Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

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madd0ct0r
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-10-14 12:22pm

Waits patiently
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by InsaneTD » 2016-10-15 02:18am

Posting isn't waiting patiently. :P

Though I too, await a new chapter.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2016-10-21 07:16am

I have a proper story post in the works. For now something to tide you over...
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Founded in 1337 BIA, the Protectorate was founded by a surviving Imperial Legion based out of Fort Nycon which defeated an upstart kingdom. It's legate had zero regard for the notion of hereditary offices and so organized a society similar to that of the fallen Imperium, but more marshal in nature. Few human cultures are as militarized as the Protectorate of Nycon. It's motto was Duty, Discipline, Vigilance and service to the state is held in the highest esteem. It has a two tiered standing army recruited from the general citizenry. While there is the elite volunteer Nyconian Legions every able bodied male citizen is required to own weapons and armor (which are provided for free of charge by the state in most cases) and his seventeenth birthday report for three years of active military service and remain in reserve until age 50. These soldiers are known as Vigilants.

While many cultures made use of conscription or mandate that all free men own and know how to use arms, the Vigilants are generally reckoned to be a cut above. While many of those other cultures have populaces who largely deem said laws to be a chore in times of peace and an unpleasant necessity in war in the Vigilant forces is considered to be the main divider between boyhood and manhood. Each vigilant has a uniform consisting of a red single breasted buttoned tunic with white trimming and a pair of hobnailed shoes. The armor issued is a simple apron with steel plates sewn in and a helmet, though soldiers are free to bring their own armor if it is of the same or higher quality. Their are militias with comparable or higher average qualities of gear but what truly sets apart the Vigilant is that they are well drilled, remarkably professional, well disciplined and organized. Vigilants are generally trained by legionaries and led by Legionary NCOs. The average Vigilant is not a super soldier by any means and is generally seen as inferior to a full time volunteer soldier (such as those of the Torionese Royal Army or the Oestian Principalic Army) but he is a cut above feudal levies.

Traditionally the majority of the vigilant forces were halberdiers and crossbowmen with a few composite bow armed skirmishers thrown in. In recent centuries crossbows were supplemented with handgonnes, superseded by matchlocks and ultimately (along with halberds) replaced by Rifles. In recent years their armament is caplock screw breechloaders either bought from Valnothron or Infrastructure.

As a general rule, the Protectorate of Nycon has 60,000 Vigilants and 20,000 Legionaries in service in peace time. However the true strength of the Vigilant forces is the fact that they can be rapidly expanded if pressed. In times of war the number of active Vigilants can easily be doubled by activating reservists and sometimes is further expanded, especially when on the defensive. Doing so for prolonged periods of time is very costly to the protectorate due to the costs of feeding all these troops and the opportunity cost of taking so many young men out of the workforce. Moreover doing so means that the ratio of experienced NCOs and officers to conscripts is further skewed which undermines the effectiveness of the army in general terms. Never the less the ability to muster such an army of generally competent infantry from such a comparatively small nation has been a critical factor in how such a comparatively small state has resisted Torionese expansion. The comparison between the Vigilants and the soldiers of the Infrastructural Army has not been lost.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2016-11-09 12:37am

Sergeant Nadia Korsakov was a bit of anomaly in the Infrastructural Navy. The Infrastructural Military had always allowed women to join on the grounds that filling out recruitment quotas was often difficult and that a volunteer was worth several conscripts. About a quarter of the military's total manpower was female, though only fairly small percentage of those ended up as Riflers and less of that number became NonComs. It was a bit unusual for her squad to have an Old Lady as opposed to an Old Man, but her five years of military experience and her ability to get off twelve aimed shots a minute with her Type-3R was more than enough to make sure that her men thought of it as a bit of trivia. Her first taste of battle came in the mop up operations after Daagsgrad and gotten all her boys through that unscathed despite the pig headedness that Janissaries and Drow Warriors had about surrendering. She was proud of them despite their faults even as they stood patiently at parade rest on the Borogskov Harbor as they waited fully laden in the miserable weather. Coastal winters were not as cold as the ones back home, but they made up for it by being wet. Clumpy wet snow fell around her and her men as they waited for the for the their turn. She envied the fact that they got to war their ear caps at attention while she had make do with her helmets due to parade protocol. Eventually it came.

"Squad, move out!" She barked and with that her men marched to the gangplank neatly onto the cargo ship Auspicious neatly and orderly. The gangplank bounced a bit underfoot disrupted their lockstep, but they kept a respectable pace until they were all embarked.

"Remember Lads." She said as the last of her troops were on board "We're guests here, so keep out of trouble and keep it civil."

"Yes ma'am." They said in reply. A sailor then led them through a hatch to a hold converted into a barracks by adding a set of hammocks. Those would take some getting use to. Even so her troops soon claimed their bunks, took off their heavy greatcoats, hats, winter boots, mitts and gloves, stowed their gear, put on their regular shoes and spats. The accommodations were a bit dark (with only a few windows and lamps for illumination), damp and there were mechanical sounds in the background, but they were warm. For the next few days this would be home. The ship would be underway in an hour joining up with a convoy of similar ships. Where they were shipping out to she had not been told, even so she'd been given instructions that their winter uniforms would not be necessary after a couple of days. Even so, she and her squad had summarized that the relevant matter was that wherever they were going one way or another they were finally taking the fight to the Drow.

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Jailys zi'Valcas was (about) thirty nine years old and all in all things had gone much better for her than she'd ever realistically thought she'd get. She'd been born on the streets among the Discarded: that collection of the disgraced, remnants of broken houses and the disowned and an orphaned one at that. She barely remembered her mother, who had died when she was five. After that her struggle for survival had gotten more desperate for the next four years as she barely managed to scrounge, steal and otherwise get enough to keep herself alive until she'd had the remarkable fortune of getting work with House Valcas's naval lamp factory as a ward. In part because while she could still stand she'd been a bit scrawnier than most of the others. What followed was eight years of apprenticeship in the trade of metalwork, slave handling, the basics of reading and writing and some basic lessons in combat. It was a hard and demanding life in exchange for basic food and a warm place to sleep, conditions worse than those of a consecrated slave but steady. After that came a few years of service in House Valcas' seventh company in which she'd displayed acceptable competency but not the warrior spirit, followed by becoming a formal ward doing that unremarkable job for a few links overseeing a small number of slaves as they put together oil lamp (mostly navel models). After two years she finally was allowed to keep her wage as her childhood debts to house Valcas were paid off. She'd achieved a steady place at the bottom of the legitimate hierarchy without so much as as a sibling to put a good word for her. When that day came as far as she could see her prospects for promotion so was as far as she could see was marrying a higher status ward or some junior member of a minor house.

Then unexpectedly thirteen years ago she'd been given two books: one on the language of the Coldlands and the other (which was written in that barbaric tongue) was called "Electrical Technician's Primer: Second Edition" and was marked with what was then a strange hexagonal device. She was told to read it and try to make as much of it as possible. The book contained a fair amount of information about a strange new systems using copper wires and the force of electricity, which she was to learn and master it. Soon was given her own small workshop, a few slaves, allowances of raw materials and equipment and a slight pay increase. Afterwards she got the occasional power cell or light cell or book that they'd acquired. Bit by bit she'd put together a few items and submitted he reports. Jailys was amazed with the ideas of electricity and the possible applications there-of, even if her department was a footnote compared to the work being done on other projects relating to steam engines and cannon production. Five years ago her tiny domain got an unexpected boon when she'd received Nadia Galuskov, a captured Infrastructural Engineer specialized in the electrical mysteries. Having been sufficiently motivated by the prospects of disobedience Nadia had shown Jailys the depths of her ignorance in the field and despite some having to deal with a few lingering bad habits that needed to be dealt with she'd provided her with insights. With that (and an increase in her workforce and budget) she'd managed to achieve a lot more. Her department got a further boost with the war. Her personal domain of twenty slaves and three overseers was still a secondary, but she could actually make more than make the occasional novelty (even if the fans she'd put together were fairly popular) or translated book. She'd gotten a personal congratulation from the lady and a considerable raise a year ago when her team perfected a light cell, which was now entering limited production.

The boon of actually having two mostly intact Infrastructural ships to look over made her giddy. It had given her a proper meter-stick (as Nadia would use the term) to compare her work against. The most notable thing that they had were the radios. The ability to send out messages long distances using electromagnetic waves was a major boon to their forces at sea and on land. Linkglasses did have some advantages over them, but on the same note radios had their own set of advantages, none the least of which was the fact that they could be more easily produced. She'd managed to put together a simple receiver using quartz crystals last year which according to spies in Infrastructure worked. Now work was finishing up on the second half of that.

After finishing some early paperwork to get some more supplies, Jailys strode into her workshop on this cold winter morning and watched as her workers did their tasks. She saw Nadia looking over a set of blueprints at her workbench.

"How are repairs on our main project proceeding?" She said to her in the authoritative tone one used for interactions with slaves, though somewhat unusually in the Infrastructural version of the coldland langauge. So far the Dark Elven language was indelicate and lacked useful vocabulary in matters relating to this new field.

The former Infrastructural dipped her head in fear and began following Jailys as she walked "Everything is doing just, just fine. Mistress. The burnout was not as severe as we'd feared, though we did need to replace a tube and a speaker. Hopefully work will be done by mid day and we can make another test this afternoon."

As she went by she noticed the prototype as it was slowly reassembled. It was their third attempt at building a working radio transmitter and so far it was their most successful. It worked, for a bit anyway, but tended to malfunction and was quite finicky. She knew the principle quite well by now and it was mostly based off one of cargo ship's radios which were from what she saw quite effective, the problem lay in execution. Knowing how something worked did not tell you how to go about making it. Most of Jailys' job was filling in the blanks in those processes. She was pretty sure she'd get this set working, but she was also confident that they'd have to go through one more prototype before they had something ready for production. She did not mind that, better to face a little grumbling about delays from her superiors than deliver a half baked product and risk loosing everything she'd been so fortunate and worked so hard to achieve when the hunt was on for a scapegoat.

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The Infrastructural Fleet left Daagsgrad and Borogskov and set to sea. Seven warships, among the the Avatar and the Hunter-class ship Hurricane along with eighteen cargo ships. It was on the same scale as the last transoceanic convoy though while that convoy carried settlers and the supplies they needed to graft a living branch of Infrastructure onto a new continent half a world away this fleet carried some 7,200 soldiers along with 3,600 army support personnel and their weapons and equipment. Among them were a fair number of veterans from Daagsgrad as well as Rifle Brothers, though many soldiers were fresh and had not combat. Nor had some of the specialized equipment they had brought along. In addition there were a few hundred civilian personnel, a few boxes full of equipment. This expedition did cause a disruption to the timetables for colonial development setting that field back at least six months, but ultimately such a delay had been deemed an acceptable cost.

In command of the expedition was Drive himself, who had arrived aboard the Avatar at the last minute as it left port without any formal announcement. Beneath him was Admiral Petrov Miles, who for the first few days had been asking the same question that all the thousands under his command: "where were they going?" The standing orders for navigation had been to sail out for the open ocean. He had heard a few general points be given out about dress as everyone involved had been provided with warm weather uniforms. The scuttlebutt had generated a number of possibilities for this expedition, some of which were quite absurd or would ultimately be suicidal. This continued for two days before Drive convened a meeting of all the senior officers under his command and explained their destination: the Avesian Islands.

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House del'Liberium had ruled over the Avesian Isles for four centuries and has done so from five different lodgings in the Porta Liberium area. The first one was a set of tents which was superseded by a keep of local wood, volcanic rock and timbers from broken ships. This sufficed for about seventy years until it was damaged when a rival pirate fleet made an attack which prompted a long overdue upgrade. In it's place was erected a larger and sturdier stone and brick fortress designed by an actual architect which remained part of the defenses of the city. Even so while it was a solid defensive structure it was built with defense first and with comfort second. So 217 years ago a palace was built with pleasure in mind in dazzling luxury. The end result of the efforts was a monument to gaudiness and bad taste which put quite a few visitors in mind with a whore house when it was in it's glory days, which due to substandard materials and workmenship decayed soon afterwards. As such (in part by the prompting by a daughter of a Torionese Marquess who married into the family) the current palace was built to replace it a little over a century ago, which was a tastefully made affair done mostly in imported marble mixing the best of Torionese, Anvosi and even western Qanthrathi elements. It was cool in the tropical heat, while keeping the rain out while the garden and central courtyard were excellent places to unwind, meticulously maintained by gardeners who not only had pride in their work but also a dread of what would happen if their workmanship was substandard.

As far as king Tilsio-VI thought the history of the royal residences was a nice summery of the history of his house as it gradually rose from it's mercenary origins to assume it's place among the noble lines of the mainland. They might have looked down and sneered at his line for being nothing more than "slaving pirates" (who's origins generally lay with some ancient warrior who'd hacked and slashed his way to power) and "bedfellows to Dark Elven vipers" (which they said while wearing doublets of Valnothron spider silk, in any case Drow merchants broke their contracts far less often and were much more forthcoming with compensation when they did than the overwhelming majority of mainlanders) but even so House del'Liberium had risen like a star in wealth and influence that had managed to gain their recognition. For thirty one years he'd worked on his contribution to the dynasty's legacy: breeding new progeny to marry off into (admittedly mostly lesser) mainland noble houses while bringing in (one way or another) new artists to create schools to train more of their kind to help him gradually polish his rough city (or at least part of which removed from the ports) bit by bit into something beautiful. The fact that it made his chattel more valuable was a most welcome side effect, but to him money was a means to an end. He dreamed of the day when del'Liberium blood flowed through the veins of Princes, Kings and Emperors.

Even so there were other tasks which required his attention. In particular he'd just finished a working lunch hammering out a trade deal with the Count de Sensaseperan and a representative from a Janilonas merchant house when he was confronted with one of his footmen who approached him at a running pace.

"My King and Master," He'd said in a slightly paniced tone as he made a hasty bow, presenting a slightly muddy piece of what looked like waxed paper "Moments ago hundreds of these notes fell into the city. They are addressed to you, your majesty."

