This page contains in-game texts, logs, notes, and other contents acquired by the characters of The Encircled Path campaign.
- 1 Allfrerhem Handbills
- 2 Fragmented Svertan History Record
- 3 A History of Allfrerhem by Vanhin Ilmarinen
- 4 Olinn Einarr’s Aarnivak Expedition Journal
- 5 Allfrerhem Nexus Query Results
- 6 Naraja Notes
- 7 Aarnivak Nexus Records
- 8 Isarvan’s Journals
Allfrerhem Handbills ∞
Origin: These handbills are found at the main gates and other posting boards throughout Allfrerhem.
Handbill 1 – On the Matter of Ruins ∞
By Thane Einarr – A Proclamation to All Locals and Travellers
By decree of Lord Einarr of Allfrerhem, dominar and regent of these lands, no person shall enter the Arnivak or Huldra ruins without the explicit consent of the Thane. Any relics or salvage from said ruins are considered forfeit and the rightful property of the Thane. Violation of this edict is grounds for punishment up to, and including execution.
Signed – Lord Einarr
Handbill 2 – A Warning Regarding the Western Road ∞
By Aylan Jaghund, Captain of the Guard
Be advised that attacks by a bandit company on the western road have cost a half dozen lives. The Thane’s son Hakon Einarr is leading efforts to track the bandits. Individuals with arms and proven martial experience are invited to apply at the keep to join the expedition. Pay in the amount of 100 coins of gelt per bandit head taken.
Signed – Captain Jaghund
Handbill 3 – Dancers wanted ∞
Applicants to speak with Virva Kallio at Aia’s Flask
[This handbill has been half-torn down]
Handbill 4 – Bounty Offered ∞
By Aylan Jaghund, Captain of the Guard, on behalf of the Thane
For any information leading to the arrest of members of the despicable gang known as The Ruthless owing to their numerous crimes of theft, assault, and vandarism.
Pay in the amount of 5 coins of gelt for any credible information leading to the arrest of said scum.
Signed, Captain Jaghund
Bounty Offered ∞
By Kar Albin Stakkyr,
50 coins of gelt to anyone who brings me the head of Rasacar the Menace.
[This bill has a a rather well drawn picture of a Grommen, a type of repto-avian wolf of significant size]
Signed, Kar Stakkyr
[Someone has scrawled several unpleasant epithets after the writer’s name; choice one’s include ‘weasel dick’ and ‘son of a glutty whore’. There is also a line reading ‘bounty offered for sexual infidelity on the part of Rasacar…]
Handbill 6 – Bounty Offered ∞
Looking for folks not afraid to get their hands dirty. Come to the Modding Heap for details.
Handbill 7 – Bounty Offered by Obrais Trading Company ∞
Under the Authority of the Victran People and By Order of the Lord Rit of Victra
Wanted for Murder of Ser Caden Obrais, brother of Lord Gavan Obrais
Description: 5 feet, 6 inches tall, blonde, white of skin.
[there is a rough sketch of a woman or young man with attractive features]
An amount of 500 gelt is offered for the apprehension of the subject, 100 gelt for information leading to capture or 10 gelt for information deemed valuable.
The subject is to be remanded to the custody of an agent of the Obrais Trading Company as empowered by the Victran People, to be returned to Victra for trial and punishment.
Fragmented Svertan History Record ∞
Origin: Recovered from the Allfrerhem Lorekeeper’s Nexus by Intan Pollendina. Metadata suggests the text is thousands of years old.
…even during the golden age of the Imperium the North was sparsely populated, home to a relatively small number of cities and settlements and culturally dominated by the clay folk [term unclear; rough translation] who ruled from the city of Hellioth [location unclear; does not match known cartographic resources]. Those of iron blood [term unclear; rough translation] survived in the settlements of the Sige [translation = Silent]. There is little evidence of witch [term unclear; rough translation] presence in the north.
During this great age the people of the North were rugged individualists, seeking to escape the opulence and grandeur of their southern neighbours. Here the old arts thrived and the ancestors of our people were sustained on the bounty of the risen world, gifted by…
…the cataclysm of the first age started in the south but reached the North soon enough. The people of the Imperium were laid low by a ruinuous array of disasters. Disease, technological failure, natural and unnatural disasters, and internecine conflict, all reducing the already small population to a fraction. The loss of links between the hubs of the south and Aynar brought even greater suffering and…
…as the great iron minds [translation = Artilects] retreated from the south, seeking shelter from the Beast in isolation, they too fractured giving rise to echo-thief [term unclear; rough translation] who brought great ruin through unity to …
…the revelation of the role of the black tongue [term unclear; rough translation] in the fall drove many to follow the Arcane [term unclear; possibly proper name, title, organization, or deity?] in the attempt to stave off extinction. Even the Echo Thief sought alliance and by Naritsu [term unclear; possibly proper name, title, organization, or deity] the people were guided to march against the rising armies of the broken people [term unclear]…
..the deaths of Ayek and Ivit-ka turned iron and clay-blood alike against…
Author – Perdis Nestori, Rigvori of … [CORRUPT SECTION]
A History of Allfrerhem by Vanhin Ilmarinen ∞
Origin: Given to Sarv by Vanhin Ilmarinen
This thick leather bound tome has a plain cover and a sturdy binding. Opening it releases a slightly sweet, almost almond-y smell and the pages are pale and yellow with age. The book contains centuries of lineage and historical notation regarding Allfrehem, maintained by generations of Allfrerhem Lorekeepers. You doubt this copy is the original; the many ink marks in the margins and perfunctory nature of the lettering all speak to a copy made by a student or apprentice.
Vanhin has placed a bookmark in the relevant section of the text.
Cult of Naraja
The Cult of Naraja was a blood cult devoted to the worship of abominations, false prophets, and dark gods which operated secretly within Allfrerhem, possibly for decades, prior to their open emergence in 8231, during the first year of the reign of Thane Aallotar Einarr*.
