioters, and fully one quarter of the population died during those days of madness. The spirit of the people had taken a hard blow and when they looked to the Spirit of India to protect them the general was not present to lessen the blow. In the end order prevailed and after a few weeks the shadow dissipated. At the height of the troubles the rebellious populace threatened the governor of the city himself, but his wrath and the valour of his chosen guard defended his ultimate fortress. Only minor damage was suffered in the defense.

But never was the Mughal Empire hit by such a terrible blow before. And this happened when Amzad was fully prepared for it!

In brooding depression Amzad ordered his servants to bring Halima once again for his eyes. And if the servants noticed the weak flickers of fire that seem to cling to the body of Halima, and if her shadows were slightly deeper, they said nothing about it. But they withdrawed very quickly.

"Halima! How could all of this happen?"

And after a pause, which seemed to take forever, Halima gazed once again in the eyes of the Great Mogul and told him:

"Gothmog was able to wreck the countryside because there exist many, many followers of him. His minions are everywhere but particulary strong in the newly acquired territories. A large part of the population is not really happy with you as leader. For where the former nobles enjoyed large privileges, they now have to submit to you. Clerics also are discontent with the Mughal Empire as overlord, because you, my Lord, disapprove of religious suppression. And finally, a large amount of the middle class is also discontent, because you do not approve of trade and because you took away old traditions.
In short, Gothmog could easily find willing souls to join his cause. Gothmog was able to bribe, to blackmail, to flatter, to whisper, to threaten a large amount of your new subjects into joining his side.
They, those franc-tireurs made holes in your defence and they made it possible Delhi now lies in ruins! They, will continue doing so. They will be ultimately be the doom of the Mughal Empire, for unrest will continue to rage the territories and Gothmog will continue to use them for HIS goal.
Not only that, he will do so for each new province you will conquer, for each new province has unreliable inhabitants, has people who regret the loss of their former privileges and so on.
Now, Delhi is almost burned and their next target will be Uzbek, that other province you recently conquered. And the target after it will be any other province you conquer.

Do not hesitate my lord! Crush them! Let them pay for their crimes! Show no mercy, for all of them are guilty and you must execute them to secure everything. Not only the Mughal Empire, not only your position, but the world! Because if Gothmog wins, all is lost.


Amzad was struck by the power of Halima’s words. He send her away, he need to think over it. During days Amzad was found wandering through the palace, deep in thoughts. And with the time passing, Amzad more and more grew determinated.

Halima was right! There was no other explanation to the suffering of Delhi and the vision clearly showed that Gothmog was a formidable threat and to defeat him everything what was needed had to be done. Those in charge would be executed, their relatives would be transported to other territories in the Mughal realm and their possessions would be added to the Mughal treasury and used for the future campaign against Gothmog.
And so it happened. Almost all of the nobles, who had played prominent roles in Delhi and Uzbek before, were executed. Only one out of five survived the purge. The trials and executions of the noble leaders were, however, only a minor part of the purges. By estimates carried out by the order of a special commission in preparation to the celebration of Amzads birthday almost 10% of the people in Uzbek and 40% of the inhabitants of Delhi were executed during 1742–44 alone. The exact total number of persons affected remains uncertain and depends on how the count is made, especially depending on the time period considered and whether deaths related to the numerous transportation losses are included.
By the summer of 1744, Amzad realised that the purges had gone too far and would damage the economy, let alone the lack of recruitment abilities and Amzad made slowly an end to it. This signalled the end of the great purge. From now on the country would be safe again and Amzad could fully concentrate on his single goal again!
 
Last edited:

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A Gift from the Light?

Qutb returned to the Imperial palace, after his meeting with his advisors to discuss the fate of Nippon. Qutb knew now that his people needed time to propser and grow, they would never be able to defend themsevles from agression, and with his renoucement of the Darkness, all Qutb wanted to do was to Protect the Nipponese people. To do that, he needed peace, or at least no more invasions of the Home Islands.

Upon entering his chambers, Qutb was meet by a glowing figure of light. Startled, Qutb's hand moved for his Kitana, before realising that he had not reclaimed it. However the figure made no agressive moves towards him during this and Qutb relaxed somewhat.

The figure then bows in benediction and speaks

'Long have you laboured in Darkness Qutb, yet Darkness has no hold on your soul. For this I sing your praise. Your mind is clear, finally clear of the dark and it's blandishments, if I judge you correctly. For that I would gift you'.

'I did it not for gifts spirit. I did it so that I may protect my people. They should not be made to suffer for my misdeads. All I desire is a way to protect them.'

'Then protect them you shall. I shall give you a suit of armour, so that you can better stand against the darkness. Behold'

The being raises its hands, and a bright raiment appears. The armour seems made of silver yet all the colours of the rainbow are in it. It is a flexible shirt that will protect your arms and body.

'Wear this at all times, Qutb, lest an enemy strike when you are unguarded. It will ward you against most blows but much more importantly, it will protect your soul from the worst attacks of the Dark.'

'I shall. I shall wear it to the end of my days when I enter the clearing at the the end of the path. My thanks to you!'

And with that, the figure left, leaving Qutb to wonder just what he has.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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A Burning Question of Allegiance
1692-1744
In which Gothmog deals diplomatically with many brothers,
mostly honestly,
oh, what the hell, who am I kidding?


As always, iron is his strength, fire his driving will, shadow his companion. While warfare rages across all of Asia, he is not idle. He laughs, as the death toll and chaos in the west grows. He frowns, when the island-bound Reoyl extends his dominion, but glories in the conflict.

And he acts.

There are those who have somehow gained access to the power that was his, no, that is his, and their affronts will no longer be accepted. As Bali and Brunei was struck in the past, now he strikes down Jakatarta, the naval harbour of Mataram, and Delhi, crown of the Mughal Empire. Reoyl and Amzad will come to rue the day they acted against him!

It is hard, so hard, to expend his powers though: only once every few decades can he do it… At the present.

But he will not for long be so constrained. He maintains, still, the visage of innocence. He sucks up, still, to Alesso the fool. But all things have an end.

He is regaining his full powers – but he is not using them. To do so would be too revealing. They will lie quiescent unto the day of need.

Beyond the earth, in the void between the stars, in a well of darkness fashioned by the memory of great Melkor, may he rise again, yeah, though the struggle takes unto the end of time, he is diverting all of his own powers that are used against him.

Come the need, come the power, and all shall know his true nature!

But, for now, peace is his profession. He cajoles, he promises, and he draws Alvaro and Bistami into an alliance against Amzad. No personal gain will he need, he promises them, and as he is honest and true, they believe him. The war rages for many a year and his own losses are insignificant. A few hundred thousand men in total for embroiling the west in a conflict that will spawn much mutual hatred is a good investment. Any of the three would have made a good target, but Amzad, as the one who had misused HIS power, is the obvious target. And suffer Amzad does, though, in the end, with Alesso’s intervention, he wins the war.

And meanwhile, the band of brothers dwindle. Muhammed of Brunei, merchant-prince, great navigator, one-time enemy, is no more. Displaced by Confucius, who never knew that the reason Muhammed fell so easily was that he was under attack by Gothmog, Muhammed is no more. His spirit crushed, his power enslaved to an iron band. Kraunak the Golden, Lord of the Rising Sun, his samurai were no match for Gothmog in all his glory, while the world focused on events in the west and the south. He too has fallen, and Gothmog is the mightier for it.

Ilyar
Drake
Circe
Muhammed
Kraunak

These are the beings of power enslaved, memories of their former selved only, their power is his. And there is one more, the most tenuous link though perhaps the strongest. For he who is bound is yet alive, a willing ally in a symbiotic relationship, and a willing ally has always been worth more than any slave, especially when goals are not mutually exclusive.

He laughs at the memory and the hall shakes. How surprised the reaction of his mighty “brother” at his proposal of alliance, how suspicious of Gothmog’s motives. Understandably so, no doubt, but amusing nevertheless. Yet, in the end, a deal was struck: Gothmog to help his ally gain the Throne of Heaven, this trinket that these foolish brothers seem to attach such worth to; The ally to supply Gothmog with the far more valuable commodity of faith: Faith and souls. From the very depths of his soul, the ally has sworn fealty to Gothmog’s greater cause, and even as the ally reaches his goals, so shall Gothmog, and Gothmog shall take his rightful place in the order of being. The earth? A bauble to please children. If it is his ally’s desire, he shall have it. And, who knows, from this new platform of power that Gothmog will attain, in time even great Melkor might be liberated, come the day. It is a pleasant thought.

