Early scouting reports are spotty, but the boundaries of the Compact are reporting something of an immense invasion, but there's contradictions in size and even direction. As the reports come in, a large force in the Compact is making preparations to sail for Eurus- to take advantage of the revolutions brewing in the Dune Kingdoms, and take back the cities from slavers.
Most of the Compact, rattled by the recent events with the Horned God, hope that the news of an invasion are overstated and await the good news to come.
Action by Isles Canines for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 11:03 p.m.)
Princess Fatima Masah'Malak Thrax, Heir to the Throne of Petrioch, will be gathering up the Isles Canines in preparation for transitioning them into a sizeable fleet to sail to Eurus. There are a lot of people running away from things, and she wants to investigate whether this extends to the Mourning Isles as well, and to find out where they came from, and what their story is. So she will take the Isles Canines and explore the Isles to find out their current status, which she'll report back to Alarissa and Victus. Any frightened or displaced refugees, she will attempt to offer them a promise of protection, and shelter and purpose.
The Protection and Shelter - she'll offer them her own protection, and the shelter of House Thrax.
The Purpose - She is hoping to attempt to recruit as many of them as possible into the Isles Canines, building a sizeable fleet in preparation to eventually sail to Eurus and claim her throne in Petrioch. She will be seeking ships, sailors, infantry, archers, siege weapons, and any riches that may also be available to claim throughout the isles, through either tributes or plunder.
Any who resist the Isles Canines with force, of course, she will have her fleet fight back and seize any plunder or materials, and otherwise unclaimed lands so that she can have the funds and waystations to support her efforts.
But the main purpose is to recruit as many into the Fleet as she can, so that she has a fleet that will cause even the Dune Emperor to tremble, as she seeks to support the slave uprising she has become aware of in Eurus. And to find out in general what's going on in the Isles right now. She's aware of the emptied Shardhavens, and a possible army sailing toward the Mourning Isles. The Darkwater is gone. But what does that mean, exactly?
Fatima invites all members of the Isles Canines, displaced refugees, allies within and without the Compact, and all free Eurusi to join her, with promises of riches and adventure ahead. She will continue to build on this, gathering as many as she can to sail for Eurus.
This is mostly an effort for now to gather a large fleet and prepare to sail. The Princess is not sailing for Eurus just yet. Only once they are ready and have investigated what's going on in the Isles.
As promised, Lady Guildmaster Eirene recruits volunteers of the Physicians Guild to join in Fatima's crusade, especially those who may be of Erusi decent and were themselves refugees at one point before joining the Compact. She also makes sure the Medical Pack is up to her high standards for battle medics, and that they're supplied with the medicines, bandages, and other things they might need.
It is often said that an army marches on its stomach and with this in mind Pasquale, with Malespero and Nilanza aid, has offered to build and defend robust supply lines between the Compact and Fatima's war. Believing in the importance of this mission he will step up to advise and lead armed excursions into Eurus whenever it makes solid tactical sense.
Jasper is going to be on the vanguard, helping motivate soldiers on their many future campaigns to bring order and stability to the Isles.
Aconiteand the Whispers begin to ply their social trade with propaganda and the powers of persuasion to not only assist those in fugue from the memory loss, but to help Shav's fleeing slaughter to, if needed, going in to diplomatically convince people that the Shavs lives might have purpose. She's also attempting to get various fealties or refugees from any of the wars to assist the fleet heading to Eurus.
Denica is going to paint. It's a special painting. She will listen to people describe Eurus, she's done this before. Collected stories about a place and painted from other people's memories. When she is done painting Eurus, she will then add symbols of hope to the painting. Denica has done this before in theory, so she hopes that they will appear painting on the walls of the city, like her flower on the Traitor's thorns. If that's the case, people will see these signs of hope and maybe it will give them a better chance in their struggles. Denica wants to inspire the people of Eurus as they rise up.
Katarina has been preparing for this for years. She's been collecting allies among Eurusi refugees and Arvani folk alike. She will be sailing alongside Fatima, bringing with her the Eventide Flotilla and her experience as Fleet Admiral of House Valardin. She will also be calling upon her allies from Cardia, though with no expectation that they will be able to spare anything, given Cardia's current troubles. Her personal priority is Suj'abbat, but she will fight through anything she must in order to get there.
Samira will rely on her social skills while attempting to recruit people to the fleet. She'll talk passionately and persuasively about the importance of their mission, discussing how individual people and their specific skills might play a role, and what might await them when they succeed. This is a cause she wholeheartedly believes in and she hopes that will come across in her recruitment pitch.
Years after the Skal'dajan domination of the Saffron Chain has been ended, a good many of the citizens of that territory boast Eurusi descent. Archduke Patrizio is of mind to let those who have desire to join the flotilla heading to liberate Eurus from the yoke of the Dune Emperor and his allies, after long having had designs himself of seeing that particular foe of the Compact learn a lesson about how turnabout is fair play - one invasion surely deserves another in return.
Faye's father, Berthold Ruger, is alive and in Eurus, so that means Faye has to travel there and find him. There are important things to do once they all get there, so arriving with a strong and determined force is essential. Faye isn't a charming recruiter, she's actually kind of terrifying and yelly. But she's good at working people up and getting them moving, so she helps Princess Fatima add to her people and ships.
Iseulet for many years has been frothing at the mouth to get to Eurus, or as close as she can to it. So, she would like to accompany Fatima (at a distance, personally, acting as cheerleader for morale's sake) and also be directing some of the ships she has control over to join in the fun. Army 455, 456. She brings snacks and booze! And money and resources should they need it. But lets be honest, mostly the booze.
As the reasons behind the recruitment are explained to Mabelle in future reference to something bigger, something she was prepared to oppose to her entire life, Mabelle is happy to lend her voice and influence to the cause. She embarks on that journey with the group, working her charms and reason and maybe something else as well to make sure all understand on what side of that war they need to be.
