Return of the Hydra

Bad news

Coban the Barbarian and ‘Malse Mosj’ were sitting outside in the evening sun, enjoying a Gratch. All around them, the new colony was growing. New ships with colonists from Shairra were arriving daily now, there was not an enemy to be found within miles of their new city…everything seemed to be going well. But still…
“You know what I’m thinking?” Coban said “I’m missing these Seekers of Bhool actually.”
Mosj didn’t say anything, but took another sip from a Greater Gratch’, almost half as big as he was.
“I know it was necessary for the unity of the colony, and for our survival, but still, it doesn’t feel right, abandoning them like that, all alone in the wilderness.”
“Ha! I pity the wilderness,” Mosj said, and added some things in that filthy Grabling language of his that Coban couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand with his limited intelligence score.
“O crap! It’s the Inquisition!” everyone looked very uneasy when Sandar Silvermaul walked into the bar. Even now, with Cornelia’s tax against drunkenness expired, old habits (and old fears) died hard. Sandar ordered a glass of water, declined the 4-pound bag of salted nuts offered to him, and sat down besides Mosj and Coban.
“Bad news.” He started, without embellishments. “I just got a visit from that idiot, Orson Gnomebasher.” The others both spat in disgust. After his unsuccessful assault against Brina, Dore and Flandal, and his subsequent punishment by his co-inquisitors, everyone despised Orson. Attacking an unarmed opponent, who would do such a thing? (well, there were some who would, but they had all left the colony now)
“The bastard! Two years of latrine duty is too soft a punishment for him!”
“I don’t know,” Mosj smiled “Not latrine duty in a city full of Gnomes.”
“Anyway,” Sandar continued "He came to me, full of repentance. You know, the disappearance of his brother Orrin was never really cleared up and he strongly suspected Tjikka… And you know how provocative Brïna and her friends can be at times, but that is still no excuse, and I told him so. He is not really evil at heart, otherwise he would have left with Taggart and his corrputed friends, instead of taking Pyrias’ drugs and brooding over the past. But now comes the interesting part. He gave me some books he found in Pyrias’ possessions. Amongst them are the last part of Kreitton’s ship logs.
“Kreitton? Who the unholy fuck is Kreiton?”
“I dunno. But look at this, his description of the White Pyramid, Ay’Vorax’ Sanctuary.”
“Well, read it. Don’t let an impatient, illiterate barbarian wait, damn it!”
(…)
“What?!”
“Owww…shit!”
“They cannot be prepared for this. No. No!”
“And Tjikka just…”
“But, that means…”
“Yes, our friends are almost certainly doomed!”
“That’s not certain. Maybe Brïna or Cornelia could…”
“No way, you don’t know them as I do. They will fail, no doubt.”
“We have to warn them. We have to. Coban, with our combined fast movement we can maybe catch up with them before it is too late. Sandar, you stay here and prepare the city for the worst!”

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invitation to the White Hydra Head

(this note was found by Doré in Tribune Armac’s former headquarters. It is written in a small, shaky hand, probably by someone who is very old – or very dead)

My young friends,

As I have heard from our mutual friends, you have some difficulties. Demon worshippers infiltrate your ranks and corrupt your men. Your soldiers are succumbing to booze, violence, desperation and even desertion. An ancient evil awakens. And those responsible for all of this are still unpunished, free to wreak more havoc.
It seems we do not only have mutual friends, we also have mutual enemies. These ‘Seekers of Bhool’ must be stopped, at all costs, and my Master will give you the power to do so. Gather your men and come to us, at the White Hydra Head. You will recognize it from afar, I daresay.
Leave your men outside, for only these seven persons deserve an audience with our Lord and Saviour:
Armac the Tall, Tribune of the Sharp Swords
Waldemar, quaestor of Kern
Cormac the Fat, High Inquisitor of Kern
Taggart, elite soldier of Kern
Rhiovan the Red, elite soldier of Kern
and, of course, our mutual friends Endymion and Tmesias.