Extant records suggest that the cult was spawned by a sect of Vox worshipers who claimed to receive visions that led them to recover lost lore of Svertheim. The later and most violent iteration of the cult was responsible for dozens of acts of violence and cruelty including kidnapping, mutilation, murder, human sacrifice, and cannibalism. Members of the cult initially worshiped the Vox, but turned their worship to an entity they called Naraja, the Father in Darkness, or the Night Father after their leader, a figure with dark gifts, supposedly experienced visions of same. This led the cult to denounce the Vox and all Ayr as well as the history of Svertheim, claiming that Maghnus Serdheim was not first Theuda, but instead a betrayer of Naraja. Cultists claimed that Naraja was a celestial entity and saviour of the north during the fall of the Urul and that by their worship they would see him revived to claim rightful rulership over the land. In reward for their loyalty cultists believed they would be elevated or transformed by Naraja. Worse, cultists believed that death in service of Naraja was itself a blessing and that they would be revived to serve when the time came. High ranking members of the cult were seen to demonstrate abilities beyond the ken of mortals. A short but incomplete list includes: preternatural senses, immense strength, inhuman durability, mutations of body, command of dark creatures, poisonous touch.
Cultists were found in all classes of Allfrerhem society, from drudge to noble, and in possession of a broad range of skills.
The cult’s activities targeted both the rightful rulers and lords of Allfrerhem as well as the devoted of the Ayr whom they claimed to be false. To this end the cult waged a hidden war, attempting to winnow out adversaries and cultivate the right conditions for overthrow of the Einarr family. Though unknown at the time the cult was responsible for the death of many of Aallotar’s friends and family, often by means of poison or subtle assassination. The cults activities came to a head during a festival of the Vox, when they mounted a full assault on the city and Thane, moving in the open and releasing an unnamed horror and using its cover to attempt the murder of a dozen key figures. The monster, shown to have been revived through blood sacrifice and dark ritual, killed dozens of the Thane’s best soldiers before being defeated. Commendation for thwarting the attack was laid upon Germund Veor, Osota Mesikammen, and the Thane’s Clatterjack Kalevan, earning the first two titles and land. The cult was thereafter driven from the city by those loyal to the Thane. Those noble families identified with members corrupted by the cult were stripped of title and holdings, with most choosing to flee the city entirely. Captured members were hung and their bodies and profane holy books burned. Highest of the cult, leader and so-called prophet, was dragged asunder, beheaded, and his body divided in three, with the remains hung in a gibbet as a warning.
Members of the cult were seen to know each other by their black leather cloaks and an Urul Ricka on a leather thong worn about the neck. The origin of these coins is likely the same ruin from which the cult initially claimed its heretical lore.
[The tome has a sketch of the coin in question]
[The dates place these events at 130 years ago.]
*The father of Gunnvǫr Eionarr and grand-father of Olinn Einarr]
Olinn Einarr’s Aarnivak Expedition Journal ∞
Origin: A copy was given to Intan by Torald Einarr
3rd of Omoth, 8319
At long last, on the eve of my 20th birthday, my father has granted permission for the expedition. He was cryptic when he said why; “Because it is time you learned what I learned,” was all he would offer before retreating to his tower. His age seems to weigh heavier each day and I worry for his mind. But while I do not take his words lightly, the opportunity is immense. We have spent too long avoiding Aarnivak.
The ruined city of Aarnivak; the gem in the Poinvek, hidden in the shadow of mountain and pine. A ruin that has long tempted the people of Allfrerhem, and long punished them for their curiosity. Certainly the wealth of the Aarnivak has been diminished, to time or scavengers, but untold fortunes remain. And the risks are great; dangerous wildlife that has settled there; deadly machines and traps left by the Urul. The last proper expedition to the city was nearly a century ago, and though many valiant souls were lost the rewards were immeasurable; Kalevan for one, a potent weapon against beast and bandit alike, to say nothing of the salvage that transformed the Haggen and the Keep alike.
I am honoured and frightened by the opportunity.
The wisdom and riches still hidden there could transform Allfrerhem, bring prosperity to its people and glory to its rulers.
Tonight I will gather my closest comrades and we will begin forging the chain that will haul this city up from obscurity and into the light.
The Retinue (7)
– Olinn Einarr
– Okuu Skall
– Tullar Otagon
– Sverrir Veor
– Sigr Jaghund
– Balek Rotta
– Tarja Ilmarison
– Eydis Niva – Technical
– Tuomo Ilmarinen – Lore
– Ruik Valtoson – Cartographer
– Thane’s Guard (5)
– Soldiers (20)
– Porters (10)
+ Horses (20)
+ Mules (5)
+ 4 Wagons
[A set of maps trace the path from Allfrerhem to Aarnivak via a set of northern paths that seem to carve through a great forest labeled ‘Poinvek’. A section of notes on supplies and logistics follows and the next relevant section of the journal picks up two months later]
Journey Log ∞
DAY 1 – 13th of Iwith, 8319
We set out from the city in the mid-morning on the 13th of Iwith, 8319 and arrived at the Stakkyr camp shortly after nightfall. My twelfth visit, and each time Ingvald is there at the gate, chest puffed, nose high, in his ridiculous furs and jewelry, preening and pompous. I was hopeful his son Albin would turn out better, but at only six the boy already acts like a foreman, berating his servants and stomping about like a little Scourge. Worse, Ingvald seems to have abandoned his wife, seeking out Okuu’s attentions… he’d find a friendlier partner among the Grommen. I didn’t make the offer this time; if the old man can’t prove his worth on a hunt I’ll not risk him in the ruin. I suspect he is both angry and relieved, though he hides it well beneath his grovelling. Despite his cowardice and foppery he is a good host; fine food, warm beds; even a bard this time (a fine relief from Tullar’s blasted strumming). The wealth and good fortune are due in no small part to the settlements growth under the cities guardianship. From 500 men to over 700 over the past decade alone. A nights rest in comfort before we truly set out into the wild.
DAY 2 – 14th of Iwith, 8319
Departed “Stakkyrby” (Ayr help me, the man hasn’t a shred of modesty) at dawn. Made good time for the two thirds of the day but slowed when the scouts reported figures stalking us. Urpan, Vargr, or perhaps some skillful savages. Whatever they were decided to keep their distance. Reached the Old Road near dusk and set up camp. I’ve assigned an additional watch and I’ll keep my armour on tonight.