Titus, with his proven expertise in recruitment and training, lends his strategic acumen to bolster Princess Fatima Masah'Malak Thrax's ambitious initiative. Emphasizing the transformative power of purpose and commitment, Titus frames this campaign as an opportunity for redemption and reconstruction amidst chaos. He reaches out to those haunted by regret, aimlessness, and other burdens, offering them a chance to channel these feelings into a constructive and noble cause. There are plenty of people to harvest and collect, whether they are the newly freed persons under the Foregetfulness Curse, those who were under writs or demands that have either broken or fallen to the wayside, or simply opportunists.
As he traverses the Isles, Titus's message is clear and compelling: Join the formidable force led by Princess Fatima and Katarina, engage in a righteous struggle against the malevolent forces threatening to scorch our world, and earn the chance to rebuild from the ashes. This is not merely a call to arms but an invitation to be part of something greater, to turn personal despair into collective strength.
Titus focuses on the recruitment of various roles necessary for a robust military force - from skilled sailors to valiant infantry, sharp-eyed archers to masterful siege engineers. He underscores the promise of shelter and protection under Fatima, ensuring that those who join will be part of a formidable and caring community.
Furthermore, Titus leverages his persuasive abilities to attract individuals with resources - ships, wealth, and unclaimed lands - contributing significantly to the fleet's readiness and capability. He approaches every encounter with the understanding that this is not only about forming a military force but also about forging a united front with shared dreams and aspirations.
In this endeavor, Titus is not just a recruiter but a beacon of hope and direction, guiding those lost in the turmoil towards a path of valor and potential glory. His involvement is crucial in amassing a fleet that stands as a symbol of defiance and hope, ready to sail to Eurus and aid in a monumental uprising. With Titus's support, Princess Fatima's vision of a formidable fleet capable of making even the Dune Emperor tremble is not just a possibility but an impending reality.
Fatima desires the assistance of her house and Thrax will not turn away those who are family. Traveling with Fatima where and when she can but not at the cost of tending to House Matters, Alarissa lends her voice, position and influence with the Isles to support Fatima and what she's trying to achieve. Encouraging those who wish to join to do just that. With the knowledge of who is already over there, she wishes to see success.
It is most definitely the largest fleet assembled that was not under the banner of a Great House in Compact history. They come by the thousands to assist. Quite nearly ten thousand Eurusi refugees that have made a life in the Compact, fleeing tyranny from home, but knowing that as the fires of revolution spread in Eurus, they have a chance to retake the Dune Kingdoms. There are thousands of sellswords who believe in Fatima and the Isle Canines, and believe that glory and victory can be found under her banner. There are thousands of knights of the Compact, thousands of men-at-arms who have lost from the attacks of Skal'daja, who have fought the Dune Kingdom before, and have hungered for years at a chance to strike back.
They come and are assembled, and wait for the command. For glory. For revenge, and for many?
They are going home.
Action by Saik for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 10:05 p.m.)
Medeia has a few theories about the origin of the masses of refugees appearing with little memory, especially those claiming to be from places that don't seem to exist. One theory hits close to home: They were all taken by the Eater of Stories, and they have somehow been returned. If this is true, it would mean that the breaking of all shackles in the wake of the death of Orichalcum resulted in the release of those shackled away from memory. How to prove it?
Medeia's older brother, Estaban, had claimed to have a twin - Emilio - that no one else can remember. According to Estaban, Emilio had been pursuing the Eater (maybe as part of his work as a member of the Inquisition) and got too close. If Emilio can be found among the refugees, it would prove this particular theory. And, if he can be found, it would restore a member of the Saik family to his rightful place.
It won't be easy, but Medeia ensures that everyone who is helping this search is equipped with a detailed sketch of Estaban (And the rest of the siblings - maybe they weren't identical! Medeia and Neilda aren't, after all.) to compare to. While she helps the Physicians tend refugees, she pays extra close attention to men with Lycene accents who would be about 30 years of age. And she engages every part of her whisper network to have eyes in places she cannot be. If Emilio is out there, someone will know something, and she intends to keeps asking questions until he's found.
Emelio was a topic that Estaban spoke of to Lucita on many occasions, what he looked like, how he missed his twin, how none of the other siblings and parents, friends, servants, other Inquisition members remembered him. Journals, family records, old school notes, all were missing references to Emilio yet Estaban remembered him so clearly. Perhaps some information has reappeared so those records are being reviewed again.
People change over the years but some things remain the same. Mannerisms, habits, expressions, a physical build, coloration are often the same with twins, and that is what Lucita will be looking for. She can eliminate a lot of the refugees due to sex, complexion hue, height and such details not matching what Estaban said. She does not know if his age 'froze' at the time he disappeared or if his experiences 'aged' him so will be observing expressions, movements, mannerisms in an effort to narrow down and identify Emilio if she can as she looks through the many crowds of refugees.
Quenia lends her own resources and asks her own information network to start combing through the refugees to see if they can find the missing Lord Emilio Saik. She makes sure they are given miniature paintings of Estaban, in case they were identical and just so they are aware of the familial traits if they are not. She also personally goes along with any member of their more immediate party to ensure no one is asking around alone, making use of the buddy system in case trouble arises. People without memories might be a bit more upset than they imagine.
Duarte lends support through his own information channels, sending some friends of his to scour around. His friends don't seem like the proper sort. They certainly aren't nobles or noble house staff. They're the sort that can get into different nooks and crannies entirely, especially ones someone who doesn't want to be found might be hiding in.
Denica will take what information she hears about Emilio and try to improve the pictures they have of him. Listening to anyone who might describe him, using what she thinks, but also just trying to immerse herself in the knowledge of the man to paint him. Denica will continue to paint portraits of Emilio, not only to share with others, but she hopes that through painting his image, she might connect with him and get a sense of where he might be.
