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Palchard

The God of Mischief, Cruelty, and Madness

0 · 2,581 views · located in Pandeum

a character in “Deities: The Gods of Pandeum”, as played by Seveneleven

Description

God

God Name: Palchard (Pilchurd, Pillcard, Picard, Pilchor, Pilcock, Philock, Pilfor, Palchol, Palchon, Pakkon)
Title: The God of Mischief, Cruelty, and Madness. Patron Deity of Criminals. The Trickster, The Deceiver, The Mad God, Underhand, Blackhand, He Who Laughs At Pain, King of the Black Carnivale
Gender: Male
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
God Appearance: Palchard takes on the form of what could only be described as a demented jester. His clothing is often pied with many different patterns such as checkers, stripes, or sometimes both. Like a jester, Palchard's face is covered in make-up that takes on various colors and designs depending on his mood. Even his hair looks like an art canvas as he often dyes it in many ostentatious colors like bright reds, greens, and blues.

Image

Personality: The Mad God is a man of many faces and emotions that change as sure as the seasons themselves. Of course, one would expect such tumultuous mood swings from the God of Madness. This often makes Palchard a difficult man to discern what his true intentions are. Most would assume that his intent is to deride and deceive, and while this is true, the opposite is also true. Palchard prides himself on being dubious, having others constantly guess at what his true motives are, and this only serves his already devious nature.

If one was to describe his personalty, the most obvious thing about him is his flamboyance. It's easy to single the Trickster God out, always wearing bright and buffoonish clothing. This is reflected in his outrageousness as a person often making jokes (usually bad ones) at everyone's expense. While the God may constantly laugh and smile he can easily switch to being violent and aggressive. His cruelty is well known for it's sadistic quality as the God performs many atrocities with glee (and a bit of showmanship).

An aspect of his personality that is sometimes downplayed is his intellect and cunning. Often dismissed as a madman it would seem that anything he does is random and clearly not well thought out. When in truth Palchard is as sly as they come and does take the time to contemplate, plot, and conspire. He may dress like a fool and he may act like one too but that is the last thing Palchard ever is.



Opinion of mortals: "Tiny lives, filled with tiny dreams and tiny minds. I do oh so love it! Nothing quite like tricking mortals into doing horrible things for you're own amusement! The best part is, there are those that praise me for it! Worship me for it! These are the people I like to give a guiding hand in to populating the world with delinquency, malfeasance-y, and indecency! After all being a God is a lot of work and I need my deviants to help spread my will!"

God’s Domain: Palchard's domain is the strange, mind-bending reality known as Mania. Here one would first notice the green sky and the purple earth but these would be the least of your concerns. The land itself seeks to ensnare the mind of it's visitors by casting convincing illusions. If that wasn't enough to make one wish to return home then the strange denizens would. Creatures like the weird amalgamation of wolf and goblin known as a Barghest or the peculiar dragon known as a Jabberwock are hostile to invaders.

Palchard lives within a palace known as Castle Deliria that stands atop the tallest, steepest, and most twisted mountain in all of Mania. Castle Deliria is built in an awkward fashion that defies normal logic and convention. Inside rooms appear randomly as long, incomprehensible hallways and stairwells that lead in every which direction appear in between. The towns found in Mania are also built in a similar disorienting fashion as the populace lies in wait to cause trouble to any who arrives. Beware the time of the Black Carnivale. It is when devilry reaches it's highest as the beings of Mania cross into other realities to cause mischief and mayhem.

Avatar Name: Gulbrand the Goblin King
Avatar Appearance: Image

Personality: Gulbrand is in many ways, different from his God. He maybe the avatar of mischief but rarely (if ever) does the Goblin King partake in mischief. The Goblin King is more concerned with wealth, power, and his own nefarious plots than he is with finding the time to be a nuisance. He rules his Goblin nation with an iron fist commanding both fear and respect, and they practically worship him for it. He is intelligent, cunning, and a very cruel warrior taking pleasure in the maiming and killing of his enemies.

Magic Abilities:
Goblin Fire: A magical ability that creates a wicked flame immune to water and smothering. Can only be stopped with magic.
Transform: Gulbrand has the magical ability to alter his appearance quite drastically. He can appear as an entirely different race or even appear as an animal.
Illusions: Gulbrand is able to cast illusions that befuddle and beguile the mind.
Teleport: Gulbrand is able to appear and disappear at will. Although he is limited to a small range of about 100 ft.
Fireport: A mixture of Goblin Fire and Teleport, Gulbrand is able to summon a portal made of fire to transport him across vast distances. The portal does not work however if one uses it to enter areas highly guarded with magic.
Summoning: He can summon forth creatures from Mania into Pandeum.
Poison Craft: Can create poison using magic.
Telepathy: Able to communicate with his followers telepathically.
Nilbogism: A "gift" he grants to his chosen that reverses adverse effects into curative ones. For example a strike from a sword would normally injure will instead heal. Yet on the downside remedies, healing spells and potions causes harm to the individual.


Hero(es): Malgrim Red-Eyes
Rank/Reason: Warchief. Perhaps the toughest Hobgoblin in the Goblin King's forces, Malgrim commands not only vast military forces but also governs territories underneath the Zzyxan banner.
Personality: Stoic, fearsome, and cruel. He is everything a Goblin should aspire to be.

Hero(es): Krillock the Elder
Rank/Reason: Warchief. The Eldest of the Krillock Brothers, is a seasoned warrior known for his love of gold and gemstones.
Personality: Tough, tempered, and greedy, Krillock the Elder has a love for gold and does go to great lengths to obtain more wealth. An ambitious Hobgoblin he seeks to make the Krillock name a dynasty in Goblin Society.

Hero(es): Krillock the Younger and Mangore
Rank/Reason: Warchief. Barghest. A deadly duo, Barghests are wild fiends found in Mania but as a gift for Krillock's impeccable service, Gulbrand summoned one forth as his companion.
Personality: The youngest of the Krillock brothers is an arrogant and boastful warrior. He concerns himself with his reputation and is ever hungry for more fear and respect. Mangore, being a lupine-goblinoid hybrid, acts little more than an animal but does hide a certain degree of intelligence.

Hero(es): Badhoc Slave-Master
Rank/Reason: Warchief. Known for his warrior slaves called the Reborn, Badhoc is the top military instructor available to the Goblin King.
Personality: An oddly well-traveled, worldly Hobgoblin, Badhoc has ventured beyond the Goblin lands to experience other countries and cultures. Taking the knowledge he's gained, Badhoc returned and rapidly became one of the the top Warchiefs in Zzyx. Badhoc's a shrewd and merciless warrior who has a knack for instruction and slaving.

Hero(es): Kan Wildborne
Rank/Reason: Warchief. Known for his ferocity in battle, Kan has the reputation of being the bloodiest Warchief in the Goblin King's employ. A beserker with an insatiable bloodlust, Kan will cut anything down with his twin axes.
Personality: Wild, brutal, and bold, Kan loves nothing more in the world than a good battle. He has the continuing desire to participate in bigger and bloodier battles only to prove himself as the strongest warrior in all of Zzyx.

Hero(es): Sogatz Treeclub
Rank/Reason: Warchief. A Bugbear possessing of massive strength, he is known for uprooting whole trees and using them as his weapon of choice.
Personality: While dimwitted for a Bugbear, Sogatz is nevertheless an enthusiastic member of the Goblin King's Warchiefs. A friend of Malgrim's, Sogatz is very protective and often fights alongside him in battle.

Hero(es): Holshank the Crafty
Rank/Reason: Military Commander. A Hobgoblin born with an enlarged cranium. Holshank was abnormally intelligent but an incredibly fierce warrior. His cunning and skill landed him as a top commander in the Goblin King's hordes.
Personality: Intelligent and fiercely loyal, he serves Gulbrand with savage devotion. He does everything he can to please both his Lord and God.

Hero(es): Zubor Giant-Killer
Rank/Reason: Champion. Among the Bugbears, Zubor was the largest of his kind. Using his incredible strength and durability he slew a Giant, making him an icon amongst the Goblinoids.
Personality: Brutal, Bloodthirsty, and Proud, Zubor is hungry to prove himself in battle and loves to take trophies for himself. Whether it be gold, concubines, gear, or status.

Hero(es): Ickit the Warforger
Rank/Reason: Engineer. Ickit is a smart Goblin that's skilled in weaponsmithing and design, thus making him one of the major engineers in the Goblin hordes.
Personality: Standoffish, stubborn, and demented. Ickit constructs cruel and dangerous weaponry in the hopes that one day they shall be used in warfare.

Hero(es): Lord Eberion Kelbourne
Rank/Reason: Crime Lord. Under the guise of a Human nobleman, Eberion is more than just the lord of a fiefdom, he is a lord of crime. Using his wealth, influence and connections, he helps to control all criminal activity within the hearts of Human empires.
Personality: Meticulous and methodical, sly and duplicitous, Lord Kelbourne rules his Criminal empire with an iron will.

Hero(es): Glekin the Chanter
Rank/Reason: High Shaman. Having a strong connection to the dark spirits of the earth, he sees them as agents of Palchard and thus invokes them to embolden and empower the many Goblinoids.
Personality: Fervent and fanatical, he uses his beliefs and oratory skills to enforce the Goblin King's doctrine with a religious flair.

Hero(es): Dorduken Wolf-Tamer
Rank/Reason: Raider. A Hobgoblin that is the master of the Mount and Spear. Dorduken has an affinity with the wild wolves and wargs of the land. He helps to capture these beasts and tame them for use as war mounts.
Personality: Sadistic, loves to inflict pain, misery and destruction. Whether it be a raid or a battle, Dorduken will be there to shed first blood.

Hero(es): Sarna War-Mother
Rank/Reason: Matriarch. Sarna is a She-Gnoll that's known for her pack of viscous Gnolls. While not Goblinoids, the Hyena-like race is favored by Palchard and thus Sarna does her best to represent this Mad God.
Personality: Viscous and feral with a wild cunning.

Hero(es): Kafka the Mad
Rank/Reason: Pyromancer. A combat mage specialized in fire magics, Kafka has an affinity for being crazy and is well-known and feared in the Goblin hordes.
Personality: As his title suggests, he is mentally unstable. Even so he can follow commands given to him as he carries them out with frenzied glee.

Hero(es): Kaeva the Shadow
Rank/Reason: Assassin. Quiet and deadly with a dagger, her approach is one that goes unnoticed by most until it is too late. This has made her one feared servant in the Goblin King's ranks.
Personality: Mysterious and mission-oriented, a woman of intrigue, she feels a degree of pleasure on sneaking up on unwary foes and stabbing them ruthlessly in the back.

Hero(es): Spymaster Jirub
Rank/Reason: Spymaster
Personality: The callous Jirub heads the King's spies as it's spymaster. He is a cold and ruthless killer but he is a paranoid Goblin; after all one does not become spymaster without killing a few spies himself.

Hero(es):
Rank/Reason:
Personality:

Hero(es):
Rank/Reason:
Personality:

Terrain Preference: The Goblins are known to live in dry, grassy, badlands with jagged mountains serving as their back drop. Their towns and cities are testaments to Goblin ingenuity, covered in metal, wood, and smoke. Despite the machinery one may see, the very designs of these places seem haphazard at best. Then there are some that live underground, deep within the mountains, mining for resources to fuel the horrid Goblin war machine.

Name of Kingdom/Empire: The Kingdom of Zzyx

Capital: Earthrend

Major Cities: Greskine

Port Hatchet

Deephold

Society:

[People]

Goblinoids- The main populace of Zzyx and Palchard's mortal race. Typically when other races hear the word Goblin they tend to think of small, green, irritating ankle-biters. While Goblins are that and more, Goblinoids however is a term for a wider range of beings. Goblinoids include Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Bugbears.

Goblins
Image

The common race seen in Zzyxan society. They are small in stature but make up for it in deviousness and cruelty. They are mischievous, vile, creatures that love to cause pain upon others and sometimes to each other. They also have a knack for invention and love to construct machines and weapons that reflect both their intellect and malevolence.

Goblins perform a wide range of duties in Zzyxan society. They are engineers, alchemists, soldiers, assassins, miners, smiths, builders, spiritual leaders, sorcerers, and government officials. So long as a Goblin is smart and willing to work they have a place in society. Those that are a bit on the dumb end, well even they have their place as test subjects, cannon fodder, and target dummies.

Hobgoblins
Image

Taller, stronger, and hardier than their smaller kin, if Goblins are the backbone then the Hobgoblins are the head. Hobgoblins are militaristic, industrious, and as cruel as they come. The Hobgoblins drive Zzyxan society towards war and expansion, often being the guiding hand over Goblin invention. They serve not only as the bulk of the Goblin Army, but also as it's top commanders, strategists, and warriors. They are mostly generals or top government officials in society.

Bugbears
Image

Bugbears are the largest and the strongest of all the Goblinoids. This race is kin to Goblins and Giants representing the best of both races. Strength and size mixed with cunning and ambition. Bugbears are known to be excessively violent finding any job, outside of combative roles, as boring. Bugbears mostly serve as soldiers, guards, and mercenaries. Bugbears also have a strange fascination with fame and often seek challenges to enlarge their status in society. They often become champions of their people dealing in feats of strength, survival, hunting, combat, and warfare.

____________

Gnolls
Image

Living on the fringes of Goblin society are the other favored race of Palchard, the Gnoll. Based on the cruel and sly hyena, the Gnoll personifies mischief on a more primal level. The Gnolls have a natural instinct and cunning but fall short in intellect compared to the Goblins. The Gnolls are more tribal and are not suited to the large, industrial cities the Goblins live in. The Gnolls have their own system of government based on Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Packs. They ally themselves with the Goblins but dislike their tendency to take advantage of them. Yet they are fierce warriors with a skill for raiding and ambushes.


