Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

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madd0ct0r
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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-01-05 04:48am

Fragment 3

Bralla’s Pack was westward bound
Twenty-four young raiders strong
With ox and sled between them
Chanting out a marching song
Leather slings and strings of stones
Slung from belts on shoulders broad
Wicked teeth and heavy arms
Torcs and fur and heavy claws

Two run ahead to scout the way
Another two fall back to watch
The twenty left steer sled and ox
This raid goes west, to Borderlands
A glory seeking hunting run.
Ambitious Bralla and her kin
And others hunting fame or fun.

For seven days they run along
A path marked by careful cairns of stone
Detailing raids, how much and when
On each she leaves a polished bone.
As paths fork they follow west
Avoiding others’ bonecrumb trails
But Bralla has a place in mind
A place of pigs and wood and nails.
The eighth day sees them see the smoke
Of Bralla’s hope, the human town,
Well fortified by wooden walls
And gates that stand until torn down

For a day they lurk and watch
The gates are shut and nothing leaves
But smoke up-drifting from the hall
Bralla plans within the trees,
Before the sun began to rise
Eight slingers each with heaps of stone
Howling, roaring either side
Battered at the lookout posts
Another two kept them supplied
And swapped in when one was getting hot
Bralla’s sister’s led the charge;
Firefly Karag and Javelin Roh.
The gates were stout cross-pegged trunks
Fire and teeth would be too slow

The sisters braced against the gate
Cupped their paws and waited for
Bralla’s charge, a moment later,
With their boost she stretched up tall.
Around the top she caught a rope
And with her feet she pushed out hard
Her strength and weight too much to bear
The gate crashed down and Hyenorks charge.

They were met by axe and dogs
But quickly crushed the woodsmen fled
Bralla’s crew stole stores and hogs
and cattle sheltered in the yard,
The bodies and the cookpots too,
Working on though pierced with arrows
They left behind Hyenorks two:
Merkor, beheaded by an axe,
and Thorm, guts spilled on the ground.
With loot they ran, not hiding tracks
And with the sleds continued on
Before the town would follow them.
They ran until the sun was lost
Then circled sleds to make a den
To roast the men and eat for strength.
Bralla grunted as Karage pressed
Her bone staples into a pinched shut wound
Within a day that’d be one flesh,
With returning strength as muscles knit.
Karag had taken nine cross bow hits
And pulled them now with her free hand.
The other held grilled human bits
She chewed and watch the fire.
The others talked of future plans
Bralla knew the haul was good,
Fresh meat, smoked meat, a cooking pot
Nine axes, thirty arrow-heads
She’d send six bos back with this lot
For she wanted to to go on further west
With Firefly Karag and Javelin Roh
Small welcome had they in the tribe
Reputations sitting low.

To the south Magralla trudges
Through the frozen creekland folds
With sisters: Forn, Rosor and Daikee
Seeking the Caribou winter holds.

And to the east Hudern is fighting
Musk Ox Bandits, nothing grand.
He follows his nose towards Anrakis
Border port in Orion lands.

Actions:
Bralla: Smash and grab raid on human town in the Borderlands to the much to the west of my borders.
Magralla and Hudern keep travelling.

Points resolution:
36 points of Hyenork (24 raiders at 1.5 each)
vs
34 points of 'Human Town Inhabitants'
6 points of brave idiots with axes (12 woodsmen at 0.5 points each)
3 points of nasty dog (10 dogs at 0.3 points each)
15 points of crossbow men ( say 12 hunters at 0.8 points each)
10 points of fixed defences (wooden palisade)
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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Re: Pike and Shot- Cold Steel and Courage

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-01-05 07:42pm

The demon was fortunate as it unwisely rose to face him- Delatour's fifth ball skipped off its thick, horned skull leaving a crease of burning electric blue across its bald scalp. And still fortunate, perhaps, by some standards, when the sixth and last stopped against the bone of its brow, rather than hammering its way through. It did not die instantly, its brain was not destroyed, but ravening balefire spilled across its eyes, and ate halfway through the dense skull before Xazonar's arm reached up and clawed it away, the ball flying away along with the char and ruins it had left behind.

Blind and crippled, Xazonar collapsed into a shuddering heap, rolling to the foot of the hill on which it had stood.


Northern Marches, Michigan
Below Guillory's Tower
An Hour Past Dawn
Frostbringer 20, 224
(December 11)


Recommended Listening: The Zaporozhian March

Deeper and more robust than an Ohioan bugle, the horns of the Kaskaskians sounded as Shoots-Across-Canyon called the orders that reflected the temper of his men. The prairie hosts could be a savage lot. The honor of their arms was an equally savage, and profoundly demanding, mistress.

The, hulking, crippled monstrosity across the field had raised against them swarms of monsters, and bombarded the River Men's infantry with such a massive rain of stones and magic. Who could know what it might be capable of, even wounded so terribly?

They were mortal men. Therefore, they were still frightened of this fiend.

They were mortal men of the Kaskaskian Host. Therefore, they would attack it.

The light horse of the Illinois plains rode scrubby-looking ponies of great endurance and speed. The Kaskaskian Host might have made its peace with the empire of King Louis, others of the plainsmen might serve the Turks. But their cousins, no more valiant and no better equipped, still rode wild and fully free, challenging the River Man empires, challenging any others who sought to squeeze them off the land. That bold and warlike spirit was the inheritance of the Kaskaskian Host, for all that they had chosen a less lonely path for their own folk.

Whooping and screaming, the plains horsemen lowered their lances and advanced at the trot, building up momentum for the charge.

And ahead, many yards ahead, galloping with all the speed of his horse, Shoots-Across-Canyon led his cavalry alone, in the spirit of the mad recklessness which had won him a warrior's reputation. It was in service of a goal, but he'd have made the attempt anyway. This monster frightened him, as much as any man- he would test himself against it!

The dead grass, the knots of dead hell-hounds, passed the chief by. He saw the heaving mass of the dark creature, at the foot of the hill among the stones of the fallen tower. It quivered, struggled, tried to rise on one leg. It grew large, large ahead of him, he who had now left his men behind. He gritted his teeth and drew his sabre.

The fire-demon was very possibly blind, and obviously in great pain. But somehow, it was sensing Shoots-Across-Canyon's approach, or hearing his horse, or for all he knew smelling his soul. This, the chief knew, with alarm, as the shadow-lord raised its arm high into the air for a sweeping stroke that could easily send a rider- or his horse- tumbling. Gathered its bulk over its one good leg for a lunge.

The Kaskaskian’s blade had been dismissed by so many as an affectation of one with more money than sense. Men sometimes questioned Shoots-Across-Canyon's wisdom. Did he spend his money sensibly, paying for a blade decorated with gleaming, lovely metal? What of it? For no one doubted his swordsmanship, nor his horsemanship.

The shadow-lord moved, its remaining strength still enough to give its ton or more of bulk nearly the speed a normal man might enjoy in the prime of health. The blade slashed through the air, hissing softly under the demon’s pained bellows, as Shoots-Across-Canyon twisted so, his horse moving as responsively as though man and beast were a single creature. No clumsiness here, none. Horse and rider danced aside as the flailing arm of the shadow-lord clawed the turf... with a line of bright blue fire across its thumb from the tip of the cavalryman’s silvery sabre.

Flailing its hand, the creature spoke to its human enemies for the third time that day, but now gasping, more weakly, the great rumble diminished to a steaming, burbling hiss like a half-doused bonfire. The sound alone was horrific, enough that man and horse alike felt a terrible compulsion to pause. “I wi- will suck the marrow from your bones!” the shadow-lord hissed as Shoots-Across-Canyon wheeled his horse. “I will... dry them- and work them cunningly... into instruments of music! Whenever I play upon them, your spirit will writhe in bodiless agony!”

Shoots-Across-Canyon laughed with a boldness he did not feel, laughed, for it was that or scream, and his nerve returned to him in the face of horror. “You burn prettily!”

He spurred his mount around for another pass. The Kaskaskian stallion, a horse of the finest breeding and training to be had between the Wabash and the Illinois, didn’t hesitate. Plunging into the attack, the chief avoided another poorly-timed swipe of the demon's left claws- however the monstrosity sensed his passing, it wasn't doing so very accurately.

This time, the blade slashed across the dense quadricep of Xazonar's good leg. No mundane blade, even a silver one, would cut very deep against its flesh this way- but it hurt, it slowed the monster further, even as its right arm lashed out- and seized the horse as Shoots-Across-Canyon spurred it away. The fine stallion tumbled, crashing to the ground. Shoots-Across-Canyon barely threw himself clear. The poor beast whinnied pitifully, its hip dislocated, its lower leg crushed in the demon's grip.

The Kaskaskian chieftain laughed again, laughed to keep despair at bay, leaping back, bright blade in hand. The shadow-lord, twisting around, kept its arms in position to defend against a rash assault by the dismounted plainsman, with the blade it liked not at all, which even this immense monster now knew could hurt it, and which it could not truly see save through the shimmer of magic, sensed reflecting off the silvery blade. Lurching on its good leg and trying to move toward him... Even reduced like this, lurching, one-legged and blind, the demon was an overpowering threat for an ordinary- or extraordinary- swordsman on foot.

But what of that? The Kaskaskian chief had achieved the goal he'd set out for.

Shoots-Across-Canyon had distracted the creature long enough. He had drawn the beast further from the hill onto proper level ground. His men had lined up their first orderly charge, and a file of plains lancers’ hoofs rose to a crescendo as they approached, the devil realizing what the agile man with the blade that burned had truly been doing.

Image
Lancer of the Kaskaskian Host.

The first Kaskaskian's lance smashed against invisible wards a full inch from the shadow-lord's skin. Its immunity and repulsion to base metals held after a fashion, even so wounded, even riddled by silver bullets and sliced with a silver blade. The steel spearhead flattened and twisted as though it had struck the side of a mountain, smashing a full yard of the lance's tip behind it as weight of horse and rider carried it to thump against Xazonar's dark, flaming hide, as sheer momentum had carried cannonballs through before.

The tip of the lance struck Xazonar as a blackjack might strike a man. The shower of splintered wood behind it, from the shaft of the lance, struck... differently. It was no metal, base or otherwise. And while a shadow-lord's tough flesh could resist most things made from living matter... it was not immune. Xazonar grunted as a shower of splinters, some the size of daggers, buried themselves in its shoulder. None pierced deeply enough to be a true threat to its life, but it rocked the demon as the Kaskaskian horseman galloped past... and the next lancer came in, and the next.

Shoots-Across-Canyon was laughing more genuinely as one of his file leaders, coming in on a white horse, reached down out of the saddle to clasp his chief's outstretched arm and jerked him up to ride behind.

Now his band had done something worth remembering twice on this field, now they could have a proper song for this day!




Recommended Listening: Himno de los Tercios

Xazonar, crippled, found itself hardly able to resist even the relatively puny attacks of the mortal cavalry. Their lances stung only- that was an offense it had encountered before in war against men. And the sweeps of its mighty arms were slaying horses or riders... but only one, every other time or so, when half a dozen horsemen came against it on each pass!

By twisting and scurrying on its remaining limbs, Xazonar believed it could have protected itself well enough to at least survive the attack of so many lancers, to kill enough that the remaining ones would stop their dangerous game. Or at least run out of lances to break against its skin. Painful and degrading though that prospect was, it would at least be physical survival, allowing Xazonar to muster the energies to limp to some other plane and recover. Arduous recovery, painful recovery, but recovery.

Then, over the clatter of hooves and the whooping of impudent mortal horsemen, Xazonar heard the human infantry's drums again- that sound it recognized from a more confident, arrogant time of half an hour before...

Attack!

Immortal physiology was not made to shut down; Xazonar remained conscious despite pain and wounds. Though it could feel... damaged, lessened in its mind, the silver-wracked, splinter-pained remnant of its conscious awareness still knew the pikes were coming for it. The lancers were veering off now, clustering behind it, in case it tried to flee at a greater turn of speed than it had shown so far. Xazonar, agonized, rallied its energies to fight with what little of its power and vitality remained, still able to sense the mortals' harmonized, grimly determined wills even if it could no longer see them.

Squirming crabwise backward with limbs that barely answered its intellect, Xazonar snarled, that avalanche voice left with a burbling overtone by its ruined, riddled chest, and thought fire into the advancing soldiers. The shield wall of ghosts rippled and blocked the demon's pain-rattled will.

Singing, the pikes marched closer.

Writhing with pain and despair, Xazonar hissed, willing all it had, the remnants of a lordly being's power, into its gasped curses- curses of panic, of disease and death and ill-luck.

Praying, the pikes marched closer.

The humans' barrier flickered this time! It could not see, but feel a ghost dissolve into curls of ether under the stress, two more, a fourth, seven, more. A dozen soldiers stumbled, cried out rather than keeping up their verses. A score more, and a few of those had fallen to the ground, their fellows trying to keep formation without marching over their prostrate forms. That only left, what, a hundred, a thousand, more? So hard to concentrate...

Praying more fervently now, the star-priestesses chanting counterpoint with a click of ceremonial beads, the pikes marched closer.

Xazonar could feel a swarm of angry ghosts, weak and numerous like insects, swarming around its crippled body, hemming in its power, damping the energies of its supernatural protections as the insects were given strength of their own, stinging insects, empowered and fed by the mortal women in the starburst robes.

No more soldiers fell. The pikes marched closer.

Fifty feet... thirty... twenty.

Its wards diminished, Xazonar could nonetheless conjure up with the last of its desperate power a barrier of force, a reinforcement of its own natural wardings, that twisted with pastel whorls of light. Mesmerizing, strong like plates of iron, the magic stopped the pressure of the first rank of pikemen driving their blades against its ruined body... and the second... Then the third and fourth ranks got behind their comrades and pushed their spears against the barrier, along with the weight of their bodies. And there was a fifth, and a sixth- more... All things have some limit, including a demon's immunity to base metals and the durability of its magic. Straining every muscle, the massed ranks of humans weighing in the tons, delivered to this supernatural creature the supremely mundane engine of war known only as "push of pike." Spearheads dimpled that swirling chaos of solidified light, the pikestaffs groaning, the men groaning...