I sense that some of you have lost people dear to you, and others have seen their hopes and dreams shattered. Do not despair, for soon your loss will become your strength. You will learn to look through the pain, to seize the power.

If you are having any doubts in the path that lies before you, know that I also once had my doubts. But no longer. The long years have granted me a wisdom I would like to bestow also on you.

I expect you soon, before the next full moon,

PS: do not forget the sacrifice I mentioned before!

(unsigned)

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an invitation

Dear Friend,

You have the honor of witnessing King Tarwyn’s coronation, after His last glorious victory on the Burning Fields. You are expected in His Majesty’s new capital, the ancient city of Atharak’Ara’Na’Bul. We kindly request you and your partner to dress appropiately for the occasion. Don’t put on to much clothing, for there will be a really hot party afterwards!
And please, please don’t bring too much other guests with you, for His Grace’s three hundred Ogre servants are not accostumed to dealing with many guests at once.

See You Soon,

Xantheus the Magnificent,
Court Bard of Tarwyn the First, Honoured Member of the Most Powerful Character Class, First Proclaimer of His Majesty’s neverending heroic deeds and Hapless Piñata of Epic Level Killpikkers.

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an unholy alliance...

Dear anarchistic, kleptomaniac, drunken midget that goes by the ridiculous name of ‘Malse Mosj’,

You’ll certainly be surprised to receive such a long letter from me, Athanas, your sworn enemy. But I believe these times make for strange alliances. As you well know, I am the leader of the Ademorran branch of the Silent Snakes, I have the full support of the Undying Four in the Temple of Ouroboros and I’m a Merchant Prince and council member to boot. And you are…well, a lowly alchemist who has just been fired by that buffoon Xantheus (but only because he won initiative, because you were going to leave the tower anyway), but now it’s not important that you are an unemployed piece of lowlife scum, no, what is more important is that you have the full support of all these diminutive beggars that just arrived. And if my informants are not mistaken, after Balazar resigned his position of spokesman of the Grabling Guild because of his pathetic performance in the elections a year ago, these idiots couldn’t find a better replacement than you.

Where was I? Ah yes, I was trying not to insult you, as I believe we would both profit greatly from an alliance between my Silent Snakes and your Grabling Guild. As you should have noticed, our new colony is rapidly falling apart in various factions. The events of last night are more than enough proof of it: a wild chase for Tjikka and Philias, torture under the eyes of the people, forced confessions, the destruction of the Inquisitors’ new building by an angry mob, Tarwyn’s apparent desertion, the Wizard’s Tower new master who seems to be completely out of his mind… Things will soon get out of hand, and our job is to make sure they stay that way! Only that way, we can secure power over this promising colony.

I will not bother you with all the various arguments I have gathered. Even a dimwitted little fellow as you can see that Armac and his new friend Waldemar will try to rob me the colonists of their hard-earned riches. Time to remove them… permanently.
Since both our efforts to kill or disable Waldemar have been futile, and since our ‘Seekers of Bhool’ didn’t come up with a plan to stop him either, we have to try something different, something that ends in open rebellion.
Therefor, when the army leaves at dawn to repell the natives who survived the Great Fire, all our men should go with them, along with their wives and children and all their possessions. At the site of the burned jungle, we will start building a new city, a city with our own laws, free of Kernian meddling, free of Kernian taxation.
Hopefully, that will push our opponents into action, certainly when that annoying Inquisitor Valdemar has discovered that I have taken the remaining treasury from the workshops with me! Since it will probably end in crude violence, it is imperative that we gather as much support as we can. Here some suggestions, feel free to contribute:

  • Silent Snakes: no problem. A good thing I brought many reinforcements from Shairra, for even with them we are not very numerous
  • The Grabling Guild and your 8 ships of Gnomes: no problem. I don’t know what they are worth in combat, but there are certainly an awful lot of these little rats!
  • The wizard’s tower: lost to us, now that humbug Xantheus has taken power. Maybe Dore can convince some of her former employees to leave the tower, or persuade that Xantheus himself by flattering his already inflated ego.
  • the Erymian mercenaries: unsure what way they will turn. They love booze and violence (good!), but hate magic-abusers of any kind (that’s why they are so closely aligned with Kern, after all), so it’s unsure which side they will choose…if they choose a side at all! The key figure might be that ‘Coban the Barbarian’, who seems to be their unofficial leader.
  • The Gran Yo natives: unimportant.
  • Cornelia and Sandar Silvermaul: most of the soldiers and inquisitors still obey them, so for the upcoming conflict it is very important they choose our side, or at least remain neutral. Sandar will be next to impossible to coax into a battle with his fellow Kernians, but Cornelia is not above persuasion. In my humble opinion, as long as she sees Armac and Valdemar as a bigger threat to her authority than her own ‘friends’, she will side with us. Who will annoy Cornelia the most, that’s the question… Best to advise your friends Flandal, Brïna and Tjikka to just shut up, and let Armac and co talk themselves into trouble.
  • Tycho and Flandal: no problem, they are on our side for sure. They know they are next in line to be tortured, certainly after Tjikka’s ‘confessions’.
  • Tjikka: that’s a no-brainer (pun intended), after what they done to her, those terrible things the inquisitors did when they were alone with her, see must really hunger for revenge! And, just to be clear, I’m talking about the fact that they TOOK AWAY 2 OF HER MAGIC RINGS FROM HER FOR 10 MINUTES! Oh, the horror!
  • Dore: How to motivate her? As far as my informers know, she’s only interested in two things: her brother Philias and the Wizards’ Tower. And now, both have been taken from her. Hell hath no greater fury…
  • Brina: an easy one. As a worshipper of Cythaerea, she loves bloody revolution, chaos, destruction, and ‘freedom’. Disgusting, but so very useful now.

If we persuade most of them, we greatly outnumber Armac and his cronies. But will they attack us, relying on their ‘superior Kernian fighting skill’? Best to provoke them. Some killings will do. Maybe our mutual friends, these ever-violent, trigger-happy ‘Seekers of Bhool’, can help with that? With quaestor Waldemar dead, even these old fools at the Senate will get the message, won’t they?

Oh, and one last thing. Since you Grablings are chaotic as the Abyss itself, I took the liberty of capturing twenty of your Gnome children as hostages. Just in case you should suddenly decide to leave all the fighting to us, do you understand?
To assure you of my trustworthiness (as if the word of a Merchant Prince and High Priest of Ouroboros isn’t enough!), I give you Tycho as a hostage, (known amongst your people as ‘Pampy’, whatever that might mean). And I really don’t want him harmed or killed, since he owns me a lot of money!

May the Great Serpent smile on both our plans,

Merchant Prince Athanas

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Flandals bedenkingen bij personen in de kolonie

De situatie is de kolonie is niet langer houdbaar:Flandal somt op wat er fout gaat (niet in malstaal, wel met veel vreemde zinnen en typfouten).