That is for the future. For now, the covert war against those who gave of HIS power to Reoyl, to Amzad, to Confucius, and to Qutb, shall be prosecuted. Their agents shall be hunted down, and they themselves, minor spirits of little distinction, shall suffer his wrath whenever they are found…

He feels as if somebody is watching him. An annoying tickle on the inside of his eyeballs. He knows the feeling of old: Somebody is scrying upon him. That anybody in this miserable world should dare? Do they not know whom they are dealing with?

Well, no, that is the entire point, is it not?

He closes his eyes and opens them on a scene of imperial splendour in far off Kabul. Amzad, peering into a scrying bowl, his life-blood fueling the spell of scrying.

HE RAGES!

Does Amzad’s hidden masters truly dare use this flawed tool to strike at him? What sort of nonsense have they fed the weakling that he would dare peer into the mind of Gothmog? It will not be tolerated! In his anger, the blood burns, a silvery stream of molten light, and he speaks to Amzad:

Dare not the flame lest it consumes ye, mortal. Dost thou think thy masters care for thee? That they will succour thee against my wrath? That they will shield me and stop my hand? AMZAD, MY HAND IS UPON THEE! I MARK THEE!

He exerts himself considerably, and the molten light, the deepest flame, leaps from the bowl to the head of Amzad, consuming it. Amzad will, unfortunately, survive the attack; these mortals are practically invulnerable to all save the greatest of magics, but he will be scarred for the remainder of his existence. It will have to do.

He is not yet done. If the hidden masters, those annoying evil spirits of the world, act against him so openly, perhaps it is time to strike directly against them through a tool of their own. It would be…. Fulfilling… And they will never see it coming. He sets plans in motion, and…

He acts.

…And awaits the glorious chaos to come.
 
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Mataram, Domain of Reoyl the wise

The great war was on it’s good way over the seas, Reoyl and Confucious joined in an unholy alliance to defeat the navies of Alesso and bring this senile man to his knees as obviously he was of no use while standing up. Alessos navy had just been cornered in port and his islands being overrun, next step would have only been his distant colonies in the land called Americano. Nothing could now stop the inevitable. Or so one would have guessed…

Following the year of bloodshed Reoyl has finally returned to his Fortress on Bali, as ever his mind was full of thoughts and he constantly plotted in his mind, trying to figure which way to go from this present situation, all did seem to go extremely well now. Yet he was not settled, something obviously was pressing on his mind. After the long journey and countless of battles he was very tired, he signalled his guards not to let anyone disturb him as he entered his quarters. He put down his head on the night table, laid down and uneasy - he fell asleep.

And a strange dream it was to be…

An old and weary man approached the great palace of Reoyl, the man was clad in worn gray robes and wore an all too familiar symbol on his chest, a symbol Reoyl immediately recognized from the window of his tower. The guardsmen cross their halberds in the mans face, but Reoyl waves his hand and the guards let him pass.

“Open your eyes Reoyl”, the man said. There is still hope for you, not all is lost yet. Follow the white rabbit!

Reoyl wakes up abruptly in the morning, as his aide calls for him. “An envoy of Alesso approaches!” he exclaims.

Greetings Reoyl, I come here on behalf of my master, Alesso. He wishes a dialogue with thee, o’ Great Lord of the seas. I am fully informed of his wishes and have the ability to deal with you to any extent. Alesso wishes to warn thee, Reoyl. That even though you have caused much ill in the past, an even greater danger lurks on the islands just across the channel from your palace. Confucious, a herald of doom sits on his throne in Brunei. He must not be allowed to turn this world into his image! So despite your past, Alesso comes here now and tells you: There is still hope for you, not all is lost yet!

Suddenly thoughts flash through Reoyls mind, as he begins to remember his dream. This is what the man said in the dream! What was that part about the rabbit though?

Reoyl looks up at the messenger, and just for a split second he begins to imagine as if there are white rabbits glowing in his eyes, he looks aside and back at the messenger again and the rabbits are gone.

The messenger continues. Alesso offers to return both the islands he currently occupies to you as an immediate gesture of good will he has for you, if only you renounce your treaty with this demon.

What of Manchuria and all the invaders that occupy it? What will befall the evil Confucious if I am to deal with you, Alesso? Reoyl replies.

If you do this for Alesso, and you help him remove Confucious from Manchuria then Alesso will allow you to act as his hand in punishing all people invading Manchuria as well as taking whatever you want from Confucious if you step in to stop his madness.

A short beam of light flashed in the eyes of the man. And after a voice sounding exactly like Alesso spoke: “Truly I look to guide all my brothers to the light. To walk the paths of peace. With brother Confucius I have failed and had to admit it. He casts dark sorcery at will, directly challenging his brothers. He slaughters hundreds of thousands of his former people in Egypt and Bengal - truly he has gone mad and must be stopped.

If in doing so I can guide you away from your former path then I rejoice in that also.”

Could it be true, could Alesso be trusted? Reoyl pondered.

Before Reoyl could reply Alesso continued: “If you do this for me, Reoyl. I will not only trust you again as my friend and dear brother. But there may yet be other rewards in store for you.”

Reoyl’s mind was filled with agony as he was unsure what to do, but as always he was quick to think of all the possible outcomes of this and foresee what he could do to make sure things would go his way.

So the deal was set with Alesso and Reoyl. Reoyl signed peace with Alesso, and let him continue his war with Confucious. After the defeat of half the Brunei fleet, Alesso granted him peace for an island.

Not at all aware of Reoyls situation or deals he had made, Confucious spoke with Reoyl who said he had to make peace with Alesso since he was offered the islands in return and Reoyls fleet had already been devastated anyway. Together they agreed that Alesso must be taught a lesson, and that Nippon would be next to hurt so they could rise enough power to tackle Alesso.

Knowing that Alesso would have no choice but to intervene if Confucious threatened to annex the Nippon main island Reoyl offered Confucious a treaty for division of Nippon that he couldn’t refuse. Reoyl would get the possessions on the mainland in Korea and Manchuria (where Alesso had already given Reoyl leave to intervene anyway), not doubting anything and eyes burning with greed Confucious agreed immediately, power was all Confucious cared for and wanted and Reoyl knew this all too well and didn’t mind to use to his advantage.

So the 2 island nations clashed upon Nippon, Reoyl took on Qtub him self and his fleet, wishing to secure the helm of conqueror that Qtub held only to find out that Confucious had gained it by looting the Nippon capital. Not too stressed about this Reoyl was regardless glad that the entire Nippon fleet had been vaporized as well as Qtub cast into the limbo, securing for a long time to come the fact that Nippon would have only one nation to turn to after this was over, or if he refused this an easy target for the taking.

All went exactly to Reoyls plan, Qtub yielded Korea and claims on Manchuria to Reoyl, whom in return said he would get stop Confucious from destroying Nippon. So Reoyl sent his envoys to China and reminded him that the devil would soon own all of Nippon if he didn’t intervene. So Alesso sent his fleet and armies once more against Confucious, as Reoyl looked happily from his palace at how his plot was unfolding, ahhh, so perfectly.

All this time Confucious had NO IDEA what was really going on, but man was he going to find out?

In an instant, Reoyl disbanded the alliance with Confucious and joined Nippon and China against Brunei “the demons hideout”.

Confucious was quickly driven out of Nippon and china withdrew from the conflict, but his intervening had just properly hurt Brunei. Now the time was ripe and together with Nippon, the armies of Mataram poured all over Brunei. In a quick succession the fleet of Brunei was completely destroyed as well as any armies she had left. The helm of the Conqueror was restored to is rightful owner and the entire eastern island was taken by Mataram as well as all lands in Manchuria. Nippon claimed several colonial provinces.

But not all was meant to go the way Reoyl wanted, he had forgotten one huge issue that he should have dealt with. Reoyl returned home after a hard days work, laid himself to a well deserved rest, and fell soundly asleep, dreaming of his great fortunes.

Suddenly in the middle of the night Reoyl wakes up to a horrible cackling sound. He looks up and sees a hand reaching for the box he is looking out of, it is the hand of Confucious coming through a portal. !! What devilry is this! But before he can think more Confucious pulls the box through the portal and it closes, and darkness engulfs Reoyl as he passes out.

The man clad in gray robes, same on from his dreams before approaches him. “Reoyl, I have a task for you.”
When Reoyl wakes up his senses which had been dulled and blinded are once more back, if not quite so strong as before. Now Reoyl can once again see the world he inhabits, hear the people around him!

There seems to be a faint glow of light radiating from Reoyls body, too faint to notice in plain daylight.
 

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So, Amzad had succeeded in harnessing the power of the Heart. But Bistami would not let him get away that easily. New regiments were quickly recruited, and the attack was swiftly continued. However, Alesso soon began to pressure Gothmog into ceasing his support, and to make matters worse, Alvaro seemed unable to keep up the pressure. However, the Deccan troops kept up the pressure, and the Mughal lines soon collapsed.