King Tilsio took the piece of grubby paper and read it.

To King Tilsio-VI, ruler of the Avesian Islands...

It has come to our attention that your nation has for centuries engaged in the buying and selling of human beings as chattel. At an average it has been estimated than some 28,000 slaves pass through your realm annually. In doing so your state has actively encouraged piracy and by extension have disrupted maritime commerce, have been complicit in the violent deaths of millions and the misery and brutalization of millions more. In particular the largest buyers of the sapient chattel that you accumulate and break are Dark Elvish states, most prominently those which have launched unprovoked attacks upon our efforts. Many of the slaves that they acquire ultimately are put to work in Drow weapons factories, cannon foundries, military shipyards and similar industrial activities supporting the Dark Elves ability to wage war if not being employed more directly as sailors on-board Drow warships. Ultimately your nation's economic efforts have directly aided their war effort against our state. As such for the good of our state we are forced to place the following non negotiable demands of your country...
  1. The institution of Chattel Slavery in all it's incarnations is to be unilaterally abolished. All slaves are to be freed immediately, absolved of any obligations to their masters and the claiming of ownership of any sapient being as a slave will be a crime. All slaves will be classified as citizens of equal standing to any other denizen of the island.
  2. Each emancipated individual shall be paid by his/her former 'master' compensation for the time expended in their bondage a sum of no less than one Imperial Pfennig for every day served rounded to the nearest year. In the case of agricultural slaves, plots of arable land shall be considered an acceptable substitute for cash compensation at a rate of one square meter per day served.
  3. Any slave owner which refuses to comply with said demands shall be arrested and sentenced to ten years of hard labor.
  4. Any individual employed as a slave driver shall be arrested and sentenced to ten years of hard labor.
  5. The nobility of the Avesian Islands is to be abolished as a class, the king of the Avesian Islands shall be retained as a constitutional monarch ruling in conjunction to a democratically elected diet and prime minister. The franchise required for voting in said elections is universally achieved for all adults over the age of 16 years.
  6. A boycott of all trade between the Avesian Islands and the Drow States of Galthirith, Hansoliath, Janilonas and Valnothron for the duration of the conflict between Infrastructure and the aforementioned states.
  7. The implementation of said efforts shall be overseen by our Bureaucrats.
Failure to submit to these demands shall be considered an Act of War, you have Twenty Four hours to give your response. This is your only warning.

Delivered (Approximately, local time) 13:00, Day 13, 2nd Month, 37th Year of the Infrastructural Age
Supernova, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Central Committee of Infrastructure


It had the Hexagonal Seal inscribed on it. He'd heard about the state through various means, given the impression that they'd made on the world state it was hard to do so. The destruction of the slave markets of the Black Ports had been a boon to them, both from the fact that two of their rivals have been eliminated and the fact that a few hundred wealthy refugees and their slaves had made their way here (among them some which had greatly improved the local weapons industry) and he'd heard the reports (which, like every free man on the islands he'd hoped were grossly exaggerated) about their navy of iron hulled warships with their mind boggling guns. For the most part he'd assumed that they had contented themselves with their frozen wasteland and (more recently) whatever in the far west had compelled them to sail across the globe. There had been a few who had warned against them turning their guns to these warm islands in their insane crusade, but those had been ignored. Weather it was because of wishful thinking or sober calculation based on inaccurate information that the majority disagreed was irrelevant now. The same went for any notion for what this message was anything other than a face saving declaration of war. Even if he was craven and stupid enough to give into their demands he'd most likely be dead soon enough and even if he did survive by some miracle he'd be left as an an impotent figurehead.

As such, he fumed with anger and crushed the message. "Send out a call to arms. Man the forts. Hire every mercenary. Press every foreign ship into service. We will make our stand!"

"Of course, your Majesty." The servant said.

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Their was always a sense of distance between members of the Central Committee and the population, even when they were standing nearby. A fact that was clear in most of Drive's activity on the Avatar. He made inspections of the machinery and ships, gave back a few assessments of both, engaged in a few meetings with senior staff and answered a few questions, but for the most part let Petrov handle the fleet and was generally removed. He'd compiled a 96 page summery of the operations for the top brass and expected them to handle it. Mostly he spent time in his quarters controlling the fleet's six recon drones while making the occasional jaunt to the bridgewings to stare out to the sea. He was met with the reverence that a member of the central committee received and was usually given his distance as much as could be done on in the ships confines. When the fleet established it's blockade of Despair Bay he stood their in armor for seven hours straight, moving his head occasionally but otherwise standing as still a stone.

It was just after breakfast that Admiral Petrov received word from Drive requesting his presence. He'd hurried out to see him standing still with his hands behind his back and to his surprise, he was holding a pair of binoculars.

"Minister, you've summoned me?" Petrov said

"Admiral. There is something you'd need to see." He said as he proffered the object to him and then put straight ahead. "Take a look at the city."

The Admiral obeyed and inspected the horizon. On it he saw the green line of distant land, the boxy shapes and domes of Porta Liberium and the small brown figures of moored ships. With that a striking number of ships were setting their sails.

"It seems they're getting a fleet under way, Minister."

"Indeed Admiral, this is quite a marshal gesture they've decided to present to us in response to our ultimatum. One small ship flying a banner of parlay would be sufficient to convey a diplomatic envoy to our fleet in a way that would not spark confusion. Looks like they've given us their answer with five hours to spare. We are now Officially at War with the Kingdom of Avesia, Admiral. You are to move to engage."

Petrov smirked "Very well Minister. The men could use some target practice."
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Nadia waited in an alley calmly and quietly in an alley as she and her fire team waited. Porta Liberium was filled with alleys which were intersected by more alleys, all of which were on strange angles, all of which were dirty and all of them were defined by ugly brick and stone buildings clad in lumpy strata of stucco and chipped whitewash. Those in the outskirts were dirtier, lumpier with whitewash that was more grey and yellow. This meant that the landing forces sent to take the city needed to worm it's way through this labyrinth in hundreds of small groups pushing through. She had a sharpshooter's disdain for shotguns and LAWs as randomized lead spitters, but she'd been glad that her forces had been issued them for this battle, which was, simply put, a mess.

The city's outer defenses were nothing more than fences and hasty barricades and were fairly easily overcome after holes were blasted through. The inner defenses were a more solid set of walls made of volcanic stone, but they could not withstand naval bombardment from the Avatar. Explosive shells were not the only thing the fleet had been firing, however. Some of the shells were fired to break apart in the air and release a cloud of leaflets which informed the population which informed the slave population that the time of Liberation was at hand while telling them to rise up against their master. As slaves outnumbered the free Avesians several times over and as their overseers were focused elsewhere there were soon uprisings. Unarmed or brandishing tools, rocks, clubs, chains and other such improvised weapons (at least at first) and arising in dribs and drabs they were at a distinct disadvantage against the militia, mercenaries, royal guards and janissaries, but regardless their efforts diverted their attention. One thing she knew was that in this battle caution was paramount and one thing she found to be critical was a small mirror in a padded frame which let her look around corners without poking her heads out from them as had hand signals.

She'd heard the barked commands of a leader nearby, what they meant she could not make out as she'd only had to memorize a dozen basic phrases in the pidgin Avesian tongue, but she understood the sound of approaching footsteps. In the opposite direction there was a firefight. Her troops readied themselves for their passing as they came by at a blind run. When they passed she brought her pistol to bear and fired, bringing down the first soldier. Her squad followed suit with their shotguns, blowing away two more while a third had just enough time to turn to face them before he put a bullet between his eyes.

On inspecting their corpses she realized that these were local militia. Janissaries had their own rough uniform while these fellows were dressed in a hodgepodge of clothes over civilian clothes and while pirates and mercenaries would have had similar armor they would have at the least had the good sense not to charge blindly about or carry an idiot's weapon like a barbed whip into battle. Not that she gave it much thought as she and her troops used their cutlasses to complete the task and they moved on quietly and deliberately. She gave those she'd dispatched. Slavers and pirates by definition did horrible things on a daily basis and she'd seen some of the "marketplaces", "Pleasure Houses" and "workshops" of this twisted city and the adornments they decorated their plazas with. She'd been informed that this was not just an invasion, this was a Purge. Avesian culture was indefensible, fundamentally broken and the only way to bring it about was it's complete dismantlement. Any adult Avesian freeman which did not immediately surrender to Infrastructural Forces was to be put down. Nadia felt that this was all too merciful for the bastards.

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As the hours wore on the battle began to wind down. In a warehouse in the outer city's northern reaches the cracks of gunfire and other such sounds of battle slowly became less frequent and more distant. In its place their was increasingly the sounds of the wounded. The are had been designated a field hospital shortly after it has been secured. There was the hospital ship Relief out in the bay and the troopships could fill a similar role, but those were for wounded Infrastructural Soldiers. This facility (like three others) was for the many recently freed slaves who'd been wounded in the fighting. Among it's staff was Medic Vera Doslonovich. This was her first deployment and so far it had been demanding, both physically and mentally.

Of any group in this fight their casualties had been by far the worst. The leaflets had helped spur them into action once the walls had been breached as had Infrastructurals moving into, but in truth most of them were just itching for an opportunity to get out of bondage. A casual inspection showed why this was the case. The slaves ranged size from tall to short and in color from pale through red and various shades of brown to almost black, elders (though they were scarce) to children. A few had some half decent clothes (including some stolen items and armor) though many wore rags and what looked like garments made of old sacking. But regardless they all bared scars. Almost always on their wrists and their backs. Others had had ears cropped, fingers or toes cut off.

Things had been more hectic earlier that day when a flood of critical patients came in. That was stressful and not pleasant, but she had butchered hogs, done dissections at the academy of medicine and had assisted with a few training accidents beforehand. Now things were less stressful. The magical healers could handle the remaining big cases while she and the rest of the Medics focused on the less critical ones, such as a fellow who'd come in armed with a pistol and a Stevedore's hook carrying one of his friends who was worse off.

She and a few other medics had insisted the man stay for treatment when she saw the wounds on his arms even though he seemed eager to get back at the fight. Eventually he'd relented after his burden had told him something in a language that she knew about eight words in (including a couple of curses). The cuts he had on his arms were deep and while they were not too bad now they could easily get much worse. She'd given him a needle full of painkiller, applied topical anesthetic, cleaned the wounds, sowed them up and dressed them with healing potion soaked cloth. Fairly simple work but it was neatly done. In a couple of days those cuts would be sorted out. The other wounds on his body and his mind that had he had suffered in captivity were another matter. She then moved onto the next patient.

The Infrastructural Army Medical Corps relied on magic more than any other branch of the service. The Central Committee had deemed healing to be one of the most important applications of magic and had invested considerably in the training of healers. She fully agreed with that call. Even so there was still plenty of need for orderlies, nurses, surgeons and other such tasks which could be performed just as well if not better by well trained mundane people. She was making a difference, left untreated those arm woulds could have turned very nasty, but as day gradually gave way to night went by she wished she had been born a mage so she could have done more here. She had wondered why the Central Committee had decided to attack this remote sweltering gods forsaken island beforehand, but any doubts she might have had about this operation had withered when she'd seen all those scars. Now she had a cauldron of anger stewing in her directed at the Avesians. A Purge was a mercy far too good for them.

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It had been a long day for King Tilsio and his host, it had involved a long march uphill breaking bridges, laying barricades and otherwise tearing up the trail as they went. He had with him most of his courtiers, their families, about three hundred servants and slaves, five hundred carters, a thousand mercenaries and pirates, thirteen hundred Janissaries and twenty three thousand militia from either Porta Liberium or gathered from estates along their way. As much as it pained him, Porta Liberium was a lost cause. It's walls could not stand up that fleet's guns. If he was to see his kingdom survive, he would need to relocate to a defensible position to hold out. The best one on the islands was the town of Sensasperan.

Unlike most of the settlements of Avesia Sensasperan was located well inland in the mountains. It was founded the better part of a century after the Kingdom's foundation when a Grandson of one of Tilsio-I's lieutenants started mining the Saltpeter deposits and latter in his life started a powder mill. Moves that were the start of one of the wealthiest noble houses in the Kingdom. All this added up to a much better base of operation for his army against this foe than his own capital. Hopefully the sacrifice of Porta Liberium had bled those frost bitten golem worshipers.

Near the town his force was met by a small party from the town. They were soon cleared and their leader was led to the royal carriage.

"You Majesty!" The messenger said with an elaborate bow. He vaguely recalled that he was the Count de Sensasperan's favorite bastard. "We have been sick with worry ever since we received word of the attack and I can not express the relief that the entire town now feels with the knowledge that your royal person and lineage now graces us with their presence."

Tilsio gave him a dismissive wave. "Very well. How have preparations proceeded?"

"Of course. You must understand this has all happened very suddenly and we've only just begun our efforts. Even so we've sent out messengers to sound alarm, put every fit man under arms and have put our slaves to work consolidating our defenses. Additional militia and carts of supplies are coming in. We've put all our smiths to work forging more weapons and have even received a family of Gunsmiths from Forgja. I would be glad to give you a tour upon your arrival."

"Very well. You may leave."

"Of course your majesty. The City of Sensasperan is at your disposal." The Bastard said with a bow as he made his way back. As he finished Tilsio once again found himself considering the town's name. Slave craftsmen, laborers and field-hands were pushed hard by their masters in general, but even they feared going to the Saltpeter Mines. House de Sensasperan had a good deal going with most of the dealers buying up their rejects and the the other estates buying up their troublemakers on the cheap. Having the town's name translate to "Lost Hope" helped things along. Even so now it had a bitter irony to it.

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The Doge of Venoa made his way into the Infrastructural Embassy in a huff. This recent move of theirs on Avesia was one which had made a stur and could not be ignored. On the portico was met with one of the Embassy's subordinate Bureaucrats. He'd effected a straight-backed good natured professionalism. A crowd had gathered before the embassy, among them he noticed a few reporters for the broadsheets.

"Your Excellency!" He said with a polite bow "It is as always an honor and the Ambassador is waiting."

