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The Empire of Anduri has reigned for hundreds of years, and just recently a new land to the West has been discovered. The pilot expedition went out 1 year ago, and the first ship has just returned with tales of strange creatures and a cargo hold full of exotic fruits and colorful animal skins. The Andurii have made contact with the natives and exchanged trinkets and tokens of friendship and respect. Some of the Andurii have even opted to stay behind and learn the ways of the new continent and its people.
The Emperor’s health is failing and his eldest son, Aurin is slowly assuming the mantle of rule. As such, the Emperor has demanded that a second expedition embark immediately and has tasked his youngest son, Teren, with establishing a settlement. Teren is taking with him some of his personal guards and household staff, as well as those who may be of use in the new, unexplored wilderness. There are those from the different churches that wish to bring their beliefs to the new land, as well as those from the universities who are eager to learn more. There are also those who seek to make a new life for themselves.
The ships will spend the night replenishing their stores and will head out at first light. The colonization of “Terenuri” has begun
"So what you're telling me is, that even with the portals, this is going to take a few weeks?" Dalsaf shook his head in frustration as he pored over the map once again, looking at the diagrams and the figurines that represented the known world. Known world, fah. 2 years ago the known world was nothing but this continent and a couple of islands of the coast. Now it's so much larger. Addressing the advisors once again, "Do we really have what it takes to colonize again? We are spread too thin as it is. I am sure that Lord Teren wants . . ."
"What do I want, dear Dalsaf?" A man, easily six foot tall with shoulder length black hair strode onto the bridge, surrounded by no fewer than 20 of his dovrahiim, Deathwatchers. Their lacquered armor and faceless helmets always inspired awe and terror.
"Surely you must have been infected with that sy-keek or whatever those savages have that lets them read minds. What I want is what is coming to me. My brother has this continent, so it is my father's will that I get the other. If they were fit to rule, don't you think they would have found us first, instead of the other way around?"
Dalsaf's mouth worked soundlessly for a minute as the Eladrin tried to compose himself. "Surely your lordship I meant no disrespect. It is just that I want the empire to be strong, and this expedition . . . you haven't seen what is out there. The Sea is vast, but this is like 1000 seas together." Dalsaf calmed his voice and tried to continue, blending confidence without condescension. "We spent months without sight of land. It is enough to drive lesser men insane. And now these Academs are telling me it will still take weeks. We have three full ships of men, women, children and animals and, as Admiral of the fleet . . . I just don't know if they will survive weeks on this open water."
"I will hear no more of it. Academs, get back to your quarters and find a way to make more portals. This hopping about is not sufficient. I want to be there in days, not weeks. Days." As the masters of the arcane university bowed and bobbed and made their exit, Lord Teren turned back to the Admiral, his voice and his face noticeably softening. "Dal, friend, I am just as worried as you are. We lost half of the fleet on the first expedition and I have no delusions of what awaits us. I only hope that these portals can lessen the losses. You are the best, oh quiet, you know you are. You have good men and women stationed on the other side and you have the empire's best working on these ships." Teren clapped the man on the shoulder in a friendly gesture.
"Teren. I know. I just . . . " Dalsaf paused a moment to look out to the pier, seeing the recruiters and the brave, curious, pious and desperate who made up this journey's passengers. "If I couldn't keep my sons safe, what chance do I have of keeping the Emperor's son safe?"
"You have been to the beyond and back. We will need that strength." With that, Teren tossed the man a smile and turned toward the door. "We depart in 3 hours."
Of the three ships in the harbor, the Mother's Star was the only one open to the general public. The first, obviously, was for the imperial host and was captained by the admiral himself. There were easily twice as many servants as royals aboard the Aurin's Gift, but they were all capable people.
The second ship in the harbor belonged to those officially sponsored - either from the churches or the universities. These spots were reserved months prior and only those with official letters were allowed aboard the Hidden Moon. Those who did not have an official sponsor found their way to the third ship.
The third ship, the Mother's Star, had probably the most diverse group of passengers. From mercenaries and myrmidons to farriers, farmers, weavers and wainwrights, this group was the rest - those with no official business who were willing to risk their lives on the frontier. There were many from the guilds, a few from the Explorer's society and more who were simply trying to make a name for themselves, a fresh start.
