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Aysle

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Stormchild    10

June 15th 2009 was not the best day for Jan Horvac. The 25 year old student was visiting his parents in the small czech town of Karlstejn. He was on holiday, so the normally tranquil and beautiful landscape seemed to be that more peaceful and romantic than ever to him. The castle, a famous tourist attraction throned above the hamlet as if to protect it. And truly protect it did. While the rest of the country suffered from a harsh financial crisis, Karlstejn was relatively unharmed, due to the constant stream of tourists eager to leave their money in the inhabitants' pockets. Of course, Karlstejn was not disparate from the rest of the world. There was talk on the news about a pandemic but nothing to worry about. The pig-flu as it was called seemed to be in no way more serious than the normal flu and no one in the vicinity had been infected yet. The war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan was nothing more than a story in the news. People talked about it but no one was really worried. There was the occasional flight accident or terrorist attack somewhere in the world but in Karlstejn nothing ever happened...up to this day.

 

Jan enjoyed what he called breakfast on the terrace of his parents' house checking the emails in his netbook while sipping on his cappuccino. Mail from his girl friend Maria back in Prague, she was missing him already and his friends Petr and Vaclav wanted to meet him later in the local pub. He sighed when he realized that his packet of cigarrettes was empty. „Coffee without cigarrettes, this is no real brekfast for me“ he mused. He typed a short message to Maria, was about to hit the send button when suddenly the monitor of his netbook went black. „Damn the battery is out again“, he cursed while plugging the computer into the wall socket. He tried to switch it on again but still no beep. He tried another socket and another but the monitor still remained black. Frustrated Jan fetched his mobile, only to realize that he couldn't turn it on either.

 

Rummaging for the power cord he saw out of the corner of his eyes a blinding light over castle Karlstejn. When he looked closer his sight was caught by a large looming shadow above the castle. „Wow!“ was all he could say while staring at what looked just like a dragon directly out of a fantasy movie. „This can only be the best PR-gag I have ever seen,“ he thought deeply impressed. But he had no idea how this could have been done. „Maybe it is a painting on a Zeppelin-like aircraft,“ he reasoned only half-believing himself. Jan called for his parents though he knew they were probably not in the house at this time of day. But he desperately wanted to share this sight with someone. On the other hand he couldn't take his eyes away from this impressive sight. The dragon probably had a length of more than 40 meters from tail to snout and a wingspan of equal size. „Maybe it is done with holographic projectors“ he thought, „like the one they have shown on CNN“ though he knew it had only been done in TV-studios and with small images yet.

 

But there had to be a scientific reasoning...or could it be a real dragon? Could it be that the old stories are true, that the dragons where only sleeping, waiting to emerge one day again? He dared not to follow this line of thought any more when suddenly the dragon folded its wings and soared right into his direction. Too amazed to flee or take any action, Jan just stood there and watched as the dragon came closer and closer. He could see the giant head in all details, realizing that no technical trick could do this. Jan watched as the dragon opened its mouth, showing large sabre-like teeth. He even could see some kind of white brizzling ball forming in the dragons' mouth which the beast spit into Jan's direction. With the force of a thunderstorm the ball hit the house of Jan's parents, engulfing Jan, destroying everything in its path while instantly freezing the debris. Jan Horvac did not even have time to cry when the ball of swirling ice hit him.

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Stormchild    10

Before I post updates on how the invasion of Central Europe is going, I think it could help to describe Aysle a bit. The Aysle I am about to describe in each posting is different than the published version. It is not meant to be better suited for winning this game but rather it is my hope to build a more interesting version of the fantasy realm. In my own Torg games I often had the problem getting players involved into Aysle as it felt too much like your standard D&D setting. I want to entangle it much more with european myths, even with fairy tales and medieval superstition and give it a specific Torg touch. I hope it works.

I apologize for the length.

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Stormchild    10

The Aysle of the Plague is different than the Aysle you know from other multiverses. It is a cosm hardened and changed by defeat, civil war and internal turmoil. Before the Plague overtook the body of The Warrior of the Dark ,it looked as if the forces of the Light led by Tolwyn of Tankred would win. In addition the realm did not expand any more. But then the Plague created a clone of the Warrior of the Dark, infected this clone with the mind-altering virus that allows the Plague to overtake body and mind of his victim and exchanged the body he formerly inhabitated with that of the clone. This new Warrior of the Dark easily dispatched with the first creature of that name and began a veritable crusade against the forces of the Light. One year later the civil war was all but over, the Darkness Device Drakacanus had finally realized that the Plague in the body of the Warrior was the best choice for High Lord and the realm expanded into Russia.

 

Being a true son of Terra, the Plague is never content when things run too smoothly. So he began planning invasions into other realities. When Ardinay disappeared, it was obvious to the Plague that the Gaunt Man was planning something. So he took himself and Drakacanus out of the equation and travelled via dimthread to a world he had singled out for future conquest. Without a maelstrom bridge to connect him to earth, the Gaunt Man could not find Drakacanus when he summoned all the Darkness Devices to himself. While the invasion of Core Earth came to a halt and the Gaunt Man's plans failed miserably, Drakacanus and the Plague were safe in another multiverse already in the progress of being conquered. From this cosm, that was very similar to the cosm of Aysle, the Plague rebuilt his empire. He left the original Aysle to Tolwyn of Tankred who managed to retake it without knowing that she played into the Plague's hands. For the Plague this cosm is Light Aysle, a cosm where he still maintains stelae and well disguised maelstrom bridges. He planned to use it later on in his future plans.