DAY 3 – 15th of Iwith, 8319
The Old Road is, like so much of the Urul’s creations, a wonder. Beneath millenium of growth and unsettled land the brickwork endures, as if it was laid only a few years ago. A day on it and we’ve made as much distance as two days on dirt and skid. The scouts report additional sightings of our shadows, but they keep their distance. The descriptions suggest humans and therefore savages; bandits would have abandoned the idea of profit given our number and armaments. It wouldn’t be the first tribe of outcastes or hill folk to venture into the Poinvek forest, but they must be particularly stupid if they think they stand a chance. Still, we’ll keep the added watch.
DAY 4 – 16th of Iwith, 8319
A trio of Vargr attacked one of the scouts this morning. One of them took a nasty bite but managed to get out and lure them back. Think I’ll make a coat for Tarja.
Todays travel was wet. Summer storm slowed us up. Still, the signs of Aarnivak grow; some new shattered and overgrown structure can be seen in the wood or on the edge of the road every hour or so. Some look more recent than others which fits with what I’ve learned. Tuomo says they are the remains of attempts to resettle the city in the second or third age, before we learned better. I can see why; found claw marks as big as my torso in a slab of granite as big as my horse…
Balek didn’t like it but I had the men clear out one of the ruins and set up camp within. He kept moaning and grumbling about bad luck but I don’t see the point in sleeping ten meters from good shelter just because of superstition. Should keep us dry and provide some security.
DAY 5 – 17th of Iwith, 8319
They savages attacked in the small hours. A dozen men and women dressed in dark furs and wielding axes, spears, and a few bows made from scrap. Fortunately Okuu and Balek were on watch. We cut them down with only a few injuries. Okuu was in the upper levels of the ruin and dropped a half dozen with her bow before the soldiers were even awake. Only things of note or value were the Urul coins they wore on leather strands about their necks. I tried to capture one alive but they’re lunatics. I had one in a hold but when I identified myself he spasmed and broke his own shoulder throwing himself at me like a rabid animal before biting a chunk out of my leg. I was able to drop him, with Sigr’s help. Given the weapons and the adornments I can only assume these marauders live in Aarnivak, like maggots on a (not so fresh) corpse.
Ayr above, Balek thinks this proves his superstitious nonsense.
The Ruin ∞
DAY 6 – 18th of Iwith, 8319
We reached an overlook at mid-day and I had my true first view of Aarnivakara – the hidden city. The first one not in a tome or a luminar and those images pale in comparison. Time and the forest have covered and claimed much but the skeleton of the city remains; towering structures taller than Maurlog and Korkea combined, now crawling with vine and root; domes so big I thought they were hills, and large enough to fit the keep three times over; Orick buildings shattered by arcane forces, or crushed beneath stones as large as a manor. Thank Oto the storm passed or I might not have seen the fullness of it.
Okuu spotted savages on the eastern edges of the city, confirming my suspicions. We were fortunate enough to avoid their notice this time and we’re plotting a path west, hopefully out of their reach. Once we’ve found a good basecamp we may try to trail them to their home and get a sense of numbers. Perhaps tonight we shall drink mead in the halls of the Imperium.
DAY 7 – 19th of Iwith, 8319
This place is a maze. We descended into the city proper in search of a good camp but between the ruins and the overgrowth it’s difficult to make any sense of where we are or where we might go. It would be better if the maps Tuomo provided bore any resemblance to the current state. We set camp in what looks like an indoor market of some sort, gutted and shattered, but with enough intact walls to provide some cover, decent sight lines, and access to a main road. It will do for now, but I have concerns about the safety of the area and egress points. We’ll need to reassess in the morning. I’ve assigned double watch and all are to sleep in gear tonight.
DAY 8 – 20th of Iwith, 8319
There was an attack in the night. Four soldiers and a guardsmen lost alongside two horses. Not sure what it was. Never seen anything like it. Three meters tall or more, black scaled flesh, razor frilled spine, eyeless, but moved without sound and seemed able to move through our barriers with ease. Claws like meat hooks, teeth like iron. The troop planted nearly two dozen quarrels in its hide to no effect. We were forced to retreat out of the market. It didn’t pursue us further. Balek wants to retreat out of the city but what guarantee is that? Distance isn’t the same thing as safety; we need better, not further. Tuomo is searching his tome but the best he’s been able to find is a reference to something called an Uzhas and a paragraph of fevered warnings – caution too late for the dead. Though I cannot retrieve their remains I will ensure the names of the dead are carved in the Sepulcher. Their families will want for nothing.
DAY 10 – 22nd of Iwith, 8319
It took two days to secure our new camp. Tullar located an odd orick structure back on the edge of the city, a tall cylindrical building with spiraling ramps leading up to a flat and open area rich with growth. The height offers some natural security and sight lines across the ruin and limited avenues for attack. The building also appears to be connected to other parts of the city by elevated roads, granting us access to areas that were previously out of reach. We’ve scoured the local area and salvaged enough wood and metal to augment the natural tree shelter for sturdy defense, setting up a proper base camp.
Tullar is calling it Tullarby because apparently hubris is infectious.
Eydis says she’s made a connection to a Nexus in the city, but it’s weak and the stream is fragmented. She’s acquiring what she can to help us plot our moves though and with the camp settled I’ve begun assembling expedition teams. The plan is for the retinue and guard to scout each area before proceeding in force with soldiers and porters. 1/2 complement will remain at basecamp at all times for security. We only bring in the carts in full light with a clear path. This seems the safest option.
DAY 11 – 23rd of Iwith, 8319
Eydis has recovered a partial map of the city from the Nexus and though it is degraded it offers some insight.
The city is composed of several districts:
1. The Trade District: Site of our misplaced first camp. We will be avoiding the area.
2. The Industrial District: Industrial equipment and resources?
3. The Residential District: Eydis believes the Nexus signal originates here. Stabilizing it is a high priority. She also suggested we might be able to find medical technology in the area.
4. The Military District: Balek and Sigr can hardly contain themselves.
5. The Seat of Power: I’m not sure what we would find here, but if it’s like Korkea or the Keep it’s worth the venture.
6. ?: This record is corrupted and Eydis thinks intentionally so. From context the unlabeled space on the map is in the east. Perhaps the Savages are not what we thought? We’ll need to investigate further.
The Industrial district is closest so we will start there. Eydis thinks the Nexus should come first but I would like to secure a buffer zone before we extend further.