The quarters aboard the Mother's Star were little better than pallets, but since it was originally designed as a military vessel and had only just recently been outfitted for longer voyages, this was to be expected. The rooms slept 4 each, in two bunk beds on either side of a narrow room. A small bowl and pitcher were in one corner while a chamber pot resided in the opposite. Most everything was bolted down in a way that it could be unlocked and slid out of place for emptying or filling, as needed. Not entirely pleasant, but sufficient for those who were willing to make the journey.
Following the directions he was given, and only getting lost once, Throk fouond the quarters that he was to share for the duration of the journey. He sighed at the cramped size of it. He'd slept in far worse, of course. At least he had a bed to himself. After "stowing" (strange word) his gear (but keeping his money with him...momma didn't raise no fool), he decided to go back on deck and watch the rest of the people coming on board.
Rilingfell steadied himself against the ship's rail less then successfully trying to balance upon the ship's slightly swaying deck. No matter how much he loved the thought of exploring this new world, there was still always the ships. There was simply no getting over the ill feeling he felt while upon even a small rowboat, and this tub was far from luxurious. He had hoped that the society could have secured him a pass for the sponsored ship, but to his dismay, despite the society's title of "royal" the Erathisian church and Arcane University had apparently booked most of the available spots before the graduation, leaving him on a ship that felt like Sahaugin were trying to capsize, and doing a fine job at it to boot.
Turning to one of the seamen adjusting the ropes, he asked How long will the voyage be again? I'm afraid I'm already a tad sea sick
The sailor looked at the visibly green Eladrin, "Not yet sure. First reports said months, second report said weeks. I guess they are going to try out the portals so I figure we're either going to get there quickly or we'll all end up as fish food!" he ended on a laugh, taking even more joy in any discomfort he saw in the young man's face.
"Go down to the galley and ask Cook for some waterweed. That might help your stomach. Remember though, if you're going to be sick, be sick off the boat or you'll be swabbing your own deck!"
Another young eladrin standing several feet down the railing piped up, "Can you imagine how bad this must be for people who *don't* step through the Feywild now and again? Being off-balance in a strange environment, going through portals ... we eladrin have an advantage there." He spoke with the certainty of a man with a charmed life, who only has problems by choice. "Well, friend, I'm told the nausea only lasts a few days, and there's waterweed until then. And maybe when we approach the first portal, you'll have a chance to return yon sailor's chuckle to him ... see how well he takes the fear of being hurled through arcanospace." The slate-haired eladrin smiled mildly and let his gaze drift back to the buildings near the pier.
Thank you friend, I must admit I was hoping for better accomadations then this, but I suppose if I can survive this voyage then the wilds of Terenuri should be a cinch.
He chuckled slightly at his own joke, before another wave of nausea seized him
Excuse me he muttered, rushing for the side of the deck.
A few moments later he returned.
I can only imagine what it will be like when we set sail, but where are my manners? I'm Rilingfall from house Stardawn, and a member of the Royal Exploration society. he offered his hand What of you friend, are you a scholar? I admit that I've never heard of a portal described as "Arcanospace" before, but then I've had little experience with portals in general.
"Roman Elanai, lately of the University here. He shook the proffered hand solidly, making the embroidery dance on his over-fine coat. No, friend Rilingfall, 'arcanospace' is not a scientific term, simply a descriptive one; small wonder you've never heard of it. I'm not overly familiar with teleportation studies myself -- my specialty is ritual materials -- but it doesn't take a wizard's learning to recognize the horror that many people feel when they think about being sent through a space that doesn't really exist."
The scholar turned again to face the dock with a somewhat downtrodden expression. "If you happen to see a cat out there -- or an orange dog, which is a closer match to the silly beast's size -- do let me know so I can try again to get her on board. As much as I look forward to this expedition, it won't quite be the same without my companion of the last nine years." Roman rolled his eyes in apparent amusement at his own sappiness.
A loud voice bellows out from the docks, "ALL ABOARD WHO'S COMING ABOARD. DEPARTURE IN 5 MINUTES!"