 

His new cosm, which the Plague calls Dark Aysle, now is his new base. It is a world where magical creatures, giants and half-folk vie for acceptance in the eyes of their dark gods while elves and human have eeked out small fiefdoms which are protected by their own corrupt gods. Of course there are still people and even creatures who refuse to accept evil but they are hunted everywhere. Only in Dark Aysle's Land Between the dwarves manage to hold out against the forces of the Dark. They have given refuge to a lot of exiled worshippers of the Gods of Honor. Even in these fortified caves, evil looms in the souls of fearful people who are always tempted to use the easy way corruption offers.

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Stormchild    10

The biggest difference to its light counterpart is that Dark Aysle features a spirit axiom of 17. This allows for objects and places to perform perpetual miracles. In addition the Plague changed the world laws of both light and dark Aysle. The laws of honor and corruption do no longer apply. Instead there are the law of faith and the law of Apocalypse. The law of observation has been changed too, it is now the law of perception. These changes also apply to Light Aysle though there it is not obvious that the world laws have changed. The law of magic has not been changed though.

 

The law of faith states that every inhabitant of light and dark Aysle is bound to have faith. He or she has to buy at least one faith add with the starting adds. When someone without the faith skill is transformed to Aysle he or she gains the faith skill with one add in exchange for one add from another skill. A person from Aysle may believe in any one mythos but only one. So catholics who transform to Aysle gain one add in catholicism even if they never went to church before. Atheists gain faith in any mythos that fits, even if it is a mockery of a mythos like the Force or the spaghetti monster. But only those faiths are allowed in Aysle that contain a mythos of an Apocalypse of any kind and at least one enemy of the faith. The faith must state how the world will end (though this statement may be very cryptic) and it must be clear who the enemies of the faith are. It is an active world law, so only people from Aysle (or transformed to Aysle) may gain benefits from this world law when they act according to it. In Aysle the gods are real and try to destroy the respective enemy of the faith while fighting for dominance over other gods from other faiths. For every faithful it is a holy duty to act in the names of their gods. When they do so, the gods grant benefits which differ from god to god and depend on the faith adds of their followers. The faith skills are stated as „faith (Aysle/light or dark respective faith)“, f.i. Faith (Aysle/dark catholicism). Even believers in a monotheistic mythos know that other mythos' exist. In their eyes the dark gods of other mythos' are seen as but another incarnation of their enemy (or as minions of the enemy, f.i. minor demons). Gods from other mythos' are seen as different incarnations of the own gods or as demons. How the respective faith is interpreted is up to the individual believer and the community he/she listens to.

 

The law of Apocalypse (passive): Each mythos contains a story on how the world will end. The dark gods of each mythos try to further this Apocalypse while the light gods try to prevent it or win when it comes. F.i. In the catholic mythos Satan wants to bring about the end of the world and the worshippers of God try to prevent it, though they know that in the end it is the will of God that the Apocalypse comes but they fear that Satan might win (this is different to the official catholic interpretation today but similar to how it was seen in the middle ages). Some christian sects like the Catharans are treated as dark because they see the earth as the devil's domain while after judgement day God's realm will come (here it is the devil that tries to prevent the Apocalypse and his followers are consequently of the light side though other faithful christians will surely see them differently). The gods may grant their followers certain bonuses when they work in accordance to their gods. Instead of killing off followers of their enemies the gods are more fond of tempting them in order to gain more followers. Especially the christian mythos' as they where interpreted in the middle ages are full of stories about the devil tempting the faithful. On the other hand tricking the devil (or other dark gods) is seen as the best way to deal with evil, because though the dark god himself cannot be destroyed, his pride can be hurt. Magical creatures are not seen as evil per se , they have to be judged by their deeds but with some care because they often wield powerful magic.

 

Law of Perception (passive): Everybody in Aysle is able to perceive magic. This is reflected by the skill perceive magic (which of course is based on perception). Every living thing in Aysle has a magical aura which can be read using this skill (I know this is a lot like in Shadowrun and Earthdawn but it is a cool feature there that fits to Aysle like a glove). Real experts with this skill can gain much more information than just how magical someone or something is. Most important it is possible though very hard to read the Possibility potential of someone. This skill can be bought at character creation but only in exchange for the magic by birth skill or arcane knowledge. So a beginning character may have up to two adds in perceive magic. A magician may have up to three adds at character creation but has to buy them with his 12 free adds. It also can be learned later on in the game from a teacher. The perceive magic skill is necessary for every casting that is not performed with a spell book. For those spells a perceive magic spell against the spell difficulty is necessary for the spell to work. It is also necessary for inventing new spells and observing other magical dimensions (like the elemental planes). This implies that it is necessary too for conjuring entities from magical dimensions. The former law of observation stated „what can be perceive is real“. The Law of Perception is similar in „what can be magically perceived is real and everything that is real can be magically perceived.“ This magical perception is done by observing the principle behind every living and even unliving thing (the arcane knowledge). This implies that even unliving things are in some way alive, which is true because behind every force of nature there is some kind of magical creature that governs it (a mountain ghost for a certain mountain, a sylph for a certain sea and so on).