  1. Tarwyn heeft duidelijk een deal gesloten met een duistere demon uit de hel. Iedereen weet dat dit komt door zijn gecurste items waar hij geen afscheid van wilt nemen. Bovendien heeft hij zonder reden het kamp verlaten. Niet alleen verraden hij heeft heel wat mannen meegenomen op een moment dat de kolonie, op bevel van de raad, een grote aanval op onze vijand gaat lanceren.
  • Door dit verraad tegen de kolonie (des te erger door vele manschappen te nemen op het moment dat de kolonie een strijd moet leveren om te overleven) kan hij niet meer als lid beschouwd worden van onze kolonie! VERBANNEN die boel!
  • daarnaast hebben we ook aanwijzingen dat hij zelfs met ‘the lord of suckers’ op pad is. Deze door en door slechte demon is gewoon uit op onze manschappen om ze als kanonnenvoer in te zetten tegen de ondodenmeesters! VERBANNEN die boel.
  • iedereen met wat ranks in sense motive of met ‘detect inlovewiththedevil’ ziet dat deze pipo in de ban is van demonen. Hij wil duidelijk the firegod meehelpen een god te worden, waarschijnlijk zijn ze nu samen met hun gestollen troepen naar Bhooel! VERBANNEN die boel!
  1. - Voldemort, Orson gnome basher, … zijn gewoon uit om onze kolonie hier te pluimen. Tot daaraan toe, maar nu gaan ze ook burgers van onze kolonie zonder enige grondige reden gewelddadig folteren voor de ogen van 1000-en burgers. Bij de gevangenis name kwamen ze niet verder dan: ‘gij zijt verdacht, kom mee’. Het verhoor zelf was nog erger, deze ‘toffe’ kerels konden zelfs niet één vraag stelen dat arme Tsjikka kon verstaan. Daarom ontnamen ze diene mongol van nen Tsjikka zijn speeltjes om ze enkel terug te geven als hij iets ondertekende. 100-en getuigen konden zien dat Tjikka enkel tekende voor haar speeltjes en dat ze de inhoud niet kon lezen. De inhoud van dat document kan dus op geen enkel moment serieus genomen worden!
  • Wie denkt deze tak van de inquisitie dat ze zijn? Kunnen ze zomaar iedereen folteren en kinderen hun speeltjes af te gaan nemen. Zijn deze mensen bij rechte om zomaar 50 % van onze belastingen te komen innen voor kern? FOOOOERT!
  1. De meester van de toren is gewoon nen pipo met een fluit! Waar is Xantheus plots opgedoken op het schip naar Shairra, hij is volgens mijn niet vertrokken met de rest: eerder plots na bhoel opgedoken, liep die tegelijkertijd ook niet rond op de kolonie?
  • het is duidelijk, de firegod heeft gevochten in het gedaante van xantheus en erna terug xantheus erbij gezet om in den toren te malsen. Zo niet helpen enkele dispel magics wel!
  • DUMPEN DIE KEREL.
  1. Taggart, Armac en aanverwanten: zijn zonder het aan de raad te laten weten al meermaals zelf op pad geweest. Met alle gevolgen van dien, zo zijn wij hun uit de shit moeten gaan helpen toen ze plots besloten onze naaste buren (die geen probleem waren voor ons op dat moment). Ook zijn ze verschillende keren beschuldigd van aanvallen op andere inwoners van de kolonie (ons). Tot daaraan toe nog: maar nu weigeren ze mee te gaan vechten in de veldslag. Dit is duidelijk tegen de besluiten van de raad in!
  • Ze weigeren natuurlijk mee te vechten door hun adoratie voor die necrofielen. VERBANNEN die gecorumpeerde lycheelovers!
  • ze vechten mee, of ze kunnen hun boeltje pakken of MEEVECHTEN of VERBANNEN die boel.
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Flandal beginvisie over hoe het verder moet met de kolonie na de grote brand,...

Beste vrienden:

Ook ik heb wat gezondigd en mijn eigenbelangen op de voorgrond geplaatst (en enkel daarop gefocust, maar nu is de tijd gekomen om de rangen te sluiten en de kolonie op de eerste plaats te zetten. Weg met de mannen die de ‘duivel’ aanbidden (tarwyn en co), weg met de necrofielen (taggart, armac,…) en weg met de kerniaanse onderdrukkers (voldemort en co). Ik denk dat een stuk van de kolonie vanuit het besef ‘wat is het plan van deze kolonie’ en ‘is het nu eens gedaan met uw eigenbelang boven het belang van de kolonie te plaatsen’: cornelia (very special forces), Koban (erymianen), Athanas (met Pampy, silent snakes, workshops), Sandar (deel inquisitie), Malse Mosj (de exponentieel toenemende gnomen bevolging) en in mindere maten de clerics (zielig bende leiderloze clerics), Brina (en haar nu nog op één hand te tellen volgelingen), Lumumba en eventueel tsjikka (lange negers eenheid van de toren), Dore (voor de philosopher mages aan).

