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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:01 pm 
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[OOC: This took 6 drafts to write and I still don't know if I was able to articulate my point effectively while staying in-character, but here we go!]

Dear Ambassador Tukufu val’Holryn,

With all due respect, Ambassador, I cannot agree with your theories about the relationship between the mind, the body, and the soul. While they are interesting from a philosophical perspective, they seem strangely broad for topics which seem to me to be straightforward (or, at least as straightforward as the machinations of the Gods can be for mortal men). You assert that the body is the house of the soul, but I cannot see how this can be so. You yourself state that if the soul were seated within our fragile physical forms, the soul could be damaged by something as crude as wound or an amputation. I cannot fathom how one could consider Holy Illiir and the rest of the Twelve would be so fallible to place such an important thing as the soul into such a fallible, fragile container. After all, Illiir is He of Perfect Form, and therefore could not be responsible for the creation of a flawed vessel. As we are all His Children, and the Children of the Twelve more generally, to suggest that He would not be perfect is insanity. No, my dear Ambassador, I believe you are looking to the wrong location for the soul. Instead of looking to the body, you must instead look to the mind.

In my studies, I have found no evidence to suggest what you posit in saying that all of the Children of the Gods are made of three equal parts. While I agree that the body, mind, and soul are inexorably entwined, they are instead each a means to an end rather than a packaged deal. The Gods gave us a soul so that we may be closer to them, to give them adulation and to place us above the lesser races of Arcanis. However, souls are but primeval energy forces, not physical things. They cannot be placed within a physical body because they themselves are not physical things. Additionally, unlike the Elorii who constantly reuse their lesser forms of being as exact copies from generation to generation, human souls are constantly shifting through the actions of Beltine and Her Cauldron. This allows the human souls to be constantly reinvigorated, and for the Gods to grant their Children the ability to expand in population (unlike the Elorii, who are limited in the numbers of their souls due to the limitations of their creation, and whose souls lie static and stagnant without Beltine’s actions). However, unlike the Elorii who simply parrot the memories of their past lives, the souls of humanity have no memories, they have no driving actions. For the soul to manifest on the world, it needs to be tied to a MIND. This mind—shaped through our experiences and through the Wisdom of the Gods—acts as a vessel to allow the soul to exert its will upon the physical universe. It is the glass which contains the water that is the mind, for without such a container the mind would simply spill into a form too thin to be of any real substance.

This is further evidenced by the actions of those more foolish of the followers of Neroth who choose to sacrifice their souls to prolong their minds and their bodies. From what I have read on the subject, at the moment of death, when the soul would otherwise detach from the mind and body to return to the Judgement of Nier to be judged, the soul is instead held tight. It is then consumed to fuel the continued existence of the mind and body. Using the immense power of the soul (which, after all is a form of the divine), they channel its Holy energies into the selfish desire to remain in touch with this flawed world and its passing, narrow pleasures. However, while the body remains, it is a crumbling marionette for the mind, which further supports my view that the soul is linked to the mind instead of the body. After all, if it were linked to the body you would expect the body to remain whole with such mighty energies, no? The only diminishment of the mind seems to come in the area of emotion, for the mind is but a channel for the soul, and it is from the soul from whence passion originates. While obviously pleasing to Neroth (to an extent, at the very least), I cannot fathom how one would be so blinded by worldly pleasures as to deny the Gods their due.