[Economy]

The Economy of Zzyx is based mainly on industry and war. Goblins are avid miners that burrow deep within the earth to search for minerals and ore. The main currency of Zzyx is Gold, Silver and Precious Stones. The Goblins own a special mint where they create a crudely shaped, gold coin called Bits. The highest value Bit is the Piece while the lowest value Bit is the Niblit.

A big economic factor of Zzyx is industry, whether it be in construction, weapons, or technology. The Goblins build large mills and foundries that spew horrible amounts of pollution and waste. The Goblins often dispose of this waste at the cost of once untainted land. Being a cheap bunch, Goblins will reuse and recycle materials to the point of dilapidation.

The second biggest factor is warfare. The Goblins are a war-mongering society that largely deal in the building of arms and siege technologies. Goblins build these war machines in hopes of conquering more land and adding that land's resources to their own. The Goblins are not always stingy and do seek out opportunities to sell their arms to other races at war. Of course Goblin Tech is notorious for being unpredictable and shoddy, leading many to believe that the Goblins are inept as weaponsmiths. The truth is that the Goblins like to give their hand-me-downs before they sell their new wares. They usually do it out of humor or spite but also because they're parsimonious. Gold is a big persuader and enough of it will make the Goblins willing to trade their better arms. It is in these instances that Goblin Tech shines and makes other's aware of their capability.

Since the Kingdom is split up into divisions of land called Territories, each Territory generates wealth based on whatever resources the land may own. All wealth made must be given to the King who places it inside the Sovereign Hoard. From there the wealth is redistributed back into all the Territories. All trade agreements are made by the King with help from the Chief Hoarder. Warchiefs cannot make trade agreements with other nations but can make suggestions or inputs if their land's resources is the object of trade. Whether or not this will be considered is ultimately up to the King. All Warchiefs and their Territories start with a standardized grant. A Warchief may be awarded more wealth for him and his Territory based on land gain. They may also be awarded more wealth from monies earned from their Territory's product or resource.


[Politics]

Goblin politics will never be known for breakthroughs in diplomacy. They aren't the most compromising or cooperative and are definitely not known for peaceful resolutions. Yet the Goblins understand the values of deals, barters, arrangements and treatises and will respect certain documentations. It really depends on whether or not these things interfere with their interests as a nation and as a race. They may be prone to war but that doesn't mean they will always attack. The Goblins are susceptible to bribe and could be paid off for a time. However, they do not take perceived slights and inconsiderations lightly and will break any purchased peace if appeasements are not made.

The Goblins are not opposed to alliances in times of war. So long as their assistance is richly rewarded they can be a powerful ally to another nation's conquests. They are also not opposed to open trade depending if relations are good and the participating nation has something they want. In short, Goblin politics is very self-inclined. If their wants are not being made they have an inclination to break relations, and even betray their allies in lieu of better offers. Caution should always be made when dealing with Goblins.

Goblin government is first and foremost an autocracy. The Kingdom of Zzyx is ruled by the Goblin King and all final decisions are made by him. Yet since Zzyx may in fact hold multiple regions at any given time, Gulbrand has allowed some of the power and responsibility be shared with the Warchiefs. Not only do they act as the commanding generals in times of war but also serve as governors over designated regions dubbed Territories. While the Warchiefs do lord over these provincial governments, that said office's power can be revoked at any given time by the Goblin King for any reason he deems fit. The Warchiefs primary duty is to subjugate and enforce the laws and rule of the Goblin King over their charted Territory. The Warchief may impose additional laws over his Territory but only if it does not conflict with previously established laws. All new laws must be notified to the King for approval before implementation.

The Warchiefs may in fact hire aides to further compartmentalize responsibilities for better effectiveness. These range from Chancellors, to Ambassadors, to Secretaries, and Adjudicators. The Warchief may also have war aides, like Commanders and Lieutenants. Sometimes a Territory may be quite vast and in order to ensure that the King's will be done, Warchiefs may divide their Territory into what is known as Wards. These portions are controlled locally by a Warden and these Wardens are appointed by the Warchief.

A peculiar power the Warchiefs own is the ability to wage war themselves. Since a Warchief has his own standing army, he has the capability to do so. This usually occurs when a Warchief wishes to expand his Territory, but he can only declare war if approved by the King. A Warchief however cannot wage war against another Warchief. A Warchief may aide another Warchief in their endeavors but usually at the cost of sharing any land won. If the Goblin King wishes to declare war then all Warchiefs and their forces must focus their efforts on the King's foe, regardless if a Warchief is currently at war. If that does happen then the Warchief must cease all action and retract his troops, giving up any new land won in the process. If a Warchief loses his personal war he is stripped of rank and if his Territory is lost, it must be reclaimed. All forces must assist in the reclamation and once reclaimed the Goblin King appoints a new Warchief. If the Goblin King wins his war the new lands go through registration, then divided up into Territories, and finally a Warchief is appointed for each new Territory. If invaded without any provocation from either a Warchief or the Goblin King, all forces must assist in repelling the invasion. Then all forces will follow up with a counter-invasion.



Other: Despite not being made by Palchard, the God does have a fondness for Humankind. Their openness makes it easy for him to corrupt them to his way of thinking. So his name is often associated with criminality since Palchard encourages trouble-making and rule-breaking.

So begins...

Palchard's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: Astria Character Portrait: The Breeder Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Symphonia Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores Character Portrait: Devi the Peace Bringer Character Portrait: Archanian Character Portrait: Nike
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Grandmother and the Green Woman - The Enchanted Forest

“Unyielding is my rage.” The Green Woman shook her head defiantly, several butterflies and honeybees fluttering up from her wild hair. “The Green Skin Termites gnaw at my woods.” Her eyes flashed with all the rage of a forest fire. Her fists were clenched on Grandmother’s table, moss and vines growing where her flesh made contact with the surface. “Whether by beast or thorn or hunger or rot, death will come for each Green Termite in my forest.”

“Even termites have their place, my dear.” Grandmother’s dress skimmed the ground as she walked around the table, setting down a loaf of bread and bowl of cream before her guest. She made her way to another chair and as she sat, her bones creaked and groaned like the limbs of the Great Oak.

“Not these termites.” She leaned back into her chair, orange and blue flowers blooming from her shoulder blades. “They eat and eat until they are eaten.” Although the goblins had the Unseelie Queen’s blessing to tear down her trees and build their metal monstrosities, the Green Woman would have the final say. They were disgusting, but the king had to admit they were resilient. Even after she drained the goblin lands of plant life, their thirst for conquest remained insatiable.

“Goblins aren’t the ones suffering.” Grandmother’s voice became stern, her eyes as hard as stone. “Your famine will push all of Pandeum to the brink of chaos.” Dull aching pain flared up in her joints. She cracked her spindly fingers in an attempt to relieve herself. “I have seen it.” Grandmother leaned back in her chair, letting out a disappointed breath. “Children will suffer.”

“Children need not fear me.” The Green Woman sat up, a snarl on her lip.

“Children are starving.” Grandmother waved her hand over the table, images of emaciated corpses carving themselves into the wood. “You have taken their fruit and their grain. When the last of their cattle die from hunger, you will have taken their meat and milk and hides. And that is only the beginning.” The carvings cracked and changed, showing pillagers with weapons raised and families butchered for bags of grain. Grandmother sighed. “Hunger tends to bring out the worst in mortals.”

A tear rolled down the Green Woman’s cheek, but her features remained hard. “My judgement is hard, but justified.”

Grandmother slammed her hand on the table. “How? Why would you punish the world for the crimes of the goblins and the Unseelie?”

“They all have lost respect!” The Green Woman rose suddenly, causing the insects in her hair to swarm ferociously. “They have left the earth scorched and rivers poisoned. They fall entire forests and erect idols of iron and steel.” Her voice rumbled and Pandeum shook form the withering fields of the Republic to the blood stained plains of the Kurnosian Hordes. She walked towards the doorway, flowers blooming from the ground with each step she took. She turned back to Grandmother, sorrow in her eyes. “They have forgotten, but will remember that The Wilds bend to no mortal.” And with that, the Green Woman was gone.

Grandmother shook her head, reaching across the table to grab the bowl of cream. She drank it as fast as she could, wiping some dribble from the corner of her mouth after it was empty. She sighed loudly, sending a gust of wind throughout the Enchanted Forest. Her voice rode the breeze, sending her message to every god in Pandeum.

"I'm sorry, but the famine will not end today."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: Astria Character Portrait: The Breeder Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Symphonia Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores Character Portrait: Devi the Peace Bringer Character Portrait: Archanian Character Portrait: Nike
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Kurnos well, he sat in a quiet giggle, as quiet and as cute he could be. Seated upon one of the bleached pillars he gazed out at seemingly absolutely nothing. Small ponds of different views circling him, they all displayed different things, one was of a burning hamlet, another on an orc who had recently escaped his slavers, now surrounded by the men and preparing to face them down. Kurnos one bright pupil glanced at the different images, but only a passing one. He was staring out over the empty landscape, thought filling him until his voice finally rung out across his domain. Of course, there wouldn't be any one to listen, atleast not to his knowledge.

"The mother is mad, angry, wrathful. Suppose I'm not the only one who's proud of her. Putting down her foot like this, it's rather impressive, who'll pay her a visit in order to make idle threats, and lowly attempts at deals? I'll play the rebellious role" He chuckled, that was a rather amsuing thought considering how much she held onto her motherlike tendencies "They will endure, I know that, and they know that I know that, of course at the cost of others, wonder if they'd try and reason with, me"

He swung his arm up, immediately shattering one of the small visions, making it dissipate around his arm like mist."Now that, that'd be foolish" Placing his other hand he took a nifty jump of the pillar, causing him to plunge down several hundred meters before hitting the blank polished marble floor with surprisingly enough not as much as a thud. He took a few strides towards another one of the pillars, still lost in thought.

The Black march was drawing near, the harsher the famine gets, the more ferociously will the hordes plunder. But perhaps, he should enact the March sooner, that'd certainly stirr the world, and make the Mother see the errors of her way...






Yogosh had been out for too long, he could practically hear Kazrak's nagging even though he had decided to stay in the capital,
"Someone needs to make sure they don't all kill eachother" as he said, and he was certainly right in that. The entire horde was in uproar, not like that was unusual, byt the sudden lack of food had forced practically most of the population to go out on raids. The few merchants who did have access to food definitely didn't think that Qaasal was the best place to start selling.

He himself, was aiding his people of course. Leading a warhost he was crossing Pandeum towards The Republic of Solaras, if there was one place with enough food, then it'd be there. With a roar he swung his cleaver of his back, pointing it towards the sky, immediately reinforced by many more raised weaponry.

This was interesting, the horde fought valiantly now, this wasn't to climb the heirarchy, it was to surivive.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Archanian
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"I'm sorry, but the famine will not end today."

The breeze blew into the Grand Smith's shop through the open window, carrying this message. An elder man stopped his hammering on the forge, and looked outside his window, as if searching for answers. "The Green Woman's ire will divide the gods and mortals alike," the man sighed. He placed his current piece back into the forge and stood from his seat at the anvil. So, Archanian, what part will you play in the coming months, the God asked himself, scratching his bald head as if sorting his thoughts.

Archanian had seen many wars, famines, and massacres in his time, and though his art flourished during times of war, he never truly took pleasure in seeing disagreements scale into battles and armies. His thoughts then drift back to the rebellion among the Gods, the long nights at his forge crafting one deity or another some armor or weapon. While he enjoyed his work, and even added personal and individual touches to each beings piece, he never understood what would cause his fellow Gods and Goddesses to wield these arms against one another. Of course, there had always been squabbles, petty grudges and fights over some disagreement, but the scale of that war was incredible.

But, like all wars, it passed. The time of now is different, the Green Woman likely angered at the mortals' treatment of their world. They are interesting and innovative creatures, but they are indeed wasteful. In that regard, Archanian understood, and even agreed with the Oakborn, but starving them would only drive them to greed, war, and even more consumption, and henceforth waste.

And of course, among those affected would certainly be his Dwarves, though they keep surplus supplies stored for harsh moments, they would certainly fall under attack from others looking for those stores. "I must speak to the others, at least those who might listen," Archanian decided aloud. He turned then, and gathered his armor and axe.

"But who to begin with?"

_____________________________________________________________


"Everenda, mining expeditions already have a platoon of soldiers for this very reason, adding more would only-"

"Increase the expedition's defenses against raiding parties."

The Dwarven King Draggnan rubbed his eyes, irritated, "It would reduce the number of available troops here," he argued to his wife. "And if the goblins have gotten bolder in their attacks on our mining runs, what's to say they won't try the city?" Draggnan persisted. He loved his wife, truly, but she was as stubborn as any Dwarf.

"So you're suggesting that we leave those Dwarves who we depend on to mine in a position to be attacked more often, more violently, and more succesfully," Everenda said with a look of success on her face. She knew Draggnan couldn't leave his fellow Dwarf in the knowledge that he could have helped. The Dwarven King was pinned, he needed to be sure of the defense of his cities, but he couldn't let the mining clans continue to be forced into a retreat under goblin attacks. "Rongarr, post another platoon with every mining trip," Draggnan instructed his High General with a grumble of defeat.

Later in the day, after the King and Queen had retired to their chambers, Draggnan sat wondering what would cause this sudden aggression...well, increase in aggression from the goblins. While it's true that their races had never gotten along, the ferocity and frequency of attacks have increased in recent times. What would be the cause, he wondered.