NIEUWE COALITIE: Eigen kolonie eerst en de rest buiten! Of vrijwillig, of met geweld!

Plan:

Tarwyn volgen (naar Bhoel ?) en daar uitschakelen of op zijn minst verzawakken en plannen doorgronden. Vervolgens ondoden gaan uitschakelen in witte piramide. Dus eerst focus op DUIVELS en ondoden en vooral hun beide meesters uitschakelen!!! Vervolgens is onze kolonie vrij en kunnen we een stevige vloot beginnen aan te bouwen om de mogelijke aanvallen van Kern af te slagen (zal niet voor meteen zijn dat die afkomen!)
Daarna kunnen w e allemaal happy samenleven als vrije burgers

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De Gazet van Shairra: de hoofdpunten

BUITENLANDS NIEUWS

Senaat geeft toe: KERN IN ZWARE GELDNOOD na aanslepende grensconflicten met Isson en Nephelidia

42 SCHEPEN nieuwe kolonisten vertrokken naar PROVINCIA ADEMORRA

ONBEKENDE WELDOENER schenkt plebs HONDERDEN TICKETS naar nieuw LUXE-RESORTBHOOL’. Verloting volgende week.

ANDERE WELDOENERFLUGELMEISTER’ huurt ACHT schepen en stopt ze TJOKVOL GNOMEN. “Hoeveel Gnomen krijgt ge in een boot? Altijd eentje meer, ha ha ha!”

een OOGGETUIGE vertelt: “Leven in Provincia Ademorra HEL voor priesters!”

De GENADELOZE en VOLLEDIGE VERNEDERING van ORMUNDFIREBEARD’: een oogetuigeverslag over geweld tegen geestelijken

nog steeds zelfde ooggetuige vertelt: “DRANK en EVIL GODDESSES stelen laatste zieltjes weg van traditionele religie.” Hoe kerken leeglopen en fuifzalen (enigszins) vollopen.

ZATTENTAKS en andere feiten die u ZEKER moet weten over de NIEUWE KOLONIE

Zeker ZESHONDERD lawful good DWARVEN CLERICS trekken TELEURGESTELD weg uit Shairraanse haven: “Wie weet hebben we meer geluk in een volgende d&d-campaign in Nephelidia”

Reclame

DRINK LIKE A MANDRINK LIKE PAMPY!!!

Huis bouwen? Bootticket? Duur magisch item gezien? Drankschulden?
Voor al uw leningen één adres: ATHANAS.
Slechts 10%!!! (maandelijks)

let op, want geld lenen kost ook geld… véél geld!

GRATCH: monks weten waarom!

Hoofdpijn? Brandwonden? Geslachtsziekten? Teleurstellende tweegevechten? Voelt u zich een beetje down? Neem dan een Gratch! Neem er twee!! Je ongelukkig voelen is toch niet meer van deze tijd!

BINNENLANDS NIEUWS

DRONKEN tegenstanders HOMO-HUWELIJK verstoren huwelijk TYCHO en PHILIAS: “Dit had de MOOISTE DAG van mijn leven kunnen zijn!”

QUAESTOR WALDEMAR overleeft MINSTENS 12 AANSLAGEN: “Die Dire Weasel in het toilet was er echt teveel aan!”

BRAND verwoest andermaal FAMILIEWOONST ZEPHIR. “De belangrijkste verdachte blijft die NEGERIN die de vorige keer met die kist wegliep door de voordeur” (zie editie Gazet vorig jaar)

Ook recente kandidaat PHILIAS WEIGERT kandidatuur PROCONSUL SHAIRRA: “Eerst mijn schulden inlossen. En overleven.”

High Inquisitor LORNA en primipilus RAGNAR tevreden: “laatste leden RODE HAND en CULT OF DOOM nu definitief VERDWENEN uit onze stad”


En dan het weer. Morgen blijft het droog aan de kust. Elders verwachten we een stevige storm.

