September 2003 - Mail Archives

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Re: September 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:59 am

Unto the honourable members of the Royal Chancellery
Author: P. Sh.
Date: 25 September 2003

Copies of the following, bearing the seal of the Aginor House are delivered to the private estates, or other places of lodging of the magistrates, provided they are not kept secret and also, to the offices of the Chancellery themselves.

Honourable <Insert name of the recipient, or in the case with the letter delivered to the offices, Honourable Magistrates>

Rumors are spreading far and wide, with amazing vigour about the city. I, however, deeming myself somewhat of a sceptic regarding such, desire to familiarise with the sources of such talk, lest I be misguided and reach ill decisions. I humbly request that we meet, at a time fit for both parties, so that you make me well acquainted with the situation.

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Re: September 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:12 am

Jah Kahn's Tale, part infinity: The Seige on the Castle Light
Author: WilliamT. Hill
Date: 25 September 2003



(As usual I am on my usual required hiatus to save one's sanity. To ensure the continuum of Jah's presence in the world in some way or the other, I shall write a short story from time to time until the return of my multiverse and its denizens. Understandably there is violence and possible foul language so be advised.)

While Dulcy scrubbed glasses and swabbed down the dirty bar to constantly and tirelessly rid it of saliva, spilled drinks, scribblings and other defamations of the bar's serving counter, a war was fought on another world and another plane. The thing that Dulcy didn't know and most likely didn't care was that Jah was one of those who was fighting in the service of Hell. One is quite sure that the cranky barmaid still had some semblance of disgust and displeasure at Jah casual attitude towards the profit margin that bar desperately tried to achieve and hold despite Jah's theft of all those drinks all those years. The fact that Jah paid for some of those drinks probably didn't quell Dulcy's anger any because he only paid for 5% of his drinks and only when he was in a good mood which like Dulcy, was rarely.

Elsewhere in the multiverse...

FIRE!

Catapults, trebuchets, mangonels and other various siege equipment hurled bolts, rocks, junk, dead animals, dead celestials and fireballs towards the battlements of the Castle Light. The Castle Light was only one of the many castles and fortresses maintained by the side of the light to hold back the tide of evil. Warded by spells and tended by thousands of soldiers ready and willing to die in service of good, it just was another roadblock for Jah and his soldiers. A roadblock Jah intended on crumbling to the ground so he can finish his end of the bargain and return to stomping to his heart's content in the Black Dragon once again, plundering, murdering, plotting and wreaking mayhem upon Arangoth.

Jah hunched down as his army reloaded the siege equipment and readied for another salvo at his command. Looking a little worn out and in dire need of a good bath was Jah, still dressed in battle armor, his large black cloak on his shoulders, his great sword by his side. Since killing the angel sent to try and destroy him, he had sent the forces of good retreating back into the fortress to try and hold their ground. Jah himself was a force to be reckoned with on the planes of Celesia and Hell but just another rampaging drunk otherworlder when he was at the Black Dragon. Which was precisely where his thoughts were. He missed the patrons, the smell of the interior, the bar staff, and its homemade and imported brew, the solid foundation upon which it was built, and the royal guard. That last thought put a sour note through his head and he turned his attentions back to the readied troops and equipment.

FIRE!

More stuff flew through air along with an imp stuffed in a barrel as a sick practical joke. They made great spies though they tended not to last very long. Hand an imp a couple jars of something explosive, launch it and let it carry itself to its destination on its leathery wings always gave the Celestials something to worry about. A couple of solid victories on the battlefield were made when a few imps inadvertently dropped their jars of explosives in midair on a crowd of celestials below but one time, the same thing backfired when an imp got scared and flew back towards the catapult it was launched from and blew it to pieces. Jah made sure that wouldn't happen again by positioning a few Tanar'ri with bows to ensure the imps delivered the goods precisely where they were needed.