As such, the Gods (in Their wisdom) have the mind the seat of the body. The mind controls the body, allowing it to act out the Will of the Gods, while the mind is then driven by the soul. It serves as a bridge between the divine Gift of the Gods and the physical universe we all interact with. After all, if the body were nothing but a vessel for a soul, how do you explain beasts, which have bodies and even sometimes minds, but no souls? Alternatively, you have those pitiable creatures like Shades which appear to be minds which are linked to their restless souls, but who lack physical form. Using the mind as a bridge, the Gods protect Their Gift from physical harm, allowing the soul to be enriched through actions in Their name without risking its destruction by evil forces. When a physical body is cut down, the mind dies, freeing the soul to return to Beltine’s Cauldron. It is then judged based on the lives of those who it was tied to. If that person followed the call of the Gods, their soul will be enriched and the soul will be taken into Illiir’s Paradise. If the person lived a life of sin and turned away from the gods, the soul will be diminished and tossed back into Beltine’s Cauldron to be reshaped so it may gain another chance to reach enlightenment. Remember, Illiir is the God of Perfection, and the Judgement of Nier would not allow imperfect souls—marred by apostacy and sin—to enter into his sight, but He would also not simply destroy those souls as they are themselves gifts of the Gods. As such, they are sent back to Beltine, reshaped with the rest of the flawed souls, to try again to become the perfect forms which so please Holy Illiir.

For those who make it to Illiir’s Paradise, I have heard conflicting reports. Some religious scholars seem to believe that after a time Illiir sends these Perfect Souls back into Beltine’s Cauldron after basking in His Holy Presence to enrich all of mankind from being touched by the Divine. Others believe that they remain with Illiir, becoming his tools in the coming battle with the evil forces of those who wish ill upon His Children. Some also believe that the Paradise is the final state of enlightenment and piety for which mankind may attain, and that we simply gain the pleasure of being in His presence forever more (a worth goal in itself). As a simple priest of Nier, I cannot claim that I can understand the nature of Illiir’s Plan for us all. I have no more intimate knowledge of anything beyond the flaming sword of the Judgement of Nier than any other living man or woman that I have met.

Haakon Marcus val’Virdan, Priest and Holy Judge of Nier.

_________________
Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:01 pm 
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Friends, Comrades and all Concerned Parties,

Haakon! It is good of you to write. I don’t know that I have seen or heard from you since “that adventure” when we were summoned back to the Vault of Larissa. In the aftermath of the expedition I know I still don’t look at spiders the same way. The readers and I appreciate both your directness and expertise on religious matters. I hope we can continue to rely on you to help illuminate vexing mysteries.

I was surprised to hear that you deny that the body is the container for the soul but instead assert that the intellect is somehow a bridge between the two. You write, “For the soul to manifest on the world, it needs to be tied to a MIND.” And also, “I cannot fathom how one could consider Holy Illiir and the rest of the Twelve would be so fallible to place such an important thing as the soul into such a fallible, fragile container [as the body].” As you are a Holy Judge of Nier, and I am but a secular sage. I am deeply reluctant to question your expertise on religious matters.

However there is no shortage of contradictory writings that seem explicit on this point. I am not sure how to reconcile what seem to be mutually exclusive views. Consider for example the ancient commentaries on the Illuminated Scrolls contained within what is now called “The Old Codex.” There on page 4 it is written: “…Man is comprised of three main elements: the Body, the Intellect, and the Soul. The Body is the shell that houses and protects the other two components. The intellect is the total sum of experience and facts accumulated over a lifetime as well as logic, cold and calculating. Lastly the soul determines if one is kind or cruel, creative or unimaginative.

I was wondering if you could clarify if your theory on the nature of souls is something you have worked out on your own, or reflects the teachings of the Temple of Nier?

Further discrepancies exist between your interpretation of the nature of shades and what is written in my library. You said, “… those pitiable creatures like Shades which appear to be minds which are linked to their restless souls…” Where as the Old Codex states, “Proper burial rites should always be given to the deceased. Not doing so causes the soul to bypass the Judgement of Nier and immediately enter the Cauldron. A portion of the soul lingers, anchored to the remains, yet still feeling the torment of the Underworld. These tortured souls are Shades …

In some ways I prefer your interpretations.

If a Shade is primarily a thing of the Intellect, then that explains why so often Ghosts and other haunts remember their past lives to greater or lesser degrees. That shouldn’t be the case if they were tortured souls because the intellect is supposed to fade or dim on death.

