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Post by Blarflesnarflo on Sat May 23, 2015 6:38 pm

Sycorath Obscuris leaned forward on his throne, placing two fingers on his temple as he waited for his advisor, Onaris Dominet, to give his report.  The large structure of the throne room was mostly empty, save Obscuris himself, several of his advisors, and two rows of servant on either side of the chamber.  This is what Obscuris had been waiting for.  Generations had passed while the former Sycoraths did nothing but bask in their wealth on the High Throne, but Obscuris had larger plans for his people.  Months ago, he had sent scouts across the entire continent to assess the situation outside of the swamplands.  Now, their reports had been brought to Onaris, and his advisor began relating the information gathered.

"Not all of our scouts have sent back word, but there is much to discuss, my Lord of Syc.  We have many reports of Dwarven activity in the mountains to the South," Onaris began.

"Well enough.  I doubt these Dwarves care much for our swamps, just as we care little for their caves."

"Of course, Sycorath," Onaris agreed.  "There is also much movement in the north-east.  Reports tell of Goblins and Lizardfolk at odds with each other.  In addition, there seems to be a race of Aven that have sent many diplomatic parties to their surrounding factions."

"I see," Obscuris stared off into the distance, deep in thought.  "At the very least, these factions bear monitoring. Bring me the written reports of everything we have gathered of their governments, customs, everything."

"Of course, Sycorath," Onaris responded.  "I also have reports of Merfolk to the north and Humans called Ontare to the north-east."

"Inconsequential," Obscuris dismissed.  "Is that all, Onaris?"

"There is... one other thing," Onaris hesitated.  "I have reports of an... Elven faction.  Asselians.  They seem to be garnering allies in their region as well."

Obscuris clenched his jaw, and his fight tightened on the arm of the High Throne.  "Our kin mean to leave us behind again?  We do not forget, we do not forgive."

Obscuris seemed to turn into himself, the gears in his mind almost visibly turning.  Several tense moments passed as Obscuris' advisors waited for Obscuris to say something more.  The enmity the Syc had for their former race was no secret, and they wondered what their leader had in mind.

"My Lord of Syc," another of his advisors, Cemeret Varitus, began hesitantly, "shall we call the Rathi High Guard to war?"

Obscuris suddenly snapped back to reality. "No, Cemeret.  I have something else in mind."  He raised his voice to address everyone in the throne room.  "For too long we have been an empire in name only, content to wallow in this swamp with no eye for the world around us.  But now we have a glorious opportunity, my fellow Syc, to make ourselves known.  To make ourselves powerful.  And enact vengeance."

A malicious smirk danced on Obscuris' face.  "Onaris, call Malanis Jeraxa.  It is time to begin the ritual.  She shall finally take her place as a champion of the Hooded."

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Post by Blarflesnarflo on Wed May 27, 2015 4:39 am

"Go to bed, Alanis."

"I'm not tired!" Alanis protested. Boriten Alanis was the newest member of the Boriten family. The Boritens had a long and storied history in the Sycorath Dynasty, stretching back to the days when it was first founded. Several members had been Sycorath once, if only briefly, before political machinations and upheaval ended their rule. Still though, the family was rich and powerful, and many of its hopes rested on Alanis.

Alanis was still a child, however, not even a decade old. In typical Sycorath fashion, a tutor was hired to teach her everything she'd need to make her way in the world. That tutor was Ithilid Parixal. Parixal was a star pupil in his own time, and quickly made a name for himself as a Renaissance Syc. Originally from a middle-class family, one not rich, but never wanting for food or the occasional luxury, Parixal had hoped to attach himself to a young noble in hopes of furthering his own family. With Alanis, it seemed to be going well.

"If you won't go to bed, I'll be forced to teach you another lesson," Parixal warned.

Alanis made a face. "Tell me a story, Par, and I'll sleep!"

Parixal considered for a moment. "Fine. Get in bed."

Alanis hopped into her bed. It was luxuriant, and much too big for her, as befitting a rich noble Syc. Parixal sat on the bed next to her. "I'll tell you how the Sycorath Dynasty came to be."

"Uuuuuuuuuugh, boooooooriiiiiiiing" Alanis complained.