"Indeed." He said cooly, if a bit more loudly. "And we have oh so much to talk about. Namely the unprovoked attack on one of our longstanding trade partners. Is this how your Committee repays our sympathies to you in your plight?" He spat these words

"The objective of the Central Committee in this conflict is the defense of our people, your excellency." He said unfazed by "Our intent is to hinder our enemy's ability to wage war. The primary source of income of that nest of pirates was the sale of slaves and saltpeter to feed the Drow War machine."

"Which is besides the point. Regardless. You nation has used unilateral force backed by the flimsiest of pretenses against a peaceful realm and in doing so will cost some of our people their livelihoods. Moreover you're Committee has shown a flagrant disregard for the economic realities of those realms beyond it's boarders in it's attempt to impose your values onto Avesia and have gotten many of our people concerned about where this sudden anti-slavery crusade might end. This is quite a strange a way to repay us for our support to your cause in your time of need. Very strange indeed."

The Bureaucrat gestured to the door "I'm sure the Ambassador would be more than willing to discuss matters."

"As I will." And with a flourish of his cape he marched into the embassy. As he heard the doors slam shut, he relaxed and gave a small pride for a second before his face went neutral again. The show had been performed reasonably well and the papers would circulate his words to the appropriate ears. One of the first thing one with political ambitions had to learn was that there was a lot of intermediaries between lies and total honesty. All these concerns he had brought up were brought up by prominent figures, though his personal stance on all of them was mixed. By far the loudest of those were from the citizens in the Dragon's Teeth colonies where slave manned plantations were a major part of the economy. The Doge was raised in the city proper, in which slavery had been banned centuries prior and held the attitude of distaste for that curious institution and on the whole the trade from Infrastructure was worth far more than that from Avesia (especially since it meant there was one less rival in the lucrative market of Drow trade once things had settled down). Even so there were votes to think about in the next election. Regardless he would press home the point of aggression against their trade partners. Letting the Infrastructurals just get away with that was setting a very bad precedent.
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Things had not been going well on the Valcas estate and it put everyone on edge, Dark Elf and Slave alike. Savia Iasin-IV was no exception though she was was better at hiding it than some. The clerks were pushed from dawn to dusk, the number of guards had gone up and were on high alert (which always complicated things) and the various Family members were all on edge, especially The Lady. She knew her place would never dream about prying into matters which were not her concern, even so so she did overhear things and there was the slave-quarters gossip (not that she gave that salacious and presumptuous stream of pidgeon chatter anything more than casual overhearing and the occasional correction of some blatant falsehood, of course) as so she had manged to piece together was that things had been piling up with the war. The Infrastructurals had made a move against Avesia, there had been trouble from Venoa and The Eternal Foe had launched an attack. Her knowledge about what these places were was limited to a few general factoids (that the Infrastructurals were responsible for the new contrivances that had been showing up, fresh unbroken slaves came from Avesia, Venoan clocks, wine and glasswear are of the highest quality and High Elves ultimately want to exterminate every sapient being that's not them) but regardless it did put them all on edge, especially the Lady. Regardless, she had her duties to perform and she tried to do them.

When her shift began to attend to the Lady Talnara one evening she was a bit nervous. There had been another meeting with the council, which always put her on edge as of late. Even so she had her job to do and she made her way to her study with the quite dimureness her job demanded. Maintaining a facade regardless of fears or anxieties was one of a personal servant's most important skills. Even so despite all that she was just a measure off her usual rythem. Her pace was a bit faster and she was a bit stiffer in her motions. It was not something readily apparent on a casual inspection. As a rule everyone but guards did not pay servants much attention unless they had a specific need for them while Guards were generally more attentive, they were only concerned about potential as a threat and casual lust born of boredom more than anything. When she got tot the door the guard waved her through.

As she passed through the Lady was going over a report. Then something snapped. For the rest of her days Savia would never know if things had been building up to this point and she'd walked in on it or if she made a footfall that was tool heavy or a breath that was too loud. Regardless, the Lady swifty drew a dagger, threw it across the room where it embedded itself in the Stone Doorframe with a crack like thunder. Savia recoiled in shock and despite herself let out a gasp of shock. The guard looked in briefly hand on his scimitar, but soon relaxed somewhat after he sensed no unusual presences and saw the knife's hilt.

The Lady soon glared at her, at first with murder in her eyes but this soon dialed itself down to unfocused anger at the shocked slave girl. "Get a maid for the dust, a Geomancer for the wall and if you can The Doge's head. But first Brandy." Her voice was calm, steady, quiet and icy. With that Savia went as stiff as she could, gave out a bow and hurried out as quickly as propriety would allow. She did not know what those reports had and she did not care. Consecrated slaves such as herself could not be killed on a whim in Valnothron but that did not change the fact that there was a wide variety of "milder" penalties she could dole out with a word or that she might just pay the fine.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2016-11-23 10:42pm

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For an army mobility is key, a fact which is especially relevant for armies which have to cover a lot of territory with a comparatively small number of soldiers such as Infrastructure. Railways, steamboats and steamships are useful in this capacity, but are limited in their flexibility. Roadsteamers had greater flexibility but were considerably more expensive and require a lot of support. Horses are also useful for this purpose, but are expensive creatures to raise, train and maintain. As such the Committee had looked into various alternate means of transport. Devising ways to get the most out of muscle power was considered for over two decades, but their efforts were always met with problems and the results were not deemed to be worth the expense and production never got beyond test batches. This was the case until importation of latex from the Southwestern continent. With that factory space was allocated towards manufacturing said vehicles. The first batch, completed in September of 36 IA wer crude and simplistic, intended more as trainers for a select few squads. In 37 IA production began in earnest on the Model 37 General Bicycle, intended for general military use.

The Model 37 Bicycle is fairly simple to make, being produced out of welded steel and weighs in at eight kilograms. It has a variety of adjustable features to accommodate a variety of sizes. It has a basic spoon break but most notable about it's construction it the fact that it has all metal wheels with inflatable sulfurized rubber tires. With one of these, a soldier can travel at a steady speed of 10-15 km depending on road conditions and can easily travel 75km a day. As of the invasion of the Avesian Islands, some 5,000 of these bikes have been manufactured with additional units being produced as quickly as possible. It is hoped that by 38 IA a hundred thousand Bicycles will be complete and ready for service.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2016-12-18 10:58am

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With the invasion of the Avesian Islands by the forces of Infrastructure their was general panic among much of the citizen population. As far as they were concerned this was a worst case scenario since they were not only facing a technologically superior foe which had made a name for itself by shattering several Dark Elvish fleets but also the visceral threat of a slave uprising. The rapid capture of Porto Liberium only fueled these fears. Even so some calm prevailed as free avesians dug in and made their way to the inland towns of Selio's Pass and Sensasperan to attempt to weather the storm until relief came. In this desperation crash armament programs were organized to make up for the deficiencies of Avesian Armament. A fair number Avesians were still only armed with primitive weapons such as swords, hatchets and boarding pikes. Anyone with blacksmithing skill soon found themselves in forges attempting to make guns out of whatever surplus iron and steel was available. Even the Slaver Kingdom's gunsmiths were hard pressed to produce decent work.

The weapon pictured above was fairly typical of their workmanship. A crudely forged and plugged short barrel hastily mounted in a roughly hewn stock with the most rudimentary of matchlock mechanisms. Often their barrels were not even bored out. Only about half of them were proofed and a decent number of those burst either during testing or when they were actually brought to bear in battle. Lacking even the vaguest notion of standardization, these makeshift weapons were employed as shotguns firing birdshot, sand and pebbles and beyond that they could be used as simple cudgels. It is generally believed that these weapons were produced less for their value in combat and more as a way to help keeping the Avesian civilians calm. Those examples that were captured by Infrastructural Army soldiers soon earned the nickname "Craplocks".
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-01-01 01:12am

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A loose polity, much of the power of the Allergonian Empire remains in the hand of it's eight kingdoms and the landed nobility. One of their most ancient rights (in some cases) and sources of said power is that to raise their own forces. Some simply make do with their vassal knights, but most raise troops from the ranks of unbound commoners known as Levies and Armsmen. In the case of prominant lords they can have private armies thousands of men strong.

Levies are the most common and while they can be pressed into service in times of war most of them serve for economic reasons. As a general rule peasants are required to pay a tax rate of 25% (10% to the peasant's imediate Knight or Lord, 5% for his Liege Lord, 5% for the king and 5% to the Emperor) and have to spend two weeks a year as corvee laborers (though this can more often than not be substituted with payment in cash or in kind). If a young man becomes a levy, that means for the next five years a tenth of his family's direct tax burden is removed as is the corvee requirements for the next five years. As such lords usually have a fair number. In peacetime service usually entails a couple weeks training, a year's worth of service (which includes a bit of drilling, practicing and guarding, but more often than not involves doing grunt work around the estate) and then two weeks of drills for the next five years as reservists. Levies typically receive a pfennig every week in peace times, a pfennig every day in times of war as well as rations and a bunk to sleep on. For the most part levies are required to provide their own weapons and some of their gear out of their own pocket, though over the last century and especially from about 10 IA onwards an increasing number of Lords have been providing at least part of the equipment (at least in peacetime). Nowadays levies usually have a second hand helmet, a vest or poncho indicating their house and either a flintlock or caplock rifled musket with a small number having Pattern-1405 Yorigsov rifles or other breechloaders. It is now the norm for guns to be sold to levies at a 50% subsidy and to be given a free helmet and an allowance of gunpowder by their liege lord.

Armsmen are in contrast full time soldiers of common birth retained by Allergonian Lords. Some of them are hardened veterans, some are mercenaries which have decided that steady employment for a respectable master is better than the chaotic life in a roaming company, some are the sons and grandsons of armsmen, some are the creme of the crop of recruits and some are simply regular soldiers given additional training and held to a higher standard. Regardless, armsmen are better fighters due to the fact that to them soldiering is their job. Since it's seen as a better investment they usually have better gear, though one would be hard pressed to find an armsman wearing runic armor. They also receive a better wage of 5-10 pfennigs a day. They serve as instructors and NCOs for levies, medium and heavy infantry on the battlefield and as body guards. The general rule is that their is usually 10-15 levies for every armsman, though some lords elect to raise only smaller forces composed exclusively of armsmen. About 80% of the commoners who have been elevated to become knights or nobles over time have been armsmen.

The general quality of these Armsmen and Levies varies considerably. If pressed, the nobility of the Allegonian Empire could muster at least hundreds of thousand of levies and armsmen. Some estimates put this figure over a million. In any case it does represent the bulk of the Empire's military manpower. Despite this, many nobles do feel that their old feudal rights are under threat with the rise of the new Imperial Army which they fear will eventually be used to supplant their feudal forces with a Standing Army, as had happened in the Principality of Oestia. The introduction of improved firearms and other new technologies based on Infrastructural designs has accelerated the process of centralization in the Empire, and with it encouraged an increasing level of discord.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-01-16 01:57pm

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For four thousand years the High Kingdom of Ilvanas has warred with the Drow States with the ultimate intent of destroying "the Corrupted Ones". There have been lulls in the fighting which can last for decades as each side rebuilt it's forces, but the hostility that had begun with the War of Four Centuries has never subsided. Despite this neither side has ever been able to destroy the other. The Dark Elvish states are heavily fortified with watchtowers and Ilvanas has it's own magicial defenses which include Great Dragons. As such, most of the fighting between these two power blocks is done outside the borders of their respective homelands, either on land or at sea. Among the high elvish warriors which most commonly clash with Drow warriors are Waveriders, the marines of the High Elvish navy.

Like the Dark Elves, training under arms is mandatory for all High Elves, as is military service. Those that show particular proficiency are allowed the hosts of their lords or the army of the High King as full time warriors which serve as the High Kingdom's main fighting forces. Waveriders can either serve a noble house or the High King, but either way the criteria is the same. Among some other criteria must be skilled swordsmen, mage archers, capable sailors and their equipment must meet certain requirements. They fight in ship to ship combat, boarding actions and landings.

The primary weapon of a Waverider is his or her bow, which can be used to fire arrows up to several kilometers away and enchant them with a variety of destructive spells. In close quarters they make use of runic swords and daggers to cut through the opposition. Many of them have familiarity with other weapons, of them are capable of direct offensive magic and in the last century an increasing number of them have begun to familiarize themselves with and make use of firearms, though this is still far from the norm. They also know their ways around cannons and can contribute to the spells which have earned High Elvish warships a reputation of awe and fear. They wear runic plate armor (which includes steel masks), which is reinforced by a variety of soft armor made from a material known as battleweave. The specifics of it's manufacture are a well guarded secret and require a fair amount of magic to produce. In 30 IA procured scraps of battleweave show a variety of organically derived fibers which have considerable tensile strength. The end result is a very strong lightweight material which can even resist some fire from firearms without magical and can be patched after battles, even if a fully charged runic breastplate is far stronger.

Waveriders are generally reckoned to be a cut above the typical high elvish rank and file and are at the very least considered to be as capable as their Drow counterparts. Some Waverider units are considered to be elite warriors. Even so the attrition rate among Waveriders is high as they are frequently brought into the thick of conflict.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2017-01-16 04:42pm

Bow range of several kilometres?
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-01-17 06:24pm

madd0ct0r wrote:Bow range of several kilometres?
Magically assisted.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by InsaneTD » 2017-01-17 08:36pm

Powerful magic to increase the range by an order of magnitude. It would need to also lessen the affect of wind on the arrow as well.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-03-09 01:04am

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The slaves of the Avesian islands were generally worked hard, lived in squalid conditions, subjected to frequent violence and other abuse by their masters and kept in line by fear. Needless to say most of that when the Infrastructural army came in and gave them their freedom for the vast majority of them it was their dream come true. In many cases they saw the arrival of these invaders as the opportunity to rise up with slavers facing Landing Parties attacking from the front and rebel slaves striking from the rear. A fair number of those were killed, but they brought down some handlers and militia regardless, as well as confusing the issue for the defenders enough to give the Infrastructurals even more of an advantage. While plenty of them simply wanted to take advantage of their freedom after the fall of Porta Liberium to enjoy themselves, build a decent life or leave Avesia altogether many more were not done with their former masters.

