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 Post subject: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:37 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1721
Location: Portland OR
Perhaps it is redundant for me to write again so soon. My research in the First City is grossly incomplete and I have little more to add than my previous musings on the Crusade. Yet while my vanity whispers that you have heard of me before and remember who I am, word has also reached me that my old musings are unavailable.

Perhaps those scribbles are victims to a fire. Or perhaps merely they have been misfiled in some scholars collection. Regardless, if we are to believe in the maxim: Litera Scripta Manet, then I ask you to indulge me as I recover some of the same ground. If you have already read my previous writing then I will reward your patience with a snippet of the important research being done on the separation of the uls from the vals at the end of the First Imperium.

How do you do. I am Ambassador Tukufu, born in Altheria, the most enlightened of nations. By birth I enjoy several awkward privileges, including being born a val. You see if you were to travel to Semar and consult with my great grandmother she might explain how my mother met the late Sir Ulrich val Holryn of the Shining Patrol and how they fell in love. Sir Ulrich, awkwardly, left behind a wife named Odile and two children in his home of Tralia…and to this day they rather resent the implications of my story. Further, to be a val in Altheria, even an awakened one, but not of the val’Abebi bloodline is to be curiously invisible. You suffer no disrespect. Far from it. But you also receive few invitations to attend the councils of the learned.

I do not wish to be invisible. I wish to matter. And I wish for my deeds and works to survive this present moment and endure.

So I joined the Milandesian Crusade. I had the thought that if I searched hard enough for valor on the field of battle, even looking for it inside the very maws of infernals, then there might be some way to force my acceptance upon the val Holryn family. To this end I had the fortune to serve under Count Felix val Ossan in the Irregulars. I have some hopes that if you are reading this then you also were a comrade at arms under Felix. I won’t bore you with my war record. If you are an Irregular then you were there and shared in it. If you weren’t … you’d probably just dismiss my words as was boasting.

Somehow, by the grace of unseen powers, I survived. I suppose to some extent I also succeed. Odile doesn’t say nasty things about me in public anymore. Still it didn't take a third eye to see that I was never going to receive invitations to social functions in Tralia. Again I was invisible.

So. In the end we must all return to the beginning.

I suppose I could have joined Felix in Censure or returned to Semar. Perhaps I could have written the official history of the Irregulars. I may yet try to do that. But I am not ready to permanently retire to a desk.

So the logical step was to travel to the Blessed Lands where I am today. I say logical because there is some tension between scholarly work in the southern lands and the desires of certain parties, such as the Inquisition of the Mother Church, to regulate information. Here I am not talking about the works of infernal cultists or what-nots. I have no interest in such heretics and firmly support their suppression. I am talking instead about history that is merely sensitive because it is controversial or can touch upon “the warts” of topics that certain organizations would rather present as unblemished icons.

For example the First Imperium. We want to look back at it as some ongoing endless moment of The Golden Age…at least if we are part of the great tribe of man and not elorii. But if you look closely you begin to find the gilding wears thin in places. For example, the buried story of the Nelgazzi or the ugly and mostly suppressed history of the Blood War.

Which brings me at last to the mater of the Uls and their separation from the 13 remaining “Royal Houses” of the val. Though as an aside I should note that I suspect that the count of Houses is suspect to say the least. The val Haupt are ancient and may well have once held the title of Imperator and Ademerius Biriglo, the former Abbot of Rell is also reported to have made interesting speculation about the Imperators of the First Imperum.