"Now now, it's very important to all of us. Being a Syc is central to our identity, and you should know why it is we call ourselves that, and why our ruler takes that name, and even why we live in a swamp like this."

"If you say so..." Alanis responded. Parixal could tell that he had already lost her attention, but he began his story anyway.

"Many years ago, there was a great big event called The Sundering. A lot of people were killed, and many places were unlivable anymore, so everyone packed their bags and decided to find a new home. In particular, a large group of Elves traveled for a long, long time to find somewhere they could live. It took a really long time, however, and after a while, they ran out of food and water. People were desperate, and many of the Elves died. Some of the Elves decided that they had to ration out what food they did have left to the young and the able-bodied. So they took what they could off of Elves who died, and in some cases took some food or clothes from older Elves who were about to die too. But the heads of the Elves didn't like what those Elves were doing. So they took everything from the Elves that did those things, and kicked them out, dooming them to die.

These Elven outcasts traveled by themselves for a long time, trying to find places where they could live. But the land was so barren they couldn't find anything to eat, so they kept dying. It seemed like all hope was lost."

Alanis turned to Parixal, a hint of interest on her face.

"They were ok though, right?"

Parixal smiled. "Yes, they were saved. There was one among them called Sycorath Primaris, who told them of a new land for them to inhabit, shown to him in a dream by a god called The Hooded. The other Elves didn't believe him at first, but they didn't have any other option. So they followed him, and they found a lush jungle, full of fruit, fish, and everything else they could possibly need. It was paradise. Under Sycorath's leadership, the Elves created a new city in the jungle called Trelessetia. In honor of Sycorath, their savior, the Elves cast off that title, and referred to themselves as Syc, with Primaris himself as their ruler. That was the happiest time, but it was all too short. Primaris was old and weakened by the Syc's travel, and died shortly after Trelessetia was founded. He had no family, so his closest advisor became ruler. In honor of Primaris, however, he changed his family name to Sycorath, and became the second emperor of the Sycorath Dynasty.

After Primaris though, many other Syc wanted to rule instead of his advisor. For many years, the wealthier houses of the Syc fought each other to become Sycorath. Many Sycorath rulers lasted for a very short time, sometimes only days. Your grandfather was Sycorath once, you know, a long time before you were born."

Alanis seemed much more intrigued now. "Can I be Sycorath next, after Obscuris?"

"Maybe," Parixal replied. "You wouldn't be the first girl to be Sycorath. But only if you learn everything I teach you!"

"I knoooooooow," Alanis rolled her eyes. "But what happened then? We're not in a jungle now, we're in a swamp."

Parixal's eyes became sadder as he said, "The Second Sundering. We Syc do not usually travel outside our borders, so we don't know everything about what happened, but there were petty squabbles between lizardmen, dwarves, ... Elves, of course. They didn't learn their lesson so they were doomed to repeat their mistakes. It was by the grace of the Hooded that he saved us and sent us here, but of course, the Lavoris are not the safest lands to settle on. We are constantly under threat by the deadly monsters that roam these swamps, and the climate isn't nearly as hospitable as it was before. But we Syc are strong, and we've managed well enough I think, don't you?"

"That's so stupid!" Alanis cried. "Why did they let the Sundering happen again? I would have stopped them if I was Sycorath!"

Parixal looked at Alanis with a firm stare. "Of course, Alanis. None of us want that to happen ever again, and I'm sure Obscuris is doing all he can to keep that from happening again."

"I'd kill them if they tried that!" Alanis continued. "People that stupid and reckless with the world shouldn't be allowed to live!"

Par smiled. "I agree. But use that passion tomorrow for your studies, miss Sycorath. Good night."

Parixal patted her on the head before he turned the lights out and left her with her thoughts and a growing hatred for those who ruined the world.

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Post by Admin on Wed May 27, 2015 10:26 pm

A Strange Visitor

A strange emissary arrived one morning at the gates of the Sycorath's palace. The single lizardfolk had no weapons and no guards, and wore only a long brown cloak that greatly obscured his body. Burned into her forehead was a strange branding, a rune of unknown purpose.

The lizardman bowed low to the Sycorath, prostrating himself upon the floor in reverence.

