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First Week

Felmont 1, AC 1017: Death of Cows.

Location: Town of Julinius, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: In the farms around the seaport of Julinius, a sudden disease strikes at cattle. Nearly half the cattle become infected, and a quarter die over the next three days. The others recover, apparently with no lingering side-effects. Apart from the hardship this causes to the farmers, the cows also pose a hygiene problem, as the authorities struggle to dispose of the large number of animal corpses. The problem is solved by a local wizard, Apuleius Necrekis, who is highly regarded in the area, and through the intercession of the imperial hospitaliers. Apuleius Necrekis and his apprentices quickly preserve the carcasses. The imperial hospitaliers then inspect the meat to make sure it is safe for human consumption, casting purify food and drink and prevent disease to make sure it is safe to eat. (See Fe. 13, Am. 7.)

What This Means: The Thyatians, now better prepared, are able to insure that a replay of the Thothian mummy rot episode, wherein Thothia's agents infected Thyatis' grain supply, causing disease and widespread death among the civilian population, will never occur again. The meat can now be sold instead, helping alleviate the hardship the farmers and ranchers experience from the loss of the livestock.

Felmont 1, AC 1017: Bettellyn Mobilises.

Location: City of Citadel, Kingdom of Bettellyn, Floating Continent of Alphatia. HW

Description: After centuries of Randel raids and pseudo-wars, Randel's military and leadership is so eroded that Bettellyn feels that it can counterattack beyond simple border raids. Junna's diplomatic and domestic ventures testify to her incompetence and total misunderstanding of the situation that Randel and Bettellyn are in.

Ironically, Queen Llynara finds herself sympathising with the Randel people. All that traditional militarism and military history are being compromised by one little woman and her putting Immortal faith over her heritage. In some ways, she sees this invasion as a merciful end to a worthy adversary; a fate much more deserving than the Randel merely sinking into the obscurity of pacifism at the behest of their weak ruler.

Wanting to seize the moment, Queen Llynara assembles her military leaders and puts the idea before them. Though Llynara initially asks for a series of retaliatory raids on several Randel towns, some of her officers press her for full mobilisation and a concerted campaign of conquest to be waged against Randel. Others resist, citing that Bettellyn forces are way under strength with many of their remaining front-line forces being integrated into the imperial units.

Other officers interject that Randel is also suffering from their own front-line troops being integrated into imperial units, to a far greater extent than their own forces are. They add that Junna's decrees have also eroded the remaining troops down to poorer quality. They feel that Bettellyn is quite capable of supplementing its current forces to initiate a campaign of conquest against the Randel. They insist that aside from a few crudely-equipped units; they should only be opposed by old men and young boys.

Llynara is hesitant but is swayed by the argument. The possibility of removing Randel as a threat is too great to pass up. She orders her officers to make preparations for a campaign of conquest. She authorises the mobilisation of regular and militia units. She wants a quick and decisive victory. If need be, her officers are to bolster the ranks by recruitment and even conscription. (See Fl. 8, Kl. 21; Fe. 8, Fe. 14.)

What the PCs Can Do: PCs can be mobilised by their kingdom, or hired as additional mercenary forces (though obviously not if they are Randel mercenaries).

Felmont 1, AC 1017: Five Shires Requests Aid.

Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin, and City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: The Five Shires sends envoys to Darokin and Karameikos, the other coastal nations of the Western Defence League, requesting naval aid against the recent Thyatian attacks on hin ships. The governments of those countries will have to decide what aid to give, if any. (See Fl. 23, Kl. 22; Fe. 10, Fy. 6.)

What This Means: The hin don't like being defeated at sea, so they are trying to get help from the other league nations.

What the PCs Can Do: Hin PCs could be the ones sent to either Karameikos or Darokin to request aid.

Felmont 2, AC 1017: The Host Gathers.

Location: Villages of Seelitz and Nordberg, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: Following Oberherr Wulf von Klagendorf's orders to muster forces to purge Finsterwald of Helmut Jaschke's presence, a force of almost 1,000 knights and soldiers gathers outside the settlements of Seelitz and Nordberg, awaiting orders to move on their enemy. (See Kl. 12; Fe. 4, Fe. 7.)

What This Means: Exactly what it implies; the Heldannic Order is preparing once more to try to crush Helmut's forces, and attain total domination over Heldland.

What the PCs Can Do: Low-level PCs can be introduced to the Heldannic Territories as mercenaries (if they are from other lands), or regular soldiers, in this force. Alternatively, they could be working for Helmut, in which case they could spy on the armies' positions, and gauge their tactics. Higher-level PCs on either side would most likely be commanding small- or medium-sized detachments of soldiers.

Felmont 2, AC 1017: An Iron Agreement.

Location: Village of Krakov, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Shady visitors enter the tiny village of Krakov, a coastal settlement along the Eastron Road west of Rugalov. There, they meet with the village's new ruler, Lord Basileios Zarides, to discuss a mutual arrangement. The visitors are representatives of the Iron Ring. They wish to make Krakov a centre for new operations, and their understanding is that Lord Zarides might be open to such an arrangement. He is, for he wishes to expand his holding beyond the mere fief it currently is. A dark deal is concluded.

What This Means: Basileios Zarides lost a lot of prestige and power when he had to flee Thyatis in AC 1013-something he despises Emperor Eusebius for-and managed to cajole King Stefan into giving him the village of Krakov as his fief. He is supposed to build it into a viable trade route along the Eastron Road, but Zarides is impatient, and sees the advantages of an agreement with the Iron Ring. In exchange for use of Krakov as a base to ship slaves out of the country, he will reap immediate profits to expand his territories.

What the PCs Can Do: The Iron Ring always spells trouble for PCs-either they capture friends and family of the PCs to enslave them, prompting a rescue effort; or else they go after the PCs themselves, which has its own dilemmas.

Felmont 2, AC 1017: Battle of Castle Aknar.

Location: Castle Aknar, Duchy of Vrancea, Confederacy of Klagorst. WB

Description: One week passed with only minor skirmishes between the two armies. Nhorg and Dvorcic led their army, now consisting of only 2,000 men, to Vrancea, hoping to bring their enemies to Castle Aknar, where they could make a final attempt at defeating their enemies from a strategically defensible position. Finally, on Felmont 1, they stopped there, and prepared to hold back the advance of the Klagorst army. However, the Klagorst rulers, knowing what happened to the centaurs near Lake Szwanski, asked the Stygian clergy to prepare spells and other measures to counter the possible surprises that Nhorg could have.

The battle begins during the night: from the surrounding hills, suddenly, a group of ten undead treants storms the Klagorst camp. The Stygians are not good with fire magic, so they are not able to help their allies significantly. After one hour of strenuous fighting, the Klagorst army is able to kill most of the treants, but two pull back. Soon after that, the Reptile Knights charge, leading 1,300 varkhas, while there seems to be no trace of the remaining 600-700 Vranceans.

The varkhas pierce at the centre of the Klagorst army, but wisely retreat every time the superior number of their opponents could surround them. Then, the Vranceans enter the fight, about two hours after the first varkhan incursion. They are led by an iron golem, who spreads death among the Klagorst soldiers. At the same time, and surprisingly, about 30 troglodytes, accompanied by a roughly equal number of hellhounds, enter the fight on Nhorg's side-they are dissident troglodytes, members of the Horned Skull (followers of the Arch-Devil Charun, enemy of Yeg Shuta).

The battle is very hard, but, in the end, it is a victory for the Klagorst army. Nhorg is captured, having been seriously injured in a personal fight with Archduke Xagash, while Dvorcic manages to flee with the few survivors, among whom are 20 Reptile Knights and some of the Horned Skull troglodytes. The victorious generals enter Castle Aknar, and there they find evidence of horrendous experiments carried out in the lower levels of the dungeons. (See Kl. 23, Kl. 25; Fe. 5, Fe. 8.)

What This Means: It seems that Nhorg has been trying to breed lizard races and mammals together, using dark magic to create hybrids. Many of them are wretched creatures, incapable of anything but crawling on the floor of their dark cells, grunting and whining for food; others are far more dangerous. The Stygians, along with other clerics, the few wizards of the Klagorst, and some experienced adventurers, spend the entire night dealing with them, and clean Mystara of their foul presence.

Felmont 3, AC 1017: Orders Honoured in Abbashan.

Location: Emirate of Abbashan, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: The five military orders of the army of Ylaruam are honoured in a ceremony in the streets of Abbashan. The Orders of the Pike, Arrow, Mace, Lance, and Spell parade through the streets in full military regalia, and put on a display for the citizens of the capitol. The Order of the Spell receives special commendations for their help in the war efforts of the last few years, and for their use of "good" magicks on behalf of the nation.

What This Means: Members of the Order of the Spell-a unit of mounted wizards-complained to the sultan about their treatment in recent years. Strong anti-wizardly sentiment has been running high ever since the Great War and the Alphatian invasion years ago. The order felt that their efforts and loyalty on behalf of the nation was being dismissed simply because of their use of arcane magicks-even though their magicks were not of the fire-based or necromantic sort (those being the only types expressly forbidden by edict of the Eternal Truth). The sultan arranged this show both to appease them, as well as to demonstrate the might of the armies of Ylaruam and raise the morale of his people. Though this display will surely not completely erase the taint of anti-wizardly sentiment, it may at least raise the faith of the people in their wizards.

Felmont 3, AC 1017: Mykonos Founded.

Location: Island of Mykonos, City-State of Kastelios, Thanegioth Archipelago, Sea of Dread. OW

Description: After over one month of clearing land and quarrying local stone from a nearby rock face, the Kastelian expedition has managed to erect a number of simple stone structures-sufficient to provide protection from the elements. Cleared fields have also been turned over to subsistence agriculture, to allow those who will remain behind to sustain themselves while the ships return to Kastelios for more supplies.

Pleased with the progress made over the past weeks, Adonai officially christens the new settlement Mykonos, and orders detailed maps to be drawn up of the current colony, plus the regions of the island (which Adonai decided should bear the same name as the village) which will be settled first. He then makes plans to return to Kastelios. (See Fl. 13, Fl. 26; Fe. 7, Fe. 18.)

What This Means: The establishment of a Kastelian presence in the Thanegioth Archipelago has been successful. Now, the main concern is to return to Kastelios with the news that a waystation has been founded.

Felmont 3, AC 1017: King James Seeks Aid.

Location: City of Louvines, Domaine Royal, Kingdom of Renardie. SC

Description: King James, finding it difficult to equip his army and with funds running low, visits neighbouring Renardie in an effort to bring in some more money. King Louis gives James a cool reception. After much haggling, King James manages to extract a loan from Louis, though at a most unfavourable rate. (See Kl. 15, Kl. 27; Fe. 8, Fe. 11.)

What This Means: King Louis has been watching Bellayne for some time with a great deal of concern. Renardie has had its own dissenters in the past, and Louis is acutely aware of the possibility of similar things happening in his own kingdom. Thus, he is inclined to help James, if only to defend the institution of the monarchy-but on the other hand, the rakasta are age-old rivals, leading Louis to strike a hard bargain.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters who have good reputations in Renardie may be sent as the king's representatives to negotiate on his behalf.

Felmont 3, AC 1017: Of Matters Undead.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: The council convenes to discuss a rather overlooked aspect: the status of the undead at Bluenose. Several point out the Feyos incident and the sighting of the undead recently spotted near Torenal Site. They assess them a probable threat, perhaps even linked to the ghoul threat. The representative from Underocean is highly vocal in her people's stance that all types of undead are a threat to the living.

Still, the undead do have some supporters. These individuals are adamant that the true status of the undead in Bluenose is still unknown. With their obvious Alphatian ties, it may even be possible to invite them into the Naycese fold, who knows. They cite that if they prove friendly and trustworthy the undead could be a vital asset in Nayce securing the sunken continent. More scholarly individuals cite a need to study them for their uniqueness.

This line of argument draws heavy criticism, especially from the Underocean representative, who calls for an immediate exterminatory attack on Bluenose. Though few will even comprehend creating an undead kingdom, fewer still are so extreme, and the prospect of their acting as guardians is intriguing. For this matter the undead at Bluenose are given a temporary reprieve until their true nature and potential role in Nayce is determined.

The council decides to continue study on them. They decide that since Pidimigd is already in the area and has voiced interest in them, he can be more easily redirected to study the Bluenose undead. Since he has yet to uncover any secrets on the reported Phylactery of Agmas the change in focus may take better advantage of his expertise. They decide that he should be able to study both the ghouls and the Bluenose undead, especially if they are connected. The council issues the change of orders and grants the necromancer certain authority in establishing his research capabilities. (See Kl. 24, Kl. 27; Fe. 8, Fe. 22.)

What This Means: As for the study of the Phylactery of Agmas, there are other wizened mages that can do that. One such mage has already voiced interest in the matter and discovered a vague reference to the item in the collected works in Krakatos and has requested to be charged with its study. Since Master Terari wrote the request, the council takes it quite seriously. Still, many wonder why Terari is so interested in the matter.

The truth is that Master Terari has been told of the Phylactery of Agmas and has taken a particular interest in it. Since he is undergoing the Path of the Epic Hero to achieve Immortality, he sees the phylactery as possibly being part of his quest. This possibility stems from the part of his quest that deals with the discovery and destruction of an artifact of Entropy. Terari will research the matter before actually journeying to Nayce lands to investigate the matter personally.

Felmont 3, AC 1017: Ambushed Again!

Location: Yugatai Territories, Ethengar Khanates. OW

Description: As they begin to cross into Kaerut territories on the Sea of Grass, the children of the khan are attacked once more. This time it is a full-scale assault by evil spirits and a fierce battle begins. It is only through the magicks of Akmad ibn Yussef that the evil spirits are finally driven away.

The battle comes at great cost: Moglai Khan's youngest son, Hurkati, is slain, along with many of the group's bodyguards. His eldest daughter, Bakai, whom the spirits seemed to single out, has been severely injured. (See Kl. 18, Kl. 27; Fe. 18, Fy. 10.)

What This Means: Jaku the Render has stepped up his attempts to secure his reign. He has given up relying on mortal pawns, and resorted to calling in allies from the Spirit World in his assassination attempts. Though unsuccessful, he has come closer to eliminating his opponents this time than he has previously.

Felmont 3, AC 1017: Back into the Dragon's Lair!

Location: Idris Tower, Forest of Lothenar, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: Christopher Dove returns to the Tower of Idris, where he is again taken into custody by the local guards and imprisoned in the lower dungeons to finish writing the summary of his voyages, to be later sent to the Mystaran Almanac. Khel stays at the tower to receive further instructions, while Dove gets again in touch with the wizard Vespen and begins to explain him his escape plan. (See Ya. 14, Kl. 28; Fe. 7, Fe. 10.)

What This Means: Dove knew that his disappearance would have alerted the high priestess, and thought best to return to Idris Tower to avoid suspicions. Also, he wants to free Vespen because he hopes the wizard's power will help him bypass the magical wards in the Nameless Tower. This way he will be able to fully read the history of Idris as written in the inscriptions inside that tower, and unmask the lies behind Idris' true identity. Obviously, Khel the dragon knight will be pivotal in his escape plan.

What the PCs Can Do: If they remained with Dove, the PCs will return to their dungeon as well, there to plan new ways to escape along with Dove and Vespen. In that case they should be the true agents of their escape, rather than any of the NPCs-the NPCs count on the PCs to get them out!

Felmont 4, AC 1017: A Glorious Advance, to Find... Nothing?

Location: Eastern Finsterwald, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: The massed soldiers and knights of the Heldannic Order deployed to this region of Heldland begin their advance into the Finsterwald during the night of Felmont 3, and continue it well into the next day. At first moving cautiously, expecting ambushes in every clearing, the force soon becomes perplexed: not only has no resistance been encountered, but no settlements-or evidence thereof-have been found. Puzzled, the armies' commanders dispatch scouts further ahead, to determine what is going on. (See Kl. 12, Fe. 2; Fe. 7, Fe. 8.)

What the PCs Can Do: Needless to say, scouting duty sounds like a job for PCs.

Felmont 4, AC 1017: Dissension in the Ranks.

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The uneasy calm of Polakatsikes is shaken when one of Governor Wolfgang Stemmel's officers loudly demands that a meeting be arranged with the Mivosians, in order to discuss terms of surrender. Shocked, and angered, by such a demand, Wolfgang confronts the man, and orders him to suggest his reasons, and to explain why he should not be executed for treason on the spot.