"Draggnan!," his wife's voice tore him from his thoughts. "What's wrong? You're not still upset about earlier, are you?" Everenda asked, moving to sit next to her husband. The King chuckled at that, "No, no, you made a fair point. What worries me is why the goblins have become so aggressive as of late."

Everenda thought for a moment, "Well, they could have a new leader, or be running short of supplies, or possibly they just need to get some irritability out. They're goblins, honey, they don't require much need to do anything." Draggnan supposed those were all possible, but he wanted to be sure. "I need to know, the security of the Dwarven people depends on my being informed. Everenda, my love, I'm going to travel to the surface," the King said, as he stood and moved to gather his things. "Draggnan, there's no need to endanger yourself like that," his wife argued. He knew she would, "Everenda, I need to know what is happening on the surface to cause the goblins to act like this. And as much as I trust the scouts, I feel as though I am called to the surface, as if there's something that I'm supposed to see, or find."

So it was decided, Draggnan donned his armor, sharpened his axe, and enlisted a few Royal Guards to accompany him. He kissed his wife goodbye, and began his journey to the surface.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: The Breeder Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores
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 Initially, Dolores was frustrated by the childish tantrum that led to this most recent Famine. With crops failing to grow through the land, everyone was feeling the pressure even her cultists. However, Dolores did not voice her displeasure. No, she was much more patient than that. As she had done since creation, she spectated and as the time past and the chess pieces moved on the board, the Dark Lady saw the error in her initial judgement. There was little threat to her own followers by this famine. Sure, the price of food went up but her cultists, many of whom were actually the wealthy and influential nobles of nations, displayed their cunning. They flaunted their wealth and purchased grain. They continued to purchase it, in bulk, in it’s purest form and in less quality bags with bugs still in them. And, through Deleites, she encouraged them.

“Grain will be worth more than Gold and Diamonds, buy it all and hoard it to yourselves!” He would exclaim.

“Travel to the more fortunate lands where it is dirt cheap, buy it in bulk and return to your homes but do not share your newfound fortune! Guard it jealously! We shall outlast this calamity with full bellies and then we shall sell! We shall replace entire oceans with the coin we will earn at the end!”

It was impressive, what mortals would do to preserve their own comfort, to better themselves and only themselves. Yet there was an issue. As the days went on, banditry rose. Dolores did not care for her followers in that sense, some of the bandits were employed by them to aid them acquire the goods without having to actually pay for them! However with more and more people succumbing to starvation, it would not be long before the nations used force to acquire the means to sustain their people. Perhaps Dolores was really a Fox made into a God? For even this she sought to manipulate.

Her people purchased their grain cheapest from the Republic. Solaras was not completely unaffected by the famine but they were always the agricultural powerhouse of the known world. If anyone had a surplus of food in a time like this of course it was them. Dolores could see them, the Republic of Solaras, looking out from behind their borders, jealously guarding a steadily dwindling surplus of food while their neighbors starved. She imagined soon enough, they would restrict the trade of crops to extend their own supply. Now would anyone dare to battle them? Of course. Desperation brought out the worst and the best in mortals.

With a motion, the husk known as Deleites appeared before her. It collapsed to its knees and she, a masked shadow, moved towards him. “Dark Lady...what is your bidding?”.

“Inform the Cultists of a vision you had from me, tell them soon the markets of foreign nations will not permit them to purchase. They will try to hoard what is left for themselves and those that run out first will go to war. A war may be on it’s way even as we speak… We shall see what I can make of it.”.

The Husk, with it’s head still facing towards the ground, responded to her. “I will tell them your words, M’lady.”.

With Deleites gone, the Lady of Dark Delights set out to put her plan into motion. She must first delay any conflict that would deter the profiteering of her followers for as long as she could while at the same time ensuring that the continuation of the Famine to an extent. It was a delicate balancing act she was performing. War was unavoidable if the famine persisted and once that occurred her plans may become complicated. However if the famine suddenly ended, her followers may not be able to maximize on profit. Surely this was something that would be easier with allies and allies she would seek out. First she would go to those most likely to listen to her, those who despite having different views from her, shared common ground in allegiance.

The ones who, like her, were portrayed as evil. Palchard, an unpredictable God whom despite his lack of consistency, Dolores was quite fond of him. Perhaps he could be convinced to aid her in her endeavor. Then there was Breeder. Dolores and him had no quarrels that she could recall but she was also did not recall them really working together in anything either. It was only natural once one analyzed them why this was so. Dolores normally only spectated and went with the flow of whatever it was that transpired and in the long term, Entropy would see his experiments come to an end... Breeder Argan preferred a much more hands on approach compared to her and was too enamored by his breeds to see the grandness of the end game as she did. If she wanted to collaborate with him, she would need to discover his desires and appeal to them. Lastly and perhaps her least favored option was Kurnos. Undeath was a concept that betrayed Dolores’s purpose. Kurnos never truly proceeded in his matters in such a fashion as to directly oppose Dolores but the potential was there. If everything came to an end...Undeath could make a new beginning... It was because of this possibility that she heralded him as her second biggest threat, the larger one being the Creator God, Archanian. Yet perhaps...if only this once...Undeath and Entropy could see eye to eye?

Dolores prepared her messages. Each God in question would receive one and she would see them, if they permitted, according to how they responded.

To the God of Mischief:
“Palchard, my dear, have you found sufficient amusement during these ‘famined’ times? I believe I have stumbled upon something very amusing but I would require your aid if I wished to truly enjoy this. I am certain you too would delight in the mischief that will follow.”

To the Breeder Argan:
“Breeder Argan. Did you leave us for good, I would surely hope not for no good would come of it… A childish tantrum has caused a most unpleasant Famine in the mortal realm, as I am sure you know. Yet I and mine do not know the meaning of suffering nor are we inconvenienced by the foolishness of the lesser Liar Gods...if you so wished I could make it so you too gained much from this but if you are not interested, I’ve no quarrels with not sharing the fruit of my labour.”

To the Keeper of Undeath:
“Kurnos...no doubt this famine is a weight upon the backs of your followers but I have a proposition. My followers do not suffer despite the great suffering that has befallen the mortal realms. Instead, they saw an opportunity and are making the most of it and in hopes of exploiting this as much as possible, I seek to collaborate with you. Perhaps this plan of mine may not seem suitable for you at first but I assure you, once you know of all it’s details, you will see what will be lose will be severely outweighed by what we gain.”

It was then that Dolores heard the words of the Oakborn. “I am sorry, but the famine will not end today.”

“I see nothing but Good coming from this. Perhaps not in the coming days but surely the mortals will learn from this…” She encouraged. “Stay on course, Face of the Oak...not all of the Gods can see as far as we can…”.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores Character Portrait: Archanian
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Palchard - Mania - Castle Deliria - Throne Room



"Oh! What fun it is to see a slaying come to-night!!" He sung as he laid back in his throne, suspended in mid air. The God of Mischief peered through a vision that lies before him like a TV screen. There, he saw millions of random acts of violence and misfortune between mortals of all shapes and sizes, races and creeds. This famine had certainly placed many down the path of madness, and oh, what a joy it was to see his very will be done by so many others, not including his Goblins. Palchard merely laughed and laughed some more as he saw a man kill an entire family just so he could feed his own. He could almost cry it was that glorious.

As he and his throne twirled in mid-air, the Mad God held out his goblet for it to be refilled. An Imp, carrying a pitcher of wine, flew on tiny wings next to his demented Lord to pour him a glass. Despite being upside down the liquid flowed neatly into the cup defying what gravity would deem impossible. But ignoring such laws of physics is commonplace in the Realm of Mania, nothing is what it seems and contrary wise everything is what it seems. Partaking in his beverage of choice, Palchard continued to watch as madness began to seep into every corner of Pandeum.

"Hail, Lord Palchard! God of Mischief! King of the Black Carnivale, Master of All Mayhem!" The very call echoed throughout the wall-less room. Palchard peers from the corner of his eye to see the flamboyant dancing of one of his Hellequins. Dressed in what looked like a full white body suit with markings based on poker card suites. His face was covered but the slits for the eyes and mouth were dark like the abysses of Apocaleam, as his mouth extended into an exaggerated demonic grin. "What do you want? Can you not see that I am in the midst of my entertainment?" Palchard responded with a less than amused tone.

"Apologizes my Lord but a message comes from the Goddess of Entropy." He chuckled. Palchard swung upright and around to face his hellish servant. "Ah, really know? What does Dolores want with me?" He asked as he held out his free hand. The Hellequin tossed the letter that Palchard effortlessly catches. He places his goblet down as he opened the letter with his sharp finger nail. The Clown-Faced God read the letter as he rubs his pointy chin in intrigue. "Hm, should I respond I wonder?" He asked to himself. Palchard then absent-mindedly looks at his wrist for a wristwatch he doesn't even own. "Why not!? I have all the time in the world!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!" He proclaims. He then tosses the letter back to the Hellequin returned in the same manner as before he opened except this time it contains his response.

"Send this message to dear Dolores and don't be a moment too soon." He ordered. His servant then bowed before twirling and leaping away. Palchard then turned in his seat to continue watching the chaos unfolding in the Mortal Realm. Soon Dolores will be informed of his answer as the new message reads,

"Dearest Dolores,

Many thanks are in order! Not many would be so kind as to write, well, something kind to one such as I. Though that hardly bothers moi, after all people write many an amusing thing when upset. Yes, I am quite amused at the turmoil befalling the Realm of Pandeum, quite exquisite madness occurs when one is feeling hungry, as I am sure you've noticed my Dark Lady. I hope to hear your response soon, Dolores, for I am most curious to see what Mischief you seek to wrought.

Sincerely Mad,

Palchard, God of Mischief."


____________________________________


Goblin Camp - Enchanted Forest - Pandeum


On the far ends of the Enchanted Forest the sounds of industry could be heard roaring throughout the green wood. There, large pillars of smoke slither above the forest canopy as the smell of pollution begins to taint the air. Within the thick of it are the Goblins causing rampant deforestation as more and more soldiers begin to invade the once, tranquil woodlands, with swords and machines. Yet deeper within the woods lies one of the many forward camps, here, many Goblin warriors and laborers work the land as they seek to make an exit route for the inevitable invasion of Grimmshire.

"Work and toil, work and toil, work and toil! Bah! I've grown rather tired of work and toil, how about you!" Asked a Goblin woodcutter. "Aye! All of this work has become a wretched, bloody bother!! We fell trees, saw trees, and ship trees from camp to camp and for wot? To see more bloody trees spring up from the very roots we've cleaved!?" Respond the Goblin next to him. "Quite right, quite right. We've been at this miserable camp for three bloody weeks with nothing to show for it!!!" The Goblin shouted. "Oi! Shut it or I'll send you for a right flogging!!!" Shouted their Hobgoblin taskmaster as he whipped the two. "Right, right, we are sorry, quite sorry!" The Goblins squealed resuming their tireless work.

Elsewhere in the camp more chatter is being exchanged by the many Goblin soldiers. "To be honest mates, I haven't the foggiest idea wot the Goblin King is thinking working with the Fairies." A Hobgoblin speaks around the campfire. "Oi, shut it. Don't let the Captain hear you question the King, lest you're seeking to have your head chopped off!" The Soldier next to him speaks. "I know, I know but hear me out mates. I understand we need more resources because of this bloody famine but ally ourselves with the Fairies!? And, no, I don't care if they are Unseelie...me Mum always told me to never trust a Fairy!" He finished. "Aye, I don't like it much either but we need these lunds lest we starve." Another Hobgoblin spoke.

***

"I don't like scouting out here in the Dark Forest....I swear these trees are moving." A Goblin spoke. "Of course they move! They are growing aren't they!?" A Goblin shouted. "I bloody know that! Wot I mean is they move just like we do! Walking on legs they are!" He exclaimed. "Bah! You are so gullible, believing in Fairy Tales! Trees don't move like people do." A Hobgoblin spoke belittling his Goblin comrade. "I ain't so sure of it. I know I saw a meadow when we first got 'ere, now it's gone!" "It's because all the trees look the same, trust me, patrolling a lund with looks that don't change will mess with your head after a'while." The Hobgoblin reassured. "Well, I still don't like it...who knows what's lurking in those woods." The Goblin spoke with reservation.



____________


Goblin Outpost - Abandoned Underground Mine - Pandeum



Deep beneath the Earth, there is a battle raging underground between the Dwarves of Milsgaan and the Goblins of Zzyx. Thus far it's been a war of attrition, with the Goblins steadily pushing in on Dwarven territory. Unfortunately for them the Dwarves are a sturdy and stubborn bunch that won't give in even in the face of death. Yet the Goblins have set up a major outpost in one of the many mines they have claimed from the Dwarves. Here, they've been gathering what riches they could find and have forward them to other outposts on the surface. Just as soon as more gold and jewels have been sent, a steady supply of soldiers have come in it's place. Soon, they will push the offensive and try to dig deeper till they reach the mining city of Deepwreach.

"Oi, have you head about wot's been going on, on the surface?" The Hobgoblin asked his fellow guardsman as they patrolled the rampart. "Aye, I've heard the Goblin King has allied himself with the bloody Fairies." He responded. "It must be some kind of joke right? Never would the Goblin King ally himself with any bloody Soft Skin, 'specially the Fairies." "Hmph, it must be dark days indeed if we need Fairies to help conquer more lunds." The Hobgoblin grumbled. "Do you think we'll have to pull out because of it?" The Guardsman asked. "No, the Goblin King wants what the Dwarves have more than anything! No way would he abandon this conquest altogether!" "You're right, stupid question of me to ask."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Devi the Peace Bringer Character Portrait: Archanian
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Archanian's things were gathered, and he had determined who to speak with first. With the sound of hammer on forge, a gateway opened in front of the elder God. He stepped through, and found himself within the temple in Swarga Loka. One of the nearby monks looked at Archanian, seemingly surprised by the God's sudden appearance.