Faye has been around the House of Questions since she was a child, and she still has a few odds-and-ends records of her father's, from when he was Master of Questions. While she has no memory of a man named Emilio, perhaps his name can be found somewhere in the old records, along with an account of what happened to him.
As Medeia informs him that her brother Emilio was a member of the Inquisition, and many of their number were devoured by the Eater of Stories, Alistair gives Medeia access to Inquisition records and old rosters. Perhaps an old report or paper mentions her brother and helps her identify the man in the throngs of thousands that now flood the city.
House Velenosa has a vast array of various resources at their disposal and is not afraid to use them! Jaenelle reaches out to every city and assigns a team to make sure informatio flows freely between the Lyceum to make certain that if something is needed at one end by a city on the other it is easily accessed through well trained planners and logistics department. This includes missing people, as one of the first things the team is responsible for is matching refugees with whatever cities they remember in hopes that their family is there and remembers. Emilio's description, his history, and any other information that is found in the process are sent through the proper channels in hopes that if he is somewhere, he is found.
Emilio is not to be found among the refugees. Emilio will never be found at all. And unfortunately, Medeia is able to discover why.
As they work with the refugees, and now have magic to take a closer look at Azazel's magic, they come to a horrifying realization as they look at some of the most traumatic suppressed memories of the refugees. Azazel's first writ, the one placed on him long ago, empowered him to enforce the Despite as the only time he could take mortal lives- ostensibly as a last ditch effort to prevent another Reckoning and awakening Baalphrigor. Overtime, the Despite of Fable twisted, and became the suppression of quite nearly anything magical at all- and when someone strayed over that, Azazel killed them. He consumed them, and devoured the knowledge that they had ever been. He ate them, and he ate all traces of them.
The missing, the forgotten, they're all dead. Azazel killed them personally.
And they are left with that, as they deal with refugees talking about whole cities no one remembers. Thousands. Tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands.
Azazel intends genocide, and he is coming with an army to do so.
Action by Velenosa for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 10:02 p.m.)
A promise was made to the Shadowspeaker Clan to free them from their life of servitude and sever their connection to the hive that controlled them. A promise made by Eleyna and reaffirmed by Jaenelle. Some were freed (Action 3696), while others clung to their writ as if a life saver and refused to accept the aid, Those that were freed settled in Lenosia while a few went to Iasu. With writs broken and no longer able to be created, those that were too far gone to accept the assistance will most likelt require it now. With the assistance of the Shadowspeakers that have made lives for themselves within the Lyceum, it is Jaenelle's hope that those lost without memories that arrive to the cities within the Lyceum could be identified as members of the Shadowspeaker Clan and reunited with those who were lost to them when their path's split.
Jaenelle is an experienced Soul Healer, and now with her new found availability to magic she is able to control her abilities a bit more. She hopes that she is able to assist those without memory by looking in their souls. She has the ability whie soul healing to view the memories of others, and she hopes that while looking she is able to draw memories out and reestablish their connection to the person who lived them. Memories of family, of hope and love, of a time when they were free to think on their own. She also hopes that while looking at memories she can piece together the things that are unknown like the maps and where they had been.
Jan will use her knowledge of managing large groups of people in often less than ideal circumstances. She will create bundles of items the refugees will need. A few changes of clothes, a pair of boots, a belt, a military-rucksack meant to carry everything a soldier may need but in this case instead of armor and weapons it's a waterskin, a few days dry rations, a wool blanket and bedroll, parchment and pencil, and a tinderbox with flint. All of this is neatly packaged and arranged so as refugees are sorted and sent on their way they have the bare necessities for their journey where ever it takes them.
Medeia includes Jaenelle's intentions in her considerations as she works with the people of Saikland to handle any refugees coming into the villages of the barony. As they are screened ase settled or transported to other holdings that may be better able to support them (or be where they belong), she makes sure that anyone who is either a now-writ-free Shadowspeaker or who might be affiliated in some way is connected with those who are coordinating Jaenelle's efforts.
Quenia will use her considerable charm and skill with persuasion to speak to the refugees and get them sorted into proper homes. Any that could be identified as Shadowspeakers, either through word of mouth or marks will be directed to Jaenelle for additional services and/or healing as needed before they are reunited with the settled Shadowspeaker Clan/Tribe living on Lenosia lands.
Thea will help aide those refugees with as much guidance as she can. She will listen and take notes, checking to see which famil and or home they come from. Try to reconnect them. If there is no home to go to, she will see how that can be fixed as well.
An undertaking of this magnitude requires someone experienced with logistics and record keeping. Arman hopes to use his skills to ensure the Archduchess is able to work her abilities in a timely manner, managing the influx of refugees, and reconnecting those to their proper kin. In addition, those who cannot be directly linked he hopes to channel to an area of the Lyceum where an influx of residences would both be welcome and benefical.
When the archduchess calls you answer. At least Theo does. Theo will meet and greet the refugees and see what kind of needs to be met. Making a tally of sorts to make sure it happens. Encouraging them that the archduchess only wants to help and seeks after their well being.
During time spent talking with Jaenelle, she explained what a toll emotionally that looking into the souls and memories of others takes. To support her in the effort, Lucita is looking through her music collection and writing songs that are the equivalent of 'comfort food'. They are to lighten the spirit, comfort, remind of familiar pleasant times and amuse so that the burden Jaenelle has becomes more bearable and strengthens her. She attempts to use spellsong when possible and if that does not seem to be working, she uses plain-song.
Berenice is not really built for the /field/, but needs must. She'll mostly try to aim her focus at the Shadowspeakers /leadership/, speaking /persuasively/ and /diplomatically/ (hopefully) about the value of being among the vassals of the great House Velenosa.
Pasquale brings a number of Malespero volunteers and medics along to help find and tend to the newly freed Shadowspeakers (and those refugees who get mixed up with them.) He ensures that Jan's aid packs are well funded and that she has all the help she might needs creating and distributing them. Finally, should any of the refugees wish it he will see to their passage to Nilanza.