On the other hand it is the servants of Beltine (who has dominion over the soul), and not servants of Neroth (who has dominion over the Intellect and Body) that are most efficacious against Shades. I think that is a strong argument that the nature of Shades must primarily be of the soul.

I suspect there is some as yet inarticulated explanation, waiting to be found, that will explain why the process of forming Shades also preserves the Intellect. But as yet that is no more than theory and guesswork.

The heart of the larger argument in my previous letter is that there are holes and inconsistencies in my understanding of how the body, soul, and mind are supposed to interact. And I hope my letters invite a reasoned discussion so that my ignorance may be alleviated. To that end I am grateful for you response Haakon, and will meditate on your words.

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: Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:10 am 
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Location: Portland OR
Cousins, Comrades, and all Gentle Readers,

Some say we live in a benighted age. Though my heart resists such notions, I fear there is some truth in such talk. Once we were a united people under the Pantheon of Man, descendants of Their most loyal followers. Now we are divided and often set against ourselves. From a Pantheonistic faith and a single Empire we have fragmented into Churches, Temples, Throne Rooms and Council Chambers.

Even in small things we are greatly reduced from what we once were. Take illumination. As a prosperous businessman, my home is blessed with beeswax candles and whale oil lamps. They produce the brightest light and the least amount of smoke. But in the time of the First Imperium, a man of my standing might have saved up to purchase arcane globes that lit up or dimmed on command.

Though relics from the Imperium are not unknown to the wealthiest collectors of today, nowhere are such luxuries commonly employed.

To my frustration our heritage is often obscured and some of it has simply been wiped away. We have no works that names all the dynasties of the Imperium, much less the individual Imperators. I am told the Temples of Illiir no longer know the full rites to the cant of Sanctifying Weapons. With only a few exceptions, such as Blast Powder, we simply do not create the same wonders of the past age.

I suspect few areas of knowledge are as comparatively stunted as our “modern” understanding of metaphysics and the arcanum.

I understand well that the Temples went through a double harrowing between the Cleansing Flame and the Shadowed Age. Books and priests were burnt. The Pantheonists were cut off from each other. A single Deity became dominant in each city or region. It makes historical sense to me that there is conflicting Dogma between Temples and that many Cants from the First Imperium are lost to us. Even today, 1,000 years after the rise of Coryan heralded a return to wider civilization, we lean on the Emerald Society and other organizations in the hopes of resurrecting lost knowledge buried in ruins. So I understand why practitioners of Therugy do not have the full scope of powers that the Priests of the First Imperium once wielded.
I understand less well why practitioners of Arcane Magic seem to have gone through a similar winnowing.

To be sure the practitioners of Eldritch magic face the risks of being Harvested by the agents of the Sorcerer King. But the Ymandrakes have never been in a position to systematically fracture and obscure arcane traditions. Have they? From what I know, the Sanctorum manages to maintain a variety of safe houses and centers for learning. The one in Nishanpur even operates openly.

And yet as far as I can tell the arcane traditions are no more developed than the reduced divine traditions of the modern day. Were the arcanists of yore less developed in antiquity than their divine counterparts … explaining the current parity? From the wonders reported of the Imperators cadre of mages I suspect not. But if not then what happened to their knowledge? The Time of Terror no doubt fragmented and destroyed much of their written works too. But surely that alone is not enough to explain the current state of affairs. Did Leonydas hunt them down? I have never heard that they were singled out as enemies.

One possibility is that much of the arcane arts were lost in the ancient conflicts such between Eryunell Myrantis and the Sorcerer King. Only the sketchiest of outlines survive into modern times but we can say with confidence that these groups fought with each other and inflicted terrible catastrophes on the world. Witness the ruins of Mandragore and Sunken Myrantis. Note also that the Eryunellians are no longer with us in the modern age.