Someone called out to Jah and he turned around to spot the voice. It was General Shar Equis, his brother in arms. Shar was standing near the command tent motioning for Jah to come. Apparently the war council had decided to convene and discuss strategy. Jah snickered and headed over to the tent. Stepping inside, he smacked a lesser demon from a chair and sat down. Everyone inside the tent was running the war effort from some angle or another, be they commander, general, officer, or just high in rank. Hell, even the head imp of the spy platoon was inside, sitting in a bowl of food, munching away.

After a few moments when everyone began to grow impatient, there was a great puff of smoke and before all of the assembled, appeared the Dr. Tristan Dunistyr, rogue Mechan and quasi god of nothing. The Mechan was a construct of the plane of Mechanus. Having gone mad and defied the orders of the makers, Tristan went rogue and decided to take a chunk of the multiverse for himself. Due to the mandate of heaven, as a god, he could not actively take part in the changing of the multiverse. He could only sit back, watch and meddle. The god's affairs were supposedly over after creation was done or so some thought. Truth be told, there was no seventh day and the gods did not rest but who was to dispute the false notions. It was kind of like finding a loophole in the law. Exploit it if you can, but face the consequences if you lose. In this case, Tristan intended to do what he could to carve out a substantial empire for himself and whomever he served. The puppetmaster was a puppet as well. It was the will of the great game.

"Everyone here?", Tristan said. A chorus of affirmatives were replied and then a hush descended upon the crowd. In the distance another salvo of siege weapons firing could be heard. Tristan unfolded a map and hung it up on the back wall of the tent, pointing to various spots with his mechanical fingers. The humanoid construct then turned to face the gathered and spoke.

"What we have here is the current stalemate that the Celestials have forced us into. Or... they think they have. I have plans and I need a few evil entities to carry them out for me. Research and Development hath been busy and come up with something that might bring this siege to an end. You are aware of the dwarves and the gnomes and there supposed incomparable mechanical abilities to create things from metal or stone with such wondrous ability. Well, what some of you are unaware of is the abilities of the mechans to create things that actually serve a purpose and do as commanded rather try and pass the tests of time." Murmurs of acknowledgement filled the tent and several Tanar'ri glanced at each other in suspicion.

"The device is called a Juggernaut. It is a huge machine upon wheels that can smash through anything that stands in its way. Layered in spikes and wards of such power, it is unstoppable. I will create a portal which to call it from and set it upon its path to armageddon. It will roll towards the fortress and smash down the gates and the wall. It will crush anything in its path. You all will provide covering fire for the device and the armies which will follow behind it. Once it smashes through the fortress, we will swarm inside and destroy the defenders and torch the castle." Tristan gave a feral grin, a radiance of evil permeating from his soulless metal form. "The attack will commence tomorrow as we will have summon enough power to create a portal of sufficient size to bring it onto this plane. Commence the current bombardment and don't let the Celestials become aware of what we may be up to. Keep them behind their walls. You are all dismissed."

Soon as the dismissal was given, everyone piled out of the tent to return to their duties. Jah headed back over to his post and leaned upon a pile of pocks. Giving the signal to commence firing, he resumed thinking about the Black Dragon Inn, all thoughts of the coming battle far away. Evil was good. And so is a nice glass of Underworld's Specialty.

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Re: September 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:46 am

The Fatted Goose (The Vloress Affair)
Author: Tom Long
Date: 28 September 2003

-----------------------
28 Hearthfire, 473
The Podar ul-Sinettatel, Blkdragon District, Drache
-----------------------

"Resignations. Accusations. Perhaps treason. All over one speck of a girl."

Oryan Kamvardeth had served Professor Maximilien ul-Julaire Reizeau, populist, liberal and intellectual, for over five years. He thought perhaps that this cold, unimpressed tone was the closest he'd seen him to anger since Councilor Vansippa had passed away. Oh, but that old blueblood had enraged him.