Duchess Calista Fidante is well known for her abilities to assuage the masses. In times of troubles such as these, she has been able to offer assistance in bringing comfort to those who desperately need it. When the refugees show up in Tor, Calista forms a special team of highly skilled and trained healers, apothecaries, trained guards, servants and general good doers to tend to the refugees, and offer them comforts while they are brought up to date on all current events. In addition to this team, Calista works closely with other leaders to help fill these gaps and try to get to the bottom of what is happening.
Vitalis has been party to the finding and fighting and restoring of the Shadowspeakers, from a gut full of rusty steel in the burrows under the Lodge of Petrichor where cultists fought and fled leaving traces that lead to the Lyceum, to forays to defang recalcitrant clans, or reaffirm support to those who broke away and pledged themselves free of abyssal influence. He joins Jaenelle (because, like Theo, when the Archduchess calls...) to find and shepherd the group's efforts.
He joins Arman in being the pointy end of the Prince's logistical planning -- the man on the ground implementing those plans. Expedition leader while the group is in transit from place to place. The group's physical well-being as they travel is his primary concern.
(and he gives a load of really comfy wool socks with cheese wheels embroidered on them to Jan for her bundles)
Diplomacy mission? Who better than the Archduke Noah Velenosa himself? He is sure to create some sort of stir. If Jaenelle's going (and he hears about it), so then is Noah. While the others are there talking about the values of Velenosa and joining together (maybe holding hands and singing). Noah has one goal. That goal is that Jae goes in. Jae comes out. So he is armed with all his pointy little blades of 'diplomacy'. If needed, he is more than willing to use each and every one of them. Mostly, he's just there to be stoic and observe, offer a few 'hmms', and keep his blades at ready.
They love Jaenelle. They really do. Everyone helps a great deal, and their efforts to help the refugees will see many settle to become productive members of Lenosia and dependable subjects of House Velenosa. But it's the Archduchess that the Shadowspeakers really look to, putting aside much of their long lingering traumas and ties to darkness at the comfort she offers. They are soothed, and many will be proud to call Lenosia home.
But as many regain their memories, all too many are concerned for Lenosia's future, and whether it and the Lyceum can withstand what is coming.
Action by Solace for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 7, 2024, 11:42 p.m.)
The Knights of Solace are dedicated to the protection of travelers on the road. As such, we will be sending out units to protect the refugee travelers to ensure they reach safe destinations under the guidance of Solace, that the wounded are taken to Mercy stations, and that they are not robbed, threatened, or attacked in their journey. Hopefully, the kindness of Solace and the security we can provide will encourage some memories to start coming in.
Brannen will help both in the distribution of men as well as in leading groups of knights on their escorts. He will fight those who endanger his proteges and offer kindness and comfort to those requiring solace. As knight and as Godsworn, he will do what he can to offer moral support as an example of knightly virtues, showing those losing hope that the Knights of Solace will not leave them to their fate.
Nurie's skills are not those of a knight, but she does lend her soothing touch and demeanor to help keep those fleeing calm and cared for. She's managed to bring with her clothing castoffs of various sizes, as well as her kit so that she can make things fit more appropriately to utilize any supplies Solace might have sent, as well as to upkeep the knights' own garments when necessary. In the relative anonymity she'll have here, she'll be those kind and loving hands to slip a coat over someone's shoulders, make sure hands are protected with gloves, adding an extra lining to a cloak, mending things while those fleeing sleep, spending time silently or with gentle small talk when it's time to rest. Her love for people is quite genuine, and she'll attempt to have it be yet another light amongst many, for Solace and refugee alike, to help strengthen the hearts and minds of those involved in the evacuation.
The first patrols don't return. Then the next wave doesn't. Then a very major escort, more than enough to handle shav attacks doesn't. And it's not until Jeffeth, Brannen and Nurie head out of the city towards the Northlands to see what's happening do they see it.
They pass wave after wave of refugees, huge columns slowly moving, and there's smoke on the horizon. There's roads that go from Bastion up towards Bonespire, parts of the Great road, but in those northern reaches of the Gray Forest, there's no end to the shavs and Compact citizens alike fleeing south. And as they clear the gray forest to the start of the Everwinter, moving to the top of a high crest that serves as a vantage point over the frozen north towards Bonespire.
It's an endless horde. They can see miles and miles, and they can't see the end of the army, with thousands upon thousands of banners showing the maw of azazel, a mouth that moves and gapes like a living things on their battle standards. And at a closer glance, it's not men marching in the army. Not anymore. Abyssal things, mishapen shards, tattered in armor and twisted by abyssal corruption, and winged demons are among them. An army seeming without end, marching towards Arx.
A pair of winged demons spot them on the crest, and begin to swoop towards them, moving to attack and slow their retreat so they are enveloped by the marching horde. As the winged creatures swoop closer and closer, there's a sound of something like a horse neighing from the treeline behind them, and a giant glittering unicorn jumps out of tree line, and it's mouth just opens wider and wider, and then like an almost snake just swallows the two demons midair then lands and gallops off. It's quite possibly the weirdest thing Jeffeth and Brannen have ever seen but they don't have much time to contemplate it as they make a retreat south towards the safety of Arx.
Action by Liberators for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 8:46 p.m.)
The Forgetfulness Plague? Aleksei thinks he recognizes it. He recognizes the lost memories of people who have been bound into service to darkness. Of those who have been under writ, maybe their entire lives. He recognizes these people for what they are: those who have been freed from bondage.
And the Liberators help all who have been freed from bondage.
The Liberators have money and resources, of course, as the discipleship of the Faith, but they also have the connections they've built over the years since their founding. Relationships across the Compact that have been built and nurtured through the dramatic shifts of thralldom and the work of the Liberators in finding all those former thralls new homes. And not just new homes, but new lives: connecting them with apprenticeships, helping them figure out what work they want to do, and basically just doing as much as possible to set them up for success.