Its shield failed. Of the thousands of years of its existence, Xazonar the shadow-lord had time left only for a final scream.




Recommended Listening: Veteran of the Psychic Wars

Northern Marches, Michigan
Below Guillory's Tower
Two Hours Past Dawn
Frostbringer 20, 224


Colonel Adrien Blanchard looked at the approaching captain of his eighth company, feeling his breath and pulse lose some of the level coolness they'd regained since the strange, the disturbing, the violent and horrible and evilly magical events of this winter dawn.

The necromancer was dead. The zombie host was gone. Even the demon summoned by the rogue wizard had been slain. His tercio had prevailed- after a fashion.

Out of every thirty of the Regiment of Fayette's men, cavalry and infantry alike, four or five lay dead or too wounded to serve the regiment's colors again for a long time, if ever. Many others bore lesser injuries. He himself had only a bandage around one arm where a far-flying splinter of wood from the bursting gun-carriage had struck him. But it seemed as though every other man he saw had as bad, or worse. And that cannon the demon had destroyed, killing and wounding too many of his artillerymen, was not merely dismounted- it was a ruin, fit only for scrap iron. Ordinarily he would think that was a disaster, for he had no idea how or when or even if he could lay his hands on a replacement gun. But today, he could hardly even bring himself to care.

Packs of wild hell-hounds were beginning to recover from the confusion, in the places they'd scattered to after breaking in the battle. They had been brought into this world by the devil's malignant sorcery, but its death did not mean they would leave. About three hundred had been accounted for, mostly during the pitched battle, and a few were being hunted down by those of his cavalry not busy tending to their own wounded. That left, oh, somewhere between four and six hundreds of the things to wander the wilderness in the depth of winter. They would be like packs of starving wolves only bigger, fiercer, and of course, with the power to breathe flame, along with who knew what other unnatural abilities. At least that would be as much the Detroiters' problem as the Empire's.

He had heard one of his aides tell him this was a victory. He supposed that was true. Before him was... frankly, the man who had made it possible.

The Kaskaskians had upheld the honor of their arms, had done the duty of a cavalry escort against a beaten enemy. With the courage of their chief and the points of their lances, they had harried the devil. Perhaps stopped it from somehow escaping- with magic if not with its wounded body.

And it had been Gérard's pikemen who had put an end to the fiend once and for all- the body bursting into a torrent of flame that the pikemen had stumbled awkwardly back from, too slowly for a few of the men in the front rank. Even in death, such monsters could maim and kill. There was a crater in the ground at the foot of the hill, now, reeking of sulfur, and somehow Blanchard knew that no grass would grow there for a long time to come.

But though Blanchard did not care for heretics, he felt not even the slightest urge to downplay what young Delatour had done. There were stories, published and witnessed, of such feats of arms... but to the colonel they were just that, stories. Things he had never truly expected to see, even in a frontier posting where battles against wizards and demons were very much a possibility.

As ever, one was courteous to a the son of a viscount- and today, more than courteous. There were no words for the proper way to address a man who'd just singlehandedly charged and crippled a devil, armed with no more than native valor and a few pistols.

"Captain Delatour! It is good to see you... my compliments, and the regiment owes you a debt."

The day-worshipper shrugged, spreading his hands. "Thank you sir, though... I know dozens of men who, in the same position, with the same means at their disposal, would have done the same."

"Mm. The same means... I've heard of silver bullets... but in old wives' tales, not military manuals. They're hardly a common thing. How did you happen to be carrying them?"

"I had them made, some months ago... because Grandfather told me to. In a dream. And I brought them, today- the same."

Blanchard nodded. "I see..." In his forty-seven years, it wasn't the first, nor the fiftieth, time he'd heard stories of prophetic dreams and ancestral guidance. Privately he had his doubts, especially since Delatour was a heretic. Nonetheless... "Captain, those were some very well timed instructions; your grandfather’s ghost gives good advice. Perhaps we should invest in a modest stockpile of the things, for more of our men."

Delatour shrugged. "You would have to ask a wizard, or a priestess, or perhaps a gunsmith or an accountant, sir. I... am a captain of musketeers."

Northern Marches, Michigan
Several Miles Southeast of Guillory's Tower
Evening
Frostbringer 20, 224


The return march had been delayed, as Shoots-Across-Canyon's plainsmen had taken time to sweep through the countryside and try to thin out the packs of hellhounds which scattered after the battle. The chief had slain two, one with the rifle as they drank from a pool of water, another with the lance along with a file of his men. Some of his men had been lucky as well. But there were too many of the dogs for one warband to hunt down, especially after the losses in the battle. He had too many empty saddles, and too many wounded men lashed to the saddles that were full.

But the Ohioans had their own dead to think of. The march had been slow for everyone. And as always plainsmen, ahorse could run the legs off River Men ahorse, let alone afoot, under any possible condition of things. Thus, the chief had ample time to pursue his wish to seek out the Ohioan musket captain. It was a matter of respect, and some curiosity, for Shoots-Across-Canyon to seek out Delatour after the day they'd had.

He knew the man, of course, had spoken and worked with him before. Even drunk and diced with him- he'd won a small pile of silver, but good old Two-Dogs had lost a pair of pistols later that night. Come to think of it, the very same pistols the musketeer captain had borne today. Delatour was pretty good at dice, though he seldom played. Maybe it was a number thing.

Still, though, the chief had never thought of Delatour as the stuff of a saga. Too much a thinker, too much of his heart and guts given over to the cold, passionless things an Ohioan called 'education.' Head full of schoolbooks. The Kaskaskian chief was literate, as were his troop leaders- at least, literate enough to read a guard roster or a list of supplies. But there was such a thing as taking it too far.

So it would be curious, to see how a feat of arms might change such a man. Perhaps there was more fighting heart in Delatour than he'd given the River Man credit for.

Mounting up on his riding horse- not a warhorse, he'd have to find another- and finding the Eighth Company was no great chore. Finding its captain proved a bit more difficult, as he'd gone out riding after leaving one of his lieutenants in charge of preparing their part of the Ohioan camp. Even so, tracking down one River Man officer didn't take long. Shoots-Across-Canyon was not merely a captain of scouts but a highly capable scout and huntsman in his own right.

Shoots-Across-Canyon got off his horse quietly, and approached on foot. He made noise on purpose, calling out so that the musketeer would not think that an enemy crept up on him. But at first, the Ohioan captain paid no mind. Delatour seemed... worryingly unaware of his surroundings, given that they weren't that far from the site of the battle. The chief expected that they'd be troubled again by hellhounds, more than once, on the return march.

The man had climbed off his horse on the western slope of a small hill, looking at the setting sun, and glancing down unhappily at the broken springs of the wheellock pistol he'd thrown aside in his duel with the fiend. He muttered "It was a dream..."

Shoots-Across-Canyon’s brows narrowed. Had some curse assaulted the man's wits? "A... dream?"

Delatour seemed to jerk a little, then rose to his feet, as though only now consciously aware of the chief's approach. "My mother- she died in childbirth thirteen years ago, you know..." Delatour stared into space. "Grandfather, a few years after that. And yet... I dreamt I was in a corner of- somehow was, and was not, the regimental mess hall... no place I've seen, but it had a certain... I don't know what. Him, and a few other men, friends of his speaking around a table. As they used to do when I was a boy."

Always these River Men babbled on about their ancestors. A load of nonsense. Anyone with sense knew that the spirits of the dead stayed dead, or perhaps, with luck, were carried away by the wind spirits to the grazing lands beyond the moon. But this River Man had done what only two men of a thousand had dared to do, ridden against a demon in single combat. And of those two worthies, the other was himself, the bravest and mightiest blade of the Great Elms clan of the Kaskaskian Host. And, the plainsman grudgingly admitted, the River Man had done it first, arguably at greater hazard of his life. Shoots-Across-Canyon listened, without interrupting.

"I think I would rather have walked through fire than seen them like that, seeming so... alive, when they are dead. But... thinking back, I... do you know, had I not listened to them in every particular, either I would be dead, or we all would be dead.

"Eh?" More ancestor-babble, but this talk of death sounded oddly certain, even for a man who had just gone through such a murderous battle as this.

"Grandfather told me to get a silversmith to make me six silver pistol-balls. Exactly six. No more, no less. And I asked why, and... my mother, she said... 'because you're a brave boy and I want you to be safe.' " And I had no idea what that was supposed to mean. But thinking about it... if I'd had a seventh ball, I'd have ridden in closer to use it. Much closer. And knowing what happened to you, I'd have gotten my head torn off trying."

"Maybe so, maybe not. You ride like... a pretty good River Man."

Delatour chuckled grimly. "I know what you mean by that, plainsman. In any event- without question, this was not just a dream. I was told things that were far too specific, learned things that no one could have known naturally. And... if I hadn't done as they told me, would any of us be alive? Are we all living on borrowed time, now?" He looked down at his hands.

The chief of horsemen nodded slowly, thinking. Perhaps his bluff demeanor had encouraged the River Man to open up. Or perhaps the musketeer's wits were scrambled, enough to think that a dream could guide a man in battle, especially a man who knew nothing of the wind spirits and their shamanry. Ohioans were usually more reserved than this, at least with plainsmen.

Shoots-Across-Canyon decided to treat Delatour with a high compliment- to treat him like a man of the Host. He'd earned it. Maybe it would liven him up, get some juice into him, put him back into balance. He reached out, clapped the musketeer across the shoulder.

“Don’t worry, captain. For me, mine, we’ll be fine. Borrowed time, stolen, whatever. And so will you, yours! We're too crazy to die! You’re bad, like us!” He waved in the direction of his horsemen and their separate camp, laughing. Delatour gave a tired smile, and nodded. Kaskaskian and musketeer alike returned to their horses, and rode back to the River Men’s camp.

[finis]
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

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Zwinmar
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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Zwinmar » 2016-01-06 04:07pm

Deep in the Badlands

Lighting cracks across a dark clouded sky illuminating the verdant rolling plains turning amber waves bloody with its aetheric crimson light. Steel scratches and leather creaks as a heavily armored figure in fluted black plate lifts a heavy shield covering from eye-slits to lobstered sabatons its face a snarling warg encircled by azure wards. The armored form leans forward bracing the bulwark even as a black mass slams with a deafening roar into the shield forming furrows beneath the figures toes as he is pushed with the momentum.

A swift shink of steel on steel before a squelch as a meter of sharped, polished iron slips under the foes ribs at a diagonal until with a screech it tickles the black things heart, or what passes for one, clipping the aorta before it is retrieved for another thrust. Claws leave large rents along the edge of the worked leather and wood as it thrashes violently with its last gasps of breath with seem to stretch into eternity even as a barbed tail skitters along the steel carapace leaving an acid etch scratch.

Even as the void creature flops to crushed turf the armored beings yellow bestial eyes glow with suppressed malice before flaring from the aether and returning to the more mundane surroundings of jagged rock. The amored figure transforming to a figure of average height dressed in a worn cuirass shaped for a female. Her lush dark lips curl into a smile around sharp tusks as she witnesses her maille bedecked companion summon healing energies the color of new grass into the third lying rent upon the earth.

Even as she looks on a slurp echoes among the rocks as intestines snake back into their rightful position even as the grime encrustation drops off before entering the body. All around the corpses of winged foes lie crumpled in bloody, feathery lumps while only meters away a great swords quillion is embedded in a beaked skull, its blade missing half its length. Even as smoke and steam right from a large tract of the feather remains and the scent of cooked fowl permeates the air a dark form lopes from a blackened lump its grey fur dripping with ichor as its lips pull back in a grin.

...

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madd0ct0r
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Joined: 2008-03-14 07:47am

Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-01-07 02:09am

Fragment 4

The sleds were slow, his pack were tired,
They trudged on, slumped against the ropes,
Following the frozen path
Over crests and winding slopes.
Till in the wind the smell of smoke,
Announced the winter sooty haze,
Of Anrakis, flinty border port,
Moss on rock on Hudson's Bay.

As they heaved the mood improved
Hudern had Alkor chant the rules,
“You come in peace, you will not boast,
You will not brawl, they are not fools.”
Fat Kurt laughed and Yail grinned,
Each wore a sling from bandit kills.
Vogon sulked, he'd missed his chance,
Perhaps returning he'd prove his skills.

As Alkor pulled the group along
Hudern walked away, ahead.
Towards stone houses, frozen port,
Wharfs and cranes, boat-makers shed.
Behind, more houses, communal hall,
Barracks and an old stone fort.
And a rampart filled with cannon mouths,
Overlooking road and port.
A single musket echoed out.
He raised his palms, and roared in greeting
Hudern stood proud, tall and strong
Ready for a fateful meeting.

In the Old Fort Major Simmons was being shaved when word came that the savage's trade convoy had arrived. He readied the kitchens, had the cannons discretely loaded and told all men to fix bayonets and look fierce.

The meeting took place outdoors, Simmons and his men wrapped in furs over their uniform, the hyenork's effectively naked and steaming in the snow. Hudern Irongob stood as tall as a man, but hunched under the weight of his head and jaws. Crooked teeth projected at the front of his muzzle. The outer pair had been knocked out and replaced by heavy carpentry nails like from a shipwright's toolbox. Small, piggy eyes stared out from a huge ruff of dark grey fur. Even here in the cold open, the brute stank of dog and must and shit. On arrival, he'd been escorted to the Hyenork sleeping quarters, used by the few who drifted through as harpooneers on the whaling ships.