"I request an audience with her Lady of Peace."





"Consul Orsini? Ha! What took ye so long to come back, didn't want to bump yer head on the doorways?" the Dwarven guard called over the messenger to the Consul, having seen him on his previous visits, "Come on in, bring yer guards n' whatnot, it's been some time since we've had visitors." Once the Dwarf had finished his invitation, the great gates groaned open.

"Yer lucky, ye are Consul, King Draggnan's on 'is way up, so you won't 'ave to wait as long fer yer meetin'," the same Dwarf said, escorting the Consul's group. He led them through a few streets within Rednaag, some of the local Dwarves greeting the travelers, and some of the kids running up to the Dwarven guard, to receive a pat on the head and a whisper to 'hurry along now'. The guard led the visitors into the main hall within Rednaag, and eventually turned into a very official-looking meeting room, "'Ere ye are, lads. It's no throne room, but unless ye want to make the trip all the way down to Hangrynn, this'll suit the King nicely, an he's sure to be 'ere soon enough. Other than that, is there anything I could help ye with? Drink perhaps?"





As King Draggnan arrived in Rednaag, a messenger greeted him. "My King, there are visitors from the Republic who've requested an audience with you," the messenger said, bowing his head. "And who from the Republic would grace us with their presence?" Draggnan asked. "One Consul Crassus Draco Orsini, my King."

"Crassus! It's been too long, what brings my friends from the Republic here to my humble kingdom?" King Draggnan said, entering the room that the Consul's group is in. He extended his hand to the diplomat with a large smile under his beard.





Queen Everenda was sat back upon the throne, in the wake of an 'imperative report'. As the scout in question entered the throne room, she began speaking with severe urgency, "My Queen, the goblins have amassed large numbers of troops in several of our mines, recently overtaken through their assaults. We believe they are preparing for a major offensive on one of the cities, possibly Dettrann's storehouses." Everenda shifted on her throne, taking a moment to process this, "Rongarr, what do you believe to be the goblins' target?"

The High General burrowed his brow, and took a moment to think over the situation. "While it is possible that their target is Dettrann, I doubt the goblins are stupid enough to attempt an assault there. The city is guarded by battalions of our best men and women, and sheer numbers won't be enough to overtake them. Currently, they've only attacked our mines, likely for the very same ores we were there for. They're amassing resources for an even larger assault, I'd wager. As for where, I couldn't say."

Everenda thought over this information very carefully, attempting to think of what the goblins' plans could be. Draggnan was right, she thought, we need to know what's causing this, then we may decipher their plans. The silence in the throne room hung for a moment before the Queen spoke up, "Recall all nonessential mining expeditions, and double the guards on the remaining ones. Also, Rongarr, send your elite squad of warriors to Deepwreach. We need to armor all of our vitals."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Archanian
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Maeve Blackward, High Queen of the Unseelie Court



As an elderly fairy lord hobbled before Maeve’s throne, an unnatural smile curled the queen’s lips. She swirled a goblet of cream in her hand, the contents churning like a violent white sea. A large raven was perched on her shoulder, watching as the old fairy kneeled.

“Greeting, High Queen Maeve.” The lord’s yellowing front teeth stretched far past his top lip and were razor sharp. He looked up at her through the large obsidian orbs sitting in his sunken face. His robes, although they were of the finest silk, were torn, tattered, and faded.

“Lord Understar.” She nodded towards him and raised her drink. “I am honored to receive a legend among the Unseelie.”

As he chuckled, Understar wheezed slightly. He rose, his ancient bones cracking as he stood. “Thank you, my queen. But it’s been centuries since anyone has thought of me as a legend.”

“Nonsense.” Maeve waved a hand dismissively. Her eyes seemed to flicker with admiration. “When I was growing up, my mother told me of the Scourge of the Seelie. He who defeated all of her knights and nearly bested her in combat.”

“Honestly,” He smiled, revealing rows of pointed teeth. “At the time, Freya was young and untested in true combat. Even in my glory days, your mother as she is now would pound me into paste.”

Maeve smiled. Of course, she knew that to be true. Freya was one of the most powerful warriors either court had ever seen. Even Maeve, an incredibly powerful mage by any race’s standards, was swiftly defeated when she challenged her mother to a Shee Gaell. But, as humble as Lord Understar was, she could almost taste the magic emanating from his frail form. The raven flapped its wings, its feathers brushing against Maeve’s cheek. Her smile seemed to widen. “Lord Understar, do you know why I called you here today?”

Understar sighed, as if he had been hoping to avoid the subject. “I’m assuming you aren’t pleased with my critiques.”

“I believe you said, ‘Conquest is a game of humans and lesser beings’.” Maeve tilted her head slightly, her raven affectionately rubbing itself against her. “You seem to have many opinions.”

The old fairy nodded. “I have lived a long life, your Majesty.” He stared at the floor before the queen, averting his gaze from hers. “The Fair Folk are not suited for conquest or war. We have tried, but it does nothing for us. Such things should be left to the Green Skins and the Scaled Folk.”

Maeve nodded, seemingly taking in the information. She sipped her cream, allowing it to linger for a moment before swallowing. “I value the opinions of my subjects.” Her features were soft, but her eyes burned into Understar like iron. “Would you like to come onto my council? I appreciate honest voices." She smiled again. “Especially when they come from legends.”

Understar seemed stunned, but managed to gather his wits quickly enough. “I-I would be honored, your Grace.” He bowed his head and placed his hand over his heart.

“Excellent.” She stood up, sending the raven perched on her shoulder away with a flutter. “There will be a council meaning in the morning. I look forward to hearing your voice among the rabble.” After Lord Understar was escorted out by an Unseelie knight, the voices of her daughters rang out to her ears.

“Mother, how long must we suffer that old fool?”
“I’d love to mount his head on our wall! It’ll look lovely over the throne.”


Panic and Spite emerged from the shadows, dragging the remains of a young hunter who ventured into the forest seeking food for his family. They plopped down onto the stone floor, cackling and jeering as they played with his innards, only breaking from their fun to complain to their mother.

“Patience, girls.” The Unseelie Queen slowly turned her head towards her daughters. She smiled warmly at them, her eyes full of reassurance. “Understar will be dealt with, as will the rest of our enemies.”

“And there will be slaughter?” Panic asked eagerly, squeezing the lung she had in her hands with excitement. Blood flowed onto the dark stone floor beneath her.

“Yes, my dear.” The faintest smile tugged at Maeve’s mouth. “With the goblins by our side and the famine ravaging the realms beyond the Forest, there will be countless bodies to tear into.”

Panic and Spite squealed with joy as Commander Dullahan, a large fairy man with white hair and charred spikes growing from his skin, silently entered the room.

“Go play with your corpse elsewhere.” Maeve said abruptly, waving her hand to dismiss them. The two scurried out, giggling as they dragged their toy behind them. The queen looked back to Dullahan, an impression of interest flickering across her face. “What news do you bring?”

“The goblins are making significant progress on their war machines, but they’re having difficulty cutting a path through the forest.” Dullahan kept his hand on the hilt of his blade, ever prepared for battle. “And the goblins may need help pushing forward in the Dwarven lands.”

Maeve sighed. “Use stronger enchantments the Goblins’ tools. Hopefully, they’ll prevent the trees from growing back. . .at least for a while.” She sipped her cream once more. “As for the Dwarven lands, send a party led by Monta Stonemother and Eban Lordkiller. Summon Slaughtersteed as well. I may have a mission for her.”

Dullahan’s brow furrowed. “Yes, my queen, but would the Goblin King appreciate you sending your troops without his permission?”

Maeve resisted the urge scoff. “Leave Gulbrand to me. I’ll send a raven to alert him of my intentions.” The Goblin King had proven more difficult to manipulate than she expected, however she believed she was close to tilting their alliance in her favor. She would allow him to conquer as much of Pandeum as he could, but when the right opportunity presented itself, the Unseelie queen would snatch everything they had built together.

But how could she take his place? No proper goblin would take orders from a fairy queen without good reason. Perhaps she would seduce him and bear his son. The thought of laying with a filthy Green Skin sent shivers down her spine, but it was a valid option. Another child would solidify her standing within the court and perhaps the changeling produced would eventually have some claim to the goblin throne. Maeve doubted that, as Gulbrand likely had many bastards, none of which he’d be keen to give his crown.

“You’re dismissed.” Dullahan bowed and left Maeve in the silent chamber. She brought her goblet to her lips again. The outside world had the concept of marriage. Could such a droll contract prove useful for the High Queen? If not for her, perhaps for one of her daughters. She smiled, practically radiant. Nothing was more beautiful, or as dangerous, than a fairy with an idea.


Aros the Summer King - Solaris



A golden sparrow descended into the city of Solaris, flying in through the window of a building bustling with mages hard at work. Sleep deprived and stressed, they scoured over ancient texts and texted various elixirs and potions on boxes of dead wheat.

The sparrow landed on a stone table, before a beautiful fairy woman wearing a horned helm. She rolled her stormy eyes at the bird. “Hope you received some useful information.” She rubbed her temples and gave a small groan. Although she was a powerful fairy, she was obviously at her wits end. “Nothing has worked for us.”

“Moira, you look a wreck.”  In a flash of feathers, Aros sat on the table with his legs crossed, a pleased smile on his lips. “Luckily, my grandmother and her court were quite helpful. In addition to placing a curse on Grimmshire that prevents the Unseelie or Goblins from stepping foot in my kingdom,” He ran his fingers through his hair, golden flecks of magic sparking from his hands. “She helped me find a fertility spell called the Song of Earth and Sun. Although the original version depends on evoking both Kassius and the Green Woman, I think  we can ammend it to call on the Stag's strength.”

Moira leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes in an attempt to replenish her energy. “The Stag is weak right now.” She sighed once more. “I doubt any of the Kings could stand up to the Green Woman right now. Even Grandmother.”

“We may have to wait until the summer is closer.” Aros hopped down from the tabled. “But I believe the Stag and the Sun Bearer have at least enough power to lift the famine over the Solarian fields.”

“But what about the rest of the world?” The Oracle shook at her head. She struggled to fight against the allure of sleep. She had been working tirelessly for weeks and it was catching up with her. “What would happen if only the Republic has grain?”

“Well, I have another solution that I wanted to save for Cyrus.” Aros leaned against the table, a smirk spreading across his face. “But what if we tamed the Green Woman?”

Moira’s eyes shot open and cocked a brow. “How in the world would we do that?”

“Simple.” A wicked smile curled the corners of his mouth. “The power of her name.”


Devi the Peace Bringer - Swarga Loka



Their prayers drifted to Devi in the smoke of incense and the ringing of chimes in the air. So many needed a mother to protect them, especially in these harsh times. Before the goddess was a plate full of offerings. Rings, bracelets, necklaces, and coins. Pretty things tended to lose their value to mortals when their stomachs were empty. Devi took in a deep breathe through her nose.

“Peace Bringer, please protect my family and field from thieves.”
“Mother of Justice, help me avenge my sister’s death.”
“Devi, Slayer of Evil, destroy those savage hordes before they destroy our city.”


“Apologies, my lady.” A monk entered the room and bowed to the goddess. “The Smith is here to see you.”

Slowly, Devi open her eyes and smiled. “No need to apologize, my child.”

When the Goddess of Retribution emerged from her temple, she towered over Archanian. “Greetings, Creator.” She extended her two right hands. “It has been too long since we last spoke.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: The Breeder Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores Character Portrait: Archanian Character Portrait: Nike
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Before she was interrupted by the invader, Kurnos, Dolores had dispatched an invitation to the God Argan and her instructions to the God Palchard.

To Palchard:

Certainly you have seen the madness that has befallen the mortals in these times but we both know that these are done out of mere desperation and not true madness. They murder one another and steal from one another, justifying it as survival… However to achieve my goal, I wish to make them succumb to true madness. In my realm, within one of my six Courts, I produce a kind of food that has no flavor. With your aid, we could poison it, have my followers distribute it amongst the rich and powerful of the land, and enjoy a true spectacle as they succumb to the true desires of their hearts. Of course is this is not sufficient for you, Dear Palchard, I can always reward you in other means. I only need to know the craving you wish to have satisfied.

Like a demon who came once you spoke its’ name, Dolores appeared before the angry God Kurnos. Her face was masked, her true expression hidden from the trespasser. Was she angry at this breach of etiquette? Did she find it amusing? Perhaps one day that mystery would be solved. Unlike Kurnos, she came unarmed. The Lady of Dark Delights was no God of War, never in her existence had she asked for Archanian for a weapon, never had she raised a sword against her kin...Yet she had claimed so many of her kin within the very Court Kurnos had trespassed into. Made one wonder who was truly powerful.

“Kurnos…” The Dark Lady commenced to speak as she boldly closed the gap between them. “You seem so well versed in mortal speak, to quote their sayings so aptly...forgive me for asking such a foolish question but can you tell me from which mortal folktale is this quote from? How it relates to our current predicament?”

At this point, there was no space between Dolores and Kurnos. Arms extending out from the blackness that concealed most of her form, they wrapped around his neck. Her form pressed into his, one could mistake them as lovers if they were to stumble upon this sight, but there was a lingering feeling of dread in the air...This was dangerous. In a lecherous tone she whispered into his ear.

“Step into my parlor...said the spider to the fly?....Are you the spider, Kurnos...Or. Am. I.”