"What problem I dared hope would be a gobber's meal has become too large for a dragon to eat, Oryan. Indeed, I fear if not handled properly it could cripple the dragon, even if it does not settle for devouring the fatted goose." Mused the icy Regent Councilor further as he paced back and forth across his office at the Podar ul-Sinettatel, headquarters of the Regency Council of Southern Arangoth and centre of Transdarianian government. Outside, a number of flags and pennants flew, among them both the black dragon of Arangoth and the plump goose and sheaf of wheat in an unbroken circle of the Council a symbol which also graced Oryan's doublet.

The Councilor's First Page, and recently enrolled student at the Royal University, sighed. He sat in the client's position across the desk, with a quill and sheaf of paper in hand to take notes and dictation. The air around the Podar was decidedly tense. Everyone knew that now was the worst time for a scandal - when the high taxes that had been implemented less than a year ago were still fresh in everyone's minds, no matter how just the reasoning.

"Your decision about Vlorress was sound, Sir. You could do no less save if you were willing to sacrifice your judgement for political expediency."

"Hm." Was his Master's only response as he held his chin with a thumb and finger pensively. His form was slightly thinner and shorter than average, but not outside reason. In fact, he was a fairly unimpressive man in terms of looks, having poor palour and vision and dull red hair pulled into a loose tail. But his grey eyes were piercingly intelligent, and the draping quality of his shapeless grey robes set off by his gold Professorship chains was quite flattering, if severe. His spectacles were currently in his breast pocket, revealing two small red spots where they had pinched his nose.

"The Vloress woman does seem to be at the heart of our troubles. Perhaps you could simply give the oath yourself and end them. If you interpret the Regency Council as still being Regents of the Crown, which could likely be held up in Court despite their allegiance to Arlok, it is within your rights."

"No. You mistake the situation, I should think, Oryan. What should concern us is the Chancellery itself. Bourne had the decency to retire when faced with an order he could not carry out, but he has severely overstepped his authority in passing it on to successors of his choosing, rather than that of the King's."

"They, in turn, overstep their authority by debating - if we assume correctly - whether or not to comply with the Conciliar Order. Yet they have no choice but to comply, and that is our problem. Vloress is merely a spark, one we must not overly worry about when the fire is at hand."

"You're right, of course, Councilor. I suppose administering the oath then would be sidestepping the matter.

Shall you then contact the King for arbitration? It is his prerogative to appoint a new Lord Chancellor, one who is perhaps more loyal to the Crown." Oryan furrowed his brow, still quite young - though by now he was used to the halls of power and how they worked, many of the delicate ebb and flow of politics were confusing to him. The lad was on the cusp of his nineteenth year with dark hair and eyes. His close-cropped hair flowed into mutton chops he'd only recently found himself able to grow, and though he was not obese by any means, he certainly was thick of bone and midsection, though not overly tall.

"Not yet." The Professor mused, looking for a moment, thought Oryan, very worried. "It might explode the situation unnecessarily and send a poor message. First we must look to our more immediate allies, should the conflict at all escalate - and I do not necessarily mean violently."

"The Lord Protector, despite gaining his mandate and office from us would, I think, support the Magistrates." Oryan nodded, starting at the most obvious ally - probably the most powerful man in Southern Arangoth in terms of manpower and military might: Jaonos Mistwinter, head of the Royal Guard and Border Watch.

"An astute analysis, Oryan." Nodding, the boy's employer continued. "Captain Von Stahl, I do not know enough of to guess one way or the other. His wife's disgrace in the Dovestar Affair may weigh heavily on his mind - but on which side of the scales? On the one hand, supporting us would be in same vein as his wife's confessed position on vampires which they very possibly share - and even if he does not, taking the opposing position would publicly shame her even further. On the other, he may fear being caught in the same scandal as the Lady Von Stahl."

"We control the coffers whence come his Royal Guard's salaries, Councilor. And we have always supported him. The new taxes are partly to pay for the expansion into the Wharf District which he and his predecessors pushed for."

"True, but such concerns would not sway Mistwinter, and they may not Von Stahl. One often thinks the Guard's colours should be black and white rather than black and grey."