DAY 12 – 24th of Iwith, 8319
We scouted the Industrial District today. There is considerable damage to the structures here, but otherwise it sems to be minimal risk. The worst we saw were a Vargr pack stalking a small herd of Daedon and some unstable footing and machinery. Balek spotted a largely intact Factorum that is both accessible by the roadway and appears untouched and we were able to clear a partial path back to basecamp. We’ll complete it tomorrow, secure the area, and escort Eydis to unlock the complex. Then we can start salvage work.
DAY 14 – 26th of Iwith, 8319
It took a day and a half but we secured the complex and managed to recover several intact crates and containers of Urul materials. Corfire, Vitrum, Alkast, and best of all intact Arc Steel; a Theuda’s ransom worth. Bonus: Vargr meat for dinner. Additionally Eydis was able to recover data from some of the machinery here that she thinks can be used to improve the Haggen. Eydis said something about detecting signals for a Loom, some sort of device for producing first age soft materials, but it appears to be locked behind some door that won’t open. I gave her a few hours with it but Okuu spotted some of the savages poking about and I ordered a retreat. It will have to wait until we can figure them out.
When we return I’ll have Vorsa forge blades for the retinue from the metal; a fitting reward.
DAY 14 – 27th of Iwith, 8319
I led the retinue and Eydis on a scouting expedition to the Residential District today, aimed at locating and stabilizing the Nexus. We found it late in the day, mounted at the top of a tower that spiraled high into the summer sky. Unfortunately the mechanism of transmission itself is damaged and with night falling we have taken shelter here while Eydis works to recover a portion of its data. We’ve signaled Tuomo at the basecamp using Eydis’ Luminar and they indicated all is well.
It’s difficult to fully express the scale of both the creation and destruction that was wrought here. The towers that spiral into the sky here, casting long shadows across the city… Walking between them is like walking down the deepest valley. I’m told that these ‘residential towers’ descend equally deep into the land. All of it made of Orick. And while I have never seen such Orick bend or break to any force in my lifetime, these towers have been shattered and melted and cracked. Some lie in vast piles of rubble, as if crushed in the palm of a giant. What madness could drive a culture so powerful to bring itself so low?
DAY 15 – 28th of Iwith, 8319
We returned to camp today and learned that the savages attacked again, this time in the early morning and in bigger force. Gunnar estimated four dozen. The camp acquitted themselves well, killing 18 of their number before they retreated but we still lost four; two armsman and two porters. Worse, the Ayrdamned savages didn’t kill them all, they dragged two of them away for Aia know’s what purpose. For their part Gunnar was able to capture two of them I am about to start the interrogation.
[The next paragraph of the journal is preceded by flecks of blood on the page]
I’m a fool. They’re not savages. They’re cultists. Remnants of the Naraja my grandfather drove from Allfrerhem. A settlement of them out here in the wilds, a festering wound that we didn’t even know about. This must be what my father wanted me to find… but why would he permit this? If they’re to be believed there are hundreds of them out here, so why not chase them from this place before they can use its wealth against us? It makes no sense. The captives were almost eager to tell me, eager to make their promises of vengeance against my family, but why? These men must be two generations separated from the remnant exiles… what drives their hatred so deep? I’ll get no more answers from them. Both fell into a trance when night fell, like the sun itself was the source of their consciousness.
DAY 16 – 29th of Iwith, 8319
My dreams were disturbed last night, and I was not alone. Several others reported similar; a vision of a man on fire, of bad memories and intimate torments. Ill tidings all of them. But now that we know what is here, the work is all the more important. Each relic we take from this place is one that cannot be used against us and each heretic we kill is one less that will creep into our city or batter our gates when the time comes. We will scout the military district next. If the Naraja desire war, let us be prepared.
DAY 18 – 31st of Iwith, 8319
Okuu is dead. Killed in defense of the retinue. It was an Atrox. Never seen one before, but I’m certain of it. Six, maybe seven meters tall. Just… dead eyes and rage. One minute Okuu was there, and the next she was not, crushed beneath a boulder bigger than my horse. We retreated into what turned out to be a forge, barring ourselves behind orick and arc steel and Tullar was able unlock a vault containing a half dozen suits of folding armour along with canna, folding blades, even explosives. I swear I could hear the Ayr, laughing and crying, with one hand taking, the other giving.
We took the fight back to the Atrox. It only took two shots from the Canna before it fled, leaving a trail of blood. We gave chase for two hours and I would have continued but Sigr brought me to my senses. We were heading east into Naraja territory and one loss was enough for the day.
Tullar spotted a dormant clatterjack on the way back. Tomorrow we’ll bring Eydis and see if we can get it working.
Tonight we will drink to Okuu. May she hear the whisper before wings, song before howl, and voice before hiss.
DAY 19 – 32nd of Iwith, 8319
More dreams. This time I saw something else. A door of some kind and behind it… the same feeling I felt whe I saw the destruction of the Aarnivak. And then something else… a tall thin monster, with white eyes. Looking at it made me feel like I was swimming against rapids.
Eydis wasn’t able to get the machine working but we were able to get it back to camp. She says she detected a signal for a proper Armourer in the area but we haven’t been able to locate it. During our scouting we spotted more Naraja and both Balek and Sverrir have begun pushing to leave. The others want to stay though and I think we need to get as much information on the Naraja as possible before we go. If we can repay them for their belligerence all the better.
DAY 20 – 33rd of Iwith, 8319
Another dream but this time it was like I was a bystander. First the flaming man and a feeling like my very heart was being burned from my chest, but then the monster appeared and… saved me? That’s not right though; it wasn’t about me. It was like the burning man was trying to control the monster and instead he was just enraging it. I can’t explain it. And even now the details are hard to recall.
We’re taking the day to rest and gather our wits. We’ve been testing out our salvage from the forge and in addition to being harder than plate and light as cloth, the new armour grants us the ability to see in darkness and move in silence. Tonight we will scout the eastern reaches of the city and see if the captives were telling the truth.
[There is an obvious gap in the record here and a note that simply reads: The retinue was captured by the Naraja and tortured. They were only saved by the quick thinking of Eydis Niva, Tullar Otagon, and Tuomo Ilmarinen who were able to revive the dormant clatterjack Tursus and lead it into the Naraja settlement, rescuing them.]
DAY 25 – 1st of Ototh 8319
We left with 45 and we are returning with 13.