 

Edit: Eternity shards cannot be read until they are attuned to someone, then they become a part of his magical aura. Aysle Hardpoints on the other hand can be read as they are part of the magical aura of the area they are in. This area is the realm of a mighty magical creature that will try to protect the hardpoint. Of course, hardpoints of other realities do not fall under this rule. Core Earth hardpoints in Aysle cannot be perceived magically and are not protected by magical creatures.

This edit has not been cleared with Catstacker as the rest of the posting was. So I am awaiting your final say on this Catstacker.

Edited by Stormchild

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Stormchild    10

Sometimes real life gives you exactly the stories and pictures you need for Torg.

Here in western germany where I live it is too hot for the season. In the Czech Republic, Austria and Eastern Germany the weather is going mad.

It began with strong hail showers and even snow at 1000 meters in the middle of summer. Now the region is flooded as you can see in this article (sorry that it is in german but I could find no reliable article in english. The one I found from Daily mail was tagged as being from yesterday but the information was obviously from the 2002 flood - you just can't trust the net).

Edited by Stormchild

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Stormchild    10

A beautiful woman with ebony black hair and green eyes which burned with the fire of fierce determination stood proud among her advisors. Warrior of the Dark was the title she had assumed and her advisors knew better than to point out that she looked exactly like Tolwyn of Tancred. They knew the flickery mood of their leader could change from benevolence to a terrible rage in but an instant. She was known for her intolerance against failure and especially she hated any reference to the one hero her minions had failed time and again to beat: Tolwyn of Tancred, the leader of the Army of the Light. But obviously the latest victories in the new cosm called Dark Aysle had softened the Warrior up a bit. She was more lenient and could even forgive mistakes and failures from minions who had proven their worth before. But only she knew whom she found worthy and whom she would swat like a fly. So her counselors still chose to refrain from telling about defeats. Luckily, this was not the time to speak about setbacks. Instead, the royal adviser archmage Tetricous could brag about success on the whole front. „All went according to your brilliant plan, my lady“ he began. The dragon Schwarzschwinge has landed in castle Karlstein and brought ice and destruction on the helpless town. He moved on to his dedicated lair in the mountains which the inhabitants call Erzgebirge, the iron mountains, leaving a trail of destruction in his flight.

„What about Charlemagne?“ the lady interrupted her advisor.

„He is in position together with his knights“, Tetricous replied hastily. „We have transferred them into the mountainside of the Kyffhäuser via dimthread according to your plan. They are eager to make their great and long-awaited appearance.“

 

„The Kyffhäuser – a legendary mountain in the heart of eastern Germany. It has been revered for one millenium as the site where a great hero sleeps. The legendary Kaiser is resting in the mountains, so the people told from generation to generation. His beard so long that it wrapped around the table, he sits there waiting for the time of his return to his people. From time to time a commoner from the vicinity is summoned before his throne and asked by the Kaiser: „fliegen die Raben noch um den Berg?“ which means „are the ravens still flying around the mountain?“ Time and again the answer was „they are still flying around the mountain.“ The Kaiser then sighs and falls asleep again. Who this hero is is not clear. For some time he was said to be Kaiser - which is the german word for emperor – Karl der Grosse, or Charlemagne as the French call him. For some time the legend was attributed to Kaiser Barbarossa, the redbearded emperor Friedrich I. of the german dynasty Stauffen who had died on the way to a crusade into the holy land. Barbarossa – italian for Redbeard – had become the embodiment of unfulfilled destiny, some kind of symbol for the unfinished German state that was splintered into hundreds of fiefdoms during the middle ages. When the German people dreamed about unification in the 19th century, Barbarossa became the embodiment of this dream. Here you can see a monument of the sleeping Kaiser on his throne hewn into the rock itself...“ the voice of the tourist guide trailed of as the young man stared open-mouthed into the sky.

 

The American tourists who were listening with some chattering and the occasional „wow, isn't this beautiful“ followed his gaze and stared in awe at the sight. A huge storm cloud was gathering in the distant sky while on the ground a deep mist spread. In the storm, red and blue lightning bolts cracked the thick black clouds. As if this sight were not impressive enough, there was a gigantic shadow flying between the mist and the clouds. „This is a dragon“ a tourist screamed. But the other Americans tried their best to persuade her – and themselves – that this could not be. Dragons do not exist, they all knew by heart. Wasn't this a truth, proven by science time and again? Doubt crept into their hearts. Moving closer the shadow more and more took on the shape of a huge dragon which was spitting ice bolts onto the ground, leaving a path of destruction in its flight. Then the dragon turned to the left nearly surfing on the storm front and suddenly it disappeared into the clouds. The watching tourists in unison breathed a sigh of relief. Though they didn't believe this dragon to be real, they had no intention to be closer to this presumed hallucination. How could they know that the worst was still to come. The heavy storm flew into their direction as if it had a grim determination of its own. Finally with a crack of lightning and booming thunder the Kyffhäuser was engulfed by the clouds. Lightnings struck, seemingly without heeding the laws of physic, centering on modern buildings. The hotel on the mountain top was hit by three bolts in red and blue at once. It was nearly engulfed by a swirl of blinding red and blue energy and when the tourists regained their eyesight, there was no hotel anymore. In its stead there stood an odd brick and wood house of medieval design featuring an old-fashioned inn-sign that depicted it as the Kyffhäuser-Schänke (Kyffhäuser Pub) complete with the rather crude painting of a sleeping king on his throne.