The magical traditions of the Eryunellians and the Necromancer Lords are lost to the world. Perhaps that’s for the best. The Sorcerer King, of course, keeps his secrets in Ymandragore. I can’t help but note that on my one brief exploration of the Isle of Tears I saw magical carriages, for public use, that caused the garments of the occupants to dry out while riding. I was reminded of the glowing globes from the First Imperium. In one inaccessible corner of the world the arcane tradition is not stunted.

The only other possibility to explain why the arcane tradition is so limited is persecution.
Organizations in the past such as the Shining Shields have scapegoated hedge mages out of intolerance and ignorance. Such movements appear periodically and claim a monopoly on the truth, and consequently smother all inquiry and critical thinking. In more contemporary times arcanists are also victimized. This most often happens from the unwashed masses who still persecute “sorcerers” for their involvement in the Time of Terror. To be sure, I also condemn and curse those nameless mages of yore who unleashed one of mankind’s darkest horrors through their recklessness. But I do not condemn their descendants. Blaming them is like blaming modern Emperors and Kings for the misdeeds of their worst predecessors. Further it is amply clear to me that no one on the mainland is remotely powerful or skilled enough to cause such a calamity by design or accident.

Despite the fact that such persecution is unjust and illogical I suspect it is on the rise. Some in the Church now quote from the VI Illuminated Scroll to justify their prejudices. The quote used states, “There are those who bow to the will of the Gods, and there are others who supplant that will with their own.” While a plain reading of the text would suggest we must serve the will of the Gods rather than our own ego, there are plenty who would have us believe this passage refers to the use of Cants and Sorcery.

I am not an expert on the fine details of religious dogma. But I have known pious sorcerers during the Crusade. I object to an interpretation that equates arcane magic, or even just the eldritch tradition, with impiety. Not least because I am trained in the psionic arts. We cannot afford such divisions. In fact we may have cause to soon regret our traditions all magics are reduced from their pinnacles in antiquity. I have written before that there is a storm cloud on the horizon. The signs and portents have spoken, and speak, of the Coming of the Destroyer. I fear the storm grows ever closer and will soon be upon us. Do we stand on the brink of another winnowing? Will the next generation live in circumstances further reduced compared to our own?

I can only pray that people of talent and goodwill to come together in the face of the looming crisis. And somehow that we'll be enough.

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: Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:45 am 
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Brother Tukufu,

Your scholastic and intellectual skills shine through in your latest letter as they always do.

In addition to the excellent points you mentioned on the loss of knowledge of control of the eldritch arcanum, may I point out that the Sanctorum of the Arcane did not come to be until about five hundred years ago when Nurion the Undying, former Coryani Emperor, founded the organization around 560 IC. While at first, five hundred years to gather and collect arcane knowledge may seem like a long time, that means a gap of thousands of years in which the Sorcerer-King was able to Harvest all sorcerers from Onara with little impediment, though the Elorii and Ssanu may have been able to protect many of their elder thaumatologists with their powerful wards.

History records that the Sorcerer-King arrived on our world around 1700 PC. As your letter describes, the Myrantis-Eryunellian War eliminated many of the strongest sorcerers and the three strongest nations of eldritch knowledge in Onara. At the end of that war, around 1398 PC, the Sorcerer-King declared control of all magic in Onara. The Shadowed Age had no secret force to stop him and his agents, and His Sorcerous Majesty was in that time able to walk himself upon Onara. For century after century, most mages went to the Isle of Tears. Even after the end of the Shadowed Age, though, the outflux of magic continued. The Coryani Empire for centuries had a treaty with Ymandragore which granted Harvesters the legal right to collect and remove the magically gifted. It was not until Empress Shar's twin sons were found to have the Gift that the Empire rescinded this agreement. Even thereafter, many Gifted have no doubt disappeared into the night when taken without an indication of the cause.