On entering the whaler's home
Hudern made the signs of peace
Gave his name and tribe and skills
And the oath of payment feasts.

The Hyenork who'd been sleeping there
Replied as Tag, a Stone Hoof Youf
Harpooner and Chippies Mate
Aboard the ship 'Orion's Truth'.

Standing in the courtyard as the sleds were dragged in, Major Simmons frowned at the memory. On entering the hovel the sleeping Hyenork had leapt awake, claws out and growling. This 'Hudern' trader had reacted the same, spreading his arms and paws wider then the stone door frame and issuing a deep bubbling growl. The stink of the two had already been unbearable when the trader sprayed a jet of urine on the wall. Simmons had staggered out into the fresh air, the brute of a trader joining a few minutes later.

“You, I, go talk,” it said, and Simmons was only too glad to walk away from the hovel to the fort's open courtyard. There, discretely watched by armed guards, the Hyenorks unloaded samples off the sleds. Each sled carried bales of fur, some otter, beaver and rabbit pelts. There was some mammoth hide, good only for the roughest uses, and spun wool of all grades. As they unrolled the goods, Major Simmons knew what was coming, but still caught his breath when the final fur was unrolled. Inside each bale was a nugget of river gold, pressed into balls and marked by teeth.
Hudern sucked his lips over his teeth.

“You want? I want cannon, fire-sand, iron tool, spice.”

The beast paused and looked sideways at the bald, fat human.

“One thing more. You have many boat. How much one? Big, to carry you more gold.”
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-01-07 06:11pm

Anrakis, Hudson Bay Shore, Empire of Orion,
8th Day of Winter, 2955 AEF (Early Winter, Game Year 1)


Simmons mentally processed what the creature had said.

"We have a deal for this load. Five guns, one hundred shot for them, enough powder to fire those shots. As for the rest..." He trailed off, mentally calculating. He may have been an overwieght officer on a quiet border post with little chance of promotion, but he was far from being stupid, and knew how to make money.

"A big boat? One of our ships would cost you another five loads of this size." He stressed the term, making at least a vague effort to educate the beast before him. "Bring us five more loads and we will give you a ship. But you will get no guns for those loads, they all together will pay for the ship."

The Hyenork pondered this for a while. Simmons could almost see (in a rather uncharitable moment of thought) the cogs and gears turning in the creatures brain. For him it was an easy deal, while five more loads of furs and gold would just barely cover the coast of the small ship, the prospect of much larger shipments was enticing to him.

Trade with the Hyenorks was a rather gray area for these coastal towns. It was not officially sanctioned (it was hard to form legal treaties with such creatures) but was unofficially encouraged...if the officer in charge could turn a reasonable profit of course. Some had argued that selling Orion guns to these creatures was a bad idea, but Simmons and his superiors were confident it would not backfire on them. After all, there was no chance of the creatures building their own guns, so attacking the source of the weapons was, even to such beings, a stupid act.

"What say you Hyenork? Do we have a deal?"
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Zwinmar » 2016-01-07 08:04pm

Previously

On a turf encrusted ridge overlooking broken terrain yellow orb peer inquisitively down upon a hide tent with a low fire smoking merrily perched on the low bank of a shallow waddi. Perched at the soft, furred entrance a boiled skull rest precariously impaled upon a wooden spike. The mutter of unearthly chants slip menacingly through the seams of the hide abode even as sulpher rises upon the same wind.

The figure pulls back in disgust pulling his cloth enshrouded kettle helm on his head once it is below the edge of the embankment. As he scoots down the dirt, rocks dislodge and bounce ahead of him before coming to rest at the jackbooted feet of an imposing figure dressed in the dark green thick woolen great coat. Nearly invisible on the upper sleeve a black fist lies embroidered over triple chevrons.

"He's there..." the scout report with only to be interrupted by said tent riding the concussive force which feels as if one of the great bison just headbutted them in the chest. Sound seems to have taken leave from the world as dirt, rock, and wood follow before an unholy screech rents the air before being violently cut off with a slurp.

The scout grits his teeth in steely determination as the greatcoated figure signals for him to take up a flanking position with simple hand gesture. He glances behind them as the third and fourth member joins them, the first of which is a grey wolf who's muscular shoulder reaches the same height as his own and whose presence causes him to grin as she jerks her head to the side for him to follow even as he draws his great sword from its sheath on the wolfs saddle.

The last of the group has her face hidden behind the sallet of her runed armor steps beside the greatcoated figure, her shield his palisade as it thrust forward intercepting a razored feather from the otherworldly caricature of female and avian which hovers over the ridge. Their skins crawl with disgust as a flock rise behind the first their screeching taunts unintelligible.

"The fool!" the scout yells even as his eyes are dazzled by the bright blue-white flash of a long arcing bolt of lightning slam vertically into the first avian before chaining to those behind, leaving the air ionized with the stench of ozone. Below them a portal shimmers iridescently into the void, it's centre purple swirling into the unfathomable darkness, from bloodied remants of the fool who summoned the avians forth a shadow beings to tear itself from the icor.

The heavily armored female adjusts her shoulders in readiness as she phases into the shadow realm ready for the oncoming madness...

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Jub » 2016-01-08 07:01am

Smiling Rushes' Raiding Party
The Shores of Lake Francois
11th Moon Waning, Winter of the year of Omens, 4563 (Early Winter, Game Year 1)


Neither of the brothers could recall the rest of the trip. Their companions swore that they were conscious and actively aiding in the journey, but neither could ever recall anything after the water was poured. If asked, neither brother will speak about the raid.

Both brothers were changed by the magic worked that fateful night.

Rising Waters' scar wound up looking like a great horned serpent swimming in one side of his thigh and out the other, his eyes came to glow with a light much like a torch shining up from deep water, his hands refused to hold a weapon, but his words, when he chose them to, could become so powerful that few could resist listening to and agreeing with him. His name would go down in legends as Rising Waters, Tongue of Gitaskog.

Smiling Rushes was no less altered than his brother. His entire body was covered in burns that depicted a swarm of serpents, his eyes became as dark as pitch, his voice shriveled to a weak rasp and his words were rarely heeded by any but his brother, but his hands, when he chose them to, could wield weapons with such skill that his enemies would weep openly at the beauty of his fighting form. His name would go down in legends as Smiling Rushes, Hands of Gitaskog.

The two brothers would remain a pair to the end of their days.

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-01-09 10:43am

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Anrakis, Hudson Bay Shore, Empire of Orion,
8th Day of Winter, 2955 AEF (Early Winter, Game Year 1)


...

Trade with the Hyenorks was a rather gray area for these coastal towns. It was not officially sanctioned (it was hard to form legal treaties with such creatures) but was unofficially encouraged...if the officer in charge could turn a reasonable profit of course. Some had argued that selling Orion guns to these creatures was a bad idea, but Simmons and his superiors were confident it would not backfire on them. After all, there was no chance of the creatures building their own guns, so attacking the source of the weapons was, even to such beings, a stupid act.

"What say you Hyenork? Do we have a deal?"


Fragment 5

"I meant an open flat base boat,"
Hudern said, "Not your big ship,
For rivers and for close to shore
No decks and doors where we can't fit.
Maybe I'll talk to your boakmaker
But perhaps you're right, another time.
A sealskin trade in summer light,
For wood enough to cross the brine.

Hudern moved to touch the the guns
Three strides long and thick and round
He tapped and seeing that it moved,
Braced he rolled it on the ground.
"Magic," said the Simmons man,
"Eighteen pounders weigh like six
In the air the magic stops
The ball's full weight by time it hits."

Hudern said, "If my Queen saw this,
She'd ask for shorter, lighter still,
One hyenork load and carry,
Many monsters would he kill.
I'll take these guns and news to her
And soon return with convoys stacking
A soldier ran to Simmon's side,
"Sir, Hyenorks are attacking!"

Simmons shot an incredulous look at the glib trader. Was this a double cross? The trader appeared calm but was walking quickly with the Major to the wall steps, his teeth gradually showing.

"Not me. This deal make me rich."

It reached the top of the wall and faced the distant movement on the shoreline, sniffing the wind deeply.

"Creekland riders. Old Redeye Nogov again. Fool. Maybe 200 Ox, “ It paused and inhaled deeply, “And a hyenoth. Walls no good. Lucky day Simmons! We Bay Landers fight with you. I take the whaler too, and if you get us harpoons we kill many."

He turned to his pack who, sensing something was up, had largely stopped unloading.

"Listen up you lucky lot,
I'm going to make a speech
A cavalcade two hundred strong
Will this town not reach!
Those Creekland bandits whimpered home,
Tail down and telling tale
They seek to steal both ours and theirs
In this, again, they'll fail."
Alkor roared and Vogon followed
Yail grabbed his sling
Fat Kurt looked a little worried,
He'd not eaten anything.

Surrounded by roaring brutes and shaking weapons, Hudern Irongob, peacful trader, turned to Major Simmons.

"We Kill! Where?"

---

Actions:
Trade agreed but not yet concluded.
200 Creeklands Musk Ox riders are attacking

Points for resolution:
Attacking
200 Musk Ox Calvacade = 400 points
1x Hyenoth Monster = 30 points

Defending: 40+1 raiders = 61.5 points
Orion to confirm their forces/response.
If desired (since this is a surprise!) I’ll write the battle, but on plane for next 48 hours
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Coop D'etat » 2016-01-10 04:51pm

Winnipek, Capital of the Assinboinia Commonwealth, 10th day of the 1st month. Barracks of the 12th Hussar Banner

The capital in the depths of winter is a cold, dark and snowy place to for soldiers winter. Still it is a more comfortable place than most to while away the inactivity the deep snows and freezing weather forced upon them. With serious drilling and manouvers an impossiblity and only so much guard duty and equiptment maintainance to go around it becomes quite common for a young officer to find themselves with almost nothing to do. And the general trend for young men without something they are supposed to do will soon find themselves doing something they are not supposed to do.

One such young man found himself cooling his heels outside his captain's office for several hours, having been told nothing but that he was to recieve "orders."

"Enter."

"My lord captain, I feel I must explain myself again. You see, the Margravate's daughter and I were caught outside in the cold so naturally we held up in that cottage. Of course, since we didn't have a fire, I felt we had to lay together to conserve body heat. And since both of our clothing was soaked from the snow we had to..."

The captain silenced the young lieutenat with a look and a gesture.

"Lieutenant Joahcim. Originally you were going to be assigned to guard a Stormweaver weather observation post in blackfly country. Fortunately, you've been specifically requested for special assignment."

"Special assignment?"

"You and your lance are to carry a diplomatic pouch to the Ambassador to the Court of the Ohioan Empire in Kingsport. Your orders are to keep the pouch sealed to all but the Ambassador himself. To be clear, you will not open it for his wife, his valet, his personal guard or his second. The clasp on the pouch will burn the contents unless it is opened in the correct sequence. If you are attacked on the way, your men are ordered to sell their lives to give you time to open the clasp incorrectly and trigger the mechanism."

"In honour of the discomfort of travelling accross the plains in the dead of winter and the hazard of the tribesmen, your men will be recieving triple pay for the duration. You will be providing for the difference from normal wages from your own pocket. The pouch and more detailed written orders are with my second outside. You are dismissed."

As Joachim left, the Captain added one more thing. "Oh, and Lieutenant, I believe you will want to leave the Capitol on the hour. I understand the Margravate is planning on 'instructing you on the proper means of winter survival' by opening up the ice on the river and pushing you in."

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-01-10 05:59pm

Imperial Academy Archives, Hephaestus, Empire of Orion
16th Day of Winter, 2955 AEF (Early Winter, Game Year 1)


In stark contrast to the research labs in the heavily-armoured below-ground levels, the Archives were almost silent, filled with countless thousands of books. The room itself was large enough that other nations might have used it as a cathedral, yet for all that space it felt cramped.

Within the thick, magically-strengthened and shielded walls and behind locked doors and armed guards was held the sum total of the Empire's knowledge. A complete history stretching back even before the Empire's founding, three thousand and more years of diaries, letters, books, scrolls and other arcana. Copies of scientific works, philosophical texts, political diatribes of every sort, transcripts of meetings and countless news journals. Private notebooks, public statements, secret letters. Everything that was known and was worth knowing was held here.

This was the realm of the Mnemomancers, those Mages whose gift gave them a perfect memory and an instinctive grasp of different languages. At present, there were three primary groups working on projects. The first were the Novices, the young Mages only recently graduated from University and entering the trade. They were involved in the standard Initiation process; reading every document the Archive held on their chosen topic, be it politics, specific parts of history, science etc. As a measure of how vast the Archives were, this initiation process could take anywhere from three to ten years depending on the chosen topic.

Second were the Adepts. These were mid-level Mages who were engaged in a vast program to create a pair of alternate Archives in secured (and very secret) locations in case anything happened to damage the main repository. This task had been ordered by the Emperor Marcus IV, some one hundred and seventy eight years ago and was nearing completion. The Adepts would dictate copies of the books and works they had memorised to a huge team of scribes. These copies would then be checked by the Adepts for errors before being printed and bound in endless volumes, an Imperial Encyclopedia, for transport to the Reserve Archives. Additional copies were made of scrolls and similar works in their original format, to preserve not just the content, but the context as well.

Finally there were the Masters. After spending twenty years as Adepts a Mnemomancer was advanced to Mastery level and could choose their own research projects to work on. And so it was that on this particular day, one such Master, William Aberforth, was working on his topic, the genealogy of the ruling dynasty.

He was troubled. Facts were being unearthed that promised to shake the Empire to it's very core. It began with the death of Emperor Marcus V in 2870. He had no remaining sons, so the throne passed to his eldest daughter, who became Empress Mary II. But there was a problem. Marcus V's second son, Prince David, had been exiled from the Empire in 2859 for plotting against his father. However, Aberforth could not find an official Edict of Disinheritance for the troubled Prince, meaning he had legally never been removed from the Line of Succession, thus meaning he should have inherited the throne upon his father's death eleven years later.