 

„The ravens...“ one of the tourists cried. While the other Americans were too distracted by the happenings surrounding them, a young boy was pointing at the sky. Lifting their eyes upward, they watched how the ravens were attacked by what only could be described as harpies. Huge birds in the size of eagles they were with the torso of ugly women. While they were butchering the ravens with glee these abominations cackled and shrieked in almost painfully high voices. Red blood and black feathers rained down on the tourist as the ravens were dispatched one by one by these foul creatures. When the last bird fell, the harpies circled above the tourists mocking them with their shrill voices: „your little birds fall, as will your world. They are so tasty, so full of blood, but human flesh is much more to our tastes“. With these words the harpies dove down on the hapless tourists, claws glistening in the flashing strobes of red and blue lightning. The tourists, too awe-stricken to react, just stood there watching their doom coming closer when suddenly a booming voice resonated on the mountains: „Fliegen die Raben noch um den Berg?“ It was a deep male voice accustomed to demanding respect, but the tourists did not understand. Again the voice asked: „Fliegen die Raben noch um den Berg?“ Still no reaction from the harpy victims soon to be devoured. One claw drew first blood, it dug deep into the arm of a middle-aged man. The victim's wife screamed, his kids wept, the man himself was too shocked to do anything at all. At that moment the tourist guide reacted in the only way he could think of in this situation. With a voice as loud as he could muster he yelled in German: „Kaiser Karl, the ravens are dead, they fly no more.“ „Then the time has finally come“, the voice in the mountain answered in German, resonating from the hills, rolling with an echo through the mountain range. With the might of an avalanche the voice rumbled and grew in intensity until the stone itself could not resist anymore. A crack appeared in the mountainside right above the statue of Barbarossa. The split widened and suddenly a part of the wall, the size of a huge doorway, crumbled to dust. The crevasse opened right into a cave and when the dust settled, the spectators could see thirteen knights clad in heavy armor sitting on sturdy horses of war. „Kaiser Karl...“ was all the tourist guide could say before slowly sinking to his knees in the time-old gesture of respect for a true monarch.

Edited by Stormchild
some spellchecking, of course Barbarossa was Friedrich I. not the II.

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Stormchild    10

„The earth is struck by the most severe and strangest weather phenomena we ever experienced. I have to admit we metheoroligsts are absolutely in the dark here. The american east coast, India, Peru and Haiti are all surrounded by what could be best described as heavy excentric storms. Europe took the hardest hit. The snow and rain last week we could at least explain but what happened after that is an absolute mystery to me.

 

If you take a look at the map you can see that there is a whole storm front here that is engulfing a region from northern England down to the channel and another wall of inpenetrable clouds from Würzburg to Berlin and down to Vienna. Interlocked between these two freak weather phenomenas are the Netherlands and Belgium, from the few information we could get, the damage is severe there.

 

The media is practically paralized by these storms. We can get no radio signals from the affected areas. Much more mysterious is the fact that even satellite communication into these regions has broken down though it should not be affected at all.

 

We received very disturbing information from Vienna. The Austrian capital is practically split in half by a perpetual thunderstorm claiming some hundred lives. The news we can get is sketchy at best as the damage done is extreme and continuing still. The flooding that accompanied these storms is adding to the carnage and death toll. A spokesman from the German government went so far as to state: nature has declared war against us.“

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Stormchild    10

With shaking knees the royal adviser archmage Tetricous stood before the throne room of his mistress. He was waiting for the fate of a messenger he sent in, as he was sure the news would cost the live of whoever delivered it. Anxiously he listened for the expected cry of outrage and the death gurgle of the boy whom the Warrior of Dark would certainly kill with a quick strike of her sword. But nothing happened. Instead the door opened, the messenger went out backward, still bowing in the direction of the throne. Then Tetricous heard the voice of his lady. „Summon the advisors, we have some planning to do!“

 

The Warrior of the Dark certainly had changed, Tetricous thought while watching how his dark queen gave orders. No sign of rage there, only competent quick decisions. The army that was meant to storm through Western Germany had been stalled in Würzburg, more than 400 kilometers from the outer border. This could clearly be seen as a severe backlash. An improvised German army had managed to hold them in a battle at the small town of Hettstadt forcing the Ayslish troops to fall back to Würzburg where they took refuge in the old fortification. „A clever move of Regarist, this site is of quite some significance“, was all the Warrior of the dark said on this news. Then she ditched out orders as if she had planned this long before-hand. „Schwarzschwinge has to change direction. Forget Berlin for now, he is to fly to Würzburg with Charlemagne on his trail. Send Tristan to the German capital instead. This city has become a hardpoint, so we have to find any stormers as quick as possible.“

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Stormchild    10

Twelve knights on heavy war horses rode down the Kyffhäuser mountain cheering their king Charlemagne whose impressive height of nearly two meters dwarved his fellows. The expectation of an impending battle obviously invigorated all of them. Next to the Kaiser there rode his trusted nephew Roland, the margrave of the Bretagne his golden armor glistening in the sun. He was accompanied to his right by Olivier a great hero in his own right and Roland's best friend. On the Kaiser's left hand there rode archbishop Turpin. Then there was Hayms of Bavaria, Milon of Anglant and all the other heroes of old legends.