Delhi
However, when Bistami came to Delhi, the Heart was nowhere to be found, nor was the Temple Amzad had erected. Bistami searched and searched, but not so much of a glimpse of where the Heart might be, or might have gone.

Aftermath

The Deccan army ofcourse continued the fight, and kept up the pressure, but when Alvaro was forced to sign peace, there was little reason to continue, the Heart was gone, and Amzad had established himself effectively.

Thus Bistami had little more reason to fight the Mughals, and to secure his border against them, he eventually agreed to an alliance. But he could not help a tiny smile when the Mughal Empire, and Delhi in particular, were hit hard by dark sorcery.. That is, until he noticed where it came from, Gothmog, who had proclaimed himself as the bringer of peace, he too seemed to have succumbed to dark powers…

But there was still hope, Kartikeya, albeit seemingly faint and weak, once again urged Bistami to take Delhi, assuring him that he could find the Heart, if he would have the time.
 

Swuul

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Alvaro walked down an old road. Trees and scrubs grow thick and verdent on either side and in places reach out across the path forming an arch that almost blocks out the sun yet Alvaro knew he must continue on down the road. Hours passed and he rested, yet always returned to the road through the trees. Until one day when his water pouch was running low he catched a glimpse of a fountain half hidden through the trees, its water crystal clear and crying out to him. He knew he should not depart from the path he are upon yet he was short on water and had a yearning to taste what the fountain holds.

He walked up to the fountain and gently diped his pouch into the water before taking a deep drink and the water was indeed good, yet when he turned around he can no longer see the path, the way was lost!

Alvaro searches desperately trying to retrace his steps yet the trees hide everything. He thinks to return to the fountain yet now even that landmark is gone and a howl born upon the wind warns him of danger close by. Minutes later a dark grey wolf enters the small clearing you are resting in, its eyes yellow and feral and saliva dripping from its maw. As Alvaro draws your sword another apears behind it and then another. Alvaro shows no fear though, for isn't he Alvaro the Horselord, unbested by man or beast!

As the wolf jumps at Alvaro his sword cleaves through its spine yet the other two are springing also and he barely extract his sword before the second one is upon him. Even as Alvaros sword enters this ones chest he knows he will not be quick enough to stop the third. Releasing the sword Alvaro steped back and meet the headlong charge of the third wolf with his bare hands wrapping your hands around its neck even as its claws rake his chest sending you both tumbling to the ground. As he lays there locked in mortal combat and staring into the yellow eyes he recognises the enemy, Amzad, and Alvaro cry out for the help to defeat him even as the wolfs jaws approach Alvaros neck

Alvaro. The voice sounds in his mind.

Alvaro! It shouts again and Alvaro wakes up with a frightened start desperately putting his hands to his neck and chest and sighing in relief to find no sign of blood, or raking wounds. Having satisfied himself that it was just a bad dream he looks up and realise that he is not alone, the old man has returned.

"Alvaro, Alvaro, the wolf is at your door and the days of destiny draw near. You are not perfect. Wisdom passes you by and you are selfish and warlike at times, and yet you are all I have to work with and you will need those warlike qualities before the end."

"There are two enemies Alvaro, two who stand between you and the way to salvation, salvation not just for you but for others. One is known to you, he has revealed himself by his actions and I know you stand on guard. The other however is still partially hidden and has not yet revealed his true power. This one is the true danger yet I do not task you with that! No your task is both simpler and yet much harder. Should you wish to follow the light you must cast down the mortal body of Amzad and smite the followers of the dark path. Bring me Amzad’s body before he can return himself to the world and one threat will be lessened."

"Alesso is your friend Alvaro, trust him and trust each other. You may think you stand alone, that your brothers have fallen one by one into temptation and darkness yet not all have damned themselves - and some even may yet be saved who once were thought lost. Do not however expect too much from Alesso for you know he is not a warrior and even now strives for the peaceful path when strength and valour on the field of battle are perhaps what is needed more. I know he will help protect your lands as much as he is able so long as you stay with the light yet I fear he does not have the stomach to take the fight to the enemy even when the enemy is revealed. Even with Confucius he restricts himself to bottling him up on his island, leaving others to fight the fight. Yet you Alvaro, you seek the way with a sword in hand and perhaps that is the way that is needed now. Guide Alesso if you can and perhaps together you will defeat the coming darkness."

And with those words the man was again gone. Alvaro sits in his tent pondering the fututure.




Thank's Wyvern for this excellent story :)
 

Wyvern

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View From the Throne 1721 to 1756

In the year 1721 Alesso had found himself looking at a rather stark future. Confucius and Reoyl had banded together and with their might combined their navy had proved a match for Alesso despite Admiral Dai Shi catching Reoyl's navy alone and succeeding in sinking most of it. Reoyl's magical attack on Dai Shi had badly affected his ability to command his fleet yet he was still the best hope Alesso had at sea so despite the dark malady that hung over him he remained in command of the fleet during these trying times even if most of the time he was bottled up in port, venturing out only rarely on lightning raids such as that one glorious victory yet always having to flee from Confucius' fleet until Confucius or Reoyl again let down their guard.

Alesso was not surprisingly troubled. He knew Reoyl was a bringer of war - perhaps the one pre-eminent warlord from amongst all his brothers, yet was he evil and so beyond saving? Alesso was unsure. He was sure about Confucius though and determined to neutralise this one threat to the world before Confucius could enact more harm and perhaps in so doing he might even save Reoyl.

Alesso therefore approached Reoyl quite humbly and sought to reach a peaceful agreement with his brother. The path of war and occupation had not worked to temper Reoyl's ambition, perhaps a more conciliatory approach would bear fruit. Both parties were suspicious but Alesso agreed to give back the two islands he had occupied and Reoyl would leave Alesso to punish Confucius. With Reoyl's curse lifted from Admiral Dai Shi Alesso was confident his command of the sea's off China would once more be restored. Reoyl seemed to exhibit a great interest in the happenings in the Manchurian provinces and Alesso saw no harm in allowing him free reign to root out Confucius' forces from that area - Alesso was determined to restrict Confucius to no more than his home island of Brunei, something that could be patrolled and guarded and in time perhaps even his evil rule there could ultimately be removed.

With peace secured with Reoyl, Admiral Dai Shi quickly took the fleet out to sea and it wasn't long before Confucius' battle fleet was spotted. Numbering 500 to 600 warships on each side and a minor advantage in numbers to Confucius the fleets locked horns off the Chinese coast. Yet numbers would not be enough and Confucius lacked the naval leadership and experience that Dai Shi had garnered from many engagements over the years and a crippled defeat was inflicted on Confucius which saw both his fleet and his morale quickly broken. Alesso was able to quickly enforce Confucius' withdrawal from the northern Indonesian islands for a temporary peace. Alesso celebrated the great victory and the start upon the road to reducing Confucius' power yet it wouldn't be the last time he would face Confucius' abmition.

While Alesso celebrated Reoyl took the opportunity to move on Qutb in Manchuria overrunning Korea and so extending his influence there. Confucius followed this up with an invasion of Japan that came very very close to overrunning the whole of the Japanese islands yet failed at the end when Alesso's relief force arrived within a whisker of time to liberate the Japanese capital before the last of Qutb's outer settlements fell. From there Confucius's position became hopeless and he was forced to white peace both Qutb and Alesso and now fend off Reoyl's attack, for his former ally had finally shown his true intent. Alesso was greatly pleased for this attack spelt an end to the threat from Confucius even if it was at the expense of a stronger Reoyl. But what was to fear from a stronger Reoyl when his brother seemed to be trying to mend his ways in all his dealings with Alesso? Qutb also had renounced the dark ways guided by Alesso's sure hand, and with Reoyl hopefully following in the same direction and Alvaro once more listening to his guidance there was peace in the east. What more could Alesso want?

Perhaps he could want an end to the fighting in the west and the same conversion by Amzad as had taken place with Qutb? Yet for all that Alesso had tried to guide and help Amzad, his brother there seemed to have fallen lure to the seduction of darker powers. Alesso couldn't be sure Amzad was treading the same path as Confucius but the death and destruction Amzad had wrought in Delhi and Uzbek certainly led Alesso to believe the worst and so vow to help Alvaro where he could fend off any attack by this new threat to peace and stability.