Regardless. In researching the Uls in the First City I found it was vastly easier, if not exactly easy, to gain access to historical documents. I am sure that many of the documents I have seen do not exist further south, not even in obscured and private libraries. From this trove of material I bring additional words on the exodus:

It is no secret that the people who became the Uls fled from the Imperium before the coming of the Cleansing Flame of Leonydas. But from multiple sources I am able to report now that they were led out by Yu val Hsien. Or perhaps the correct way to sequence that would be the current Khitani fasion of val Hsien Yu. As I understand it, Yu had the title of the Prophet of Dreams. Or perhaps the prophet of the Valinor of Dreams. Sources are inconsistent. It was on the instructions he received that the people who would become the Uls fled the first city. If I understand correctly this happened as the attack by the Sword of the Heavens was imminent, perhaps even as the pillar of fire that surrounded him could be seen approaching. Under the influence of the Valinor of Dreams they were not stopped by the Imperator’s Guards as they made their way to the Starry Gate. And thus they escaped to the North and West. Yu became ul Hsien Yu. In fact it is the contention of the many Ul’s I have spoken with in the First City that in their language “Ul” means “the blessed,” and that their position in the eyes of the gods is higher than those of the val. As an Altherian, and part of the chosen people of Althares, I tried not to let my offense at such a presumption show.

There is so much more to be learned. For example I have to assume the Starry Gate is the four oversized gates of Anshar in the now inaccessible part of the First City. But for which God does this Valinor dream? Larissa seems like a likely candidate to me. But certainly not the only one. And beyond this one point in time, what was the Imperium’s or the Sword’s response? Were they ignored? Or pursued?

We act on our understanding of the past. But too often we loose our heritage as facts are lost or distorted. So often perception is reality.

I want my works to influence that perception, or at least flesh it out to a greater depth than the casual perusal of history provides. Hopefully some of you who are reading this will feel the same and will join, or continue, this great exploration. Even that strange gnome with the skull fetish. Let us be enriched by the treasures of history and live like kings.

To my friends, cousins, comrades and fellow scholars I remain your obedient scribe.

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:45 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
Posts: 583
A stalward Coryani Tribune who's index finger seams callused more by the quill than by the gladius steps forward....

My dear friend. We have traveled to this strange land together and bled in the same mud. Please let me give you some free advice. Hold your quil. The Blessed Lands has many secrets. Secrets best left for dead. Those that proect those secrets no doubt would gleefully see you join them -permenently. That strange little gnome is but the messenger of this silent power.

Please I invite you to enjoy the games with me. Leave the dead where they lie.

_________________
---
Eric Hughes

Ooze Jumper the Ineffectual
Mourner's Public Relations Specialist

Acturis Vocious
Frustrated Undir Bounty Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:14 am 
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Location: Portland OR
Gentle Readers,

Should we turn to the issue of the costs and prices for delving deeply into past accounts?

I personally have always seen the necessity to looking to the past. To me, even without a godlike mind or a third eye, it is self evident. Yet I have always received missives from different quarters arguing against further exploration or reinterpretation. Some of my allies, I have too few, have been concerned on my behalf. I remain grateful for their concern. Some enemies feel free to offer threats. They veil them to varying degrees. Some others are concerned that ancient secrets shared may cause harm to the relatively innocent alive today.

I admit, these are serious concerns. Well the last is. Concern for any real enemies should be dismissed since what they deserve is scorn. And while I appreciate the concern of friends, I can usually take care of myself, or lean on them for support. That leaves the issue of harming the innocent. A serious concern. Let me state that I try never to reveal information that may directly harm the innocent. The gift of knowledge comes from holy Altheres and to allow his gift to indiscriminately harm others is to profane that gift.

But I want to put to you an idea that more innocents are harmed by ignorance than by the revelation of the truth. Take the val Virdan family.

In the reign of Emperor Marelius val'Assante the Patriarch of the Mother Church, Hulantin val'Assante, was assassinated. Historical sources point to High General Erdul val'Virdan. This leader of the val'Virdan family commanded the Legion of Cleansing Flame and confessed to the crime. I should point out that the Legion of the Cleansing Flame was by all accounts an elite force and it served the Patriarch as elite bodyguards and agents much the same way the Legion of Vigilance serves the Emperor to this day.

Dig even a little deeper and oddities start to crop up.