On the order of Drive these rebel groups were to be armed and equipped. Thousands of Rifles, Pistols and Shotguns and a large store of ammunition had been brought along with the campaign and have salvaged a fair amount of weaponry from dead militia, mercenaries and janissaries. To get said guns, groups of Rebels of about a hundred would need to present a request and name a leader and four seconds in command (which they usually did by acclamation with the runners up getting the secondary position) and ask for them. Said leaders were usually given star badges with triangular badges being handed out. In addition they got a day's worth of training with those weapons, which included a few demonstrations of operations and maintinece, some practice shots and basic drills. The Infrastructurals also had about ten thousand sets of riveted canvas shorts (of a pattern often used in the Petroleum Colony) and cotton shirts (of a type used as undergarments and with a design used to gather war funds both at home and abroad) which were issued as a simple form of rebel uniform, though many elected to augment this with captured clothes from the elite and secondary weapons. Signing up for this basic training was purely optional, those who did not want to deal with those terms were free to go out on their own with stolen Avesian weapons, hand tools and rocks. As they free more estates and towns, their ranks grow with such individuals.

Rebel slaves are as a rule bad soldiers as they generally lack any of the skills of soldiering. Giving them some basic understanding of firearms operation and badges to indicate some basic concept of rank does little to change this beyond increasing the likelihood them shooting their foes rather than shooting themselves. Even so they do have one quality: determination. Rebel slaves are as a rule driven by a hatred of those who'd brutalized them, a desire to free others from said oppression, the hope for a better tomorrow and the fact that defeat means nothing but pain and death. For this reason Rebels are as a rule quite ruthless to their former masters. Part of the reason why the Infrastructural Army armed rebel slaves was as a tool to get Avesian slavers to surrender if the Alternative was to end up in the hands of their former property.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-03-18 11:48pm

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The High Elves have the longest known naval history. The oldest tales of High Elvish marrianers go back at least 17,600 years, the first mention of sailing is with the tales of Prince Rellisyl and his legendary quest for his stolen crown through what is now know as the interterran sea. After that there was some minor naval conflict through the rest of the Dawn Age through the Nightmare Wars and the Age of Discord. Mostly these were used as troop transports, but there was also some anti-piracy patrols (either with elvish or Dwarven corsairs) and scouting. One of the acts of the High Kingdom to help consolidate it's strength was the dispatching of fleets of ships to survey the world bearing gifts and word of the glory of the High Kingdom to all the people's of the world in an age of exploration that would last between 11,000 to 10,000 BIA. There were also a few attempts at colonization in this age, but these efforts were ultimately abandoned. Around 6,500 BIA when the surrounding human tribes had transitioned from small clans into small kingdoms and city states the High Elvish Kingdom (in competition with the Dwarves and the emergent Drow realms) sent forth scholars, mages and artisans to share some of their knowledge. Among them were carpenters, shipwrights and navigators who taught them how to take to the waves. Even so the high elves only gave them part of their knowledge in those fields as their ship were invariably made with spells worked into the timber to the point that they are (to various degrees) considered to be alive. These ancient arts have been put to use in the frequent wars between the High Kingdom and the Drow States.

High Elvish warship design has not changed drastically since the War of Four Centuries, so much that classifications in use then are still in use today. Among the most prolific ships of the Royal Ilvanan Navy is the Arrowship. Arrowships are long, narrow sailing vessels usually about 50-60 meters long with a crew of about two hundred sailors and a complement of forty Waveriders. Since the War of Four Centuries they've adopted the use of steering wheels, deleted ballistas, added an armament of cannons, reinforced the superstructure and the addition of a proper gundeck. The Fensymil (Stormseeker) is a typical example of this class of ship. She is 56 meters long and masses in at 550 tonnes and has a crew of 205 sailors and 40 waveriders. She was first built in 31 BIA and has remained in active service since then, barring a few years spent in port undergoing reconstruction. High Elvish ships are not made in classes, each one is one of a kind at it's maiden voyage and continues to develop over it's lifetime.

High Elvish ships are fast. A sleek parasite resistant hull and wind mages working from a circle of power allow the Fensymil can reach speeds of up to 34 kilometers per hour for up to three hours and maintain a cruising speed of 15km/h against the wind for a couple of days. This is acheived partly by it's crew, but also by the ship itself. High Elvish warships are made from living wood carefully harvested from the high background magic forests of Ilvanas and specially processed by mage-artisans to retain it's accumulated magic. The end result is a craft which can not only absorb ambient magic, but can generate some of it on it's own. Carpenters working on high elvish warships don't so much engage in repairs as they graft wood onto their ships and help it along in healing itself. Even though the fleets of the Drow States outnumber the Royal Ilvanan Navy more than four to one, the greater reserve of magic often givens High Elvish ships an edge over their drow counterparts.

The most direct applications of the Fensymil's magical power in combat is her Starlance. This is a length of living wood bound in enchanted copper and glass rings in the ships bow that functions effectively like an 6 meter long wizard's staff and can be used to cast a variety of offensive spells. These include (but are not limited to) firing off lightning bolts, rays of intense light, low range jets of wizard's fire, spells that batter down magical defenses, freeze beams and shards (powerful flat cutting bolts about 20 cm across which can slice through up to 2 meters of granite, but are fairly easily thwarted by magical defenses). The range of this weapon is about 4 to four minutes. Normally. Starlances need to be fixed in place and in the case of the Fensymil require the Jib sail to be struck. For defenses the Fensymil can establish a defensive barrier against some physical attacks (though a broadside can overwhelm it) and is particularly effective against magical attacks. Even so both of these eat up a lot of mana and can't been sustained for long. Between launching attacks, maneuvering, maintaining defenses and having some reserve to patch damage, High Elvish captains must carefully manage their ship's reserve of mana.

But beyond the Starlance the Fensymil has other means of striking it's foes. Her Waveriders and a decent number of her regular crew are skilled Mage Archers and can rain down enchanted arrows with surprising range. The more modern edition to her armament is a set of 27 cannons. The High Elves were among the last culture to adopt black powder weaponry, only doing so around 220-170 BIA in response to their increased use of naval artillery by the High Elves. High Elvish guns are mostly produced by Dwarven Vassels of the High Kingdom (though in the last 60 years a couple of elvish foundries have begun making cannons to supplement this) and are usually of a higher standard even if the designs had changed little in the past 100 years. High elvish naval artillery is composed of Long Guns.

Until recently the Fensymil carried a set of twenty two 24 pounder cannons (on the broadside and rear chase), four 12 pounder guns (on the forcastle) and two 36 pounder forward cannons. The heaviest guns on the Fensymil were of their time of the highest quality, being made of steel and inscribed with fire runes and runes of strength to make them both stronger (and by extension lighter) and make them more efficiently burn their powder charge, thus allowing them to fire their projectiles with greater force. They have a maximum range of 3.5 kilometers. Such artillery was expensive (costing as much as four regular dwarvish guns of the same caliber) and the fact that the Fensymil had even two of them is a sign of the accomplishment of her crew. In 37 IA these have been supplemented with twelve 7.5cm Infrastructural rifled naval guns provided to the High Kingdom after the Battle of Daagsgrad. In the last decade Drow Artillery has improved considerably while High Elvish designs have stagnated, the addition of even a small number of Infrastructural Cannons does a lot to level the playing field.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-04-17 10:25pm

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The High Kingdom of Ilvanas was among the last power on the continent to adopt black powder weaponry. A combination of magical aptitude and general conservationism had for centuries convinced their long lived military leadership that cannons were crude dangerous devices of at best marginal usefulness. Only experience in their war with the Dark Elves changed their minds, arming their ships and fortification with artillery. Even then it took them even more time to start making their own artillery pieces. This changed when Lord Kylison of house Tellisynel set up a cannon Foundryon a royal contract by making the claim that he could deliver guns just as good as those the Dwarves were making at a lower price using a workforce composed mostly of golems. In 60 BIA after ten years, a lot of foreign consultation, delay and false starts his foundry managed to do just that. In 3 BIA a Second Foundry was set up as the personal asset of the High King. By 37 IA the High Elves make about 40% of their artillery.

High Elvish cannons are fairly well made for weapons for Pre-Infrastructural designs, though on the same note they are expensive. A few of them are runic guns, but even the mundane ones benefited from magical separation of impurities in the smelting processes. They rarely burst and are slightly lighter than average (this one weighed in at 2 tonnes compared to it's typical 2.65 tonne traditional Drow counterpart). They tend towards having a vase shape and usually are ignited via fire spell. Both bronze and iron are used in cannon construction. Each individual cannon is generally given a name at the foundry and has some poetry engraved onto it. The common calibers for high elvish artillery are 5, 10, 20 and 25 vel* Long guns. Their maximum effective range was about a kilometer. Their carriages are usually made out of enchanted wood, which allows for a greater degree of control. Up until recently, Dark Elvish captains prized captured High Elvish guns. With recent advances however this has changed.

*High Elvish unit of weight, aprox 0.52 kilgrams.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-04-29 11:57pm

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The Primary Continent is bisected by the Dragonspine Mountains, a massive set of peeks which can rise up to ten kilometers above sea level. Sparsely populated, largely inhospitable and being home to the lairs of many great dragons: this mountain range has distinctly cut the continent in two. To it's west lays the Coldlands, the lands of the Qanthrathi, the High Kingdom of Ilvanas, the original Drow States and Ilvamicum (a roughly defined area which constitues those lands who's human civilization has it's origins in the). To their east of them are the northern Steppes and the Eastern Empires. To the North these mountains reach to the pole, petering out to foothills. To the South they dip into the ocean forming a set of large fertile islands with above average magic levels at the crossroads between the east and the west. Said crossroads are home to one of the more unusual races, the Naga. The states in which they rule are known as the Naga Rajs.

The Naga are often described as being half woman and half snake, which while a simplification is generally considered to be accurate enough. They have a (usually) Human torso with a 4-5 meter long snake like body below the waist. Naga also generally lack fingernails and have slited eyes and a set of canines enlarged to fangs. Some exhibit more reptillian characteristics including forked tonges, scales or have flattened reptilian noses. All Naga have some magical abilities. Nagas weigh about 200-300 kilograms on average. They usually slither about at 4-5 km/h but can sprint at up to 20 km/h on land over short distances. They are able to easily swim at 15km/h and can hold their breath up to 20 minutes. All Naga are magical and have are near equal to elves in terms of average magical ability, though their lifespan is about that of a human. Naga require about 3-4 time the food as a human and are more sensitive to cold.

Nagas are most unusual in the means by which they reproduce. As a general rule Naga are fully capable of natural reproduction (though they are biologically speciated from humans, elves, dwarves and similar) but the majority of Naga are not born but made. Naga have a pair of glands which are analogous to a snake's Venom glands. Over the span of about a year a Naga develops enough Venom to provide a sufficient dose to transform a human or elf into a Naga. The process takes from a few weeks to a year depending on the availability of magic (either background magic, magic the individual generates, magic ingested in potions or other sources, etc) and food (growing a new tail requires a lot of biomass). In the case of male subjects 99% of the time the transformation also turns them female (both in terms of their exterior and interior). Those that remain male through the process as a general rule become sequestered away in Naga society for breeding purposes. The birth rate for male Nagas is even more narrow at one in 10,000. In Naga a society this fact has created a notion of generational pedigree: the more generations you are removed from your transformed ancestors the higher your prestige. Third generation Naga generally receive a degree of reverence, forth generation Naga are exalted being seen as blessed by the gods.

The origins of the Naga are shrouded in mystery. The general myth of the Rajs is that the Mother of Life incarnated herself as a Naga Avatar and stopped a warlord from laying waste to the world by promising him power for him and his warriors, but gave them the temperaments of women and snuffed out their bloodlust, though this story is generally considered apocryphal at best by those eyond. High Elvish explorers during their age of exploration who explored the area of the Rajs simply found human tribes and a few Dwarvish clans. The first reports of "snake/lizard people of the east" are recorded in ancient Quanthrathi documents around 6,000 to 6,400 BIA, which are corroborated. Even so the reports are vague. Some high elvish reports from survey missions in 6,470 BIA, 6,230 BIA, 6,032 BIA and 5,712 BIA give a better if still incomplete glimpse into this time period.

The first report documents the emergence of small city states from farming villages on some islands. The second has the first hard mention of "Serpent Warriors" and "Snake Priestesses" in some of the more heavily forested southern islands of the archipelago. The third involves the first solid description of a Naga as we know them today which had ceased power in several of the island, though there were also reports of a race of what were termed 'reptile men'. Man sized humanoid creatures with scaled skin, claws, sharp teeth and other reptilian features (though these were usually concealed under concealing garments) who could not speak beyond hand sights and hisses that served as warriors. The forth of these surveys had found that the Naga had spread through most of their current range, but also found an absence of the Reptile Men and a resistance to questioning on the subject (though some mention of them would arise in what fragments of information we can collect from the first Naga civilization over the next two millennia and they are known as Skelyudhi). After that there were non Elvish records based around trade between them and the student men. This first Naga civilization would persist until about 3,600 BIA when it suffered a collapse, which involved the last rise of the Skelyudhi in it's aftermath and a five century long dark age before recovering. With this fall came the loss of their writing system.

The general consensus among the High Elves, the bulk of secular academic circles, the Apocryphists of the Order of Keepers and the Central Committee of Infrastructure is that some time around 6,300 BIA the Naga were created by some long lost exotic spell or a series of spells applied over years to generations. The Skelyudhi were another such product of said efforts, though one which proved to be less suscesful. Our knowledge of this sibling race (to use a term which the people of the Naga Rajs would generally find extremely offensive) is limited as all that remains of them are a handful of skeletal and skin remains, a few depictions in sculpture and frescos and a variety of tales and myths which generally speak of them as being 'demons in mortal form' and always speak of them as being male. They have been compared to Orcs in several respects (being a race made for war), though they lacked any evidence of family life (they are described as living in camps and ruling over enslaved lands), were more organized and regimented than your typical orc tribe and with a greater fondness for kidnapping people.