Regardless of the details of history, your point is well taken of needing to work together and accept the Gifted as people rather than treating them as outcasts. In troubled times, it is cooperation rather than infighting that we all need. Even in considering the Cants taught by the various churches, several spells have specific effects upon members of the same vs. different faiths. In contemporary times, a group of priests from Coryan, Nishanpur, Naeraanth, and Khitan might choose to ally on a mission, but still some of their cants would harm or fail to heal each other; but in the time of the united Pantheonistic Church of the Imperium of Man, those same allied priests' spells would all be a boon to each other. I pray that one day we can reunite our faiths into a single whole for both theological and practical reasons.

Your Brother,
Amadi D'Abura
Monk of Althares

_________________
David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:01 am 

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Ambassador, Comrades, Friends,

One day I had the privilege of drinking away an afternoon in the presence of a Khitani religious scholar. Of the manifold mysteries at which we marveled I have few specific recollections, except that she felt it important to impress on me how the Eloran Pantheon lacks some specific but critical niches.

And specifically how we have no deity who governs our Fate.

As the Elorii are creatures of a specific nature we have common intrinsic qualities. I am Kelekene. I move quickly and think quicker. I favor direct, decisive solutions. I am given to be logical and ruthless. All of these qualities are "core" Kelekene.

However I am also capable of being compassionate, dispassionate, obdurate, and flighty. I have a full functional range of behaviors to equal any other thinking being.

In so far as there is actual free will I have a measure of it -albeit with a somewhat dried chili pepper flavor.

(I also like very spicy food. Ahem.)

But we have no Larissa.

It was a topic of no small authentic angst to my mentor Anaphylaxia that she personally featured in an entry in Illir's Illuminated Scrolls. Why did the human gods keep assigning her their critical errands? Did they not have armies of the faithful for just such purposes? Can one imagine Illir instructing a chosen artist thusly, "no no, make the bags under her eyes a darker shade of violet. There will be a fair number of Ardakene acting in a similar capacity; none shall mistake this one for another who appears to also be carrying the weight of the world on her back"?

Perhaps not the latter.

We have a very small pantheon (pre-Belekith, of course), we have no "hero gods" such as Jeggal Sag, and we have no agent of destiny plucking at the strings of fate.

We are very alone in all the spheres beyond this simple, beautiful one we know as home.

How does the concept of fate appear in the lives and minds of humans? Are you ruled by divine prophecy? Are the manacles of destiny unbreakable, and should you wish to break them if your gods ordered their forging?

Regards,
V.

_________________
Vaize the Flamesong; disciple of Anaphylaxia, servant of Belisarda.
D'serrat Val'Mordane; Knight Errant and Veteran of the Fifth and Sixth Crusades of Light.
Denevir the Gladiator; aka the Red Widow, the Dread Gorehorn, the Sicarite Seven Slayer!


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:56 pm 
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My Dear Vaise and Other Comrades at Arms,

I apologize for the delay in my response. It is no secret that many in the First City know of the "Prophesies of the Coming of the Destroyer." And grow increasingly concerned. I am included in those ranks. I have been busy making preparations to secure Litera Scripta Manet and to evacuate Belinay when worse comes to worse. Belinay is less than enthused about my plans and we now spend more nights than not quarreling.

So your letter is a welcome distraction.

Your most recent letter raises questions I think all sentient being wrestle with. What do the gods want of me? Is there some fate that had been assigned to me? Do I have free will? With the the Coming of the Destroyer looming before us these questions take on an immediacy.

As part of your mediation on fate you deny having an eloran Deity or other Divine Agency of fate. But surely this is untrue. I know your people have prophesies too.

Even I have heard of Ardelia who your people refer to as the Prophetess of Belisarda. As a val I know very little of the specific of her prophesies, but I do three broad things. I know she foresaw a period of great convulsion and war. I know she said that the elorii would ally with at least part of humanity. And I know the Second Coryani-Khitani War was allegedly “a sign” that marks the first preordained events falling into place.