Laughter erupted from beneath the mask, a centipede casually walked out from beneath one eye socket and then entered the next.

“You say you don’t want to play...yet here you are in my playground...Your such a cruel tease, Keeper of Undeath. Never do this to me, ever, without due warning...I may cave in to my cravings.”

It was without warrant that there was reason that Dolores was so confident in herself despite not being a combative God. In her realm, the only absolute was the will of the Goddess. Basically she had the homefield advantage and even as she spoke to him, Kurnos would surely feel her Hedonistic spell attempting to afflict him. The goddess separated herself from him and took in the surrounding abyss.

“This Court makes the world as the individual within would like it...unless you are resisting its magic, it should have conjured something to decieve you...or perhaps this is what you want the world to be like… We seem to be more compatible than I thought if that is the case. Now, God of Wrath and Undeath. As to why you came. I seek to end the famine. No doubt your followers march on those who are least affected by it in order to take what they need by force, I only ask that you do not deter from this course. Beat their armies in battle and then pillage their land. Surely you wonder how this benefits me and mine, I will tell you. My followers are currently amassing food. They steal it, they purchase it, and they even kill for it. When your war and the famine ends, The mortals will still be starving and that is when we shall sell the food to them, the scarcity of it will justify our outlandish prices...Between the loot you will obtain from war and the portion of the profits we will give you, I would think your people would be satisfied.”

____________________________

From the Hall Of Heroes, the Domain of Nike


It was here that the Heroes of old came to rest, where they shared drinks despite the allegiances they once held and the grudges they once had. There was no need to harbor hatred towards one another in this plane of existence, for even if they did strike against one another, what harm could they do? None. Such actions would only anger her, Nike, the Mother of All Heroes. Here there was nothing but spars amongst friends and tale after tale of their heroic deeds. With all this laughter, it was odd that Kassius was not around. Yet she did not partake in the merriment. While the patrons of her domain drowned themselves in merriment, she took on to her duties.

War was coming. Soldiers were asking for her blessings, for the courage to fufill their duties, mothers and wives, fathers and husbands, were asking for victory and the safe return of their loved ones. It burdened her, knowing that such prayers of safe passage, were beyond her but she listened to them regardless. Many Dwarves were praying to her, Many Goblins offered her sacrifices, but her favor would not guarantee victory. As it had been since she had realized that she was existing, she would only give Victory to those who had the strength to obtain it.

“Forgive me, Archanian...but I can only interpret the lose of those mines as the Dwarves lacking the strength to hold them. If one cannot defend what they call theirs, is it truly their possession?” She asked herself as the blessings of Courage was bestowed upon the Goblin warriors who invaded the mines. “Perhaps your people will prove to me that they have the strength to be worthy of my blessings… but until then.”

Nike’s gaze turned to the Republic of Solaras. “Kassius...despite the famine your people remain strong but war creeps on their doorstep. Do they have the strength to protect their prosperity or shall they too prove to be too weak to gain my blessings?... I should go and enjoy myself too, while everyone is in a fighting mood but who should I pester for a battle?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Devi the Peace Bringer Character Portrait: Archanian
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Archanian


The stout God reached up to shake the two hands presented. "Indeed it has, though I'm afraid this visit is on less pleasant terms. You've no doubt heard of the famine The Green Woman has placed upon all mortals, along with the fighting that has already begun in it's wake. I fear there is more warring, among mortals and Gods alike, that will happen because of this. I am curious to know your position, as you surely cannot sit by as war looms, yet there is some justification to the Green Woman's ire. What do you think will come of this?"





Draggnan combed through his beard in thought, the Consul's words running through his mind. This famine explains the goblins' aggression. Even through Kassius' blessing, the Republic suffers, what must the rest of the surface be experiencing, the Dwarf asked himself. But there was also the matter of assisting the Republic, who was faced with a much greater threat. "I'm afraid I cannot lend manpower to aid you, Crassus," Draggnan began, placing his thoughts in order, "however, I will instruct the craftsmen to begin wartime efforts. You are not the only one troubled with impending war. Beyond that, a trade of our weapons and armor to ensure we keep our people fed benefits us both, and I will allow such trade."

The King stood, gesturing to one of his messengers, "Go, and inform everyone that there is a state of war. All crafts are to begin manufacturing, all forces are called to their duties. Ensure that we have weapons and armor to trade to the Republic, and to supply our men," Draggnan instructed the messenger, who nodded his understanding before leaving the room. Once the messenger had left, Draggnan called over one of the guards, "Ensure the my guests are comfortable, and capable of leaving to return to their home when they decide to do so."

Finally, Draggnan turned to face the Republic Consul, "My deepest apologies for the urgency, but this information needs to reach Hangrynn. And as such, I must be off. Good day, Crassus, and may we meet on better terms next time, perhaps I can even get you to try our ales."

And with that, Draggnan was off, on his way back to the capital, to the throne, he knew what had to do. If the goblins wanted a war, they would have it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Astria Character Portrait: The Breeder Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Devi the Peace Bringer Character Portrait: Archanian
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Devi ~ Swarga Loka


Devil pursed her lips. “Yes, the famine has caused much strife.” A weak smile came to her lips. “I almost receive more prayers now than when I had a nation.” She looked out to the open blue sky and sighed. “Walk with me, Creator.”

The Peace Bringer began walking, hoping that the smith would follow close behind. “War, both mortal and divine, hangs over us like a dark cloud. I am doing what I can to protect the innocent. Small things, mostly, like keeping farmers safe from wolves or giving strength to Republic forces in their battle with the Hordes.” She sighed. “After the death of the Deva, I believed that perhaps Pandeum didn’t need them anymore. Perhaps it was unwise to force peace upon the world.” She closed her eyes, seeing goblin war machines and draconian hordes. She could feel her name being evoked by an army beneath the waves. “But now, it is becoming clear that I was wrong. I released my avatar from her bindings.”

She looked over the edge of the mountain, staring into the dark abyss below. “Perhaps the Kingslayer will help push the world into peace.” She crossed her arms. “But the famine is a more complicated issue. If it were any other god threatening the world like this, I would have slain them.” She looked into Archanian’s eyes. “However, the Green Woman’s death would likely destroy all plant life on Pandeum and only throw the world further into chaos.”  

Suddenly, a darkness creeped up Devi’s spine. She looked at the shorter god, resisting the rage bubbling in her stomach like boiling water. The Breeder had returned and his foul creatures dared to step foot onto ground once sacred to her. How dare they? She thought for a moment of sending Kali to slaughter the corrupted rats, but even the Kingslayer couldn’t destroy an entire race singlehandedly, nor could she best a god as ancient and powerful as Argan. Regardless, the time for Devi to wipe them from the earth would come.

The Mother of Justice smiled her wrath and smiled at her guest.  “Now, my friend, what are your thoughts on these troubling times?”

Aros ~ Heartlands of Solaras


A large falcon circled above the Republic’s army and the River Timaeus, sunlight gleaming off of its golden feathers. As he descended onto the soldiers’ camp, Aros took a moment to thank Kassius. Without the Sun Bearer’s message, he would have wasted precious time.

He landed and, after a flurry of golden feathers and fur, a field mouse took the bird’s place. He scurried into Cyrus’ tent, waiting patiently for his opportunity. When Cyrus was alone and available, the Summer King let himself known. Golden blades of grass swirled around his little body until Aros transformed into his true form.

“Hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time.” He sat with his legs crossed, a mischievous smile on his face. He couldn’t help but be fond of Cyrus. Although his  fellow avatar could be a stick in the mud, under several stern layers of responsibility and duty was man of wit and humor. “My grandmother and the Seelie Court will help us. They’ll be defending Grimmshire so I can move more of my forces to the Republic. They’ve also provided me with quite a bit of valuable information.” He smiled. “There’s an ancient spell that may be able to lift the famine from your fields. Moira and my magicians are working to modify it to suit our needs, but we’ll have to wait to cast it until the Stag gains more strength.” He ran his fingers through his hair, sending a small flutter of fairy dust into the air. “There’s also a piece of old fairy folklore. It may not be true, but if it is-” A rare expression of seriousness came over the king's face. “It could ensure that this is the last famine that Pandeum ever faces.”

He stood, taking a step towards his ally. “The first fairies believed that by evoking the Oakborn’s true name, it was possible to bend any Face to one’s will.”

Monta Stonemother & Eban Lordkiller ~ Underground Goblin Outpost


As silent as the shadows creeping across the walls, a party of Unseelie knights entered the mines. Their leaders rode on stone golems, smiling as they came upon the goblin outpost. The grotesque little creatures panicked and screeched, some grabbing their weapons. A larger, more level headed beast demanded to know who they were and what their business was.

“Greetings, Toads!” Monta Stonemother, a beautiful and horrid woman, smiled as she called out to them. She scratched the top of her stone beast’s skull. “We were sent to assist in your efforts against the Wee Folk by Maeve Blackward, High Queen of the Unseelie Court and the most valuable ally to your king.”

Grandmother ~ Demon Outpost Kaedeth


“Devi would absolutely hate this.” Grandmother’s voice rode the wind, echoing throughout the halls of the former temple. She materialized behind Argan, silver haired and bare footed. The demons surrounding them, unaware of who the goddess was, made a panicked attempt to seize her. “Relax, children.”  A smiled played on her lips and her eyes gleamed with a childlike mischief. With a wave of her hand, every mortal in the room was transformed into a tree with outstretched limbs and roots burrowed into the ground. It was temporary and unnecessary, but Grandmother never missed a chance to be theatric. “The grown ups are speaking.”

She paced aimlessly, her eyes traveling around the room and her green dress skimming the temple floor. “The Peace Bringer will likely come to reclaim it, although she no longer has mortals to do so on her behalf.” She closed her eyes. Her sight traveled towards to Republic, settling on a happy old man floating above the ground and his companion, an annoyed woman carrying a spear in her hand. “Well, except for the Kingslayer. I suppose she could do quite a bit of harm if she set her eyes on this temple.”

Grandmother opened her eyes and smiled at her fellow god. “I wanted to welcome you back and thank you for the trees.”


The Snow King - Castle of the Snow King


The walls surrounding the Snow King’s fortress were made of solid ice and seemed to reach the skies. As Astria called out, a small section of the wall came down, giving her permission to enter. She would be escorted in by golems crafted from ice and snow.

In his throne room, the Snow King stood before a large mirror. In its reflection, he watched the Green Woman as she turned the earth against the mortals. He completely understood. If he had sole control over the winter, he would have starved the parasites out ages ago.

As Astria entered the room, he turned to her, a rare glimmer of affection in his eyes. “Greetings, sister. I hadn’t expected to see you until the winter.” A cold chuckled rattled from his throat. "I hope my other sister's temper tantrum isn't troubling you too much."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores Character Portrait: Archanian
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Palchard - The Palace of Pleasures - 6th Court



A slow clap could be heard in the distance. "Oh ho! What a sight this is!" Palchard chuckled. "It's a good thing I became rather bored waiting on your doorstep. This really is too sweet a sight to miss! Now if I didn't know any better...I'd say you two are getting rather chummy?" His smile stretched from cheek to cheek as he nonchalantly sat upon a ledge above the two Gods. "Oops! I hope I didn't interrupt anything...hm, private?" He laughed as he suddenly disappeared. "Don't mind me now, I won't bother or pry...," the God of Mischief suddenly reappears as he placed his hands on his hips and saunters up to the pair in his curved-toe boots, "...Oh Kurnos, it's so good to see you come out of your armored shell! I mean truly, I understand! A God does get rather lonely and from time to time he needs to.....uh...consort, with another." He said as he nudged the God of Rage with his elbow.

"Though I must say you have rather interesting tastes my boy...but being the God of Undeath, I shouldn't be surprised that Necrophilia is what it takes for that thing between your legs to...hm, grow with...anticipation." He laughed out loud.

Palchard's devious eyes then turned to the Dark Lady. "And Dolores!" He then made a bow. "A pleasure as always!" He then looked up and took in a deep breath. "Ah! As usual your illusions are like a pleasant little daydream." He sighs. "Now, while it would be a certain...fantasy come true to see you tear into big, bad, Kurnos with such savagery, and trust me, the thought excites me," Then came a sudden pause. "Ahem! Now before our demons get the better of us, how about we take this little, rendezvous, back to your throne room, my Lady?" He suggested with a smile. "After all, I got your letter and I'm just dying to see where this might lead us!" He said with a laugh as he waved the piece of parchment around.

"After the both of you?" He spoke with his arm outstretched.


_______________



Goblin Outpost-Abandoned Mine-Pandeum


What the Goblins saw as a quiet end to another shift, were shocked when they heard the war horn blow. "Alright, yah maggots! It's time to fight the bloody Beardies!" Shouted their Captain. "Oi! Captain Rugen, wot be the trouble now?" Asked a subordinate. "I've got word from the ol' warchief! He claims the time is nigh! Now is the moment to strike and we must strike quickly! Gather the garrison! We join the other posts in the assault on Sivdzid!!!" He commanded. "Right away Cap'n!" The Goblin saluted as he ran to gather the warriors.

It was during this time that a Goblin Scout came with curious news. "Sir! There be golems coming towards the gates!!!" He squeaked. "Wot!? Just wot in bloody Hell are you talkin' about!?" The Captain barked. "Just look!!!" He cried. The Goblin warriors then made a lot of hollering and howling as if something had spooked them. "Just wot the bloody Hell is it now!?" Rugen shouted as he came outside the gates. There he saw the Golems the Goblins had spoke of and then, of all sights to see, "Oh bloody Hell..," was all he could say when he saw the Unseelie ride upon them.