The officer, Horst Kleinmann, informs the governor that, as supplies are beginning to run low, and no warbird has visited the town since the second drop-off of reinforcements, the Mivosians are in an eminently more advantageous position, and could conceivably lay siege to Polakatsikes into the next year. The fact that the granaries have been attacked, and a well poisoned, indicate the potential reach of the Mivosians; not even walls can hold them back. Rather than fighting a war of attrition they cannot possibly win, it might be easier on the men to surrender, possibly withdraw from Polakatsikes, and at least leave the area with their lives.

Wolfgang considers what Horst has said, and then orders that he be relieved of command, and placed in the dungeon. (See Ya. 2, Ya. 26; Fe. 6, Fe. 8.)

What This Means: The strain of the siege is beginning to show on the Heldannic garrison, as well as the townsfolk. Already, some people are talking about approaching the Mivosians to discuss the terms for a surrender. Although he is the Governor of Polakatsikes, Wolfgang is first and foremost a Heldannic Knight, and he will not tolerate any such defeatist thinking, or allow himself to be seen to be tolerating it. He knows he must do something to defuse the tension, and soon...

Felmont 4, AC 1017: The Art of War By Other Means.

Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Representatives of the Darokinian Diplomatic Corps, acting on behalf of the Western Defence League nations, begin negotiations with their Thyatian counterparts in the Foreign Office today in the City of Thyatis. They hope to resolve the growing trade conflict before it does lasting damage to commerce-and to international relations in the region. They seek compensation for the attacks on House Linton that began it all, but their foremost aim is simply to end the confrontation in an acceptable manner, so trade will flow more freely again. (See Kl. 10, Kl. 22; Fe. 11.)

What This Means: The Darokinians hope to remove some of the barriers to their trade that the Thyatians have imposed recently, as well as to get some concessions that will allow House Linton to recover-hopefully at the expense of the Minrothad Guilds.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can conduct the negotiations, or try and dig up dirt that will help their side get an advantage.

Felmont 5, AC 1017: Stalemate.

Location: Duchy of Vrancea, Confederacy of Klagorst. WB

Description: Warlord Naarn Dvorcic talks with the few surviving members of his army, and decides to offer Klagorst peace. He considers offering Vrancea in exchange of peace plus the freedom of Nhorg, who will be brought to Gournzee along with the humans who refuse to accept the outcome of the war. The varkhan warlord sends envoys to the Klagorst army, bearing these proposals. (See Kl. 25, Fe. 2; Fe. 8, Fe. 14.)

What This Means: Naarn is not a fool; he knows the war is lost. He hopes that the Klagorst army will not try to carry the war into Gournzee, even though he thinks that, in his homeland, he would win.

What the PCs Can Do: They could either be among the ones sent to Klagorst, or try to convince the survivors that it is still possible to win the war, if they were fighting against Klagorst.

Felmont 6, AC 1017: They Fight Like Turtles.

Location: City of Raven Scarp, Exarchate of Davania Superior, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: Siobhan daughter of Maeve has advanced her forces to the outskirts of Raven Scarp, laying siege to it. But the warriors of the Raven Clan, once the most enthusiastic participants in the war, are now reluctant and half-hearted. Also, the Thratians of the Hinterlands are unskilled in the construction of siege machinery, and with the Thyatians controlling the waters around Raven Scarp for the most part (in spite of the Twaelar), they are unable to starve out the defenders. Today, with her warriors already tiring of the ineffective siege, she decides to withdraw and try and think of a new strategy for victory. (See Kl. 1, Kl. 5; Fy. 9, Fy. 25.)

What This Means: The initial strategy might have worked-if the victory in the field could have been followed up by a quick strike while the Thyatians were disorganised, the Thratians might have seized Raven Scarp. Siobhan's back up plan was to hope that sympathetic Hinterlanders living in Raven Scarp would open a way for her forces to enter the city. But the Thyatians managed to foil that, and her agents inside the city have disappeared (they were captured and executed). With little recourse, Siobhan hopes to draw out the Thyatians again. But rifts between her and the Raven Clan, a key component of her hoped-for alliance to expel the Thyatians, but always hard to cooperate with due to their traditional rivalry with her Leopard Clan, are beginning to affect things. They are no longer as enthusiastic in support of the war, and her alliance of clans is beginning to unravel.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters sympathetic to the Thratians might find some means of helping them overcome the defences of Raven Scarp. The attackers will then face fierce fighting from the city's inhabitants, and the further obstacle of the main Thyatian citadel, Fire-Height and an influx of imperial reinforcements.

Felmont 6, AC 1017: Raid on Tehuacan.

Location: Town of Tehuacan, Azcan Empire. HW

Description: Pegleg Took, captain of the sloop Makai Pearl, arrives off the coast of Tehuacan after sailing from Arana. Took toys with some panicking Azcan fishing boats before sending a raiding party ashore. Pegleg, a wizard, startles the Azcans by flying above them, while his crew runs amok through the town, looting whatever they can find, and having a grand time doing it. Pegleg spies a large patrol approaching and recalls the crew. They beat a hasty retreat back to the ship and sail away with a significant take of Tehuacan's wealth. (See Fl. 7, Fl. 17; Fy. 15, Fy. 20.)

What This Means: This is another typical pirate raid on an Azcan town, only by a different captain.

Felmont 6, AC 1017: Wolfgang Has a Plan...

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: In a secret meeting with his most trusted officers, Governor Wolfgang Stemmel discusses a potential means of breaking the siege, since it appears that the enemy shows no signs of letting up (as he and some of his officers had originally privately hoped). His idea is to send small squads of stealthy warriors outside the town during the night, who will then act quickly to sabotage any siege equipment they find, and otherwise make things more difficult for the Mivosians. It would be understood that these soldiers would not likely be able to return to Polakatsikes, and thus would have to flee the area and live off the land, or otherwise continue to harry the Mivosians from the outside. Also, these soldiers would have a very good chance of being killed.

His officers, seeing no other avenue worth trying at the moment, agree to the plan. Wolfgang asks them to nominate individuals whom they think would be suitable for such a mission, but cautions that secrecy is essential. (See Ya. 26, Fe. 4; Fe. 8, Fe. 11.)

What This Means: It has become obvious that the Mivosians have no intention of giving up, as shown by their attempts to sow dissent from within (the arson and poisoning incidents). Clearly, the time of waiting is over; either an effort should be made to break the siege and throw back the Mivosians, or the garrison should surrender.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs have been in Polakatsikes since the beginning of the siege, it is possible that they have already committed some acts of sabotage against the Mivosians. What is being proposed here is a larger-scale campaign, one which could involve many people, over a prolonged period, behind enemy lines. If the PCs managed to conduct successful raids in the past, they will be given full consideration for this mission (and possibly be asked by Wolfgang himself to undertake it).

Felmont 6, AC 1017: Kiligi Alp Arslan Swoops.

Location: Kingdom of Douzbakjian, Midlands. WB

Description: When Crown Prince Dmitry split his forces, leaving part of his army to besiege Tashgoun while leading the rest of his forces forward deeper into Douzbakjian, this was exactly the opportunity Kiligi Alp Arslan was waiting for. He had his forces flee before the advancing Zuyevan forces, leading them deeper into Douzbakjian and farther from the forces at Tashgoun. Meanwhile, Kiligi Alp Arslan rallied nomadic forces to his side, raising an army equal in size to the advancing Zuyevan army. Today he catches the Zuyevan troops on the open steppes, and brings them to battle. The crown prince draws his forces up in a laager-style formation, as the swift-charging horse archers of Kiligi Alp Arslan swarm all around them. Zuyevan troops charge out of their redoubt several times, driving the forces of Douzbakjian away with each charge. But they always return.

Gradually the forces of Zuyevo dwindle as the troops are shot down with deadly-accurate archery. The crown prince orders a withdrawal, which turns into a disordered rout as some troops simply drop their weapons and flee. Dmitry and his guards manage to rally atop a hill, but find themselves surrounded by the elite cavalry of Kiligi Alp Arslan, consisting of heavily armoured Douzbakjiani troops. The fight is long and bloody, but eventually the crown prince himself is slain, and his guards ridden down and slaughtered. (See Fl. 11, Ya. 1; Fy. 19.)

What This Means: Zuyevo has suffered a crippling defeat on the plains of Douzbakjian. The forces of Kiligi Alp Arslan pursue the fleeing Zuyevan troops over the next several days, capturing and killing many of them before they are ordered to rest and regroup. Word will eventually reach the forces besieging Tashgoun of this defeat.

Kiligi Alp Arslan has Dmitry's head stripped to the bone, and the skull gilded, which he then uses as a drinking cup. When news of his son's death reaches the tsar, he will be furious and will likely order massive retaliation.

Felmont 6, AC 1017: Scandalous Hope.

Location: Makekei Territory, Neathar Lands. HW

Description: Makekei tribesmen witness seeing Zallon accompanying Tyana, a known Hatfei, in his home village. For the Makekei the pairing is viewed with mixed feelings, despite the apparent affection between the two. Some see it as imperfect timing with the trouble brewing. Others see it as true love that may bring peace to the tribes. Some feel it inappropriate to have a Hatfei in their midst during the troubles. Still others see it as a coup by a Makekei hunter in gaining a wife from a rival tribe. Despite these mixed feelings, the respect that Zallon has within the tribe keeps Tyana safe from more militant Makekei. (See Fl. 2, Ya. 6; Fy. 13.)

What This Means: Zallon's family is quite aware of what the two have done and they condone the pairing. They see that the two are genuinely in love. Likewise they despise the current conflicts with the Hatfei; it has disrupted hunting and threatens them with open warfare. In the coming days, the family will send out messengers to contact Tyana's family. Tyana's father is particularly open about his displeasure of the conflict and it is hoped that he will condone the marriage too. Both families will agree that the union will happen and each will hope that it will do much to bring the two tribes back into friendlier relations.

Felmont 7, AC 1017: Trouble on the High Seas!

Location: North of City of Helskir, Dominion of Helskir, Heldannic Empire, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: A Heldannic vessel, dispatched to the Heldannic Territories late last night in the hopes of gaining some supplies, limps back into Helskir early this morning, its sails scorched and its hull punctured in several places. As the surviving crewmembers disembark, they deliver a startling report to the Heldannic officers on duty-ships flying Naycese colours have established a naval blockade of Helskir. Word is sent to Ordensgeneral Anna von Hendriks immediately. (See Ya. 10, Ya. 28; Fe. 7, Fe. 19.)

What This Means: In accordance with the agreement between Thyatis and Nayce concerning the Heldannic invasion of Heldun, the latter imperial power agreed to dispatch several ships to the region to cut off the occupying forces from any reinforcement or resupplying efforts by sea.

Felmont 7, AC 1017: Return to Kastelios.

Location: Village of Mykonos, Island of Mykonos, City-State of Kastelios, Thanegioth Archipelago, Sea of Dread. OW

Description: The Kastelian expedition raises anchor and heads southwards this morning, leaving behind 23 men to continue surveying the island, and to carry out whatever tasks are necessary to further strengthen the nascent colony located here. (See Fl. 26, Fe. 3; Fe. 18, Fy. 1.)

Felmont 7, AC 1017: Treachery and Redemption.

Location: Idris Tower, Forest of Lothenar, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: Khel the dragon knight takes Dove into custody, explaining to the guards that the high priestess wants to meet the human sage in the upper halls to question him. Once out of his cell, Dove and Khel follow a lone rat in the lower part of the dungeons, where Vespen is being held prisoner. Here Khel confronts the mighty warden of the cells, a threatening knight, and when the man refuses to let them pass, a fierce battle ensues. Dove manages to sneak past the two knights and, after locating Vespen's cell, he frees him. Vespen aids Khel in his fight and quickly dispatches the warden. Then with an illusion he tricks the other guards (who have come to look after hearing the commotion) into believing everything is normal, and once out of sight, the trio proceeds, invisibly, to the upper rooms. Dove insists they must leave the tower at once, but Vespen manages to convince him that there is an item of great power they could use against Idris and Her minions in the high priestess's bedchamber, so they go straight for the top of the tower. Once inside the lady's private quarters, Dove and Vespen start to look for a golden horn with precious gems, but cannot find it. Suddenly, a group of robed priests burst into the room and start to throw spells at the party, with Vespen and Khel doing their best to repel them. When more cultists join their friends in the room, Vespen understands the situation is out of control, so he grasps an ominous black staff with inlaid black diamonds and uses it to bathe the whole room in darkness. Once the dark veil retreats, each person inside the chamber finds an exact undead replica of himself standing in front of him or her, grinning. Vespen-the only one without an undead twin-orders the undead clones to attack their twins, and chaos engulfs the room. After killing his own undead self, Dove reaches Vespen asking for an explanation, while Khel is also busy fending off his clone. Unexpectedly, Vespen turns to face Dove with a malign glee in his eyes, and shows his true identity when his visage becomes that of a rotting corpse with blood red pinpoints glowing in his empty eye sockets. Realising he has helped the Shadow Lord escape the dungeons, Dove falls helpless to the ground, waiting for the necromancer to take his life. But before the Shadow Lord can strike, Khel shields Dove with his body and engages both the necromancer and his own undead clone into combat, urging the archaeologist to flee. Blinded by fear, Dove stumbles upon a small pad wrapped in a cloth and left in a corner of the room, touching some of the exposed runes. The air begins to fizzle around him, and suddenly the scene disappears before his eyes.

When he stares around himself once again, he is standing in a darkened different room all-alone. Venturing out and looking for an exit, he strides down a long narrow hallway, which brings back memories of a place he visited in the past. His thoughts are suddenly interrupted when a group of armed men with the insignia of the Shadow Army intercepts him and takes him prisoner. When he refuses to reveal his identity and the way he entered the keep, he is taken into the keep's cell, awaiting further interrogation. There he meets other prisoners, mostly elves, and discovers he has magically been transported to the dreaded Drax Tallen. Broken and hopeless, Dove cries silently in his cell. (See Kl. 28 Fe. 3; Fe. 10, Fe. 11.)

What This Means: Dove planned his escape quite thoroughly, but he didn't expect the wizard's treachery. The Shadow Lord, who had been imprisoned in the dungeons of Idris Tower since Eirmont of AC 1016 (after staging a failed coup against the high priestess), had contacted the archaeologist hoping to use him to gain the opportunity to escape Idris' clutches. So he pretended to be a former member of the Onyx Ring punished for his "good deeds" against the Church of Idris and revealed Dove many secrets of the cult to befriend him and to betray Idris, whom he has always served with contempt. When the opportunity finally arose, he persuaded Dove to go straight into the high priestess's chambers instead of fleeing the tower, because he hoped to find his phylactery there-the object where his soul is stored and which has always been used by the High Priestess of Idris to control his actions. The Shadow Lord is in fact a vassalich created by the Church of Idris, not a necromancer, and needs his phylactery back to gain freedom and full lichdom. Unfortunately, the phylactery wasn't located in the high priestess's quarters, and when cornered by the cultists, he chose to use the Black Staff of the carnifex (which he had retrieved last year to use against the high priestess, failing miserably) against them. Only by sheer luck and thanks to the final sacrifice of Khel did Dove escape the desperate situation, only to be plunged into another inferno once again.

What the PCs Can Do: Free themselves, free Dove, dodge or fight the warden, free Vespen, search the priestess's quarters, fight the priests and the undead clones; their adventures are those written here. After Dove accidentally escaped, they may find themselves facing the Shadow Lord and the priests and the undead clones!

Felmont 7, AC 1017: Losses in the South.

Location: City of Helskir, Dominion of Helskir, Heldannic Empire, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: While pondering the problems posed by the blockade by Naycese ships north of Helskir, Anna von Hendriks receives word that attacks against patrols in the southern occupied territories are increasing. Preliminary reports indicate that the assaults have been conducted by Thyatian forces based in Westrourke. Sensing that the Heldannic position in Heldun will soon become far more perilous, Anna orders all remaining patrols to withdraw towards Helskir. Also, she demands that construction of the outer wall and fortresses be accelerated. (See Ya. 28, Fe. 7; Fe. 19, Fe. 23.)

What This Means: Being blockaded while having to do without reinforcements is one thing; being attacked on top of that is another. Knowing that both empires could bring considerable magical and military might against Heldannic positions, should they wish to do so, Anna has decided to devote her limited resources to the retention of Helskir.