The crew of the Mother's Star begins to pick up their pace, as sails bloom and ropes are gathered. The crew member who spoke to Rilingfell moments earlier chimes in, "Pardon the interruption, but if you got sick while we were docked, you might want to gird yourself a bit for launch. Some prefer to stay forward and see what's coming and others prefer to stay near the mast. Just don't lie down though, that's the worst of it." He chuckles to himself a bit
Roman sighed a final time in the direction of the docks. Well, it's in character for that cat to hassle me; she's been doing it this long, so why stop now? Then he turned to his eladrin shipmate and asked, "Tell me-- ah, we can go downstairs for the herb while we talk. I suppose I should say 'belowdecks'. Tell me, Mr. Stardawn, are you descended from the great general who campaigned in the dragonmen's northlands? I don't know much history, but my father's mother served with General Stardawn as a warmage. Anyhow, I was under the impression that the family was devout Erathisians. Is the reason you're here related to that Avandrian symbol you're sporting?"
Ah yes, general Stardawn, my father was always keen on talking about our family's part in that war. Of course he always went into detail on the savagery of the Dragonborn, and how they were coldblooded serpents that should be grateful he didn't evict them from our lands. No I'm afraid me and my father aren't on good terms, the conversion I suppose was my last bit of defiance. I can only wonder when the news will arrive that he's taken me off his will. he sighs slightly as they begin to go below deck Well I can only hope my sister enjoys inheritance, as for me I think my life is in this new world. he smiles before a sudden lurch causes him to hold his hand to his mouth, after a moment he gulps. Maybe we should find that Waterweed...
Belowdecks the Mother's Star is a bustle of activity as the crew runs around getting everything in order, making sure that all items are bolted down and held securely. Arcanists and Academs alike are heading up to the decks, many standing forward while a few go aft. On the starboard side there are similar activities happening on the other ships - Aurin's Gift, which holds the imperials, and the Hidden Moon, the ship of scholars and clergy.
Apparently none are too used to the swaying of the ships and many queasy-looking individuals have gathered around the open barrels of waterweed to sample its curative properties. Children run around underfoot while mothers, dogs and cats chase and are chased, respectively.
From above decks another voice booms, "DEPARTURE IN 1 MINUTE! GANGPLANKS AWAY!"
Standing near one side (starboard? port? bah, why can't they use left and right?), Throk watches the hustle and activity. He overhears the two Eladrin speaking, but doesn't recognize any of the names. He does, however, get a chuckle at the nausea of the highborn. He'd had to take small boats across the harbour at times, smuggling was all part of the business, and this big ship was barely moving compared to a rowboat inrough waters .
At the call for departure, he takes one last scan of the crowds on the docks, checking for any cloaks. He then turns to watch the sailors, trying to figure out why they did what they did. It's a little game that he likes to play with himself, even if hs seldomly wins.
With a shudder the ships release from their moorings as the behemoths slowly flow into the sea. The six Academs of the Mother's Star have gathered at forward. Three of the Academs look on while three others stand on points of a six-sided star bound within a large circle of metallic filigree and runes that have been set into the deck of the ship. The runes flare as the Academs call them one by one, and a small blue light appears to coalesce about a mile off of the bow.
Similar points of light form in front of the other two ships and a small circle slowly surrounds them. Within the circle the points of a six-sided star are visible and the light begins to resolve itself into a shape like that on the deck of the ship. The Academs begin to chant the names of the runes in an even pace, their low voices rolling across the deck with an almost palpable force. The water in front of the ships begins to churn and froth, as small bolts of lightning extend from the portal in the distance.
The pace of the chanting increases and the runes begin to flare more brightly, pulsing more intently. The three ships appear to be converging on a point as similar bursts of light emanate from their bows. The chant of the Academs gets louder, and anyone in the vicinity will start to hear the others ships as well. The chants appear to harmonize as the portal increases in size, almost large enough to take an entire ship.
The faces of the Academs appear strained, and one faints from the exertion. Smoothly and without breaking rhythm, one of those outside the circle steps in and picks up the chanting while the other two haul their unconscious ally off to the side. The sky darkens and the waves crash over the rails. The three ships approach within a quarter-mile of the portal, now easily 10 feet across, and the bolts of lightning intensify further. Within the portal an inky blackness can be seen, with a vague shimmer of the ocean beyond.
The Academs' voices are now at a shout as pulses of arcane energy ripple outward from the ships. A bolt of lightning shoots out from the portal, hitting the Hidden Moon and scorching a jagged line up the port side of the hull. With the portal at a full 25 feet across, the three ships slowly make their way into a single file line with inches to spare. The Hidden Moon is first to go through while Aurin's Gift follows closely behind. The Mother's Star is last to go through and the deafening sound of the ocean, the lightning and the chanting suddenly stops.