Amongst the deceased: Okuu Skall, Tullar Otagon, Sigr Jaghund, Tarja Ilmarison, Tuomo Ilmarinen… too many.
We owe our lives to the machine named Tursus. I have ordered Eydis to ensure its obedience.
I have seen what father wanted me to see. He was right.
Allfrerhem Nexus Query Results ∞
Origin: Search results from a series of queries done by Intan using Vanhin’s Nexus records.
Once you have gained access you find that Vanhin’s Nexus records are vast with hundreds of thousands of records housed within the Nexus, ranging from history and philosophy to physics and biology, to cultural texts, fiction, poetry, and more. Most records are a combination of text, graphics, and some audio but there is an entire category of moving images as well, though it looks like they are badly fragmented and decayed. Unfortunately the records are poorly organized if at all. You are able to search the contents using the Luminar but the variety of languages, content types, and corrupted records complicates matters and forces you to rely on summary results for most searches.
|Signarem||Summary Result: No Results|
|Naraja||Summary Result: First Age figure mentioned in apocryphal texts regarding the fall of the Urul Imperium. Relevant records suggest a Linguist of considerable arcane and military power who rapidly acquired control of northern territories during the second era cataclysm. Records suggest figure took on semi-mythical or religious status amongst followers, facilitated in part by novel expressions of linguistic and silent technology. Figure operated out of a stronghold labeled Edifice Imperium. Aligned factions included KONESYDÄN, VERINALKA, HUNSTAGR, VARATA, NARGUL VOS. Decline was equally rapid and facilitated by a betrayal by key figures within power structure. Conflicting texts report death or imprisonment prior to the rise of Magnus Serdheim. See Also [RECORD CORRUPTED] x2|
|Koned||Summary Result: Term used in association with group KONESYDÄN. Relevant records suggest a second era union of mechanists known to serve Naraja indirectly. Group is associated with First Age technology known as Transcriptor and Vector (unclear references).|
|Metal Tribe||Summary Result: Term used in the expedition notes of several explorers from wide range of areas. Relevant records suggest savage raider groups encountered by those traveling near select first age ruins. Partial notes describe machine cults with religious understanding of technology. Despite view of technology in religious terms, tribals demonstrate skill with first age technology.|
|Rigvori||Fragments of Svertan History Record|
|Edifice||Summary Result: Common prefix for the personal towers and fortresses of first age linguists. See Edifice Imperium, Edifice Tantum, Edifice Sublimis, Edifice Occultus, Edifice Amissa.|
|Ashes, Wildfire, Fire||134,982 Records returned, Summary Result: Numerous references to fire, wildfires, and ashes found.|
|Herza||Summary Result: No Results|
|Vex||17,902 records returned (No obvious hits), Summary Result: Numerous references to ‘make (someone) feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried, especially with trivial matters.’|
|Nargul||Summary Result: No Results|
|Nemiin||Summary Result: No Results|
|Fall of Urul||31,408 records returned (No obvious hits)|
|Concatenated Query||No records matching all criterion provided above.|
SECONDARY CONNECTION DETECTED – RECORD ENTRY STARTED
Naraja Notes ∞
Coded Naraja Orders ∞
Origin: Found on a cultist who attacked Skalperhem
Dogs and coyotes are under leash. Mongrels to be dealt with.
Wolves bloodied but baring teeth. Bleed them.
The young bear is wounded, the old bear exposed.
The fire is lit but only embers.
The crows survive but time is short and they begin to see and speak.
Use the herd. Act before the bear returns.
Empty the cisterns. Silence the machines. Feed the fire.
Kill the cubs, the sow, any others who might pose a challenge.
Take the crows or kill them if they resist.
[And scrawled in a different hand writing: R started the ritual but no word yet. Soon we will not need allies or codes. Even the Koned will fall before the chosen.]
Naraja Cultists Slate ∞
Origin: This slate was found on the body of a dead man in a black cloak after the fight outside King Rotta’s Tavern.
It houses a set of sequential data that appears to have been written in an unfamiliar dialect of Svertan, possibly in a cypher.
There are dozens of entries. Many of them are short, one sentence recordings of meals and notes on tech repair that are, at best, amateurish. A dozen entries stick out more than others, each one weeks or months apart.
The Luminar is a a gift from the Father in Darkness, a rare find in the dig. Rakla said I could keep it. He thought it was broken, useless, but I figured it out. It has a bunch of old texts and sometimes it plays sounds like voices or moving pictures but I can’t understand either. I found the text part though so I’m going to use it as a journal. A way to remember.
I always wondered and now I know. Why would she tell me though? Better a lie than this truth. A man from the Fallen City. Awful to know I have the blood of traitors. Everytime I go there I look for his face but I never see it. If I ever do I’m going slit his throat. Doesn’t matter, he’s not my real father. I’ll see him tonight.
It had been weeks but I saw him last night. He doesn’t care about my blood-father. He said I’m important, said I had to help Aksana with the door. He must know I like her. He must have a plan. I hear you father… but what door?
We found it. Aksana had the same dream and we found it, buried under an old wall. It took a dozen of us to move the debris but there it was. Old tech door. It took a week but I figured how to open it. It goes straight down. We were going to descend but Rakla stopped us. ‘Night Father only said to open it’… I guess that’s true. I invited Aksana to dine with me but she said no. Does she know?
Grots got into the rat-house today. Took four of us to kill them. Foul smelling bastards. Rakla says I need to stand guard now.
It’s been weeks since the last visit and months since I’ve been to the city. It’s warm but not the right kind of warmth. I want to go up again, I miss the breeze. I wonder what they’d do if they knew. How close we are. Cowards and slaves. Aksana brought dinner today. Didn’t smile but she didn’t scowl either. She wants me.
One of the Grundlebrogs got out and we had to kill it before the pilgrims arrived. Now they have me at the door with Lurz. He smells like the Grots. Eats like them too. I tried to talk to him about the Fallen City and he said it was heresy. I think I’m going to hate this job. Stupid Grundlers.. fucking Lurz. At least we get to eat the beast.
They went through the door today. Came back with another vessel. A blessing from the Night Father, but I wish I had been there. His army grows. Once Rigvori returns we can awaken them and ascend upon the fallen city. I should have been there. Aksana brought dinner again. Grabbed a handful and thought she was going to slap me but she didn’t. She looks good with a little red in her face.