Alesso also had something closer to home to worry about as well, a being that for a time he had thought might be an emissary of light or at least something he could help mould into such but that was now showing signs of being anything but. Yes Gothmog. He had trusted him once. Even considered that here might be a being he could finally hand over guardianship of the Throne to after all these years, yet the actions of this being in recent times had shown Alesso what a fool he was to ever think such a thing. Twice now Alesso had traced spells of great destruction as coming from Gothmog and evidence suggested he had been employing such powers in a more covert way for longer. The first time had been the devastation wrought upon the harbour city of Jakarta, and the second had been the attack upon Delhi prior to Amzad's pogrom which had seen over 100,000 innocent civilians die. And for what? Gothmog attacked Amzad for no provokation that Alesso could discern and Amzad predictably replied in kind. Both were now locked in interminable warfare and had succeeded in drawing Bistami into the fray. Frankly Alesso was at a loss as to what to do to bring peace. And during all this Alvaro now insisted the Priest King has tasked him to bring back Amzad's body! Whatever for? What could his old friend want with Amzad? Alesso had tried to contact him when Alvaro told him about this quest but to no avail. He had talked to the priests at the sacred temple in Tibet but they knew nothing about where their master had gone. It was most perplexing and Alesso couldn't decide whether to trust Alvaro and help him in his quest or not. On the one hand Amzad's recent actions spoke clearly of great evil, yet on the other the idea of helping to strike down his brother and bring back his dismembered body before he could rise again struck Alesso with pure revulsion. And so he continued to prevaricate as war swept India, Afghanistan and South East Asia.
 

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I'm quoting from the Wheel of Time again, some of you may recognise it :)

Fire

As was custom, Bistami received everyone who came to his court with a plea, but the man he now faced surely was one of the oddest, he looked like a simple monk, but Bistami sensed he wasn't.


I am... An emissary. In myself, a worthless being; I represent some of the Powers That Are In India, the spirits of the land, the small gods of field and hearth.


Only then did Bistami notice that one of the guards had not left the room yet, and he quickly motioned him to leave.

After hearing the man, Bistami judged it was probably for the best to accept his proposal
"Very well then, I shall seal the pact, would you please give me the knife so that I can make the cut?"
The man handed Bistami the knife, and performed a benediction.

Bistami quickly checked the knife for obvious signs of poisoning, as it seemed some of his brothers had been deceived even at such instants. Then, he made a small cut across his right palm.

The blood spills, it flows gently into the bowl in the bowl, the blood swirls, faster and faster. Then, a booming sound overwhelms Bistami, a thousand uneven voices chanting in unison,
YOUR OFFERING IS ACCEPTED! RISE, CHOSEN ONE! SON OF INDIA! RECEIVE OUR BLESSING
....A warm haze surrounds Bistami...It probes his body, it infiltrates his body and soul,and it is pleasant!
OUR WARDING IS UPON YOU, THAT YOU MAY FACE THE DARKNESS WITHOUT FEAR.NOW, GO FORTH AND CONQUER IN THE NAME OF INDIA, AND IN YOUR NAME, SON OF INDIA!

The blood catches fire.

The man returns the bowl to Bistami. "Keep this flame imperishable, that you may never forget this glorious day."
He says, And with those words, he fades out of existence, his duty done.

Blood and Earth

In all these long years, Major Kuo had learned to trust Bistami's judgement, so when he had ordered that every general, every soldier, every priest and scholar, everyone important to the state, to perform, at full moon a short ritual, he wondered why, but he would do it.

And now the moon was full, and it was time for this simple ritual, that would bind them stronger than words ever would. Kuo and his commanders stepped closer to each other, as soldiers were doing everywhere across the camp, and indeed, people were doing all over India. Kuo hissed as the knife went through his palm. In the distance, some of the soldiers laughed. His commanders cut their palms aswell, but it was as if they were removing a splinter. Four hands stretched out, grasped eachother, their hearts' blood mixed, dripped to the ground en sank into the dust. "We are one, until death" Kuo spoke, and his commanders with him, and people all around the country. Now they were bound through Blood and Earth.
 

Swuul

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For weeks Alvaro the Horselord waited in Qaidam Pendi. He sent envoys to Tibet, he sent searching parties upon some of which he took part himself. They crossed valleys and hills in search of Priest King, but the summit of each succeeding ridge revealed nothing. He saw few animals and only a few men, until he finally came to the belief that Priest King had vanished.

And then, one day, he saw a monk walking towards his camp. The monk told they knew not where the Priest King had gone, and when he would return.

Alvaro pondered the situation. He could not carry the body of Amzad around on horseback. Alvaro could hardly not stay in Qaidam Pendi with the reported movements of Mughal troops across the border of the recently re-liberated Uzbek, or the aggressive policy of Reoyl against the very economy of the people of the Horselords. After Kenta-Ur had fallen in Tenghiz charging the Mughals, Alvaro was alone to protect his people.

Alvaro decided to build a tomb for Amzad, and set a special Tomb Guard to protect it. The Tomb Guard would be the Four Thousand, and their task would be to guard the tomb and to report immediatly if there were any rumours of the Priest King.

The Four Thousand set up on their duty. For years they guarded the tomb and searched for rumours on the Priest King. But they heard no news. Every month the commander of the Four Thousand sent the same message to Alvaro: "Nothing new to be reported, my lord."

For years Alvaro anxiously waited for news, because he was sure he was now closer than ever to find the Way. Each month he got the same depressing message. So close, yet so far away. But Alvaro would endure, this was just one hardship more on the road to finding the Way.
 

Wyvern

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Evil Revealed?

The commander of the Four Thousand, the leader of the honour guard of Amzad’s tomb stood watch as he had done each and every day this last decade. It had seemed a post of honour when originally granted to him, but now he wondered if he had been forgotten. There was never any news from the Priest King and little indication that Alvaro even recognised his existence and as the years dragged on he became more and more frantic, sending out men to seek the monks and hermits of the mountains yet all he was ever told was that “all things come to an end at their appointed time”, which only garnered a soldiers curse from his lips.

Yet the monks were right and as with all things the commanders posting did indeed draw to a close signalled by the arrival of an elderly monk in shabby cloths within their camp.

After conversing with the monk for several minutes the commander called a messenger to him and sent him off with a team of the fastest horses available and orders to ride them into the ground if necessary.

During the following days of waiting the commander frantically paced up and down the camp, from one outer corner of the tomb they guarded to the other all the while keep his eye on the monk who seemingly did nothing more than to rub his beads and murmur strange words all day long. Eventually after a week of this Alvaro rode in with his honour guard and approached the monk.

Slowly rising to his feet all the monk said when Alvaro approached was “come” and with his hand pointed at the tomb. Waving back his guards Alvaro walked with the monk down the stone steps into the tomb, grabbing a torch from one of the ever lite sconses on the way in.

The tomb was plain but functional. Upon a stone slab lay Amzad, or Amzad’s body to be more precise preserved and undecaying despite the absence of the spark of spirit, and who could say where the spirit now resided? The body was covered by a thin cloth and the armes and legs chained to the stone via great iron rings reinforced by Alvaro’s magic for he well knew that if Amzad were to remanifest in the world he would return to this his mortal body. Yet Alvaro was not needlessly cruel and Amzad’s head and body lay upon plush cushions. Ah yes thought Alvaro as he looked at the head of his brother lying upon the cloth, a head of silver, a silver that never burnished and that seemed almost alive.

The Priest King then looked and Alvaro, for that was who the monk was as Alvaro had known from the moment he lay eyes upon him. “Well done Alvaro” spoke the priest, “well done indeed. It was a gruesome task I laid upon you yet it was the only way I could bring you and your brother together.”

“What!” yelped Alvaro.

“Yes yes I know what I said and what you thought but I have much to tell both you and Amzad. But first let us look at your brother, that is a nasty mask upon his face, yes a nasty mark and I know just who laid it there.”

“I wondered about that” said Alvaro.

“It is the mark of a demon, a creature of the nether world but not just any creature. No I have searched long and hard these last few years to gain the knowledge I now impart to both you and Amzad. But first let us heal your brother from his hurt.” The Priest King then proceeded to place his hands upon Amzad’s brow and murmur a string of strange sylables and phrases the like of which Alvaro had never heard before. At first Alvaro was unsure what was happening but then he watched as the silver began to spread up the Priest Kings arm.

“Stay back!” the Priest King shouted as Alvaro made to move to intervene and then he noticed that the silver was not just expanding up the Priest Kings arm but was receeding from Amzad’s face and slowly but surely the colour of life was returning to it. When he was done the Priest King removed his hand from Amzad and gently shook it and Alvaro watched amazed as the molten silver slowly dribbled down into a puddle at his feet and there solidified. “It is quite safe” the Priest King said when Alvaro ventured for a closer look, “in fact what you have there is a pool of pure silver worth a considerable sum I would say. Go on take it take it” he said as though gesturing to a child who is eyeing a candy stick. [OOC +3000 ducats to Alvaro]

“Now Amzad, Alvaro” and Alvaro realised that the spirit of his brother was once more within his body, “I have much to tell you both. When I am done you will both be free to leave this place. Ah yes Alvaro I insist, regardless of his actions you must give your brother safe passage through your lands, your word please.”