"Greetingsss honored Sycorath. I bring word from my master, Azator. I beg of you, lisssten to his words." The lizard rose to his knees, removing a crystal orb from a pouch at his belt. As he raised it before the Sycorath's throne it flickered with light, and a deep voice spoke through it.

"Greetings, Sycorath." The voice spoke, "I am Azator, master of the horde. No doubt you have heard my name slandered by the likes of Hanthorn and his 'Tarbu Confederacy'. Indeed, it is for that reason that I am here.

"There are a great many things that you do not know of Hanthorn, things which I wish to warn you about. Know that Hanthorn has no desires for peace. His people are fractious and ambitious, and without an enemy they would splinter under him and his precious 'Confederacy' would be no more. In the past I have served that purpose, but if I am defeated he will not stay still. You, as his nearest neighbor and strongest rival, will be next; I promise you."

"But it need not be so. I am the master of many secrets, and am willing to share some with you. Ally with me, and the Sycorath will rule the new world!

"But promises are pointless without action. Here, then, is a token of my trustworthiness: I have recently... acquired, the power to curse my enemies with misfortune. Now I give you this opportunity: speak the name of the one you wish misfortune to fall upon, and I shall curse him.

"I will leave my servant, and this orb, in your care. Call upon him when you wish to speak with me."

Azator's Gift
A messenger of Azator's Horde has come, delivering words from the warlord himself. Azator offers the Sycorath the gift of one Curse, to be placed upon an enemy they name at any time. He also brings an offer of alliance, promising to reveal many secrets.
-- The Sycorath acquire 1 use of the Curse power.

Accept Azator's Offer
Azator's secrets and his power will make a fine ally. With his aid we shall strike down our enemies.
-- Azator's Horde becomes an Ally, and will support the Sycorath's ambitions, but will expect the Sycorath to aid them as well.
-- A trade route with Azator's horde becomes available
-- Allying with Azator's horde will likely make the Tarbu Confederacy an enemy.

Reject the Offer
The Tarbu will make a more trustworthy associate than this shadowy figure who calls himself "Azator"
-- Sycorath keep the offer of a Curse
-- Azator will look elsewhere, taking his armies and knowledge with him.

Execute the Messenger
There's something foul afoot. We'll have no part in this.
-- Sycorath lose the offer of a Curse
-- Azator's crystal is acquired, although it is of little use yet.
-- Azator's Horde may become hostile.


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Post by Blarflesnarflo on Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:40 am

Sycorath took to the steps outside of the main palace as he, along with Onaris and Cemeret, watched the lizardfolk slink out of the city into the swamps below.

"This has dangerous prospects, my Lord of Syc," Onaris cautioned.

"I am well aware, Onaris," Obscuris responded. "You spoke to the Tarbu diplomat yourself - you believe them to be trustworthy?"

"It is hard to gauge the intentions of a nation from the actions of a single dignitary, but it seemed as if they valued our cooperation in both trade and defensive aspects."

"The opinions of the merfolk are harder to measure," added Cemeret, "but from the merchants who have already arrived at port, it seems they have also began trade with the Tarbu, and not Azator."

"Hm," thought Sycorath, "Then I suppose I made the correct decision. Choose a dignitary to sail for the Tarbu capital immediately, and send a message to the merfolk as well. Let them know that I declined this Azator's offer and request a meeting at the Tarbu capital for our three nations to prepare for possible war at once."

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Post by Blarflesnarflo on Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:05 pm

Coins clinked on the desk as Indirix Pelitor smiled at his financial ledger. Pelitor was the head of the Indirix family, not a historically powerful family, but always one of the richest. Now, with new trade partners pouring into the capital, the Indirix family had more than doubled its already impressive fortune.

Pelitor looked around his office. It was large, but cramped with various trinkets he had gathered over the years. Above his chair was the skull of a Swampbat, fully three feet wide by four feet tall. New additions included delicately carved stones from the merfolk's lands and small model ships from the Tarbu.

"Jeridal, get in here!" Pelitor called out. After a few moments, a young Syc entered the room. His eyes were sallow, his hands were slightly shaking, and he looked tired.

"Yes, Lord Indirix?" Jeridal replied weakly.

Pelitor didn't seem to notice the young Syc's ailment. "I have a shipment sailing for New Numeran tomorrow. Bring me a pelt so I can make sure the right ones are being sold."