So I believe most of your people would say that there is indeed a divine “Hand of Fate” guiding the eloran people. And I believe that most elorii would say that Belisarda is the keeper of your peoples’ destiny. In fact I suspect that the primary purpose of the “laerestri” wanders is to report back any other signs and portents that they might witness whether or not they recognize them as such.

The second half of your letter is more directly connected to me. You ask, “Are the manacles of destiny unbreakable, and should you wish to break them if your gods ordered their forging?” Those are exactly the questions I wrestle with when I meditate on the tribulations that are coming.

Can the Destroyer be stopped prematurely without derailing divine will?

I have been guided in my thinking by the writings of the old Philosopher Io Valton of Tralia. Io lived in the late 7th century I.C. and wrote extensively on the conflict between free will and divine fate. Master Valton rejected earlier theories of predestination and described instead twin mechanisms of “Personal Fate” and “Necessity.” These two elements, according to this Sage, create an outer limit to our free will. Within these boundaries we can make choices and express ourselves. But to try and move beyond them invites catastrophe.

While I have not completely dedicated myself to this philosophy I find Valton’s works persuasive.

Personal Fate might be thought of as the longing of the soul. While I can clearly make choices about where I want to eat or who I want to visit, Valton argues that we are pulled toward certain ends by our souls. A brave “warrior” soul pulls one toward glory in battle. A modest “scribe” soul pulls one toward research. To try to be a scribe if you have a warriors soul (or to be a warrior when you have a scribe’s soul) invites futility, and potentially makes “a shipwreck of your life.”

Necessity is an external limit imposed by the Universe we live in, presumably mandated by the Gods. Io Valton strongly believed that there was a divine plan and that the first duty of the faithful was to support that plan. This is what I believe the Sacred Scrolls of Illiir are talking about when they speak of those who follow the will of the Gods. Thus, if for some reason, it is Necessary for you to die in the First City, you cannot escape this fate by moving. Somehow fate will ensure you return. Valton feared that those who sought to escape Necessity invited catastrophe and upheaval. Again the term of art employed is that you potentially, “make a shipwreck of your life.”

So in Valton’s model we all have free will. But it is not totally free. We are not in fact able to break the chains of destiny. We are bound by internal and external limits. Fight your soul or push against the will of the Gods, and you risk ruin.

Further, I suspect in moments of great crisis or upheaval, like Manetas’ return, that the confines of Necessity narrow. If so then it is reasonable to believe that the relative free will of important actors can be reduced by the demands of the times. This might explain why the Word of Illiir named an Elorii as one of the Heroes of Light or why a war between two human nations can be an eloran sign.

I should hasten to add that not everyone subscribes to such ideas. If you dislike the ide that you are not totally free then, take heart in both the quantity and quality of the company you keep. I had the opportunity during the High Holy Days to speak with Lord Varro. He was immensely skeptical of "Fates." If I may summaries the great merchant’s position, he wrote off the very idea. Lord Varro said that they were mostly the excuses of people who did not want to admit that they were the authors of their own misfortune. Having met a few such people in bars I cannot dismiss his critique out of hand.

But as a last thought let me note that I find his position somewhat undermined. Worried about the future I later discovered that he had commissioned auguries to be cast on his behalf…

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 Mar 02, 2016 11:30 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
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Location: Michigan
Dear Tukufu,

I read your recent missive, and finding the time, thought I would mail you about it. I seem to remember reading in an old report I found, a quote from Illiir that had quite an impact on my viewpoint of fate and human purpose. I cannot swear to its accuracy, so if you can confirm it, I would appreciate it. But it was reported that those chosen by the gods to oppose Manetas had the chance to meet an elder being that reported that Illiir said this,

Quote:
Your children met their end meekly; bowing to the inevitable. Not so with mine. Though it may indeed be a futile gesture, they shall rage against the coming darkness and fight until their last.

‘That is why they are worthier than yours. And that is why they shall prevail in the end.’