On the other side of the portal, the waves are calm and serene and the sky is clear and bright. The warm sun caresses the cheeks of the sailors and passengers alike. Breathless, the Academs collapse to the deck. One of the less bedraggled looks toward one of the sailors and shouts through gritted teeth, "Inform the captain we'll be ready again in an hour. Only 19 more jumps to go."
"Hallowhiem, did you see this latest sending?" a gruff voice barks the question to nobody in particular. "We've got word that the ships from Anduri might be here by the end of the week, not the end of the month like we planned! You've got to be ready to lays .. . lias... whatever. You have to be ready to receive upwards of 300 people." The voice deteriorated into grumbles and muttered curses about food and bedding as the sound of shuffling paper filled the silence.
"Hallowhiem, are you listening? Did you hear what I said? We have to get this place ready NOW!" the voice continued. The noise of a wooden chair sliding across the floor is followed soon by the stomping of small feet. A bald dwarf with a gloriously braided beard comes out of the small office, looking into the empty room where he expected the Human to be. "HAL WHERE THE BLOODY BLAZES ARE YOU?"
Off to the side the air shimmers and blurs for a second, before a humanoid form appears. Still blurry, the features of of Hallowhiem can be discerned. His long black hair it tied back from his pale face, and his green cotton clothes still translucent, he turns, still reading a book in his hand, and responds.
"Yes Fargem? You bellowed? I was in the other room researching..., oh never mind, what is it that you want me to do now? Another message you need delivered, or another director else you need me to convince of our importance while they are doing busy work getting ready for the second pilgrimage to arrive?"
He closed the book and let the hand holding it drop to his side, his face coming into better focus. The dark smear on his face coalesced into a goatee, and the folds in his clothes began to show through. His boots had more dirt on them than usual, and the dagger he had stuffed sheathed in his belt had some visible dirt on it. His image shimmered for another moment, before he shook it off and became completely corporal.
"Or perhaps you just need me to get something down for you again, it that it?" His expression conveyed his annoyance, one eyebrow raised, and the tiny tips of his ears reddening.
"GET SOMETHING DOWN? I . . . I . . . fah. I'll get you down boy . . . if you weren't . . . you get one drop of that Eladrin blood in you and you think you're so fancy . . . " Fargem clears his throat and holds out the note. "The pilgrimmage will be here by week's end! It appears that they have gotten better at the portal hopping since the experimenting in Shipbreaker Bay last spring. They've only lost a dozen Academ so far and all three ships are still intact."
Rubbing his hands back and forth, the dwarf spares a glance for Hallowhiem's clothing. "What are you so dirty for anyway? The only smudges you should have are from ink, and the only injuries are parchment cuts. Have you and that beast of yours been causing trouble again? If I find droppings in the library . . . ho ho boy . . ."
Seeing the exasperated and annoyed look on the young man's face, Fargem changes tactics. "As much as it pains me to reward layabouts such as yourself, given the delicacy of our upcoming situation and the fact that you seem to have the most experience with this, I'm promoting you. You'll need to see to it that everything is ready for his Lordship's arrival and that we've got enough beds downwind of the imperial buildings so that the unwashed rabble don't disturb his lordship's pretty little nose. I'll also need you to check the perimeter and make sure there aren't any unsavory elements about. The elves have picked up their hits against the Amythest Lady and her people, and I need to ensure that Lord Teren will be free of distraction from those savages."
As if talking it out calmed him down (or perhaps he just liked making lists and giving orders), Fargem seemed somewhat relaxed at this point. Looking up to the human, he waved his hand and gave him a genuine smile. "Look lad, do this right and I'm sure you'll see a commendation or something. Screw it up though, and it won't matter who your grandfather was. You'll be on stable duty before you can do that fancy shimmer thing of yours. Now get to it!"
With that, the dwarf turns back and heads into his office, grumbling all the while.
Hallowhiem shouts at the dwarf as he walks away, "You know Jirus wouldn't come into the library, much less make a mess. Has he or has he not been a boon to your work, when my silver tongue didn't do the trick his beak sure has. Not to mention how you've used him as a pack animal, hauling your junk around." Taking a breath, he walked over to his desk, and sat down, eyeing the papers he was supposed to be working on.
