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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:43 pm 
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As always, waiting attentively with eyes so bright to put the most adorable child to shame. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:48 am 
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Gentle Readers,

I return to conclude my reports to you of the Legion of the Black Sun, the Sea of Grass, and the Hunai.

I apologize to you for the uncommon delay. Simply put, in the aftermath of the fighting in the First City and the arrival of the Great General, my life has … changed. Many of the changes, I find, are disagreeable. Though I still find solace in writing to you, I have had the misfortune to discover that it is vastly harder to write when one’s heart is filled with ash and stones. Some nights I just sit here alone in my office, by lamplight, and stare at blank paper.

But I am sure we all carry sorrows in the aftermath of the betrayals and combats. I do not wish to belabor my own. Or give in to despair. In fact I received stalwart advice from a friend in the Sea of Grass not to give in to despair. Onward! I return my focus to the night we spent amongst the Hunai.

The Hunai … let me again reiterate that they are a simple people. Not stupid by any stretch. But innocent of civilization and outside of many concepts we take for granted. Because of this I found them by far to be more alien than I do the cultures of the kio, the elorii, or even the ss’ressen. Though I also want to emphasize that they are peaceful, warm and friendly to outsiders.

Two mysteries presented themselves in the Hunai “village.” First the oldest members we could see were somewhere between their late 20s or maybe their early 30s at the absolute limit. Where were the older adults? The second mystery was the discovery, shocking to me, that the Hunai’s native language was derived from ancient Altherian. How was that possible?

We found a partial answer to the first question as twilight settled over the group. The oldest man in the gathering, no more than 30, got up and started hugging people and saying goodbye. It was rather joyous on the Hunai’s part. When we asked where he was going the only response we got was, “Long Walk.” I wish we investigated further, but I didn’t realize the significance at the time. He went out and to my knowledge was never seen by mortal eyes again. At a certain age, all Hunai in the Sea of Grass go on the Long Walk.

The second great mystery was how the Hunai language could be a derivative from ancient Altherian. The inescapable conclusion is that somehow they are a lost remnant of the First Imperium. Their language, though greatly simplified, belongs on the same linguistic tree as Coryani or Khitani. How utterly bizarre! Some great story exists, I am sure, and that explains their current state. But I am ignorant of it. So are they. Their history has been stripped from them.

The Altherian connection was most apparent in the children’s rhymes sung by the very young. These rhymes still contain sentences and grammar though I believe the Hunai no longer fully understand what the rhymes mean. I present two of them here for you:

I wish my room had a door
I do not care about a floor
But all this floating around
Without touching the ground
Is getting to be quite a bore.

…and…

Open wide, don’t blink
The sovereign’s link
He sees all with his staring eye.
He was on a mission
With his only ambition
To punish the man with the winking eye.

I can’t help but wonder where those rhymes originated from. Or what stories they might hint at. It’s the last piece the Hunai have left to link them to who they once were.

That night, safe on the Hunai’s hill, I stared up at the stars. It wasn’t quite perfect. Belinay wasn’t snuggled up next to me. But she was safely at home, possibly looking up at the same stars from the terrace of Litera Scripta Manet. A sense of joy and contentment came over me. I would be home soon enough. In the meantime I was in the field exploring mysteries, surrounded by friends and the Hunai who wished me well. I was doing exactly what I was born to be doing. That night was the last time I was truly happy.

The next morning my friends and I would continue through the Sea of Grass. We were after the Legion of the Black Sun. As we travelled through the marsh and towering grass, easily seven or eight feet high, we encountered other Hunai settlements on hills. All surrounded by fruit trees. All with access to fresh water. All friendly … all essentially the same. No one over 30 anywhere to be seen. There were signs of the “Pphhtt Pphhtt” as we travelled, but nothing attacked us.

Eventually we caught up with the Legion of the Black Sun and my sunny mood soured. They had eventually ditched their wagons, but had still carried the amphorae of oil with them on foot. They must have marched all night, carrying a staggering load at a tedious pace. But being undead maybe they don’t get tired or need to sleep? When we caught up with them, the Legion was arrayed around a stone structure, the only building we had seen in the See of Grass besides Fort Arlet. It must have been an ancient fortress of some type. There was a crumbling tower over the two floors of what I am guessing was either a monastery or keep.

And those monsters tore it down and set it on fire.