He returned! Rigvori came and he spoke and it was glorious. I can’t capture it here but he says the time is coming. He showed us the power. He knows how to open the Vessels! With the Nargul at our side we cannot be defeated. We will be as he, the Arcane, marching across the north, washing the land, raising the world once more. He said we will be the leaders. He’s can only stay for a short while, he says he must return to the Edifice. Maybe I can go with him…
Damned Lurz. I should have known. I always thought it was because I was good with a blade, quiet… no. They only let me go because I’m already tainted by blood. I guess they all know… I was the last to find out. No wonder Aksana hates me. Lurz laughed at me and I punched him. Brute didn’t even seem to notice. Grot-fucking, shit-tooth Lurz.
I overheard Rakla talking with Rigvori. They were talking about “The Others”. Rakla called them the Metal Tribe and the Blighted but Rigvori called them something else. It sounds like they dream of the Father in Darkness too. I asked Lurz and he just gave me a dirty look. I need to find out more. I’ll ask the Night Father next time he comes.
How long has it been now? Months? No.. years. Has he forgotten us? Mother died last month. Heart or something. Rakla spoke the words and portioned her. Couldn’t hurt to have a bit more purity in me.
I fucked Aksana last night. I was drunk on Imi’s mushroom whiskey and she was tending the fire. I don’t remember much…but it was good. Got a black eye and she gave me a dirty look this morning but I know she wants more.
He came to us again! It was more vivid this time. The heat of his presence burns away all doubts. He warned us of a threat. Betrayers bearing a mark on their wrist. He says they’re in the fallen city, that they must be captured or killed. He says that we need the mark, though he didn’t say why. I should never have doubted. He must have had his reasons. Rakla says we’re going tomorrow, could be in the city for weeks. I told Jarn he could use the Luminar while I’m gone. I’ll take the slate. Don’t need him poking through here. Maybe I’ll find a whore in the city… that’ll make Aksana jealous.
Naraja Target List ∞
Origin: Found among the bloody remains of the leader of the Keep attack is what appears to be a list of names
[A piece of folded parchment stained with blood and covered in spidery ink scrawls.]
Olo Niva – Retrieve any artefacts, remove Helion from Jacks and return to Rakla
Arjan Iyen – Retrieve clinic contents
Vanhin Ilmarinen – Destroy everything
Aylan Jaghund – Retrieve guardbook, destroy barracks
Lisken Bekkr – Retrieve trade logs
Takkan Vigr – Retrieve keys
Albin and Linnea Stakkyr (make it messy)
Kalu and Noe Redrider (do not touch Virva)
[There is an additional subscript with the following in Svertan:]
All Einarr and those who defend them
Any who bear a Mark on their left wrist
The rest will deal with the warrens, Ayrhof and Rotta.
Rakla’s Final Sermon ∞
Origin: Found clutched in Rakla’s dismembered hand in the hidden temple of Herza beneath the city of Allfrerhem
All glory to Naraja, Arcanist, Sovreign, Unifex, Verifex, Tottantheuda, Keeper of the North, Silencer of Black Tongues, Lord of Secrets and Hidden Truths, Shaper of Celestial Blood.
By Naraja’s grace were we were spared the true darkness of the cataclysm. By Naraja’s power we were protected from the voice that crushes. By Naraja’s light we were guided through the twilight of the progenitors.
And what reward? Betrayal! By Magnus Serdheim, by his Serda. Betrayed and brought low by lessers; Betrayed and his paradise corrupted by the worms who would be kings! Betrayed by cowards and jealous children, his loyal followers destroyed or exiled, cast out into a hungry wilderness, forced to hide, forced to beg. His name buried and forgotten by the traitors.
But we remember the truth. We who descend from the loyal, from the pure, who remember the promise, who will see his glory achieved. We who have toiled in darkess, tirelessly, for millenia to preserve the truth and restore the true order.
And how lowly and perverse our betrayers! They permit monsters into their homes; the foreigner and the subhuman. They greet them and grovel and call them saviours and friends! Interlopers! These liars and traitors, gathered to defend the traitorous. They fight divine providence, they who destroyed what should have been, in favour of what is. They who steal from us our birthright; they who sin and pervert the cause by wearing his mark on their wrists but not in their hearts. The sin must be punished. The betrayers must be slain. None can survive for they represent the doom of the North.
And now the time arrives. Through the fire of Nemiin we shall purge the north, cleanse it, and bring ruin upon its false rulers and corrupt guardians, and through Mother Nargul and Brother Vex we will rebuild it, in preparation for our true lord.
Bring forth the host.
[The papers lower half is covered in blood and torn]
Rakla’s Journal ∞
Origin: This thick hidebound journal was found in the wreckage of Herza Temple
My father has struck a blow against them, unleashing a sickness that will bring Allfrerhem to heel. There was a cost; one of our own to bear it. But it was a cost gladly paid. Soon we will rise and rule. Soon there will be justice.
More brethren have caught the illness. Father says he is fine, that the mark will protect him, but he is flushed and I fear it will claim him as well. Worst of all we are now too few to act on the opportunity made, and too sick to prevail. Our weapon is turned against us. It must be for a reason. I will pray to him for guidance.
It has been too long since I kept record of the work. Today that changes. The Rigvori has returned, breaking the long silence. His return has restored hope to the brethren. Too long we have spent lurking in shadows, our tongues quiet and our blades dry. Too long in secret. He has revealed a threat that is coming, the ruination, and our role. I know now with certainty that after so many generations we will be the ones to save the north and return it to the glory of Naraja.
Rigvori has led us to the first vessel. A blessing of Naraja hidden in the deep. It is the first of many good signs. The father in darkness has shown me what they can do; a single one could bring the guard to its knees! Still, we lack the tools to awaken it… but we have a sliver of hope, and Rigvori promises more. An army to match our glorious purpose. We must delve deeper.
Another vessel recovered. Three now. A sleeping army. Rigvori says that the way to awaken them will be revealed and I believe. I dream of it. I pray I will be the one to nourish them and bask in their glory.
Rigvori has come to me again and I am left… concerned. He speaks of a new complication, a group of individuals “marked like the Father but corrupt” who will be coming. I asked how such a thing could be; a gift of Naraja, given in error? He told me of villains plotting against us, of thieves and liars who seek to use our own faith against us. He says these ones are marked but that theirs is a stain of betrayal. We are beset at all sides. We must persevere. The brethren have been told to watch for them and report if they are seen.