But regardless of their origins the Naga have for six thousand years make up the ruling class in their section of the world. There are currently thirteen Rajs which have an estimated population between 80 and a 100 million which some 2.25-2.75 million Naga ruling over them. These states are Theocratic Monarchies. Every office of government and every religious post (often one in the same) is held by a Naga, as are all mages, generals and so forth. The Humans and Dwarves live in a stratified society with formalized classes of warriors, artisans (a class that is 85-90% composed of Dwarves who have been quite thoroughly intergrated), peasants and a Discarded class who do all the dirty jobs and who can only escape this lot by five years as cannon fodder shock troops, 30 years as indentured servants or by being born a mage. Some Rajs practice limited slavery, but this is fairly uncommon (less than 1% of their population is chattel). Leaving aside Dwarves (who are immune to Naga Venom) all mages born into this are considered to be nascent Naga and are turned into Naga when identified, as are a few mundane humans who are deemed worthy of becoming Naga. Naga usually adopt those that they've transformed into their family. All of which is held together by religion which stresses the importance of knowing one's station.

While this rough system has endured for centuries the Individuals Rajs are not set in stone. Over the past three millennium there have been three instances in which a substantial portion of the Naga Rajs have been united under an Rajkiraj (Raj of Rajs, or Kingdom of Kingdoms, sometimes translated as Empire), though none of these has lasted more than two and a half centuries. The Rajs also suffered significant setbacks in 2200 BIA when they were caught up in the Second Cataclysmic War of the Eastern Empire and from an internal conflict in 906-838 BIA known as the War of the Constrictor. There are regular wars between the Rajs. For all that, however they remain a wealthy civilization even if Infrastructural technology is only beginning to trickle in by 37 IA.

The Naga Rajs do regularly trade with the civilizations to the east and the west, both as an intermediary and providing their own products. Spices, textiles, runic blades, ingredients for potions (in particular Naga Venom, even though it is illegal to sell that) and more come from the Rajs. Among the more important trades however is slaves. Over the last four centuries the Dark Elvish merchant houses have come to see the Raj as a prime source of chattel. Members of the Discarded class kept in bondage can be traded and sold during their tenure and the Drow are quite willing to pay well for these, though they also have to pay the family of those they buy. Slaves can be bought with less legal complications, as are a number of criminals and members of the discarded class. Doing so is controversial among the Rajs. Several of them have instituted outright bans on such exports, others have instituted strict ceilings as to how many could be sold into slavery. Slaves acquired from the Naga Rajs are also more expensive to import compared to those that had been obtained from Avesia or the pre-Infrastructural Coldlands. Even so there are now a large number of slaves in the Drow States and Colonies which are either from or trace their ancestry back to the Rajs.

A small number of Naga live beyond the Rajs to the east and west. Even so they are few in number as not many people are willing to become Naga. They don't do well in non tropical climates, require a lot of food and even though they do have magical powers they don't have magical powers the level of power they have is rather scattershot. A powerful mage may actually loose some power in becoming a Naga though most mages can gain power by becoming a Naga. Even so there are a few who elect to become Naga, though these are seen as eccentrics as well as a few who are made into Naga forcefully. The most famous foreign made Naga were the slave gladiators created for the arenas of the Last King of Venoa, who started the Rebellion which toppled that regime. The Naga who rule the Raj generally see these foreign Naga as simply being foreigners who happen to be the same species and give them no special respect or contempt.

This individual is a Low ranking Zamindar (a title roughly equivalent to that of a count in the reckoning of the western states) of the Raj of Jheveh carrying a staff and scimitar and wearing her hat of office. Naga typically wear tailored garments with embroidered fabric and pleated skirts, clothes which are barred to the lower classes.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-05-04 10:18am

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The Pattern-1405 Yorigsov rifle was in many respects a major upgrade for the growing Imperial Allergonian Army and for Imperial Manufacturing. It provided a viable service rifle that was more than adequate to replace all previous firearms and most of the more traditional weapons. It also represented an item which could be mass produced on a large scale with existing industries to very tight specifications. Previously at best firearms would be made in accordance to rough guidelines (a musket needed to "have a caliber of 17/20ths of an inch, weigh at most 10 pounds, be a flintlock, have a rifled barrel 40 inches long upon which a bayonet may be affixed and be successfully test fired" according to a contract from 18 IA) while the Pattern-1405 was mass produced using interchangeable parts. By 32 IA a sufficient number of these weapons had been made to meet the needs of both the army and marines with production continuing to sell items to various buyers both in and beyond the Empire which has generated revenue for both Yorigsov and the Imperial Government as they own the rights to this weapon.

But despite it's success Malnov Yorigsov had advocated this successful line of screw breechloaders as an intermediate design. While it did have an advantage over muskets it still required the user to load ball and powder separately which slowed the process down on top of other complications even if it was fairly simple to produced. These claims were at first dismissed as him attempting to get the Kingdom to buy a new line of more expensive weapons and thus further line his pockets (which was indeed part of his motivation), though the Escort War andVenoa's progress in small arms design with it's did convince enough higher ups that an upgrade even though there was little interest among the Imperial Court at producing some 250,000 new weapons from scratch. The Pattern-1416 rifle was the product of that effort with production begining at the onset of the new year (37 IA)

A Modification on the Pattern-1405 rifle, most of the work in producing the Pattern-1416 was converting existing weapons to the new standard. This meant deleting the screw loading mechanism, modifying the hammer assembly and adding a basic trapdoor breech and extractor. As such it could accept a 0.6 inch cartridge (with both paper and brass models being designed, tested and approved). This raises it's rate of fire from 6-7 rounds per minute to 10 rounds per minute and increasing both firepower and accuracy marginally.

The biggest advantage of this modification is that it could be done cheaply. For the price of a new rifle six upgrade kits could be produced. Those soldiers that have been issued these weapons have quickly adapted to them and are fond of the new weapon. It is hoped that a total switch over for the army could be achieved some time around 39 IA as part of a general upgrade program for the military on the whole. There are growing concerns about the prospects of a major war with the Dark Elves coming out of the Escort War that the Empire could find itself drawn into.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-05-26 06:55pm

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Introduced in 17 IA the Infrastructural Spoken Alphabet was contrived by the Central Committee after complications in the army arose in regards to vocal radio transmissions using names and a few such words in place of letters. Dark Elvish agents which have begun to listen in on Infrastructural Radio Traffic often find this amusing, but they also see the merit of the idea.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2017-05-28 04:18am

Point of order. Why is a Russ land tribe using English alphabet letters? J is redundant (pretty sure) and other sounds needed.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-05-30 08:20pm

madd0ct0r wrote:Point of order. Why is a Russ land tribe using English alphabet letters? J is redundant (pretty sure) and other sounds needed.
Because A: J is a letter that i've used in the Coldlands, B: there have been numerous migrations of outcasts into the Coldlands beforehand and C: I've used the Roman Alphabet consistently in universe because I did not want to make a dogs breakfast out of Cyrillic. I'll confess that there is a fair bit of magic translation going on and if I was to imagine what the Coldland Language would sound like it would be an odd mix of primarily slavic origin with some nordic thrown in for good measure.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-06-29 01:52am

I have another story post well under way, here's some more lore.
Image
The military forces of the Naga Rajs are lead by Naga commanders with the bulk of the force composed of human soldiers which are mostly drawn from the Warrior Class. Outside of town militias and Discarded shock troops soldiers not born or adopted into the warrior class are rare. A deeply set Religious ideal of the Naga Rajs is a fairly sharp Division of Labor: some toil in the fields, others work in workshops, some buy and sell, some fight and so forth. The Warrior Class makes up about 4 to 6% of the population of the Naga Rajs (varying from Raj to Raj) and is often thought of as being roughly similar to chivalry by western visitors, though this comparison misses a lot of complications. The elite of the warrior class typically serve as heavy cavalry or (along with their naga masters) elephant riders and are trained from childhood. However this overlooks the fact that the Warrior Class is not landed. Rather they are either retained by the various Zamindar households (with each force being referred to as a Mansab) or by the reigning Raj, though some serve as mercenaries. Inside the warrior class there is considerable stratification between the elite and the low end, which is based around personal accomplishment, aptitude in training, lineage, relationship with those made into Naga, peacetime employment, the wealth of their patrons and other such factors. In peace time warriors would usually drill, patrol and (for the most experienced) work as drillmasters. However they would also work as tax collectors, enforcers, surveyors, priests for their fellow warriors, jailers, slave handlers, lumber jacks, stevedores, farm hands, brick layers, road repairers and other such tasks that are usually of a physical outdoors nature. Alongside the high ranking warriors there are middling and lesser warriors. This fellow is one of the latter in service of a Zamindar of the Raj of Jhevah as of 37 IA.

Low ranking Mansab soldiers (such as this fellow) serve as militarized farmers in times of peace and light infantry in times of war. Some of them have fallen in prominance in the warrior class or are their children, others are peasants which are inducted into the warrior class or adopted orphans, some are those of the Discarded who prove themselves on the battlefield. They are generally quite lightly armored, often with only a helmet and a torso disc as they have to provide most of their gear out of their own pocket. Uniforms come down to wearing clothes in the rough colors of their Raj, which are usually quite light given the fact that 40-50 degree temperatures is common in that area of the world. Despite this they are generally skilled fighters and capable combatants, though the Mansab system means that the armies of the various Rajs are at the battalion to regiment level in the hands of individual lords. In times past they served as archers, swordsmen and spearmen, which over the last three centuries have seen musketeers added to their ranks. In the last ten years the presence of musketeers in their ranks has grown from about 25-30% (varying from Raj to Raj) to about 40 to 50% as foreign traders have delivered flintlock and caplock rifles and screw breechloaders and local gunsmiths have begun replicating them. Many of them have also been employed as artillerymen from time to time manning cannons and rockets. Previously rockets had been fairly basic affairs of paper, wood and ceramic, though starting in 40 BIA the Raj of Jhevah these have been supplemented with sturdier cast iron rockets which (after some refinement) could fly up to a kilometer. While innacurate said weapons are easy to transport and deploy in large numbers. After the battle of Daagsgrad Dark Elvish merchants have taken an interest in these weapons based on their experience with Infrastructrual Rockets and have begun to import these.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-07-06 04:00am

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To exploit the Petroleum deposits around the Discovery River region in 33 IA Infrastructure established a colony to exploit it. Doing so was a major undertaking with a decades long multi-phase plan that had begun years before the colonization fleet was dispatched. The amount of resources and economic output put towards this goal was significant and the end goals were by any ambitious, though the rewards of having at major source of oil under their control was calculated to be well worth it. All of which depended however on establishing a foothold in this new world. To establish and consolidate that foothold colonists were required.

The first wave of colonists were mostly drawn from the peasant classes, but included a good number of specialists from various fields. Most of them were under 30, all had to be in good good health and candidates were examined for loyalty. For all that they were given limited information about where they were to settle with information packets being distributed once the fleet was under way to maintain secrecy. Most of them assumed that they were simply being sent to establish a new settlements within the territory currently controlled by Infrastructure (which the Infrastructural government also did to develop it's often underdeveloped tracts of land). The second wave of colonists (discounting Detentional Laborers) were given slightly more information that Infrastructure had established a colony in a distant land far to the south where winter never came, which was enough to entice other settlers while leaving matters vague so that the colony could grow in secrecy, though in truth the location of the settlement had been snooted out by Drow Spies which lead to the Escort War. Afterwards the campaigns advertising a new life in the Petroleum Colony became more overt about the situation in that region of the world, and at the same time pre-transit training courses were prepared which included classes on local wildlife, the basics of the language of the Klebba, Issan and Shol, use of specific tools and firearms and group and group exercises to show settlers the ropes and to build a communal spirit. By spring of 37 IA there are some 12,400 Infrastructural colonists (among their ranks some 3,000 Detentional Laborers, not including some 1,000 which were released).

Coldlander peasants and workers as a general rule are well suited to colonial life. Hard work with limited resources is something they are generally used to. There are a higher than usual number of medical personnel on hand and both from trade with the natives and local agricultural projects there is no shortage of food. There is also a general sense of optimism among the settlers as they build up their settlement and push out into the grasslands. They may sleep in tents and barracks at the moment, but soon they will have either a nice homestead or a place in town to call their own as a few have already begun to do. Generally on arrival colonists are assigned to Labor Teams about thirty strong which are given various tasks around the settlement for the first while helping the colony along and others and themselves get settled in. As an example a labor team would clear out a plot of land which would become homesteads for those who had arrived a year before. Afterwards colonists at this stage generally pay their taxes in a few days of labor every month. This sort of top down and collectivistic approach at colonial development conducive towards the formation of a new community identity and spirit, even if such an arrangement is planned to be phased out over the next ten years. There are occasional Gosho Raids, but given that the Gosho are at best at an early iron age level of development and the colony has a substantial garrison armed with bolt action rifles they are generally considered to be more of an annoyance. The two biggest problems that Coldlanders have to deal with is sunburn and heat. Temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer and generally lingers above 30 during the summer months. Colonists are issued warm weather work clothes, which is a switch that most of them make easily. However other bits of traditional Coldland information that has been drilled in deep has its own problems, such as building houses designed to keep heat in.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-07-19 12:06pm

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With a few exceptions the traditional dwarven enclaves of Ilvamicum make use of six large domestic mammals. Among these are Goats, Donkeys, Ponies, Pigs and Dogs, creatures which are also frequently kept by Humans, Elves and latter Orcs, even if there are a few breeds of said creatures that the Dwarves had breed for their needs. The sixth, however, is one which is by in large particular to the Dwarves: the Hrugnim. In several Non-Dwarvish languages these creatures are known as Deepcalves

Deepcalves are a species of bovine creatures that long ago established themselves in the vast network of caves and evolved to make the most of this environment. Four species exist in it's genus and share it's enviroment, but only the Deepcalves have been Domesticate. They are short and stocky creatures that stand between 0.6 to 0.9 meters tall with short strong legs and weigh between 80 to 160 kilograms. They are well adapted to a subterranian life. They don't have horns, but they do have a bony plate on their head. They have poor eyesight, but a well developed sense of smell and hearing, with long whiskers and flexible ears that allow them to better judge where sound is coming from. They are capable of echolocation. Deepcalves are capable swimmers. Most notable is the efficiency of their digestive system. Deepcalves are obligate herbivores mostly subsist off manasynthetic plants and fungii that grow naturally in the labyrinth of caves, but in truth can eat almost any plant material short of bare wood. Such material often finds its way underground, washing down rivers. Their digestive system is quite extensive and they often use gastroliths to help things along. This has led to another distinctive feature about deecalves, lethargy. Once they've eaten their fill they'll spend a fair amount of time laying about digesting their food. However they are very good at getting the most energy out of what they eat. Deepcalves give birth to two calves at a time which take about a sixteen months to reach full size and can be very long lived (sixty to seventy years).