Aberforth could not escape the terrible conclusion: The Empire had been ruled by a Pretender and her descendants for eighty-five years. Should Prince David's descendants return from where they lived, they could legally claim the throne, an event that would probably lead to a period of great unrest in the most optimistic case, outright civil war at worst.

The troubled researcher immediately went from his desk to the office of the senior Master in residence, James Arnoth.

"Master Arnoth, I have unearthed something truly disturbing in my research."

The older man looked up in surprise. "And what might that be Master Aberforth?"

William explained what he had discovered. James looked more and more uncomfortable with every word. William finished speaking and waited for his superior's response. The senior Master sighed heavily before speaking.

"I see what you meant. Do we have any idea where the Prince went for this exile?"

William dropped the final bombshell he had learned. "Yes sir. He, his wife and his son went to Ohio."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2016-01-11 04:09pm

Captain Diiv raised his left hand in the traditional gesture for solidarity and camaraderie among the Rangers, a salute that was returned by the slender, shape-featured woman at the head of the newly-arrived company.

"Captain Diiv?", she asked in a brusque tone.

"I am", he replied.

"Captain Anasi of the Royal Rangers. I have orders from the Queen's Court to reinforce this camp, then pursue your recent Sylix visitors." He was faintly surprised at the venom in her voice as she said the word "Sylix", though he had as much reason to dislike the Sylix as most of the Wanderers. "Please present me with a full report on your current status, the raid, and any information you possess of the strength and direction of the attackers."

Diiv stiffened at being addressed in so commanding a manner by one who, ostensibly at least, was his equal in rank. However, Captain Anasi was here on direct orders from the Queen's Court, and that meant the Queen. So he swallowed his pride and gestured for the captain to follow him back to his tent.

***

It was dawn of the following day before the Royal contingent began its pursuit. Diiv stood at the edge of the camp, his company lined up behind him. Two of Captain Anasi's contingent were remaining with them, and had been formally transferred to his command last night. It was a meagre reinforcement, but he conceded that their people's resources were stretched thin at present. The rest of the newcomers were gathered in front of him, 18 Royal Rangers and representatives of the Order of Scholars and the Order of Healers. It would be more than enough force, he suspected, to overcome the band that attacked his camp even in a fair fight, or to see off any marauding brigands or monsters. It would not, however, be sufficient to assail a major settlement directly, though infiltration was more the tactic of choice.

Captain Anasi turned to face him. He still didn't much like the woman, but courtesy between fellow Rangers and Wanderers had to be observed.

"Captain Diiv", she said. "We thank you for your hospitality and assistance, and wish you good fortune. We will return your people if it is possible to do so, or die in the attempt. You have my oath."

That surprised him- few of his people would willingly bind themselves with such a vow.

"Thank you captain", he replied. "And good fortune to you."

He saluted her, and she returned the gesture before striding back to the head of her company. Orders were swiftly issued, and the Rangers and their mages slipped silently and swiftly into the woods, following the trail of the Sylix raiders.

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-01-15 03:33am

Fragment 6:
Magrallo’s Quest.
Location: Blight’s Edge Tagia Forest.

“Deepest winter in the Tagia,
There’s no more than blackened bones
Hoof churned snow and spoor and bodies
And yet this tribe calls this place home”
So Magrallo glumly muttered,
As they tracked the winter base,
Twelve males, ten sled, her and the triplets
Chasing down a hopeless case
Five more days they wandered forest
Till the Soft Paws deigned emerge,
Negotiations, held at bow point,
They were escorted to the herd.

They made their greeting and joined
The cookfires, Daikee, Forn and Rosor all.
Daikee glowering at the rangers
Forn listening as the caribou call
Rosor quietly watched the male,
But on each sister kept a paw.
Magrallo walked between the fires,
Talkin, joking, searching for,
A guide to lead them in the Blight,
Who’d heard of icy gems or such,
And brave enough (as Magrallo said)
To reach the face of death, and touch.

Behind the fires, a shadow watched,
The triplets as they ate and talked,
Only Forn saw him him there,
Only for her, forward he walked.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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Re: Ohioan Council Post Only

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-01-16 03:42pm

Louisville, Ohio
Duchy of Ougapah,
Snowbringer 17, 224
(January 6)


Her Righteous Majesty Anna of Assiniboia, Empress Dowager of the Ohio, settled herself on the ceremonial stool of a meeting of the select Upper Council. As regent, she'd sat in the chair at the head of the small oval table- until two years ago.

Now, that place was occupied by her son, Louis X, by the grace of the living Stars Emperor of the Ohio, High King of the Tennessee and of the Wabash.

Now, she sat at his right hand, with Julia- a cardinal of the Church, still chief minister, and as astute an advisor in political affairs as he, or his mother, could have asked for- in the stool at his left.

Louis had claimed the chair from the day he'd been declared of age to rule. No matter what delays or complications arose, whether Louis was sick or well, he always took the seat at the head of the table.

It was the young king's pleasure to preside over his cabinet. Anna surmised that it pleased him very much. She worried about the boy. He took in so much, and gave away so little. And though he nearly always listened, with a calm confidence far beyond the ordinary for his seventeen years, even she was never sure she knew what was going on inside that whirring brain.

Image
His Most Righteous Majesty, Louis X of Ohio (c. 229)

Louis nodded. "We shall begin by discussing the matter of Detroit. It pleases us that, new information being available regarding the skirmish of Frostbringer the twentieth, my lord the marquis of Mossbeard will speak to begin our consideration of the affair, in addition to his usual turn in precedence."

The court scribes' pens began to scratch. The Secretary of State for War dipped his head to the young king and set down his water-goblet, mostly drained. A servant, silent on soft shoes, moved up to take the glass and refill it, as Letellier began to speak. "I can say with more confidence, now, that the reports of the officers are accurate in their details, having combined them with reports from your agents in Detroit."

"This is good to hear, my lord; pray summarize."

"A moderately accomplished sorceror of Detroit, one Guillory, combined the demon-worship of his fellows with other dark magics in a way not even they could stomach, and was cast out. To further his own ends, he fled into the country several leagues from the city, using his magics to kill the peasantry of that district and convert them into his slaves- including two villages of your majesty's subjects, for he crossed the border with no more fear than he violated the other laws of gods and men. The Regiment of Fayette took it upon themselves to investigate these crimes, crossed the border, and located and assaulted the wizard's tower in a night attack."

Louis raised his right index finger. "Fayette... a tercio, that would be... Colonel Blanchard, yes?" Anna blinked, unsure, and Letellier nodded.

"Yes, your majesty. By the grace of the living stars, the warlock's sorcery failed to bite upon your majesty's soldiery, and despairing of his life, the necromancer summoned a fiend of formidable power and cruelty. The demon turned and rent Guillory limb from limb, then challenged your majesty's soldiery. Already being deployed in line of battle, Blanchard advanced, routing the hell-hounds the demon conjured up. The fiend itself is said to have been immune to both musketry and the cannonade, and assaulted the regiment with further magic, but proved vulnerable to silver bullets, fired by a captain of musketeers- the son of the VIscount of Vincennes- who assaulted it personally."

Julia sat up at that, Louis looked at her; Letellier paused. The cardinal spoke in her calm contralto, smiling slightly. "Perhaps a gesture of the Crown's gratitude would be in order."

Louis blinked, then nodded. "Very much so. What happened afterwards, my lord?" He looked back to the chief of the royal armies.

"The creature having been crippled by the captain's actions, Blanchard was able to press the attack with lance and pike, slaying it. After defeating the demon, he attempted to secure the surrounding area and dispatch the remaining hell-hounds. Marshal Delaferté reports that Blanchard was unable to do so, owing to a shortage of cavalry. Weather permitting, he is using his own cavalry to patrol the area and hunt down any of the beasts that prowl south of the border. Those which go north, he deems to be the Detroiters' problem."

Louis laughed briefly. "That they would appear to be, my lord. So, what do you recommend?"

Letellier shrugged. "The inevitable, your majesty- I recommend that we besiege and reduce Detroit, putting the city's wizards to the flame. This is the third such incident in quite a short time, which has slain hundreds of your majesty's subjects. Beyond such violations of the borders, Detroit has further provoked the Empire in ways too numerous to expound, as we all know well. The city has become home to a mass of robber-barons and devil-summoners, and are an annoyance to the serenity of the realm. Besides which, the conquest of Detroit would confer upon Ohio the control of the city's industry and key waterway, and add luster to your majesty's arms."

The king raised his right hand to his temple, briefly massaging it with his fingers. "Well spoken, my lord. Now, let us all speak further of this. As said, it pleases Us that the council address the affair in the usual order of precedence. My lord Belle-Isle, what of funds for this campaign?"

Image
Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis of Belle-Île, Superintendent of Finances

"As always, your majesty, war may be lustrous but will no doubt prove expensive. Aside from providing for the pay of officers on active duty and soldiers called to whichever regiments of the princes are rallied to your majesty's banners, there will of course be expenses associated with the provision of food, drink, clothing, and shelter for the army, the pay of teamsters to transport it all, craftsmen to assist in the creation of the siege works, armorers to equip the forces, immense quantities of powder and shot..."

Louis nodded tersely. "You do not expect a quick campaign, my lord?"

"Detroit is a substantial and wealthy city, well able to employ mercenaries in her defense, ringed with fortresses upon fortresses. And they will no doubt know that we are coming. I am no general, but I imagine that it will require the services of tens of thousands of soldiers, for an extended time, to reduce the defenses and assault the city proper."

"Sensible enough. And in consequence..." Louis looked unhappy. Anna shifted slightly. Louis was an intelligent and surprisingly well-balanced young man, and she was proud of him... but he still had a young man's impatience with some of the details of government.

At the question, Fouquet spread his hands. "Funds for the campaign may prove... challenging, your majesty. It appears certain that for such activity, we shall have to borrow money, though I am assured of favorable rates of interest. Under the circumstances, and with only a few months to negotiate, I imagine... eighteen or nineteen percent interest is hardly unusual; I believe I can keep the moneylenders down to seventeen and a half."

Louis frowned at that, but did not speak.

Such a high rate was certainly not good, Anna had to admit; it reminded her of the sort of rates one would get from a usurer in her grandmother's day. Interest was often lower now. But for a massive sum of money, a literal king's ransom, to be raised on comparatively short notice of a few months? At least the loan would be repaid soon enough... hopefully... if there was no more turmoil in the realm.

After a long while, the young king nodded slowly, his face now very still. "We understand. My lord Mossbeard, what have you to say about the superintendent's perception of the affair?"

Image
Michel Letellier, Marquis of Mossbeard, Secretary of State for War

"The financing of the campaign may not be quite so difficult as the superintendent believes, your majesty. I have been taking the precaution of stockpiling powder and other impedimenta in the arsenals about Toledo this past year, and our supplies in the area were never fully drawn down during the late- unpleasantness." Letellier made a gesture of distaste referring to the string of senseless rebellions by princes and peasants which Anna winced inwardly to recall.

The Wars of the Slings? Unpleasant? She'd been a prisoner in her own palace for months at a stretch, had been forced to dance around the countryside at the head of a court in exile from its own capital, Louis and Julia at her side, for months more!

Anna reminded herself that Letellier was trying to be polite. And through it all, the marquis had been as loyal a minister as anyone could have asked. He was a friend, one of that loyal handful without whom neither she nor Julia would have been likely to retain their lofty place in Ohio's affairs. Julia might have been lucky to keep her neck, if some of the rebels had gotten their hands on her... the empress shivered.

The secretary of state for war continued, levelly, laying out the army's preparations.

"Our agents have for us detailed maps of the defenses of Detroit, amended regularly. The fleet has proposed various contrivances to assist in the siege by attacking the city from the river. And the presence of the terminus of the Imperial Canal so close to the theater of war means that our army's base of supply will be assured, with inexpensive transport and minimal losses in shipment. All in all, I would say that your majesty's forces are well prepared for this campaign, and the costs will not be so dire as my colleague implies."

Fouquet's wince was well-disguised, but Anna had known him for years. Inevitably he would have sought to funnel the loans to some friend of his. Or several. With the inevitable gratuities flowing into his own purse. Gratuities that would be lessened, if the magnitude of the loans was in turn lessened. It was... inevitable. Even Julia did it, now and again; how could you expect anyone competent to govern the affairs of the state, without reward for themselves? They would have to be a saint, and saints were, invariably, too good for this earth.

But now, Letellier looked... almost sheepish as he went on. "There is... one detail of the preparations I believe should be brought up in council at this time. One of the costs I fear we cannot easily avoid, is the purchase of a number of new cannon. Many of the guns in our siege batteries date back to the time of your honored grandfather, your majesty, and your shipwrights assure me that some of the fleet's stratagems simply will not work without powerful artillery that is light in weight. Our own endeavors along those lines having led to some unfortunate eruptions, they recommend-"

Image
Exceptionally unfortunate eruptions.

Louis raised a finger again. "We are given to understand that quite a number of foreigners use sorcery to lighten their artillery unnaturally."

The secretary of state for war nodded slowly "This is true, and the department of the army has consulted with both the court's wizards and with the clergy. Although our wizards profess that the secrets by which such great masses of iron are deprived of half or more of their weight pose intractable mysteries, all assure that there is no spirit of evil or vice involved, and no unwholesome practices involved in the creation of the weapons. We have some experience of such lightened guns in the past, both used against your majesty's forces, and captured in battle, though not in uniform lots suitable for the efficient prosecution of siegecraft. No evil has befallen as a result, save the usual risks and ills resulting from the handling of heavy guns in wartime."