[There is a map sketched here, leading north towards Aarnivak, citing a variety of landmarks]
The time approaches. The Father in Darkness has spoken. The traitors must be rooted out in preparation of his return.
Finally, justice will be served for all the generations of the betrayed.
|Poison||Water||Failed in the past. Tested a dozen poisons. None potent enough. A fancy of a younger less patient self.|
|Fire||Resin and Oil||High potential but too much of the city is stone to be final. A method for promoting chaos.|
|War||Incitement||It might be possible to provoke conflict that occupies the Thane’s forces but the risk of trading traitors for foreigners is too great.|
|Disease||?||My father’s idea, conceived using the tools recovered from Aarnivak. A flawed plan but still, promising. I will investigate further.|
|Assassination||Infiltration||A start, but not an end. Too many and too loyal to the wretched Einarr.|
|Fjellog||Lure||Twice attempted and twice failed. The Roga is too unpredictable.|
|Nargul||Release||Once we have recovered the key to reviving them they will be the method of our glorious return.|
The capacity of the progenitors was beyond all modern reason, but they fell and few know why. How can it be that an empire so vast and powerful could fail so completely? The lorekeepers and historians say it was no one thing and it makes sense. It must have been an array of disasters they say. But the Night Father has revealed the truth to me. Yes, there were many disasters, a thousand ruinations that together totalled the Calamity. But it was not bad fortune; the Urul were broken from within by a group of powerful heretics. A hidden order with a hidden language. Sorcerers who commanded high and low alike, turning allies and partners against each other, breeding a hundred catastrophes across the whole of Urul.
We must be like them. No one disaster, but a plague of catastrophe upon our enemies.
Rigvori has delivered a great gift unto us: the Nemiin. I admit I was apprehensive at first, recalling my fathers final days at the hands of the sickness, but Rigvori has brought with it a ward to protect us (He calls it an innoculation). It has taken Rigvori decades to bend the Nemiin to his will, a testament to the power of Naraja. He says he used samples gathered from my fathers body and I felt a swell of pride at the thought. Father serves in death, as all Naraja must. That the Nemiin lives on in the bodies of the dead is a great boon; a weapon we can wield from the grave. The most loyal brethren have already volunteered to act as carriers, forgoing the ward to deliver Naraja’s vengeance directly. My pride swells but as always we must show caution in the timing.
– Olinn: The Old Bear: Age has reduced him but not so much he is not a threat. The deep devotion he enjoys from the cattle of Allfrerhem makes any attempt while he is present a gamble and his skill at picking loyal and skilled retainers makes removal by force equally problematic. A handful of the brethren have infiltrated his keep, but patience is necessary. Act too early and he will retaliate in force, too late and he will already have insulated himself. Best to find an outside source; perhaps lure him from the city somehow. Our friend in the Kahstrand perhaps, or leverage his duties to his wife…
– Hakon: The Wolf: The heir apparent may be impetuous and crude, but he is also clever and dangerous. The Skalprs reports have been of mixed reward; His affection for adventure and promiscuity are vulnerabilities but he manages both well through charm and coin. His rash temperament could be used against him, but it also makes him difficult to predict. The Skalprs believe we should simply kill him, frame it as happenstance but I believe, carefully manoeuvred, he might serve our ends, particularly if played against his father or brother. Moreso, his humiliation should be public, so that the cattle know the price of betrayal.
– Torald: The Owl: A blasphemous traitor with knowledge beyond his years. Majilis and Henning both learned that lesson too late. Olinn has done well to use him as he does and keep his secrets. The danger he poses to our plans is obvious and the Skalprs reports have reinforced this; no figure in the Keep is so disconcerting to them. I have advised them to keep their distance while I determine how to remove him from the equation. His mother may be the key.
– Olo and his Machines: A risk. Olo’s love for mechanisms over men is a boon and bane. We have had some success with him in the past but he asks too many questions to move further. Regardless of the man, his cursed Jacks must be dealt with. Unlike the traitors the Naraja must learn from history. I have reached out to the Koned for aid, in this. I am loathe to trust them but their expertise is too valuable.
Kalevan – Labourjack working the Stakkyr plots.
Tursas – Battlejack at the Thane’s Keep. I’m told it’s dormant but we must make sure it cannot be awakened.
Kaitol – Labourjack that works in the Haggen, serving Goran Sjona.
– Rotta: A threat, but a minor one. His age and antipathy towards Olinn are both to our advantage. A shame he could not be converted.
– Vidar / Sirtan: No threat. Our forces will control them soon.
– Ruthless / Delgan: Delgan is rude but a useful follower. His readiness to convert left me suspicious at first, but he has proven too simple to be duplicitous. For some the truth is obvious, and Delgan seems one of them. Regardless, the Ruthless will serve as a useful tool to keep attention focused elsewhere.
– Ambactus / Anwa: Outsiders but from the right outside, Anwa and his kind profess a variant of the truth sufficient to our ends. I would consider them untrustworthy but useful. I suspect they think to assume control, but Anwa’s ignorance is broad and easily manipulated. Nontheless I have inserted brethren into the group to ensure they are under out control.
– Iyen: We’ll need to kill the physician. We cannot risk her conjuring a cure for the Nemiin using her cursed relics. Not too soon, or we risk revealing ourselves, but not too late either. After the ceremony I’ll give the order.
– Jaghund: A threat to be dealt with in fire.
– Osota Mesikammen: The Skalprs claim that Hakon deals with the she-bear, but it cannot be the same one from before can it? Perhaps a descendant? Or dark magic? Whatever the case, they do not know where she lives. We will need to keep an eye out.
The efforts have proceeded well. Each day the brethren find their way deeper into the veins of the city and many of the greatest obstacles to our success have been removed. We will proceed to the next step in the morrow. Once we have our prize we will be ready to proceed.
As Rigvori predicted it has come to pass. One of the marked has been spotted. A local named Venya Askoson. L spotted it by purest chance and rushed to tell me. Apparently the old man hid it well, which tells me he is indeed one of the traitorous. I’ve no clue how long he has been acting against us but he is a threat to be dealt with. I have assigned a watch. We cannot act in force too hastily. Rigvori says there are more to come. If we watch him we may catch the others. He will be our lure.