Dwarves have been keeping domestic deepcalves for at least fifteen thousand years. They have used them at time as beasts of burden (a job they are rather poor at unless they are fed grain and even then they're not great at it) and their wool but are mostly kept for meat, milk, hides and dung (which is often burned to provide charcoal). Deepcalf meat is usually rich in flavor and fatty, but is also generally tough and requires a fair bit of slow cooking. Deepcalf cheese is usually hard lumps. There is a fair bit of offel on a deepcalf which the dwarves generally turn into sausage. Most dwarven enclaves have some Deepcalves to help them meet some of their food needs. Deepcalf meat has some market above ground as it can be made into long lasting preserves, some humans have developed a taste for it and some gormets prize it. Even so there are practical limitations to the raising of Deepcalves. Part of this is the matter of maturation (. Most notably is the fact that they don't do well above ground. Their are a varierty of factors in this regards, but the biggest is that year round the home environment of Deepcalves stays around 15 degrees. They can't take sub zero temperatures and are poorly suited for 25 degree temperatures that humans generally find comfortable. Occasionally Dwarven Deepcalf herders would bring their animals up to the surface to graze when temperatures are suitable so that their charges can fatten up quicker, but for the most part they are kept in their underground world. The Drow States also raise a few of these creatures in their old mining networks, especially the State of Galthirith.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-07-29 01:15am

(Avesia, Early Spring, 37 IA)
Liberating Avesia was a fairly straightforward task for the Infrastructural Navy. Most of it's settlements were coastal, had defenses that were at best out of date and were fairly easy to either capture or force capitulation out of. Even so there were a couple of towns that were inland and a whole lot of estates. Many of these were abandoned by their owners, some had defenders holding out desperate. Even so they needed to be cleared out. Mobs of armed liberate slaves were on the move around Porta Liberium (renamed Svobodagrad by Drive) were on the march, but to deal with the holdouts quickly and effectively army forces were deployed, among them was Nadia and her squad. Snuffing those bastions quickly before they had a time to dig in and coordinate with each other was critical for the speedy execution of the campaign. Drone recon had identified these bastions and had dispatched companies to clear them out.

Last afternoon she'd cleared out an estate which had been the base of about sixty of the bastards that had been desperately trying to throw up some walls around their estate pushing their slaves as to the breaking point to do so. They'd gotten lucky and had only suffered a couple wounded in that attack. Half of that bunch of slavers did not even have guns, just swords, maces, axes, crossbows and boarding pikes while those that did had little idea of how to use them properly. A few of them were actually old matchlocks. That night they'd feasted on the spoils of their victory. Earlier that morning they sent the wounded, captives and children in that base back to Svobodagrad under escort, but they had another target eighteen kilometers away. Normally that would have taken the better part of the day of marching, but fortunately for Nadia and the rest of her company they'd been provided with and trained in the use of one of the Committee's latest marvels. They called it a Bicycle.

The formation moved in single file with a couple of scouts a hundred meters ahead to probe for anything unexpected. She was alert, their had already been jumped by a suicidal young fool who had the bright idea to run in screaming with a scimitar and a flail in each hand to a gunfight. Despite everything she actually enjoyed the climate of the place, it was a wonderful change of pace after a Coldland winter and being cooped up on an over-packed ship. Maybe after the war she'd move to Colony-1, get a bicycle and explore that region. Of course to do that she'd need to make sure that she'd live to see that happy day and to make sure her squad lived to see their happy post war civilian lives (whatever they may be), which meant sorting out these slaving bastards in a proper and efficient manner.
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(Avesia, Early Spring, 37 IA)
Not everything went as planned for the Infrastructurals. On the forth day of the invasion Lieutenant Vasily Valivov's 3rd Company was making it's way from a well dug in plantation to Selio's Pass. During the former engagement they had been spotted by a young scout, which was relayed to a column of 240 janissaries under captain Sextus Altovo. As the Infrastructural force made it's way to the inland town they Janissaries moved along goat paths at a forced march for two hours. The Janissaries got into position with twenty eight minutes to spare near House del Cucina's estate. They set aside the packs, loaded their weapons and knelt in a cops of trees, waiting for the right.

Things might have gone differently had Valivov decided to take the main roads rather than a more direct route or had sent a set of scouts ahead as a more experienced officer would have Altovo's plan might have been for naught. If Altovo had not been a former slave NCO who was awarded his freedom after only eight years for good service who'd spent his childhood but rather some deluded son of a plantation owner playing at war (as many of the officer's he'd served under was) who'd known the area when he was simply the son of a swineherd he would have been unable to set up in time. Things also might have unfolded differently if Valivov had not expended almost all of his platoon's grenades and 10mm N-Rounds in taking the plantation (which he had done while taking only loosing three men) and his company was not effectively down to only one shredder. Regardless, fortune had deemed that these things did unfold. As such when the Infrastructural Army company walked by their posisition while Altovo waited and watched. Then, when the bulk of their forces were a scant 30 meters away he made his move.

"FOR OUR KING AND MASTER!" He bellowed and with that his men opened fire. The fire was uncoordinated, many of the janissaries had chosen the same targets and the brush did disrupt the shots somewhat. Even so within three seconds 78 of the 154 Infrastructural soldiers were cut down with more lightly wounded. In the panic the survivors had begun to blast into the forest where a rising cry had come up and as they saw dozens of figures rise from the bush hurling themselves forward bayonets fixed through the scrub and gunsmoke. Many of them fell as they charged, either immediately or after staggering forward for a few meters. A couple stumbled over tree roots or rocks, but got back up again. Their soul shredder had spent one of his two mags in a blind panic doing little more than making a few trees burst into splinters as he desperately worked to cram the second magazine in. The Janissary's officers and a few of the NCOs had cap and ball revolvers and sent a few additional shots into the Infrastructural survivors, but this at best a side note. A shooting match with muzzle loaders against the Infrastructurals was suicide and their only option for victory was to get in close. All their soldiers new it and put all they had into closing that distance, thundering past the bush and slamming themselves into the survivors. The battle soon devolved into a frenzy of bayonets, rifle butts, pistol whipping, cutlasses, maces, picks and kicking, grabbing and punching.

Avesian Janissaries were not the greatest warriors by any means, being about on par to the Drow slave soldiers on which they were modeled. Nor were their mundane bayoneted rifles the best weapons against armor like the steel cuirasses worn by the Riflers even though their secondary weapons were more up to the task. Both sides gave everything they had. Even so Avesian Janissary training did focus more in this up close and personal combat and they hit the Infrastructural lines with a three to one advantage in numbers. In that slugging match there was only one probable outcome and things unfolded as expected. In the end the Janissaries had lost 91 men with 47 more wounded including Captain Altovo, who had a few shotgun pellets hit his right arm. In contrast all but two of the Infrastructural Army riflers had in the end fled been killed either in the battle or by Janissaries bayoneting the wounded afterwards. Altovo's men celebrated that night on their victory on captured rations and had soon armed themselves with captured guns. Heady with their victory they felt that they could push the Coldlanders back into the sea.

Captain Altovo and most of his forces would die three days latter attempting to beak the siege of Selio's Pass.

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(Valnothron Citadel, Valnothron, Early Spring 37 IA)
For decades after the Escort War there was one memory that would come up to Talnara ti'Valcas in recollection regularly enough that she would wrote of it in her diary and latter in her third Dirvagiel*. Said memory involved a previous recollection, specifically to her childhood magic tutorials two hundred and forty years earlier and some exercises she had done, doing simple spells over and over again to hone her ability to shape the forces and produce desired results. Her abilities in turned out were somewhat above average even though a career in magery had little appeal to her. In that moment she recalled the fact that she pulled out one of those simple spells for the first time since childhood at meeting at the Citadel over the Invasion of Avesia.

It had been expected that the Infrastructural would continue playing it defensively, defending their coastlines and convoys. Maybe sending out a few ironclads to harry their fleet and shipping to thin out their numbers and hinder their war effort. The invasion of Avesia was an unexpected move, especially with their ties to Venoa. Even so the reasons for doing so were obvious as the place was a prime supply of fresh slaves and saltpeter when they were rebuilding and upgrading their flee. Several of House Valcas's contracts had gone up in smoke, prices were going up and completion dates for new Industrial projects and warships had been set back with increased price tags. By reports most of the island kingdom had already fallen even if their was still fierce fighting. It was a frustrating development, but while many of her peers could view this matter sensibly there were others who were not responding to this in a good way.

She'd gotten wind of a proposal by a group of figures from a few warrior houses who'd put together a proposed plan that they devised and were petitioning for some additional resources. Had laid out with a map of the island and a set of small model ships with some basic enchantments to make them move and fire off broadsides at certain queues. The plan itself was not badly put together given the circumstances, involving probing attacks to draw out their forces out so a force of a thousand or so elite warriors in runic armor to cleave through the coldlander scum and their pet rebels.

Even so once the presentation was done Talanara walked over. "Lord Senzalath. You and your associates have displayed many commendable qualities in your proposal: the general strategy is sound, as are your assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of their soldiers. Regardless, there is one problem that you have overlooked. Namely the matter of benefits and costs. We should make no mistake, in this attack losses in warriors, weapons, equipment, slaves and ships..." She swiped a model frigate from the table and incinerated it in a small fireball "...will be high and all we will gain from this is ashes." She let the embers fall to the floor and then laid a scimitar coin on the table in compensation.

Lord Senzilath's response to this was indignant. "Lady Valcas, I must concede that in the past decades your house's efforts are commendable. Your sweat and toil has yielded many new contrivances and improvements which have been a boon to us. However while you might take pride in your creations you should keep in mind why they were made. You sentimentality for your creations may stay your hand when action is needed oh most illustrious of artisans, but we are not so obsessed with the well being of our tools, finely made they are, as to never use them for their purpose. Even if a few ships are sunk and some of our warriors fall, we'll bleed out their forces, rally the Avesians, force them to abandon their quest and show the world the Golem Worshipers are still but mortals. And when Avesia rises again, we'll be sure that they deliver any order they owe you."

"While the generosity of your gesture is noted even if your proposed force can arrive in time and force the Infrastructurals into retreat your restored Avesian Kingdom would be hard pressed to feed itself, let alone restore the slave markets. Most of their settlements have fallen and have been sacked. A large chunk of the free population is either dead or captured, including many connected slave merchants and along with some of their suppliers. Much of their now diminished stock would have to be put down and their estates would be left in ruins. Even if you succeeded it would be decades at least before they would be back to their former output. And this at a time when we have unsettling reports from Venoa and that The Eternal Foe is readying it's fleet. You are asking this council to give resources squander ships and warriors on the vague hopes of preserving a scrap of a fallen kingdom. We might the fall of Avesia as being a failure on our part, but that is no reason to keep throwing our assets to burn with it."

And with that she got some support as well as some attacks from her usual lot of rivals. There was a fair bit of frustration over the invasion of Avesia in this stupid war and that might have been enough to get some support for this hair brained adventure they had planned. That enthusiasm would die down after the proposal had been shelved and as it's vague prospects of success shrank. This did mean there was a minor loss in political capital in the short term at least, but her prospects were tied with the strength of Valnothron as a whole which she would not see squandered. This fiasco was nipped in the bud, but ultimately that was only part of the efforts required to sort out the greater fiasco that had been festering for the past three years.

*Literal Translation 'Hundred Book' or 'Century Book'. A genre of memoir literature popular among Dark Elvish elite in which an individual recounts the events that happened over the course of a century of their lives, commonly written from those who are of the great houses.

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(nisKalgan Estate, Avesia, Early Spring, 37 IA)
Baron Talvin nisKalgan was in the Avesian Nightmare, only worse.

Evey free man and woman in the Kingdom lived in fear of the day of a widespread Slave uprising. Slaves outnumbered the Free at least four to one at least and despite what sessions in the bedchamber might convince the foolish they had little love for their masters. There was always a risk that some incident would cause some slaves to lash out against their drivers, succeed and go on a rampage killing, looting and laying waste. If left unchecked these could spread and grow, picking up more slaves and weapons as they went. There had been three such uprisings in Avesian History. Fortunately they'd been all been snuffed out. Fierce as they could be rioting slaves with farm tools were no match for trained freemen with bows, swords, pikes, muskets and armor and the Avesians were always quick to respond to them when they happened. Regardless the fears of a servile revolt eclipsed all other worldly dreads. Famine could be averted by reducing the surplus chattel, slave raiders had no interest in souring business relations for short term gains, disaster could be rebuilt from and the invaders that might come their way would want their estates intact with experienced managers running it.

The Infrastructurals were a rude awakening indeed. Not only had they laid waste to Porta Liberium and set their armies to march through the island to cease estates, but everywhere they went they set slaves free, gave them weapons and let them loose on the island like some horrible hybrid of locusts and pitdogs. To Talvin this was madness. The wealth of Avesia lay in slaves and plantations, both of which would be ruined by this madness. There were those who hated slavery, but how would making the Islands into a carnal house make anything better? Had they no respect for the accomplishment of the bloodlines who by strength and cunning built a realm from nothing? And even if they don't the Dark Elves would come in with ten thousand warriors to carve through their rebels and laying waste to any adult to save their dependable providers. It would mean being left with mostly children for a time until their stock could be replaced but they could rebuild and the temporary adjustment would not be too bad. If only they would show up right now.

