The Kingdom of Ontaré

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The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Paxar on Thu May 21, 2015 11:32 am

Haven

Iron boots clanged on hard stone floors as Sir Oathsworn made his way toward the throne room. That was what they were calling it anyway. He sighed looking around at all the work left to be done. The old Haven was much grander by far, and significantly more defensible. It would be again, he told himself. The outer walls, though wooden instead of stone, had been erected in an impressively short time, but they were running low on the supplies they had with them at the time of The Lady's salvation. Such was the purpose of his current visit to the king.

Two guards stood outside the plain double-doors that lead to the throne room. Paxar gave them a smile and nod which they returned before opening the doors wide for him. King Enann Kath sat upon a simple wooden chair behind a desk, reviewing and signing a stack of orders and decrees that he barely registered. The room was little more than an office, for King Enann was adamant that their first priority was to provide housing and food for the people. He grinned as Paxar strode into his room, setting his quill down and taking a moment to stretch his fingers. "Your grace." Paxar said, stopping before the desk and dropping to one knee. "I told you to stop that Pax." Enann said with a smirk, waving his hand for the paladin to rise. "You simply called me Enann once remember?" Paxar smirked and stood. "That was before you became The Chosen, your majesty." He replied, his own smile betraying his playful prods at his old friend. "Well, what do you want General?" The king shot back. "Can't you see I have kingly work to do?" He asked, gesturing at the pile of papers on his desk.

Paxar sat in one of the smaller chairs opposite the desk. "I'm sure you're aware we need resources to better fortify our position. The Lady was gracious enough to provide us with ample iron and trade goods, but the people have more immediate needs." The king nodded his agreement. They had enough food to go around for now, but Enann was never content with 'just enough.' The paladin continued, "We need more food, wood for homes, and stone to build better defenses. It would also be wise to establish settlements along the river." The king nodded again. "Deploy some scouts. The priorty is good farm land or strong wood. We can wait on the defenses." Paxar bowed his head. "As you say sire." He knew the king was right, but something told him they would need the walls soon. This was a new world, and they may be on the doorstep of disaster without knowing. Though, His Lady brought them here, and he trusted Her judgement. Paxar stood to leave, "I will head out personally as well. Maybe I can find someone willing to trade for the things we need. May The Lady guide you." He said before bowing and turning for the door. King Enann simply watched him go. He knew Paxar hadn't really needed his input, but it was a nice distraction from his current drudgery. He spoke quietly, "Make sure he doesn't get into trouble will you?" A cloaked figure, hardly noticeable in a shadowy corner of the room, nodded and followed the paladin out.

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Paxar on Mon May 25, 2015 3:18 pm

King Enann sat in prayer before his small shrine to The Lady behind his throne. His mind was greatly troubled, and not just for the plight of his people.

"You are losing your focus My Chosen." Came a voice from the ether. King Enann remained on his knees, his head lowered. "My Lady, I am honored by your presence." He spoke solemly, but as if he had said the words many times before.

"Rise and speak plainly Enann. What troubles your mind?"

The king did as instructed. He found himself speaking with the suddenly animate bust of Lady Iusta, though this did not seem to surprise him.

"My Lady, I am not meant for this position." He stated flatly, a look of frustration evident on his face.

"Do you question my judgement?" The Lady asked, a small smirk creeping across the bust.

"No My Lady." Enann said quickly, once again lowering his eyes in respect. "I simply..."

"Worry not my king." The Lady spoke. "You doubt your own ability. You fear the difficult choices. And, you feel the great weight of leadership."

Enann nodded, feeling completely inept.

"It is for these very reasons, among others, that you were chosen." The Lady said with a comforting grin. "These are important qualities for a king. Those who do not know their own limits can never know their true potential. Those who do not feel fear cannot be brave. Those who are not burdened by the responsibility of their people become tyrants. You are none of these things my Enann, which gives you the potential to be a great leader. Trust in my words and my commands."

Enann returned to his knees. "Thank you My Lady. Your wisdom has not gone unheard."

The stone bust ceased its movement just as the throne room doors began to open.

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Admin on Wed May 27, 2015 12:35 am

A Tattered Order

Of the many things Umbra Sacia found during her exploration, the most intriguing was a large, wooden fort on the western edge of the forest. A modest village surrounded it, with several thousand citizens farming the rich, black loam left by the forest trees to grow a great abundance of wheat and other crops. The fort itself was built on a sturdy motte (raised hill) with strong wooden walls and ramparts cut from thick, healthy trees. Armored warriors - human men and women - with a strange blazon patrolled the streets and stood watch from the walls.