I think the only chance we have is that we fight against the inevitable, that we fight when we know we should lose, that we oppose fate when we refuse to accept it. I think it is the will of the gods that we fight fate, and forge our own destiny. That is the gift they have given us, and it is our only hope.

But then, I know know that I am no one important, so I could be completely wrong.

Sincerely,

Kavaris

_________________
AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important


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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:28 am 
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Location: Portland OR
Kavaris and All Interested Parties,

You raise an excellent point. I thourougly distrust the conflicting and muddled reports thatvhave been left to us from that strange conversation. But I agree that it seems Illiir has called on us all to struggle on, even in the face of dire head winds.

One might interpret that as "Necessity" imposed by Illiir. At least as envisioned by the works of Io Valton.

The implied suggestion that there are external powers greater than Illiiir and the Pantheon of Man is deeply disturbing. It may be technically true in the case of The Other. But such things should not be mentioned lightly.

Yours in Haste,

Tukufu

_________________
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 Tuk
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:31 am 
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Cousins, Comrades, and all Gentle Readers,

I recently received an unfortunate letter from the Emerald Society. According to the missive it seemed a team of six individuals from the Society went missing. They were looking for an Auxunite fortress in the Shakti Forest. Would I be interested in joining a relief column of between 50-75 hardened mercenaries, Society members, and assorted heroes?

While Belinay never directly argues with me on official business, I could tell she was no more than lukewarm on this project. It would be a long journey, and I’d be away for some time. Frankly I was not all that eager to go either. The Shakti Forest is in Canceri …

Still, I dutifully packed travelling bags, saddled my horses, and armed myself with my full compliment of assorted weapons. Someday it may be that I am the scholar who is overdue to report back. And I want a relief column to come after me. So. You have to walk the talk.

I rode hard through the Blessed Lands for the Citadel of Anshar. Sold my horses and went through the Gate to Tralia. I bought more horses, and finally rode north into Canceri To redendezvous with the others. As we were marshalled, we were split up into smaller groups of roughly half a dozen people. I was told that was so we wouldn’t look like a vanguard to some kind of invasion from Milandir. Probably prudent, but…

…There were disadvantages to this approach. Our smaller forces faced hazards from the local fauna that a larger force would have deterred. For example my group fought a double helping of undead Milandesians. I had the melancholy thought that perhaps they had originally fought for Aeorin val Holryn. Hard to know with skeletons and zombies. By comparison with other cells, we were relatively lucky. Other groups encountered giant carnivorous lizards, animated vegetation, swarms of flesh devouring blood flies, and even the dreaded Sheodul, which I sort of think as Canceri’s national monster.

A word of warning. There are no such things as a green skinned elorii! If you encounter such a creature in the Shakti forest then you are really talking with an unbound infernal. Do not accept any proffered “blessings!” I am told that a few people took such “blessings”…though I am glad to say stalwart companions later kept them from transformation or other forms of diabolical harm.

After trudging around through the Shakti’s sometimes swampy ground we all started converging on the fortress with orders to map, explore and rescue members of the society. A little scouting revealed three ways of ingress. There was a main entrance that stood invitingly open. There was a rooftop bell tower that led in to the upper floor, and finally a large crack in the foundation led into the basement. Different teams went in at different points.

As there were three layers to the fortress, so too were there three different groups occupying the grounds. On the top floor were the ghosts of perhaps a hundred Auxunite warriors who I later learned had followed Rhian the Shadow Lion (Or perhaps his name was Rhion, Rone or Rhyon … I'm afraid all of us struggled with ancient Auxunite inscriptions). Peculiarly, the ghosts “possessed” their former bones as often as other people. On the ground floor were what I can only describe as primitive hyena-men. I had little to do with them. And in the basement, where my team started exploring, we found the cult of the Blight Bearers. Lucky lucky us.

No one was happy to see us as we arrived.