Finding a way to deal with all the new pilgrims this soon will be a challenge, I was counting on a few more weeks to convince the warborn to move in with the peaceborn. Yes, it would take some time, but we were so close! That would free up a good number of the beds needed. New construction was going slower than anticipated, the constant attacks didn't help the matter. He had tried to negotiate with the elves, and while he felt he was making good progress, his wonderful Lady had decided it wasn't good enough, and decided to instead negotiate with steel. How pointless it was, trying to fight an enemy of unknown strength, unknown size, on their own soil. He had had a chance to learn some of the elves powers, and the energies they could tap into were amazing.
One elf he had met with could move objects with his mind alone. Nothing impressive there, if Hallowhiem hadn't been so keenly aware of the fact that no spell had been cast, that the elf was doing it on pure impulse. The implications to that alone were astounding. Another elf he watched turn into an owlbear when he went to them to identify what it was that had attacked his convoy and killed his fellow paladin, and good friend. They had a unique culture, and the art he had seen was astounding. But now, whenever an elf appeared, the guards sounded an alarm and everyone ran around screaming, either to fight or hide.
Hallowhiem paused for a moment, reflecting on how it could have gotten so bad so fast. The two elves he had just recalled fondly had met there end facing him in combat. He plucked a dagger from his boot and threw it against the wall, digging into the support beam, finding a grip around many similar nick marks.
Jirus and I do our best to patrol the forest, but it's almost as if neither side wants this conflict to end peacefully. If the ships really are inbound so quickly and they have enough powerful mages to get here so fast, then maybe they can ward the defenses, or turn the tide. While I won't shed a tear for my Lady being demoted, I'm not thrilled about the idea of having to suck up to another royal that is too perfumed for his own good. What we need is more laborers, and fewer leaders. Fargem is doing the best he can to keep the peace in the camp, but there are times that I fear even my silver tongue may fail us. Hopefully whatever this promotion gets me will give me more influence over those in power, so I spent less time fixing problems with solutions they ignored from me in the first place.
He looked over at a map on the wall, near his thrown dagger. He stood up, prying it from it's hold, and tapped it against the settlement's border. If he could squeeze some more space out of the military, get them back to the rotations they had on the boats he could get most of the room he needed. The rest was going to be a matter of getting people used to being condensed again, at least until this new batch could start building their own living quarters. More workers meant it would go faster this time, but he feared that the new arrivals would have to spent their first week here sleeping on the boat.
Roman was chanting along with the Academs under his breath, occasionally dashing notes onto the back pages of a strangely decorated book. ... alphabetic progression has continued, with the exception of the fourth jump; check for answer in older Draconic works? ... As yet another of the magi staggered and was replaced in the circle, the passengers watching expressed anew their exasperation, this time including a disgusted comment on the surely weak ancestry of the fallen Academ. Roman broke off his murmurous chant into a wheeze, cleared his throat, and spoke again to no one in particular. "The rites must be so much more draining than even my trained eye can see; they're really pouring their lives into this attempt. I pray -- (Sehanine-shine-your-gentle-blessing-on-the-benighted-of-this-world, Luna-Lovi-Cheva) -- I pray we don't have any more cardiac incidents with so many portals left to traverse."
Roman cleared his throat noisily again and wondered aloud, "Why is Teren's party in such a hurry that they would ignore the consequences to their servants' lives? As I understand it, we're already fully three weeks ahead of our expected time of arrival. Surely the land will sit still for us?"
Throk watchs the ritual with a combination of curiosity and suspicion. He doesn't really trust magic..it could be damned tough to kill with a sword. He stares in something close to wonder at all the flashy lights and, when the water turns calm, he looks back to see what happened to the waves.
His eyes bulge out at what he sees, and he cries out "where did the city go?!?"
"The city is still where it was, my swarthy friend," commented the now wet and somewhat shaken mageling. "It was we who moved ... perhaps a few dozen miles west. We're chasing the setting sun. Won't catch up, mind you, but if you had an eye for that sort of thing, you could see how the sun seems to be a smidgen farther back in its cycle." He smiled wryly. "Isn't moving the sun much more amazing than moving the city?"