The warriors turned out to be relatively friendly. They identified themselves as members of the Diadorians, a militant order from the devastated lands of Orlais, not far from the lizard lands where the Sundering happened. The Order had been founded after the first Sundering, when demon armies ravaged the land. According to their grand-master, they had refused to cling to the vain hope of the other orders after their god had abandoned them, and instead struck a deal with a powerful demon, enabling them to protect thousands of lives. That same demon had spent much of his power evacuating them to their current lands.

After explaining this and asking many questions of the visitors, the grand-master came forward with an offer of her own:
The Diadorians were too few and too small now, she realized, to defend themselves and make a life for their people in the new world. If Ontare would accept them and look after their people, the Diadorians would be willing to become a vassal to the king. As a token of their loyalty they were even willing to offer up one of their only treasures: the Amulet of Argast, a relic that granted its wearer prescience a split second into the future, making them deadly in battle.

--------------------------------------
The Diadorian Offer
The Diadorian Order has offered to swear allegiance to the King of Ontare and become a vassal, adding their strength to his. However, many would call them fallen knights, for they strike bargains with demons and willingly commit atrocities in the name of defending their people.

Accept their Offer
The Diadorians did what they had to in difficult times. Now we will look after their people and add their strength to our own.
-- Fort Diador (Outpost) and New Orlais (Fertile Ground Village) are acquired by Ontare. Although under the control of Ontare they are still autonomously controlled by the Diadorians and cannot be destroyed without breaking the agreement. Similarly, the Diadorian's demon will be off limits.
-- Acquire the Amulet or Argast (+I Warrior, -I Piety)
-- Gain the Diadorian Knight template (Infantry, Heavy Armor, Polearm, Fanatic), brutal and highly skilled warriors who give no quarter in battle.

Destroy the Order
These fallen men and women are no longer knights. They have been seduced by a demon and corrupted. We must purge its influence.
-- The Diadorians will become hostile to Ontare
-- Besieging the order may damage or destroy the fort and village, depending on the tactics of the combatants.
-- Defeating the Order and the Demon they worship with grant The Lady 15 Divinity, as she absorbs its lost divinity.

Refuse the Offer
We cannot accept the Diadorian's corrupt ways, but neither shall we subject their people to more suffering.
-- the Diadorian Order becomes an NPC faction west of Ontare with 1 village and 1 Outpost, and claims the surrounding territory.

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Paxar on Wed May 27, 2015 9:48 pm

Umbra clutched the missive tightly. The whole ordeal didn't sit well with her as she approached the king's chambers. It was late, she knew, but this could not wait. The guards flanking his door moved to intercept until she looked up at them from under her hood. They retreated immediately, not out of fear but a deep respect. She was one of few who could disturb Enann at such an hour without question.

The king stirred in his bed when the pounding began. It took him a moment even to remember where he was. Once he got his bearings he sprang up and pulled open the door. Umbra simply thrust the tight scroll into his hand. "My report from the forest." She said quickly.

Enann fixed her with a curious look as he unrolled the scroll. Surely, a simple resource scouting mission could not be so urgent. He began reading, and his face moved through a myriad of emotion. First, tired and resigned. Then, delightfully surprised. And finally, dark and concerned.

"I don't like our options." Umbra stated flatly. Enann read the scroll over again to be sure it said what he thought. "No, neither do I." He replied

"It would have been easier if they were hostile. I could have taken care of it quickly."

Enann shook his head. "No. We may need to shed blood in this world, but I wouldn't want it to come so soon. We can't attack them. Even if our intent was to rescue them from their foolish contract."

"Do we refuse the offer then? Surely, we cannot be aligned with a demon." Umbra asked.

"I'm afraid we may have to." Enann stated. "For now." He added quickly, seeing Umbra's shocked expression. "We cannot attack, and we cannot ignore. That would still leave a demon at our doorstep. If they swear fealty to Ontaré, we will have a measure of control of their actions. We can offer our own army in their defense, prevent them from butchering, while improving diplomatic relations. Then, maybe, we can convince them to abandon their fiendish host and find retribution in The Lady's embrace."

Enann walked over to a nearby desk, and began penning a letter. After a moment, he rolled the parchment and sealed it with a bit of wax, pressing his signet ring against it. "Take this back to them, personally. Tell them The Lady will always welcome those who approach in friendship."

"Yes, your majesty."

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Paxar on Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:56 am

Rennigin Lightbringer rode beside the cart of supplies. He was nervous about this trip. They were bringing tools and provisions to the Diadorian people as a show of solidarity for their new allies. It was Rennigin's job, as a priest of Lady Iusta, to bring Her teachings to the small settlement. He has had similar missions in the past, of course, but this one was obviously more challenging.

Ontaré had fought demons before. It seemed they attracted more than their fair share in fact. But, they weren't going to fight this one. Rennigin had to preach to a people still under a demon's grip. This would take time and tact. He had to be very careful about the words he chose. Coming on too strong might incite them, or anger the demon itself. He believed the Diadorians were still a good people, but they would not let go of their savior lightly.