"Then We shall consult with Our court wizard and chaplain briefly on the matter. Assuming no difficulties are presented, you have Our permission to purchase the guns." Smiling thinly, but with a hint of amusement in his eye, he continued "My lord Mossbeard, are there any further concerns to be raised at this time? If not, then while speaking of the clergy, I believe it is Her Eminence's turn to speak."

The secretary of state for war tilted his head to indicate that he had nothing further to say. Julia, in the usual deep crimson robes of a cardinal in the Church of the Living Stars, the fabrics rich, her starburst's edges highlighted with a tastefully embroidered border of silver thread, sat up slightly. Anna thought she looked tired, maybe suffering from the winter chill. They'd both been feeling their age these past few years; the rebellions were hard on a woman of fifty, though Anna didn't like to admit it.

Louis raised his finger again. "Before you speak of the wisdom of the campaign against Detroit, your eminence, We would ask that you address a question that nags at the mind."

"Of course, your majesty." Julia dipped her head slightly, though her eyes never left the king.

"Your Eminence, Detroit has a number of allies on Lake Huron, who know that they depend for their liberty upon the devil-lovers' fortresses, which are their shield against our displeasure. It would seem wise to us, to neutralize those allies before they descend upon our siege lines. But thinking about it, there is no fleet in the upper Lakes capable of doing so, save for that of the Assiniboine Commonwealth and their vassal republicans. How would you suggest that we approach them?"

"I believe matters should proceed as follows. We desire that a plan be made, by which the Commonwealth's fleets will descend through the Sault locks and fan out to interdict the corsairs, mercenaries and pirates of Lake Huron, thus blocking Detroit from reinforcement by water. In return, we would promise to sharply lower tolls upon their cargoes, particularly copper, bronze, and other metals, passing down the Detroit River into the lower lakes, this being one of Detroit's chief sources of the wealth they use against us, and a considerable annoyance to the Commonwealth's commerce. I think it likely that the Commonwealth would agree to such an arrangement, so I would think it wise that we send instructions to your majesty's ambassador plenipotentiary to the court of the King of Assiniboia to negotiate a treaty along those lines..." Julia paused, smiling. "Indeed, I have already done exactly that, this past week."

Anna smiled too. She was glad young Louis was thinking of her homeland as an ally and not an enemy; it spoke well of the future- and Julia's prudent preparations to isolate Detroit by diplomacy spoke well for the present.

"I... see..." Louis paused, then nodded slowly. He looked... less than fully happy; sometimes the boy just couldn't be satisfied that people had his best interests at heart and were taking initiative on his behalf. Anna wished he would appreciate that properly. Instead, it seemed as if he wanted to manage and control everything all by himself- but even when he was older, how could any one person handle everything required to direct a great empire?

Julia cleared her throat. "Also, to assist the distinguished secretary and superintendent in their task of limiting the costs of the campaign, I have taken the liberty of opening negotiations with a set of foreign bankers willing to lend to us at six percent per annum, with no guarantee of the original sums ever being repaid. In fact, I imagine they would prefer we not repay the original sum at all." Anna could see Letellier's eyes widen as she looked past Julia to his seat, but Julia was still talking- "That is to say, they will loan on these terms, so long as we are prepared to pay this interest indefinitely."

Louis, the poor boy, actually looked surprised. Happier this time, but quite surprised, as he raised a finger again, and interrupted. Anna couldn't blame him. "Your Eminence, to be clear, you did not just say six-teen percent?"

"No, your majesty. Six percent... although, it must be admitted, six percent forever after, until the end of days. Unless of course the state is able to buy back the loans." She smiled wryly.

Anna nodded slowly, seeing the problem. Louis took a moment to assimilate the unfamiliar idea, and its implications. He spoke slowly, cautiously, even. "I believe... as a provision of these instruments- what is their name?"

The cardinal smiled. "I would hesitate to adopt a term from the Spirit-deniers, who I believe call this particular creature of finance a 'war bond.' Let us instead call it an... annuity."

Louis took a deep breath. "Perhaps, Your Eminence, We had better include a provision in these 'annuities' reserving Our right to buy them back at Our pleasure, at whatever price suffices to appeal to the souls of greedy bankers. Without such a right being established, an ignoble man might refuse to resell them, given their... longevity. Then, when times are fatter, We shall be free to exercise that right. Otherwise, Our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, may grow discontent with the promises We make today. "

"Wisely said, your majesty." Julia, adept at handling Louis- and the boy had come up with a good idea there- nodded and spoke no more. Her eyes flicked back to Anna, who took the signal and proceeded without waiting for Louis to speak.

Image
Anna of Assiniboia


"I think that this campaign is long-overdue; if not for the treasons of the mob and the rebel princes, Detroit would be ours and fairly won five or ten years ago. And I know for a fact that Marshal Delaferté, backed by my lord Mossbeard's preparations, is amply ready to reduce this nest of warlocks. His views and ideas upon the matter have shown great steadiness and dedication. I remember him speaking of the prospect in the past."

That she did- indeed, she'd been discussing the thing with him ten years ago, just before the first round of the damned rebellions. It was for that very reason that she and Julia had had him sent to command the Army of Michigan after the peace. Anna knew Delaferté to be a reliable old warhorse, sensible, good at keeping his men under control, often wounded in the service of the state, sometimes defeated, but always trustworthy. The sort she would send- and had sent- to govern a rebel province when its defeated duke fled into exile.

Anna smiled. The rebels were out of the way now, mostly forgiven but not forgotten, and now her son sat safely upon the throne. It was time and past time to renew the greater affairs of the state, which she'd had so little chance to pursue in the latter half of her own time as regent. To deal with unfinished business.

"I believe her eminence and my lord the secretary of state for war have the matter well in hand. Since the instructions have already been sent to our minister to the Commonwealth, and since there appears to be agreement on the other matters, I see the matter as being closed and resolved."

Louis took a moment, looking around the table- his eyes lingering on both the superintendent of finances... and on Julia.

"Thank you all for your counsel. We are convinced that the proposed campaign against Detroit is in the interests of the state. Towards this end, We direct that all needed preparations be made- but We note with displeasure, once again, the state of Our finances. Already We pay thirty-five million pounds* a year in interest. We rule a nation of fourteen millions**. And yet, should We resolve upon the defeat of a single city of devil-worshippers on Our northern marches, whose wickedness crosses Our frontier to burn and kill as though they fear neither men nor gods, We are told the money cannot be found. Or rather, can be found in a 'challenging' manner, at exorbitant interest." Louis paused. "We are not concerned, though, for surely all these affairs will be set in order soon."

Anna did not mistake the cold stare her son fixed on the superintendent. Which softened, incompletely, as he nodded to Julia, the chief minister who had guided the Empire since before he was born.

"Your Eminence, for your tireless labors on Our behalf, you have our thanks. We hope that you will continue to conduct the diplomacy of Ohio with the wisdom you have exhibited at every turn these many years- though We look forward to being notified before approaches are made to foreign potentates, rather than afterwards."

He turned to Fouquet. "Contact the bankers of the Cardinal's choosing, and tender whatever apologies are needed to your friends." The young king's face made it apparent that he knew what the superintendent of finances had tried to do there. "Do not contract any of these 'annuities' until you have a precise accounting of the costs from the secretary's clerks. We would not want any overestimate of the needed funds. We are planning for a long reign. The prospect of having to buy back these... things... displeases Us at least slightly less than the prospect of paying for them for the next fifty years."

Then Louis turned his head obliquely across the table to Letellier. "My lord Mossbeard, draft instructions to Marshal Delaferté regarding the disposition and preparations needed for reinforcement of his command. We will discuss with Her Majesty my mother, and the Cardinal, which of the princes We shall call upon to provide such reinforcement, and selection of a commander for the siege as a whole. At the moment We favor leaving Delaferté in place, but the matter merits consideration."

Anna frowned; the loyalty of the vassal princes along the Ohio remained, in some cases... tenuous, in spite of the forgiving tone the crown had struck at the end of the Wars of the Slings. Calling heavily on them to send troops to the siege of Detroit, without offending any great magnate by refusing him the privilege of commanding that siege, might be too much to hope for. After all, Marshal Delaferté was only a marquis.

Louis's eyes suggested he recognized the problem too- but it was less clear that he cared.

The young king frowned, then his face cleared. "Now, We are pleased to discuss the security of Our frontier in the vicinity of Chicago. In particular, We have received reports concerning the effectiveness of Our subsidies to some of the plains chieftains dwelling about the city..."



*[At the moment, the 'pound' used for accounting purposes in Ohio does not correspond to any actual coin, and certainly not to the 'pound' as a unit of weight. Due to the fact that Ohio wobbles back and forth between minting gold, silver, and copper currency, at a variety of weights and denominations, some kind of consistent unit of accounting is a practical necessity.

The 'large' unit of currency actually minted by Ohio as of game start is the 'crown.'

One silver crown weighs approximately thirty grams, and corresponds to three accounting 'pounds.' One may thus casually convert figures cited in 'pounds' by Ohioan accountants into an actual mass of silver by dividing by a factor of about forty-five. Interest on the Ohioan national debt is a bit less than four hundred tons of silver a year, some of it paid to foreign bankers, some of it to domestic.]

**[Ohioan census practices are... somewhat imprecise, and not all the errors cancel each other out]
____________________

Results:

1) Ohio begins the final phases of preparations for the conquest of Detroit. Specific details to be hammered out include:

1a) Approaches to the Commonwealth of the Assiniboine, in hopes that their powerful fleet on Lake Superior will sally forth from the gates of St. Sault in support of the siege. Their role would be to interdict any attempts by other polities on Lake Huron that might come to Detroit's aid. In exchange, Ohio is proposing to reduce the toll on copper and copper ore shipments through the Detroit River to a comparative pittance. For the city-state of Detroit, that tariff was one of their chief sources of economic livelihood, so they tended to crank it up pretty high. For Ohio, it's small potatoes.

1b) The army plans to approach either Orion or the Dragon Kingdoms regarding the purchase of some of their magically weight-reduced artillery, in the 18pdr to 24pdr class. Preferably Orion, owing to the reputation of their metallurgy. Ohio is mostly thinking in terms of outright purchase.

The cash-strapped monarchy might be fairly easily persuaded to 'pay' for the guns in terms of trade concessions. Even ones that earn a considerable net profit for the seller of the guns. For Orion, concessions involving shipping on the Great Lakes seem plausible; for the Dragon Kingdoms, I will trust to Beowulf's creativity.

[I will of course be paying an appropriate point cost for the guns and for all engines of war constructed with their use]

2) Courtesy of Cardinal Julia Mazzarini, the court of Louis X has just discovered the practice of selling war bonds, as distinct from borrowing large sums of money directly from a banker to finance a military campaign. By 17th or 18th century standards, the bonds they intend to sell provide low interest... but do so indefinitely.

In that era it was more typical for people to accept very high interest and scramble to pay it back, much as we might do today when dealing with a loan-shark or a credit card company- but I repeat myself.

The bonds come with a buy-back provision, and the Ohioan crown plans to eventually repurchase the bonds at significantly more than face value. It's something of a win-win situation for the bankers, especially in this age of precious metal currency.
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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Esquire » 2016-01-18 01:21am

Recommended listening: Janissary Attack March

Choking dirty-white gunsmoke drifted in thick bands across the field, almost hiding the bodies of the slain lying in knots and lines where they had fallen. From the hill to the left, the massed artillery – twenty guns, two of the new formations the men called “two-fisted batteries” – roared in near-unison, a tremendous crashing volley that could smash a battle-line into paste. The balls skipped almost perfectly off the dry ground, scything through the enemy formation at waist height, punching wide holes through the line and leaving only death and ruin behind them. The artillerymen were already preparing the next volley, while the red-armored Janissaries formed up for the attack, bayonets glinting viciously in the sunlight, the officers with their bright swords ahead of their men.

Carrying even above the sounds of battle, the great drums began to roll, the wild, hungry rhythm of the attack march, forty long flutes skirling madly, and the men started forward, slowly at first but speeding up with the drums, ending at a run, their shouts of “Allah, Allah!” reaching a ferocious intensity as the whole formation – with barely a pause as the leading troops threw their grenades into the enemy – crashed into the ragged ranks of their foes. Then it was simply chaos, the red armor and white headcloths of the Janissaries making them appear to be demons, instead of men; all flashing swords, glinting bayonets, and the sharp reports of muskets and pistols.

He saw men falling by the dozen, blades piercing armor as though it were paper, the barbarity of mankind on display, the disciplined ferocity of the Janissaries even more terrifying than the random destruction of cannon and gunfire, flashes of clarity through the swirling smoke; an officer losing his sword in the body of a slain enemy, then drawing a pistol to shoot the man about to run him through with a bayoneted musket; two men clubbing a third to death with the butts of their muskets, bayonets lost or forgotten; the white headcloth of a Janissary suddenly disappearing in a fountain of red as a musket ball found its mark; grenades exploding behind the enemy line, sending sharp-edged shrapnel into the unprotected legs of the infantry...

The shock of the attack finally broke the enemy’s spirit, and they turned from an embattled regiment to a thousand panicked individuals, so many sheep to the Janissary wolves. They fell like wheat before the scythe, and the ground was hidden beneath bodies and blood…


***************************************************************************************************************

The loud, clear voice of the muezzin woke Enver Ghazi from his fitful sleep. Even as he dressed and washed for the morning prayers, he forced himself not to dwell on the terrible memories of his former life. The succession war had been over for years, now, and he was no longer a soldier. The Mevlevi Order did not take sides when princes fought for the Sultan’s throne, and in any case the current Sultan was young and healthy as well as childless.