_Prodigals_ might be a harder sell, but it is the Liberators' responsibility regardless. And so they shall work to make use of the infrastructure they've already built, and they will work to convince those across the Compact to welcome these new brothers and sisters. To remind them of the Compact's shared responsibility to help those who have been freed from bondage. To honor the tenets of freedom and choice by helping those who have gone without those tenets to find their footing in a new life. _Yes, in a real and tangible way, Compact, you can't just voice your well-wishes._ Time to help!
Resettlement operations are nothing new to the Liberators, and fortunately Ferrando is extremely fluent in all things streetwise and with several years of general carousing all over Arx from Lowers around the docks to the Whisper House on top of the previous Liberator operations helping resettle ex-thralls all across the Compact, he either knows a guy or knows a guy who knows a guy pretty much all over Arvum by this point. To that end he'll be setting up shop in Farhaven closest to the source of the refugees for a bit and essentially help direct said refugee traffic towards trusted contacts in appropriate spots, steering them away from bad situations, making sure they know where not to go to get mugged in unfamiliar cities, and helpful successfully life-rebooting stuff like that.
Claude will visit some of the places facing the heaviest influx of refugees and attempt to hold small town-hall style meetings and speak to influential people in those areas in the hopes of having them be more accepting and offering more aid to the refugees. He will speak on his own experiences as former under-writ Abandoned and how he has flourished thanks in great part to members of the Compact aiding and believing in him. And how welcoming and nourishing these new, lost souls, will make the Compact stronger and more robust.
Caspian was busy after the end of the war in thrax, working with many to help the now freed thralls find new places and new lives. now, he is a member of the commoner's council, and in a slightly better position to help those who find themselves in the city proper. He does his best to share stories of the North, of how shavs had saved lives, or charming stories of star struck loves from different families, anything to ingratiate the shavs with the people of the city.
Something isn't right with the numbers of refugees, the more that the Liberators spend with them. They are able to help them a great deal, but some unsettling details begin to emerge. These aren't just large sections of a few big shav clans, tribes or houses. Every group has their own distinctive markers, different cultural flourishes that they keep to themselves to blend when they have to, but it's still there, and it's easy to spot them as the Liberators spend time with them. They are able to identify members of hundreds of different groups. Thousands even. That's not just a number of groups that were under the sway of the Horned God. It can't be.
It's more like all the Abandoned groups in Arvum.
But if that's the case, where -is- everyone. They are helping thousands of people. Tens of thousands. And certainly that number is multipled many times over throughout all the different holdings in the Compact that people are fleeing to. But it seems like there should be more.
It doesn't feel like just some refugees. It feels like all of the Abandoned are being driven from their lands. -All- of them.
Action by Fealty Volitant for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 12:50 a.m.)
Ayo, fuck Azazel first and foremost...
Fealty Volitant was created over 10 years ago by Giulio, Mirari and Duarte to serve their own needs as gatherers of information, but it had a large purpose that was more theologically informed.
Fealty Volitant's vaults were built to serve Vellichor. It's complicated, but the vaults were made to be a mirror of Azazel. They collect and hold secrets - not magical ones, just secrets in general. And hidden behind the frivolity of entertainment, gambling and fashion (akin to writing reams of smut in a book before the important stuff) so as not to rouse his or his cult's suspicions.
And now it is time for the vaults to serve their true purpose and deal a blow to the Eater of Stories and Prince of Secrets.
Duarte is not Vellichor's Aspect of Revelation, but he'll wear the hat.
Fealty Volitant for this is going to do a grand, world-shaking sacrifice of secrets. That's right - they're emptying the vaults right into the broad general public. Every illicit affair, every back alley meeting, every Valardin Knight who eats peas with a knife...big or small, likely to cause wars or just evil stares, indiscriminately, everything the vaults has gathered over the past decade is being made public in a massive tidal wave of Revelation. EVERYTHING.
Brought to you by "Perspicacious Owl" - the hero of the beloved Poor Hungry Demon books.
This will likely cause a good amount of CHAOS (which isn't horrible since CHAOS hates Azazel - see? This plan has LAYERS). But to mitigate this, the principals of Fealty Volitant will be flanking this action by playing the roles of concerned diplomats. They are going to attempt to minimize some of the potentially greater fall-out from doing this by giving mediation and leading talks between any rivalries it stirs up.
And of course if any person or group is too much of a salty butthurt asshole about their secrets suddenly floating around the taverns, there is Mirari who has always been good at giving people some...uhh...perspective.
(We got 20k Military to represent protection for the casino and cover for the operatives to keep them anonymous, and we got 20k social to represent the NPC distribution effort)
Katarina DOES feel a little bad about this. Not so much for exposing unjust people as the bastards they are, but for the gossipy stuff, like the poor Valardin knight who eats peas with a knife. He didn't do anything to anyone. All the same, Kat understands the necessity of this vast de-vaulting, and she does her part to make sure that the secrets are properly gossiped about in the Eurusi Quarter and spread out into the greater Eurusi refugee community.
Ferrando has never really been personally concerned with the volume acquisition, storage, and/or retrieval of a mass amount of secrets, but! He's very good at knowing who to talk to around the city to get certain things done, and if you were some organization who wanted to, say, undertake a mass release of (soon to be formerly) secret information to the public, Ferrando can make help link you up with certain smuggling-like operations that will quietly distribute things around the city until one morning, whoa! How did these get there? Never mind that, did you read this!? For what it's worth he also always enjoyed the Perspicacious Owl book series from back when, so that's probably a bit of extra motivation too.
Mirari is a problem solver. A woman with a fondness for chaos, she's curious to see what will happen. It's truly a grand finale, but it's worth it, if it helps people remember. So many secrets, so many squabbles as a result. While others use their political prowess to ease any waves of disconnect, Mirari removes obstacles in their way. There's always someone who decides to make themselves an issue, it's really unfortunate. Mirari will carefully encourage them to make better choices.