"Yes, Lord Indirix." Jeridal made his way out of the room. He had been assigned to Pelitor as part of the Sycoran tradition of entering adulthood. For several years, young Syc will offer themselves as servants to the greater houses. This both gave Syc the real-world experience to guide them through the rest of their lives, and eliminated the need for slavery.

After several minutes, Jeridal returned with a large hide of leather. Pelitor motioned him to bring it towards him, but as Jeridal made his way across the room, he collapsed in a fit of coughing. Pelitor saw blood spots dotted across the leather Jeridal had been carrying.

"My god, boy, do you have Redlung?"

Jaridal couldn't answer. He couldn't control the coughing that was wracking his entire body. Pelitor left his chair and went over to the ailing Syc.

"No, my lord... I'll get... you sick." Jaridal managed to say in between fits of coughing.

"No you won't," Pelitor replied. "I had Redlung when I was even younger than you. Once you get Redlung, you're done with the disease. I'll fetch a healer, and we'll keep you in bed for a few weeks."

"Thank you... my lord."

Pelitor made sure the young Syc wouldn't drown in his own blood before leaving the room to search for a doctor. The leather would have to be destroyed; the sickness could live on surfaces like those for weeks, and the swamp disease was already life-threatening for the Syc. How it would affect other races... would be best to leave as hypothetical.

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Post by AspenIvan on Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:17 pm

Moderation Mark

Syc peasants were unlike their cityborn cousins, with strong communities and above all a collective sense of resourcefulness that kept them alive under the most difficult conditions.  One of their best-known innovations was the system of river gondolas that kept travel between settlements safe, or at least as safe as they could make it.  With their gradual implementation, deaths and injuries from the horrid things that inhabited the marshlands steadily dropped.

Then the foreigners came.  And sadly, they were not Syc peasants.  Tarbu humans and Ku-Wahi merfolk were familiar with defending against bandits, but not abominations - and certainly not against the numbers that could strike at any moment in the Syc swamps.  Casualties mounted, and soon even the crafty peasants were suffering.  Sure, a few gondolas could go here and there without attracting too much attention from the monsters, but the sheer traffic with the foreigners in the mix made attacks inevitable.

Soon, the Court of Sycorath Obsuris was getting flooded with reports of maimed travelers and caravans devoured -merchants and cargo together-.  If the situation was not resolved promptly, the newfound commercial wealth of Qualessetia might disappear as quickly as it had arrived.


Foreign merchants and local villagers are clamoring for a response to frequent monster attacks in Sycorath territory.  Choose one of the following...

Send a Royal Expedition to Exterminate the Beasts: We can't let monsters bully as proud Syc around!  TO ARMS!
-- Within the next 2 Turns, raise an army and commit it to killing monsters.  Villagers will lure the beasts into a great pitched battle.
-- If battle is won, the beast population will be brought under control.  Grateful merchants will pay 5 Gold to the Sycorath.
-- If battle is lost, concerned merchants will reduce their activity immediately, giving Sycorath Dynasty -2 Gold/Turn per trade route.

Hire Adventurers: There's no need to risk Syc warriors in a battle with mere beasts.  Pay some foreigners to deal with it.
-- Pay up to 10 Gold to hire monster-hunter mercenaries.  Moderate chance of success, depending on money spent.
-- If success, situation is resolved.
-- If failure, concerned merchants will reduce their activity immediately, giving Sycorath Dynasty -2 Gold/Turn per trade route.

Bolster Patrols: Double, no TRIPLE the guards!
-- Pay -3 Gold/Turn to pay for caravan patrols.
-- Situation is alleviated for now, but not resolved.  

End Trade Agreements: Clearly, inviting foreigners into our lands was a bad idea.  We can bring things back to normal, and squeeze some extra taxes out of the peasants as "recompense."
-- All Trade Agreements canceled immediately.
-- Every village generates an extra +1 Gold/Turn in taxes.
-- Beast attacks are no longer a significant problem.

Do Nothing: What's this?  Complaints from foreigners and peasants?  They are beneath me!  Let them deal with it themselves.
-- Starting next turn, concerned merchants will reduce their activity immediately, giving Sycorath Dynasty -2 Gold/Turn per trade route.
-- Penalty may increase over time.