Maybe I was emotionally primed by the lost origin of the Hunai, but the Legions destruction of the ancient outpost was wrenching for me. They were essentially desecrating history! I wish I could tell you that we managed to slip past them and save relics from that site. Or maybe that Team BEAST magically joined us and together we charged in heroically and physically overpowered the undead horrors. But outnumbered ten to one, against veterans from the First Imperium, I can tell you not one of us felt like starting a fight. So I have to tell you, we all sat hidden in the tall grasses and waited to poke around after the Legion of the Black Sun left.

A colossal waste of time.

By the time the Legion was done and had moved on there was nothing left to recover. Nothing. And if I tell you I really dug around looking for something and came up empty, then I trust gentle readers you will believe me when I say there was nothing that survived to be found. The Legion of the Black Sun was unfathomably thorough.

With nothing left to do, we turned around and made the journey back to the First City.

Our patrons, the cabal with their grudges against the Legion of the Black Sun, were not altogether happy. As one might expect. Though we had faithfully executed the reconnaissance mission they asked for, and reported that the Legion had gone across the world to destroy an ancient fort, we couldn’t begin to answer why. No one knew the thing even existed, much less who it belonged to. As a guess, I suggested the idea that the action was connected to the ancient feud between the val’Virdan the val’Emman. Part of me would have been amused if it was the val’Virdan of the Legion taking their own overdue revenge on the site of an ancient foe.

But without any proof even I thought my words were hollow. It was just an unsupported guess.

Almost immediately after our debriefing the world came unglued. Disaster in Seremas. Trouble in Biharn. Upheaval in the Khitani borderlands. War in the First City. I quickly forgot about the Cabal, and even now only intermittently think about them.

So concludes the adventures to the Sea of Grass.

I remain your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

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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 Sep 07, 2016 5:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:29 am 
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Nicely done Eric! Sounds like that was an awesome mod. This was one of the special Kickstarter tables right? If so Henry outdoes himself again. After reading this I get why Henry said the Hunai are nor pc ready yet. There too much about them we don't know. But the mystery sounds like it would be fun to unravel! Although I can't help but hear Monty Python in my head when you mention a stone fortress in the middle of a swamp (marsh technically--makes me think of the Everglades which has been referred to as a "River of Grass.") I imagine that's where Henry took his inspiration from.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:18 am 
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Cousins, Comrades and all Gentle Readers,

I was in a tavern recently, drinking. I was commiserating with some acquaintances and the topic of the Altherian warships heading to aid Seremas came up. My acquaintances’ shock at the revival, however faintly, of “Altherimas” reminded me that no one has reported on the events in Biharn. Given both the remoteness of Biharn and the other calamities that have destabilized the known world, perhaps this is forgivable.

But it should be remedied.

If you, like me, are not really an expert on the League of Princess let me offer you a brief primer:

Biharn is a mostly autonomous principality, ruled by Prince Thetis who seems to be a popular and well regarded ruler. Though Biharn also "sort of" owes fealty to the Duchy of Pajaho, which in turn "sort of" owes fealty to the Kingdom of Whon. I continue to find this somewhat confusing. Biharn also hosts a Coryani Satrap who must also wield at least some power and influence.

Physically, Biharn lies inside and beyond the infamous Sword Fens. Its capitol Liveh sits on the Anghen River. Liveh is best known for its glassworks, which include vibrant colors of few impurities. The finest stained glass windows across the known world are often made with glass imported from Liveh.

Despite the beautiful glass, Biharn is largely considered a sleepy area far from the courts of great power. Most of the time, few would sent emissaries here. But Liveh also boasts a seer known as the Galeer Deffen (I believe the local spelling is Gwyliwr Dwfn). This seer peers into the sacred waters of Chimera Falls each year and sees possibilities of what might come based in the patterns of the turbulence. And it happens this year a lot of "external Powers" wanted that reading performed on their behalf.

Now the Mother Church maintains that only prophesies granted by Larissa are truly reliable; and I certainly encourage all readers to beware of charlatans. Still, what the Galeer Deffen does is not quite prophesy. She only sees possibilities. But even so, given the upheavals across the land, there were no shortage of supplicants eager to acquire intelligence on the next year or advice on how to navigate coming challenges

Only one individual can receive guidance from the Galeer Deffen. Sometimes the Seer picks a person from the crowd on her own initiative. But I believe that when the Court of Biharn clearly suggests an individual then the Gahleer Deffen honors the Court’s “request.” So of course a great deal of wheeling and dealing took place at the court as they hosted representatives of Seremas, Coryan, Altheria and Milandir. Among others. I think the general strategy was to send someone sufficiently powerful that their future would overlap significantly with that of their home nation.