“Greetings, Toads!” Monta Stonemother, a beautiful and horrid woman, smiled as she called out to them. She scratched the top of her stone beast’s skull. “We were sent to assist in your efforts against the Wee Folk by Maeve Blackward, High Queen of the Unseelie Court and the most valuable ally to your king.”

Rugen looked behind them to see a company of Unseelie behind them. The Hobgoblin looked at the pair quizzically and most suspiciously. "Really now? And how come I haven't heard a bloody thing about it!? How do I know you're not lying She-Fairy!?" He asked. "Ahem, Cap'n." Spoke a Hobgoblin. "Wot!?" "Letter from Warchief Krillock." He said as he held out the letter from him to take. "Give me that!!" He snapped as he ripped it from his hands. The Captain furiously read through the letter and then seemed to grow pail afterwards. "Well...this...changes things....well, Unseelie, we are about to begin our assault on a Dwarven Town. We seek to capture it and use it as a launching point for greater invasions deeper into Beardie territory. After all, these mines are not that defensible and do not garrison large amounts of troops well. Conquering this town, will not only provide better space but can be made into sturdier fortifications." The Captain explained.

"Alright lads! We are to work with the Unseelie and they will help us capture this town for the Goblin King!!!" He cried. The Goblins then cheered. "Lets get to work."

Within moments the Goblin forces had formed as they began their march from the outposts to the town of Sivdzid. "'Ello mate. Who would've thought we be marchin' on the Beardies today? I thought the assault wouldn't be for another fortnight!" Spoke a Hobgoblin soldier. "Yeah, methinks the Warchief has gotten rather bold all of a sudden. Must be the new calvary." He spoke in a whispered sneer as he looked at the Unseelie. "Right...who would've thought we be workin' with Softskins after all?" The Soldier responded. "Hm, I don't like it but the Warchief vouches for 'em, so, not much we grunts can say." "Well all least we can be, happy about one thing...we're about to cut into some Dwarves!" "Here, here!"

****


Sivdzid


It was quiet in the town of Sivdzid as it's citizen went about their business unaware of the Goblin Host that approaches them. The Goblins marched through the conquered mines without much trouble. Any Dwarves that dared to bar them where easily outnumbered. It was lucky on their end that the Dwarves were not yet fully mobilized, soon their invasion was upon Sivdzid and once in sight the Goblins revealed themselves within the tunnels.

It must have been a horrifying sight for the town guards, to see a Goblin army quickly appear from over the horizon. The Green Skins quickly moved in on the city gates as the city lookouts signaled for the alarm. Screams could be heard only to be deafened by the sound of war cries and the trumpeting of Goblin Horns. "Alright! While the advance force attacks their walls, I want cannons and archers set up along the ridges!" Ordered Rugen. "Right away!" The Goblins responded. The Goblin Cannoneers worked to position their cannons upon the nearby ridges for a better field of vision. They aimed the necks towards any point of interest, like guard towers, ramparts, and any other defensible structures. "Load the Cannons!" A Hobgoblin officer shouted. He walked towards a vantage point as he looked down upon the town. He then raised his arm as the cannoneers stood by waiting to fire the initial volley. "FIRE!!!" He yelled. The fuses were lit and in moments cannon fire rained down upon them.

The Siege had begun.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Archanian Character Portrait: Nike Character Portrait: Mervyn Character Portrait: Anwen Character Portrait: Indris
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"It is a strange sight, is it not? Watching them kill for food to fill their belly simply so that they can kill again. Especially when they don't need to do so. But it is often all they care about whether waking or sleeping."

The voice was lyrical and soft, with a hint of amusement in the tone. A womanly figure floated just above the grass beside Argonaut, her voice accompanied by the slow beating of wings reminiscent of a heart-beat.

"You've been missed, Argon. You do not travel my paths naturally anymore though you are still welcome. Even if you do not remember when you did." She smiled warmly at the ethereal creature, lightly brushing her fingers against his cheek causing a ripple as the effect felt real.




The tavern was filled with the raucous voices of dwarves raised in half drunken song. With each trying to outdo their compatriots with louder and deeper cries in-between swigs of ale and bursts of laughter.

Despite the famine there was always time for a little revelry for these brave souls who had not long came off shift in the mines or duty on the gates. Despite their best efforts many of them were still caked black as pitch from the coal and dirt, but here and now it didn't matter as much.

Dancing and weaving among the patrons was a fierce girl who led the song with her sweet voice and the whistle of her flute. Other instruments had lent their aid in raising their spirits. When they'd first slouched into the establishment many of them had been of a mind to muse over a single tankard for a while before calling it a night before she banished such thoughts entirely.

The sounds of alarm had begun to ring through the streets of Sivdzid, melding with the songs of its weary people to create an almighty cacophony till a rain of cannonballs punched through one side of the Tavern. Thankfully as they'd all gathered around the singing girl none of them had been harmed and at worst slightly stunned though the Tavern itself appeared badly damaged.

As the dwarves drinker stupor turned into surprise mixed with rage that they were attacked they as one dwarf picked up arms and made ready to defend their home. Feeling more alive and envigored that they ought they charged away to defend their homes with the songs they had sang still upon their lips but now their words were a battle cry as they dreamt of victory.

Of the girl there was no sign, she had apparently vanished, and within the hour so too had the Tavern. It had never been there but that didn't mean it hadn't been.

Elsewhere as the dwarven warhost that made ready under their king could hear a faint music on the wind, which carried to them an echo of the battlecries being sung in Sivdzid.





Indris strolled gently through the towering stacks of the Akashic Library, lightly brushing her fingers along the spines of several books. Unlike most libraries where the silence would be oppressive to the point of crushing in such a cavernous place the air is instead filled with a faint scratching.
The sound echoes endlessly, seeming to come from almost every shelf. Where there is silence some of the books will vanish while others the sound only seems to come from the last in a series. Such are the autobiographies which record every event that happens to everything

A creation of her predecessor, Indris has made improvements in places though there is little to be changed save perhaps reinforcing the spells behind it. Spells woven into fabric of the world when it was first created. She had enjoyed reading what each soul wrote when she first awakened however she decided to focus her efforts for understanding the world elsewhere. Even so she is often found reading the mystical tomes which contained every mention of her progenitor’s existence.

The room she now stood in without seeming to have moved within the library was overly ornate with half empty bookshelves containing drastically different tomes. Each was unique from others in the room but there was easily a few hundred or more of each kind. The stories of the gods themselves were marked here. Much of it was cryptic and distorted as each tome shaped itself to match the god it represented, resulting in books of dried leather or bubbling blood or wreathed in lightning. The languages used often varied to the gods own and could sometimes change midway through a book or wriggle on the page if they didn’t wish to be read.

The recent change of prosperity for much of the world had caused her to re-read much of the Oakborn’s story in hopes of finding something with which to aid her people before things become truly dire. As she reached over and plucked the most recent book, a simple volume of thin papyrus between mossy bark, she opened it to the most recent entry. As she read over the words she felt a sharp sting as they echoed back to her.

"I'm sorry, but the famine will not end today."

The words etched themselves on the thin sheet as she heard them reach her knowing that they were doing so on every current book in the room. The effect was rare and heightened by her reading something at an unusual moment but she felt the words repeated loudly from each book as she slammed the Oakborn’s shut and replaced it. The roar of the words almost caused her to stagger backwards before she regained composure and silenced the outburst.

Turning from the chamber she decided she’d have to see what could be done.



Alessa stood on a balcony staring out towards the western sea, her arms rested against the cold marble as she smiled softly to herself. The palace has been carved deep into the mountain chain with several such openings onto the sky which was fitting given that much of the space within was given over to those of more aerial nature than the majority of the nation’s inhabitants. Even so her subjects as a whole were barely a quarter in size compared with their rival; this perceived weakness had caused much strife on their borders at first till they’d learned to give them a wide birth but with the growing famine such sense appeared to have deserted most. Mainly since despite everything they were probably one of the least effected; they’d always made sure to over-produce their farms and such due to fact that much of their required sustenance came from magic itself while they still gouged on meat for the taste, which allowed for surplus to be used as a excellent source of trade. Even so they’d still rationed their food to better support those of the other mortal races within the borders.

A soft yawn escaped her lips just as the doors burst inwards, disturbing her contemplation as a broad shouldered figure entered with his boots echoing on the hard floor. His expression almost unreadable due to the metallic mask covering his features, but even so she could feel his annoyance and amusement.

”Your Majesty. There has been another raid on the borders.”

She sighed as she stepped away from the view, her hand lightly running through hair as thought back over the past few weeks. An ever increasing regularity for incursions though, thankfully nothing official from any of their neighbours. That would have been a nightmare, and famine or not the act of devouring mortals is rather tedious for dragons especially compared with more domesticated livestock and much more preferable as a treat than a diet.

”So. Who was it this time and how much damage did they do?”

There was a slight shift in his posture and she knew she’s caught the reason for his annoyance, not so much that someone had tried to invade but rather than they’d done harm to the nation. The raids were usually badly orchestrated by desperate souls are the lowest rungs of their society and doomed for failure.

”They came from the sea, took the small town by surprise and managed to avoid our golems in the bay. Thankfully we had a small patrol passing who were able to assist two of our brethren as well as most of the populous. Sadly a third of the raiders managed to flee with a large quantity of the settlements stock, requiring us to divert greater resources there. I’ve also stationed the patrol there for the time being as well as arranging addition patrols in number and frequency along our edges should more try the same. Or for them to official declare war.”

She smiled and then gave hearty chuckle with a light shake of her head.

”My dear Tristan, what would I do without you… Now, where are the survivors of this raid.”

”Very little, my Queen. But what was salvageable is kept below, a small handful of captives for your pleasure. The rest we have handed over to the kitchens for the rest of the palace.”

”Good. I’ll have to deal with these stragglers myself, take them apart till I know who sent them or if they were simply acting alone. Care to join me for a little snack?”

”Always, my lady.”

They both descended to a meeting chamber deeper into the mountain castle where five Merrows sulked in what amounted to a giant goldfish bowl. As they entered Tristan made sure to close the doors behind him before they began their interrogation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Devi the Peace Bringer Character Portrait: Archanian
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Archanian - Swarga Loka


Archanian followed the Goddess through her realm, and listened. He thought on her words and when she asked him for his thoughts, he paused momentarily. "Honestly, I worry. I know of other Gods who will seek to take advantage, as it is their nature in doing so. I cannot fault them for that, but it does not ease my mind to know that we all will soon be engulfed in this conflict. My Avatar has begun taking up arms against those who would wish my domain harm, and I will ensure his smiths have the strength to supply his war," Archanian began. "But yet, I feel a foreboding sense of dread, and I cannot truly capture what causes it. Does this emerging war trouble you, Peacekeeper?"





Draggnan - Hangryyn


The Dwarven King returned to the throne among a chorus of shouting, and arguing. "SILENCE!" he bellowed, deafening the room, which turned to look at their returned King. Draggnan moved through the room towards his throne, asking, "What are the latest reports on the Goblins? The surface suffers a famine, forcing everyone into hostilities. Where are the Goblins amassed?"

One scout piped up, "My King, reports have come in on an attack on Sivdzid. The goblin force is reported massive."

Draggnan stopped his travel across the room, and turned to the messenger. "They attack our cities now? Our mines, our resources, our livelihood, and now our people and homes?!" Draggnan felt his rage brewing deep within himself, in his absense, Dwarves would die...have died. He would not stand by to such attacks, famine or otherwise. He then looked to his wife seated on the throne, with rage burning in his eyes. Not a word crossed the two, but they understood. She nodded her approval.

"Rongarr, have your scouts follow the goblins raiding party if we are too late, and choose a detachment of your best men to join me. I will bring war to these goblins," Draggnan instructed before turning, gathering his guardsmen, and donning his personal armor. He grasped Wulrend, his axe, checked the blade, and placed his helmet upon his head, steeling himself for the coming battles. As he reentered the throne room, Rongarr's men were awaiting his command. "We travel to Sivdzid. If the battle rages, we will end it. If it has passed, we will travel to the goblins' camp, and end them!" Draggnan motivated his soldiers, who all yelled their agreement, and followed Draggnan as he left the room.

Ready for war.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: Astria Character Portrait: The Breeder Character Portrait: Kassius Character Portrait: Symphonia Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Devi the Peace Bringer Character Portrait: Archanian
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Grandmother - Demon Outpost

“After you left” Grandmother smiled. “The True Oakborn witnessed the fate of this world and witnessed something so terrible that it’s mind- our mind - was shattered.” She touched a newly formed tree near her, blossoms popping from where her wrinkled hands touched the bark. “From the Oakborn were born many deities, each representing a part of the great god we once were. You may call me Grandmother.” She smiled warmly, taking the Breeder’s hand into her own. “I am the Oakborn’s wisdom and, in its stead, I oversee the strands of fate.”

She released him as he spoke of the famine, nodding slightly. Grandmother sighed heavily, pushing back a strand of silver hair behind her ear. “I admit, I don’t agree with the Green Woman’s logic, but I believe it’s more than the goblins.” It pained Grandmother to think about the pain her sister had brought onto the earth. She had always been so kind and generous with all races, blessing them with growth and bounty each spring. “We forget that she is a force of nature. She is the soil and all things that grow from it.” Grandmother pursed her lips. “Although she was once fond of mortals and beasts, she is not bound to them as we are.”

