Recommendations from Aokee scout, R'ashi, for the venerable Geïa.
... he was and still is a blood-thirsty brute. He could have become a branch of the Great Tree, and perhaps there’s still time to show him the light. I’ve seen him fight the green-skins with their incandescent blades in the Valley of Garritas near the Misty tombs. He’s got it in him, sap, and a thirst for fighting. He’d make a good Aokee, Geïa! He’s ruthless, without qualms. He’s loyal to Galde, you say… So what? The course of a river is not unchanging and nor are men’s loyalties.
…we will then circumvent them on the left flank. Selna will act as a diversion with her squadron and once the troops are assembled and only on my orders, will Lucius ignite the swords of the lead platoon and the archers’ arrows. I am quite sure that a magician from the Blazing University will be well able to set alight fifty arrows in mid-flight, do you not agree?
Extract from a pamphlet circulating in the streets of the capital.
... Is it wild dreams that illuminate him or simply his much-loved reflection in the looking glass? He claims to be a man of his word but how can we believe this when the man behind the tyrant conceals himself so well? Islandis Encyclopedia (anonymous) ...at age twenty he rose up to the rank of Cacicium of the Prime Glow. At twenty-five, strengthened by his victory in the war against the Mauled Ones, he took his seat both in the Imperial Senate and in the Select Council of the Church of the Phoenix… Popular Song Tiberius the tyrant is not popula-ar Tiberius holds his rank by firing fla-ar-es Tiberius all a flush tied up in gar-tars Tiberius is in love with his own face so fa-air.
Typical scene from Orc daily life.
"Kurk, I’m warning you, if you don't finish up your human thigh right now, I'll give you a sound thrashing!" "But I’ve already eaten three of them!" "That's neither here nor there. You need to eat to build up your strength." "Your father’s right. If you don’t eat up, Meletios the Black from the land of the iron-clad men will take you to her dungeons and rip out your eyes, just like she did with your uncle Frar. "...Munch, munch..."
Letter from Octavius to his brother Melay, smuggler of the Shadow.
Dear Brother, I am greatly disappointed by what is going on here. The Ardent Guard is not what I'd imagined it to be. For example, my so-called friend Pelearh is thought to be an outstanding soldier! What utter drivel! More like a tramp or a whore soiled by the Pack. He’s nothing more than a gladiator turned mercenary and not worthy of trust. As for the purity of the Phoenix, that is little more than privilege and favoritism. Am I therefore the only one to see that Pelearth is smearing the name of the Ardent Guard? And now we are to address him as “lieutenant”, when it was I and I alone who deserved that title. But believe you me, dear Brother, sooner or later he will make a false move and I will be there to aid his fall.
Report from Professor Lako – High Priest of the Fifth Wave – Legion of Kraken.
Subject Astalfus. I recommend the removal of the subject from his environment. Current activity: executioner for the Prime Glow. An in-depth study is required. Reason? The subject is an ex-criminal: fact. He claims to have undergone a moment of illumination. When? At the time of his execution. Outcome? He escaped sentence AND went on to become an executioner himself. Interesting chain of events. We wish to interrogate and question him in order to uncover the levers at work behind this turnaround. This is a request: fact.
Notes from Caius Sulpicius from the war of the resurrection
“I’m dying… my strength is leaving me, I can do no more, I used up my final reserves on the last of the living-dead. All that remains now is to await my slow death... I can do no more… We are lost… But what is that? A celestial warrior has come to our aid... What divine power. She resembles an angel with her enflamed wings! Hope is returning, I cannot give up now while others try to push back enemy forces… I must return to combat!"
Letter from Sister Jalmèstre, Mother Superior of the Convent of the Sisters of Purity.
Brother Gearge, I know how stormy our differences have been concerning the young Clenonice, who you purchased from a couple of tanners all those years ago. And if I take up my quill today, it is in an attempt to make amends for all these quarrels. I must accept that her peace-loving character and resistance to fire have made her a fundamental part of our community. She is hard-working and passionate about smithying. The end of her noviciate is approaching and I was wondering if it might be appropriate to promote her to a more bellicose division of the cult.
On the eve of battle.
«Lars! When you've finished teaching the cadets how to throw the javelin, Captain Mardas wants to see you in the kitchen. He needs your help this evening so our phalanx can duly honor the Prelate of the Prime Glow, who bestows great honor upon us by visiting our swamp of a camp. Tomorrow at dawn, we will launch the attack on a small fort along the coast held by the bog creatures of the depths. Our scouts have found some crimson berries next to an old stele dedicated to the Titans. After the knock-out sauce you made yesterday from the leftover casserole, I think Mardas is going to want to hang on to you, my boy! By the way, Lucius heard talk of you wanting to join the Marauders, but there’s nothing in that, is there?
Testimony from Pelearh before the Court of Ardent.