Oryan blanched. Professor Reizeau was making something akin to a joke. Things really were bad.

"The problem is the matter is so damnably controversial that I fear even Regent Councilors may side with the Magistrates. What is more, our numbers are so greatly reduced. The Lord Captain Mhern-Lathvek stays in his Home Port, though he has voted recently he cares little for the outcome, and in any case I suspect his resignation to Lord Overseer shall come soon. He was never as devoted to the Council as the rest of us. Father Dragonsbane is still missing, and it has been long since he has concerned himself with matters of state."

"Tespinel Aptentrod Asprolta and Daranek may heed your calls." Oryan pursed his lips, thinking of the two former Councilwomen. The former, Jetteah Asprolta, young and bright, a Magistrate herself. The latter, Lorla Daranek, older and wiser, though her spells had brought her someyouth, the Founder of the Council. Surely she would support them! If his Master was already counting Harlst out, then the Council was really reduced to two active members.

"Perhaps, but we should not count on it. Tespin Asprolta would be valuable, for she bridges our two bodies. But I think Vorfon Aldenbar is the man to whom first to look. Marcion. He commands the loyalty and respect of a great segment of the population, and his charisma exceeds mine greatly. In fact, if he stands with the Goose, Asprolta and Von Stahl may fall into line much more willingly than if not. His heart will tell him to side with Bourne, but...he may still be loyal to the Council. He has worked so hard for it. We have all worked so very hard." He set his jaw. "He must stay loyal."

"And the letter from the Blake woman, Sir?"

"Disheartening. The fact that the matter is already among those who do not fully comprehend it is troubling. I suppose it does not matter from where the leak sprang, it is enough that it has. Do we know who she is?"

"Yes, Councilor." Oryan examined a scroll. "A former Guardswoman, currently a licensed bounty hunter. We're looking into it, but I believe she may have been one of the Guards who resigned when Captain Courrant came to power." The page well remembered Alistair 'Solace' Courrant, the lich Captain of the Guard. A frightening man, though very competent. They'd lost a number of Guards though, objecting to serving under the living dead. "Shall I take a letter for her, Sir, explaining the situation?"

"No, Oryan. This matter must be kept silent for now. Until we have an official position, which must wait until we are sure of Aldenbar. Blake can wait. Let me muse a moment."

The young man nodded and adjusted himself in his chair more comfortably. His gaze wondered as he awaited more orders, taking in the fairly sizable office in which they were now located. Though every available space lining the walls was taken up by shelves of books and honeycomb scroll cupboards, it was a severe and tidy room, quite like it's occupant. The few forms of decoration found about the room were a number of RhyDinian heirlooms - a rapier, a few coats of arms, - and some more Arangothian ? a Theobold & Sons clock, a painting of his family's ancestral fief, Dibepiraltarloth, near the River Lathri, another of the city of Millabratel. And of course, the bird.

The great black bird which sat quietly upon an upright perch had originally come to Councilor Sarnem Vansippa several years ago, a sort of curse or reminder from a petitioner to speed their dealings. For some reason or another, Oryan didn't exactly know, the deal had never been closed and so Sarnem had never been freed from the bird's constant accompaniment. On his death a few years ago, the cantankerous old Professor had dictated in his will that the University create a permanent Professor of Statesmanship position for his colleague, Maximilien Reizeau, but had also dictated that the Curse of the Blackbird pass on to that same colleague. Old Vansippa, what a creature!

And so, though he had attempted for years to lock out the bird and harry it away, Oryan's Master had finally given up on sending boys to hurl rocks at it, locking it out of doors, and anointing his jacket with foul smelling rooksbane. Nothing would keep the bird away, and the former Popular leader would not consent to kill it, fearful of its enchantment, so finally it was accepted and provided with a perch. The bird was actually coming to be rather familiar to most in the Podar and the University, those two places where the Professor spent most of his time, though often it's cawing would interrupt an important lecture or meeting with Lords and fingers would twitch with the urge to strangle the beast. It was during his Master's now regrettably ended relationship with Mistress Lytta D'Alcmaeon that it had come closest. The animal had actually burst through a glass window after being locked out. Mistress D'Alcmaeon, always a pleasant soul, and closer to Oryan's own age than his Master's, had laughed as she had told him of Maximilien in his birthday suit taking up a decorative rapier and charging after the thing.