The Heldannic forces' southern flank will be placed under increasing pressure over the upcoming weeks by a combined force of imperial auxiliaries (Westrourke) and two units of the army of Westrourke-a reserve force mobilised earlier this year to protect the frontier.

Felmont 7, AC 1017: We're Not Alone.

Location: Eastern Finsterwald, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: The slow, but steady, westward march of the Heldannic forces in the Finsterwald is halted by a gruesome discovery. In a large clearing, staked into the ground, are the bodies of a large number of the scouts who were sent deeper into the forest only a few days earlier. Upon seeing this grim sign, almost 100 soldiers break ranks and flee eastwards, disappearing swiftly into the surrounding brush. The commanders order their archers to fire a volley at the retreating men, to punish them for their cowardice, but only a few arrows hit their marks. Otherwise undeterred, they order their soldiers to press on. (See Fe. 2, Fe. 4; Fe. 8, Fe. 10.)

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Heldannic scouts and were dispatched on Felmont 4, they would have encountered some of Helmut's warriors-low- to mid-level elves and humans intent on killing any scouts they find. Assuming they were able to report back to their leaders, they might be able to better inform the Heldannic force as to what is going on, and change the course of future events considerably.

Felmont 7, AC 1017: Evil Robots for a Better Tomorrow.

Location: Small Island of the Thanegioth Archipelago, Sea of Dread. OW

Description: A band of Thyatian adventurers exploring one of the islands of the Thanegioth Archipelago discovers a cave mouth leading to an extensive warren of caverns. The adventurers face and defeat large numbers of monsters, especially a tribe of troglodytes. Deep in the caverns, they find what appears to be a blocked passage, which they decide to clear, hoping to find booty on the other side. When they clear the passage, they discover what appears to be an ancient complex tunnelled deliberately, with smooth stone walls and slate floors. The complex has a large number of rooms with odd objects that they can't identify and which seem to have no function, as well as large amounts of dust. They start to despair of finding anything of value when they locate a burnished metal door, next to which is a pad with two buttons. Their attempts to force the door prove fruitless, so they try the buttons. The button mechanism seems corroded, very difficult to operate, but eventually they manage to depress the right one, and the door slides open.

At the inside of the doorframe is a small switch, which the adventurers throw, causing a pale illumination to flood the room from the ceiling above. Beyond they see a large room, with two long counters running down its centre, upon which are various corroded objects and what appears to be a gauntlet and a helmet, both of unusual make-odd, smooth metal, with a very hard translucent visor over the eyes of the helmet. In each of the room's corners stands what appears to be a suit of full plate armour, also of odd construction with strange material at the joints, very hard but seemingly flexible. Each of the suits appears to hold a strange polearm in a ceremonial position. Though the suits of armour don't detect as magical, their unusual make and apparent antique age-but perfect condition-cause the adventurers to rejoice. They feel they'll be able to sell them to wealthy warriors or collectors in the city of Thyatis for a healthy profit. But they find them unusually difficult to move, each being attached to the wall with a strong metal hook. On the back wall of the chamber they locate a lever behind a hidden panel, and decide to try that, hoping it will release the suits. As they switch the lever, the metal hooks release the suits. At the same time an eerie red gleam appears in the visors of each, where eyes might be, and the suits spring into sudden action, aim their polearms at the adventurers, and a bright beam shoots forth from each, cutting into the Thyatians. The armoured fiends make short work of the party, then stalk out of the chamber and towards the surface. (See Fe. 20, Fy. 7.)

What This Means: The adventurers stumbled upon a lost facility dating back to the Blackmoor era. The complex was a hidden lab of a deranged, anti-social Blackmoorian scientist, who created the robots for his own fiendish (and now unknown) plots. The robots themselves are somewhat deranged as a result of both their programming and their long inactivity, and will begin a far-ranging crime spree.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can be the adventurers that stumble upon the complex and face four ruthless, insane, and unspeakably powerful ancient robots.

Felmont 7, AC 1017: Wherefore art thou, Feldian?

Location: Tower of Linden, Principality of Bergdhoven, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: There is a great commotion outside the doors of the home of Princess Juliana Vlaardoen. While he was serving with the army, tracking down pockets of Ethengar nomads in the hills and wilds of Glantri, Feldian Lehenard had heard rumours that his beloved had taken up with the Black Eagle Baron. Disbelieving such stories, knowing that his love would never fall for such a notorious villain, he determined to find out the truth.

Now he finds himself turned away at the very doors of the princess's home, as if he were some common thief. Worse, the princess will not even deign to speak with him, instead sending her servants to usher him on his way. Just as Feldian is on the verge of forcing his way inside the manor, he is approached by Juliana's uncle, Anton Vlaardoen. The two are seen to talk for some time outside, and then a reluctant Feldian retires with Anton to another residence on the estate. Several hours later, Feldian is observed riding off on his white steed, a fiery look in his eyes. (See Fy. 16, Am. 24.)

What This Means: Feldian was betrothed to Juliana, despite the wishes of her uncle Anton, several years ago. He left to serve his country's army during the war with Ethengar (hoping to win the respect of the military-minded Anton), and has only recently completed his tour of duty. In the meantime, the sinister Black Eagle Baron, Ludwig von Hendriks, has taken up with the princess.

Feldian is disheartened, but his talk with her uncle has spurred him on with a desire to win his love back. Though he disapproved of Feldian previously (no man would be good enough for Juliana in Anton's overprotective eyes), Anton has come to see that the Black Eagle is far more insidious and unsuitable than Feldian ever was. Anton has now enlisted Feldian's aid in winning back the affections of the increasingly distant Princess Juliana.

Second Week

Felmont 8, AC 1017: Newshire Founded.

Location: Barony of Newshire, Colony of Davania Inferior, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: Early today, after coming ashore from the River Torion, and marching several miles eastwards to a row of forested hills, a fair-sized group of hin begins clearing away the surrounding brush with gusto. Hours later, and amid much fanfare, Rickert Littlelaughs, surrounded by many cousins and friends, breaks the soil for his new home, in the recently-granted dominion of Newshire. (See Fl. 13.)

What This Means: As with Baron Demetrios Chianossos of Neapolis, Rickert served Eusebius during the Crown War. He headed a small volunteer battalion of hin, a Thyatis City branch of the large Littlelaughs clan. His valour was recognised by the imperial family, and he jumped at the chance to found his own dominion-even in the Hinterlands. Now, accompanied by a large number of friends and cousins, Rickert is building his home-soon to be the centre of a hin barony in Davania Inferior.

What the PCs Can Do: As with Demetrios Chianossos, Rickert faces the same requirements, and will need the same kind of assistance-surveying land, clearing out monsters, and so on.

Felmont 8, AC 1017: Dogrel Summoned.

Location: City of Andaire, Kingdom of Alphas'ar, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Deputy Commander Dogrel, now serving with the imperial forces, is summoned to meet with Empress Eriadna. Since Dogrel originally hails from Randel, the empress asks him if he thought that the Randel military would ever rise up against their monarch. Dogrel responds that normally they would avoid such action if at all possible. However, given the current change in attitude that Junna has promoted, the Randel military may just do that.

Eriadna is surprised that he is aware of the problems. Dogrel tells her that news of the unrest is running rampant through the imperial units, the news being quite alarming to the Randel nationals serving in the imperial divisions. Because of the Great War, the Randel armed forces are horribly undermanned and under-financed. Junna has done very little to rebuild them to their former selves; instead promoting the pacifist and artistic doctrines encouraged by her Immortal, Alphatia.

In its weakened condition, the troops are worried that Randel's neighbours may take advantage of the situation and strike. He specifically mentions the Kingdom of Bettellyn, and the long-standing animosity that the two kingdoms have for each other. Dogrel cites that if such aggressions occur, it is expected that most Randel-born imperial troops will not merely stand by and watch. He adds that the Randel troops have a good number of allies within the imperial forces, allies that may join them.

Eriadna contemplates what Dogrel has just said. After a few moments, she orders Dogrel to assemble an imperial force to go to Randel to offer a show of imperial resolve. She offers Dogrel the use of one imperial man-of-war and two smaller skyships. Though each vessel will retain their present crew complements, Dogrel is given free reign in choosing his imperial marines and boltmen. Eriadna instructs him not to get involved in any of the political troubles, but merely be in the kingdom as a visual deterrent to any aggressions from outside forces. Officially, Dogrel's forces will be undergoing training manoeuvres.

Dogrel accepts the command and is dismissed to begin making his preparations. By day's end he has dispatched a number of orders requesting specific platoons. Most of his manpower requests are to come from nearby units, thus shortening their deployment time. The skyships are being supplied and made ready to sail. Dogrel expects to leave in but a few short days. (See Th. 21, Fe. 1; Fy. 1, Am. 7.)

What This Means: The rumblings of discontent that have so prevailed in Randel have reached Eriadna's ears. The matter is a very difficult one for her to resolve. Unlike most Alphatian kingdoms, Randel has traditionally been very solid domestically. Though undesirable to herself and most of Alphatia, Randel's militarist attitude has also been a valued commodity to protecting imperial interests when the empire needed it.

Though the Alphatians have yet to fully understand the powers of the Spell of Preservation, Eriadna doubts that Junna's doctrines will prevail. The militarist mindset is far too ingrained in the Randel people and their society to be removed with a few decrees. She feels that eventually the military will have had enough and lead the populace to rise up against Junna. Though Eriadna is sympathetic to her plight, she does not want to have to interfere with a local matter. To do so would draw criticism from other kingdom rulers that could see such actions as the imperial throne imposing its will upon the individual kingdoms.

Eriadna's biggest concern is the state of Randel's armed forces. In their current state, most of the regular forces have either been integrated into imperial divisions or are stranded out on the Outer World. There is no basis to rebuild their losses, thus leaving a void in part of the empire's defences. Likewise she has to think about Randel's security. Nothing prevents Alphatian kingdoms from warring with each other. The traditional rivalry and animosity with Bettellyn has survived their transplanting to the Hollow World. If any kingdom uses Randel's demise to their situation it would have to be Bettellyn, who has reportedly been mobilising troops.

If Bettellyn invades Randel, it is quite possible that the current Randel defences will fail. The conflict could spread as Randel's allies mobilise to the kingdom's defence; Stonewall and Eadrin are the most likely candidates. There is also the very possible response from the imperial armed forces: there is a sizeable Randel presence in them; same thing for Stonewall and Eadrin. Also, the empire's military has strong ties to Randel, many trained there or served alongside them. It is very possible that war could lead to a destabilisation of the imperial forces and throw the southeastern portion of the continent into turmoil.

Eriadna probably could influence Queen Llynara to avoid conflict with Randel. However such displays of favouritism would reflect badly upon Eriadna and offer her opponents fodder to accuse her of imposing on the private lives of Alphatians. To do so would be almost as bad as sending in imperial troops to handle the matter. To quell this problem she will have to use guile and restraint.

The empress has opted to send Dogrel to Randel with a small detachment of troops. She hopes that their presence will act as a deterrent to any thoughts of Bettellyn aggression. Since Dogrel is from Randel, he should realise the full ramifications of the situation and act accordingly to Randel's best interests. Likewise, his Randel background should limit the possibilities of the military acting against him or his troops. If he fails, he can be made a scapegoat; if he succeeds, he does so in the name of the imperium-she wins either way.

For his part, Dogrel is quite interested in the assignment. For Randel, the safety of the kingdom is a priority. Likewise, he sees the venture as a potential boon to his career. Though his orders are explicit, he contemplates his possible involvement if it will remedy the domestic situation. Likewise, he will probably involve his troops if Bettellyn does choose to invade. To bolster his own strength, Dogrel has specifically requested imperial troops that come from Randel or have strong ties to it.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs sympathetic to Randel causes may find themselves hired by Dogrel to accompany his forces into Randel. There, they could be used as specialised troops or even used to execute Dogrel's wishes without directly involving imperial troops. Or the PCs could be hired by Eriadna to accompany Dogrel to keep an eye on his actions, in case he unilaterally sides with Randel.

Felmont 8, AC 1017: A Necromancer Usurped.

Location: Torenal Site, Sunken Arogansa Nayce. AS

Description: The necromancer Pidimigd is summoned to appear before Commander Deltart and his staff to report on his progress with the ghoul threat. Pidimigd cites little progress in the matter of the ghoul's tale of the Phylactery of Agmas. He requests additional funding and personnel to expand his search for knowledge on the phylactery.

Deltart tells the necromancer that additional support would be difficult to gain. He asks Pidimigd what he has managed to uncover so far. All Pidimigd can offer is that the item was possessed by an Alphatian mage named Talerad. He cites that the mage kept the item under close guard and never revealed any of its secrets to posterity.

Though disheartened by this minuscule amount of information, Deltart nods approvingly to the report and produces a document bearing the seal of the Nayce Council. He hands it to the necromancer to read. Its contents reveal the official orders commanding Deltart to recommit Pidimigd to the ghoul threat if he has yet to uncover any information. The matter of the phylactery will be assumed by other unnamed mages for the time being.

Surprisingly, Pidimigd is apparently unconcerned about this change. He apologises to Deltart for his inability to provide the answers needed in the council's time frame. He accepts his change with enthusiasm, even citing that focusing on the ghouls should take priority. The necromancer requests that he be allowed to invite several of his colleagues to assist him, citing their assistance would hasten the discovery of a solution. Pidimigd also requests that he be deployed away from Torenal Site, where he may conduct his researches without alarming others. He suggests that he go to Bluenose to establish a facility there. That would also allow him to study the undead living there. Deltart agrees to the requests and the necromancer leaves to prepare dispatches to contact these colleagues. (See Kl. 27, Fe. 3; Fe. 22, Fe. 27.)

What This Means: With an official realisation that the ghouls are indeed a threat, the council has made resolving the undead presence a priority. With Pidimigd already on hand, they have ordered his expertise redirected back to the ghouls; what he was brought there to deal with in the first place.

Pidimigd really is unconcerned about the transition of duties. He has exhausted his own resources with little added information coming forth on the Phylactery of Agmas. He still desires to study the item, but feels that it is definitely connected to the ghouls. Magely pride also causes him to resent Terari's intrusion; however, he knows that Terari is too powerful to oppose, either politically or in magic. If Terari wants to assume the project then so be it.

Pidimigd seeks redemption in the undead at Bluenose. He reconciles that they are far more interesting than the simple ghouls and mythical phylactery. He even has his doubts as to the artifact actually existing. Gaining an understanding of the strange undead would be more prestigious. Gaining control of them would increase his personal power immensely.

What the PCs Can Do: Terari will need the service of PCs to act as his proxies, and report to him any findings they make that may be important to his quest. Terari cannot conduct all the investigations about the Phylactery of Agmas himself, busy as he is, but if the PCs find anything important he will come to meet the PCs face to face and gather from them whatever they have discovered, and possibly lead or send them into further (more dangerous, maybe) artifact research. This is a good opportunity for the PCs to get involved in Terari's quest, even though they may not at first be aware of the importance of their investigation, or even of the real name of their patron. Helping Terari on his quest may also give Companion to Master level PCs their first clues at to what lies ahead, and how they might reach Immortality themselves.

Felmont 8, AC 1017: The Defeat of Los Matónes.

Location: Town of Ciudad Real, Baronía de Gargoña. SC

Description: The Narvaezan forces of Barón Hugo have been defeated now in two minor battles in western Gargoña by the Saragón/Guadalante alliance during the last six weeks of skirmishing between the two sides. His forces have been pushed all the way back to Gargoña's capital, Ciudad Real. The elite Narvaezan troops known as the Los Matónes draw up in front of the town in order to allow the main Narvaezan troops time to cross the Rio Copos which will give them a better defensive position. Armed with cannon, Los Matónes hold fast against an assault by Guadalantan cavalry and Saragóner infantry. The Guadalantans begin taking heavy casualties from grapeshot when a party of Saragóner mages and archers, who have crept to the rear of Los Matónes, unveil a barrage of spells and arrows. Highly disciplined Torreóner mercenaries then charge the Narvaezan ranks, and split the Los Matónes' line. Most manage to flee across the Rio Copos while the remainder are slaughtered as the Saragón/Guadalante forces rally and continue their attack. (See Ya. 14, Ya. 27; Fe. 11, Fe. 20.)