Although reluctant Alvaro nodded his head.

“Very well. Amzad, I was telling your brother about the mark upon your face. Yes I know well how you came by it and just what sort of creature gave you that face of silver. You and I both know which being upon this earth gave it you, yet your brother Alvaro here does not. I intend to tell him now for it was Gothmog!

“Yes the very one who gave you your brothers body so freely Alvaro, though I’ll hazard a guess he expected only evil ends for Amzad. Yes Gothmog certainly bears you ill will does he not Amzad?” and the old monk turned his steely blue eyes upon the Mughal Khan.

“Pah do not deny it I know the bargains you have struck and why Gothmog hunts you. Did you never think to wonder about the power you were tapping into Amzad? It was HIS power! Gothmogs power! And Gothmog allows none but himself to use it willingly.

“Gothmog is a demon from the deepest and darkest depths of hell, one who looks to corrupt this world and return his master Melkior to the world to lord over a new reign of darkness the like of which we may never recover from. Alesso thinks Confucius is the source of evil that must be opposed BUT IT IS NOT SO! It is Gothmog who must be opposed, Gothmog!

“Did you never think to question the source of the power you were tapping into Amzad? There are other creatures that seek to corrupt and do Gothmog harm, fellow demons of the netherdark who would replace Gothmog’s reign of darkness over our world with one of their own!

“The one thing all of them look for is blood! The blood of the innocents shed for their own power and glory.” The Priest King paused then as though weighing great matters in his mind before continuing.

“What I say now may come as a shock yet it needs to be said. I have hinted of it to Alesso and I think he has known it in his heart, perhaps even hungered for it subconseously, but our time, your time, upon this earth is drawing to a close and your curse of everlife will soon be lifted for good or evil. I can say no more at this time but Gothmog must be defeated before the end. If all should be lost seek the answer in the Valley of the Wolf. Seek the answer at the site of the Throne.”

And with that the old Priest grew silent and would say no more. Alvaro and Amzad eyed each other suspiciously but the Priest King had been clear, Amzad would be free to return to his lands and what he did from hence forth would be his own choice of his own free will. Perhaps he would continue to consort with his dark powers, perhaps…

Yet as the Priest King returned to the mountains he wondered if he had taken too high a risk. Had he convinced Amzad? Amzad had fought Gothmog for his own reasons at the bequest of other dark powers and due to Gothmog’s own attacks upon his person. But would he now fight for the right reasons? Or would he cling on to his eternal existence and see the Priest King as a rightful threat to that? Only He could shut down the power of the Throne after all, for it was He who had granted it to Alesso in the first place….
 

Wyvern

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Bistami and the Temple – Part 2

Bistami had been quested by Kartikeya, not once but twice to secure the Temple. The first attempt had ended in disaster and Bistami had been reluctant to try again - oh yes he remembered it well the words of his God in years gone past.
You had thought Kartikeya had abandoned you, for you knew you had failed him had you not? Yet after many months of prayer it seems the Indian God still has some use for you.

As you pray to the one you would have as Lord of India a voice is heard in your mind, the voice of Kartikeya, yet somehow you know the God’s presence is fainter, indeed weaker than before.

“Where is my Temple Bistami? Do you abandon me?”

You reply that Amzad holds the ancient site of Delhi and has desecrated it with his own temple of worship.

“Then you have failed me” the God sighs.

“Surely there is something I can do” you implore, “some way to atone and honour you?”

“There is one thing” Kartikeya replies, “one way, yet it still requires you to posess the ancient site. Will you do this for me my servent?”

Bistami thinks long and hard, reluctant to give his God an answer.[OOC:days and days he considered before giving the GM an answer :D]

“What is this Bistami, do you turn away from me? Do you not follow my bidding?”

Almost reluctantly Bistami replies, “Of course Great Kartikeya, I shall do my best.

“Then your best had better be good enough!” and you imagine there is a hint of menace in Kartikeya’s voice this time.

“Harken to me then and listen Bistami” Kartikeya continues. “My presence is focused on India yet I sense the power you have found in east Africa. Bring the source of this power to the ancient site. Gothmog’s spell has tainted the site and also weakened your brothers hold on it. By doing this you will have taken the first step to setting things to rights and you will not go unrewarded. A long road will still lie ahead yet one day perhaps, yes one day I shall be strong enough to once more manifest myself in the land of the Decan and together we shall crush our enemies!”

Although reluctant to try Bistami had finally gained posession of Delhi, wrestling it from the iron grip of Amzad. Now at the bidding of his God he had transported the Idol of Mombassa across the ocean ready for installation at the new site!

What power will be mine whispered Bistami to himself. A cut of the palm and the temple is in my posession! Oh how he gloried for he had much to be happy about.

At a nod the labourers gently hoisted the Idol off the cart and slowly brought it down to rest upon the stone altar of the temple. As the Idol touched the altar stone a crackle of electricity sprang across the Altar sending the workers scurrying back. Bistami quickly motioned everyone away as the electric charge in the air continued to solidify until finally above the altar stood the image of his God, Kartikeya!

“At last!” thundered the God, and then in a quieter tone, “at last”.

“You have done well Bistami, kneel before me chosen one and receive my blessing.”

Cautiously Bistami edged forward and fell to his knees and there Kartikeya placed his hand upon his brow. “Arise chosen one and lead my armies! Conquer, extend the power of the decan until all know my name and our people are never threatened again!” And then the God laughed in a great booming voice with a slight tinge of insanity to it, “The Idol is here and the spirits destroyed – only I Kartikeya rule India, only I!”

[OOC – you gain a new leader, the Hand of Kartikeya, a 5/4/4 leader, and you gain +1 to your fire and shock stats (though you’ll lose them if Bistami is ever killed). Delhi also gains +4 manpower and tax.]
 
Last edited:

Avernite

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om-symbol.jpg
Bistami AAR --- lacks book references :)

War in the east

The war with Gothmog went ever on, even when the forces of Amzad were withdrawn to fight Alvaro the Horselord. With Amzad's troops withdrawn, however, the situation looked much worse for Bistami. Even so, his forces were better equipped and more numerous, so he continued to attack Gothmog.

He miscalculated on one thing though: the lands of Gothmog were poor and rugged, and many a man was lost to starvation or disease. In this way, Gothmog could hold back the armies of the Deccan, simply by letting nature do his work. He even, slowly but surely, regained some of the lands he had lost to Bistami and Amzad. Bistami was thus overjoyed when he heard that Amzad had signed peace with Alvaro, even though the peace meant Amzad lost land. With Amzad back in the fight, perhaps Gothmog could yet be defeated.

And thus, the armies of the Deccan fought on, not defending the northern lands, but attacking to ensure as much land as possible was in their hands. This, however, proved to be a grave error. Was it unwillingness on Amzad's part, or had his troops launched attacks so deep into Chagatai lands? To this day, noone knows, but the results were soon apparent. For in several battles, the armies of Gothmog were victorious, and he invaded Vijayanagar. This caused the people to lose heart quickly, but Bistami knew Amzad's forces would arrive soon, and he believed they would throw back Gothmog.

Yet it took days, weeks, and even months before Amzad arrived, and just before that something terrible happened.
For the rebels which had taken hold in some of Bistami's northern lands captured an envoy, enroute to reject Gothmog latest offer. They took his message, and employing a master-forger managed to turn it into acceptance. Thus, peace was concluded, for Bistami could not deny that his sign was on the message, even if the message was changed, and his people had allready accepted that peace had been signed.

Thus, the north of India had now a sizeable presence of Gothmog, and Amzad fought on alone. Yet he could not beat Gothmog, and Bistami would not declare war again immediately, for his people would certainly rise up in revolt if he did. Amzad eventually signed a white peace, knowing he could not win alone.

Peace at last

Now Bistami recovered his strength, investing great amounts of money in a new system to recruit troops, greatly increasing his possibilities of recovering from devastating defeats, or Pyrrhic victories. It was all too soon before this proved invaluable, but not against the foe Bistami had expected.

The scientists of the Deccan also made great leaps in military technology, and soon enough the armies of Vijayangar were better equipped than Amzad's, better than Gothmog's, yes even better than those of China, of Alesso himself. This would not last, offcourse, but it gave back some of the confidence lost in the defeat to Gothmog.

And thus, Bistami asked Gothmog to return the lost provinces, and is words were backed by the largest army ever raised by the Deccan. And Gothmog agreed, asking only to be paid for the improvements made to the provinces, and threatening Bistami that he would be hit by devastating magic if he would attack again soon. Bistami agreed, promising to not attack again soon.