First let me note that this event took place during a time of great turmoil in the Empire. Abessios was revolting, again, and had come within a few whiskers of expelling the Coryani. Second, Patriarch Hulantin was a popular, charismatic and experienced leader, while Emperor Marellius had just recently ascended to the throne. Third, High General Erdul previously had an immaculate record and there has never been a real sign that he or the Legion of Cleansing Flame had any motive to betray the Patriarch. Finally, from multiple sources we learn that Erdul went to a gruesome death with a smile fixed on his face. By gruesome I mean they spread eagled him on the ground and marched soldiers across him with hob nailed boots till he died. Nierites were rounded up and were banished to the farthest reaches of the Empire in what is today Canceri.

It was the repeated stories of the smile that caught my attention initially. That is not the usual action of a condemned man. So I would suggest to you that a more likely event was that Hulantin made a grab for power and Erdul and the Legion of the Cleansing Flame either acted to stop him directly or took the blame when the Legion of Vigilance intervened. In this scenario General Erdul does this to spare the young Emperor recriminations or divisions at a time when the Empire needed to be united. In this scenario General Erdul accepts his death either because he has failed his vow to protect the Patriarch, or to protect the Empire, or both. And dies smiling even under gruesome conditions because he knows his sacrifice will allow the Empire to consolidate its power base and deal with potential threats.

I cannot prove that the following story is true. But several men I respect are investigating it. And they believe it. There is also hope that General Sarenta val'Mehan, who served in the Legion of Vigilance at this time and was an eyewitness to these accounts, has left a journal of these events that remains secret to this day.

This was a forbidden topic to scholars for most of the Empires history. However the recent events of the civil war, which has obvious parallels, has reopened it as an area of speculation.

Now to circle back to the matter of innocents being harmed. Assume for a moment that this story, though unproven, is true. It is possible that at the time the Empire was fragile enough that Hulantin's death might have sparked civic unrest, or that his die hard followers might have rebelled against an untested Emperor. If that is true then the deceit propagated saved lives at that time. But think of the harm done done the road. What if there had been no Nierites living in Canceri when Bercherk unleashed his heresies? Would the Empire have still lost the provinces of Canceri and Milandir? Do the val'Virdan to this day suffer a reputation for unprincipled violence? As for saving Abessios, the long history of rebellion has ended today with a new nation. And Coryani may honestly be better off without it. I cannot help but think that there has been a severe price paid for Marellius' success. And who would be hurt now by revealing this truth? If truth it be? I see no one.

Further I wonder if this the only time the val'Virdan family has made a sacrifice for the greater good even at the expense of their own fortunes? I suspect not. Were we to dig deeply enough into the first Imperium I wonder what we would fine as the cause of the val'Virdan being relegated to the role of Janissary warriors.

Digging at a story like this is a worthwhile endeavor even if it garners me few friends. It may well be that there is a debt that is owed to the val'Virdan family. I would see such debts acknowledged. And to the friends I do have. Fear not. I will always be happy to join you at the games for an afternoon of relaxation. And for a time I will even set down my quill. But the whisper of the past always calls, and in my experience nothing is silenced forever.

To my friends, cousins, comrades and fellow scholars I remain your obedient scribe.

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:54 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:51 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
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::Grumble:: Thinks to himself...

"There is Always some damned Altherian fool who doesn't know his place going around creating mischief these days... I bet his next letter will advocate delving deeper into the myth of The Destroyer of Worlds. It if wasn't for their accrussed blast powerder and flying ships they would have long been beaten into submission at the hands of Coryani steel. Still, blast power proved useful in the civil war to put down that upstart Menesis. Ok a little collateral damage at Empebyn, but such is war."