The prayer was familiar enough that Enver could not stop his mind from wandering. Ten years ago he had been a humble soldier in the army of Sultan – prince, then – Osman IV, during the unavoidable dynastic wars that always followed a Sultan’s death. The Imperial family practiced succession by the most capable son, instead of the oldest; Sultan Osman was the youngest of five brothers. The other four were all dead now, one killed in battle trying to capture Yenistanbul, the other four strangled on Osman’s orders after he was crowned. The wars had been brutal, even by Ottoman standards, and the Empire had still not fully recovered. The physical damage was largely repaired – farms re-planted, homes re-built – but a great many families were without fathers or uncles. Enver himself had been grievously wounded at the battle that won Osman the throne, and joined the Mevlevi Order immediately afterwards. The serenity of the Dervishes, as well as their dedication to the good of the Empire as a whole, had helped him move past the horrors of civil war, and his inborn magical talents were better used for the glorification Allah and the good for Ottoman subjects than for senseless internal conflict.

Finished with his prayers, Enver stretched, his limbs stiff from a night of fitful sleep. A complicated circular gesture brought a globe of fire to his hand, and the Dervish lit the coal-stove in his quarters before placing an ibrik full of water atop it for his usual morning holly tea. Then he strode to his window; the view always calmed him after a dream like the one he’d had.

The domes and spires of the great city rose for miles on each bank of the Great River, majestic and graceful. Yenistanbul, the people called it; the New City, though it had not been new for centuries. From the low, rambling fortress of the Topkapi Palace overlooking the port, to the airy bulk of the River Mosque with its bands of blue and white marble, to the myriad smaller mosques, palaces, bath-houses, and gardens, Yenistanbul was every inch the Imperial capital. The City, if not of the World’s Desire, then at least a suitable replacement.

It was a planned city, more or less, but planned according to the strict and warlike mind of Mehmet II, the Exile, and the Imperial residence at Topkapi was also the city’s main seaward fortification. Where other rulers filled their palaces with gardens, parks, and artwork, Mehmet had filled his with cannon foundries and the barracks of his Janissaries. The very name meant “Cannon Gate,” from the great batteries that loomed, like the snouts of so many hungry predators, over every ship that drew up to the city docks. Enver, from his room in the Mevlevi fortress-mosque which faced the palace across the Great River, could make out easily a hundred ships in the faint dawn light, ranging from the great line-of-battle ships of the Sultan’s navy to the myriad barges that ferried goods downriver for sale.

The ibrik was boiling. Enver added the holly leaves and twigs, contained in a loose-woven sack, and a cardamom pod, then took a few olives and a wedge of hard white cheese from their respective jars. A drizzle of honey and a slice of bread completed his breakfast, and the Dervish seated himself on a cushion at a low table facing the window to eat. As the sun rose, the gilded spires of the Topkapi Palace glinted red, reminding Enver of nothing so much as the bayonets of troops marching to the attack…

***************************************************************************************************************

Results: None, really; this is an introductory piece. Enver Ghazi (Ghazi means “holy warrior” and is the traditional honorific of a Mevlevi adept, or Dervish) will be an important character and this serves to introduce him and Ottoman society generally. Enver was a soldier in Prince Osman’s army before he became Sultan, and joined the Mevlevi Order out of a mixture of disgust at the brutality of Ottoman politics and a desire to help the Empire as a whole, rather than dedicating himself to one lord or another.

This version of the Ottoman Empire never fell into decline like the OTL one did; the primary function of the Sultanate is war, and the usual mode of succession is over the bodies of the new Sultan’s brothers. Sultan Osman IV came to the throne ten years ago in a shockingly bloody version of the usual succession crisis, and neither he nor the Empire has really recovered from that traumatic experience. Having to choose between ordering four brothers strangled or dooming the Empire to decades of rebellion will do that – I’m not going to sugarcoat Ottoman society; this is a real thing that really happened up until the 17th century historically.
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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2016-01-19 01:50pm

Morovyl the Eternal sat on a small boulder, overlooking the little vale not ten miles north of the edges of the Ottoman empire. A deep fog lay over the vale, a carefully crafted illusion which concealed, at least to the casual eye, a small army of undead, elvish followers, and enthralled slaves. Another illusion obscured most sound coming from the valley. Unless a passerby was a mage or other powerful magical being, or stumbled right into their midst, they would never known what was in front of them until it tore them apart.

She smiled slightly.

The had come a long way, since her youthful days in the ancient Forests of Coronal. Those days were as a faded dream now, a foolish illusion made indistinct by time and cruel reality. She was changed now. Stronger. Resolute in purpose. The new world she and Corvys had envisioned was still a distant jewel, glittering in the darkness of an uncertain future, but they could wait. They were immortal, more even than the rest of their kind.

A grey-robed figure slipped out of the shadows beside her. She nodded to him and he sat beside her.

"Reminiscing, my dear", he asked, an affectionately mocking tone to his voice.

"Remembering. Why we are here, and why we do what we must."

"With our powers, and the Staff, we cannot fail." The conviction in his voice was absolute.

Tomorrow, another step. The scouts had detected an Ottoman village, just across the border. Small, few defenders.

We will strike an hour before dawn, then withdraw with our captives and set an ambush for the inevitable retaliation from Mehmetan. It is a good plan. Yes.

So why, in a corner of her mind that she would not admit even to herself, did she feel afraid?

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-01-19 11:58pm

Louisville, Ohio
Duchy of Ougapah,
Snowbringer 19, 224
(January 10)


The ambassador looked down at the several pages of neatly handwritten letter before him, placed upon his desk by a dapper man in the crimson tabard of the Musketeers of the Cardinal's Guard. Sweeping a bow, his broad-brimmed, plumed hat under his arm, the musketeer spoke to the Orion ambassador.

"The details are here in writing, as an aide to memory, for your mentalists, Your Excellency, and to summarize the message in its essence, the offices of my lord the Grand Master of Artillery wish to make inquiries among the foundries of Orion, and the banks of Orion, as to the most expeditious and prudent means to arrange the purchase a quantity of your nation's famous cast-iron guns, the unaltered weight of shot not to exceed twenty-four pounds nor to pass beneath eighteen, the number of these guns to be not less than three score and if possible to exceed that number."

Quietly impressed that the cardinal's guardsman had managed to get all of that out in one sentence, the ambassador paused a moment, steepling his fingers in thought...
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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-01-20 12:32am

Simon_Jester wrote:Louisville, Ohio
Duchy of Ougapah,
Snowbringer 19, 224
(January 10)


The ambassador looked down at the several pages of neatly handwritten letter before him, placed upon his desk by a dapper man in the crimson tabard of the Musketeers of the Cardinal's Guard. Sweeping a bow, his broad-brimmed, plumed hat under his arm, the musketeer spoke to the Orion ambassador.

"The details are here in writing, as an aide to memory, for your mentalists, Your Excellency, and to summarize the message in its essence, the offices of my lord the Grand Master of Artillery wish to make inquiries among the foundries of Orion, and the banks of Orion, as to the most expeditious and prudent means to arrange the purchase a quantity of your nation's famous cast-iron guns, the unaltered weight of shot not to exceed twenty-four pounds nor to pass beneath eighteen, the number of these guns to be not less than three score and if possible to exceed that number."

Quietly impressed that the cardinal's guardsman had managed to get all of that out in one sentence, the ambassador paused a moment, steepling his fingers in thought...


"I shall certainly send along your inquiry, and for such a significant purchase I can guarantee a swift response. I would presume this is in relation to the troublesome city of Detroit to the north." The Ambassador saw a brief look of consternation cross the musketeer's face. "Don't fret, I am fully aware you would not be able to say anything even if you knew any details. Suffice to say that we have heard many whispers and rumors concerning that damnable place."

The Ambassador continued thinking, even as his aide collected the pages and left quickly for the duty Telepath's office to send them on to Hephaestus.

"You may return to your leaders and tell them we will consider their request with the greatest expediency. I would be grateful if you would also extend an invitation for their representatives to meet with myself and several members of my staff; if these guns are indeed destined for use against Detroit, we have much more to discuss than just the sale of a few dozen guns."

The Musketeer nodded, bowed again, replaced his hat (which was, the Ambassador mentally admitted, quite impressive) and turned from the room.

The Ambassador sat at his desk in silence for a moment, before he scribbled another note for the Telepath to send back to his superiors:

"Have received inquiry regarding sale of guns, details transmitted previously. Based on rumours and news in Louisvile I believe there is a strong chance the weapons are intended for use against Detroit. Possibility of negotiating World Breakers involvement in said operation. Have extended invitation for Ohioan representatives for further discussion. Request additional instructions and details of World Breakers availability for such operation."

He sat back and called for some tea and began contemplating his approach. Assuming his superiors approved of his ideas, this would require careful thought.
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Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Low Bridge

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-01-22 12:31am

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Recommended Listening: Low Bridge, here sung by Bruce Springsteen

Grand Imperial Canal
Ten Miles South of Maumee
March of Toledo
Sproutbringer 2, 224
(March 22)


Maumee might not be so great, or so busy, a city as Toledo, but was nevertheless a city of twenty-five thousand souls, given life by the joining of the Wabash and Erie canals. There were plenty of places for a man to rest his head and warm his bones. Sergeant Deschamps was looking forward to that; about all the month of Sproutbringer had going for it this far north was that the Erie Canal almost never froze.

His Majesty must be in a hurry to get this load of gunpowder from the imperial arsenal up to Toledo, because Deschamps had never in his life seen anyone go to such ridiculous lengths to get a couple more miles an hour out of a barge.

The brasswork which the wizards called an 'impeller,' sitting in the great covered deckhouse, had to weigh tons, taking up something like a quarter of the sixty-foot barge's length. The one time Deschamps had taken a look at it had made his eyes water. Interlinked rings, triangles, squares, starbursts, complicated curves the sergeant doubted he could have described even if he'd ever opened a book of geometry. There were a pair of copper... things... that one of the wizards told him were bottles with no inside and no outside. There was a whirling chain, with weights that... seemed to appear and disappear. The other wizard told him that the weights had length, width, height, and... spissitude?

And the mass of metal didn't stand still. It rattled and clinked, usually quietly, sometimes loud. Parts of it were traced in what he suspected was gold. Others in a purple metal he couldn't even recognize. For a barge. Really? And to top it all off, one of the two wizards had to stand over it, working their sorcery, every moment the barge moved.

And yet... the barge moved.

Though no mule paced the tow-path alongside the canal, though no rope hauled it north, the boat churned north at a brisk pace. A man jogging along the towpath could have kept up- but the usual pace of a canalboat was a brisk walk. It added up.

Maybe it made sense. The carefully stowed, covered, and waterproofed kegs of powder amidships weighed tons, and powder was precious. Maybe it was somehow worth such a ridiculous contraption as no normal man would ever see, or care to see. But it wasn't really a sane endeavour, truth be told. And the wizards who nursemaided the pile of redsmithing were among the most head-in-the-clouds types Deschamps had ever met.

And there they were, these two ivory-tower types. Dealing with canal boatmen. Dockside gamblers. Stevedores in towns along the canal. All while traveling on a barge. Loaded with gunpowder.

The quartermaster of the Imperial Guard, a sensible man who no doubt imagined dozens of disasters resulting from this devil's brew, had put a grizzled sergeant in charge of the cargo. One who'd ridden the grand canal several times. No overdressed young nobleman officer for this duty! Himself, sober and sensible- well, mostly sober, a man was entitled to his wine- a few light-sleeping poilus to keep a guard on the powder and chase off ruffians, it was enough.

There were the boatmen, too. One of them, in the bow, called out "Look out! Boat up ahead!"

Deschamps stretched and rose. They'd passed any number of other canal boats in the past few days. Traffic on the Grand Imperial Canal was still sparse this time of year, the boatmen still convincing themselves that the canal had frozen over for the last time. But there were plenty of boats on the canal anyway, and thanks to the lunacy of the wizards, this one was fast enough to pass the others by.

They were coming up now, rounding a gentle bend in the canal. The boatmen, having done this many times before, shifted the barge to the uphill side of the canal, so as not to foul the other vessel's tow rope- a line leading from the barge to a man in a shapeless cap leading a pair of mules further up.

The big man standing on the side of the grain barge looked back at them, and his eyes goggled, realizing he wasn't imagining it... the powder barge was moving with neither sails nor draft animal, nor even poles or oars. A bushy, dark beard covered most of his face, and his hand rose to half-tangle in his beard as he took in the marvelous-strange sight. He called out "What moves you?"

"Magic! See you in Maumee- we should be there in two hours!" Deschamps grinned, feeling superior.



An hour passed; miles passed too. The feeling of superiority in the sergeant's belly built, swelled... popped.

With a screech like a tortured cat, the whirring, clattering sounds of the brazen engine came to a halt. So, within moments, did the barge.

One of the mages staggered out, clutching his head and groaning. His fellow, who'd been sitting on the railing, leafing through a book and taking bites from a loaf of bread, suddenly jumped to his feet and ran to the stunned mage's side, helping him down to a sitting position. The two spoke in hushed terms, the reader darted into the rear deckhouse to check on the brazen folly.

Expecting some kind of explosion, or a cloud of brimstone, or maybe for the whole deckhouse to turn into a giant catfish and slide into the canal, the sergeant just... waited. Waited. Finally, both wizards met, conferred, came toward him. One looking shamefaced, the other still a but stunned.

Deschamps scowled "What happened?"

"The impeller, it is broken."

"Too much spissitude in the governor. It took off at right angles to reality, we think."

"And then the Net- half of it is decrystallized, we'll have to rebake it."

"Yes..." the shaken wizard shrugged. "I'm sorry, sergeant, but we're dead in the water."

"You can't fix it?" Deschamps' scowl was a formidable thing, now, calculated to reduce the average infantryman to a pleading pulp, and to at least put a quiver into the belly of the more hardboiled troublemakers he mostly used it on.

The wizards, hardly paying attention to their surroundings, didn't notice. Of course.

"...Not without a smithy, a few good brassworkers, and probably an alchemist."

"You're sure? No way to get it running, baling cord and chicle gum, that sort of thing?"