The estate of House nisKalgan was in the south of the islands on the Scourge Peninsula, by the time news got to him to move north to rally at Sensasperan those routes had been cut and they were surrounded. He'd mustered what defenses he could since then, but now they were beset by a mob of rebelious slaves armed with Coldland made guns. The barricades they'd set up had set up around the manner should have kept them back, then they blasted through them with rockets and handbombs. He had a hundred and twenty men fit to fight on guard plus dogs but they were being overwhelmed. He only knew a bit of this which had been relayed to him as he'd "commanded" from his dining hall all the while the sounds of battle grew closer.

He'd been trying to enjoy a nice vintage when one of his drivers came into his chambers with a sword and a spiked whip. Fernallo if he remember correctly, Helmsen the head overseer had spoken highly of him. "My Lord! The hedge has fallen! We've must leave!" This was followed by one of the windows shattering behind it's hasty barricades.
"V-Very well." He said as he got his pistol and followed the young man. There was a rough plan to flee into the mountains to an old hog hunting house. Even so they were turned around a couple of times by soldiers, gunfire and actual fire. Getting anywhere was difficult, especially since the Man nor was basically a collection of extensions accumulated over the last two centuries. Eventually the two of themselves found themselves in an empty slave dormitory (the household slaves had been locked in the celler) with the sounds of gunfire, death and bursting doors behind them. The one that they'd recently jammed with a table in haste would not offer much protection. Some of them were female. He had avoided battle so far but now that was unlikely.

"Fernallo" he whispered shakily.

"Yes my Lord?"

"If we're to get to safety we'll need to fight our way through their throngs. You'll lead the charge and i'll cover you."

"Are you sure sir?"

"Of course i am you idiot!" he said as he grabbed him by the arm and aimed his pistol at his head "This is my House, you are my servant and you'll defend it my way!"

Fearing what this man crazed with fear would do he he walked out sword and whip in hand in the hallway. The door then burst and open and he yelled before being cut down by numerous heavy blasts. In the confusion Talvin fired his pistol, but as his hands were unsteady, sulfury smoke filled the air and the fact that a door limited his line of fire he only managed to hit the wall. He'd hoped that in the confusion they'd missed him. Things quieted down for a few seconds save for the footsteps.

"Rotten hearted toad." A feminine voice said. He'd heard that voice before, though usually it was sweet rather than acidic. It sounded like Lililia. He had a hard time understanding why she'd join the Rebels. Some field hand who toiled under the whip he could understand. But even if she was not his favorite, he'd always spared his bedwarmers from toil, kept them well fed and honored them with his charm and (ahem) prowess.

"Do you want the handle?" Another woman said.

"I'll pass. Not my thing. Good enough the bastard's dead."

"Suit yourself. Their still might be some more of the scum."

They'd might have walked on after that if Talvin did not let out a small gasp. He'd subconsciously begun holding his breath to stay quiet and relaxed a bit too sharply. They noticed the change as did the women, he then looked at his pistol and saw with horror it's lock remembering that it was now empty.

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(Venoan Steam Galley Scia, Open Ocean, Early Spring, 37 IA)
"Well Malonso, I must say that I'm impressed. This is a command worthy of pride." Captain Freilysiin ti'Jaimis said as she took a sip of wine. "As is this vintage." Both points were truthful enough though they glossed over important details. Her light frigate the Qilthast (Stingray) had been on patrol for three months and this meet-up was a welcome diversion, even if some of the dispatches had given them some important context to the development.

"My family has some shipping contracts with a few of the better vinyards, that part of provisioning was nothing." Captain Malonso Cosetti replied "But I am flattered on behalf of the Scia and her crew for your approval. She's among the finest craft the Arsenal has put together and I am truly blessed to be her commanding officer." He was a charming human, reasonably handsome with a pleasant educated voice, a reasonable command of the Dark Elvish Language and while he might not always convey that message to those he'd accept as guests (especially those fools who believed that any deviation from the marshal was an sure sign of utter weakness) it was clear that he was good at running his ships. The contrast between his crisp sailors and her motley slaves was obvious when she had come aboard.

The Scia was the scout in a squadron of four steam galleys and a steam Galleass and it's captain had extended an invitation. Neither state had any cause for war at the time and she was genuinely welcome for a break. She'd brought aboard a couple of body guards who could carve through a good section of the galley's crew if push came to shove. Cosetti was enthusiatic and eager to show her about his ship. How the banks of oars had been replaced by a gundeck and steam driven paddlewheels which could be rigged to turn in opposite directions to turn the ship around quickly. Their new rifled cannons which had explosive shells. The fountains which produced cool drinking water. The electric lamps. The flushing heads. The rangefinders, the semaphore lamps and other contrivances before retiring for a quick period of refreshment in his quarters. All of which had an undertone which was simple enough to read. 'See this wonderful ship of mine. She's fast, maneuverable and armed with some of the best artillery that does not come with a hexagon on it. You'd not want to be on the receiving end of this ship's weapons. No, no, no. So, if you would be so good, remember this fact, write it down in your logs and submit it in your reports.'

"It is amazing the marvels that can now be made. Even so I've seen some of the new construction at Noljas's shipyards and i'm sure that they would make a similar impression on you. If everything goes well I might be captaining a steamship of my own in a few years."

"A noble ambition and one I would wish you luck in achieving." The Venoan replied. The words were well performed, but empty. There were glory hounds out there who desired to test their mettle against worthy foes and gloried in the defeat of enemies, but Malonso did not strike her as that sort. In that regard he was cut from the more common cloth that wished that wished all the foes that he might ever face were feeble, cowardly, incompetent, beset by never ending bad luck and equipped with shoddy, poorly made and obsolete weapons. She was not his foe yet, but that could change quickly if level heads did not prevail.

Even so, for all that there was nothing she could do about that situation. What she could do is take advantage of his hospitality, be it born of an ulterior motive or not as it was a reasonable diversion for a couple of hours. And in any case the wine was quite good.
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(Dragonstorm Bay, Early Spring, 37 IA)
Weithyn of the house of Heisidel, Captain of His Radiance's Royal Ilvannan Navy Arrowship Fensymil (Stormseeker) was in a good mood. After six years never leaving sight of the coastline her ship was once again riding the waves of the open ocean. The wind, the spray, the smell and the sensation of the ship plowing through the waves were all exhilarating as it ever was on its own made all the finer by the fact that her ship was a living thing being handled by wind mages and expert mariners. But there was also the the thrill of the hunt.

For two centuries she'd served the High Kingdom at sea against the Corrupted Ones. She'd manned the lines, steered ship, helped the ship-tenders heal her vessels between fights, strengthened the shields and offensive spells, oversaw the guns and cut down more than her share of black hearted vermin and their pet wretches with bow, blade and boarding pike. One does not survive that long against the Dark Elves without mastering the ways of combat, let alone too centuries. Even so there was always a risk of falling and in her long life she saw too many beautiful ships of her crewmates, heroes, friends and in a few cases lovers fall.

Humans and Dwarves talked of "Wars" with the Drow but the High Elves knew better. There was one war between them and the world they sought to enslave, which had waged for four millennia. There were lulls in this war when either side was recovering its strength and they would at times they would feign charm and make their deals when direct force to take what they wanted could not be mustered. They stayed free because the High Kingdom never forgot that they were at war. A war that could only end when the last of their degenerate kind lying still in a pool of his own tainted blood. Nor did she, and few things gave her the same thrill that laying waste to their fleets did.

But to that end she'd gotten a wonderful new tool: a dozen Infrastructural guns. They were not pretty, but they were quick firing, long ranged, accurate, clean and fired devastating explosive shells. Even the best Dwarven guns with strength and fire runes could not match them in anything other than weight of shot. She'd have to be conservative with her ammunition. If a bunch of bumbling Coldlanders who'd never sailed anything bigger than a rowboat two decades ago could use them successfully against the Corrupted Ones the thought of what the true masters of the sea could do with them was intoxicating.
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(Sensasperan, Avesia, Early Spring 37 IA)
The nine days after King Tilsio-VI's arrival in Sensasperan were spent marshaling their resources. Citizens, artisans, their families and supplies were gathered from the surrounding estates during that time. In total he'd manage to gather up about 13,000 people (more than four time's the town's initial population) with some 4,800 men fit to fight. The Militia was drilled, though less than half of them had guns and many of the guns they did have were old matchlocks and similar. Those that had any skill in metalworking were put to work making weapons. Women and slaves made powder. Some forces were sent to scout things out, harass the invaders and to relieve those towns and estates under attack. Few who left on such missions returned and those that did brought news of hordes of rebel slaves, ransacked estates and Infrastructural Soldiers that could cut you down if they even got a glimpse of you. Doing so was costly, but if nothing else it would slow them down and thin out their ranks. He hoped that this would be enough to let them weather this storm until aide arrived to turn the tide.

However on the tenth day they made their march on the small mountain town. Infrastructural Soldiers came up the passes in neat ranks backed by a rabble of armed slaves, camped along the western front of the city. The Infrastructurals gave their terms: all citizens were to stand down, surrender their weapons and renounce all titles of nobility and claims to human chattel. All slave drivers over the age of 40 and torturers were were to be executed by firing squad while the rest would be Relocated. There were a few who advocated taking this offer and in truth he seriously consider it for a few seconds. But ultimately that fear could not overcome his hope that the Drow would come and he refused their offer. Most said that his refusal was stirringly passionate and dramatic, which he took as a complement to his acting skills. Even if the effect was spoiled a few minutes latter when the bombardment began.

For the next day and a half the Avesian defenses were pounded with rockets and shells that blasted apart stonework and men. They had only a few guns and a limited supply of ammunition, but they had enough to tear defenses asunder from over a mile away. They also had a few marksmen which further thinned the Avesian ranks. There was a big initial salvo, a few shots afterwards on a regular schedule and then a second salvo once additional supplies had arrived at night, which came with a charge. They still had enough gunners to inflict some losses on them, but that was nowhere near enough to stop them.

He'd attempted to stir his defenders on against these impossible odds, but that had ended badly. Being out and where he could be seen by his men meant that the the enemy could see him and by extension, shoot him. Even with runic plate that was tempting fate and so he was forced to retreat into the bombed out warren the town had become. After that, things got chaotic as Avesians clashed with the waves poured in. Some panicked, but most (and in particular his body guard) fought to the end. Which was admirable in a lot of ways save of course for the 'end' part.

The town was not laid out with any major plan and shanties and rubble simply made things more confusing. For a few minutes he wandered effectively blindly through the chaos until a small group of Janissaries came in to bring him back to the Count's mansion. However a group of Rebel Slaves also found him and began to pour fire into him. His armor held up pretty well against the fire and he was confident that he could get to safety before the strengthening spells forged into the steel failed. However by sheer luck one round managed to find it's way between his helmet and his breastplate and went through his neck.
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(Svobodagrad (Formerly Porta Liberium), Avesia, Early Spring, 37 IA)
It had been ten days since the fall of Sensasperan and six days since the destruction of the last Avesian Estate. A few small pockets of resistance lurked in the wilderness but scattered and without supplies they would be nothing more than an annoyance. Over all Drive was satisfied with the operation. Everything had happened in a reasonable timetable and losses were acceptably low. A more seasoned force more used to this sort of climate could have done things more quickly, but the relevant fact was that the main military objectives of this operation were met. Now came the political phase of their operation.

In truth this was something that Drive was not particularly fond of. In general he found the administration of military affairs to be more stimulating than this matter and was generally happy to leave political tasks in the hands of Supernova or Critical Mass. Even so he was the Committee Member on the scene and this was an essential part of the plan.

With Sensasperan fallen requests were sent out to the Captains of the various rebel companies to discuss the future of the islands. The wording was carefully chosen to convey the fact that they were not under obligation to do so. In total some 41 came out of some 57 companies. Many of them made their way back to Svobodagrad and were quarted in the former royal palace. Their men were billeted in various homes of the now deposed elite and inns. All the while they were monitored. They were a loud and rowdy bunch who made the most of their newfound freedom. While most of them wore the simple impromptu uniform that the committee had supplied them most of them had added to it in various way. Most of them were illiterate and a few fist fights had to be broken up. Even so they had been elected by their companies to serve as their leader. Crude or not, they had a spark of legitimate authority to them.

In the evening Drive came in to give his proposal. Many of them were a bit shocked at the sight of him, but they soon got over it. Most of them knew that he was not human and the fact that he'd both overseen their liberation and had provided them with free food and beer was more than enough to relieve their suspicions.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, " he said in an authoritative but friendly tone in the Avesian Laguage. "I am glad to say that our initial goals have been achieved. The Kingdom in Avesia is no more and those who it held in bondage now once again have their fates in their hands." This got a cheer from the gathered leaders. "Never the less there are still some issues in regards of what the future of this island shall be. Some will desire to leave for the mainland and we will be willing to provide some transport to those who want it, at the same time we will be willing to provide further assistance to those who decide to build new lives here. However to deliver these things, leadership among the free peoples of Avesia is required and while we are glad to be your liberators and friends we are not your conquerors. The future governance of the Avesian Islands is in the hands of it's people and given that you have risen to be the most prominent people in the island The Central Committee would recognize your authority over said islands. To ensure that things go smoothly, we have a proposition as to what shape this government would take."

For the next fifteen minutes he rattled off a basic outline as to the new government's shape. The government would be run by the Star Council, who's first members would at first be the gathered captains and who would be elected afterwards when they stepped down, passed away or were voted out by 75% of their fellows. Said council would elect one of their ranks to serve as a Prime who'd serve for one year long terms. The Prime would appoint judges and would have the right to pardon people, but not to sentence. No Judge could hold elected office. Nobody could be punished without trial. Local government would be handled by elected mayors and town councils. The estates would be broken up into small farms. All former slaves would be citizens in this New Republic as would anyone born in the Republic. A section of the surviving slavers of the old kingdom would deported to serve as detentional laborers in the Petrolium Colony and a number of their children would be sent to either the Colony or to the Coldlands to be raised in orphanages. Slavery of any sort would be illegal and any slave found in the Republic would automatically be set free. All male citizens would be required to serve in the militia and a small army and navy would be maintained for coastal patrols, man fortresses, act as elite troops and train up soldiers. Said forces would be provided with 20,000 rifles, 50 cannons and a supply of ammunition. Infrastructural Drill Sergeants would train up their forces and a shipment of machinery would be sent in to develop some industrial capacity on the islands. Some 20,000 former slaves would be allowed transit to Torion, Oestia, Venoa, the Petrolium Colony or a few other locals in the general area gratis (in part using commandeered ships). Some were also allowed to enlist in the Infrastructural Navy or Merchant Fleet. Though if they were not willing to accept the constitution, Infrastructure was not ablidged to provide aid.