All sorts of fighting broke out. On the top floor progress was hampered by the fact that the ghosts had, essentially, an unlimited supply of bones. So they kept returning in new “bodies” to fight anew. On the ground floor the hyena-men had shamans to heal and otherwise back up their beefy warriors. In the basement, the Blight Bearers had fortified their position with a veritable smorgasbord of poisoned and diseased traps. Personally I ended up inhaling a cloud of something vile and ended up with a magical throat infection that all but took my voice.

This general state of violence and chaos must have lasted for a full hour as we and our various adversaries skirmished, paused, healed and skirmished again across all fronts. We made slow progress in the basement. It was just as we were exploring an ancient armory that a truce and parlay was called for in the grand ballroom. I believe the Auxunite ghosts initiated it and wanted us, “the invaders,” to clear out the other two factions…but representatives of the hyena-men and Blight Bearers crashed the council to make similar pitches of their own.

I have never seen a stranger negotiation, or auction. It quickly became clear that most of the rescue column did not care much about the different ideologies of “the locals." So bidding started. The Blight Bearers offered to cure everyone. The Auxunite ghosts offered their moldering arms and armor. And the hyena-men offered magical fetishes. Based on the theory of greed I expected the Hyena-men to become the new landlords...but the negotiations turned messier when most people rejected the hyena-men as cruel savages. Most, but not all.

For reasons I do not fully understand, BEAST decided they liked the hyena-men and wanted to offer them the same deal the Black Talons had received in Milandir. I think this would have been awkward at best since it was later revealed they incorporated infernals into the beings they worship. But a few others were interested in helping them such as Kermina of the Temple of Larissa. I also don’t know why Kermina would have favored the hyena-men. One might be tempted to wonder briefly about the 67 Acts of Divine Debauchery, but decided I really didn’t, and still don’t, want to know.

There was only one voice that even tried to support the Blight Bearers. A Nierite priest from Canceri. But no one was listening and I am not sure his heart was in it. Blight Bearers! No one likes them! I don’t think their emissaries even made it out of the Ballroom alive. Most of the relief column supported the ghosts. But before people could assemble a second round of bidding broke out. Some rescuers tried to hire other “corruptible” members from different cells. The bidding for Olga “the Bear Rider” went over 20 gold coins. Over 20 gold coins!!! No one pays me that kind of money! I never even saw her bear.

While a lot of cash changed hands, the upshot was just more violence and chaos. I am happy to report that the Blight Bearers were wiped out root and branch. I think that was a good outcome. But interpreting the other results is harder. The Hyena-Men were repelled from the castle and their leader died along with its devil henchman. But I believe the group was essentially still intact. The ghosts also suffered casualties as some thought they belonged in the Cauldron. I had no real way to tell the ghosts apart, but they claimed their leader was destroyed too. So while they retain the castle at the moment, it’s not at all clear to me if they can hold it. Not that I necessarily care. The Shakti Forest is a long way from anywhere I think of as important.

I should also mention we found and rescued all 6 members of the original expedition. So that was also a good outcome. But honestly? I don't think we discovered that much about the Auxunites. Or anyone else. I think we all collectively spent a lot of resources poking around in a place we should have skipped. In retrospect the best I can say, in addition to no one dying, is my throat and voice have healed very nicely, thank you.

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 Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:34 am
Posts: 960
Location: Southwestern Ohio
Well done good sir! As a Beltinian Exorcist I found myself in the unenviable position of allying myself and my compatriots with the undead. Never thought I would do that! But I decided that it was their "tomb" and the alternatives were far far worse. Ah the moral conundrums this existence presents us...

_________________
Michael T. Hebert

Haakon val'Ishi, Beltinian Exorcist 2.7 [Divine]
Ursula val'Holryn, Grand Master of the Tralian Hammer 2.2 [Martial]
Arun of Tultipet, Holy Champion of Neroth 1.10 [Expert]
Rikitsa val'Holryn, Psion 1.9 [Arcane]


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