Treachery on the horizon?
Yet Amzad did not like it, refusing to let his ally gain back what was lost in the last war, refusing to let the bloodshed be skipped, for once. Thus, Amzad also reviewed his promise to hand over Delhi to Bistami. Bistami tried to reason with him, tried to convince him that more strength to his ally was also good for him. Yet Amzad would not listen, and Bistami wondered why. All too soon he would find out.

The disaster of Bundelkhand

Amzad was soon to withdraw his support for
Bistami, and soon enough he even banned Vijayangar from his alliance, citing claims to Bundelkand as his justification. His people accepted the explanation, but Vijayanagar could not swallow the insult, and war was declared.

Three armies of the Deccan marched to meet the Mughals in battle, over 200 thousand men, and only some 30 thousand lived past the first months of war.
Bistami and major Kuo both commanded 100 thousand infanty, positioned in Malwa and Bundelkhand, while a smaller army of some 50 thousand attacked the port of Kutch.

Yet Amzad the mad had at least 200 thousand at the front at well, and he had something the world ad not seen before. For 400 guns formed a grand battery for Amzad, and they were dangerous.

Unaware of this, the armies of the Deccan marched forward, believing they could beat the armies of Amzad, for Amad's mortal body had been cut down, and his troops were ill-led.

The first attack, on the port of Kutch, failed as the assault was broken and reinforcements from Rajputana forced the army to retreat to the fleet waiting just off the coast.

Bistami led his men forward into Rajputana which held a large army still, including the grand battery. For days the thunder of the guns reigned as the thunder of hooves had once reigned on the plains of India. The army was battered, yet no retreat could be accomplished as dark sorcery prevented escape. But this army was not led by a mere mortal, and Bistami managed to break through with a few men, while a rearguard held of Amzad's forces.
Believeing he had killed the great leader, Amzad then turned north onto Kuo's northern army. But he was not dead, and with 3681 he returned to Bombay to wait for reinforcements. The march of the four thousand has been made into a great ballad of victory, but that would be only after the war.

Now, Kuo faced the battery of Amzad alone, while morale was down as all had heard of the disaster in Rajputana. But Amzad's assault on Bundelkhand proved much more disastrous. Major Kuo had no great amount of artillery, and he fully expected to lose the battle. Even so he stayed, by his mere presence preventing Amzad from pursueing the four thousand. As the battle began, he tried to withdraw, hoping to lure Amzad deep into the heartlands of Vijayanagar. Yet again, dark sorcery held the army down, and unlike in Rajputana, none could escape here. For all his qualities, Kuo lacked the magical power necessary to break Amzad's curse. As such, another 100 thousand were dead on the fields of Bundelkhand, first among them Major Kuo, may he rest in peace.


Victory in defeat!

Over 200 thousand men of the Deccan were dead, crushed by the forces of the vile Amzad. The disaster of Bundelkhand, and the lesser disaster before that in Rajputana, had sent a shockwave through the country. All around the country, men signed up for the army, and masses of men flocked to Bistami's banner in Bombay. For months, the forges of Hyderabad laboured to create a battery to match Amzad's. For months, forges across the Deccan worked to provide weapons and ammunition for the largest army to have graced the soil of India.

And only 5 monts after the disaster of Bundelkhand, Bistami marched forth from Bombay, and together with the remains of the army that had attacked Kutch, he took first Gujarat and then finally Kutch, driving out Amzad's fleet into the waiting arms of the fleet of Vijayanagar. But, one must not forget the bravery of the forces in Bundelkhand, for the tattered remains of Kuo's army, together with the garrison of the fortress there, held out against an assault by the massed army of Amzad. Then, when defeat seemed certain, Bistami linked up with the army coming forth from Hyderabad and the City of Victory.

Now 100 thousand infantry and some 400 guns were set to face off against some 70 thousand infantry and 400 guns of Amzad. And then, Amzad fled, his army fleeing to Delhi, where he managed to regroup somewhat. But Bistami was on their heels, and in a massive battle the army of Amzad lost 40 thousand men to some 10 thousand losses for the army of the Deccan. The city of Delhi was quickly taken, and Bistami set out to pursue Amzad's ravaged army before it could be reinforced. And on the fields of Rajputana, the place where Bistami had allmost been slain for the first time, the infantry of Amzad was cut down to the last man, and his guns abandoned by the fleeing crews. No victory can be greater than the complete annihilation of an army, and Amzad gave up Delhi when he heard that all the troops he had in the field had been slain.

Aftermath

Bistami had turned defeat into victory, and what he had seen was good. For the army of the Deccan had lost 200 thousand to only 50 thousand of Amzad, yet still he had come out on top. Despite the great disasters of Rajputana and Bundelkhand, victory had been achieved. Vijayanagar had only magic to fear, for it's army could beat any invaders.
 

Wyvern

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Spell effects for 1784


Alesso had just returned from his meeting with Alvaro, prompted by the news from the Priest King. Gothmog! He had been decieved all these years. Blinded by his own arrogance into thinking that here was a being capable of being molded by himself, yes by Alesso, into a creature that would bring peace and harmony to the world. Yet now he had been told Gothmog was beyond change, he was a demon from the darkest pits of hell and that it was he not Confucius that was the evil, the threat, that the Jade Emperor had warned him about so many many years ago.

In Alvaro perhaps he would receive help to combat this demon yet he was still unsure if to combat Gothmog was his true role. Was the Priest King truly right this time? Gothmog had never attacked or threatened him after all. No even at the bidding of the Priest King he could not bring himself to unilaterally invade Gothmog's lands with the inevitable deaths and suffering such would entail. Yet also Alesso admitted to himself that he was no longer confident in his judgements. He had been decieved too many times over the centuries to the point where he no longer felt capable of ruling the Throne. It seemed wars were now needed to protect it, wars to put down this demon Gothmog and Alesso in his heart wanted none of it. I should retire soon he though, I have lived too long. Let another with more fire in his veins than I become guardian of the Throne. I want none of this!

And yet he knew the responsibility was his and could not easily be discarded. He would have to confront the present crisis as best he could and gather allies from amongst his brethren. Perhaps the presence of this beast amongst their midst would wake a few of his brothers up from their own internal wranglings and conflicts. Perhaps he would finally see what they were made of!


For Alesso though the crisis was nearer than he knew. Dark clouds began forming along the southern border and the heavens crackled. Alesso gathered his power forming a protective shield over his domain, yet the presence in the south continued to build and the clouds of darkness to creep across the border. On they came, darker and more oppressive as Gothmog tried to cover all of China with his darkness, spreading a miasma of gloom and misery wherever his shadow fell. As it settled over the Throne itself, the sky crackled with energy. A flash of lightning and resounding boom was only the opening shot as torrents of energy swept down from the sky and Alesso channelled what was left of his energies into bolstering the Throne’s defenses. For hours it seemed to go on yet at the end Alesso sank to his knees with a sigh of relief, the dark energies had been repulsed, the shadow in retreat. Yet in doing so he had expended more of his power than he had intended and the assault upon China was not yet over.

All across the south the darkness continued to grow. Lightning stabbed down from one end of the border to the other, demolishing buildings and fortifications and killing people in their thousands. Citizens were filled with terror and ran screaming through the streets, stampeding, looting. The hand of darkness was upon them. In the middle kingdom Alesso watched in horror from the Astral plain trying desperately to cushion the blow, to absorb some of the pain of his people as his own. As the assault and the suffering it caused continued he slowly hardened himself to what must be done, at last he knew why he was here upon this earth, why he had been given the responsibility of guarding the Throne! It wasn’t to guide and cajol his brothers into being better, kinder men, for whilst such had merit it was ultimately up to each individual to walk their own path. Nor was it to lead his brothers to redemption for their crime of killing the priest that he was here for that happened after he became the Guardian. No this was why he was here. To combat this evil, this monster from hell. He had been slow to see it but finally there was a kind of peace in his heart for he knew what must be done and understood at last not just why he was here but why his brothers were also, for from their positions of power they could also influence the outcome of this last great conflict for better or worse!


[OOC – Wrath of Gothmog was cast on each Chinese border province with Vientiene. Usual effects – all structures destroyed, -1 fortress level, -2 MP, -2 Tax, 25% pop loss. China also suffers Hand of Gothmog, -3 stab. All in all a very sad day :(].

Other spell effects


Alesso had done little of note except to shield himself and instigate a tax and recruiting scheme in the Henan province, and others had been equally unadventuresome.

Qutb wanted gold and used his power to get it, once he had revived himself from the sleep of half life. Bistami in a change of policy forsook the lure of the yellow metal and instead used all his energy to extending his power in India, bringing Delhi and Malwa fully into his realm and persuading the people of Delhi to convert to the true Hindu faith. Tax and recruitment drives were also instigated in Malwa and Maharasta in the largest expenditure of energy Bistami had ever undertaken.