Most accepted the proposal. It seemed like as good a deal as any. A few hold outs existed but most of them simply wanted a bribe to go with it or some concession such as ownership of a captured manor house or larger plots for members of their rough company. By lunchtime the next day he got Forty One signatures on the new constitution, which was announced to the public to cheers. Soon copies of the constitution would be put up in public places around the island.

Drive had some doubts about the longevity of the system. This leadership, while vigorous lacked any experience while the populace of Avesia had a mix of those who resented authority and people who had habitual obedience beaten into them. A strong man could cease power, as could someone who was good at administration and making alliances behind the scenes. Even so, this was still a more productive measure than letting the captains fight over the island like a flock of gulls on a rotten fish. The threat of war and general cooperation should get most of them to go along with it for some time at least and if nothing else freed slaves were often quite resistant to going back into bondage. Give his drill instructors a few months and they could snuff out any hopes of the Dark Elves might have about a profitable Reaping.
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(Detention Center 2, Svobodagrad, Free Avesian Republic, Early Spring 37 IA)
'Pick your Battles.' That was the first rule of a mercenary company and one which Acel Nicellon of Fallion's Fists company learned early. He had managed to become one of the company's five Lieutenants and while admittedly a big part of that was that he knew his letters and the company had an abundance of dead men's shoes to fill this fact was obvious to him. When you led a team on a raid and find another enemy team, fight them when you had the advantage. When you were choosing what side in a conflict to get a contract with, go for the one who'd most likely win.

Of course you often did not have that option, sometimes the battle was picked for you and you had to fight it anyway. More so in recent years. Not that things had been getting more peaceful on the mainland, but the countries that fought those wars had become less interested in hiring them. The Fists had to settle for lower rates doing either low end garrison work or being thrown into the meat grinder. In the last ten years the formerly 421 strong company had lost more 300 troops in battle. They managed to find some replacements in the usual sources (outcasts, gang members, bandits, refugees, peasant boys looking to see the world, etc) as well as the remnants of old companies that hadn't survived the meat grinder that war was becoming, but despite that they were still down to about 260 troops. The smaller the company the weaker the price it could command both in absolute terms and per head, the less likely it was for them to come out with the spoils of war and the greater the chance that they'd be destroyed outright.

A month ago they'd come to Avesia to try to solve that problem. It was a common enough stop for companies to bolster their ranks. The Kingdom's requirement that all free men keep arms meant that there were plenty of potential recruits who could supply their own gear. There were also fathers who wanted their sons to learn how to use them under the tutelage of seasoned veterans, which provided a modest but safe cash-flow. Then there were the slaves. The King would sell a few of his Janissaries to foreign buyers and they were generally good solid fighters. Then there were slave Stevedores and Farmhands. They were generally strong, used to impoverished conditions, cheap and were often pathetically grateful to the men who freed them. Just as importantly those looking for mercenary companies often sent agents to Avesia. Acel had expected that they'd spend a few months here licking their wounds and get some half decent contract. He did not expect a dozen Infrastructural warships to show up in Porta Liberium's harbor.

Even so, captain Fallion made the right call. When word got about about who was coming the Fists packed their bags and moved a few miles to the north to a goat field where they made camp. When a royal official came to hire them, offering each member of the company twenty Lyra (more what the average member would make in a year on campaign in the good old days) and lordships for the officers, they were refused. When they threatened that they would be hunted down by the Kingdom's armies if they did not comply The Captain's response was simple and hit the nail on the head.

"How many Necromancers have you got?"

Eventually they gave up trying to dragoon 323 uncooperative mercs to their doomed cause and they watched as the Coldlanders overran the city. As that happened he'd come in with a truce flag and an request for employment. Things were a bit tricky since only a few of their officers knew some broken Venoan, Torionese or Allergonian. But eventually they'd managed to get a contract for some guard work.

Though there was a lot of butchery a fair number of Free Avesians were captured, many of them were inured in the surviving pens of the slave markets for the time being. The Coldlanders hand them cleaned out and had ripped out the chains, but they still served their purpose. The Infrastructurals measured them, used their 'camera' things to make pictures of them and wrote reports about them. Every day more of them came in and after a few weeks some of them were taken away to their ships. Their job was simple, keep the former slavers in, keep them in line and keep the ex-slaves out until this lot was entirely deported.

He'd heard talk about the new "Free Avesian Republic" that was being made and thought about it as he ate an orange. It sounded nice but he had his doubts on how effective it would be and how long it would last. Moreover he'd probably never come back to Avesia once this job was done. The pay was not great, especially since four fifths of it was there Paper Money instead of proper coin. But for all that he was satisfied with this contract. Better work for Credits from the winning side then to lay dead alongside the losers with a purse full of gold.
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(Tivro Foundry, Tivro, Kingdom of Torion, Early Spring 37 IA)
Word of the Infrastructural Ultimatum to Avesia was sent out by Linkglass less than an hour after the message was given, spreading to Venoa, the Drow States and six more of the Island Kingdom's main trading partners first and spreading out from there, aided by messages given by Infrastructural Embassies once the invasion began. There were some people who applauded the Central Committee for snuffing out that nest of slavers and pirates. There were others who were outraged that the Infrastructural War Machine destroyed a sovereign nation because it did some things it found distasteful and was indirectly supporting their enemies. There were also people who were upset that a once reasonably well off place to sell stuff to had been snuffed out and glad that one of their rivals was gone. There were also four other states, like the Jumhuria of Halrizuud, who's response to this was unbridled terror.

As such, Hirhsin bin-Kulshar (ambassador of Halrizuud to the Kingdom of Torion) made the four day long journey to Tivro in a small convoy. The city was smaller than the Capital and less grand. Even so it was growing with numerous new buildings being put up and shanty towns growing on it's outskirts, in particular around his destination. There were a lot of men and Dwarves walking about with aprons and sooty clothes. He'd read long ago that the local river and some coal mines had let Tivro become a center of metalworking for the Kingdom centuries ago and business had been good for them. After sending out a servant to see to accommodations at a coaching house he made his way to the City's Foundry. Hirhsin and two of his bodyguards made their way past the receptionist and to a clerk with a few Trono handed out to smooth the process. He concealed some satisfaction in the surprise that the dull associate said when not only did a southern merchant prince strode into his room, but a pair of the Jumhuria's Sterling Guard stride into his room. He also concealed a sneer at the electric lamp on his desk.

"Good day, Senior Recart. I am Ambassador Hirhsin bin-Kulshar of Halrizuud, I know my sudden arrival is quite irregular but these are irregular times. I have come on behalf of my government to place an order. What are your largest guns."

The clerk took a second to gather his thoughts, then he became all business. "Well currently those are the are the the new 96 Pounder Rifles. Most impressive pieces able to throw a roundshot more than four and a half miles. We're currently testing out some new 120 Pounder Rifles that we believe which should shoot even further. If everything goes smoothly we should begin production of those in two months."

"While we have full confidence of your abilities my government holds the position that we need artillery now. What do you have in stock?"

"Well we have sixteen 96 Pounders in our warehouses..."

"...and what will be ready soon?" Hirhsin interjected.

"Well we have four more that should be finished tomorrow and another four that should be done in five days."

"And four more in nine days?"

"Well yes."

"Good. We'll take all 36 of them."

"Hold it now." The clerk replied with a worried grin on his face. "This is not a bakery. Those guns were ordered by His Majesty's Government. We'd be more than happy to accept your own contact."

"Tell me, how much does each of your guns cost?"

"Four hundred and thirty Trono a piece."

Hirshin lifted his hands and one of his guards put a small lacquered box with the chest of the Republic on the desk. He unlocked it and opened it to reveal the glittering coins within. "We are offering 200 Thanes for each. Or 300 Lyra, or 600 Marks. In cash, up front, right now." The clerk was struck dumb, the smallest of which was worth nearly twice a Trono. "Enough to cover our quick purchase, your masters to give a full refund to His Majesty in apology for the delay and some more on the side for good measure. We'd also place an order for the new hardened armor piercing shot and twelve of those 120 pounders."

"Well, I'd need to take this upstairs and inspect your coin, but um, I think we could make this happen" The Clerk had acquired the nervous look of someone who's heard something which sounds too good to be true, but fervently hopes it is.

"Of course!" A few hours latter more than 10,000 Thanes exchanged hands and arrangements were being made for barges to take the cannons downriver where they would be shipped to the small slaver republic as soon as possible. Some refunds (though not full) were given to the Royal Government for the delay on delivery, some of which found their way back into the foundry's pockets as twelve more 120 pounders were ordered. This also meant that some 340 tonnes of iron were unexpectedly expended by the Tivro Foundry and about a thousand tonnes of coal was needed to process it, which caused them to suddenly go out and top off their stock which in turn helped push up already rising prices. This was not the only case in which this happened. The four other major slave ports were desperate to upgrade their defenses and do it quickly, getting new artillery (as well as other arms and armor) where they could and paying a premium to get it ASAP. Combined with everything else, this sudden rush for armaments by the Slaver States provided a sudden jolt to the steadily increasing cost of iron and coal that further enticed speculators and spurred on a trend who's effects would be felt far and wide, from village forges to the halls of kings, from the Principality of Oestia (and it's distant colonial ambitions) to the Naga Rajs. Bust most profoundly in the Drow States.

Just as the Central Committee had planned.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2017-07-30 01:17pm

A plan started, presumably, with the first oil drawn from the colony-1 wells?

Excellent :)
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-08-05 05:25am

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The Jumhuria of Halrizuud is a small state on the the Northern Coast of the Southern Continent. A Qanthrathi City-State controlling about 6,800 square kilometers of territory along the Rizuud river which is home to some 440,000 people (70,000 in the city itself). Like several of it's neighboring states its run by a council composed mostly of elected Patricians along with some Qanthrathi Judges, scholars and Priests. While it has some local agriculture, quarrying and minor industries as well as having a respectable trade fleet and being prominent in local finance, the foundation of it's economy is in the Slave Trade. Most of these come from the south while some come from pirates. Either way about 30,000 people pass through it's slave markets every year to be sold to various human and Drow buyers, making it one of the largest largest of the seven major human slave ports of the western world. In general the city's free population is wealthy and well off, a state of affairs which has endured for six centuries. But while the citizens of Halrizuud have no desire for expansion their state is often threatened by those who'd seek to plunder it. From the land come bands of nomadic raiders and from the sea come rivals. Defending the Jumhuria is a fleet of 30 cannon armed galleys, but more famously there is the Sterling Guard.

It is said that the Sterling Guard has an ignoble origin but a glorious history. Originally the Jumharia relied on a militia composed of an armed citizenry to defend itself with wealthy landowners owning warships, occasionally hiring mercenaries in times of war. This sufficed for the modest forces required by it in it's early days but it did lead to an embarrassing incident in 522 BIA in which a group of militia assembled to serve as an honor guard for a visiting northern noble that they disliked decided to make a scene in protest, insulting and throwing dead rats at him and his entorage. This lead to him leaving without making any business deals and costing the merchants a lot of money. As such they elected to retain a small standing force of a hundred men to serve the Jumharia and The Laws, defend it from attackers and act as honor guards on formal occasions. They were given maile and suits of mirror plate and were expected to keep it well polished, thus the force soon acquired its name. Over the next three centuries the Sterling Guard would gradually increase in size, primarially due to three factors.

A: The population and wealth of the Jumharia increased.
B: The fact that a well drilled force of soldiers proved to be more effective in a fight then a mobs of loosely organized people with weapons.
C: The fact that they fought off four attempted coups were launched those who sought to overthrow the government.

Gradually the militia system atrophied away to as the Sterling Guard rose in prominence until it became a loose collection of armed individuals. Most men in the city would serve in the Silver Guard for either two or four years. Elite soldiers, officers and NCOs serve for longer. The army is well paid, with even a common soldier earning the equivalent of 5 Imperial pfennigs a day in wages plus bonuses. Moreover it is also well known for it's loyalty to it's state. Never in it's long history has it attempted to rebel.

Since 40 BIA the Sterling Guard has been a force 12,000 men strong (though in 37 IA efforts were made to expand it to 15,000), most of which are heavy infantry mixed with some light cavalry, support mages and defensive artillery crews. Sterling Guardsmen wear helmets, chainmaile and mirror plate (with some shock troops and officers ranked captain or up having runic armor) with the insignia of the Jumharia (an Olive Leaf with two crossed scimitars) inscribed on it's torso. Traditionally they were armed with heavy scimitars and either crossbows, arquebuses or halberds for infantry while cavalry had spears, bucklers, composite bows and specially made carbines. In more modern times they've traded in these traditional weapons (baring the scimitars) for rifles (mostly rifled muskets but increasingly they're investing in screw breech-loaders). Each soldier also has a backpack. The artillery corps has also been expanded in recent years. They man the three garrison forts which protects the frontiers of the small nation, patroling it's borders against raiders and runaways. The rest are based in the city of Halrizuud itself, where they man he defensive fortifications and stand guard over the slave pens.

In general the Sterling Guard has proven to be an effective force with a respectable level of professionalism. It's biggest problem is that is an expensive force to maintain. As such one thing that the Jumhuria has been known to do is to rent out the services of it's to several battalions of the Sterling Guard to other states (usually the city states of the Anvosi Peninsula). Though there have been some defeats more often than not the Jumhuria's picks the winning team and 1,000 to 3,000 solid troops can usually tip the balance in such conflicts. In recent years due to increased casualty rates these policies the Jumhuria has become less willing to rent out it's forces, but with the fall of Avesia they are currently engaged in a crash armament program.
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
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