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Philias' Luck

Mizuno, former archmage of Nephelidia, looked ad the sad remnants of his men. Barely enough to man what these surfacers called a ‘fishing boat’. The idea of that great a body of water still frightened the old wizard, but not nearly enough as the results of failure. He looked southwest again, where a ship appeared on the horizon. If his divinations were correct, the person they were looking for was aboard. Maybe even both of them, he wasn’t sure.
Mizuno checked their allies’ ships. Everyone had put their weapons away and put on their disguise as ‘fisherman’. (What kind of poor fool whould risk his life and sanity each day by travelling this ‘sea’ in search for a few stinking small animals? It was beyond him.) “Hey, wizard dude! I’ll do the talking.” Celerio jr. shouted from another ship. “Don’t worry, I’ll have it all prepared. They’ll think it’s only a diplomatic…en…coun…terrrr?”
Celerio’s voiced trailed off as he watched a big ball of fire spinning through the air, towards their first ship. The ship exploded, killing most of the crew. Luckily, these goons hadn’t been paid yet! For a moment, they all just stood there, mouth open. What…the…Hell!???
No use trying to negotiate, as these bloodthirsty, trigger-happy maniacs were reloading their fearsome firing device. Mizuno said something in aquan, and his two charmed Deep Squids sped towards the big ship.
Another ship exploded, leaving only two. Were was the time he and his men almost ruled this big city? Damn it, he would not die on this stinking water, like a common pirate! Luckily, he knew just the spell and moments later, Mizuno, one of the last remaining wizards of Nephelidia, flew towards his enemies in the shape of a Red Dragon. Most of the crew fled in fear, but four of them held their ground. Celerio’s ship and his own ship were closing the distance, the squids were attacking and a small lifeboat with survivors was ready to board the Hydra Ship. Good, maybe it would be a victory, after all!
“Spare all Shairrans younger than 36 years!” Celerio shouted. “Kill the others!” Mizuno unleashed a blast of fire. One of the enemy evaded lightning quick, but the other three were too slow. At the same time, a Deep Squid grabbed one of the men (apparantly their leader, judging by his fancy coat and armor) and used it to pummel the others into submission. However, even with their leader disabled (they called him ‘de Fille’, whatever that might mean), the three others managed to kill both of his pet sea monsters. Damnation! And from the corner of his eye, he saw a tiny creature crossing the water at great speed. A grabling, unless he was mistaken. Annoying, but not very dangerou… Holy crap! It just blew up another of his ships, dodging attack after attack and tossing bombs like they were candy! Was each and every one of these surfacers a pyromaniac?!!

Mizuno got lucky and could release another devastating blast of fire. With their leader free (somehow, the ornaments on his helmet had saved him from falling and drowning?!), the others struck hard. One of them, wearing only an old diaper, was quite powerful, but hadn’t fought for a long time, judging by the sub-optimal choices he made. The second was a light-armored old priest, but appearances could be deceiving, for he was a real terror in combat, almost even devastating as that big Erymian, a boy only, but nonetheless killing his men by the dozen! A good thing he kept the most powerful enemy at bay, for this ‘Fille’ was now slowed, blinded and drunk!
Celerio stabbed the priest in the back, and waves of Nephelidian soldiers managed to almost bring down that boy with his greatsword. But it would not be enough, for they kept boozing and healing. Time for the big cannons. Another blast of fire. Still not enough. Mass Suggestion: ‘kill that annoying Erymian!’ Finally, the turning point in a losing battle. The hypnotized ‘Fille’ managed to inflict huge critical hit after critical hit…upon his ally! Thank the Gods for Enchantments! Celerio kept his ground, even after all his men were slain, and brought down ‘Fille’ as well. Hmm, a Shairran of the correct age… No doubt this was who they were looking for!
Mizuno dived down and grabbed ‘de Fille’. Celerio jr. could die, for all he cared. His father would never learn the truth, and reward him handsomely for this prize! As they flew towards Shairra, Mizuno smiled for the first time in more than a year. Some luck, for the first time since his troops were slaughtered and zombified in the Arena, and his boss Diokles was murdered. If only he knew why his masters needed this boy… but no doubt it would be some great scheme to restore the Red Hand to power!