Having pondered enough, Hallowhiem moved into action, in his own idiom. He sauntered over to a large closet in the corner, opening the doors, revealing his paladin armor. Scratches marred it's surface, as did several scorch marks, signs of the many battles he had dealt with since arriving. He paused for a moment, running his fingers over some of them, remembering the events around each incident that left a mark on this plate.
Shaking his head, he removed the breastplate from it's housing, and put it on. It wasn't a graceful action, but with practice he had gotten better at putting it on by himself. Slight acts of magic aided him, and quickly enough he had strapped his arm and leg protection, and set his helm firmly on his head. He reached behind the armor's now empty housing, and withdrew his shield. He placed it next to his armored feet, and pulled the longsword in it's sheathe from the rear of the closest. He strapped the weapon to his hip firmly, and let a small prayer leave his lips that the only time he would have to draw it today was to impress some of the native children. Lifting his shield again and slipping his left arm into it, he tightened the shield until it mostly supported it's own weight. He wiggled his fingertips, and felt the leather stretch firmly in his palm. Lasted, he checked his daggers, slipping one into his right boot, one into the small of his back, and the one he had been playing with early into it's sheathe opposite his sword.
All ready to leave his room, he contemplated teleporting again, but decided to just use the door. It still startled most of those in the camp to see a fully armored figure suddenly appear in the middle of the camp. He quickly left his room, walked down the small flight of stairs, past the library, and out into the main camp.
He strolled towards the trading stables. If he was going to broker a living arrangement and set the 'born to a more peaceful attitude, then he was going to need some especially good meat. He had helped the traders arrange deals with the locals, and they knew that he was often all that stood between their efficiently running their business and those in charge from trying to make everything "run orderly." He noticed some of the locals were currently selling their wares to the traders, and he did his best to listen in. He didn't want to scare them, so he turned his back. A fully armored and armed figure that close could make most skittish, and the soldiers here seemed to always be on edge, looking for a fight. Hallowhiem's skills had gotten the natives and the traders a deal so that the colony had access to fresh meat, furs, and information about this new continent.
And the last was the most important. How many people had gotten sick when they first landed, and how many more had eaten poisonous food before we had learned what was good, and what could be used as cures? The natives had saved us, and look how we repay them. Hallowhiem bit his lip. If one of the traders was one with the gift of mental abilities, he didn't want his disgust with out the camp was run to be misinterpreted as directed towards the natives. Corellon knows there was enough of that already. He didn't interfere with the bargaining. He had got them together, but finding a good price was their deal. He'd later make his own, but he wasn't interested in taking advantage of anyone.
Various winged familiars dotted the skies in the days that followed the initial jump, crossing between the ships passing messages and coordinating efforts. Most passengers had gotten into a rhythm and more or less understood what to do on the ship to help time pass. On this day, the fourth since the journey had begun, a particularly brightly colored bird soared up to the crow's nest above the Mother's Star. Seconds later, a voice shouted, "FINAL JUMP IN ONE HOUR!"
With this, a flurry of activity begins both above and belowdecks on the Mother's Star. Where before there had always seemed a dull hum of business, their now appeared a fervent rushing about. Sailors disappear and reemerge in official uniforms, complete with hats, sashes and the like. Some have even washed their faces.
A group of six Academs assume the now-familiar positions at the front of the ship, each with a slightly terrified and weary look to them. On the other ships, similar activities can be seen taking place. Without any indication that something had changed, suddenly the sky is clear and the decks are quiet, save the occasional squeek of a pully or cough of a passenger. Everyone has learned how to cope with the sudden tugging sensation that comes with the jumps, and many passengers have now taken seats or secured themselves against a railing or bit of cargo. Some have even altered their breathing to try and stay calm and focused in anticipation of the jump to come.
******* Hallowhiem, Moloch
"Hal, Hal!" A small boy scampers toward the Paladin with a note in his hand, "word's just come. They'll be here in an hour!" Breathless, the boy hands the note to Hallowhiem. "You're to gather the receiving party and head to the docks. There was something else about the Exi .. exilark ... you know, the Amethyst Lady and all her people. Fargem says they're not to know. Says Lord Teren wants to catch them with their pants down." The boy puzzles for a second, then looks curiously to Hallowhiem, "The Lady don't wear pants though . . . just those shimmery robe things. OH! And Fargem said one other thing but I couldn't read it. Something about getting a 'degalayshun of natives for the Lord's arrival' I think. What's a delagayshun? Is that one of those guys with horns and tails?."