 

When they reached the foot of the mountain, the mist there cleared and gave free sight on a veritable army of the foulest creatures that ever walked the earth. Rotten skeleton on undead horses, beasts with the body of a boar and the head of a lion, giant spiders whose fangs dripped with venom and many more monsters had accompanied the great dragon hidden in the mist. But the knights did not falter nor did their horses hesitate. The riders knocked their lances into position, Roland drew his famous sword Duranda and they took position in a wedge-formation with the king in front.

 

Skulls splintered and bones broke when the heroes thundered into the bulk of their enemies in a massive onslaught. The monsters, who had expected an easy victory did find no place to bite or slash. Whenever they tried to hit one of the knights, the hero had already passed by, his sword slashing and cutting into the enemy. There were so many foes around them that the knights' strokes could never miss. Also, many a monster was hit by a companion who could not find a mark. Arrows shot by Orc archers splintered on the knights' armors or sunk into the foul flesh of monsters instead.

 

But soon after the initial clash, it became obvious that the superior number would eventually overcome the heroes. When a manticore bit deep into the side of Olivier's horse and brought the knight down, Roland lifted the Olifant, his ivory horn, to his mouth and blew it with all the breath he had. The battle stopped for a moment when the signal resonated through the mountains so impressive was the sound this legendary horn could muster when blown by its master. Even on the other side of the mountain range people could hear the sound of Olifant which was louder than the heaviest thunder. But who could come to the aid of these heroes from a time long gone?

 

The bellowing horn signal practically blew away the mist, revealing a most astounding sight. The sun glistened on thousands of helmets and shields of different sizes. A veritable army of men in armor, elves with powerful war bows and axe-wielding dwarves stepped out of the mist. They were following the army of monsters and had wondered why their prey had suddenly stopped. Now that they heard the Olifant, the reason became obvious. With Charlemagne on one side and the army of Light Aysle on the other, the monsters were struck by uncontrollable fear. Only one way to go, they fled in panic alongside the Kyffhäuser mountain into the north chased by two separate armies that had no other option than to trust each other for the moment.

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Stormchild    10

„It gets increasingly harder receiving information from what some journalists have dubbed the Storm Zones. And the Zones are expanding rapidly. To make things even more complicated, most news we receive seems to be warped by mass hysteria, a phenomenon easily explained with the shock and fear people in the Storm Front are certainly experiencing. We have done our best to discern the grain of truth from those stories. Obviously there has been some kind of battle fought at Würzburg. We do not know who fought whom, maybe the survivors in the Storm Zone are battling each other for resources.

 

It is obvious that the governments have lost control over at least some parts of the Storm Zones. New York, Washington, Brussels and Berlin are all inside the Storm Zones, increasing the difficulty of organising a concerted effort. Especially Brussels, where Nato-HQ is situated, has been hit hard by two storm fronts at once. Nato is currently trying to reestablish command structures and regain communication lines with whatever forces are still able to answer. For obvious reasons they are not sharing information with the press but our sources tell that there are some army movements in Bavaria.

 

Maybe the Bundeswehr is organizing a military aid mission into the Storm Zone. The german constitution states that the army is not allowed to fight inside german borders but this rule does not hold when germany is under attack or in the case of natural disasters. We can all hope it is only a weird form of natural disaster. Russia has declared that it has nothing to do with these occurences and has even sent scientists and military advisors to Rome, where Nato has opened an improvised HQ.“

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Stormchild    10

High on the battlements of the Nuremberg castle stood Regarist proudly bellowing his war cry. His army had achieved a decisive victory. The city which was most important for his High Lords' plans had fallen with ease. The viking warrior enjoyed the plunder and carnage his hordes of northmen delivered onto the surprised population. From his vantage point he could see in the distance the dark clouds swirling with red and blue lightning. Beyond this wall his fate lay. He had to carry the battle beyond the storm front. Speed was essentially he knew. His army had to move faster than the enemy could muster organized resistance. He did not understand the weapons his foes wielded but he knew they could be devastating. The population was not accustomed to fighting and they had no weapons ready but some soldiers were present. They had used hand-held weapons of enormous fire-power that were much more effective, faster and accurate than the wheel-lock pistols available in Aysle.

 

Even three metallic dragons – the natives had called them planes – had joined the fight. Two crashed when the pilots disconnected. But one plane came through and it had a devastating effect. Its bullets ripped through armor and shield as if those weren't even there, killing dozens of his men in just one sweep. Regarist knew this metal beast of war had been a hard blow to his troops morale. Of course, it was destroyed by a lightning bolt one of his magician had cast before it could make another sweep but the seed of fear had been planted. To boost his men's morale he had given them a day off to plunder and enjoy the spoils of war.