What This Means: This is a major victory for Saragón and Guadalante. They have broken the morale of the Narvaezan soldiers who have seen their most elite unit defeated in battle, and the majority of their newly constructed cannons captured. Barón Hugo is beginning to become desperate. He fervently prays for divine intervention from his patron immortal Ixion.

Felmont 8, AC 1017: Infiltrator Caught!

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Amid much fanfare, the Heldannic authorities of Polakatsikes announce that they have captured a Mivosian spy, who, after lengthy interrogation, has confessed to the attack on the granaries in Yarthmont, as well as the poisoning of the well-also in that month. He is paraded through the streets in chains, while Governor Wolfgang Stemmel announces to the townsfolk that his soldiers discovered the man's whereabouts after a lengthy investigation, and he is being shown to them as the vile criminal that he is. Some Polakatsikans, venting their frustrations that have built up over the past few months, throw garbage at the purported Mivosian spy, while others jeer.

After dragging the man through the main streets, his escort of Heldannic Knights marches him into the market, which has been converted into an execution square for the occasion. Wolfgang recites the man's crimes in front of the assembled throng, and then gives the order for the executioner to do his work. In short order, the prisoner is beheaded, and his head is placed in a stake, which will be mounted atop one of the walls. As the head is taken away, Wolfgang gives a brief speech to the assembled townsfolk, telling them that justice has been served, and that Vanya always watches over Her loyal followers, whoever they may be. (See Fe. 4, Fe. 6; Fe. 11, Fe. 23.)

What This Means: Wolfgang was well aware of the fact that the people of Polakatsikes desperately needed some good news, something to feel positive about, which would forestall any revolt due to the onerous conditions of the siege. The recent apprehension of the Mivosian in question proved to be a veritable godsend; the man did indeed carry out the attack on the granaries, though his "confession" of poisoning the well was fabricated. Wolfgang felt that the capture of the man who performed both deeds would better soothe public anxieties; the truth need never be known.

Nevertheless, the execution of the saboteur will boost morale somewhat over the next few days, and it is hoped that the placement of his head atop a stake, for the Mivosians to see, will send a message to them that their efforts at infiltration have been uncovered. In the meantime, Wolfgang has ordered some of his knights to follow up on other aspects of the man's confessions, namely, the identities of other Mivosian saboteurs. In the weeks to come, the hunt will be on for these other people.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are with the Heldannic Knights, the PCs can try to hunt down the other infiltrators, but the task will not be easy, as these people will be disguised, and they may have tried to change their identities by now. Also, the Mivosian spies will not be helpless; many are at least mid-level thieves, and some of them are proficient fighters. If they are Mivosian infiltrators, the PCs will have to be especially careful to avoid capture.

Felmont 8, AC 1017: Clashes in the Kerothars.

Location: Kerothar Mountains, Kingdom of Frisland, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The army from Stonewall is attacked by a white dragon. They suffer some casualties, but the dragon is eventually driven off. (See Ya. 27, Kl. 11; Fe. 16, Fe. 22.)

What This Means: The Kerothar Mountains that lie in Frisland are infested with lots of monsters; this attack is only the first. During the march, the army is likely to meet other monsters, such as griffons, giants, orc raiders, trolls, and a wyvern or two. Actually, the army leaders will be slightly surprised that there are so many monsters-there are more than they expected, and they are far more hostile, as they expected the monsters to leave such a large army alone.

What the PCs Can Do: These monsters are really a problem for the army, because the regular troops will take casualties with each attack. Any PCs would be assigned to an advance scouting party that functions as a monster-hunter group, whose goal it is to prevent the army from falling into an ambush, and to kill hostile monsters before they can attack the army. Needless to say, this is excellent opportunity for monster bashing and perhaps the odd dungeon crawl in some larger monster's lair (such as a dragon's).

Felmont 8, AC 1017: Definitely Not Alone!

Location: Central Finsterwald, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: While continuing their invasion of the Finsterwald, the Heldannic force finally encounters Count Helmut Jaschke's men-from behind! Before the rear guard can react, they are cut down by lightly-armed warriors clad in leather armour. Meanwhile, the front ranks are hammered by waves of magic missiles and hold person spells, effectively sowing disarray among the ranks. Soon, the rear guard of the Heldannic force rallies, and heavier arms and armour begin to wear away at the attackers-at least, those who are not too nimble to avoid the blows.

Soon, it becomes apparent that, although there do not appear to be very many attackers-no more than 300 or so-they know the terrain much better, and are able to withdraw quickly if injured. The Heldannic force, meanwhile, has become bogged down, trying to maintain its position while staging an effective counterattack-something very difficult since they are less manoeuvrable. Nevertheless, the force is able to hold its ground, and Helmut's warriors are forced to melt into the surrounding forests. (See Fe. 4, Fe. 7; Fe. 10.)

What This Means: Though this battle may seem to be major, it is not. Helmut wished to test the strength of the invaders, and determine what strategies they would use when pressed. He knows that, with the support of many of the local villagers, his forces can sustain themselves-and hide-for a long time if necessary, whereas the Heldannic soldiers must rely on their rations, hunt, or forage. It total, Helmut lost around 70 men today, and his enemies lost almost 200.

What the PCs Can Do: As with many battles, this is a chance for individual PCs to distinguish themselves.

Felmont 8, AC 1017: Peace-a Beginning.

Location: Ruins of Castle Aknar, Duchy of Vrancea, Confederacy of Klagorst. WB

Description: Naarn's envoys reach the camp of the Klagorst army, which is now located near the ruins of Castle Aknar. When they make their proposal, the leaders of the army decide to have a meeting to decide on the matter. After hours of debate, they come to the conclusion that the peace, now, is the most desirable outcome, because they are in a position of clear advantage. If the war goes on and something goes wrong, they could lose all that they have gained up to this point. They tell the envoys that they want to meet the surviving leaders of the Vrancean-Gournzeean army. (See Fe. 2, Fe. 5; Fe. 14, Fe. 15.)

What This Means: There is also another problem, and the Klagorst rulers are aware of this: most of the armies of the Klagorst states are not professional soldiers, they are all civilians, farmers, or city-dwellers. The main problem of this region is the fact that the frequent wars kill the civil population, damaging greatly the economy of all the states... and already a lot of men are dead. This was the deciding factor governing the Klagorst army's decision.

What the PCs Can Do: Carry on the war, if they are convincing enough to the Klagorst leaders.

Felmont 8, AC 1017: Defection in the Royal Navy.

Location: High Seas, Somewhere south of Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: A royal navy flotilla of four sloops, Magic, Mandate, Martial and Mystic, under the command of Commodore Bassetlaw, do not return from a routine patrol of the waters due south of Bellayne during a heavy squall. Investigation by other royal navy vessels reveals debris as if from a sunken vessel, but no sign of any bodies. It is assumed, after some time, that the ships were sunk in the storm.

In actual fact, the sloops defected from the king's forces in favour of the parliament. One ship was scuttled in an attempt to deceive investigation, the other three set sail for distant Porto Escorpião, to seek Vilaverdan sanctuary. (See Kl. 27, Fe. 3; Fe. 11, Fe. 19.)

What This Means: The parliament knows of Bassetlaw's defection, but at present can provide no support, lacking the required port facilities. Bassetlaw has thus decided to hide out in Porto Escorpião until he can do something more concrete to assist the parliament in the upcoming struggle.

Felmont 9, AC 1017: Thyatian Punitive Expedition Invades Dythestenia.

Location: Emirate of Dythestenia, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: The Imperial Senate of Thyatis issues a declaration of war against Ylaruam. Immediately, several thousand Thyatians, consisting of the Hespirian Tagmata, its baggage column, and several hundred Thyatian brigands, march out of the pass of Biazzan and into Dythestenia. The brigands spread out through the Emirate of Dythestenia, looting and burning, while the main Thyatian column marches to Ctesiphon and puts it under siege. (See Kl. 10; Fy. 5, Fy. 9.)

What This Means: This is the beginning of the Thyatian campaign to punish Ylaruam for its previous attacks against Thyatis. The band of brigands, numbering around 300 persons, had been operating in the southern Altan Tepes for years. They were recently cornered by imperial troops and approached with a proposition: they could be killed and enslaved if they resisted, or they could move into Ylaruam to continue their thieving ways, with the support of the Thyatian army. They chose the latter. The Thyatian forces will build a fortified camp outside Ctesiphon, set up siege artillery, and begin to batter the walls with occasional pot-shots. They do not conduct any assaults, and seem content to wait until the small town is starved into submission. Their camp is situated so as to allow easy supply and communication to and from Biazzan. In Ylaruam, when the sultan hears of the attack, he orders his troops to march to the relief of Ctesiphon.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can participate in the war on both sides, sabotaging the other side's efforts and attempting to advance their own cause.

Felmont 9, AC 1017: Bardeen Gets Allies.

Location: Jarldom of Nordenhafen, Great Bay. NW

Description: At the end of the trial period for Baron Bardeen, Overlord h'Caramore returns to the Isle of Nordenhafen to reprimand the jarl for his treacherous protection of the pirates (who haven't stopped their raiding) and to remove him from his seat of power. His intentions are backed by four Alphan war galleys, a small contingent of soldiers from Kameloth, and he is accompanied by Duke Shuren of Kameloth. To the two warlords' great surprise, their expedition is halted out of Nordenhafen's harbour by four ships bearing the Ostlander royal flag, which demand an audience with the overlord. A royal ambassador of King Hordson then boards the Alphan flagship, and announces that Nordenhafen is now an Ostlander protectorate, and that if the Alphan troops invade its waters, it will be considered an act of war against Ostland. Also, the Ostlander ambassador publicly complains about the murder of King Hordson's most trusted adviser, Oberack, perpetrated by Duke Shuren, and orders the Norwold lord to leave Nordenhafen immediately. Albeit reluctantly, Lord h'Caramore must change the ships' course, directing them towards the near Bay of Kameloth, without engaging the treacherous Ostlanders. (See Th. 20, Kl. 10; Fe. 23.)

What This Means: After Ericall's ultimatum, Bardeen's position was desperately unstable. As a last resort, he asked the leader of the Ostlanders for a way to escape this situation, and the pirate, Kleng Bloodhand (who once was Oberack's second in command) came up with a political solution. If Nordenhafen was formally under another nation's control, invading it would be a capital offence that could lead to war. For this reason he had Bardeen openly reveal his loyalty to the Ostlander crown, and he acted as official Ostlander ambassador sealing the agreement using Oberack's royal seal. He will then send a longship to Ostland to inform King Hordson of the situation, hoping he will send more ships to protect Nordenhafen. In the meantime, he has gained precious time to organise a defence of the isle, should King Ericall attack it nonetheless.

What the PCs Can Do: To stop piracy yet not attack the new Ostlander protectorate, the overlord may hire the PCs to conduct either diplomatic or covert operations.

Felmont 9, AC 1017: Strangers on the Frontier.

Location: Territory of Thratia, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: A Thyatian outpost not far from the southern boundaries of Thratia is surprised by the approach of a band of almost a hundred ragged men, women, and children from the surrounding jungle. After a moment's tenseness, the outpost commander realises that the newcomers have no hostile intent, and demands to know their business. He is surprised by one man's response, given in a language that is not Thyatian. The commander summons one of his mages, who, through the use of magic, manages to communicate with the newcomers, who identify themselves as refugees from the village of Miletos, which lay several hundred miles to the south. The Miletans beg shelter from the Thyatians, saying that their homeland has been torn asunder by war, and that they seek only safe lands in which to settle.

After pondering the foreigner's words, the commander lets the refugees into his compound, whereupon he orders his soldiers to provide what food and medical attention they can. (See Fe. 27, Fy. 26.)

What This Means: The people of Miletos, like many people of the northern Meghala Kimata Plains, were forced to abandon their homes due to the ongoing conflict between the Mivosian legions and the Heldannic Knights, the fallout of which has laid waste to many towns and villages. Feeling that the plains were no longer safe, the Miletans decided to head north, into the jungles, where it was rumoured a great empire was said to exist. Although they found no sign of the empire, they were lucky enough to avoid the local Hinterlander tribes long enough to find this outpost.

The Miletans will stay here a few days in order to recuperate, and in exchange for the hospitality they will provide the Thyatians with information about the Mivosians (who are well known to the Miletans), and the Heldannic Knights (who are more of a mystery). Afterwards, they will be escorted northwards to safer territory.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs stationed at this outpost could be assigned the task of escorting the refugees northwards, a mission sure to be fraught with peril as hostile Hinterlanders, monsters, and other threats are likely to lie in their path. Alternatively, if the PCs are originally from one of the Milenian city-states, this encounter provides a means for them to enter the Hinterlands, and from there to venture farther afield. If any of the PCs are Kastelian, they may be of use here, in that they may speak Thyatian as well-though the refugees speak a different dialect of Milenian, such PCs could act as translators.

Felmont 10, AC 1017: Free as a Dove.

Location: Keep of Drax Tallen, Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: After three days of interrogation and torture, Dove finally gives away the truth about his identity and the way he came to Drax Tallen to his captors. The commander of the keep, General Grumman, immediately sends forth a messenger to Idris Tower to report to the high priestess on the situation, and Dove is returned to his cell.

Later in the night, however, great commotion is caused in the keep's parade ground by a stealth attack made by Sylarion's undead forces. While the soldiers are busy repelling the vampire elves, some other elves belonging to the army of Durifern and Beasthunter sneak into the dungeons using the hidden tunnels that run all the way below Drax Tallen's hill. They manage to free some of the prisoners before being discovered and retreating through those same tunnels the Shadow Army used to escape the elves' siege just the year before. Still unknown to them, one of the people rescued is an incredulous Christopher Dove. (See Fe. 3, Fe. 7; Fe. 13, Fe. 18.)

What This Means: This time it isn't just a question of luck for Dove. The attack had been planned for some weeks by Sylarion and Durifern, but just the night before the Grunalf clanmaster got a really vivid dream that told him of assaulting the keep the day after. Being a person that believes in omens, Durifern ordered the attack just as the dream instructed him, and it turned out to be more successful than he expected. In fact, the Korrigans (the nine eleven protectors of Wendar and the northern elves) sent the dream omen to Durifern, urging him to act before Dove was killed or moved to another location. The Korrigans have allied with Diamond and are using Dove to give the elves in Denagoth more information on their enemy, Idris, hoping they will be able to resist Her armies and overthrow Her evil kingdom.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are with the elves they have an assault to participate in-they can fight the Denagothians, or be sent as stealth scouts to free the captives, or assassinate key leaders, or prevent the defence from organising itself too fast by any way they can. For imprisoned PCs, this is a chance to escape.

Felmont 10, AC 1017: Karameikos Refuses Request.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: After some thinking, Stefan Karameikos reaches his decision quickly. He sends word to the Five Shires that the Karameikan navy will certainly assist any legitimate hin vessels against attacks on the high seas. At the same time, he recommends that the hin simply cease piratical attacks against Thyatian vessels; surely Thyatis will then also stop. When the hin learn of Stefan's reply, they react with anger and disappointment. (See Fl. 23, Fe. 1; Fy. 6, Fy. 8.)

What This Means: Stefan just got official recognition from Thyatis, and doesn't want to spoil good relations by helping hin pirates. The hin, for their part, will be will be disappointed in the king, especially after they helped him oust Ludwig von Hendriks.

Felmont 10, AC 1017: Selenican Tensions Ease.

Location: City of Selenica, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: A celebration is held in honour of the al-Azrad merchant house, for all of the good works they have accomplished on behalf of Selenica and the republic in the 150+ years since its founding by Ylari traders.

What This Means: With the reopening of Ylari borders, tensions between True Believers and non-Ylari in Selenica ease somewhat. DDC agents have been working overtime to help facilitate goodwill throughout the city. This holiday is held to demonstrate what the unity of Darokinian and Ylari peoples in Selenica has brought. For a time, at least, all ill will is forgotten.

Felmont 10, AC 1017: All's Calm....And Then the Storm!

Location: Central Finsterwald, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: The Heldannic invasion force, having recovered from their skirmish with Count Helmut Jaschke's men, happen upon a small settlement nestled within a clearing by a small river. After the scouts report no inhabitants, the remainder of the force moves into the village, finding that, interestingly enough, the original inhabitants appear to have left no more than a few hours previously-some of them even left food on the table. After restocking their supplies with goods taken from the handful of homes scattered throughout the clearing they prepare to resume their march... only to find the village surrounded by leather-clad men and elves, along with a handful of what appear to be Heldannic Knights!