******* Throk, Roman, Rilingfell
A voice, clear and strong, suddenly breaks the silent tension. "My fellow Andurii. In just a few short minutes, you will all become citizens of Terenuri, the western front of the Anduri Empire. Count yourselves lucky that you have made it this far and take heed to remember this day, as no doubt you will recall it fondly to your children and grandchildren." A small figure can be seen on standing at the front of Aurin's Gift . . . the Lord Teren himself. Small cheers erupt in different pockets of passengers across the fleet before quieting down.
"No doubt many of you have had questions about the urgency of our travel, about why we have risked so much to get here so quickly. My hope is that you will understand once we have arrived. Terenuri needs your help. Terenuri needs your strength of your arms and the sweat of your brow. Terenuri needs the faith in your heart and the wisdom in your mind. We all must make sacrifices in the name of progress, and your loyalty to the Empire will not go unnoticed."
With that, a few sailors begin walking around with rolls of parchment and talking to various passengers. It appears that they are checking their names against the ship's manifest and giving some direction about what to do upon arrival.
"Those of you who further the knowledge and understanding of our world . . . you will be given the tools to further your studies, and allowed access to some of our empire's most beloved relics." Those on the Hidden Moon raise their arms in appreciation and let out small cries of joy.
"Those of you who work with your hands, providing the much needed goods and services to your Empire . . . you will be given a tax holiday for your first year of services." Cheers erupt and dancing breaks out among many of the passengers of the Mother's Star, though many of the sailors and passengers still appear unfazed.
"And finally, those of you who have taken up arms in the defense and expansion of the Empire . . . your families will be given priority in the third wave of ships, and you will be given one month of furlough to spend with them once they arrive. Those of you without families may instead take other items of your choosing to help you in your defense of our Empire." With that last, the rest of the Mother's Star breaks out in cheer and chants of "Hail Teren, Long Live Teren" begin across the entire fleet.
"Thank you all. Hold fast with me and we will make Terenuri our new home. FOR THE EMPIRE!"
Roman raised his eyebrows in surprise and thought in mild bewilderment, I wonder in which of those categories I've been placed. I can fit the requirements for any or all ... Perhaps I should try to claim all three prizes. A momentary smirk crossed his lips. Bureaucracies were vulnerable to exploitation. It wouldn't make me any friends here, though, would it?
He cheered patiently until the crowd had mostly stopped, maintaining his chipper and enthusiastic mien despite not having any particular feeling about the young prince-governor. "Hail Teren! Long live Teren!" Indeed, may all the pantheon bless him and keep him, if he proves as good for this land as his ancestors were for our former home. I suspect he faces more difficulty than they did, though. Entire nations of unknown intelligent creatures are in the new world, and intelligence is never predictable. ... Gods bless him anyway; he'll need it.
Throk supposes he must be in the last group, since he doesn't have a family to speak of. He wonders what sort of items will be given out, but he also worries a bit at the "defense of the empire" bit. Did he join the army and not realize it?
A squatty sailor with a twice-broken nose and a large roll of parchment stands on the deck, his black matted hair sticking out in odd places under his ill-fitting hat. A dwarf in deep blue robes and a human in leather armor make their way to stand in front of the sailor.
"Right then, all here are we? It says here that you lot are to meet with Hallowhiem for 'special duties'." The sailor chuckles to himself for a moment before regaining composure, "ahh anyway, he can be found at the Imperial Disbursement Department of oh what the hell is all this. Anyway, he's the shiny human who thinks he's an eladrin. He'll probably be the one at the pier waiting for the ships to come in. Anyway, see him about getting your gear and your assignment once we dock."
Hallowhiem scanned the note as the boy spoke, finishing it before he finished speaking, and with a wide smile on his face and a touch of a twinkle in his eye, responded, "No, those are Tieflings, a delegation is a group of different people that work together. Thank you for the note son, now run along and tell your folks, I'm sure your pa will want to be there when the big boats come in." Hallowhiem slipped the note into a pocket and gave the child a friendly pat on the back. "Get going, today is a big day. The second pilgrimage has arrived!" He turned back to the bargaining he'd been observing, and informed them that the ships were coming. He asked the traders to gather any of the other people from this land come join him at the docks. The promise to get them to the docks, and to see the ships were almost as powerful a lure as the prestige he inferred they would receive, being the first ones to meet Lord Teren.