As if sensing his thoughts, the bird gave a series of loud caws, sounding almost like laughing as it roused itself from sleep and began preening itself proudly.

"Oryan, take a letter." His Master finally spoke up and steepled his fingers. ??Dear Marcio no. Start again. Vorfon Marcion ul-Fenduth Tagran Aldenbar, I write to you this day...



Glossary:
Vorfon/Tespin Aptentrod : translated as Lord/Lady Overseer. Although I was too lazy to actually write up a law, which I should have, a few years ago we were retooling the Council a bit and I created this title as a retirement position for former Councilors. Basically, a Lord/Lady Overseer gains (beyond the title, which is not hereditary) a pension and the lawful ability to step in and fill vacant Council position should the need arise. Most of the original Councilors are assumed to have retired from public life, but only two have actually died.

The Dovestar Affair: This is complicated, but it was a plot involving a vampire, Erik Dovestar, and his conflicts with Lord Chancellor Thomas Bourne regarding Edict 171. Dovestar escaped Guard custody through the actions of Kellan Mistwood (later Kellan Von Stahl) and she was discharged for the offense, though later readmitted.

High Taxes: Last october, the Council obtained permission from the King (though not without interference and rewriting by Arlok) to raise Southern Arangothian tariffs on maritime trade, family inheritance, and a number of other things. These taxes were meant to restock the empty coffers after a few years of perpetual disasters (The Plague, the Mist, the tornado, the Red Lantern fire) and were to be reviewed for renewalor cancellation in a year's time.

Jayne
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Re: September 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:50 am

To Marcion ul-Fenduth Aldenbar (The Vlorress Affair)
Author: Tom Long
Date: 28 September 2003

Vorfon Marcion ul-Fenduth Tagran Aldenbar,

I write to you this day, the 28th of Hearthfire, concerning the present controversy regarding the Chancellery.

I know, Vorfon, that your mind is concerned by these events as is mine. Bourne's resignation came as something of a surprise, but not as much as his decision to bypass the law and convention and name his own erstwhile successors rather than ceding that duty, as he must, to the Crown. Edict 5 clearly states that the Reigning Monarch or appointed Regents thereof have the authority to review and appoint a Lord Chancellor.

Further, it is clearly within the Council's purview to accept an appeal on a matter of citizenship and make a decision, whether the Chancellery chooses to agree or not. Tragically, they have chosen to dispute this body's lawfully conceived and executed decision. This is outside their mandate and quite flies in the face of Conciliar authority. I don't believe we were beholden to even ask his office to carry out such a decision, as Edict 7 places the roll of citizens under our control, if not keeping, but the courtesy was extended regardless.

I understand, my colleague, that yours was the dissenting vote in this case, but the vote was a valid one. In resigning in the face of a moral dilemma, Thomas was acting understandably but rashly. I had hoped that all this body has accomplished together through our many storms both within the chambers and without would have engendered more trust in him. A walk through our fair city never fails to remind me, with its multitude of landmarks and battle scars, how much we have fought and sacrificed to preserve her. I recently dedicated a new annex to that shelter in the Old City named after our dear Shannon.

This really is too small a matter for Thomas to object to so strenuously, in my humble opinion. This is one case, I fear, in which he should have trusted the judgement of His Majesty and myself and to the due process of the law.

Be that as it may, fellow Councilor, you and I have much to discuss in our reaction to the Lord Chancellor's misguided actions. I would hear your mind on this matter before we act, for I have learned my own is not as capable alone as it is in concert with the workings of others. Thomas is a brilliant and stubborn old curmudgeon and has likely imparted a similar obduracy to his subordinates.