At first thinking the newcomers are fellow knights and local allies, one of the force's commanders makes his way to meet them, only to be driven away by a near miss from a lightning bolt. Shocked, he demands angrily to know what is going on, and is answered coolly by one of the knights, who introduces himself as Count Helmut Jaschke. He calmly informs the Heldannic force that they are not welcome in the Finsterwald, and while he would like to avoid excessive violence, he would not be above killing every one of them if they so much as raise a weapon. He tells them as well that he has the knights surrounded, and that should he be injured or killed, no one will be spared. He then makes the invaders an offer: if they hand over their weapons, they will be escorted, unharmed, out of the Finsterwald. The commander seems to think on the matter, and with a quick hand signal orders his crossbowmen to open fire-surprising the other commanders!

The ensuing battle is quick, but decisive. Although heavily wounded by the volley, Helmut manages to slay the commander, while the bulk of the Heldannic force is cut down by several arrow volleys. Before the invaders can recover from the first counterattack, many are knocked out by sleep and cloudkill spells, and much of the remainder, seeing what has happened, flee through what breaks in the enemy ranks they can find, and seek shelter in the forest. (See Fe. 7, Fe. 8.)

What This Means: Helmut's forces tested the invading Heldannic soldiers' strengths during the previous skirmish, and he decided to bring the bulk of his force to bear and eliminate them as soon as possible. He was fortunate in that there was little communication at that time amongst the Heldannic commanders, otherwise they might have recovered from the shock of the counterattack. Nonetheless, this battle has been a victory for Helmut's warriors; less than 200 of the invaders fled into the forest, and few of those will return home.

What the PCs Can Do: If they were serving with the Heldannic force, try to survive!

Felmont 10, AC 1017: Ghost Ship near Maelstrom.

Location: Sundsvall Maelstrom, Nayce. AS

Description: A Naycese naval patrol near the Sundsvall Maelstrom report sighting of an unidentified ship with torn riggings and half-broken mast. The patrol tries to close and board, but the mysterious ship evades their approach every time. Any later attempts at locating the ghost ship fail. (See Ya. 12; Fy. 16, Sv. 23.)

Felmont 11, AC 1017: I Thought You Said They Couldn't Touch Us...

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The Mivosian camp is thrown into disarray as, during the night, several catapults are set on fire, their crews apparently killed in their sleep. As soldiers attempt to put out the fires, more chaos erupts towards the rear of the camp, as a number of supply tents are ransacked, with their guards killed before they can raise an alarm. The Mivosian commander, furious over suffering such an attack, orders 200 men into the surrounding countryside, with explicit instructions to search every possible hiding place for the attackers. (See Fe. 6, Fe. 8; Fe. 23, Fe. 26.)

What This Means: Wolfgang Stemmel's plan to sow chaos in the Mivosian plan appears to have worked. During the night, a group of 20 Heldannic soldiers (some of them thieves) climbed down a shadowed portion of the wall, sneaked into the enemy camp, and commenced their work. These people are now on the loose, and thanks to their acquisition of some Mivosian supplies, they will be able to continue their operations for some time.

What the PCs Can Do: Presumably, the PCs could be among the Heldannic raiders.

Felmont 11, AC 1017: Richard Croft Arms the People.

Location: Town of Blackheath, Bishopric of Kittings, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Richard Croft, prominent Belbionite parliamentary member, puts forward a motion in the parliament that his home town of Blackheath should be authorised to raise regiments for the parliament-and forwards money, augmented by his own personal wealth, to accomplish this. (See Fe. 3, Fe. 8; Fe. 19, Fy. 2.)

What This Means: The parliament's army continues to swell with new recruits. The king is having much more difficulty in western Bellayne to arouse the peasantry.

Felmont 11, AC 1017: Knife Fodder.

Location: Village of Oziloco, Azcan Empire. HW

Description: The village of Oziloco is ruthlessly attacked by a warband. Valuables that can be taken are stolen, especially grain, and the rest burned. The villagers, mostly farmers and hunters, are taken into captivity. (See Va. 8; Fy. 18, Am. 24.)

What This Means: The band are followers of Atzanteotl, who now acquire their sacrificial victims from raids, within or outside of the Azcan Empire. Events such as this one will happen frequently throughout the empire and beyond its borders.

What the PCs Can Do: Small parties like the PCs may be attacked by followers of Atzanteotl while travelling in or near the Azcan Empire. Their tactics are to subdue and capture the PCs, so that they can later be sacrificed, rather than killing them outright; if the PCs appear to be a match for them, they will not hesitate to hit to kill, though.

Felmont 11, AC 1017: Grim Discoveries.

Location: Nameless Tower, Eastern Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The Shadow Lord manages to locate the Nameless Tower after a few days of searching the northern area of Geffron. After breaching the lower levels of the tower and confronting a few minor guardians, Landryn must however stop before gaining access to the third and upper stories. He has recognised one of the warding glyphs posed at the entrance of the third level as being a distance alarm: he knows that if he bypasses it without dispelling it, it may warn the high priestess that somebody is entering these chambers. However, another nearby glyph works as anti-dispelling device, rendering all dispelling in the area useless. Scorned and angered at his inability to proceed further, he decides to exit the tower and teleports away. (See Fe. 3, Fe. 7; Fe. 13, Fe. 14.)

What This Means: After escaping Idris' dungeons, the Shadow Lord planned on storming the Nameless Tower to search for his phylactery there. In fact, based on Professor Dove's information, the Shadow Lord has determined that the high priestess must be in control of that tower, and that if the phylactery wasn't hidden in her private chambers in Idris Tower, then it must be hidden somewhere in a most secret and safer place: the Nameless Tower (whose existence he wasn't even aware of until Dove's tales!). The fact the place is so well protected is frustrating to him, so he has decided to postpone the recovery of his phylactery until he gets a good idea.

Felmont 11, AC 1017: The Measure of Diplomacy.

Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: DDC negotiators and Thyatian officials reach an agreement that they both hope will resolve the trade difficulties. Both sides agree to have their customs officials return to business as usual-no more inordinate delays and too-strict inspections of each other's commerce. Thyatis agrees to lower its currency exchange rate from 10% to 5%. They also agree to a two-year exception for trade conducted by House Linton from the excise fee that was passed in Thyatis earlier this year.

The Darokinian negotiators bring up the subject of trade in the Old World in general. Over the last decade, many trade avenues have been cut off as places grew more dangerous or closed to outsiders. Since the expansion and recovery of trade is important to both the Western Defence League nations and the Thyatian Empire, they propose that all the parties send representatives to Darokin City to discuss ways of encouraging the recovery of trade in the region. The Thyatians agree to send such representatives and participate in the talks. The league also formally recognises Minrothad as a part of the Thyatian Empire. Everyone agrees to cooperate on achieving open trade within the liberated areas of Sind, to help that area recover. (See Kl. 22, Fe. 4; Fy. 6.)

What This Means: This agreement puts an end to the growing trade war, though some frictions will still continue. The DDC wanted the Thyatians to eliminate the excise fee, but when they couldn't get that they pushed for a reduction in currency conversion rates, and the Thyatians agreed. Piracy, especially, will go on however, because officially neither side acknowledges that there is any piracy being conducted by their side. In fact, the governments couldn't do that much about the pirates if they had agreed to curb it, because their influence over the pirates is limited at best. The best they could hope would be to cooperate in fighting them, but neither side is prepared to go that far yet.

This deal will benefit House Linton, eventually restoring its position in the hierarchy of Darokin's Ruling Houses. But much of the growth of House Linton will end up coming at the expense of other non-Thyatian trade enterprises. This is due to the fact that the empire will continue to support the resurgence of its own merchants by a variety of means (including the loan program, insurance syndicates, and the like). The expansion of House Linton largely at the expense of fellow league-based traders will cause a bit of dissension within their ranks. This will not be too severe, however, because as a result of this agreement trade in general will begin to recover and grow. Thus, everyone stands to profit in the end.

Though all the nations agreed on open trade in Sind, each hopes to dominate that market in the areas that have been liberated from Hulean occupation. Right now, Darokin and the rest of the Western Defence League definitely have the advantage, though. And they plan to keep it.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters engaging in trade will find things a bit less difficult now.

Felmont 11, AC 1017: The Rise of the Dead.

Location: Town of Ciudad de Matacán, Baronía de Saragón. SC

Description: Terrified peasants flood into the capital of Saragón this evening, fleeing a horrible menace. Don Luis de Manzanas, acting as regent while Barón Balthazar is fighting in Gargoña, spies a man he knows in the crowd of refugees, and questions him about the horror that they are fleeing from. The man, Varez de Dragao, a former retainer of Don Claudio de Tolón, tells Manzanas that an army of undead appeared from the swampy Bosque de las Sombras (the creepy forest that lies on Saragón's western border) two days ago and has been ravaging the countryside ever since. What is worse, though, is that the undead are led by none other than Don Claudio himself-who now appears to be a lich. Every attempt made by local priests to turn the undead have failed and now the army of the dead bears down on Ciudad Matacán! Manzanas immediately orders his troops to man the walls of the city and to assist refugees in moving north to his personal dominion where he feels they will be safer. (See Ya. 27, Fe. 8; Fe. 20, Fe. 22.)

What This Means: The army of the dead is indeed led by Don Claudio. When he was alive, Don Claudio was Baronet of Montejo, a dominion in the south of Saragón. However, he disappeared at the beginning of last year with his hunting party on the edge of the bosque. The undead that now comprise his army are mainly soldiers from conflicts inside the bosque that have taken place over the centuries. They have been animated and are now controlled by a very powerful necromancer who is in the service of higher beings himself-perhaps Thanatos or even worse. Luis de Manzanas is in a bad position and he knows it. Most of Saragón's army is in Gargoña fighting Narvaez and he knows that Guadalante has few new forces to send. His only hope is to send heroes to try and find a way to repel or deflect the invading horde.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters can be the agents sent to deal with Don Claudio. Luis de Manzanas wants to get the characters to find a way to end the threat to Saragón. At the instigation of an agent of Hule, they're to try and re-direct the menace into the depths of western Brun. The rationale used for this is because in its present defenceless state, it is not believed that Saragón can defeat the invaders. The Hulean agent, however, has also influenced the baronials with a fear for expanding Zuyevo.

Felmont 13, AC 1017: Expedition to the East.

Location: Town of Julinius, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Ennius Necrekis, son of the wizard Apuleius, leaves the port of Julinius, heading eastward. The purpose of the mission is not revealed to anyone, but curious people watch him leave, and notice that he has with him some well-known archaeologists and adventuring scholars. (See Fe. 1; Am. 7, Ei. 12.)

What This Means: Simplicius Galea, a renowned archaeologist and adventurer, discovered last year a Thothian document in a library in Dunadale that suggests the existence of pro-Alphatian communities of Thyatians who left the mainland after the revolt of BC 2. Galea has contacted Ennius, who has organized an archaeological expedition to the Isle of Dawn. However, he has decided to keep it secret for various reasons (nationalists, the theft of the document from Dunadale, and desire to reveal everything when he is sure of the authenticity of the claims).

What the PCs Can Do: Player characters interested in ancient history could well be part of the expedition.

Felmont 13, AC 1017: Return of the Shadow Lord.

Location: Aeleris Pits, Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: During his nightly inspection of the grounds around the pits, Sylarion is surprised by the sudden appearance of his former master, the Shadow Lord. Resisting the temptation to flee to a safer location, Sylarion tries to hide his fear and confronts the necromancer's accusations without flinching. When questioned upon his deeds and his current loyalty, the vampire elf calmly explains that he doesn't serve the elves nor Idris, and that he has never served the Shadow Lord either. Surprised and intrigued by the elf's reply, Landryn agrees to locate a more private place to parlay and to discuss the future of Sylarion and his troops. (See Fe. 7, Fe. 11; Fe. 14, Fe. 16.)

What This Means: After escaping from Idris Tower with the Black Staff of the carnifex and his vain attempt to breach the defences of the Nameless Tower, the Shadow Lord stopped briefly in a secret hideout near Drax Tallen to lick his wounds and assess the current situation in Denagoth. Once news of the betrayal of Sylarion came to him, he decided to seek him out and confront him with his treachery, to understand what kind of game the vampire elf is playing now. Impressed by the boldness in the vampire's words, Landryn has agreed to hear Sylarion's explanations for his actions, hoping to find a powerful ally to use against the Church of Idris, to overthrow its yoke over Denagoth once and for all... to be replaced by his unchallenged mastery, obviously.

Felmont 14, AC 1017: Trade Depot Created.

Location: Southeastern coast of the Isle of Dawn, at the base of the Great Escarpment. SD

Description: Using a creative interpretation of the Treaty of Dawn, the Thyatians lay claim to the southeastern coast of the Isle of Dawn, at the base of the Great Escarpment. They send government and trade agents to establish a settlement in a convenient cove along the shore, which lays just north of the eastern tip of the island of Aeria. This becomes a stopover and supplying point for traders venturing into Naycese waters or beyond, to the Minaean Coast and Skothar. (See Sv. 4.)

What This Means: The Thothian and Alphatian negotiators and interpreters of the Treaty of Dawn were thinking of the southern Shadow Coast region on the southwestern coast when the provision ceding control of the southern coast of the Isle of Dawn at the base of the Great Escarpment to Thyatis. However, the treaty was vaguely drafted, and the Thyatians are using it to stake a claim to the southeastern coast as well. As usual the Alphatians will gnash their teeth about Thyatians breaking a treaty, but the Thyatians are merely following the letter of its terms to their own advantage, exploiting a loophole.

What the PCs Can Do: Though the southeastern coast of the Isle of Dawn at the base of the Great Escarpment is narrow (usually only a dozen or so miles wide, at most), its wonders and dangers are largely unexplored. Anything from ancient Nithian ruins to newly established corsair bases might be found here.

Felmont 14, AC 1017: War Plans Presented and Approved.

Location: City of Citadel, Kingdom of Bettellyn, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Queen Llynara meets with her military commanders to go over their proposed campaign to conquer Randel. The plan is simple and quite blunt but should prove effective. The Bettellyn forces will marshal at their own fortresses along the border. From there, they will attack the Randel fortresses and use them as forward staging areas. They will sweep into Randel, aiming to go all the way to the Randel River. This done, the Randel support structure should be in utter shambles, with their remaining forces holed up in the various towns and cities. Divided and lacking their logistical support lines, they should be fairly easy to overcome one at a time. Some of the generals propose that the forces be concentrated in a main thrust, with the garrisons at the Bettellyn fortresses used to tie down and neutralise the troops of the Randel fortresses across the border. They believe a force could take Dmireton and the fortress nearest to it quickly, allowing an army to thrust into Randel decisively. But the queen overrules them, and insists upon implementing her plan. (See Fe. 1, Fe. 8; Fy. 1, Am. 7.)

What This Means: It is a rather ambitious plan and most feel that a complete victory would be achievable if the invasion force was concentrated, but instead the forces are divided up in many small attacks, which has the effect of insuring that little is likely to be accomplished. Llynara strictly orders that the Bettellyn forces are not to get too carried away and overextend themselves beyond their logistical support. If that does happen, she will simply negotiate a truce with Junna and try to negate as much of the kingdom's war-making capability as she can. Besides, she can always reinstate conflicts when her kingdom has recovered; after all truces and treaties are only as good as the paper they are written on and last only as long as one of the participants needs it.

Felmont 14, AC 1017: Treaty? Treaty!

Location: Village of Noycestadt, County of Gask, Confederacy of Klagorst. WB

Description: The meeting among leaders of the two conflicting armies in the Klagorst region begun on Felmont 12 in the village of Noycestadt. This village was sacked and occupied by the varkhas when they descended from Gournzee to help Nhorg.

Here, they decided the terms of the peace, and in the end, two days later, they sign the Treaty of Noycestadt. (See Fe. 5, Fe. 8; Fe. 15, Fy. 4.)

What This Means: Here are the conditions of the treaty:

Vrancea rejoins the Confederacy of Klagorst, under the rule of a new duke. The new duke will be chosen by the representatives of the Confederated Kingdoms in Gask.

Nhorg will be allowed to leave Klagorst, but will be exiled permanently. If he ever is caught in Klagorst, he will be captured and executed.

Felmont 14, AC 1017: Sylarion Shows His Colours.