_________________
---
Eric Hughes

Ooze Jumper the Ineffectual
Mourner's Public Relations Specialist

Acturis Vocious
Frustrated Undir Bounty Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:18 am 
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Friends, Cousins, Comrades and all Gentle Readers,

Some of you have sent word to me privately asking if there is anything known about the “Destroyer” or the so called “God King.” Prophesies whispered at caravansaries speak of a calamity to be heralded into the world should this person sit upon the Throne of Man. As much as I would like to be recognized as one of the greatest researchers of this age, I have to confess that on this issue I am nearly as ignorant as the common man. Though I also hasten to assure you: this issue ranks very high indeed among the topics researched by myself and many others of the learned and wise!

I have only one area of facts that are worthy of current speculation.

From surviving, usually fragmented, texts we know only a little with certainty of how the First Imperium ended. One potentially interesting fact is that the last Imperator reacted with almost visceral horror to the idea that Leonydas val’Virdan as the Avatar of Nier, above and beyond the fear and horror that widespread due to the val’Virdan uprising. The Imperator had warning of both Leonydas’ invincibility and time to choose a course of action. The last Imperator could have presumably gone into hiding. There is evidence that the women and children of the val’Assante and val’Emman families did just that. The Imperator could perhaps have set up a government in exile and attempted to stage a mobile insurrection like the one later conducted by Prince Volthar val’Holryn.

Instead the Imperator chose to have twelve “indestructible” keys crafted. Each interacted with locks to slowly close the doors to throne room. Once all twelve were turned, the barrier would be complete and impenetrable until all twelve keys were collected again and used in the locks. Then the doors would open all at once. Until that day comes, the Throne of Man remains less accessible than the Moon Apperio. I have always found it strange that the highest priority of the last Imperator was to create an unbreakable barrier around the Throne of Man. I begin to wonder if they had this prophesy even back in the days of the First Imperium? And if so, did the Imperator fear that the Avatar of Nier could be the “Destroyer?”

That last bit is rampant speculation on my part. I am a little bit embarrassed to offer it in writing. However I set it to paper because even if it is far off the mark, it is indeed necessary for us to turn our attention back to Leonydas again. Something not commonly known is that while 11 keys were used and scattered to the winds, the last key was still being turned even as the Sword of the Heavens stormed into the Imperator’s palace and its bearer was cut down moments after turning the last lock. All sources available agree that Leonydas kept the last Key and hung it like a pendant on a chain around his neck.

Now as anyone who has been in the First City can tell you, it seems like every other dealer in antiquities has “A Key of Man” hidden in a back room with a long complicated tale of how it has come into his or her family’s possession. But where ever else the Keys are, the location of only the last one can be safely guessed. It is in the fell and silent Citadel of Nier, along with whatever secret fate befell Leonydas when he ventured there after his apparent resurrection Nishanpur. Whatever else we know about this “Destroyer,” we know he or she will need THAT key too. Only the complete the set of keys can open the Throne Room, and set this dire prophesy in motion.

I take some comfort in that. But I if someone is powerful enough to wrest the Key from what might be the most dangerous place known to man then I fear deeply for those of us who might try to stop them. Clearly it would prudent for those who are interested in such things to keep a watchful eye on any expedition that heads off in that direction toward the petrified forest who surrounds the Citadel of Nier.

My friends, some of you have also suggested, politely, that I m too long winded. So I will end here. I remain, as always, your obedient scribe.

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:45 pm
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thinks :: Yep had to mention both the keys and doors. Now every member of the emerald society and azure way are going to show up and ruin my peaceful retirement. Well at least he didn't mention that it was the gods themselves that locked the doors before leaving Onara. If he had done that the inquisition would be all over him. Oh wait what am I thinking? That would take the heat off of me and put it on the Mother Church.::


Dear ambassador,

Have you considered who the key makers are?

Sincere regards,

The silent readership.

_________________
---
Eric Hughes

Ooze Jumper the Ineffectual
Mourner's Public Relations Specialist

Acturis Vocious
Frustrated Undir Bounty Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:42 am 
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Friends and comrades, cousins and all gentle readers,

I see a friend and fellow scholar has left a note at the Crossroads asking: Who were the Key makers? It doesn't take a third eye to see that is a very good question! Though sadly I can now tell you that the inquiry eventually leads to frustration.