I am sure I won’t surprise anyone by saying that I joined Master Kelb in supporting ship captain and veteran merchant Ahmed val’Abebi of Altheria. Other prominent foreign visitors included: Deshan, an emissary of the Free City of Blackwand. Pontus val’Assante, Satrap of Coryan. Master Reckard Gerharnt, a wealthy Milandesian merchant. Seel Ry’yah, a Kio “observer.” Mishradante val’Baucisz, Imperial Archon of Metra. And last but not least Alitheos of Seremas.

Members of the local court included: Prince Thetis, ruler of Biharn. His daughter Oscelia. Vehul Therym, the Seneschal of the Prince. Korvus val’Ossan, Prelate of Liveh. And Uunni, the Undir Speaker.

Nominally there were two events that were being decided. First was establishing if the Princes’ Court would make a unified suggestion to the Gahleer Deffen. Second was deciding if anyone would be accepted as a suitor to Princess Oscelia who was coming of an age where she was expected to marry. As you might guess, as the events at court unfolded, a lot of other horse trading took place.

I couldn’t possibly tell you all the possible offers and quid pro quos that were attempted. I can tell you that I was approached twice by parties with interesting artifacts and once from a member of Seel’s entourage offering access to the Royal Kio libraries in Whon. All of this tempted me greatly. I also report to you that I heard whispers about “aid” from the Inquisition of the Mother Church, assistance from spy networks in the League, and even that the Satrap could commit or loan up to 10 Coryani Legions.

That last was an interesting tidbit to be sure. Ten Legions is ... a lot. The Prince of Biharn also had sharp words for the Satrap, questioning his friendship and resources. In a more perfect world I would have had time to investigate further. But it was roughly around then that a large mass of raiders attacked Liveh, which provided a certain level of energetic distraction for your chronicler, and everyone else there for several hours. I am happy to report that civilian casualties were very light. Though there was quite a bit of property damage, including the destruction of a beautiful Temple to Yarris.

Captain Ahmed val’Abebi kept his eyes on the prize through all this. With Kelb’s help he secured first the Seneschal’s and then the Prelate’s favor, which secured the viewing by the Gahleer Deffen. This came at the price of a loan of 100 Shining Patrol scouts and research assistance in Altheria’s libraries. Also while this was all unfolding the Imperial Archon, Mishrandante val’Baucisz, secured the right to pay court to Princess Oscelia. I believe several adventurers present actually booed this prospect. I guess they aren't planning to ever visit Metra...

Then there was the business of Seremas. In light of the developments that took place there during the so called Night of Screams, the Seremasi took the extraordinary step of seeking outside military support for what I believe is the first time in their existence. I am sure I am not the only one asking why the Vastwood doesn’t simply send reinforcements. Perhaps they will in the fullness of time. Immediately however Seremas' options, as I understood them, were to choose between the Milandesians, the Coryani and the Altherian Navy.

Without being privy to the instructions given to Ahmed or Alitheos, I am reluctant to judge their negotiations. But it certainly seems to me that given the recent war between our two states that this new “join venture” might suffer from … cultural friction. I know the Milandesians were interested in sending aid, for a price. And I assumed that the Seremasi would select them. I can only suspect that the Milandesian cause suffered greatly by entrusting the negotiations to members of BEAST … as ss’ressen must have been even less palatable than Altherians. Perhaps by comparison it must have seemed relatively easy to accept the Altherian price of allowing their own investigators into Seremas to try to understand, and build defenses against the perpetrators of the calamity that afflicted the city.

I offer this fervent prayer to Altheres. And even to Belisarda. May this new alliance works out better than the last one.

I believe that covers the salient events of the Court of Biharn.

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: Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:23 pm 
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Haakon_val'Ishi wrote:
I can't help but hear Monty Python in my head when you mention a stone fortress in the middle of a swamp (marsh technically--makes me think of the Everglades which has been referred to as a "River of Grass.") I imagine that's where Henry took his inspiration from.

I had the same mental image when we played the adventure!

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:44 am 
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Cousins, Comrades and all Gentle Readers,

I commissioned a new sword.

What is a humble scholar to do? I would rather be writing letters to you and managing Litera Scripta. But the world is as it is, and not always as I wish it to be. Do I need to list the most recent horrors? Liveh (of all places), Seremas, the Temple of Nier, the First City and of course, the Destroyer now has a name.

Forearmed is ... forearmed.

Having done a service to King Archivir, I called in that favor from his court. If I was going to get a new sword then I wanted the best that money could buy. Obviously that meant dwarven forged. It took only a small bit of consultation to settle on Master Smith Zabine of Tir Betoq. To whom I promptly wrote. I am told in person that she is taciturn to a fault and never uses two words if one will do.