Location: Aeleris Pits, Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: After assessing the strength of Sylarion's troops, the Shadow Lord demands the vampire elf's immediate submission. This way, he will spare him and his followers of his wrath, and will lead them to victory against the hated Church of Idris. Sylarion refuses his order and instead affirms that he and his kin now serve only the Great Mother of Darkness, and that She has plans for the Shadow Lord as well. Sylarion explains to the astounded and irate vassalich that their Immortal, Nyx, wants to create a dominion where the humans will be the undead's cattle and where the eternal night will hold sway forever. Nyx is willing to let the Shadow Lord join Her numbers, but he must submit to Her will and take Sylarion's troops to that promised land. The Shadow Lord is left to ponder the offer in his quarters. (See Fe. 11, Fe. 13; Fe. 16, Fy. 12.)

What This Means: Four days after his arrival in the Aeleris Pits, the Shadow Lord has been shown the extent of Sylarion's corrupting influence over the elves and the impressive army of corporeal and incorporeal undead the vampire has been able to muster. The Shadow Lord is deeply convinced with those soldiers he would be able to recapture Drax Tallen from the Church of Idris, and that his claim to Denagoth's throne (to be made after he recovers his phylactery) would be backed by many of his old troops in the Shadow Army. However, Sylarion's refusal to lend him the troops completely wrecks his plans, causing his anger to rise. When he was about to disintegrate the elf, Sylarion made his counterproposal, as Nyx instructed him during their last mystical communion. Now the Shadow Lord must choose between helping another Immortal carve out Her own dominion (where he will probably be given a prominent place) or fight his way back to his former position of Overlord of Denagoth.

Third Week

Felmont 15, AC 1017: Betrothal.

Location: City of Tel Akbir, Duchy of Tel Akbir, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: On the Day of Valerias in Thyatis, Ettore Ottaviano and Jamila bint Nadir announce that they are engaged to marry. The marriage date is set for next spring, until then the two will court each other (properly chaperoned, to avoid possible scandal in Tel Akbir). (See Ya. 3, Ya. 6.)

What This Means: Ettore and Jamila fell in love with each other earlier this year, during the upheavals in Tel Akbir. This announcement will mollify traditionalists, including Ralak Ahman al-Mustafa (who is asked in advance to perform the marriage ceremony when the time comes), who think that Jamila should have a husband to perform the job of ruling the duchy. What they don't know is that Ettore and Jamila plan on sharing the responsibilities for governing their lands.

What the PCs Can Do: Some, possibly Ylari agents, might try to disrupt this by attempting to kidnap one or both of the two lovers, or otherwise find a way to obstruct the marriage plans. Characters could either be involved in these machinations, or be in the wrong place at the right time to thwart such efforts.

Felmont 15, AC 1017: Let Us Make It Official.

Location: City of Blueside, Kingdom of Lagrius, Continent Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: With the blessing of the Queen Siaron Lagrius, a group of local yachting enthusiasts announce the founding of an annual yachting regatta. They invite vessels from all over Nayce to travel to the kingdom for a series of races on the waters of Lake Lagrius. This regatta is set to take place on Ambyrmont 7. (See Am. 7.)

Felmont 15, AC 1017: Reptile Knights Never Surrender.

Location: Duchy of Vrancea, Klagorst Region. WB

Description: The 20 surviving Reptile Knights refuse to surrender and hide in the wilderness. (See Fe. 8, Fe. 14; Fy. 4, Fy. 7.)

What This Means: The Reptile Knights do not want to stop fighting, and will continue to create problems, attacking caravans, raiding as bandits, and performing terrorist acts in Vrancea and the surrounding region.

What the PCs Can Do: Good opportunities exist on both sides: raid with the Reptile Knights, or try to stop them.

Felmont 15, AC 1017: Midsummer Night's Ball.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: Princess Carnelia de Belcadiz decides to hold her summer season party this year on midsummer night, the day after the Feria de Toros, on what corresponds to the Day of Valerias in other Old World nations.

The ball is well attended, as are all of Princess Carnelia's parties, but the most intriguing of the guests are a mysterious raven-haired beauty calling herself Doña Rosario, clad in a seductive vestida adorned with roses and Belcadizian lace, and a handsome debonair stranger of Ethengar lineage, dressed all in gold, and identified only as Tabak. The two enchant all the guests with their great presence, especially when Doña Rosario and Tabak engage in a fiery and passionate dance. At the end of the dance, the two mysteriously disappear, in a flash of radiant golden light and a flurry of roses. (See Fy. 3, Am. 22.)

What This Means: Many believe that the two guests were actually the none-too-discreet mortal forms of the Immortals Ixion and Valerias. The reason for their presence in Glantri on Valerias' feast day is open to interpretations by the religious, the mystic, and the sceptic. Some say they have merely engaged in the mortal pleasures in Glantri, where they would not likely be recognised. Some say Valerias is attempting to popularise her worship among the godless Glantrian wizards. Some say it is an auspicious sign for Glantri, others an omen of doom to come. Then there are those who say the whole event was an elaborate hoax, set up by Princess Carnelia, or her sycophantic allies, or her rivals trying to discredit her.

Felmont 16, AC 1017: Unexpected Allies.

Location: Town of Ceafem, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Since it has become clear that Stonewall is about to invade, Arkan has been preparing as large a force as they can. They have also hired mercenaries, but some adventurers have come to fight voluntarily. One such adventurer is a strange ranger from Foresthome who calls himself only Wolf-Hunter. He offers his services and suggests that Arkan use hit-and-run tactics to strike against the Stonewall army, as they can never hope to match Stonewall's military strength, and this way they can hurt the morale of the invaders. The Arkan military commander, General Lotaran, agrees and lets Wolf-Hunter assemble his own team. Wolf-Hunter tells him that they can communicate through Wolf-Hunter's falcon, then chooses a group of adventurers, clearly based on stealth, and sets out to spy on the approaching invaders. (See Kl. 11, Fe. 8; Fe. 22, Fy. 3.)

What This Means: Wolf-Hunter has spent most of his life in Foresthome, but he was born and raised in Arkan, and he doesn't want to see his old homeland fall. Wolf-Hunter is a ranger, but he is not yet so experienced that he can cast spells, meaning that he is still a commoner in Alphatia. He is just below average height and quite agile, and he typically wears a large hood so that few will see his slightly pointed ears, which definitely hint at an at least partially elven heritage.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be among the adventurers Wolf-Hunter chooses for his group. They could also set up their own group, or even command troops in Arkan's army if they have the skills for it.

Felmont 16, AC 1017: What News from Lothar?

Location: City of Tarthis, Nithian Empire. HW

Description: Guards stationed in the city of Tarthis are surprised to see a small floating barge settle outside the city walls, from which three Nithian soldiers disembark, bearing a rolled-up sheet of papyrus. After being questioned by the city guards stationed at the gates, they are led inside to the offices of one of the pharaoh's many bureaucrats, and instructed to deliver their message.

There, they present the papyrus, which is a letter from Uart-neter Semsu to Pharaoh Ramose, discussing the successes and setbacks experienced in establishing a Nithian presence on the far end of the Sea of Yr. He also writes about the generally cooperative atmosphere which has developed-partly out of necessity-amongst the three groups living in Lothar, though he hints subtly to the pharaoh that a contingent of Nithian settlers would be most welcome.

Satisfied with the content of the report, the bureaucrat dismisses the soldiers, after informing them that the message will be relayed to the pharaoh "with all due haste and efficiency." (See Fl. 21, Ya. 4; Fy. 3, Am. 1.)

What This Means: The journey back to Nithia was an arduous one for the messengers. Though they had initially made good progress, attacks by sea monsters on the Sea of Yr, and hostile Jennites near the Bay of Laufea, damaged both their sailing vessel and the floating barge (which was hidden near the bay). Also, a surprise attack from a small party of Hiakrai Neathar (who were themselves on a hunt) left one of the Nithians dead, another severely wounded, and damaged the barge still further. The messengers then limped their way through Jennite territory, giving settlements a wide berth, losing their way a number of times. It was only once they had entered Nithia proper, that they began to feel safe.

Unbeknownst to the messengers-and the pharaoh for that matter-the Heldannic Knights have betrayed Uart-neter Semsu, and now Lothar has no means of communication with Nithia at all, with its other seaworthy ship now in the possession of the zealous devotees of Vanya.

Felmont 16, AC 1017: Verdan Is No More.

Location: Former City of Faraway, former Province of Verdan, Esterhold Peninsula. SK

Description: After some heated debate, the allied Jennites decide on what they'll do with the conquered territory and the city of Faraway. The former Verdan will now be a part of the Lands of Jen. The free Jennites and many of the rebels want to burn the Alphatian city of Faraway to the ground, but most of the rebel Jennites object and argue that they should take control of the city themselves. The free Jennites respond by stating that Jennites aren't city-dwellers and that this is not the Jennite way, but Talin is eventually able to convince the other leaders that the city could turn out to be a good thing for them, so they decide to allow all rebel Jennites who desire it to take control of the city and settle it themselves. They then rename the city Draeh in honour of the rebel Jennite governor who declared Verdan's independence but was killed during an attack on the Alphatians last year. (See Kl. 2, Kl. 15; Fe. 20, Fe. 25.)

What This Means: This is the first clear sign that the united Jennites have a problem-most of the rebel Jennites are far too used to the more civilised way of life of the Alphatians to return to the much simpler, nomadic customs of the free Jennites; centuries of servitude to the Alphatians have changed them a great deal and after they lived alongside their brethren for several months some of them are now forced to acknowledge that fact. These rebel Jennites are very few at first, but as time passes the number steadily grows, and as it does, some of the rebels will begin to see their free brethren as little more than primitive barbarians indeed-centuries of Alphatian influence finally showing despite their efforts to deny it.

What the PCs Can Do: There is little for the PCs to do here, except to become painfully aware of the vast differences between the free Jennites and the rebel Jennites. The DM could stage a number of events to bring this to their attention, such as rebels who stop free Jennites from burning clothes or books, hurting themselves with the more evolved tools of the Alphatians, or destroying useful means of transportation such as boats or carts.

Felmont 16, AC 1017: The Mark of Nyx.

Location: Aeleris Pits, Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: After thinking about Sylarion's proposal, the Shadow Lord decides to join Nyx's side in Her quest to create a kingdom of undead and to become Her general. In a special ceremony conducted by Sylarion, Landryn is branded with the Mark of Nyx, which only the undead can see. Then the vampire lord explains the necromancer that they will start their march eastwards as soon as possible, to reach the small dominion of Two Lakes Vale in lower Norwold. There they will take the situation in their own hands, but not before dislodging the agents of Idris from the area. The Shadow Lord grins at the thought of bringing more harm to Idris' side, and immediately starts to give orders for the exodus. (See Fe. 13, Fe. 14; Fy. 12, Fy. 15.)

What This Means: The Shadow Lord reasoned that it was too risky to openly challenge the Church of Idris, especially since the high priestess still has his phylactery in her hands. For this reason he has chosen to ally with Nyx, moving his area of interest for some time. However, he will not renounce his desire to return to Denagoth and make the High Priestess of Idris pay for his humiliation, and plans on using both Sylarion and Nyx to further his goals.

Felmont 18, AC 1017: New Charges Filled.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The city of Glantri is a-buzz with anticipation of the entitlement of the new positions created by the council. A large crowd is gathered in Alexander Platz, awaiting the arrival of all the nobles at the parliament.

Chancellor Urmahid Krinagar and Prince Ralindi Virayana are the first to arrive, clearly involved in a heated discussion; it seems Urmahid is very dissatisfied with the business of the day. Prince Angus McGregor and Prince Kol, who are next to arrive, nearly bump into one another, so deeply involved in their own thoughts as they are.

Grand Master Harald Haaskinz, Princess Carlotina Erewan, and Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany walk together in a procession from the Great School of Magic. All three seem also to be in a conspicuously good mood. Not so with Supreme Judge Dolores Hillsbury, who seems offended by a remark from the arriving Prince Malachie du Marais. Princesses Isidore d'Ambreville, Carnelia de Belcadiz, and Juliana Vlaardoen arrive at nearly the same time.

The last one to arrive is Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels, adorned in full military regalia, and astride his pegasus. This, to most onlookers, is his crowning moment, for it is self-evident that he will soon be awarded the title of warden of the marches in official manner. After treating with the crowd for a while, he too enters the parliament building.

The spectacle outside cannot prepare anyone for the actual events of the council meeting. Before the official designation of the titles can be begun, Prinz Jaggar requests permission to address the council. In his speech, he withdraws himself from consideration of the position of warden of the marches, and instead lends his vocal support to Malachie du Marais. After a moment of stunned silence, Chancellor Urmahid asks if there are any other prospective candidates. There is only one, Princess Carnelia de Belcadiz y Fedorias. A vote between the two results in a narrow victory for Malachie.

The council breaks for a short recess. (See Kl. 20; Fe. 18, Am. 3.)

What This Means: There is still much discord among many of the princes over the new charges. Urmahid Krinagar, in particular, sees the new charges as watering down the political influence of the existing charges. Decisions have been made, however, and the princes will have to learn to live with them. In the meantime, the Jaggar-Malachie-Morphail alliance has gained somewhat in power and influence, and the other princes and princesses will have to forge new alliances and power blocs to counter their opponents-particularly Dolores and her allies.

Felmont 18, AC 1017: Pirates!

Location: Southern Sea of Dread. DV

Description: While en route to Kastelios, Adonai Stephanos' small fleet encounters two much larger vessels, heading west. Although he initially pays them no heed, Adonai's mood turns to alarm once he notices that the ships are manned with rough-looking, armed men, and the ships' masts are flying unrecognisable flags. He has enough time to order his men to arm themselves as best they can.

It is not long before the two strange vessels close in on the Kastelian ships, and fire a number of ballista bolts at them. One ship, the Marissa, is hit hard, and begins listing to port. Soon, one of the pirate vessels manages to grapple the ship occupied by Adonai, the Helena. Within moments, a small group of pirates crosses onto the Kastelian vessel, and a ferocious melee ensues. Although the Kastelians are less proficient in combat, the presence of a number of hired adventurers tips the balance of power more evenly. Soon, it becomes apparent that the Helena will not be an easy prize, and so the other pirate vessel redoubles its efforts on the damaged Marissa, from which pillars of smoke are soon evident as the pirates board the vessel and engage its crew in battle.

The battle continues longer still, until a victorious roar emerges from the now-sinking Marissa, as the pirates, laden with what treasure they can carry, return to their own ship. The pirates doing battle on the Helena, witnessing the success of their companions, stage a fighting withdrawal, and disengage their ship before any pursuit can be organized. Adonai orders his men to focus on rescuing the survivors of the Marissa, who are treading water amidst the floating debris. Once the total damage has been assessed, the Kastelians resume their journey home. (See Fe. 3, Fe. 7; Fy. 1, Fy. 9.)

What This Means: The pirates, sea reavers in the service of Hule, are among the remnants of the force sent against the Western Defence League a number of years ago. Since that time, they had received orders to pillage vulnerable ships and ports in order to sustain themselves, and sow chaos amongst those nations who would oppose Hule's interests. This encounter is simply a function of the Kastelians being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Kastelian expedition itself was hit quite hard: the pillaging and sinking of the Marissa cost much in the way of essential supplies, as well as the lives of 20 men. The Helena has also suffered some damage, which, though not crippling, will make a swift return to Kastelios all the more important.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs sailing with Adonai can help repulse the pirate raid.

Felmont 18, AC 1017: Vanya's Grip Not So Tight After All.

Location: Region surrounding Dominion of Vanya's Rest, Aryptian Savannah, Heldannic Empire. DV

Description: After almost four months of relative peace, the construction sites around the fringes of Heldannic territory are raided sporadically by lightly-armed Meghaddaran warriors, and vicious cat-men. Some raids are so successful that the surviving soldiers are driven away momentarily, caught totally unprepared by the attacks, and once they return they find in most cases that the Meghaddaran prisoners have been freed. Castellan Heinz Kronenburg is mystified by the sudden appearance of these humanoids, and thinks that they may be the divergans that the soldiers of the Heldannic Order encountered last year. Fearing an attack from the southwest (which is known to the knights to be divergan territory), he orders construction efforts to be redoubled there, and patrols bolstered, as he suspects the raids, concentrated primarily along the northern regions, are just a feint. (See Kl. 20, Kl. 24; Fy. 3, Fy. 16.)