 

Only the wizards were on duty. They were casting on a specific spot in the outer district Zirndorf. His plans showed that here the swedish army had camped and lost a great number of troops as did the soldiers of Wallenstein in what was called the 30year war. The battle ended in a tie, so the dark queen expected there were a lot of lost souls who had unfinished business. Would these soldiers join the fight as Ghost Warriors, even the machines of destruction under the enemies command could not witstand. And of course he did send out a detachement of scholars and wizards to secure artifacts from the german national museum and other resources this city was so gifted with. The number of eternity shards among them should be impressive he mused.

Edited by Stormchild

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Stormchild    10

„Ladies and gentlemen, we are at war.“ General Marcotti paused to let his words sink into the audience. More than 100 highly ranking militaries, scientists and policians hang onto his lips. „It has been some kind of a puzzle“, he continued „and every one of you contributed parts to the whole image. Now it is clear. We are under attack by some force we have not even begun to understand.“ The general did expect some disagreement but most participants of the improvised Nato strategy summit in Rome just nodded. They obviously had come to the same conclusion from the scattered facts they had.

 

„The first blow came to Prague and the timing was perfect. In the last days of the Czech Republic's presidency over the European Union many EU officials and politicians were there. We still don't know what happened as the Czech Republic is still sealed off by violent storms and I don't want to get into any speculations now. Professor Meyer will give us a scientific explanation later on, as far as this is possible yet. Fact is, with one strike the EU has lost most of its heads and bureaucratic personell. It will take months just to establish functioning structures again. The storms also cut Vienna in half, hitting Nato structures in the process but we did recover and could relocate most of our personell and equipment.“ A deep sigh went through the audience. Every glimpse of hope obviously fell on fertile ground in this crisis.

 

„London and New York were also engulfed in storm zones as well as Northern India, Peru and Haiti. I will concentrate on Europe for now as it has been hit hardest. We by no means want to leave other parts of the world out of the picture but for now we have to concentrate on how to strike back where we are. The next blow came to Berlin. The german capital was enclosed in another storm front that engulfes nearly the whole region of eastern germany. At that time we mustered our forces in southern germany. We did not know what we were facing but prepared for military exchange as well as for a humanitarian relief mission. We even sent three fighter planes into the storm zone but they never came back after communication lines shut down. Professor Meyer will elaborate later on this strange phenomenon he calls the blackout.

 

Then we received news about a battle that had been fought at Würzburg. The information was sketchy at best and nearly impossible to believe but the evident conclusion is that an alien force of some kind has been encountered by police and people armed with everything they could get their hands on. They managed to drive the invaders back to Würzburg where the enemy regrouped in the old fortification. Up to that point communication still worked at the battle field and we received first hand information which only made the puzzle even more complex. Suddenly the blackout kicked in and western germany was completely shut off. New storms gathered in the west. At the same time storms also raged in northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Fortunately we had already begun relocating Nato resources from Brussels to Rome. Nonetheless this occurence hit us very hard. As far as I know, Brussels can only be called a disaster area now, pressed between two of these violent storm zones. This is the situation in brief and it can only be called the greatest crisis since world war II. Professor Meyer will tell you more about the scientific conclusions his team has gathered so far.“

 

„Thank you general Marcotti“, Professor Dieter Meyer began. „Ladies and gentlemen, do you believe in Dragons?“ The audience that up to now had listened patiently became unsettled. Shouts of „no“ and „are you crazy?“ echoed through the hall. „I don't either,“ the Professor concluded, silencing the auditorium. „Better said, I didn't until I received these photographs.“ The screen behind the stage lit with a picture that was obviously a gigantic flying reptile. „This picture was shot with a cell-phone and sent moments before all communication broke down. This is only the most disturbing picture we received but there are many more.“ Images of norsemen right out of a historic movie filled the screen. They were engaged in close-combat with german policemen and citizens in suits slaughtering them with axes and swords, riding them down with heavy war horses.

 

Obviously only a few modern weapons were involved in this battle but they were devastating against the invaders from an era long gone. „From these pictures we could discern that the norse-men were defeated, they took heavy casualties but managed to regroup.“ According to Einstein time travel from the past could be possible and the evidence is clear, we are being attacked by forces from the past or at least some resemblence of our history. As you can see in this picture they are using some unknown force, I may, in lieu of a better word, call magic. Here a colourfully ordaned enemy is casting lightning bolts from his hands and here another one, who is clothed like a wizard from a fantasy story, is hurling fire balls. And don't forget the dragon. For now, until we have a better explanation, I suggest we assume that our enemy is magical in nature. And this, though it seems too easy, could explain the communication breakdown too.“ „The good thing is,“ general Marcotti stepped in as the audience began to argue „they can be shot as the pictures clearly show. They have only met poorly armed resistance yet. We will show them the true military might we can muster. Our forces are on their way to the storm front in Bavaria and magical or not, we will give them a show for their money.“

Edited by Stormchild
corrected the Einstein reference and some spelling

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Stormchild    10

A message delivered to Tolwyn of Tancred

 

Highly esteemed leader,

 

we have done as you advised us to and had much more success than expected. Allow me to tell you the tale of our quest. Our band of battle-hardened dwarves crossed the bridge from castle Ardinay with high spirits and the hope to fight evil in this new world. The road was strange indeed, no bridge made of stone as we are accustomed to but rather a tunnel cast in deepest darkness that even a mage light spell could not pierce though our feet felt a road of cobbled stone. Finally we arrived in a hall which probably is the throne room of a castle. It turned out we were in a finely crafted castle that obviously was built more with the intent to impress than to defend.