Apollo helps distribute these secrets, watching for the fallout but not particularly concerned with it unless it proves as present and existential a threat as Azazel. He doesn't even hold back secrets he finds in Fealty Volitant's stores that might affect how people perceive him, his family, his House: the machinations to ennoble him, various dalliances and affairs.
Mabelle is not very good at gossip but she is good at mitigating damages, acting all innocent and making people think what she wants them to think. Soothing the masses, listening to whatever people have to say and try not to get anyone murdered.
Vitalis is a new recruit to the Fealty Volitant and what a time to join, just as it's being turned inside out. He is good at getting into and out of places he probably shouldn't be in. Who better to get some of these incindiary parcels where the need to go than the Ghost himself?
The joining is a solemn thing for Vitalis, Giulio Corvini was a treasured mentor and is dearly missed. He is proud to be joining the Giulio's storied legacy.
There is something terribly convenient about being viewed as someone who is always willing to help mediate a problem, about being a trustworthy sort. Medeia's reputation for being at the right place at the right time to offer kind advice or to soothe tensions is known throughout noble circles, and so it isn't surprising at all to find her at the Black Fox or Ambassador Salon, speaking carefully with individuals who are upset or hurt by the things revealed. She keeps an eye on the white journals, too, sending well-thought out letters to those who express distress and inviting them to join her for a drink so they might talk about why they're so upset. It's subtle, yet pointed, each interaction whenever the topic comes up, working to turn the populace's view on the revelations neutral if not positive.
It's always hard to tell with something so great in scope and so allegorical it's nature just what tangible effects it has. Certainly they are successful about spreading the word, and certainly a countless number of secrets that would infuriate Azazel are released, but there's not a beam from on high or a sign that can be read without any possible confusion or contradiction.
There are some subtle signs, though.
Without exception, as the refugees come to Arx, it's the Shrine of Vellichor and Great Archive that drives them the most. This certainly wasn't the case before Fealty Volitant acted, but it is without a doubt the case after their secrets spread. Something is drawing people to Vellichor, and it could well be them.
No crows are seen in the city. Not a one. Some farmers comment on it. Could just be migratory patterns.
It must have done something. But precisely what is very hard to say.
Action by Redrain for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 9:14 p.m.)
With the fallout of the battle at Harrow Hall, Donella rallies humanitarian aid from the scrappy and can-do-spirited Northerners. The displaced and wandering amnesiacs must be provided for, stably housed, reintegrated, and given purpose. They must be made whole in so far as that is possible. They must also be debriefed so that the pattern of how they came to be as they are can inform the preparation of a strategy to deal with the Devourer, who is surely linked to their condition. If nothing new is learned, at the very least they will have done good work by bringing people in need back into the fold.
Using her skills in leadership and diplomacy, Donella sets a plan in place to organize the vassals and delegate duties to ensure all these needs are met by inviting/entreating/haranguing vassals of Redrain to take part in some facet of this work. She doesn't say that anything bad will happen if they do not... but the seriousness with which she treats if strongly implies something very well might.
Gwenna works to make sure the Northlands can handle and absorb the influx of refugees from a resources standpoint. She makes it known that the other Houses of the Northlands may have economic assistance from House Redrain, as endeavors like this take not only time, but silver to accomplish. There are few things more important to her than the people of the North and she makes sure that there are ample allowances available to coordinate the collective efforts.
Magaen extends an offer for the resettlement of refugees in Glacial Grove, where there are homes available (though in varying states of neglect) and jobs aplenty, particularly in the rebuilding and reconstruction of the holding's infrastructure.
Mirk commits House Halfshav to resettlement of refugees, and he makes time to greet them in Whitehold personally, where speaks to some of the refugees about their experiences. He acts as shaman, offering spiritual guidance and reassurances, and offers thems ympathy, but any insight he gains as to what is happening will be filed away and compared with other records in hopes of shedding the slightest bit of light on what is happening in the Northlands. After all, he has to be concerned about all of Halfshav's people, and whatever is happening to spread this Forgetfulness Plague is a concern to them all.
Rosalind will talk to the refugees, a friendly smile naturally on her face. She will offer them refuge at Stormheart if they wish it, shelter, food. To be that listening ear.
Marquessa Umbroise Acheron joins the effort in seeking to provide shelter and purpose for those who are lost or frightened. She'll open the gates of the City of Aviaron's Peak, and find as many of them as possible positions in the city. Using her charm and skill with people, Umbroise will do her best to ensure the people have shelter, sustenance and employment at the very least. If the city runs out of room, she will organize the people who can't fit into the city, seeking out the ones that seem most likely to be leader-types, and encourage them to build new settlements within sight of the walls of Aviaron's Peak, granting them lands to tend within the March. She'll develop programs to assess the skills and talents of those who seek shelter, and ensure they are organized into groups designed to build these new settlements. This may in turn result in new baronies being formed within the March of Aviaron's Peak. She'll of course also be keeping an ear open for any rumors of what happened to Ruin, or where Azazel might be currently.
Ann extends an offer for those that wish there is room in Riva for them to make a home once again. She has access to offer transport over the river to get there. They would be welcomed. Jobs offered and new families could be made.
Cadern will ensure Blackwood will take on a share of refugees, some of them being settled into existing territories as well as sending rangers to reclaim parts of the woods previousy ceded to the Horned one in previous conflicts. Personally he and his staff will do their best to make notes on each and offer to investigate what he can of their pasts and names, as well what they remember. Names and descriptions and what are found are shared across region where possible to ensure perhaps in the future lost ones and loved ones can be reunited.
Titus, the Duke-Consort of Halfshav, brings his unique cultural insights and organizational skills from Sangris to support Donella's humanitarian initiative. Drawing from the Sangris tradition where each individual's role is integral to the community's survival, Titus implements a methodical approach to reintegrating the amnesiacs affected by the Forgetfulness Plague.