What This Means: As the Shining Claw Clan continues to move into its new territory, more of its warriors are becoming available, and are now actively cooperating with the Meghaddaran raiding parties. Although their aim is to hinder the ongoing construction efforts, they are taking every chance they can to free those Meghaddaran prisoners who are still labouring to build the defences.

Complicating matters for the Heldannic Knights is the fact that Kronenburg will soon become convinced that the divergans are actively aiding the Meghaddara in their bid to push the knights out of the region. Accounts of the encounters with the divergans last year [see AC 1015 almanac. Ed.] are now widely known in Vanya's Rest, but because precise details concerning the physical description of the strange demihumans are lacking, the information Kronenburg receives regarding the rakasta will make them resemble the divergans, since both races are clawed, and seemingly feline in certain ways (though the rakasta are more obviously so). This conviction on Kronenburg's part will hinder many attempts on the part of his executive staff to conduct effective investigative work and strategic planning.

What the PCs Can Do: Meghaddaran or rakasta PCs could take part in the raids.

Felmont 18, AC 1017: The Children Return.

Location: Camp of Chagon-Nah, Ethengar Khanates. OW

Description: Bakai and her siblings return to the camp of the great khan, under escort of Temur Khan of the Yugatais. The health of Bakai has not improved. Manghai Khan commands his most experienced clerics to care for her. In a public speech he praises his siblings for this enormous feat. There is also a small ceremony for the fallen, including Manghai's youngest brother, Hurkati. (See Kl. 27, Fe. 3; Fy. 10, Fy. 12.)

What This Means: Temur Khan became aware of the expedition shortly after they entered his territory, and sent his men to watch them. They did not find the expedition in time to help combat the evil spirits, but they did bring them back to Temur's camp afterwards. Temur Khan has been escorting them across the Sea of Grass since.

Unfortunately, the attack by the evil spirits set back the expedition by several days, and by the time they arrived at Xantha, Manghai Khan's court had already moved here, to Chagon-Nah. In the meantime, Bakai has been steadily growing sicker, a victim of some mysterious spirit-born disease. Manghai (alias Jaku the Render) has no real interest in helping her get better, but under the guise of her brother, he cannot refuse her the services of his priests.

Felmont 18, AC 1017: What the Elves Need Now Is Dove, Wise Dove.

Location: Enoreth Shrine, Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: After being freed by the elven crusaders, Dove discovers there are still many of them fighting against the Shadow Army in Geffron. He immediately announces to his saviours he has important news to tell the elven generals, and travels escorted to their secret hideout, now located at Enoreth Shrine, a holy site where the power of Idris and Her minions is weak. There Dove meets Durifern Widefarer of Clan Grunalf and Beasthunter of Clan Long Runner, and tells them his story, as well as all the information he has gathered about Bensarian's true identity, and the Nameless Tower's hidden secrets. Beasthunter immediately pushes for sending news of Bensarian's treachery to Wendar, hoping to clean his name in front of his kin and warn his wife, who stayed behind after his forced exile. On the other hand, Dove is also concerned with the fact that he revealed to the Shadow Lord the existence of the Nameless Tower, and he fears the lich could now take possession of it to use it for his schemes. Durifern concludes that if the Shadow Lord and Idris clash, this is just fine for him, because it helps the elves' ultimate goal of eradicating both threats from Denagoth. So he backs up Beasthunter's proposal to send word of Bensarian's condition to Coolhands (who migrated to Glantri in Sviftmont of AC 1016 to avoid the Wendarian prison camps for Alfheimers) and to the Genalleth elves in Wendar, hoping they will find the evidences to unmask him before it is too late. (See Fe. 7, Fe. 10; Am. 16, Ei. 25.)

What This Means: Beasthunter finally rejoices when he discovers how he has been tricked by the Church of Idris. Now he has the proof needed to clear his name before the Alfheim Clanmasters' eyes, but he knows he will need to show his bravery once more before being forgiven for his naïveté. Durifern on his part is happy to hear the Shadow Lord has reasons to fight against the Church of Idris, and he is more than willing to let them clash and reduce their strengths. He has no intention of allying with either party, and his new tactic will be to wait until the two enemies exhaust each other before striking back.

Felmont 18, AC 1017: Council Reconvenes.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: The Council of Princes reconvenes to finish the selection of their new charges. Prince Ralindi Virayana is elected as royal merchant-mage, and Prince Angus McGregor is selected as the new viceroy. Warden of the Marches du Marais proposes the route between Ylourgne and Sablestone to be the location of the new fort.

Finally, the council chooses around Taterhill as the location of the proposed new duchy. Business concluded, the council disbands this session.

That night, at his favourite club in the city, Lord John Beaumarys-Moorkroft, Archduke of Westheath, was said to have lost consciousness, after hearing the news about the Duchy of Taterhill. (See Kl. 20, Fe. 18; Am. 3, Sv. 12.)

What This Means: There will be a lot more politicking going on in Glantri now among the lesser nobles as they compete for the title of duke and other positions that may open as a result. Things are far from settling down in the volatile nation.

Lord John Beaumarys-Moorkroft, who was rebuffed at his proposal of the Taterhill races, had recently sold his devalued Taterhill land at very low market prices. Now with Taterhill becoming a new dominion, the land prices are sure to rise again. With his advancing age and his failing health, this realisation took its toll on the poor archduke.

Felmont 19, AC 1017: Committee Thrown Out of Glenswych.

Location: Town of Glenswych, Bishopric of Kittings, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: The Commons, feeling that affairs in Kittings are getting out of hand, sends a committee to Glenswych to directly let the authority of the parliament be felt. Upon their arrival, the committee immediately attempt to assert themselves, but are met with such hostility by both citizenry and town guard that they break up in the confusion, and return to Leominster. (See Fe. 8, Fe. 11; Fy. 2, Fy. 18.)

What This Means: Glenswych remains an area where the parliament only tenuously maintains control. While the Bishop of Kittings and his Belbionite followers are parliamentarians, Glenswych has more than its fair share of outspoken royalists as well.

Felmont 19, AC 1017: Sjofjord Retaken.

Location: Village of Sjofjord, Dominion of Helskir, Heldannic Empire, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Northward-marching Thyatian forces are joined by advance parties of the 1st division of the army of Heldun in their drive to eliminate occupying Heldannic forces from southern Heldun, just a few miles from the village of Sjofjord. Heldannic scouts, seeing the massed force, notify elements of the 2nd regiment of Vanya's Loyal Heldannic Expeditionary Force, who then prepare for a pitched battle. As the Thyatian-Heldunian force proceeds to encircle the town, two groups of 30 medium cavalry storm out of the barricaded village, and streak through their enemies, lancing and slashing as they go. While the allies are in a state of initial disarray, four squads of light infantry, each numbering 20 men, also join the fray, trying to drive back the opposing force.

Although caught initially off-guard, the Thyatian-Heldunian force rallies, and manages to inflict heavy losses upon the cavalry as it returns for a second sweep. At the same time, crossbowmen near the rear of the force rake the Heldannic light infantry, while combat mages pelt them with magic missiles and sleep spells. Suffering heavy losses, the cavalry breaks ranks and flees north, while the defending infantrymen close ranks and stage a fighting withdrawal back to the village barricade. Before they are able to do so, however, an alarm is sounded from within Sjofjord. Positions along the barricade have been overwhelmed, and some villagers took the opportunity to aid the liberating force. With their enemies streaming into the village from several locations, the Heldannic force stationed there is pressed from too many sides to hold them off for long. (See Fe. 7, Fe. 7; Fe. 23, Fy. 2.)

What This Means: Sjofjord was deemed important by Anna von Hendriks due to the fact that it is one of the larger settlements that lies on the route between Westrourke and Helskir, and it controls access to a bridge which spans a narrow, but deep, fjord which runs southwestwards into the Western Sea of Dawn. As such, about half of the 2nd regiment of Vanya's Loyal Heldannic Expeditionary Force was stationed here. The Thyatian-Heldunian victory was partly due to numbers, but also because their soldiers were better-supplied and had higher morale. In the wake of this defeat, Anna will recall all other troops occupying other villages in the region-the better to consolidate her hold on Helskir.

What the PCs Can Do: Heldannic PCs could be part of the cavalry that managed to flee the battle, or if they remained, they might be able to make the invaders pay more dearly for their gain, but it is unlikely that the loss of the village can be avoided. If the PCs are with the Thyatians or Heldunians, they might have the chance to interrogate prisoners in order to learn more about Heldannic positions in the area.

Felmont 20, AC 1017: News Reaches Favian Vern and Nayce.

Location: City of Ionace, Ionace Island, Nayce. AS

Description: News of the fall of Verdan and its capital Faraway-now the free Jennite city of Draeh-and the Jennites' declaration of independence reach Favian Vern, who is still in the Naycese capital lobbying for support to restore order, as well as the members of the Nayce Council. An immediate meeting is called in which Vern repeats his request for assistance from Nayce, stating that this is now more important than ever since the lives of many Alphatians are at risk. However, he finds that many members are unwilling to listen to his requests and he is shocked, as are some other members of the council. The sceptics say that this really just suggests that his democracy in Esterhold has failed, and that he wasn't even aware of the problems himself. The sceptics then move for a vote to remove him as President of the Esterhold Republic. A vote is taken which narrowly supports Favian Vern's position as president, but it was a close vote, and it is obvious that Favian has been politically hurt. (See Kl. 15, Fe. 16; Fe. 25, Fy. 12.)

What This Means: Favian is both furious and sad about this. While he feels betrayed by the sceptics, he cannot fully deny their claims of inability to see the trouble, and he has received no promise of support to aid his republic. The Nayce Council will act, though, but only by sending ships to evacuate Alphatians from Esterhold-they will not decide on sending military support and so none will come; as the Jennites advance, the number of sceptics on the council will only grow, although they won't remove Favian Vern from his position.

What the PCs Can Do: While the PCs will not be able to change the council's mind, they may decide to offer Favian Vern their assistance themselves. If they are influential and experienced adventurers, Vern will be grateful to them and grant them authority to assemble forces in his name to stop the advance of the allied Jennites. In fact, Vern will extend such authority to most adventurers willing to fight for his cause, provided he considers them trustworthy!

Felmont 20, AC 1017: Narvaez Quits Field.

Location: Baronía de Gargoña. SC

Description: Narvaez realises that for the moment its plans of conquest in the Savage Baronies have been put on hold. With the defeat of the Los Matónes and the untimely intervention of Torreóner mercenaries, Barón Hugo orders his troops to secure that part of Gargoña north of the Rio Copos and he proposes to meet with Barón Balthazar. This he does later that day, and a peace treaty is quickly concluded by both sides. Barón Balthazar wishes to move his troops back to fight the undead in Saragón as quickly as possible and Barón Hugo realises that if he retains even a part of Gargoña he is lucky, especially with the machinations of the black bandit. Barón Balthazar puts southern Gargoña under a hasty interim administration until it can be returned to the Gargoñans and leaves with the major part of his force (along with the surviving Guadalantans) to rush back to Ciudad Matacán. (See Fe. 8, Fe. 11; Fe. 22, Fy. 1.)

What This Means: This is the most acceptable compromise for both sides. Neither is capable of pressing an advantage this year and neither is capable of sustaining further large-scale conflict. The Gargoñans are left stateless in the meantime until Balthazar can organise southern Gargoña under the leadership of native Gargoñans.

Felmont 20, AC 1017: The Robots of Yesterday.

Location: Southwestern Sea of Dawn. SD

Description: The crew of a Minrothaddan merchant vessel sailing south to Ochalea spot what appear to be four heavily-armoured figures flying above them, with fiery jets of flame shooting out of their backs. The figures spot the ship as well, and dive towards it. The crewmen decide they are about to be attacked, and ready the ship's weapons. Before the figures get within range of the vessel's armaments, they aim the odd staves they are carrying, and fire them at the ship. Explosions wrack the vessel, and crewmen are slashed in half by the beams. With the ship afire and sinking, the four figures swoop back up into the air, and fly on eastwards, towards the Isle of Dawn. (See Fe. 7; Fy. 7, Fy. 11.)

What This Means: The figures were the four Blackmoor-era robots released by hapless Thyatian adventurers in the Thanegioth Archipelago a few weeks ago. When they spotted the primitive vessel, they decided it would have to go.

A handful of the crewmen survive the encounter and use one of the ship's lifeboats to reach Rialtos, the closest port. At first the Thyatians think the attack was conducted by rogue Alphatians using magical weapons, but they soon learn this is not the case.

What the PCs Can Do: If by chance the characters are sailing through the region at the time the robots are flying over it, they may face a similar encounter. It will be hard to do anything but try and survive-the robots open fire at exceptionally long range, out of range of all Mystaran weapons and virtually all spells, and they fly unusually fast (60"), and so are unlikely to be caught by anyone.

Felmont 20, AC 1017: Elven Intrigues.

Location: Tower of Ellerovyn, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: Doña Esmeralda Erewan, daughter-in-law and adviser to Princess Carlotina Erewan (and a spy for Princess Carnelia de Belcadiz), learns of increased mobilisation of humanoid troops from the Great Crater Principality of New Kolland, and of disturbing activities brewing among the shadow elves in Aengmor. From her own shadowelf spies, Doña Esmeralda has linked these two events together, and traced both of them to one instigator: Princess Dolores Hillsbury of Fenswick. She informs Princess Carlotina of the troubling news-as well as arranges for Princess Carnelia to learn of this as well. (See Ya. 16, Kl. 2; Fe. 18, Fy. 7.)

What This Means: Synn (a.k.a. Princess Dolores Hillsbury) has not been able to keep her affairs secret, partly because of the suspicious nature of the Glantrians, and partly because of the untrustworthiness of her shadowelf minions themselves.

Princess Carlotina Erewan, an ally of the shadow elves and an enemy of Princess Dolores, knows she does not have the political power to confront her enemy directly, and lets this information pass on to Dolores' archenemy, Prince Malachie du Marais, who is now warden of the marches. Princess Carnelia does not get involved in this intrigue just yet.

What the PCs Can Do: This is a behind-the-scenes story of the D&D: Shadow Over Mystara plotline. PCs involved in Glantrian politics may be involved in passing-or hindering-information to any of the conspirators involved in this intrigue.

Felmont 21, AC 1017: Covert Smuggling in Skothar.

Location: Mouth of the river south of Esterhold, Steppes of Jen. SK

Description: After a brief stopover to trade in the town of Tresa, the Thyatian expedition to Skothar continued north. They make contact with some tribes of Jennites known to be opposed to the Alphatians in Esterhold. A profitable sale of Thyatian weapons is arranged before the exploratory squadron sails on, skirting the coast of Esterhold. (See Ya. 5, Kl. 27; Fy. 15, Sv. 10.)

What This Means: The Thyatians are aware of the growing disaffection against Alphatian rule in Esterhold. A couple of Eusebius' agents have made contact with the region to gather information, and the Minaeans provided some insight into which tribes to contact. The Thyatians aren't really picking a side in the conflict at the moment, though-they are just, in typical opportunistic Thyatian manner, using the conflict as a way to make a profit, selling arms to the Jennite side. The fact that the Alphatians are suspected of supplying the Twaelar did nothing to discourage the empire from returning the favour, of course. Arms sold will soon find their way into the hands of Jennite rebels who are dearly in need of them. As the expedition continues along the coastline of Esterhold, they will make similar transactions in secluded areas when they think they can get away with it without being spotted by the Alphatians. A couple Thyatian agents are also left behind with the Jennites as "military observers," and will also provide them with advice in the best tactics for use in fighting the Alphatians.

As for the Jennites, they don't really like the Thyatians any more than the Alphatians, except that the Thyatians have never actually done anything to hurt them. But they view the Thyatian Empire as just another empire, no different really than the Alphatian Empire, and given their experiences with the latter they have no love or trust for any empire. But they need weapons to arm themselves against the Alphatians, and are willing to buy them from anyone who provides them.

What the PCs Can Do: Characters might try to convince the Jennites that the Thyatians are different, and gain longer-term, more friendly contacts. Particularly idealistic characters might decide to adopt the Jennite cause as their own and stay to help them in their struggle for freedom, identifying perhaps with the similar one the Thyatians themselves undertook over a millennium ago.

Fourth Week

Felmont 22, AC 1017: Sylvan Interlude.