Grandmother paused to listen to Argan. She smiled. “Yes, I do remember that. This part of me still wishes you had taken our suggestion.” She shrugged. “But it wasn’t our choice to make.” After Argon left, many of his duties fell to the Oakborn who watched over the creatures that the Breeder had left behind. It did as well as it could, but even gods had limits. Another weak smile flashed across the old woman’s lips. “I suppose any of us would tear apart the world for our children.” Her mind drifted back to the Green Woman. Perhaps the famine was her sister’s way of protecting her children; the trees, the flowers, the grass, and all plant life on Pandeum.

She chuckled. “Devi certainly has her flaws, but without her we’d still be fighting an endless war.” Grandmother leaned against one of Argan’s children. “She was created by a desperate world. She is what they needed. Perhaps, what they still need.” The old goddess waved a hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about her. I was only half serious. I’m sure in times like these, she has much bigger matters to attend to.” She winked at the Breeder. “Not to say you aren’t a big matter.”

The Snow King - The Snow King’s Castle

“Hm.” The Snow King’s steps echoed throughout the room as he walked to his throne. He kept his hands hidden in fur lined sleeves. “I’m afraid she hasn’t been in a very diplomatic mood lately.” He rolled his eyes. “I suppose everyone believes that their lands should be spared.” He sat and waved his hand, a smaller less intricate chair forming opposite of him. “But, because of our bond, I will speak to the Green Woman, but I promise you nothing about the outcome.”

In all honestly, the Snow King did not care if Astria’s people starved or if they destroyed the Republic in search of grain. He wouldn’t care if the Green Woman strangled every mortal on Pandeum with her vines because, in the end, it would all rot and freeze away. Then, he would be King and ruled once more. Well, alongside Astria, that is.

A chess board appeared between the winter gods. A rare smile played across the king’s lips.

“Do you have time for a quick game?”

Devi - Swarga Loka

“Of course.” Devi nodded slowly. Although any conflict was enough to cause Devi concern, this felt different. Underneath the usual selfishness and greed that ushered in war, the Peace Bringer felt something far darker slithering underneath. It was like a black claw scratching at her stomach. “All conflicts concern me, but this one seems unlike most others.”

She turned towards Archanian, kneeling slightly to look into his eyes. “I did not see the Great Rebellion begin, but did it feel anything like this? This storm of tension and desperation?”

Monta Stonemother & Eban Lordkiller - Sivdzid

“In the shadows! The Wee Folk will not know we’re here!”

As the goblins began their siege on the walls of Sivdzid, the Unseelie seemed to float through an unnatural darkness. Even as cannons fired and explosions illuminated the entire cavern, they went silent and unseen, obscured by powerful illusion magic. Monta Stonemother, assisted by several other fairies, began to carve symbols across the dwarven wall. As they chanted their ancient incantation, the runes began to glow and burn themselves deeper into the wall. The Stonemother looked up and smiled, pleased.

Above them, Eban and several knights rode up the wall on stone golems, careful to avoid any cannon balls shot from their allies’ cannons. Although they were cloaked by their fairy illusions and surrounded by the chaos of war, it was unlikely that the dwarves on the wall could ignore the sounds of growling and stone talons digging into the wall.

When one unlikely dwarf looked over the edge, the Lordkiller’s blade impaled itself through his skull. As his comrades rushed to assist, each fell with a fairy dart in their eyes. Eban turned to his knights. “Take out the rest of the guards on the wall. Remain unseen.”

Aros - The River Timaeus

The Winter Charm formed in Aros’ hand as followed Cyrus out of the tent. The wand was supernaturally cold in his palm, but its burn felt unusually comforting to the Summer King. His heart nearly stopped when he saw the massive horde beyond the river. Although the savage draconians, nords, and ogres were troubling, nothing concerned him as much as the avatar of Kurnos sitting atop a giant salamander. As Yogosh swung his cleaver and taunted the Republic forces, Cyrus readied himself to cross a bridge of ice extending across the river.

Aros watched, his lips pursed. His eyes darted around, searching for a way to help. He could enchant the water attack the horde or cast an illusion over them to cause infighting among themselves. He looked at Cyrus and then at Yogosh. If they were to duel, it would be a clash of two mighty forces and, although Cyrus was skilled, Yogosh contained a massive amount of raw strength and killer instincts. The Sun Bearer’s Chosen would need all the help he could get. “Cyrus!” The Summer King reached into his pocket and tossed a coin in his direction. It gleamed in the sunlight and disappeared, finding itself tucked away in Cyrus’ pocket. The Autumn Charm could provide him with the luck he needed.

Aros looked towards the horde. He lifted his wand and twirled it in the air, golden dust swirling around him. “Twist the sight and cloud the mind,” Aros closed his eyes, allowing deep fairy magic to flow out from him. “Where once were friends, now foes you’ll find.”

He held the magic back, but if he released it, any member of the horde affected would fill with anxiety and delusion, seeing nothing but Republic forces surrounding them.

The Green Woman - The Other Place

The Green Woman rolled her eyes as yet another deity came to beg for mercy. She looked at Symphonia, a mild air of annoyance flickering across her features. Although the goddess’ sudden appearance was slightly irritating, the King certainly enjoyed the curtsy.

“Yes, yes, yes. Very nice of you.” The Green Woman stood up, the plants from her throne reaching for her as they reached for the sun, desperate for her return. “Walk with me.” She walked past Symphonia, expecting the goddess to follow her. As they walked, bright beautiful flowers bloomed to greet them and the plant life seemed to come alive as the deities passed them. Blue birds and butterflies fluttered out from the Green Woman’s hair. “I am tired, Symphonia. Spring after spring, I give all to the fleshlings.” She sighed. The weight of the world seemed to pull her body down. “Yet they chop down my trees, poison my rivers, and drown the soil in blood.”

She kneeled down, digging her fingertips into the dirt. The earth was crying out to her, desperate for a champion. “I do not enjoy starving the fleshlings, but they must be reminded that I do not serve them. The Wilds will not be trifled with or tamed.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores
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Fear, yes it was definitely fear, how curious. Yet Kurnos couldn't help but to continue to let each edge of his mouth creep into a smile, it was so long he had found something, or rather someone that was this exhilarating, outside battle at that. He would call it a deadly dance, the slow fight of wills that was quietly going on between them, yet he knew, that even if he was to abruptly draw his axe and savagely engage the Lady of Dark delights then at most he'd only be able to tear a wound into her, before her terrifying presence took dominion over him.

He scoffed, throwing Dolores a sideways glance, it was becoming increasingly more difficult not to let any pressure show on his voice, the words of Dolores slathered in aphrodisiac and the oppressive atmosphere of this world were much to his own dismay taking their toll "Satisfying you, is something we both know is very much impossible." With a hand on her hip he pushed her back to a arms length "I will be your tool, for now. Hopefully you'll feel it fit to genuinely make me a night to remember, one lacking the lethal undertone. Consider your deal accepted."

Like a teenage couple who had suddenly been caught romancing Kurnos took a step back from Dolores upon Palchards sudden appearance, Kurnos shrewd smile replaced by a piercing stare. "Ever the same Palchard? Can't say I haven't grown a rather detestable fondess to your attitude, you think an axe between the eyes would improve it?" Perhaps the dark lady wouldn't enjoy having suddenly completely lost Kurnos attention, yet he took a simple turn towards the trickster, a few threatening strides, Cladeheim giving off an equally threatening pulse of energy. Palchard antics had removed atleast some of the stinging tension in the air, reinforcing Kurnos mind, for atleast a small moment more.

"Although... I know you'd never dare, too many tricks make one afraid of trying to solve things any other way, yes? Thus, I'll agree, it'd be nice to move the conversation from this awful intrusion of my head, what do you say Dolores?" How amusing for him to complain about intruding, nevertheless, he was thinking about leaving, he would've left Dolores to whatever perverted antics she might have, especially with the pressing matter as he felt blood being shed, his bastard of a lizard being one of the reasons. Yet he couldn't pass on the moment to listen in on these two, that, was far too tempting.

Setting

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Character Portrait: The Oakborn Character Portrait: Palchard
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Gulbrand, The Goblin King and Maeve Blackward, High Queen of the Unseelie Court - The Dark Forest - Pandeum


In spite of Kob, The King's Advisor's many, many, many pleas to reconsider his actions, Gulbrand nevertheless, entered the Dark Forest. Guided by Unseelie who raised the many incantations and enchantments that guarded the way, the Goblin King would soon find himself in the Unseelie Court. Kob, the miserable, little Goblin, trembled behind his liege's cloak. Kob's eyes darted across the room as he saw many Unseelie Knights, heavily armed, ready to defend their Queen at any cost.

His trembling was sending vibrations throughout Gulbrand's coat as the Goblin King kicked aside Kob in annoyance. "B-But sire-!" "Silence you! You shouldn't have come if fear was the only emotion you could show!" Gulbrand barked in Goblin Tongue. Gulbrand then turned his attention to the High Queen, Maeve Blackward as he made a bow. "My Lady." He spoke in Fey Tongues.

"I have decided to grace your Court with my presence to hear of what progress is being made, and to discuss, the future of our arrangements. If you would?" He spoke as respectfully as he could.

"I am honored to receive you, King Gulbrand." Maeve's lips curled into a pleased smile. "I hope you find the Dark Forest to your liking." She gestured to a servant standing next to her throne. The servant, a small fairy boy with frail transparent wings, fluttered over to Gulbrand bearing a goblet of cream. He bowed his head as he hovered before the king, offering him the cup.

"I know you may not share our affection for cream, but, if you'd prefer wine-" She snapped her fingers and the contents turned from white to creamy pink to a deep red. Her smile seemed to grow slightly. "We can accommodate your taste."

Her golden eyes ran over the goblin king. Perhaps he wasn't as disgusting as she initially thought. There was a terrible sort of nobility to him. Of course, he did not possess the beauty or grace of a fairy, but Maeve was beginning to find those traits vastly overrated. She rose from her throne, looking down at her ally from a long slender neck. "Your forces were having issues cutting a path through the forest, but we strengthened the enchantment on their tools. Although it won't completely prevent the trees from growing back, it will stunt their progress for a good period of time." She seemed to float towards him, the subtle smell of lavender and pomegranates following behind. Although many enchantment spells were sudden and overwhelming, Maeve preferred likened hers to a spider's web. They were discreet and took patience to weave, but once her prey was ensnared, there would be no escape from Maeve.

"As for the future of our arrangements," She took the goblet from the boy and extended it towards Gulbrand. She now looked up at him from behind thick eyelashes. "Do you not find our existing terms...satisfying?"

Gulbrand eyed the Queen with a suspicious gaze. He understood well enough they were allies, but old prejudices are hard to dismiss. He listened to her speak as he nodded his head in response. "I suppose this forest is likable as far as forests come." He then looked at the fairy who offered him cream. Gulbrand merely curled his lip in disgust, such sweets are horrendous to the Goblin King who waved his hand dismissively.

It was then the Queen decided to transform his cup into wine. While he does enjoy alcohol, the wine still had this odd smell of sweetness to it. Perhaps it was all in his mind but knowing it was once Cream, did not help to make the goblet any more appetizing. As she strolled up, Gulbrand took a whiff of the air around her and couldn't help but contort his face into repulsion. He absolutely hated the smell of lavender. It's aroma was more pungent than pleasing to the Goblin King. Of course he would not insult her on her choice of fragrance, even though he was greatly tempted to do so.

The Goblin King listened to the Unseelie Queen as he continued to hold his tongue. He nodded slowly as he watched her hand out the goblet. He made a sneer as he took the cup, he swished the wine in the goblet as he seemed to eye it suspiciously. "Well...I wish to discuss our terms. Frankly, I feel the Unseelie need to...contribute more to Zzyx. Enchanting our tools, and sending Stonemother and Lordkiller are good to begin with...but, I need far more if I am going to conquer the Seelie for you. Already, I have diverted much of my forces to chop down the Enchanted Forest, not to mention how much, gold it's going to cost me to topple Grimmshire, let alone the Court. I don't see the Unseelie doing much to undermine their enemies beyond allying yourselves with me. Do you even know how many Goblins I've lost already? The Forest tricks them and many either die or disappear without our knowing. This, I'm sure you know, is because of Fairy trickery! What protection have you offered my lads thus far!? Not enough, if none at all!" He then lowered his voice.

"Ahem." He coughed. He didn't wish to upset the Queen but the reports he receives have been, less than optimistic. It makes him rather mad to hear that these inconveniences are stalling their efforts. At least the Dwarves don't result to such tricks and will rush to meet you in combat, from there it's one's will for battle that decides the winner. "See my Lord? The Fairies offer you no such aid! We should leave-!" "SILENCE!!! One more word of this and I shall rip your tongue from your skull and feed it to you!!!" Gulbrand shouted in Goblin. Kob quieted down.
The Court behind Maeve tensed slightly, the knights behind her resisting the urge to pull the weapons from their hilts. Spite's growl rumbled throughout the room. The horned fairy rushed forward, only held back by her sister's grip around her arm. "How dare you! You worm! I'll-"

Maeve put up her hand, silencing her daughter. Her smile was unchanged, but the scent of lavender swirled around her and morphed until the air around her smelled of rotting flowers and rancid meat. "King Gulbrand," Although calm and collected, a terrible rasp crept into the queen's voice. "Are your fields plentiful? Or the farms in any of your territories? I can't imagine how difficult it is to feed armies of insatiable goblins, bugbears, and gnolls." She nodded, turning her back to him. "Or maybe I can, as I've been feeding the majority of your forces since the famine began." Stifled chuckles came from the fairy nobles, but Maeve ignored them. She turned to the king, a pleasant expression still resting on her face.