His strategy involves conducting comprehensive aptitude tests to gauge the skills or latent talents of those affected, regardless of their memory loss. By identifying their potential strengths and areas of proficiency, Titus aims to assign them to roles where they can be most effective and feel a sense of purpose. This careful placement not only aids in the community's overall functionality but also fosters a sense of belonging and self-worth among those who are struggling to find their place in this altered reality.
In addition to this practical approach, Titus incorporates the power of music and storytelling into the rehabilitation process. Recognizing that melodies and narratives often strike a deeper chord within individuals, he organizes sessions where songs and stories are shared. This is done under the auspices of the gods Vellichor, Petrichor, and Gloria, with the hope that these artistic expressions might resonate with the amnesiacs, triggering latent memories, or at least providing comfort and a sense of connection.
Titus's involvement also emphasizes the importance of a safe haven for these individuals. He works closely with the Redrain vassals to ensure that the amnesiacs are not only employed in suitable roles but also feel secure and valued within their new environment. By integrating them into the community with clear roles and responsibilities, he helps create a stable foundation for their new lives. One must have a foundation if they wish to build a prosperous and long-lasting house.
Overall, Titus's support is there in the successful implementation of Donella's plan. His experience and empathetic approach might be instrumental in giving the displaced a new sense of direction and belonging, aiding in their recovery while contributing to the community's resilience against the challenges posed by the Devourer.
Well, it goes well at first. They are able to put in a great deal of humanitarian aid and see for the refugees arriving, helping most get settled. There's a great number of wounded among them, and some start to recover their memories, recalling an army raised by Azazel, a huge one, full of abyssal shards.
It does not take terribly long to confirm the existence of this army. Though 'huge' is unfortunately an understatement of the vast horde marching south through the Everwinter.
It's at least a million shards. At least that's the rough guess of scouts, as they can't see the end of it, and it just stretches into the horizon from ever vantage point they look at. It's a slow moving force, but it's clearly intending to sweep south through the Northlands and exterminate everything, wash over the domains and crush any defense on its way to Arx. Even at full muster of everything in the Northlands, it would be extremely badly outnumbered. Perhaps a stand at a narrow pass, a river, something to prevent the enemy from using the weight of numbers could stall it, but even then, numbers would likely still tell. Perhaps they could hold them at Farhaven, with its walls. But perhaps not. Nothing might be able to stop it, which is why a lot of refugees are still heading for Arx, in the vain hope of the strongest possible defense.
But one thing is for certain. If nothing slows that army, it's going to kill thousands upon thousands of refugees and smash every smaller domain before they could be evacuated. Hundreds of thousands could die. The entire Northlands could be exterminated.
It's something they have not faced since the Reckoning, not truly. Though perhaps more than any other domain, Redrain is willing to stand and fight if Donella wishes it.
To the Last.
Action by Malvici for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 7, 2024, 6:08 p.m.)
With the number of refugees arriving into Southport and Malvici holdings, Duke Martino is seeking to welcome them in with semi-open arms. That is: They are willing to accepted our Gods and they are willing to enlist into the Malvici army as per any other citizen of Southport.
For those who are not medically well, a basic service will be provided to bring them up to a standard of health to offer their services if they do choose to. Those who do not, will not be permitted to remain in Southport as their home.
With the large amount of money that House Malvici has acquired from treasures recovered from Malrico, they will be putting this money to use to rapidly expand the city first through temporary accommodation and secondly through production. Recognising this is the first step into large scale growth, they will be focusing on the temporary accommodation and using the new labour to build something more permanent.
Alexio doesn't typically leverage his title of minister in Malvici affairs. For once he does. Utilizing his contacts Alexio is willing to deploy Martino's money where it can help first and foremost in regards to refugees that Malvici takes in, but then wider. He leverages contacts of both a savory and unsavory nature doing his best to ensure that no one might recognize just how much money might be flowing out of Malvici, or how sometimes donations showing up simply in supplies labeled as 'surplus' rather than hard coin. He deploys his charm to ensure people don't talk about the size of the donation but rather simply the generosity of Southport. Or in cases where those receiving donations aren't to be trusted members of House Malvici might occasionally find themselves receiving thank you notes from institutions that they do not recall Alexio unsurprisingly favors institutions that are ecclesiastical in nature but given the members the smalelr healing and physician focused institutions find themselves on priority lists.
Thea is a Master Physician these days. As the refugees come through, she will help vet them. Check them over for illnesses, help tend to those that are likely not healthy. All the while, she will speak to them of her time in the Army and all that she's learned.
As she is doing with the Physician's Guild, (see action 4905) Eirene is making sure the resettled Formerly Writ-Bound refugees have the health care access they need to be healthy and fit for Malvici military service. She proudly tells them of her own time in the army (leaving out the War with Tor part)
The population of Southport grows, as expected, though much of the citizens that come there are extremely badly traumatized and there's a distinct lack of fighters in their ranks, suggesting an overwhelming majority of those that could fight have already been killed.
Action by Smiling Shadows for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 7:30 p.m.)
Based on what came out of the Accords meeting, the Forgetfulness is a sign of something bigger. There's going to be a lot of 'save the world' types, trying to do that. The Smiling Shadows are a network of strategic and clever assassins. The best. They are good at finding threats and removing them. They will provide security detail for the other groups. No one even needs to know, that means they can work it their own way. Moving in the shadows, and keeping watch for their allies who try to stop a second reckoning.
Mirari will seize the opportunity to do good deeds and make them profitable. Why not contract out to some shaddy sorts? Take their money, kill them, and make the world a safer place. There's always a silver lining.
Every mass initiative from the Shadows demands, you know, human shields. Or footsoldiers. Expendable types. If only to keep the Leer amused while the others get on with staying out of the Leer's reach, you know? So, with the flood of amnesiac refugees spreading around Arvum, Ember will get to work recruiting. Those who demonstrate capabilities in the fine arts of skulduggery and thuggery will get the enticing pitch of 'hey, who knows, maybe this could help with your memories' or sometimes 'join or I'll kill you, look at me I'm a fucking demoness.'