The basic answer turns out to be simple. Who made the Keys? The Temples. All the traditions agree that each of the Temples of the Pantheon of Man produced one of the keys at the behest of the Imperator and the Hierophant. Even the Temple of Nier.

It might seem odd at first that the Temple of Nier would work against the interests of the Sword of the Heavens or that the Hierophant would act against someone recognized as the living avatar of a god. But it is important to remember that at this time the Temple of Nier was probably dominated by the val’Emman family since the val’Virdan family had been enslaved as Janissaries. Since the val’Emman faced an existential threat from Leonydas and the rebelling val’Virdan it is easy to see why they would be happy to oppose him. As for the Hierophant, he or she remains a more mysterious figure. But since sources agree that the Hierophant was among the victims of Swords in either in their initial invasion or soon after at the hands of the High Priest of the Pyre, who sacrificed thousands who refused to accept Nier’s preeminence, I believe we can safely guess that he or she had no desire to help Leonydas and his followers either.

History thus provides us with a “who” and political guesswork gives us a pretty good guess as to the “why.”

But the “how?” Now we reach frustration! How did the Temples fashion the keys? The keys are effectively indestructible, and we build in no such materials today. On this question I have, as yet, no good ideas. Nor do I know of anyone with greater knowledge than myself on the subject. Alas!

With celerity I did survey old manuscripts from the First Imperium that dealt with engineering and metallurgy. I was looking for clues to answer this very conundrum. Sadly I found nothing about the Keys’ construction or indestructible materials. But sometimes nothing is also something. I did discover a curious omission. Despite the proximity of the Fervidious Hills, Fervidite seems to have been unknown to the First Imperium as an alloy. Not one of the texts I consulted made mention of it.

Isn't that curious! Maybe my sample of sources was simply too limited. Maybe their metal smiths really did know of this fantastic ore. Or perhaps the First Imperium was too busy conquering other continents and dimensions to worry much about digging in their own backyard? Perhaps. There is even some limited evidence that the Kurenthe Curse was even stronger one thousand years ago. So a hesitation to engage in local mining surveys is not impossible. But the simplest answer is that they knew nothing of this metal.

Or for all we know it could be something even stranger. Perhaps even somehow connected to the Voei. As ludicrous as that sounds on the surface, it turns out that the Voei aren't mentioned in any of my First Imperium documents either. These documents include notes on the Sword of Heaven’s progress into and out of Khitan. I find that not only curious curious but also suggestive. After all, every modern army that passes through that region has extensive notes on their Voei encounters. Were the Voei there then? Perhaps I have missed something.

Well, I shall think of these many continuing mysteries as job security. After all, if history was clear as glass no one would need sages. So. As I leave you I remain as always your humble and obedient scribe…

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:43 am 

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"Indestructible keys? What if a key was not material? What if the word key is a metaphor for knowledge? For knowledge can be lost but never destroyed."

Thinks: oh gods! Now he's got me talking like an altherian. Well it is off to the temple for confession.

_________________
---
Eric Hughes

Ooze Jumper the Ineffectual
Mourner's Public Relations Specialist

Acturis Vocious
Frustrated Undir Bounty Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:32 pm 
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Friends, Cousins, Comrades and Gentle Readers,

Some of you have left me more practical questions about the present state of the Blessed Lands. "Tukufu," you write, "rather than material about esoteric prophesies and notes on the distant past tell us what you've experienced there." Essentially several of you have asked: What is the Blessed Lands and the First City like?

You could write a book on such a topic! I despair of answering such questions concisely. I gather too many of you have not yet been to the First City. I urge you to come and make the pilgrimage! Then you will see for yourselves. You will want a third eye to take in all the wonders and history openly on display. In the minds of Men, Elorii and S’sressen alike the First City has an almost mythical quality as the center of all our ancient empires. Did I say almost? I retract the statement. Of course the First City has a mythical quality. The gods of Men and Elorii walked its streets in antiquity!