"We're... pretty sure."

"Well, shit."

All that book learning, and they couldn't get a lamed 'impeller' moving again. Although... thinking about it, Deschamps figured it might not even be the wizards' fault.

If something had somehow gone wrong with the strange runes, or the interlocking bronze rings, triangles, and other shapes that made up the impeller, even a couple of wizards probably weren't going to be able to fix it. Not working belowdecks, on a canal boat. In the dark.

Definitely the dark. Because there was no damn way Deschamps was letting them light a lantern or a candle on a barge loaded with gunpowder. Not those two.

Still, the Devil found work for idle hands. That was an article of the faith according to all orthodox, and most heretic, sergeants. He was having enough trouble keeping his soldiers in line. So he cranked up his scowl to full blast and spoke to the wizards again.

"Why don't you two try and think of a way to fix it anyway? It can't hurt, right?"

"Uh..."



Perhaps a quarter of an hour, perhaps more, passed.

Deschamps got the boatmen to pole the barge over to the uphill side, away from the towpath. That much was just canal etiquette; the boatmen themselves didn't begrudge it though they'd been lazy to start. Having the wizards 'impel' the barge hadn't been good for their work ethic.

But even a sergeant couldn't find much to do after that, so aside from the wizards' confused muttering from the rear deckhouse, the men on the barge had precious little to do. The insects were starting to buzz in the grass off to the downhill side of the canal, the bugs still feeling their oats as spring began to set in. A few animals skittered around; Deschamps could see a deer browsing a few hundred yards away, mostly hidden by thick brush. Then one of the boatmen called out "Look out! Boat coming up behind!"

The grain barge behind Deschamps' sorcery-driven load of gunpowder had upheld the honor of the humble draft mule by the simplest means imaginable.

It had overtaken them- slow and steady. Perhaps there was a solution to Deschamps' troubles after all...

With the grain barge closing at a walking pace, there was time to chat. Deschamps could make himself heard halfway across a parade ground, so he thought nothing of responding when the bearded man in the bow of the other canal boat cupped his hands and shouted.

"Hey, I thought you said you were only two hours out of Maumee? What happened, boyo?" The grain-trader hooked a thumb in his belt.

"The night-blinded he-witches say they can't get the magic working again."

The gap-toothed mule driver hauling the grain barge along, rather closer in at the head of the tow rope, laughed scornfully at that. "What's the matter, they got tired faster than Sal here?" and patted his left-hand mule.

"Looks like, neighbor! Except for one thing, we're stuck here."

The man in the grain barge sucked his teeth and shook his head "I'm sorry to hear that, soldier."

"Oh, it's not that bad."

"How not?"

Deschamps grinned evilly. "I said, we'd be stuck here, except for one thing. Because see, we have a commission from His Majesty, and you don't. We'll just be taking your tow now."

At this, the bearded man's swagger vanished. He threw his hat down into the barge and began one of the most fiery, blustering, hair-raising strings of pure, unadulterated cuss that he'd ever heard. With what looked like an improvised dance accompaniment. Deschamps was impressed, and he knew more about cursing than the common run of men. Even the mule-driver looked impressed. So impressed that the sergeant half-expected him to start taking notes, in the unlikely event that the man was literate. And Deschamps reckoned that mule-drivers knew even more about cursing than sergeants.

"You there!" Deschamps shouted across the water to the boatman behind him. "I'll leave you a promissory note in Maumee for your troubles, but if I have to tell the boys to go load their muskets, they'll probably shoot you dead just for putting them to the trouble. Cast off your tow-rope!"

He muttered through one of the narrow slit windows in the built-up rear of the barge, to the grey-faced wizard, "I hope you can get this fixed in Toledo, or you're paying for food and lodging for the extra days it takes us to get back."

The mule-driver, fishing the tow-rope out of the canal, called over and tossed the end to one of the boatmen. "So much for magic, eh?"

"They won't be taking your job any time soon, neighbor. "
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-01-22 01:38pm

The Battle of Anrakis

Major Simmons reacted to the sighted horde of Hyenorks much faster than most would have expected given his weight and apparent competence. He immediately bellowed orders for the company of infantry to form lines against the charge while the fort’s gunners raced to their posts. At the rear, the Dragoons leapt upon their mounts and galloped out the fort’s rear entrance.

“Gunners! Load grapeshot! Odd-number guns target that huge beast if you can; even numbers fire on the horde!”

He next turned to the fort’s duty Telepath. “Send to Fenris Command: “Have sighted rogue Hyenork pack approaching Anrakis garrison. We are preparing to engage. Numbers approximately 200 with one large beast. Will advise.” The Telepath nodded and begun his task. Simmons turned to one of his runners.

“You, get the Hyenork trader, give them harpoons or whatever else we have that they can use, but put them on the shoreward side just in case.” The man gestured in understanding and ran off. Simmons turned back and saw his men were forming up promptly, if sloppily. Discipline had been allowed to slacken slightly in this frozen wasteland. Fortunately the Imperial Army had a solution for that:

“Psychomancers, commence!”

The mages attached to platoons began their work. The soldier’s formations settled down into parade-ground perfection. Their drill in loading their muskets became smoother, their movements disciplined, efficient. Their face, where but moments before nervousness or outright fear had shown, now became masks of cold determination to fight to the last for their fellows. This was as close as Orion came to offensive battle-magic, but it was potent indeed.

The Major could see his preparations were complete, the guns loaded and ready. Now they did what soldiers in battle always found hardest. They waited.
--

Old Redeye Nogov and her clan
Charged along the frozen shore
Hooves bit sand, the saddles creaking
As they charged the fortress door.
Fileing out and lining up
On the left were feeble men
And on the right those whale tribe traitors
Waving spears and taunting them.
The humans looked a softer target
Didn’t look like all that much
The calvacade grew tight and fast
The foes would crumple at first touch.

Boom and boom and boom and boom
A storm of iron filled the air
Thud and squelch and cracks and screams
They tore through flesh and bone and hair.

---

“FIRE!” The commander of the battery bellowed. The gunners pulled their lanyards, the flints of the gunlocks flew forwards, striking sparks and igniting the fine priming powder, which flashed down into the guns’ chambers, igniting the main charge. Here the Technomantic enchantments were cancelled by an additive in the powder, and the 18 one-pound iron balls in the chambers regained their usual weight, hurtling down the barrel much faster than one might expect.

The guns discharged with a thunderous report. 216 one-pound roundshot hurtled towards the Hyenork cavalcade in 12 groups, half flew at the horde, half flew at the large beast accompanying them.

The beast proved worryingly agile. What had been six well-aimed shots with a small spread yielded far less damage than was hoped for. Had the shots landed on target the Hyenoth would be little more than a shredded carcass by now. Instead it’s flank was ripped and blood flowed, but the wound was by no means mortal.

The charging Hyenorks were not so lucky. The balls struck with terrifying power, even for such large beasts. Flesh and sinew were ripped asunder; bones and skeletons shattered. The lucky ones received hits to the head or chest that were instantly mortal. The unlucky ones caught only glancing hits, the passing balls merely ripping off an arm or leg before continuing on to kill another beast further back.
The first salvo had reaped a fearsome toll: twenty Hyenorks dead, another two dozen or more lying wounded or dying. The cavalcade charged onwards heedless of the fallen, but this was only the first salvo and the gunners were already reloading.

Major Simmons saw the large beast was wounded but still too agile; he ordered all twelve guns to fire on the cavalcade for the next salvos.

---

Boom and boom and boom and boom
The calvacade was breaking on
The iron teeth of cannon shot,
The biting jaws of Orion

Boom and boom and boom and boom,
The Hyenoth leapt, its flank ripped red,
Around it riders sagged and fell,
Missing flesh, a leg or arm or head

Still they passed inside the guns
The musketeers now opened fire,
Stinging hornets, distracting wounds,
But the hyenoth didn’t tire.
The musketeers were braced on knees
Bayonets up, stocks in snow
The Hyenoth leapt and cleared their heads
Landing on the furthest row.
Singed and stabbed by them on landing
It roars and claws and rips and chews
Feeding on the gallant men
‘Till Hudern and his whaler crews
Pierced it with harpoons
it screamed and bubbled and leapt again
Was pierced while in the air
Landing, it crushed Yail and then
Was blinded by Vogon.
The calvacade hit Orion’s rank
Men died but their lines held firm
Volleys poured at range point blank

--

Captain Sumner was pleased with his men’s performance do far. The wall guns had ripped great holes in the charging mass ahead, and now they had closed enough for his musketeers to add their fire. Along the line the shouted orders were heard and the first volley spat forth. Balls ripped into the rushing beasts, causing less damage than the wall guns to be sure but still causing terrible wounds.
His first rank was stepping back to the rear to reload when the huge beast leapt over the line in the centre, coming to a halt. Fortunately the vast majority of the charging Hyenorks in that area had been cleared by the wall guns, so the three ranks executed a sharp about-face and raised their muskets, firing at point-blank range.

The beast screamed in pain at the dozens of burning wounds registered in its brain. It’s claws reached out, gutting three men who had been just a fraction too close; their screams were terrible but thankfully short. Another volley was fired, another scream from the beast’s throat.

The beast turned its head just in time for Hudern and his fellows to harpoon it in its already wounded flank. The screams became howls; the beast mustered its strength and leapt once again, a shorter distance but far enough to land and crush one of the brave traders aiding the Imperial Army. Another struck the beast in the eye with his harpoon, blinding it.

A shouted warning came from the wall and the traders hastily retreated. Following the warning came another thunderous report of cannonfire; this time an enterprising gunner had loaded the gun with a single 18 pound roundshot and a reduced charge. At such short range, and already being severely wounded there was no escape through agility for the beast. The ball struck its head and shattered it to bloody fragments.

The Hyenoth may have been dead but the rest of the cavalcade was still fighting; they raced in closer to the lines heedless of the losses to musket fire. Then, a nerve-wrenching impact as the first of the Hyenorks impaled themselves on the well-braced bayonets of the Orion Line. One last volley was fired at point-blank range before the general melee began. By now the Hyenorks were outnumbers perhaps three to one but it was a dangerously close fight.

Then, on the landward flank, the company of Dragoons stormed into view. At full tilt they rode in to the rear of the cavalcade; their carbines firing yet more stinging lead before the riders drew their sabres and raced in, a single mighty charge that left three dozen Hyenorks on the field headless.

This was the final straw. Leaderless and without their great beast or the weight of the charge, the raiders turned and fled. It was not a safe withdrawal; the Dragoons wheeled around and charged again into the backs of the fleeing beasts. Pistol shots rang out, four or five riders concentrating on a single Hyenork to slow him down enough for the kill.

The Battle of Anrakis was done. Now the butcher’s bill could be counted.

---

Old Redeye rolled and groaned
Grapeshot wounds deep and sore
Above, Alkor’s grinning face appears
And stabs down through her right paw

Claws between bones and twist
In midst scream her throat is torn
The Queen will want the proof of this
From her scalp an ear is shorn.

Ripped from every dead Creeklander
And the fifty who survived
The bloody ears are packed in snow
Proof of the raid, in case of lies.

Hudern’s own dead crew are flayed,
Their meat staked to the wind
Their belts and tokens taken home
To be gifted to their kin

---

Simmons looked over the bloody battlefield with a look of distaste on his face. The medics and Biomancers were tending the wounded, the soldiers were bringing in the dead. By any accounts it had been a clear victory, but Simmons, looking at the line of sheet-covered bodies did not feel like celebrating.

Behind him he heard a scrape of boots on gravel. He turned to find his aide and the Telepath.
“Well? What’s the final tally?”

His aide spoke first: “Fifteen dead, ten seriously wounded, another twenty with wounds that can be treated here and returned to duty.” One-sixth of the Infantry company dead or carried away, never to fight again. In a minor skirmish with a rogue pack of raiders. It seemed so…pointless. If they had come peacefully he would have listened and traded with them if they wished; Hudern was an proof that a fair deal was possible. Simmons sighed and turned to the Telepath.

“Send to Fenris Command: “Successfully repulsed attack. Casualties fifteen dead and ten seriously wounded for evacuation. Enemy force routed. Request replacement troops when feasible.”
The Telepath nodded in acknowledgement. Then Simmons turned to his other loose end. Hudern stood nearby, under guard of course. Simmons approached the creature and nodded his head in respect.

“Thank you, Hudern, for your help this day. I am sorry some of your number were killed. But you will not go home empty handed. You shall have your guns, as we agreed. And in gratitude, a sixth gun and shot at no cost. Go home to your people, tell them that we Orions can be traded with peacefully, but we are not afraid or incapable of fighting if we have to.”

The Hyenork nodded in appreciation for the sentiment. “I will tell my Queen human. We will not forget.”
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Dark Hellion » 2016-01-22 05:58pm

He felt a sharp sting in his gut. He knew what this meant in a place such as this. His hand reached down and felt along his shirt, warm liquid squishing between his fingers when he did. The moment of surprise and confusion that his body had felt passed and his legs gave way. Hard ground dislodge the gun from his other hand as his body dropped onto the frozen dirt. The blood didn't stop. And he knew he was dying.

How did he know he was dying? It was easy for him to tell because he saw the angel. Brilliant, glowing blonde hair. And a smile, even in this hellish battlefield. She walked across the battlegrounds, cannonballs and shot whipping by but missing the beautiful woman who approached. He felt the warmth of her presence remove the cold of the cooling pool of blood below him. Felt her lift his broken body and cradle it. He stared into he features, peaceful and serene as the light slowly faded. And then he heard her voice, bells and honey dripping through his ears. "Please, tell me about your dream. The last dream you will have." So he did.