"Something on your mind sir?" Rennigin turned to see a young woman riding beside him, dressed in similar blue robes to his own. His acolyte Aris gave him an innocent smile. This was her first mission, and she was eager to prove herself.

"Oh, just reviewing tactics." Rennigin replied. He knew she hated comparing their work to war, and truthfully he did not care for it either, but he liked to tease her when he could.

"We're just going to preach to them right?" She said, giving him a smirk. "I figure any good people will turn from a demon once they are offered The Lady's protection. After all, they only made a deal because their own god left."

"That is precisely why we are not going to preach." Rennigin quickly corrected, drawing a confused look from his subordinate. "These people worshiped a god who abandoned them. This demon saved them from the Sundering. At least, this is what they believe. I am not certain. Regardless, they are not likely to risk following another god only to suffer the same fate. We have to show them first, offer proof that The Lady is worth following. Then, we can speak to them. We will be in the village for a long time Aris. Make yourself known, and do what you can to help. Do not speak ill of their patron or attempt to convert anyone."

"But, what if there are some who wish to be converted?" Aris asked hopefully.

"Tell them to wait. We do not want to start a fight. If a handful of villagers leave, they may be seen as traitors or heretics. Tell them to wait until we can change the mind of the village as one. There may still be trouble, but we need to minimize as much as we can."

The small caravan finally reached its destination at the outskirts of the Diadorian village.

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Paxar on Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:02 pm

Oriim busied himself tidying up the spacious tent. The young squire had been doing a lot of cleaning lately, and it wore on him. Paxar had taken to training the Diadorians, and thus neglected Oriim's own instruction.

The boy sat down on a low stool, grabbing a whetstone and a nearby dagger. He began to hone the blade to pass the time. He was eager to complete his training. He felt he was close to becoming an official member of The Lady's Guard, but with these newcomers he would have to wait.

He heard the paladin's approach long before he saw him through the flap of the tent. His armor clanked heavily on the cobblestones outside. Oriim quickly stood and put the dagger away.

Paxar pushed the tent flap aside and strode in, rubbing his head. "This is not going as quickly as I had hoped." He said without introduction. Paxar promptly sat down in the stool Oriim had vacated, the squire quickly moving to begin undoing the knight's armor. "They are friendly enough, it's true, but their thoughts on combat leave much to be desired. Obviously, the demon's influence is more pervasive than we thought."

"Are they not following orders?" Oriim asked.

"They follow orders to a point." The paladin replied. "They seem to appreciate lessons in strategy and tactics, and work well with my other men when performing maneuvers. But, after they've won, after the battle has been decided, they do not relent." Paxar's face seemed slightly shaken and confused. He mindlessly adjusted to allow Oriim better access to his armor straps. "I had to intervene personally on two occasions to prevent my men from being seriously hurt. I don't know if that level of ferocity can be drilled out of them."

"Are you saying it's hopeless?" The boy inquired.

"I don't know. I will certainly keep trying, but it may be that the demon needs to be unseated first. I only hope the priests we sent are having more luck than I am." Paxar stated flatly as his last piece of armor was removed. He stood and stretched, soothing tired muscles.

Paxar finally glanced at his squire with a curious look. "What are you doing here anyway?" He asked, as if suddenly noticing the boy was in the tent.

"I was cleaning up." The boy stated, putting the knight's armor on a nearby mannequin. "I haven't had much else to do since you've been busy with the Diadorians."

"Well, we'll have to change that. I can't have your skills dulling. Why don't you help me tomorrow? I could use an extra pair of eyes, and you could use some experience in leadership." Paxar said, heading for the exit.

"You want me to lead?" The boy asked, excited but also quite nervous.

"You'll have to someday, may as well start now." Paxar threw him a wave and stepped out.

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Paxar on Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:39 pm

The courtyard was filled once more with lines of troops, some Ontaran, some Diadorian. Paxar was walking among them, trying to encourage Ontaran virtues in their practice: restraint, mercy, honor. King Enann wondered if they were wasting their time as he watched from atop the small keep. A cloaked figure stood beside him, watching the daily exercise in futility.

"They show remarkable adherence to their ways." The king said resignedly.

"The demon's grip must be tighter than we thought." Replied Umbra from under her hood.

The king merely shrugged. "What options do we have now? They are our people now, our afflicted children. We must simply continue to care for them."

"What if..." Umbra began, "What if I were to draw the demon out?"

The king shot her a serious look. She held his gaze, letting him know she understood exactly what she was proposing.

Enann let out a sigh and looked back to the courtyard. "That may well be our only recourse. If the Diadorians find out, it will mean war."