For all that, it is also working city where people live out their ordinary days.

Let me begin by stating the obvious. The Blessed Lands are not lush and though the First City is favorably located for trade, the land remains scared from the eloran Kurenthe curse uttered more than 4,000 years ago. As a result foodstuffs, mundane and exotic, need to be imported and remain relatively expensive. Weather here is also its own adventure. I have had the dubious joys of learning firsthand about both “thorn stones,” hail that inexplicably has thorns in it, and the red “blood snow” which burns flesh. The blood snow in particular is dangerous and will kill anyone caught in it without shelter. Come prepared! While traveling the lands around the First City I and my companions came across even stranger and more disturbing signs of the curse. At one old campsite we stumbled across, we found the previous occupants and all their gear frozen solid. Even the yellow and orange flames of their camp fire appeared like so much colored ice. Since flame is not matter as I understand it, I am at a loss at what could cause such a transformation. And on a warm day! Suffice it to say I am a little in awe of the local people called the Andyar who somehow deal with these unpredictable and dangerous events to scratch out a living in their villages that dot the Blessed Lands.

Encounters with pilgrims are also frequent. I confess I have developed something of a dislike for pilgrims in general during several misadventures as an Irregular. And really, nothing I have seen here improves my opinion. I know I just urged you to come on pilgrimage in the salutation of this letter, but I expect you to come equipped, with weapons, and the means and ability to defend yourself. Too many seeking salvation either lack any training in defense or have taken oaths, sometimes even Sarishian Oaths, of non-violence and pacifism while traveling. Since the pilgrims also carry money for food, Inns, donations and relics they naturally form the bottom of a thrice damned food pyramid. Pilgrims then get preyed on by bandits of all stripes. Sadly I have to inform you that the banditry opportunities are so good that some of the “best” from the Hinterlands have packed up and moved west to take up their trade here too. This includes so called jackal men and the Ehtzara who lead them.

The Soldier Saints of Dadgha and the armed forces of Corayn and Khitan patrol. Certainly they help a great deal. But their numbers are limited. Coryan and Khitan are each limited to 500 soldiers each by the treaty that ended the second Coryani-Khitani war. Against these modest numbers there is, if you will pardon the pun, a lot of Blessed Lands to cover. And it turns out there are politics in the pilgrimages as well. The various Churches seek to protect their own pilgrims, and profits, first. Even at the expense of pilgrims of other faiths. So their front against the bandits is far from united. Sometimes politics depresses even me.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the treaty that ended the second Coryani Khitani war.
Today, the commonly accepted political order in the First City rests on it. After the deaths of Emperor Quarron val Dellenov and the execution of the Khitani Fens’ leader there was a lull in the fighting where I’m told the two armies glared at each other across some stretch of the Blessed Lands. That lull was an opportunity seized by the val’Abebi family and their strange Khitani counterparts the ul’Wei, who I note go completely concealed in robes wherever they travel. It is not clear that anyone directly empowered them, but the two families began to negotiate. From these negotiations a treaty was established. They must have gotten most of it right because it holds to this day. The key provisions of this treaty define the government and the power structure in the First City and by extension, the surrounding Blessed Lands. Reading the treaty itself is a tedious business of legalese that helped me fall asleep several night running. I will save you a similar effort by listing what I think are the key provisions: Self Determination, a Balance of Power in the region between Coryan and Khitan, Open Trade with all visitors, Freedom of Conscious to worship however one pleases as long as no one gets hurt, and the rights of all people to Make Pilgrimage to the many sacred sites.