Kept apprised of the Shadows' plans to assist the members of the Accords in their efforts and wholly aware of how unlikely some of those members will be to accept the aid of Arvum's most talented assassins, Lianne sponsors contracts. Should any of the do-gooders who think themselves above such aid look like they really could use the sneaky, unseen backup, the Voice of the Abyss will ensure that a contract is paid in full to pick off any troublesome sorts who might interfere with their good and necessary work. Don't want any of Azazel's agents or the shards of his growing army hurting our people, even if they're only our people through common purpose.
As always, Umbroise is there to help the Smiling Shadows with their image, and setting their marks off-guard with her charm and her smiles. She'll use that to the Shadows' advantage, in seeking to broker the best deals, and hopefully make a little money on the side. She'll also use that skill to set the marks off-guard, so they won't expect the blade of her knife.
It's a good thing they were there, even if often stealthy assassins don't get the sort of credit they should.
There's a lot of abyssal shards out there trying to pick off groups. A lot. Mirari, Ember, and Lianne see to the killing of probably a hundred of the swarming things between them over a dozen different attacks, let alone the score of shadows working under Mirari. Ember is able to recruit a number of killers of questionable morals and sanity who make promising shadows, and some of those even survive the first brush with the shard forces scouting forward for Azazel. But it's very, very clear that outside of possibly a few of the strongest holdings, everyone is going to get driven back towards Arx and soon. There's just so many of the shards out there, and odds are most of the Accords groups would have died if the Shadows weren't watching their backs.
Action by The Prismatic Order for Forgetfulness Plague(Public Action, OOC Date: Jan. 8, 2024, 8:46 p.m.)
The Prismatic Order hits the books.
We know that Azazel absorbed Fable, Ruin, and Legion. What we want to know, is what does this mean? How does this affect Azazel and how might be different? What strengths could he gain and what weaknesses might come along with it? Ultimately, he must be defeated. So do this, we need to understand who we are facing.
So, the Prismatic Order will comb through information. They will dust off old texts and seek understanding through whatever means inspires them. Maybe there's something out there, that will tell them more. As their own adventures takes them to different places, it gives them the opportunity to look everywhere.
Fortunato has a lot (a lot) of wild ideas, but this is not what they need right now. Where he can, he'll look for anything thematically relevant to intersections, archfiend absorption (gods, has this EVER happened??), reconfigurations in gods and their reflections, limits to absorptions, aaaanything. Where he can't, he'll have his old pal and assistant Ugarte collate. Certainly Ugarte should not be adventuring out in the woods. He's a purely urban fellow.
Time for the time-honored Aleksei tradition of figuring this out: hope that he luckily stumbles on the right tome. At least the Archive is more full these days, and even if this is an entirely unprecedented situation, maybe people have theorized? Or maybe there's records of this happening on a lower level (demon eating demon, etc.). Let's see if they can find it!
Faye has access to a lot of old records in the back rooms at the House of Questions. There are boxes of records from her father's time, as well as from Shreve's time. While mentions of Azazel might be excised, mention of the others may not be, particularly in accounts Inquisitors may have have had with those evil forces. As usual, it's often a matter of reading between the lines and trying to see what used to be there.
Research is something that Ann is good at. She will use her resources such as Inquisitor and Iron Guard to see if they have any information she might have missed in the old texts or if there are other ways to find the information that they seek.
Tikva will apply her inquisitorial skills to the problem and dig through all of Laric's weird-ass stuff in the old refectory and in his office while the others are prowling the archives. Surely between Vellicor's knowledge and the occultist texts and notes that have been accumulated over time they'll be able to sort out some kind of concrete plan for dealing with Azazel.
Keely can read! But everyone else has that covered, so she will use her social skills to schmooze and charm whichever scholars, Inquisitors, librarians, etc. that might hold the key to finding what team Prism is looking for.
While Khanne meditates, searching for answers in her soul's memories a bit related to these very questions (Action 4942), she also will seek more information on Azazel. Has this happened before? How did it 'change the game'? What tools were in place to defeat him? Are there weaknesses we have not yet discovered? Were there plans in place to defeat or stop him? She'll try to see if the parts of her soul that Ylaria's memories reside in can provide any information that might be able to help her.
It's a start. Azazel has the power of a dark god now, but even at his full strength, Baalphrigor was defeated in battle and driven into slumber then sealed. Through research, they are able to discover a few useful strands that might have value. Or might not. But it's something to start. Something to work with.
In order to pass through the Thinnest Point into the Shining Realms, a being needs to take physical form and coalesce into a manifestation to pass. The Thinnest Point is large, perhaps twice as large as a man, but something needs to physically pass through- it cannot do so in an insubstantial state, for reasons related to the way souls pass through death. So if Azazel intends to enter, he must become small enough to do so, and be able to be physically attacked before he passes.
The combined forces of much of the world was able to bring Baalphrigor low, and every indication was the Archfiend of Tyranny physically manifested on the world was significantly mightier than most of the other archfiends combined. This is intensely problematic if he should arrive, but it does mean that if Azazel is in physical form, he could potentially be defeated by enough raw force.
Azazel was brought into existence, amplified really, due to a working by Pyrite, the Great Seal, who some know as Aldwin the forch Archscholar of Vellichor. Pyrite had the magic that led to his creation, perhaps he could unmake it, if he met Azazel in person. And perhaps, though a grim thought, his death could serve to unmake Azazel. Though considering the great seal's death would almost certainly release Baalphrigor, that might not be very helpful. If his death does unmake Azazel, Azazel is likely unaware of it or does not believe it to be the case.
It's not much to go on. Much of the answers about Azazel and his original construction would be with an old man in Eurus, who currently has the Dune Emperor and Prophet of the Sands trying to kill him. It's thin, but it's there.