He told of fire and ice. Trenches dug across entire countries. Guns that barked and spewed bullets by the thousands. The air that burnt the lungs. And the pointlessness of it all. He told her everything he dreamed until his voice went hoarse and his breath became shallow. He wanted to rest. And when he did, he heard the voice again. Soft, sweet, calm. "Thank you. Now, please rest." And he closed his eyes.

-----

Zarrintaj sat there in silence for a moment, the dead man still cradled in her lap. She wanted to weep for it all. Not the dead man, a single death was nothing compared to what his dream presaged for the coming centuries. The guns and the trenches. The gas and the charges. And the bitterness that would follow. A bitterness that would become madness. And then came the camps. And the wagontrains. And the ovens. Madmen destroying everything precious and beautiful in orgies of blind hatred. The innocence of the world beaten, broken and raped.

The battle still raged around her and Zarrintaj decided that today, she had seen enough death.



-----

The commanders who witnessed it described how the sky had filled with clouds in an instant; lightning sparkled threatening, leaping from cloud to cloud as if alive. And in the center of the battlefield, a dragon arose and addressed the gathered armies, the thunder reverberating and echoing every word the creature said.

"Go home little ones. I tire of death today. Go home."

The battle stopped. For a moment, it seemed no one would even breath. And then one squad, braver or perhaps more foolish than any other, turned a cannon upon the creature and fired. The ball had barely left the barrel when a bolt of lightning reached out and struck it, turning the sphere into droplets of molten metal. The dragon reared up and the lightning that arced between the clouds grew in intensity til it seemed to split the sky.

"Go home. Leave me to mourn for the future."
A teenage girl is just a teenage boy who can get laid.
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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-01-26 04:47pm

Fragment 7
Bralla’s Quest, North-west Territories

Bralla’s pack were moving swift
Fifteen hyenorks chased the sun
New paths west, well, new to them,
Cairns showed where others had gone.
Unbalanced arms showed less returned
But, for now, the food was good,
The odd farmhouse with beasts and farmers
And tools, though mostly made of wood.
A storm blew in and forced a camp
Later that night wild wolves attacked.
Howling, starving desperate brutes
Confused at prey that’s biting back.
They ate the wolves and once the storm,
Was beaten back by glowing sun
They broke camp and chased the trail
Until howling stopped their run.

Those who’d faced a Howling Night
Swore and bare their teeth
Bralla clutched her lucky stone,
She’d taken from a thief.
Only Karag seemed quite calm
Though not six years ago,
As a kit she’d hid in fire
And escaped the Wendigo.
Though nearly dead of smoke or pain,
Her skin regrew, her fur now white,
But Karag only lit a flame,
And stared at Bralla, her oath sister,
Who’d sworn upon her blood and name,
That if Karag was a loyal second,
through all that life could throw,
At times like this, a Howling Night,
They’d hunt the Wendigo.

It took a day to find the place.
A stockade on a hill
With mounds of earth thrown down beneath,
And a chained beast howling still.

As before they lurked and watched
A man in robes theww scraps three times.
As night fell they saw the barn door open
And out walked dozens in two lines.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2016-01-27 07:46pm

It was shortly before dawn in the little village, lying just within the northern border of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the residents were asleep, or just rising, still bleary-eyed and weary.

A huge ball of red fire laced with vicious black energy roared up in the centre of the little cluster of buildings, a flash of blinding crimson light washing out the sight of homes, fields, farms, and trees. Men, women, and children screamed and cried, hands pressed over their eyes, staggering in blind pain as a wave of sickening, unnatural sensations surged through the village- not a physical but a spiritual wrongness that flowed from that pillar of crimson flame and touched everything lit by that crimson light.

Two died instantly, caught in the fire storm. Black energy lashed out, shearing through wood and stone as if it was thin paper. Any person or animal touched by that lightning fell with smoking, charred holes through limbs, torsos, or heads.

The crimson light faded, revealing a wall of twisted, hunched figures that seemed to have materialized out of the Void itself. As they loped closer, the horrified villagers who dared to stumble from their homes or looked up from where they lay huddled on the ground could see that they were corpses, rotting, made animate and turned upon the living. They came on silently, lifelessly, relentlessly. They tore into each man, woman, and child they came upon, one scratch or bite, then moved on. They seemed drawn toward the living, by sight, sound, smell, or some other sense altogether. They piled against locked and barricaded doors, pushing with mindless, painless, tireless force. Sometimes their bodies broke beneath the strain, and they were trampled by those who came behind. Wood splinted. Barricades collapsed.

Desperate screams came from houses that had turned from shelters to traps, as the undead swarmed inside.

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Zwinmar » 2016-01-29 07:12am

OTL Omaha

Yellow eyes gaze over the streets filled with a myriad of different species. While one is unlikely to find more than Thyrs deep within the territories, other than the occasional plainsman, here there is a clash of cultures as merchants shout their wares. From the great wolf headed stele to the river a kilometer of cobbled road is lined with a cacophony of of colored pavilions, each lot a precise dimensions and rented for a period of seven days enforced by the local constabulary which is reinforced by grey coated MP's from the garrison. Situated on the flood plain and marked off in a precise grid alphanumerically on small stone posts the merchants are informed that their continued presence is maintained only by strict adherence to the law and provided access to a stone inscribed detailed description of the weights and measures used.

....tbc...

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby Esquire » 2016-02-11 12:39am

Approaching Akachent
Mehmetan Eyalet (OTL Missouri)
Ottoman Empire


It was a cold, clear morning, and Ahmet the peddler and his family could see smoke from the village fires curled over the treetops as they neared the last stop on their journey. There was a great deal of smoke, which cheered them - they were from Yenistanbul originally, and not used to the winter at this northernmost edge of the Empire. The villagers must have been cold too, they reasoned; who wouldn't be? His wife rode inside the wagon with their infant daughter and Ahmet's younger son, who was whistling a marching song, taking his turn on the wagon; the older son, wearing his newly-grown mustache proudly, strode in front of the horse. He would go into the Sultan's army, Ahmet knew, and was already adopting a soldier's swagger. Ahmet himself had been a musketeer, but had left the army to take up his father's trade.

The little group rounded the last corner, bringing the village of Akachent into full view, and the sight drew them up short. This was no welcoming scene of warmth and potential customers, it was something out of a madman's worst nightmares. What was once a prosperous village was now a charnel house: torn corpses were piled amid the wrecked buildings that had housed them in life, smoldering with an unholy, evil-looking dark flame. And worse, some of the bodies were moving, clearly propelled by some malicious force, shambling towards the family despite visible wounds that would have killed any living man. That may in fact have killed these ones.

Ahmet realized his sons were looking at him, fear obvious in their eyes. He felt something lurking at the edge of his awareness, a dark malevolence that urged him to submit, to give in and die, to become one of the puppet-corpses advancing slowly. He rejected that path with the fiery pride of the Turkish people, and spoke loudly and clearly to his family.

"Abdul," - his younger son - "take the wagon. You must get to Mehmetan as soon as you can, and tell the Pasha what has happened here. Do not spare the horse. This will be the first test of your manhood, and I know that you will fulfill it. Protect your mother and sister. Make your brother and I proud; we will always watch over you from Heaven, Allah willing." There were tears in the boy's eyes, but he nodded, clearly holding back sobs. They embraced quickly, and then the wagon turned around and Abdul whipped the horse into a trot, the fastest it could manage with the wagon.

"Cemal," - the older son - "we will die here. But we will buy our family's lives with our own, and what better bargain is there for a soldier and a trader? A man's fate is written on his forehead; what is meant to be will be." Cemal smiled thinly, nodding with Islamic fatalism. The two men drew their swords and turned to face the oncoming horde.
*********************************************************************

A few days afterwards, a battered peddler's wagon reigned up at the gate of the Mehmetan governor's palace. A small figure - a boy, perhaps - leaped down, and exchanged a few hurried words with the guard. He was ushered in, and more men were sent to take the wagon, and its other passengers, to a more comfortable resting place.

The next morning, the wardens of the North Gate were surprised to see three companies of Yaya - volunteer - infantry marching out of the city. They carried horsetails beside the Imperial and regimental banners, and everyone knew what that meant: there was war within the Empire.

Results: Initial response to Elvish necromancers consists of 300 infantry, worth 450 points collectively. Ottoman losses to date: a frontier village, and a peddler and his son. The force are lead by a Captain Orhan Ghazi, who besides minor magical abilities possesses truly remarkable arrogance and self-righteousness; more details to follow.

Also, I've internalized "perfection is the enemy of completion," so this is rough around the edges and likely has a logical issue or two, but I'll deal with/retcon those as I have time and input.
"Statistics mean nothing to the individual." Dr. Perry Cox, Scrubs

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Re: Pre-Industrial Fantasy STGOD Story Thread.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-02-14 07:00am

madd0ct0r wrote:Fragment 7
Bralla’s Quest, North-west Territories

Bralla’s pack were moving swift
Fifteen hyenorks chased the sun
New paths west, well, new to them,
Cairns showed where others had gone.
Unbalanced arms showed less returned
But, for now, the food was good,
The odd farmhouse with beasts and farmers
And tools, though mostly made of wood.
A storm blew in and forced a camp
Later that night wild wolves attacked.
Howling, starving desperate brutes
Confused at prey that’s biting back.
They ate the wolves and once the storm,
Was beaten back by glowing sun
They broke camp and chased the trail
Until howling stopped their run.

Those who’d faced a Howling Night
Swore and bare their teeth
Bralla clutched her lucky stone,
She’d taken from a thief.
Only Karag seemed quite calm
Though not six years ago,
As a kit she’d hid in fire
And escaped the Wendigo.
Though nearly dead of smoke or pain,
Her skin regrew, her fur now white,
But Karag only lit a flame,
And stared at Bralla, her oath sister,
Who’d sworn upon her blood and name,
That if Karag was a loyal second,
through all that life could throw,
At times like this, a Howling Night,
They’d hunt the Wendigo.

It took a day to find the place.
A stockade on a hill
With mounds of earth thrown down beneath,
And a chained beast howling still.

As before they lurked and watched
A man in robes theww scraps three times.
As night fell they saw the barn door open
And out walked dozens in two lines.


Fragment 8 (continued from fragment 7)

Filthy, ill, the walking weak,
Humans, Hyenorks, other kin,
A smaller hut now opened doors
Out marched a group, the first marched in.
Buckets of soil were poured outside,
Earth and rock and stinking waste,
The shuffling gang walked back to the barn
It seemed to be their sleeping place.

Another day Bralla’s crew
Kept careful watch on the strange space
The gang’s switched again but nothing else,
The wendigo stayed chained in place.
That afternoon they hatched their plan,
Lit a fire and stacked up wood,
Once the logs were well ablaze,
They moved them as quickly as they could.
The wendigo screamed as they got near,
But it was still chained up inside,
The fires stacked against the wall,
They quickly moved to hide.
While the others played with fire,
Krare and Torn had dug shallow holes,
In the spoil heaps for the crew,
They each dropped in and hid like moles.

Choking smoke soon filled the air,
The Barn opened, slaves staggered about,
The man in robes took them outside
With spades to smother the fire out
The wendigo’s chain became it’s leash,
it snapped and snarled at the other slaves.
The man in robes wrote in the air,
A glowing script of curves and waves.
He slashed his wrist and out sprayed gold.
Glistening it hung in the air,
As though paint was thrown upon a wall
Around the edge of a door frame, square.
Something golden, large with pincers,
Started to squeeze through the space.
Bralla roared and rose from earth.
The killing game was now a race.

The wendigo with chain unleashed,
Received a javelin in the face,
Its flesh bubbled, drawn tight on bone,
Sealing the wound with shaft in place.
It leaped and ran and pushed,
Its claws through brave Krare,
Who fell back leaving half his guts,
Dangling like knotted hair.
Karag struck now, a loaded sling,
Wrapping around the projecting shaft,
Wrenching the beast’s head around,
Then Bralle cleaved it near in half.
The flesh ripple, one eye still blinked,
It grabbed Bralla by the throat,
Roh clawed at the arm, it swung at her,
Ripping off her ear while Bralla choked.
It gulped down the ear and hauled her in,
Breath hot and stinking, when Bor and Draze,
Having dodged its first wild charge,
Both grabbed its back and tore its ribs crossways.

Released Bralla held her throat,
And gazed past at the man in robes,
Pincers for hands, antennae for tongues
And eyes reduced to golden globes.
Seven slaves had changed as well,
They twitched and chittered as they came,
The portal beast groped long and blind,
With five long tendrils all the same.
The Man in robes gave garbled voice,

“Moloch, we have mined your fees,
Currency runs in our veins.”

He gestured, Bor fell to his knees,
Spine crumpled, bone thrust through skin.

“Why fight me?” the robed man said,
“Your leader steals the best from you,
I’ll pay well, just bring its head.”

He waved to where Bralla stood,
And half her crew took half a step,
The gold bug slaves walked forward too,
The transformed ones crouched and leapt.
Those of her crew not enthralled,
Stepped back and braced with claws and teeth.
Roh stepped and threw her final spear,
And caught a leaper from beneath,
It screamed but then the man in robes,
Gestured at a luckless slave,
Who dropped down dead, the leaper rose,
Contemptuously it snapped the stave.

The portal beast just reached their group,
Blindly tearing two apart,
Bor rammed the leaper into its path,
The beast punched through it and through Bor’s heart.
The other six leapers had,
Slain five hyenork, four enthralled,
Karag too was ripped apart,
Once again the robed man called,

“Moloch knows the worth of dead,”
The slaves surged another pace
“I’ll pay well for your leader’s head”
A hyenork slave swung back her spade
And with the edge, severed his neck,
The battle slowed, the robed corpse slumped,
She sliced again, as though to check,
And fell with an exhausted roar
“I bring you my leader's head”
“Payment I’ll take is freedom.”
The Antennae twitched, but he was dead.

---

Actions: Battle is pretty much finished, one more post detailing the aftermath is being written.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee


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