Indeed, this is a delicate time, politically and requires our seasoned body to work at its best. Next month it will be the full year since our new tax scheme was implemented. Should this situation go sour with the public, it will make review wasteful as we will not be able to dare maintain the raised taxes - though our coffers are still not quite as full as some would have them. I am still undecided on whether to continue the taxes in any case, and our decision may indeed rest on the outcome of this affair.

Should you wish to meet, of course, I shall make myself available. I know with your busy schedule, however, you may wish to converse in a more epistolary manner for a time. In any case, I look forward to hearing from you. Indeed, I hope you will forgive my businesslike missive, so lacking in proper courtesy.

I am, Sir, your colleague,

Maximilien

<Seal affixed>

Jayne
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Re: September 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:55 am

A sudden departure
Author: P. Sh.
Date: 29 September 2003

Doesn’t seem like anything I know, that’s for sure. Are you sure we shouldn’t turn tide Cap’ain?

Right sure. We’re losin’ money for each hour this cargo’s late and there’s nuthin’ Ah hate more than losin’ money.

The two turned their eyes westwards once more, taking turns to gaze through the telescope, towards that distant black speck floating just over the horizon. Mandley Baker, though far from renown, had his share of infamy as a smuggler and freelancing privateer and many a trade-cog crew had learned to dread the sight of his ship’s broad-hulled silhouette. The Warthog lived up to its name – with holds to contain more loot than some could market in a lifetime, and a lot swifter and more agile than looks could suggest. Many captains only began to realize the Warthog’s battle-worthiness after its iron tusks pierced their hulls under level-line. Despite this and the dozen or so ballistae on deck, each able to fell a dragon from the sky, Captain Baker felt unsure of his decision, as what initially seemed like a tiny dot grew into vision.

Truly, a Noexsian airship, when at full battle-readiness, is an intimidating sight to behold. Smooth, glistening metal plating all covered in yard-long, foot-broad blading and lean, predatory outline make it look a beast of legend rather than man-made vessel. More so to one that has never before encountered one.

The paif of vessels drew close, yet the strange airship took no action. With a crew still wary of the other vessel’s intents, the Warthog went past it and left it behind, all eyes still fixed upon it. Then came thunder. The ship bulged to the right, sending men sprawling across the deck. Some of the ballista sent their projectiles flying, but none marked its target, as it abruptly sprang into motion, catching up with the damaged galleon and pouring out a multitude of soldiers on deck. Battle ensued, the heavily armoured invaders obviously not as well suited to maritime combat as Baker’s crew. Still, they outmatched them, both in numbers and weaponry and the engagement was soon over, the last of the smugglers casting there weapons aside, when thunder came out the golden-branched staves that some of the boarding party carried.

Captain Jarn Erystolle observed how his men strived to save as much cargo as possible from the doomed ship, as water slowly filled the lower decks. It amazed him, how such a simple stratagem never failed to catch the enemy off-guard. The ship’s appearance served well to draw attention and few of the captains of the cargo-filled vessels that fell prey to them wanted to risk combat they could avoid. Then, usually, they stumbled across the small kegs of black-fire, the shaking of the impact with the hull being more than enough to enrage the minute elemental spirit bound in a metal sphere by the side of the keg. The heat it produced ignited the dark liquid and, with no room to expand the produced energy, an explosion followed, potent enough to damage most ships beyond repair. Still, it was far from perfect, as cargo often suk with the ship and there was no chance of capturing an enemy vessel.

While lost in such thought, his lieutenant came before him, saluting him hurriedly.

Sir, urgent message from prime command. The Knave is to discontinue all operations in this area and return immediately to Drache, where to maintain full departure-readiness and await further orders.

The Gallant Knave, aborting all loading operations, vanished as abruptly as it had appeared, course set for Arangoth's southern capital, leaving what little remained of the Warthog and its crew to the mercy of the elements.

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