"As for your concerns, I understand completely. We have not provided your men with adequate protection. I will have one of my captains oversee a force dedicated to insuring their safety as they cut a path to Grimmshire." She moved towards Gulbrand, but her eyes rested on Kob. He was a disgusting little grunt. She wouldn't let on, but she spoke many languages and, although the goblin tongue was an insult to her ears, she understood every one of their guttural words. "Speaking of Grimmshire, the Seelie Queen has placed powerful protections on the kingdom. We have been working to undo her curses, but such things take time and patience."

Maeve's smile melted away, a look of cold steel in her eyes. She went to his side and hooked her arm through his own. "You must forgive us." She began to walk, guiding him with gentle but stern determination. "Our wars last for thousands of years. We are subtle and patient with our tactics, which leaves us unfamiliar with this style of conquest." Hopefully, the charm in the goblin king's wine was beginning to take root. Maeve smiled at him. "But you are a great conqueror. We could use your input on such matters."

Gulbrand was pleased with himself seeing the reaction the Court made, especially from her daughter. While it isn't always smart to antagonize others, he can't help but feel some sort of smug satisfaction that he can easily get underneath their skins. Though if they are this easily offended then they would be utterly rabid if he had actually tried. Even so, he could see why Maeve is Queen and not the rest of these bloody Soft Skins. She's not so easily perturbed.

It was then the smell shifted in the air...just what had happened? Is this Fairy Queen up to something? Perhaps, but the Goblin King felt no sense of danger regardless of whatever little game she's up to. Still here words did irk the Goblin King some especially when her Court decided to snicker. "Bloody Softskins, they all would be begging for their lives right now if it weren't for our alliance." He thought to himself. He continued to nod as the Queen continued.

"Well, yes, I suppose that would be satisfactory." He spoke. He was bit surprised when the Queen hooked his arm but he did not protest beyond a grumble. He followed her as she went on to explain about their tactics and while it may work for them, a Goblin's life isn't nearly that long. We move quick and hit hard, it is most effective in warfare. "Well...I suppose I could forgive you for that. A Fairy's life is eternal...I should understand this...but we Goblins haven't such lifespans. It's important we take what we want, when we want, and that is always sooner rather than later." He then absentmindedly took a drink from the cup. "But I could...direct some of your forces to better accommodate my needs."

As Gulbrand sipped his wine, Maeve smiled inwardly. "I am very grateful to you, King Gulbrand." She and the goblin walked towards her throne, but as they approached it, a portal opened before them. She turned her head towards Gulbrand, a polite smile on her lips. "Let's speak privately, beyond the ears of the rabble."

He looked at the portal as it opened itself before them. Looking to leave these ingrates behind he decided to step through without much thought of anything else. Besides, isolated, if something was amiss he was certain he could handle her himself.

As they walked through a portal, they discovered themselves in a large garden full of bright flowers and twisted brambles. Like the Unseelie Queen, all the plants were bold and beautiful, but extremely toxic. "Although my captains may not be skilled in your style of war, they are some of the deadliest combatants this world has ever seen. They will serve you well." The fairy queen looked up to the sky, seeing nothing but a starless night. "I have come to respect you far more than I thought possible." She released her grip on the king's arm, walking towards the edge of the garden. She inspected a particularly wild bunch of roses. She ran her thumb against the thorns, flirting with their barbs. "But, I must politely ask you to speak to me with the same respect I've shown you...especially in front of my court." She plucked a flower. The thorns dug into her gloved hand, a dark saplike substance oozing from the fabric. Maeve turned to her fellow monarch with a smile. "We are equals, after all."

He eyed the Unseelie Queen as she strolled about her private garden. The plants seemed to almost, reach out towards him, closing in on him, it felt entirely oppressive. Still he kept his attention on the Queen as she continued to speak about the, finer points, of their partnership. He watched as she seemed to have pricked herself. Was that her blood? It almost looked like Goblin Blood, which was notoriously thick, stinky and dark like the night sky. She seemed unfazed by the sudden discomfort and it would appear there's more to this Queen than he thought. She didn't seem to be like any of the other Soft Skin royalty. Weak and pathetic, unable to stand any slight tribulation to their wretched lives and worst of all, cowardly, even worse than some Goblins he knew.

He watched as she seemed to have pricked herself. Was that her blood? It almost looked like Goblin Blood, which was notoriously thick, stinky and dark like the night sky. She seemed unfazed by the sudden discomfort and it would appear there's more to this Queen than he thought. She didn't seem to be like any of the other Soft Skin royalty. Weak and pathetic, unable to stand any slight tribulation to their wretched lives and worst of all, cowardly, even worse than some Goblins he knew.

Gulbrand slowly nodded his head. "I...apologize, Queen Maeve...I simply felt, outrage at the thought of being underappreciated. We are here to conquer your foes for you and it seems we are met with disrespect in spite of our efforts. I see that I have misjudged you, but if we are equals, then I hope to see these issues resolved in a timely manner." The Goblin King spoke, his tone noticeably more respectful.

"Yes, I suppose we have both face resistance concerning our alliance." She chuckled quietly. "I suppose for all our similarities, goblins and fairies are having difficulties feeling at ease with their new allies." As Maeve handed the rose to Gulbrand, it began to blacken and wither. A mischievous glint gleamed in her eye. "Perhaps there is something we can do to remedy that."

He raised an inquisitive eyebrow as the Queen spoke. He looked down at the withering rose which she so gracefully held out for him to take. The Goblin King looked back at her and nodded. It was true, the Goblins have done nothing but complain about their alliance. He understands their concerns, more like their hate, but he has grown annoyed with their constant bellyaching. For example, Kob never fails to reiterate the fact he despises this alliance with a passion. Of course he would never do anything to change this...he's far too cowardly.

Still...there are others of similar opinion who do not hold such weaknesses. He looked towards her and then with a grin he took the rose from her hand. "Perhaps." He chuckled as the rose crumbled within his grip.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurnos, Keeper of Undeath Character Portrait: Palchard Character Portrait: Dolores
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With a sigh the Dark Lady fully resigned her previous intention. It had been a long time since Dolores had feasted upon a divine but she would see her gluttony sated eventually, besides it would be a shame if her new pawn was felled before he got to be useful.

“My apologies Palchard, I got distracted setting the table I forgot about the guests I had invited over to feast.”

 With a clap of her hands, they departed the court and appeared inside her Palace, the room in particular representing a war room. Dominating the center was a table with a rather lifelike map of Pandeum. Though things like geographical features and cities were miniaturized, close inspection proved that they were indeed accurate models of the things they represented.

 “When I get bored I come here and amuse myself by playing with my pawns. It is rather convenient I can use this to explain the grand scheme of things.”

 With hands white like alabaster, The Dark Lady plucked each pawn off the table and set them to display what occurred in the mortal realm, as she knew it. Each piece morphed itself so their appearance suited the event they were to display. Some were farmers, toiling the lands without success. Others were peasants forced to starve, greedy merchants buying food where it still growed and selling it at outlandish prices were none could be found. Soldiers resorting to banditry. At the borders of Kassius’s realm various pawns had gathered, taking form as legionnaires and the savages under Yogosh’s banner. Yet there were others in the nations...all of them dressed as cultists of Dolores...the most interesting of them were to the south.

“The Nations of Pandeum, stricken by famine, have been thrown into disarray. Our “Brothers and Sisters” will seek to unite them to bring about peace. So in light of this I propose we increase our power and influence in the mortal realm whilst they are distracted. Kurnos. I told you, I would profit regardless and I did not lie. However, if you cooperate with me I will have reason to reward you. The money my Cultists make, a portion of it will go to you and a portion of the food they have amassed. I will also aid your image.”

Dolores placed Pawns in the city of Nyke which was in Solaras, revealing the Cultists who had gathered there and her avatar. “Delietes as we speak is talking to the heads of various sects of my Cult of Dolores. Together they seek to amass wealth and cause confusion to distract those who would otherwise persecute them for their underhanded methods. One of them is the leader of a bard’s guild, the Sirens of No Sacrifice. They can romanticize the savage invaders of Kurnos, humanize their cause. Sing of their starving children and wives to sway the noble hearted fool and recite epics depicting Yogosh as a kind ruler whom was denied forgiveness and food by Cyrus, justifying your people’s invasion. Any further action against you will cause a divide amongst the countries that wish to do so, something we can exploit. Palchard to you personally, I offer amusement. In one of my courts, the mortals who seek their gluttonous desires sated, are tested to see if they are worthy of an audience. I have gathered the food from that court and with your help, wish to have it altered further. After the famine ends, I will have you put it amongst the food my cultists sell, Kurnos I will be sure your portion is not tainted myself. The expected results of this tainted food should be maddening and ruin the reputation of the food sold by Solaras. At the very least they will cause confusion amongst the mortals and many of them will become feral. I am sure you will find both of these fun to witness. However I also offer the allegiance of my cultists, some do worship you but with a word, I can have them integrate you into the normal doctrine. You will gain more power, more worshippers, and most importantly through my cult, influence into other nations where you would otherwise struggle to conjure a decent prank. However I will warn you both, whether you do as I ask or not I benefit the most from this.”
As she spoke her final sentence, a great many pawns that mimicked Dolores’s cultists went south. All under one region. “ They will unite to bring peace but for peace to come there must first be war and make no mistake. I have observed this world and you all since my birth. We will become their scape goats and they will call it Justice. Together we can show the mortals the truth, that there are no Gods of Justice or Law, that the Pantheon the see as Black or White is as gray and unfair as the world they live in.”

______________________________________________________________________
(Somewhere in the South.)


 In a land where silenced reigned. A land absent of mortals. Their touch had long been wiped away by the sands. Only one thing remained as evidence that man had once reigned here. Some miles off the coast, a singular colossal monument stood as reminder of what once was. A Pyramid, black like obsidian. The ancient archives of various nations would have knowledge on this place, the capitol of a nation. Similar to the Great Kingdom of Rime, that belonged to Nike, this one was surrounded by enemies and filled with corruption from within. The end result being ruin. Yet unlike Rime who had but one son, Argon, to remember it’s name. This Kingdom left behind many inheritors and reclaimers...All who shared the ambition of their ancestors.

For centuries they had remained silent. Hiding beneath the sands… Enclosed within the earth. Moving only under the cloak of night, they uncovered crypt after crypt and with each discovery the claimed more and more riches left behind from their ancestors. It was in these crypts that they toiled and worked. Expanding as necessary, making use of all that their ancestors left. Perhaps one would think they had defiled their graves, that they were lowly grave robbers. Yet surely, their ancestors smiled upon them, if they could. Afterall, all things had their end. They had been fooled by the lesser Gods into thinking otherwise and prepared their burials thinking that they could carry with them their riches into the afterlife. Yet they knew the truth. There was no afterlife. All things were to come to an end, it was as the Dark Lady had observed.

When the world came out fresh from Archanian’s Forge, it was doomed. Some of their less learned members called it the Flaw of Creation but that was a taboo name. It was not a flaw, Archanian was not a fool. All things that had a beginning, must also have an end. Not many whom worshipped the Dark Lady appreciated the aspect of Entropy but the Sect of Necroferi, unlike the other Sects, did. They accepted the truth that was the End and mimicked their Goddess.

Tracing their origins to an that empire has long been buried beneath the sands of the southern deserts, the Necroferi Cultists acted separate from the main cult. While they sought to over indulge in worldly desires, they had a different purpose. Protect that which Dolores called, the "The Flaw in Creation", the Decay that had plagued existence itself from the very moment Archanian pulled the World out from his Forge and to Witness the Endtimes alongside their Lady.

To that end,, they tried to observe the world and the Rot but their lives were far too short. In hopes of expanding their life, they begun to dabble in healing and worship Symphonia, but they only learned the limitations of Healing, not the secrets of Longevity. Next they mixed the worship of Kurnos in their Doctrine, hoping that perhaps through Undeath they could gain their answer and they did... but the wrong one. The Dark Lady's wrath fell upon them for resorting to Necromancy and those that survived her anger, realized through experiencing what it was like to be nothing but bone and rotting flesh that Eternal Life lacked the pleasures of Eternal Youth. Yet they continued on this peril less quest for knowledge, the truths they acquired along the way only working to perverse their perception of the Pantheon and their reverence for Entropy and Death even further. They sought something just before death but without the withering of life. Something that would not bind them to eternity but would permit them to last until the end. Perhaps it was for this devotion, Dolores permitted them to conjure an answer.
Bounding their souls to magic imbued phylacteries...
Reciting incantations requiring days to finish...
Imbuing by hand warding scripts upon linen and wrapping their bodies to preserve themselves…

The process was long. It was arduous. Those who learned how to do it spent their entire lives doing so and only the most masterful were permitted to attempt it on another. If the incantation was uttered wrong, if the phylactery cracked and the soul leaked, if the linen with which the body was wrapped had even the slightest flaw, the power they called upon would become wild and tore them asunder. And even these, if left to fend against the Decay by themselves would lose. The Phylacteries cracked as the soul tried to return to it’s natural vessel, the incantations would wear off eventually and linen would also give way, taking the words with them. (Thus the hierarchy was determined accordingly. Those worthy to be preserved, those who did the preserving, and those who served one or the other above them.)

It had been a perilous journey through the ages for the Necroferi Dolores Cultists, but they had secured the means to see the End. Now they only needed that ensure no one stopped the End from coming.

A singular femine voice resonated throughout the interior of the Black Pyramid. “Our Hour is it hand…”.
Preserved and made to sleep to her safety, the one whom Dolores herself had acknowledged as her Hero, had awoken. Her name was Khalida the Forever Queen. and her purpose was to recreate the nation they traced their lineage through and use the power they would gain from doing so to smite anyone or anything that sought to stop Dolores.

"It is time for our return."