Location: Spring of the Rainbow River, Kingdom of Frisland, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Stonewall's army arrives at the spring of the Rainbow River. They immediately begin knocking down trees to build their river boats. A few ships, hired by Rogart and Amagast, have already arrived from Shiell to resupply them, and the army sets up a lumber camp, which they soon nickname Rainbow Spring. (See Fe. 8, Fe. 16; Fy. 3, Fy. 13.)

What This Means: Since the army needs about a hundred river boats, they are here for some time. Still, the spellcasters with the army can help speed up the process of making the river boats with their magic, and the army has hired such folk for that purpose in addition to their own spellcasters and a few wizards from Randel, who were sent here to aid them and support the loose alliance between Stonewall and Randel.

What the PCs Can Do: Such a large camp, using so many trees, will not endear the Stonewall forces to any elves, druids, or rangers in the area, and while these would not likely openly attack the army, they might still try to harass their presence here, trying to force them to leave. The army will doubtlessly need heroes to protect it from wandering monsters from the nearby border with Blackheart, too. On the other hand, the PCs could also be saboteurs sent here by Arkan to impede Stonewall's attempts to build boats, especially if there are fire-using spellcasters among them, though other tactics may naturally also work, depending on their ingenuity.

Felmont 22, AC 1017: Undead Redirected.

Location: Town of Ciudad Matacán, Baronía de Saragón. SC

Description: The heroes sent by Luis de Manzanas return to Ciudad Matacán, having succeeded in recovering the Barrier Mask of Saragón. The undead had failed to make much headway into Saragón as a result of the restoration of the mask into Saragón's control, thus thwarting Don Claudio. Claudio is now approached by the same agent of Hule who advised Luis de Manzanas in the first place (and whom actually had the mask hidden himself, thus making its recovery easier).

He fills Don Claudio's head with dreams of conquest in the heart of Brun, the control of a great empire, and says that he can help the don gain allies among the humanoids of the Yazak Steppes. (See Fe. 11, Fe. 20; Fy. 1, Am. 1.)

What This Means: The Master of Hule sees the baronies as important in maintaining the balance of power in the region, and sees the undead army as a cheap way to strike back at expansionistic Zuyevo. Don Claudio, for his part, defies the orders of his master the necromancer (through intervention by Bozdogan to break the necromancer's influence) and decides to seek personal power and glory. The necromancer is furious but this time powerless to alter this situation.

Felmont 22, AC 1017: In Absentia No More.

Location: Ten miles east of Bluenose Ruins, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: A Naycese submersible carrying a group of Destroyers spots a group of ghouls assembled near a ruined country estate. Casting the required spells, drinking the needed potions, and activating the required enchantments, the heroes depart from the relative safety of their submersible to engage these undead. The battle is brief and conclusive. Riding high on adrenaline, the Destroyers decide to explore the estate ruins and hopefully uncover a few profitable trinkets.

After waiting nearly six hours, the submersible captain spots undead coming out from the estate buildings and orders the vessel to a higher depth, out of any hostile range. After loitering in the area for another hour, the anxious crew departs under the impression that the Destroyers are dead. (See Fe. 3, Fe. 8; Fe. 27, Fy. 26.)

What This Means: These Destroyers have stumbled upon an undead outpost. Their overcoming the sentries was fairly straightforward-it was only once they had entered the interiors that they discovered the full extent of the undead presence there. Inside and facing undead much more powerful than mere ghouls, the Destroyers are systematically cut down. The submersible crew did the right thing by leaving as the undead were preparing to assault the vessel. However it will take time and divination spells to determine that the captain acted in sound judgment.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs may find themselves involved in this as part of the Destroyer band. If they are, the DM should offer them a way to escape certain death. PCs not directly involved may find themselves drawn in as friends or comrades could have been involved in the party. The opportunity is ripe for a rescue mission of the DM's design.

Felmont 23, AC 1017: Another Raid.

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: While drilling his troops during a slow day of the siege, a Mivosian captain notices a commotion coming from the improvised stables, which house the mounts for the small, but effective, Mivosian cavalry. Before he can send some men to investigate, he and his troops are almost trampled by a small herd of spooked horses-someone has freed the mounts, and driven them into the camp! Losing no time, he orders his men to catch the horses and bring them back under control, while he sends word to the commander what has happened. (See Fe. 8, Fe. 11; Fe. 26, Fy. 2.)

What This Means: The Heldannic raiders have struck again, while eluding capture.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are on the Heldannic side, the PCs could have been involved in this act.

Felmont 23, AC 1017: Non Sequitur.

Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha. NW

Description: Overlord h'Caramore reports to King Ericall the outcome of his expedition to Nordenhafen and the news about the Ostlanders' intervention on Bardeen's side. Pressing for a military solution to punish the treacherous baron, lord h'Caramore's ire is however cooled down by Madiera, Ericall's court mage and chief adviser, who advises her king to wait for the Ostlanders' move. Ericall then issues a formal request to the lords of Norwold, asking them to delay any offensive attempt against the Barony of Nordenhafen until the coming of spring. (See Kl. 10, Fe. 9.)

What This Means: Madiera, being cautious by nature, doesn't want to risk an international incident, even with as far and minor a kingdom as Ostland. She waits for Ostland's moves, to judge if Bardeen's new alliance is real or if it is just a fake the old pirate came up with to delay his downfall. For this reason she has given Ostland time to muster its forces and send them to the Great Bay, asking Ericall to issue the formal request of leaving Nordenhafen in peace till next spring. If by that time the King of Ostland has not sent troops, then it will be clear Bardeen is on his own and can be defeated easily.

Felmont 23, AC 1017: Orders Passed On to Vezhrya.

Location: City of Leominster, Bishopric of Leominster, Kingdom of Bellayne. SC

Description: Wizard-King Yahav IV contacts his agent Vezhrya, a.k.a. Philip Southwell, in the Bellaynish Parliament. The escalation of conflict in Bellayne has been at the forefront of his mind in recent months-and he has decided that the conflict can be used to further Herathian interests.

He urges Vezhrya to draw the war out as long as possible, to weaken Bellayne so that they can pose no threat to Herathian security in the near future. In the final days of Queen Catherine's reign, Bellayne was becoming almost aggressive in some areas-that must stop. (See Nu. 5, Va. 23.)

What This Means: Yahav wants Bellayne to bleed itself white in a civil war of attrition. Vezhrya himself is inclined to agree-but he sees his own opportunities. A lover of intrigue, he finds the machinations of the Bellaynish Parliament fascinating-and sees himself perhaps as a major player in the future. If so, he would not like to be a major player in an anaemic nation...

For now, however, he will obey his master's wishes.

What the PCs Can Do: Right now there are no obvious clues tying Vezhrya/Southwell to Herath, but over time the PCs could discover clues to the plot and become enmeshed in the intrigues of the araneas.

Felmont 23, AC 1017: Skirmishes East of Helskir.

Location: Tosti's Vale, East of City of Helskir, Dominion of Helskir, Heldannic Empire, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: The 2nd division of the army of Heldun, advancing westwards to Helskir, encounters the 3rd regiment of Vanya's Loyal Heldannic Expeditionary Force. The two forces ferociously engage each other in combat, but despite the better training of the Heldannic soldiers, the numerical superiority of the Heldunian force (who outnumber their enemies by a factor of two-to-one), as well as the presence of combat mages and crossbowmen, is decisive in securing a victory for Heldunian forces.

The defeated Heldannic force, wishing to avoid total destruction, withdraws further west. (See Fe. 7, Fe. 19; Fy. 2, Fy. 9.)

What This Means: With access to plentiful supplies and a larger population base, Heldun's army is bound to be in better shape, militarily, than the Heldannic force, despite its high level of training and other defensive advantages. This defeat is another symptom of the increasing insecurity of the Heldannic position in Heldun.

Felmont 25, AC 1017: United Jennites Advance.

Location: Countryside of Province of Anchorage, Republic of Esterhold, Nayce. SK

Description: The free Jennites and those rebel Jennites who did not decide to remain in Draeh, the former Faraway, advance beyond the borders of former Verdan and continue their campaign. They clash with many Alphatians and other obstacles along the way. It is fairly obvious what their next target is-the Alphatian port town of Anchorage!(See Fe. 16, Fe. 20; Fy. 12, Fy. 26.)

What This Means: The united Jennites fear that unless they drive all the Alphatians off the Esterhold Peninsula now, they will eventually regain their strength and try to regain the lost territory or, worse, Nayce might decide to intervene, so they push forward to crush the Alphatians while they can, thinking that if they can kill all the Alphatians now or force them to flee, then Nayce will be unlikely to send troops to recapture lost territories.

What the PCs Can Do: There is much opportunity for adventure here. Many skirmishes will take place, and scouts will be sent out by both sides to determine what the enemy is doing. Since the Jennites will eventually march on Anchorage, the PCs can also begin to plan that siege, on either side!

Felmont 26, AC 1017: Assault Begins in Earnest.

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The day begins with a heavy barrage of Mivosian artillery, something that has not happened for many weeks, followed by a massed attack on the walls, complete with siege towers and scaling ladders. The sheer force and suddenness of the attack catches the defenders, who had become used to the tedium of the waiting game entailed by the protracted siege, off guard, but they manage to rally in time to push back the scaling ladders. While the garrison holds off the assault, the townsfolk are put to work clearing debris resulting from the impacts of the catapult boulders.

Initially, the Heldannic forces are able to hold their own: all of the ladders are pushed back, and a number of siege towers are destroyed through multiple applications of the produce fire and flame strike spells. Unfortunately, Mivosian battle mages, though few in number, manage to position themselves so as to rake the walls with a number of offensive spells, enough of which accomplish their intent: to kill off a large number of battle priests stationed atop the walls. While all this is going on, Heldannic crossbowmen fire volleys of bolts at their opponents, trying to hit as many mages as they can find, though many of the latter, through their protective enchantments, manage to shrug off the bulk of these attacks. Nonetheless, some bolts do find their mark.

By day's end, the Mivosians withdraw beyond crossbow range, and prepare for the next assault. (See Fe. 11, Fe. 23; Fy. 2, Fy. 3.)

What This Means: Although the Mivosians suspected some form of Heldannic involvement was behind the raids conducted against their camp, the recent capture of one of the raiders confirmed this suspicion. Realising that it is only a matter of time before the raids start doing some serious damage, the Mivosians opted to end the waiting game, and close in on their enemies to crush them once and for all.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs can be on either side of the battle.

Felmont 27, AC 1017: A Necromancer's Dream.

Location: Bluenose Ruins, Sunken Arogansa, Nayce. AS

Description: While awaiting the arrival of his necromancer colleagues, Pidimigd journeys to the Bluenose ruins to establish research facilities and living quarters. Travelling aboard the Draeger, a pre-war rowed submersible galley, Pidimigd convinces the others to forego subtlety and present themselves directly to the undead. Their submersible arrives over Bluenose and draws immediate attention from the undead inhabitants. Pidimigd and several adventurers disembark the craft and approach the gathering mass of undead. After a few tense moments, Pidimigd begins a friendly dialog with several and before long the Alphatians are sent to meet with the undead rulers.

Shown to the ruins of what had been a lavish hotel, they are brought before a trio that introduce themselves as Tarog, Zormyll, and Sisrynn. Pidimigd explains their reason for being there and expresses their knowledge of the undead's own problems with the ghouls. He cites that he has been sent here with several servants by the Alphatian nation of Nayce to establish a research facility. Surprisingly, the undead respond that they have no accommodations for any air-breathers, nor do they appreciate his assumptions that he could simply walk into their city and assert a position. However, after a good deal of dialog the undead allow him to stay. They assert that he must prepare the facilities himself-they will only assist him for payment in information about the Alphatians or through magical casting to their designs.

Pidimigd is shown to an unused tower estate to use as a domicile. The crew of the Draeger move their vessel over to this building and begin off-loading supplies and personnel. They will spend the next few days making the basic preparations to the buildings to make them waterproof and liveable. (See Fe. 8, Fe. 22; Fy. 26, Fy. 27.)

What This Means: Under the guise of moving his dark researches away from Aquan society, Pidimigd finally manages to go to Bluenose. His arrival is not exactly what he had expected. Though his story about research omits the true extent of his research goals, the sentient undead themselves, his stay hangs precariously in the balance. The undead, though not threatening, are not as overjoyed to see him as he had hoped-for some reason he had expected his arrival would be warmly greeted. Still, the undead do allow him to remain. However, he will have to work more and be careful.

The undead are truly wary. Pidimigd's offer of help is too convenient and too timely. Though they have been aware of the Alphatians living in Aquas, Torenal Site, and even nearby island settlements, they are wary and anxious about opening contact with them. As lightning zombies, they are the reanimated remains of Alphatian dead through exposure to Radiance energies. Though they retain their skills attained in life, they do not bear any memories of their past lives. However, they have managed to use the abundant reference sources found in the city to reasonably piece together what people they derive from. Some have even been able to ascertain their mortal identities.

Aware of their ties to the Alphatian people, the lightning zombies of Bluenose are intensely curious about them. However, they are also a bit anxious at what the Alphatian people are. There are too many puzzling references to draw upon and they really do not know what to make of them. Likewise they are nervous about themselves and what they will appear as in the Alphatians' eyes. For these reasons, Pidimigd's arrival is both welcome and unwelcome. Since he and his colleagues are here the undead will allow them to stay. However the lightning zombies be studying the Alphatians as much as Pidimigd is studying them.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs may be attached to Pidimigd's effort, either by him or by Deltart. Aside from an occasional ghoul attack, the duty should be relatively light. The PCs should find the lightning zombies distant at first, yet intensely curious. As time goes by, they will approach the PCs, especially if they are of Alphatian heritage. Depending on the PCs' reactions, the undead will ask all manner of questions. Though there are bound to be some annoyances, good-natured PCs should be capable of taking the intrusions in good time. The PCs may even begin to suspect Pidimigd of having dark plans for the lightning zombies.

Felmont 27, AC 1017: First a Trickle...

Location: Territory of Thratia, Hinterlands, Thyatian Empire. DV

Description: A number of border forts and outpost along the southern fringes of Thratia report the arrival of what appear to be refugees from the south. None of them speak Thyatian, and the refugees themselves seem to come from all walks of life, though many claim to be villagers or farmers when questioned through the use of magic. What interests the military authorities in Thratia is that the reason given by these people (who identify themselves according to city, town, or village-as opposed to nation) for their migration is ongoing hostilities between a very large city-state known as Mivosia, and a strange force composed of heavily-armoured warriors who appear to wield magic. When described, the strange warriors seem to resemble closely the Heldannic Knights in terms of appearance and tactics.

Interesting information aside, the commanders along the southern frontier soon realise that, in all likelihood, more such refugees are sure to follow. (See Fe. 9; Fy. 26, Am. 9.)

What This Means: As the conflict between Mivosia and the Heldannic Knights intensifies and spreads, more communities are being affected-directly or indirectly. For those settlements unfortunate enough to become battlegrounds, the reasons for fleeing become obvious, but other people are also fleeing as news of the battles spreads, and becomes more exaggerated with each telling.

What the PCs Can Do: Thyatian PCs could be assigned the task of guiding the Milenian refugees to the comparative safety of Davania Superior.

Felmont 27, AC 1017: Not So Super, Mario!

Location: Kingdom of Hillvale, Nayce, Isle of Dawn. SD

Description: Mario's Marauders raid a village in the Hillvale region-the latest of several such strikes this past month. Before the villages underprepared defenders can respond, the marauders are off again, to vanish into the hills to the west.

Two days later, another sizeable armed force marches into town. Though they bear Alphatian banners, the force bears a ragtag, worn-down look one normally associates with bandits. Their commander, William Hazard, states that they are looking for Mario's Marauders. After being pointed in their direction, the ragtag regiment heads off. (See Am. 17, Sv. 13.)

What This Means: William Hazard and his men might be slightly irregular in their etiquette, but they are nonetheless effective. It is for their experience and ability that they were brought together by Commander Broderick last year to track down Mario's Marauders. They have had several skirmishes with the rogue mercenary band in the months since, but have yet to have a decisive encounter. Mario's Marauders are on the run, though, and it is only a matter of time before Hazard and his men bring them to justice.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are a part of Hazard's forces, they can join in the hunt. If not, Hazard is always looking for good men to join his command, and having come up from the ranks himself, he can recognise hard-working military types.