Reoyl also consentrated on internal matters, converting the province of Yalu to his faith and summoning a new general to help direct his armies, much as Alvaro did resurrecting his trusted general Kenta-Ur.

Only Amzad looked further afield, for though he did ward himself and revive his spirit he also used the remainder of his energy to direct a bolt of dark fire at Gothmog and his army, slaying many of Gothmog’s soldiers. It was not much, for Gothmog had shielded himself but it was enough. Enough to say Yes Gothmog I am still here, and one day I shall be your doom!.
 

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The Wrath of the High Captain
-1784
The Road To War

War rages in Trans-Santal Vientiane. The hordes of Amzad and of Bistami, the Mughal Menace and the Hindi Hindrance invading HIS realm with all their might. Their armies are larger, their weapons are better, their leaders are more, their fleets rule the sea. Yet they have miscalculated even so. Gothmog was always strongest on the defensive, and he will see them dead before they prosper from their attack.

In Southern Vientiane, Bistami’s navy deploys a hundred thousand men here, a hundred thousand men there.

The naval landings are defeated as a manner of course, but in the northwest, Trans-Santal Vientiane is overrun in a manner of months as his forces fight a planned retreat, bleeding the enemies… All is transpiring as he has planned, and he laughs loudly, his roar shaking the throne room of Daegûl, as his enemies take the proffered bait.

In a coordinated operation, Amzad attacks into northern Vientiane proper while Bistami again lands forces in the south. HIS forces in the north withdraw ever deeper into the mountains of Vientiane, and Amzad follows, a hound on the scent, and will not be denied.

And the trap, long primed, snaps.

He, Gothmog, once High Captain of Angband, chief lieutenant to great Melkor himself, takes the field. In a swift campaign, he eradicates Bistami southern forces, sweep the coast, and cut off Amzad’s retreat. Meanwhile, his little general, a minor spirit of fire that he named Balrog in memory of what was, pounds Amzad’s armies with numbers uncountable, and deep, deep in the mountains of Vientiane, the fleeing Amzad seeks the coast in a desperate run from the armies of Vientiane, and he encounters Gothmog.

No man returns to the Mughal Empire from that fateful campaign. Neither Amzad nor his General Azeed, nor the armies of empire. And while new armies can be raised in turn, and new generals summoned, the Mughal Empire has taken a strong blow.

Yet even so, HE is not best pleased. He holds the body of Amzad but not the spirit. Amzad’s death was too swift, cut down like a mangy cur from behind while fleeing, slain by an ordinary soldier. Had he but stood to face his fate as a man, had he but faced Gothmog in combat, Amzad would have joined his family… But it was not to be. This time. In time, Amzad will return in the flesh, fashioning some new body from parts left over, no doubt, and for now his spirit rules his empire with an iron fist, though a weakened one.

Thus it comes as no surprise that Alvaro the Horselover declares war on Amzad to recover what is lost.

And still the war rages on to little benefit for either side. Gracious, he offers the aggressors a white peace and no hard feelings, but they stubbornly insist on fighting him, “fighting evil!” What utter lunacy.

As the years pass, he feels a lessening of Bistami’s attacks – a slight loss of focus. Is Bistami growing weary? Are his war skills deteoriating? Thrice Bistami tries to trap Gothmog with such an obvious trap, that HE manages to turn it upon Bistami himself with grievous impact on Bistami’s armies.

Thus he begins the counterattack. Though still outnumbered and outteched, he is not outgeneraled. In a lightning campaign he destroys the remaining enemy forces in Vientiane and overruns Northern India, while Bistami can only whimper, and whimper he does.

Generous as always, Gothmog offers the Optimistic Alliance who attacked him lenient terms, but they refuse time and time again, and their people revolt as stability plummets. Finally, when nearly all of India is under Gothmog’s control, Bistami relents and gives up Tirhut and Berhampur.

Amzad, the madman, continues the fight, and his general, The Spirit of India (named after a local alcoholic brew), joins Amzad and Azeed on the lists of the fallen.

Peace reigns at last and the Serene Gothmog agrees to hand over the body of Amzad to Alvaro, who has some not particularly wholesome intentions towards it, and he also suggests that Alvaro melt down the silver of the head to help pay his budget deficit. Truly, Gothmog is the giver of gifts.

Alas.

One thing he has overlooked. A minor thing, really, yet the consequences are not so minor.

The Priest-King, that religious fool who is the true lord of the Throne of Heaven, he who appointed Alesso to guard the Throne and who is the prime mover behind enslaving all of the brothers undying to the Throne, has made his move. He has left his lands behind and consorts with Alvaro and the newly risen Amzad.

The Priest-King, that mongrel who claims purity, openly consorts with Amzad, who is in league with the minor spirits of evil of this world! Amzad, who misused the powers of Gothmog for his own vile ends. Is there no limit to the depths to which he will fall from grace?

Apparently not.

The many small spirits of this world, the good, the bad, and the ugly, have united against HIM and they prime their chosen weapons against HIM!

There will be war.

And he who is the Priest-King’s foremost tool, Alesso the light-blinded, will no doubt strike the first stroke. He will strike, and in so doing, he will attempt to unite his remaining brothers behind him. And should he succeed, he will yet again maintain lordship and dominion over his undying brothers, enslaved to the throne to the end of time, their spirits slowly degenerating as they rise ever again from the grave.

And that must not be.

HE has come so close. He needs the willingly given fealty of the people of the world to take the fight to his TRUE enemy and already many support him. If Alesso solidifies his hold on the world, that will not come to pass. HE considers waiting, for he is usually cautious, but the threat is too great. The throne must either be held by somebody who has sworn fealty, or it must be destroyed.

Fortunately, that does leave him an opening. A small one, perhaps, yet an opening nevertheless.

He sends emissaries to all the remaining brothers save Alesso, and through them he speaks words of goodwill and intrigue. They are all tainted and ambitious, but their ambitions differ… In the end, he comes away with less than he hoped for yet more than he feared, and he acts.

He acts in haste, yet to not act would seal defeat in the long run, and that makes for desperate choice.

The vault beyond the night opens and his power floods back into him. There is no going back. His mortal shell bursts into flame and shadow as his fiery essence returns in full, and his chief ministers prostrate themselves before his glorious visage. He stretches forth his full might, a whisper of the power of the days of old, and half he sends against the spirits of evil, those “Fiends of the Hells” in all their delusional grandeur, and they suffer. And half he sends north to strike down Alesso’s fortified border, and he sinks a sizable portion of the mighty Chinese fleet, and aims a dreadful stroke at the Throne of Heaven itself. Unfortunately, the Throne holds, but it was probably too much to ask that the task be easy.

Darkfire strikes his capital of Mekong, launched by the spiteful Amzad, and HE watches interested as his army suffer, for the dark city of Daegûl is underground and suffers naught and his Spell of Warding saves most of the army save some 40,000 men, and then he laughs, for this power too he takes for his own and channels into the attacks on Alesso’s realm.

And he raises up another minor spirit of fire, and names it balrog in the memory of what was, and he tasks his two minor generals with holding the West and the South.

He dons his shadowy armour and draws his mighty black axe. Many decades has it been in the making, and it has not the strength he would have liked it to have, but it is enough. It will have to be.

From the deepest hall of Daegûl he marches to the surface, and the host marches with him. Outnumbered and outteched by Alesso’s China, he will stand on the defensive against the coming tide, and they will all fall before him. His is the knowledge of aeons of war and none of his opponents have his skills. Only through a fluke of luck can they hope to defeat him in battle. And yet – such does happen, at times, he knows full well. He is not great Melkor to know the end of all things. Thus he may fail.

And yet, for all his might he knows that the outcome of this war depends on his allies, his puppets, his enemies, and those who are undecided. If too many join Alesso, he will be defeated and forced to begin anew. He feels no fear at those thoughts, for fear has ever been alien to him, only resignation.

He calls his vassal to battle! As was agreed in secret, let him have the Throne, should victory be his or Gothmog’s!

He calls the undecided to battle! Let them destroy the throne or take it for their own should they win!


And as he turns his gaze north to the shadowy lands of China, he wonders whether he will be forced to reveal his hand at last by pulling the strings of his ignorant puppet, the one who stands in the light.
 

Swuul

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Gothmog contacted Alvaro. Gothmog told he had found a way, perhaps it was the Way Alvaro was looking for? After considering things for a moment or two Alvaro accepted Gothmog an audience.