Umbra nodded. "You know The Lady's Blade can be discreet." She said simply.

"We will discuss it more later. We have more immediate concerns." Enann said with a wave of his hand to forestall any further argument. "We have heard rumors of unrest across this new continent. People have only just begun settling in, and already wars are breaking out."

"It is their nature." Umbra said. "This is what people do without proper guidance."

"It is unknown when these troubles might push on our walls. We need to better fortify our position. I need you to survey the surrounding hills and find a reliable source of strong stone."

Umbra nodded again, and in an instant was gone.

King Enann returned his attention to the courtyard. He knew they would get swept up in someone's conflict. He only prayed that they would be ready in time.

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:33 am

The Lady had clearly meant one of the Diadorians to be an artist rather than a knight. The sketches their grandmaster had handed King Enann were beautifully done, with fine pen-strokes and meticulous attention to detail. In other circumstances the discovery of such a potential talent would have raised Enann's spirits. But not today. Today the circumstances were too dark for such minor pleasures.

The sketches, of which there were about a dozen, depicted an enormous golem the size of a cathedral, surrounded by hundreds of merfolk. Some were patrols obviously there to protect the area and prevent spies from approaching. Others seemed to be scholars or laborers, busy excavating the strange machine or tinkering with its inner workings. Aside from their drawing the Diadorians had taken meticulous notes of their observations, and it was clear that this was no small project the merfolk were involved with.

Of course, by providing this information they had also made it perfectly clear that they were spying upon neighboring lands. Neither Enann nor any of his courtiers liked that thought. If they were willing to spy on neighboring nations, might they have spies in his own court? A disturbing thought.

"I'm sure our concern is obvious." The Diadorian grandmaster was saying. "If the merfolk are able to get that thing operational, who knows what they'll do. It could topple any walls in the world just by walking into them.

"I know they're friendly right now, but we know very little about them. Our relations are young, and we have no way of knowing what they will do with this thing, or what their plans are. Are you willing to trust the fate of all Ontare on the hope that these strangers will use their new-found power responsibly?" He looked at the king intensely, expectantly. Perhaps in a way this was their test for their new lord as well.

"I have spoken my piece." The grandmaster bowed. The royal guard escorted him out, leaving Enann alone to consider what he had been told.

-------------------------------------------------------
Trust and Mistrust
The Diadorians have been spying on the Mahogany Kingdom, and have presented some dangerous and disturbing information to the king of Ontare. How will he react to this new information, and the revelation that they have been taking actions unknown to their liege?

Seize the Golem
The Diadorians already have contingency plans laid out for a potential attack on the site. If the golem can be seized and activated, Ontare's security will be ensured.
-- Send a military expedition to seize the Golem
-- Diadorian Order will take this as an endorsement of their activities and continue to operate, delivering any useful information to the king
-- Depending on the results of the attempt, the Diadorian Order may gain great influence in court

Disrupt the Recovery
The Diadorians have suggested that a small team could disrupt the golem's recovery, or if luck is on their side, destroy it entirely.
-- By accepting the Diadorian's suggestion you will be tacitly endorsing their use of espionage in a "plausible deniability" manner outside the kingdom's usual scope of activities
-- The Order is pleased you take the threat seriously

Precautionary Measures
While the information is concerning, we need not jump directly to strife. We can take diplomatic and precautionary measures against danger without showing hostility.
-- Maintain the status quo

Censure the Diadorians
By spying on a neighbor without royal approval the Diadorians have shamed their liege. Strong words and censure should make clear to them to unacceptability of their actions.
-- The Diadorian Order is censured and told to cease its espionage activities
-- No chance of further espionage benefits
-- Increased Tensions between Diadorians and the rest of Ontare

Break with the Diadorians
The Diadorian's behavior is unacceptable. We release them from their oath of allegiance.
-- Diadorian Fort and village revert back to independence

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Re: The Kingdom of Ontaré

Post by Paxar on Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:22 am

Precautionary Measures

The Diadorian grandmaster was led back into the throne room. It was empty save for the king and another hooded figure. Enann bore a serious expression.

"I will make this short and to the point." The king stated, staring directly into the grandmaster's eyes (Divine the Heart). "Ontaré greatly appreciates your efforts in this matter. It is a sign of our growing unity that you took it upon yourselves to ensure the safety of our kingdom. I will take the necessary steps to ensure our continued friendship with the merfolk."

Enann paused for a moment, carefully considering his next words. "I apologize that we have not properly informed your people about how Ontaré operates. That is my failing, but from here forward it will be corrected." He gestures to the hooded figure who pulls her hood down revealing a dark-haired woman. "This is Umbra Sacia, my spymaster and the chief of the Lady's Blade. Any further actions will be taken only on her order." Enann held up a hand to cease any protest. "And, I have a mission for you."

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