 

Undoubtedly the enemy beat us to this place. The village that belonged to this castle was destroyed, the land blighted, dead bodies lay around everywhere. We found some survivors who told us that an army of monsters led by a Draconis Teutonica had ravaged this country. He had also witnessed the arrival of the army of House Liandar some days earlier. This legion has taken on the quest of hunting the plunderers.

 

It was no easy decision to travel westward but we had to heed your orders, and we knew we would find more foul creatures. We travelled on a strange road made completely out of smooth stone which puzzled even our best stone-carvers. What a pity to see a world where those masters of masonry live overrun by dark hordes. On our way we heard about an army of norsemen that had travelled down that road a week before. Eager to fight we came to a city called Nuremberg which is reigned by a mighty castle. Here obviously a large army had camped but moved on. So we followed the enemy to another of the many cities this world is so full of.

 

This one was called Würzburg and it had been the site of a great battle. In its impressive fortification we met the victors of this campaign: the army of House Liandar. They had met with an unexpected ally, Charlemagne a great hero of that world, who was resurrected in a similar way as you my lady by the need of his people. This mighty king and his twelve knight managed to impress the army of House Liandar. He is surely destined for greatness. Survivors of an army that had stalled the norsemen and fugitives eager to fight back had joined Charlemagne's band. Realizing they had no chance against this formidable might, the norsemen have fled south.

 

Alas, Charlemagne had to follow his own destiny, which would lead him to his former seat of power in the west. So we took it onto our oath to hunt down the norsemen. Strangely they were able to cover their tracks but our divinors uncovered that they were heading south across a huge mountain range called the Alps, an apt name as we found out. Those are the harshest and most unforgiving mountains I have ever seen. It must be hell for the norsemen. Being dwarves we had other means of travel. On the bedrock we uncovered what could only be a magically hidden entrance to a dwarven kingdom. Its inhabitants were gone for centuries but the tunnel was still there.

 

I cannot even begin to describe the wonders we have seen there. Soon we had to realize that this former dwarven kingdom is still inhabited, not by dwarves but a strange race of mountain dwellers we have never met before. Later we found out they are called Bergmännlein. They put up fierce resistance and until we emerged on the other side of the mountain range we had lost many a man. Sadly, I have to admit that we lost track of the norsemen. But we have heard about an army that was on its way over the mountains from the south to join forces with the norsemen. So we are now waiting for this army to come back and will lie in wait here for them in the land called Italy.

Edited by Stormchild

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Stormchild    10

Typically when the axiom wash hits a realm, things change according to the invading reality. In Aysle this means modern buildings are transformed to medieval buildings and to city walls where there were those walls during the medieval age. The housing tends to shrink in the process as the cities are much bigger today than they were in the middle ages. This leads to people fleeing from overcrowded cities to the country.

 

Also, myths from the past are revived. Especially the magical creatures of these myths come out of their long sleep. In Germany there are lots of myths about ghosts and spirits. Mostly the enchanted creatures are more annoying than dangerous. The enchanted in Germany can be separated into three distinctive groups: good, annoying and evil.

 

1) The good creatures try to help good people, give them presents of gold, food, magic or luck or help them in some way. But this help always comes with rules. The good creatures hate greed and punish it and their gifts are always lost when their rules are not followed strictly. A tale told in different mountain regions tells about mountain ghosts called Bergmännlein (one of the mythical sources where the fantasy notion of dwarves stems from) who help miners out of a cave-in and give them the present of a miner's lantern that never runs out of oil. But this comes with the rule never to talk about the Bergmännlein. When the miners act against this rule and tell their friends about the Bergmännlein, the lantern goes out. There is even one story about miners who die after they break the rule. There are also stories about Bergmännlein who give dirt to some people. Those who are humble find out that the dirt has changed into gold. Those who are greedy still only have dirt.

 

2) The annoying creatures are ghosts or gremlins who play pranks to people or want to lure them into losing face. Their deeds are rarely harmful and they can be helpful to good (mostly meaning pious) people. The typical story is the Klabautermann (ship's kobold) who is playing pranks to the sailors but will eventually warn them of storms and protect the ship (at least if they give him offerings of tobacco and rum).

 

3) The evil creatures are in league with the devil. In Aysle this means any evil god. They try to hurt or even kill people or bring them to their doom. The typical story is that of a witch (f.i. the Pelzweibl in Austria) or demon who steals children or lures people to their doom. The only protection against them is on holy ground or with strong faith.

Edited by Stormchild

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Stormchild    10

Berlin in the eye of the storm

 

Our city is walled-off again. But this time the wall is not of mortar and machine guns but it is the raging wrath of nature which fences us in. Storms of unprecedented strength make crossing into the mainland practically impossible. The Reigning Mayor (OoC: Regierender Bürgermeister - Reigning Mayor really is the title of Berlin's mayor because the city he is presiding over also is a state of the federation that is germany.) advised every citizen not to be so foolish as to try crossing the storm front. Though the storms sometimes turn down in strength, no one who tried leaving the city came back. The government has taken precautions to deal with that crisis. The Mayor: "Berlin's citizen are known to be a hardy lot. We have endured WWII, we have endured the blockade, we have endured the iron fence and we will endure whatever nature pits against us now. The storms cannot rage forever, so I advise everybody to stay calm and weather this out. Our supplies will last for some months as we still have the stocks we had built up during the cold war."