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Post by Blarflesnarflo on Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:41 am

Obscuris had decided to make the trip himself. His advisors cautioned against him going personally - with talks of war and new trading partners his presence was needed at the capital more than ever. But not only did Sycorath make the trip himself, he came alone.

Ishal was a small fishing village north of the capital. It did not take a large part in trade, but all major trade routes passed through it, and as such vibrant flags and various ships could be seen from the riverfront as Obscuris walked towards his destination. He made his way through a rare open field at the outskirts of the town, where no twisted trees had taken root, and flowers had been allowed to flourish. As he made his way across the strange meadow, Obscuris could see what he was approaching - four children, evidently raised in the village, playing amongst the seas of purple and red.

"Hail, strong Sycoran warriors!" the leader of all Syc called to the children. They immediately stopped their running and looked towards him respectfully. In truth, there was very little chance they would recognize him as Sycorath, as very few Syc from the outer villages went to the capital at all, but this time anonymity was probably for the best.

"Hello my lord," one of the children replied, as they all looked at their feet in embarrassment.

"Don't let me bother you," Sycorath smiled. "I only wanted to ask you something. You see, I'm looking for a particular-"

Before he finished his question, one of the children pointed towards the edge of the grove, where the trees retained their domination over the landscape. "He's over there."

Obscuris raised an eyebrow, but decided against further inquiry. He thanked the children and continued towards what appeared to be a dilapidated wooden hut at the border of the tree line. As he approached the entrance to the house, he raised his hand so as to knock on the door, but it was already ajar. Slowly entering the poorly kept shack, he was greeting by a gruff shout.

"Who is it? I'm not putting up with whatever shit you've got for me."

"I believe you referred to me as 'that young little prick whose brains'll get him all kinds of fucked up'," Obscuris responded.

The voice grunted in what could be assumed as a laugh. "I was right, too. Look at where you've gotten to, palaces and servants and diplomacy, oughta be ashamed of yourself."

"Someone's got to do it." Obscuris' eyes quickly adjusted to the dim light of the room. Mounted on the wall was an entire skeleton of what appeared to be a feline creature. The teeth were as long as Obscuris' arms, but only half as long as the legs of the spider that was splayed across the opposite wall. The floor was almost entirely covered in a rough leather that no doubt came from a single river creature. And across the room from him was a chair, facing a window looking out towards the forest, away from the village. In the chair, obscured from his view, sat the Syc he had come all this way to find.

"Do you know why I'm here?"

"Probably some stupid shit you can't solve yourself."

"People are being attacked. Not just ours, but the humans and merfolk as well."

"They're using the canals, aren't they?"

"Yes, but there are too many. They draw the attention of the beasts."

"Well that isn't my fault, now is it? I'm not the one being an idiot."

"We need your help. You know why I'm here. Those beasts need to be put down."

"The fuck you want me for? I haven't gone on a hunt in fifteen goddamn years. I'm an old man."

"You're the best hunter the Lavoris has ever seen. Someone like you doesn't get rusty with age."

The Syc paused before replying. "What do I get outta this?"

"Money, of course," Obscuris replied. "But what you might care about more is that this is a reason to get out there again. You pick the team, you lead the expedition."

The Syc grunted. Obscuris could see the man's arm resting on the chair, lean muscles still rippling beneath the skin. His hand gripped the arm of the chair, and Obscuris could see the gap between the third and fifth fingers. He remembered the day that the old Syc lost that finger.

"Heard about this merfolk fella. They say he was born to kill monsters. I want him on my team. Let's see if he can keep up with me and my crew."

The Syc turned from his chair and looked at Obscuris. His face was a wild mess. His hair was grown out past his shoulders, clearly not washed in a very long time, and an eternal smirk raised the left side of his face uncomfortably above the right. A large gash was clearly visible on that side, streaking from the corner of his brow to the bottom of his chin, passing through an eye that was grey and cloudy, forever unblinking.

"You know, you were a shit hunter, but you always knew how to talk to people. I'll give you some names, send 'em my way. You're right. These old bones haven't killed their last."

Obscuris smiled. "Of course, uncle. I'm glad we reached an understanding."

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