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Letter from the Senate

Heil Kern!

Gegroet, gij Broeders aan de andere kant van het Grote Water, glorieuze strijders in de Voorhoede van de Beschaving, Toortsdragers in het Hart der Duisternis, gegroet!

Met vreugde hebben wij in de hoofdstad van het Imperium gehoord van jullie overwinningen, eerst op de piraat Bloodbeard, dan op de hordes ondoden, hydra’s, negerkannibalen en andere monsters die de jungle bewonen. Met nog meer vreugde hebben we de verslagen gelezen van Tribuun Armac, waarin hij ons de gigantische buit beschrijft die jullie telkens binnenhalen: piratengoud, slaven, ivoor, zilver…
Persoonlijk moet ik wel toegeven dat ik moeilijk wijs raak uit de beschrijvingen van jullie toch wel érg aparte belastingssysteem. En geloof me, er is niemand in het Imperium die meer ervaring heeft met financiën dan ik! En toch, toch sta ik met open mond te kijken naar de verslagen over de enorme inkomsten die jullie elke maand binnenhalen. Mijn gelukwensen: jullie zijn erin geslaagd belastingen te bedenken die nog nooit eerder in een menselijk hoofd zijn opgekomen! Malstaks, vreemdelingentaks, zatlappentaks… Alleen een belasting op de ingeademde lucht ontbreekt nog! De andere provinciae zouden een voorbeeld aan jullie moeten nemen!

Zoals de zaken nu staan, zal het jullie dan ook wel niet verbazen dat de Senaat, na jaren van investeren in dit project, wel eens iets terug wil zien. 50% van jullie huidige inkomsten lijkt ons schappelijk voor de komende jaren. Dat zou geen probleem mogen zijn, aangezien Armac me in zijn laatste ‘sending’ nog liet weten “Weten verdomme niet wat te doen met al dat geld”.

Om te zien dat alles in juiste banen loopt, kom ik in eigen persoon zo gauw ik kan naar de kolonie, als senator quaestoris potestate. Als ik me niet vergis, hebben jullie toch dringend nood aan een betrouwbare, integere en correcte Lord Treasurer. En op die manier kan een oude rot in het vak nog wat bijleren over belastingen, taksen en het uitknijpen van citroenen!

Enkele anonieme bronnen (noem ze maar ‘Ademorra-leaks’) hebben me ook ingelicht over de monsterwinsten die sommigen al hebben gemaakt. Tijdens mijn bezoek zal ik dan ook de boekhouding van de volgende sujetten grondig doorlichten:
• Merchant Prince Athanas (woekerpraktijken en sjoemelen met overheidsgeld)
• Philias Zephir (aka ‘de Fille’) en zijn handlangers ‘Pampy’ en ‘Tjikka’ (zwart geld)
• De zogenaamde ‘Flügelmeister’ (?)
• Tribuun Tarwyn (een paleis? wtf?
)

Tot spoedig. Moge Kern ons een voorspoedige reis schenken!

PS: Eén van mijn reisgezellen, centurio Orson ‘Gnomebasher’, vraagt of jullie zijn broer, senator Orrin al gered hebben. Dat zal wel, na twee maanden? Het is gewoon dat die Orson nogal ongeduldig wordt, en je kent dat wel, dan zoekt men altijd een schuldige…

PPS: Het is waarschijnlijk overbodig, maar na 4 maanden hebben jullie kapitein Seamus toch al teruggevonden? Sommige van zijn hooggeplaatste vrienden in de senaat worden nogal ongeduldig.

Geschreven door Waldemar, quaestor, gepensioneerd inquisiteur en lid van de Dienst Bijzondere Belastingsontduiking, sprekend in opdracht van de Kerniaanse senaat.

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The Demons are back!