As a corespondent though, she was thoughtful and polite. She made a point of asking specific questions about me, my fighting style, and the physical dimensions of what I wanted. In the end she readily agreed to craft me the rapier I was looking for, if only I would do her a small favor in return. "Too many of my blades have found their way into the hands of men who insult them with fool names. For the love of Hurrian, and your Altheres, if you find my results worthy then please honor the sword with a name less vapid than 'Icicle' and less overly dramatic than 'Death Bringer.'" Who would argue with that? I wasn't even sure I was going to name the sword at all. After all I didn't name my old one. Or any of my flintlocks.

Well, the sword arrived today. Such a sword...

I will try not to bore you by elaborating at length on the exceptional balance. Or the beautiful swept hilt. But will you permit me to note in passing that Glass Steel has an excellent combination of toughness and hardness, and other properties ideally suited for an Awakened Val? Even the Ricasso was labor d over, it extended ever so slightly so that each side was capable of accommodating two small runes.

It's the finest object I've ever owned.

And of course, as I look at it. Absolutely. It needs a name.

Normally your humble correspondent is good with words. But I find myself struggling to pick just the right name for this new sword. I'm embarrassed that with its frost rune, "Icicle" did pass through my mind. As did "Executioner," which is altogether too dark for me. "Quill?" Rejected. "Owl's Talon?" Surely I could do better.

I've tried and discarded dozens names.

Frustrated, I turn to you. I know many of you, unlike me, bear heirlooms with names passed down through past generations. I have some hope this sword will be something I pass on. Does anyone know their heirloom got named?

I seek inspiration. And remain your humble scribe.

-Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

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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: Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
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Your pardon, sir. I am but an Old Centurion, better with the thurst of a gladius than a turn of phrase, but in reading your letter, I thought to myself, you being a scholar and all, that you could name it Acuity's Sting or simply Acuity.

May it defend you from the horrors to come.

Perhaps I'll have the honor of finally meeting you in Grand Coryan. I go there to pay my respects to our beloved emperor, Scipio val'Assante', who lies there in state.

For duty and honor, ambassador!

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Henry Lopez
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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:05 pm 

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I like the idea of something short, like "Wit." It seems only proper that for a man of such letters your wit should be feared, and your rapier wit go down in legend. Though perhaps as a man of the letter more than the sword, you do not want any confusion when people later say that you lived by your wits.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:44 pm 
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Dear Ambassador,

The naming of a sword is not to be undertaken lightly. For myself, I find that just holding it does not always lend something of character.

The first time it is used in combat, though! The situation, foe or a singular piece of luck (good or bad) can instantly name a weapon. Stories abound of how some swords have been named. My lion-enchased adorned flintlock earned the name "Eye-Seeker" for the Cyclops killed with a single bullet but is otherwise an unremarkable weapon.

"Sting" for the small but deadly cuts inflicted, "Brightkiller" for the golden armour it penetrated, "Corkscrew" for the way it twisted in a wound and caused heavy bleeding. All swords need a story before a name is given.

I do hope it does not prove itself in need of an ill name such as "Betrayer", "Fumbler" or "Mindbreaker". Yet such cursed weapons do find themselves passed from owner to owner.

My own weapons are heirlooms passed down, so already come with names. "Duran's Kiss", a Fervedite gladius recently reforged and "Duran's Caress", a suit of Royal Lorica. Both touched and modified by the great Elebac himself in their history.

Yours faithfully,

Former Tribune Astra Tonsoria of the Legion of Heaven's Blade

OOC Note: Couldn't Heirloom a Fervedite gladius so had to wait for campaign access.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:34 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:41 pm
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Location: Australia
Ambassador,

I have recently read a copy of you letters from far off Plexus and as a craftsman myself (abet, musical instruments, as opposed to weapons), it pleases me greatly that you are taking the naming of the weapon with such seriousness. Too often I have seen fine objects named in a foolish fashion because the wielder thought it was funny. (One of the finest violin's I have ever had the pleasure to hold was called Ear Burster, because the owner though it was amusing. Such an atrocity)

May I humbly suggest a couple of monikers for the fine blade, first "Althares' Pen/Quill" then pen is said to be mighter than the sword, perhaps a bit whimsicaland not enough gravitas.

The other would be "Knowledge", or something in that vein, as knowledge is more powerful any any weapon.

But I am sure you will the name that represents the soul of the blade and it will be magnificient. I look forward about reading you exploits with it.

With kind regards
Umberto val'Borda
Plexus

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