…yes, your Magnificence, Octavius is under my orders. He is a very capable and judicious young soldier. I predict for him a future at the very center of the Guard if, that is, he manages to rid himself of his demons. I ignore what burden he carries but I know he is a tormented spirit. I have offered him my assistance on numerous occasions but he has always rejected it. Nevertheless, I remain convinced that you could indeed promote him to the rank of lieutenant.
Ebu on launching an attack with ten of his Marauders on fifty soldiers of the Dragon and their Rabaks.
Once more unto the breach! Come on Marauders, get a move on, you good-for-nothing layabouts. You’re not about to tell me you’re scared of ten miserable Rabaks, you bunch of sissies! The Empire’s elite! Wastrels more like! All I see is a bunch of cry-babies! Three whole days we've spent living off roots, trying to reach this God forsaken Lonard Pass. Now what I want is beer and women! And to sleep in a warm bed tonight. So, come on, get a move on!
Ritual prayer of the Salamanders, guardians of the 7 sacred infernos of the Phoenix.
Rain of fire on our bodies, incandescent heat in the depths of our souls, may the burning blade of justice destroy the bodies of our enemies and may their corrupt spirits blaze in the eternal flames of the Phoenix.
Ability: Heal 2, Max 15
Bonus: +12 Attack
Extract from the Ardent Rork speech celebrating Ann’s fourth victorious campaign.
…How can one not be dazzled by the purity of your faith and the selflessness that guides your every endeavor? Young lady, you stand before us as a role-model for an entire people, a guiding torch that, from your very first steps in the convent of the Sisters of Purity to your recent victories over Duke Hagard’s troops at the Pass of Storms, has continued to illuminate a life free from taint. Through your courage, you resurrect the golden era of the last century. There is no doubt that, in you, the Phoenix has revived the flame of Nyrenn the White, who through her great deeds, allowed us to found our much-loved and great capital city, Port Ardent. Long may the Phoenix guide your way!
Eanie and Lydia talking at the camp fire.
“... I would send every last one of that scum to the depths of their graves.” “Do you really think I believe it’s your hatred for the chalk faces that makes you such a crack shot with your crossbow and so very devoted to the Duke of Galde?” “It’s our training that makes us so efficient, everyone knows that.” “Personally, I think there’s a bit more to it than that… You're in love with him, aren't you?" “I don’t know what you're talking about..."
Marching Song of Mur’k, Orc bard
The flag flaps in the wind The soldier marches on Under the arch of the Titans The Black Plague is to come My sword strikes so true Smack, sock and fillet. Dragon guide my sword Smack, sock and fillet.
Report from the Grey Hand to Superior Cardinal Tiberius
The bastard son of the Duke of Galde has finally uncovered his lineage. We do not know by what source. Ermos has used his connections so as to be promoted to liaison officer between the very center of the Empire and the Marauders. However, his original unit deplores the departure of this young officer whose eagle eye will be a huge loss to their scouts. I recommend that surveillance is increased and we ensure that de Glade never learns that the Gray Eminences of the Empire are behind the creation of this child.
Autumn Chronicles – Brother Astor of the Prime Glow
…and how can one not mention the Behemoth knights, true sovereigns of the battle field. The unique attachment that ties them to their beast is both moving and terrifying. Yesterday, on the eve of combat, a legionnaire told me he had seen a knight mutilate his own flesh to reproduce the injuries suffered by his mount during a charge. I am still unsure what to make of these practices. Are they really counter to the precepts of the Order or should we not see in them the savage expression of a soldier’s loyalty to his steed, guarantor of his survival in the heat of battle?
Extract from a report by Mother Superior Agnes to Solon, Commanding Officer of the Galast.
... one week’s suspension in the Order's dungeons has not worked either, which is why I am asking you in, whichever way you deem necessary, to put a stop to the rebellious and disrespectful behavior of young Selna. The contemplation of piety failed to bring her to her knees but I am sure that the rigors of military life would instill obedience in her...
Extract taken from the Duke of Hermocrates’s speech to the Grand Council at its 209th sitting.
...therefore, eminent members of the Council, Grand Cardinal, I beg your permission to create this squadron of Marauders whose sole objective will be to track down the allies of Darkness wherever they might be lurking. The horrific deaths of my wife, children and the inhabitants of my realm will only be truly avenged once the last of these Spectre has been annihilated by my own hands…
Ability: +2 Power
Bonus: +2 Damage
Prayer of repentance by Lag’h Aokee to the Tree of Life.
I have fallen short, Source of Life. I have failed. The sap burns my flesh. In the heat of battle, I was overtaken by rage and struck down one of our own. She is called Lydia. Her Sondo is so pure, so beautiful and so wild. But I committed the unforgiveable. I left her there, next to the crossroads that lead to Anthilion of the Thousand Jewels. And I cried. When I returned, she was no longer there. The Marauders had taken her away. I fear they have taken her prisoner…or worse still…that she has joined their ranks alongside the Duke of Galde… I am…filled with shame…