“Just stay close behind me and do exactly as I say. You are only Neophyte Liches now, but in a few centuries you must be able to do this job on your own. Now listen. First, you need to wait until sundown to enter the Champions’ Graveyard. Not because we’re harmed by sunlight in any way – what lame kind of undead are really affected by sunlight, anyway? – no, because these are the rules. Think about it: if we start appearing whenever we want and killing visitors during daytime, our loyal subjects would soon stop burying their dead here. Imagine us travelling through the jungle of Ademorra, going from village to village, digging through local graveyards? That would be such a waste of time! And that way, our Army of Immortals would never have been so big.”
“I have a question. How can you re-animate so many corpses in one night?”
“Well, as you well know, we warlocks have lots of spells, more than the average wizard or priest, who is already running out of spells after the second encounter of the day. Also, I have this powerful Staff of Death. But, most important of all, many of the corpses have already arisen. The magical items we freely distribute among our flock take care of that. For instance, half of the chieftains of Ademorra carry a belt that transforms them in a mummy after their death. Saves us the trouble – and the material spell components!”
“But won’t they notice the item is cursed?”
“Ademorran warriors have only combat-oriented skills. And even if someone tells them about the curse, it’s already too late. Even putting off the item of casting Remove Curse will not save them. Only a very expensive remedy saves their souls, but who can afford that? No, once they’ve put on one of our little gifts, they are doomed. Certainly if they enter the White Pyramid, he he he…”
“Katunga, you talk to much. The sun is already down. Let’s go!”
“My second-in-command is quite impatient, I see. Well, let’s take a look at this month’s harvest. It’s the good time of the year: lots of battles, a few plagues (not even all of them sent by us)…”
“What the…”
“…”

The four Liches and their guards stood frozen in their tracks, surveying the destruction. Shattered tombstones and pilars, piles of broken bones, blood everywhere…
“Grave robbers?”
“No. Look!” The eldest Lich pointed a bony finger to the center of the graveyard. Not only some of the lesser graves and mausolea had been opened, but even the Great Temple had been broken into! Evil the eldest Lich was overcome by a feeling of dread, as he saw the door that had not been opened in a thousand years broken down, amongst a heap of rubble and the disintegrated remains of at least four creatures.
“Spread out. Battle formations!”
Cautiously, Katunga, Great Harvester and Guardian the Graveyard, entered the Great Temple of the Devourer, ancient even before he was born. The Altar of Darkness was utterly destroyed and signs of battle were everywhere. Who would have dared?
From the corner of his eye socket, he saw a flicker of movement.
“Quickened Greater Dispelling! Implosion!” When the opponent remained completely unaffected, Katunga had a moment of complete despair. Then he saw it was a Spell Shaper (filthy creatures, but once very effective against the Ancient Enemy). The creature had been blinded, somehow, as well as that Greater Deathbringer just behind him.
“What happened here? Tell me and be quick about it!”
“Deeeeeeeemonsss, my Lord. They have come back.”
“Impossible!”
“That spellhaunt shade may be, Katunga. My Arcane Sight reveals traces of at least 2 Demon Summonings just outside the temple.”
“Yeeeessss. A Fiendissssh Abyssssssal Eleeeephant.”
“I see they even opened one of these simple wooden doors with a disintegrate spell. Typical Demons | Demon behaviour!”
“Lotsss of Magic Abussssserssss. Blackguardssss desssstroyed altar. Evil Priesssst made us blind with sssssome obssssscure ssssspell he didn’t even know completely himssssself! Not fair, it isssss!”
“Here, Remove Blindness. Now shut up, you hissing piece of incorporeal shit! Stormcaller, you go back to the catacombs and call for some serious backup. Tell Archinosima to come out of his library and trigger all the defenses. All of them! Wake up the artifacts’ powers, we’ll going to need them against a foe of this size. You, take this Staff and start raising whatever is left, then go back to guard the tunnels. The others, follow me. They must be greatly weakened after this last fight. If they are stupid enough to stay nearby, we’ll make them pay for their sacrilege.”

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