He made his own way to the docks, stopping to inform the guards to allow any native through that invoked his name. If this Teren wanted to catch Amethyst Lady with her preverbal pants down, then this might be what the colony needed. It would be interesting, for certain. He stifled a laugh at the mental image of the Lady caught on a latrine, flowing robes rumbled with a soldiers pants clumped around her heels as the new lord of the land wagged his finger at her on the docks. It was a good thing none of the mind readers were around, less he have to explain the image.
He weaved his way along the docks, making his way to the pier where the boats would dock. He still had a few days of work to be done before the colony was fully ready for the influx of people, but now was not the time. He spied his boss, and several of the locals had already found their way there. A dozen or so hunters had arrived, as had a couple crafters. Their art truly was unique. He turned his head briefly, catching sight of a few more natives making their way past the guards. As always there was a hassle, but for once the guards were obeying his instructions when he wasn't there with order's from a higher authority.
He unstrapped his shield, shifting it to his back, and placed his left hand on the pommel of his longsword, assuming a relaxed but prepared pose of the ships. His armor could be better, but hopefully those that had been at sea would not judge him so quickly. He stepped up to the group surrounding Fargem, nodding and shaking hands of familiar faces and uttering words of encouragement. He took his place next to the dwarf, and gave him a little grin. "Fargem, this is the day. I've got ideas on how to deal with most of our worries, and actually, the immediacy of the colonists arrival may play into my hands in getting us what we want. I know we rehearsed this several times, but we never expected them to get here so quickly, or to have it be a surprise. We always had our exalted Lady at the front, but if she's not in the know," he shot a quick wink to his boss, a wordless thanks for not making him deal with her today, when her pompous nature would be at it's worst, "then what is the plan? I hope you don't expect to be the welcoming face of our colony to the King's son!"
Hallowhiem gave him a rare look. He wasn't sure what to do, and his normal self-confidence and wit couldn't match the importance of what was about to come. He was perfectly content to go between those in power, conveying messages and making deals, but this was an official ceremony. This was history in the making. This was beyond his expertise, and he knew it. Fargem may not be the most charismatic of dwarves, but he had better experience in these matters. Hallowhiem was going to do as he was told, for once without any lip.
Roman goes down to his tiny berth to collect his personal possessions, and takes a few moments to (yet again) clean the walls, floor and containers in the room with cantrips. If I bunked here alone, the sailors would think wizards didn't have bodily functions, he thinks with amusement. He considers collecting together the belongings of the half-orc and eladrin with whom he had bunked, but realizes that it would be beyond his capacity to carry, even employing a mage hand. So he returns to the deck to see the fishes dancing and experience the return to land.
Hrm, I wonder where everyone is... Moloch Tetraex thought to himself, as he walked slowly through the near abandoned city of Terenuri, pulling a cart full of pelts with him. On his back was a longbow, and a quiver with several well-used arrows as well. Attached to his belt with a leather cord was a dagger, with a worn grip and a stone blade, as if it had been made long ago.
And then he heard it. A soft drone at first, then raising to a discordant cacophony. He peered around the last bend before reaching the pier.
Standing before him were thousands of men and beast alike, all waiting on the docks, some chatting, some selling goods as if it were a market place.
Moloch, not used to crowds, looked around the area to see what the hubbub was about. To the nearest person he saw, he asked Umm, excuse me, you wouldn't happen to know what's going on, would you? The man looked at him, sneered with a mouth of rotten teeth, and dashed away. I guess it has been a while since I've been in the city.
Again, he tried to see what was going on. In front of him was a child of some sort, but wearing a full coat of worn, plated armor, and holding a long sword. Maybe he's just short for his age Moloch wondered.
Excuse me, son, but you wouldn't happen to know what is going on around here, or could you find your father, so I could speak with him about these crowds? But what turned around was not a boy, but was a dwarf! I am very sorry, please oh please, I am very sorry. I'll just be out of your way said Moloch, eying the dwarf's sharp blade.
Moloch dropped the handles to his cart, attempting to make a dash out, before the dwarf reacted to the embarrassment.