Gothmog told how he had found out the a bit of the very essence of being human was lost every time one of the brothers were called back. Gothmog told the Priest King had found a solution to his problem; he found a family eager to find immortality, and put one of them guarding the Throne of Heaven. At the same time the Priest King tied the souls of the other brothers to the Throne too. As long as the Throne of Heaven stood, none of the brothers would be relieved from their eternal journey.

Alvaro told Gothmog he couldn't believe the Priest King would be so evil. Gothmog replied it was not evil as such, but a task the Priest King had had to do because of necessity.

Gothmog said he was sure the eternal journey would end when the Throne of Heaven was destroyed. But would that be the Way Alvaro was looking for, that Gothmog could not say.

Alvaro said to he will ponder Gothmogs words.



Alesso contacted Alvaro. Alesso was unsure of his coming way, he was looking for somebody to stand by his side. Alesso was not sure Gothmog was the true evil despite the words of Priest King. Alesso asked, would Alvaro stand by his side and fight together against Gothmog.

Alvaro told Alesso about the words of Gothmog. Alvaro told he had been pondering Gothmogs words, and that they did sound wise.

Then again, Gothmog had in the past lied or not told the whole truth. The Priest King had never, as far as Alvaro knew, lied to Alvaro.


Alvaro went silent for a few moments, and then said to Alesso:

Yes brother, I stand by you.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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The End of the Tale
- as told in-game -
(complete with diverse exclamations)

EVIL GM: Now, listen up, everybody, as we tell you a tale
GOOD GM: The Lair of the Demon is taken

Qutb: Qutb shall just run like a big girl

Reoyl: Reoyls soul is free!

GOOD GM: Gothmog is slain
EVIL GM: The bold armies of Alesso destroyed Gothmog's last army

Reoyl: I thank the alliance for lifting this terrible burden!

GOOD GM: The chains that bound Reoyl are broken
EVIL GM: and penetrated the deep halls of Daegûl

Alvaro: Alvaro was there too :)

GOOD GM: And for Qutb there shall be judgement

Qutb: I blame it on the Armour!

GOOD GM: Thankyou BROTHERS
EVIL GM: And with Gothmog is slain, a great shadow departed the world
GOOD GM: Thankyou for helping to free out world

Reoyl: Reoyl rejoices!

EVIL GM: and peace reigned.
EVIL GM: Well, when we say peace....

Alvaro: Hell no, now Qutb will suffer

EVIL GM: BISTAMI, corrupted by the forces of the hells

Qutb: Run Qutb, be free!

EVIL GM: continued his quest to feed their lust for blood

Bistami: hold it! what forces of the hells?

GOOD GM: And now my brothers I intend to depart this world. My task is done

Amzad: is bistami corrupted?

Bistami: ..apparently :s

Qutb: Qutb just wants to get back to Nippon

EVIL GM: Bistami, who had foolishly allowed himself to be entrapped by a non-descript monk claiming to represent 'The Powers That Are In India'. And who had offered freely of his blood...

Amzad: HAHA

Bistami: ....

EVIL GM: And who had felt his very soul invaded.

Bistami: not quite..

EVIL GM: Quiet, children, the story is NOT YET TOLD
GOOD GM: I had a good laugh when I read that conversation :)

EVIL GM: AMZAD, the Great Mughal

Amzad: Yes?

EVIL GM: Who believing himself to be acting in a good cause had leagued with the darkest powers of the earth, and had used dark sorcery, nearly to the same level as the banished Confucius

Amzad: even darker then those of Gothmog?

EVIL GM: His soul was beyond recovery. But he was victorious, and that is certainly a decent second best.

EVIL GM: REOYL, whose head was carried in a little box

Alvaro: Ah, the list of the damned :)

EVIL GM: And who had given his soul to Gothmog

Bistami: I deny all accusations!

EVIL GM: believed himself free at last, ready to ally himself again with the Dukes of Hell, who had offered him power in the past.
EVIL GM: And is that the list of the damned? Not quite....

Qutb: Saved the best for Last?

EVIL GM: One final tale remains to be told, or, perhaps too

Amzad: Qutb? :)

Bistami: Alvaro?

EVIL GM: TWO tales

Qutb: The Unkillable!

Bistami: :p

Alvaro: Alvaro always knew Qutb is evil

Reoyl: Alesso? :)

GOOD GM: Nah ALesso was the unkillable tonight ;)
EVIL GM: For the souls enchained by Gothmog were not found in Daegûl, and QUTB, that bastion of truth, the Mad Hatter, the warlord of pain and arbitrariness,
EVIL GM: Qutb, who wore a Shiny Armour

Qutb: 'twas very shiny

Alvaro: Shit, this begins to look bad, Alvaro alone...?

EVIL GM: An enchanted armour, given him by a shining being, to ward him gainst all evil. Weeeellll. Let us just say that Qutb's powers grew manifold that day...

Alvaro: and he used them to attack Alvaro, no doubt

EVIL GM: And if his mind was no longer entirely his own, well, it is not as if there was all that much to displace in the first case.

Qutb: lol, I know not wherver to laugh or cry

EVIL GM: And last of all ALVARO. The one brother who had stood against evil in all its forms. Does his story end here?
GOOD GM: Perhaps....
EVIL GM: Or is he the ONE brother who has a chance to stop Qutb's madness?

Alvaro: well, does it?

GOOD GM: But then perhaps not
EVIL GM: Alesso having fallen from grace long ago... Ah, well, THAT is another story, a story of the fifth age.
GOOD GM: For Alesso was tired of this world. Tired of the fighting, tired of the death and destruction
EVIL GM: The fifth Age: The Age of SHADOW.

Alvaro: Shadow Magic :p

EVIL GM: And thus it ends.

Reoyl: It makes sense to end here

Qutb: Was a most enjoyable game

Bistami: nonono! bad Reoyl!

EVIL GM: And know, children, beware greeks bearing gifts - and shining beings too.

GOOD GM: ...But that ending will have to wait a while... Could Alvaro be the successor? Or will the Priest King destroy the Throne?

Alvaro: Excellent ending!
Alvaro: ah shit

Bistami: Hey, I want to kill FAL!

Amzad: what?

Reoyl: Chagatai Khanate annexes China?

Qutb: Well Qutb remained alive... so thats a plus

Amzad: you are as evil as I am :)

GOOD GM: Stay tuned for the exciting sequal
EVIL GM: Coming soon to a computer near you...
 

Wyvern

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A meeting between Alesso and Alvaro, before the fires of Hell decended upon Southern China:

Alesso:
My brother; the Priest King tells me Gothmog organises an alliance of darkness against me. Can this be true? Gothmog who has never threatened Chinese lands? Though I would like to discount it I fear I cannot though I will not make the first move.

The Priest Kings says I must lead a host against Gothmog and smite down this demon, but I grow old and weary. This is not the life I want, the future I looked for. When this task is done brother I shall leave this place. The Throne shall be vacant and need a successor yet I cannot leave it empty for the likes of Reoyl to occupy. I sense the Priest King knows this, though I have not openly said, but in you brother I see my successor. You have both the fire to defend this world from the likes of Gothmog and the temperament to restrain yourself. Perhaps from the Throne you can find your Way. Perhaps this is the way?

Will you join me brother in the defense of our world. Will the horsemen stand by my side in the final hour?

Alvaro:
Gothmog has indeed contacted even Alvaro. Gothmog did not deny he has not been the Serene, but he also told me how the Priest King is the Guardian of the Throne of Heaven, and how it was convenient to find a family who wants to protect the Throne.

The words sounded wise to me.

But then I thought, the Priest King has never lied to me, but Gothmog has. The Priest King has told me I am close to finding the Way, and I want to believe him.

Alvaro detests Evil. Even though you have not always been lending me the support I would have needed, neither have you outright betrayed me.

So my brother: Yes, I do stand with you.

Alesso:
You think you see a tear trickle from the corner of Alesso's eye.

Thankyou brother.

Alvaro:
You are welcome. I will do what I feel is right to do

Alesso:
I have tried always to walk a delicate path. Not to abuse my power but to guide and nurture and lead my brothers away from evil. Sometimes I have failed yet I hope I have brought greater benefit overall. I hope my life has not been in vain....

Alvaro:
It has certainly not been in vain. I have always been sure I want to find the Way, but I have had difficulties following the path. Still I have always been sure I do not follow the roads of darkness. Still, you can only trust your instincts, and you could not have been sure of my motivations.

Alesso:
Aye - just for once I would like to be sure. Sure of my own path. But together brother I sense we are on the right path! You have given me hope on a day of darkness and for that I thank you. I know the way you seek can not be an easy one and that the Priest King has tried to guide you over the years. I also know that if anyone knows the way it is he; surely therefore even if you don't yet see it, he is guiding you along the path? I think perhaps in doing so he is also guiding me.