 

Resources near the Magistrate tell our newspaper otherwise. The stocks, they say, will only last another week. Though the government is handling the situation as if it was a natural disaster soon to be over when the weather changes, things seem to be much worse. Rumor has it that some people crossed the border from Brandenburg into the city but are being held by the military. The government denounces these allegations but our newspaper has learned that these people were changed in some way. We do not know how this happened, scientists we interviewed on this matter ascribe this to a traumatic effect the storms might have. Allegedly these people believe to come from some kind of medieval fantasy world.

 

Times can be as hard as they may with food and energy rationing, Berliners still know how to celebrate. Without electricity the hottest trend in town are candle-light parties in the famous clubs of our city where singers have come to instant stardom. One of the most impressive is Tristan (22), whose performance is said to be almost enchanting. His repertoire includes medieval songs with reference to our situation today. His chant "Charlemagne rising" has become a popular song people whistle everywhere on the streets. In these dire times even a whistled tune can help raise the spirits.

Edited by Stormchild

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Stormchild    10

Cologne, the old city on the river Rhine, was still recovering from festivities that even outshone the carnival the city is famous for. Charlemagne, the name still was on everybody's lips. He had visited the city, only a stepstone on his way to Aachen where he was to be crowned. He entered the city through the Frankenturm (franconian tower), the place where the mortal remains of the Three Magi had been brought into the city in 1164. For some spectators it was as if they were living in a fantasy as they thought to remember a different city. In their memory the huge walls did not exist some days ago. In its stead there were streets crowded with cars and trolley cars. But this memory faded as more and more people accepted this new reality. Most citizens were more than glad to have these walls now. They had protected the city from a horde of monsters that ravaged the land some days ago.

 

Then, the overcrowded city was breathing a collective sigh of relieve that grew into a roaring cheer, when Charlemagne and his twelve knights entered the cathedral. His entourage of fugitives and followers filled with new hope had to wait in the streets overcrowding the already stuffed streets. Everybody felt, that this was more than carnival, this was a historic event. Even more, this was a new beginning. Later the observers would pledge every oath that they had seen a halo over Charlemagne and his knights as they received the anointments. The archbishop was so impressed by the sight that he sank to his knees and nearly dropped the holy ointment. No wonder many people of the overcrowded city chose to follow Charlemagne's entourage in his crusade against the dark forces.

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Stormchild    10

Urbs Aquensis, urbs regalis, regni sedes principalis, prima regum curia. Regi regum pange laudes, quae de magni regis gaudes Caroli praesentia.

(Aachen, city of the Kaiser, you shining ancient city crown and glory, King's court of glamour and fame! Sing praise to the king in heaven, festivities in joy fill again Charlemagne's sanctuary! - listen to the song here the ancient praise was rumbling through the city of Aachen when Charlemagne left the cathedral. He had just received the crown out of the hands of the bishop and crowned himself with it standing in the middle of the Octogon.

 

What wonders did the citizens behold! When the chant ended they saw that the buildings joining the cathedral to the north had changed. Where formerly stood the city hall, there now was the king's hall in all its former glory. Charlemagne, not the least astonished, skirted the church and strode up the stairs to what was rightfully his domicil. In the entrance, he turned around to greet the cheering crowd. At that moment a new wonder occured. A dazzling beam of purest light shone from the heaven engulfing Charlemagne. When the spectators regained their eye sight, they could see some items lying at Charlemagne's feet. The king sank down on one knee and spoke in amazement: "A gift from our lord, behold the holy lance, the crowning garment, the holy orb, the holy scepter, the kingdom's cross, the Stephansbursa, the ceremonial sword and the iron crown", presenting each of the regalia to the crowd as he named them. "Now, it is obvious, the lord is on our side, we are destined to win this war against the forces of the dark!" Then, he walked inside the throne room, each of his knights taking one of the regalia.

 

Inside, when all the nobles were seated, Charlemagne's knights clad him in the royal garments, each handing one regalia to the king. At the climax of this ceremony, Roland handed the crown to Charlemagne who placed it on his head with his own hands. While outside the hall the people celebrated with wine and song, inside the nobles and emissaries from many regions of the realm had a private chat with the emperor. Among them there was an emissary from lands far away. He said he came from the country called Russia, a sour man who hides his fear through threats. He says that his government has been under pressure from NATO to assist them in their battle against Charlemagne’s armies. However, the Russians might be willing to sign a treaty acknowledging his empire in return for an item of power and a promise not to attack any of the members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

 

The king responded in kind words: "We are glad to hear that we have allies in the world, alas there is not much we can do to further your cause. The threat you fear is not of our design. Moreso, it is our sworn enemy, the forces of the dark, who is gnawing at the land faster than the heaviest storm gnaws on the shores. We will fight the creatures from hell with all our might but we are unable to pledge that your lands will be safe from attacks. This is not in our hands. But rest assured we will aid you in any way we can." Thus spoke the king Charlemagne and his people cheered.

Edited by Stormchild
changed the Link as it was no longer available

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