On a day to day basis it is the merchants who hold the real power. Without trade it is my opinion that the First City would not be able to sustain its population. So it does not surprise me to see that the most powerful merchant families and cabals effectively run the city. House Varro is a vassal of the val’Borda family and controls most of the fervidite mining. If I had to pick out one of the merchant houses as the most powerful I would probably point there. But at best they are the first among equals. Another local power is the Toman Khan, or Regent of the First Imperium. Many of the Toman Khan’s powers appear ceremonial to me on the surface, but he undoubtedly has great influence on the native people. His position is hereditary and acknowledged in the treaty. I really have to do more research about him and his lineage.

Finally in this survey I wish to mention the “unclean” quarter of the First City. Though really it more like the a half of the City rather than a quarter. You see, only half of the city is fit for occupation. Or at least civilized occupation. The other half is barricaded away and guarded by those Coryani and Khitani not on patrol. You can look over and into the unclean quarter from rooftops and towers, though few do. The unclean quarter has a reputation for danger that is well earned. Lingering horrors from the past as well as undead and traps litter it. And treasures are there waiting to be unearthed. The Emerald Society, the Fellows of the Azure Way and the Jial of the Phoenix all send expeditions in. Not all come out. Sometimes I am told you can see strange figures moving around in the unclean quarter too, though to see them is thought to be unlucky. None the less I have spent many afternoons gazing into the unclean quarter from a temple to Altheres, trying to make plans to do a little poking around of my own. Once I thought I saw legionnaires from the Legion of Grim Lamentation hurrying somewhere. They always look distinctive with their masked helmets. But now looking back, I’m not sure that my imagination didn’t get the better of me. Certainly I couldn’t find any sign of them in any of the taverns that week. Or any other week. Though that might not prove anything. I don’t think I’ve ever seen members of the Legion of Grim Lamentation off duty anywhere. They must drink alone.

There is far more I could write but I will have to conclude this survey here. I wish you all safe travels. And I remain, your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1721
Location: Portland OR
Gentle Readers,

Shadowfast approaches. A time for celebrating Cadic! Not a good time for the safe travel on roads. But a perfect time to settle back as twilight falls, raise a glass with friends, and share in spooky stories. Perhaps with fine singing in the background.

Turn down the lights. Settle back in your divans. Under the cover of shadow and music let us unwind the clock of history back to the First Imperium. And begin what is perhaps the darkest tale I know.

So often when we look back we wish to see a Golden Age, free from imperfection. But this perception is not reality. At least not all of it. Among the great victories are shameful compromises that have made to ensure survival. This tale itself is buried in the Godswar and how in the name of necessity, the allies of the Pantheon of man were betrayed and consumed so that they might have enough power to defeat and contain the Other.

In a much later time, perhaps 1,000 years into the First Imperium, the cycle started itself again on a mortal scale. A terrible secret was unlocked. As the gods could consume the elemental lords, so too could val consume each other. And with the right rituals, one could steal the bloodline powers of the consumed. If both parents had engaged in this terrible rite of cannibalism, then their children would also be born with this bounty. So was the Blood War of the First Imperium started. Each family alone faced the prospect of victory or extinction. So they, the val families, gathered their armies and made war on each other across the Imperium. Or families tried to decamp en mass and hide in the Imperiums quietest backwaters. It is unknown how many cities and bloodlines were cast into oblivion. But we do know the survivors; I am reluctant to call them victors. Today we mostly call them the major families.

If you are unwilling to believe such a thing of our illustrious ancestors I will not blame you. Certainly you will not find this tale in the history scrolls of our libraries. Only in a few illuminated texts of deep scholars, and these jealously guarded. Perhaps even to believe such things are possible at all is dangerous in itself. Both man’s capacity for atrocity, and the thought that such a ritual could be recreated. A scary tale indeed, and one I feel little need go dig deeper.

Well. Adventure is calling to me. Tomorrow I go to speak with individuals who claim to represent “The 13th Citadel,” an emporium of sorts of the antiquities trade. Or so they claim. This may well be the last letter I send in awhile. If all goes well I hope to be very busy for the next few months.

May all your travels lead to interesting places, and to my fellow Altherians, may your powder always be dry. I wish you all well!

Your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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