The wait was short. Three more have arrived. A Selenian, Luxi, and a Victran Tamaa. Southern traitors and a monstrosity come to protect the lie. The Night Father sensed their approach and he has directed their capture or death. I have ordered Hindor to the surface to trail them. He has been cautioned not to act too soon, but I fear the fire of the Night Father is in him now.
Loyal have told me that the Koned have obtained a mark. What are their intentions? The Night Father says they have their place, a role to play. He is true and wise and praise be upon him but I believe his trust is misplaced. The Koned serve too many masters, and lack mastery of themselves. They cannot be trusted… though certainly better in their hands than the Hunstagr. It is hard to consider such deviants and lunatics allies but I must have faith. Whatever form His empire shall take, surely he will recognize the true loyalty of the Nargul Vos. I must trust and so I have sent a messenger to request their aid.
I have given the orders. Night Father guide our blades.
The vanguard failed in their task to kill the marked. Instead it is likely they have only alerted them, and others, of our presence. We were fortunate enough to capture the Nehepi. It will take time to prepare him. We need only two more. Efforts with the Vidar have been complicated. The attack was only partially successful; the proxy was killed, but so were our loyal. We may need to use the contingency. The V are too powerful to be unaccounted. I will alter the schedule and have the loyal regroup before proceeding. Hindor failed twice in his task… I will need to consult Rigvori on a suitable punishment. Perhaps Skalpr has had better luck.
Skalpr and Gjerta have returned. Hakon is dead; feed for Urpan and crow. Gjerta will die but it is a small price for the heir. We move on Torald next. If we can get two more of the marked I will see Olinn’s legacy in ashes by weeks end.
Thrice damned Skalpr. The fool lives; dragged from the brink by a Krigdfot, a wolf, and some little girl and revived by the Tamaa abomination. Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. If Gjerta does not die I will kill her myself and make Skalpr watch. Hakon’s injuries were severe so we may have an opportunity but not long. The Koned have sent an Emissary and I have learned that the mark they obtained has granted them control over the children of Vex. A dark power, but useful. She has agreed to join us against the city. With the Urpan in thrall we are stronger, perhaps it is enough. I need rest though. Perhaps He will grant me insight.
The dream again. We can wait no longer. What I cannot achieve by design, I will achieve through chaos. I will release the brethren and the Koned to the bloody work while we commence with the ritual. The site and host have been prepared, the wards are in place, and I have finished the scripts. One Nargul will need to be sufficient. In our control, with the city in chaos, and the Nemiin released we will finally be able to ascend and bring the traitors to justice. We must remember though that this is one step to ensuring the safety of the North. We should plan to meet with the others; surely they will acknowledge our leadership once they see it.
Skalpr Journal Fragment ∞
Origin: Found in the abandoned home of the Skalprs
[There appears to have been multiple cyphers used in this journal and you were only able to find a partial. Still, you were able to translate a significant chunk of text from the final pages of the journal.]
Hakon’s a fool, born of fools, will die a fool. Each day I grow less able to hide my loathing for the grot. Wallows in his own ignorance and vice, wetting his cock in every whore and slattern who gives him a friendly gaze. A rutting dog. Everything loathsome about the traitors. Enamored with his own self. Incapable of seeing the truth. Insensate to the signs. Happy to lead us into oblivion. Night Father showed us the truth. The tools to spread that truth. A glorious affirmation of faith and instruments for a new symphony. But first the audience. Rakla preaches patience, that our justice is slow. I don’t care. It will all burn; traitors, whores, liars. Then they’ll have to accept truth. Only those who rise will be absolved. Rakla says we aren’t alone, that others will be ready to act once we have done our part. The thought of brethren is heartening but it is hard to believe. Regardless we must prevail. There’s too much at stake.
Aarnivak Nexus Records ∞
Origin: The following records were initially experienced via the working lightroom within the remains of the Aarnivak library. Copies of these records were later retrieved via the Library Nexus and downloaded to the Drowned Luminar
Call to Arms ∞
Metadata: Date: Corrupted, Location: Aarnivakara, Source: Corrupted, Distribution: General Broadcast
[This is a video record, shown through a skewed angle, as if looking upwards to a huge stylized face that seems to hang in the sky above a panicked city. A male voice, low and even, but bearing the sharp edge of adamant resolve speaks the following words.]
Attention loyal citizens of Aarnivakara; the forces of the Forakasi and the Entelechy have breached the defenses of Huldra and Aynar, via cowardly attack and are approaching the city. All citizens are to prepare themselves for siege and possible invasion. Know that the True and Wise Lord of the North watches over you and has moved to engage these agents of the Kertsu in your defense. By his might the enemy will be rendered the punishment they are due. All citizens are to proceed to their assigned rally points as indicated in your lense. The North must stand against the Black of Tongue. Only through you, his loyal, and his glorious creations can the Kertsu be stopped. Let Host and Vex and Haragos… [TRANSMISSION ENDS]
Call to Revolt ∞
Metadata: Date: Corrupted, Location: Aarnivakara, Source: Ayek of Hellioth, Distribution: General Broadcast
[This is an audio record, read by a female voice that is filled with equal parts rage and pleading.]
Rebels: Citizens of Aarnivakara, you have been lied to! Xaiger Naraja, leader of the north, and those loyal to him have been twisted by power and no longer care for you. You know this to be true. The “volunteers”, those who sacrifice in the name of protecting you, now only protect the power of Naraja and his cowards. Your family, your friends, need no longer be fuel for mad experiments. You have sacrificed enough! Do not forfeit your life in defense of a being that no longer cares about you. Your rulers have dubbed us the Forakasi, the Traitors to the Arcanist, but we have not betrayed you. Join us in bringing the true traitors to the light of IWI. Or if you cannot, flee the city, abandon it while we work to cleanse it of the cruel rot that eats at it. When the time is right you can return. But be warned that any who stay and bear arms against us will find no mercy. For the people of the North.
Declaration of the Entelechy ∞
Metadata: Date: Corrupted, Location: Aarnivakara, Source: Entelechy Eupraxitor Quor Adara, Distribution: General Broadcast
[This is a video record, showing an male figure framed against a black sky. The man is narrow and thin, with a drawn face and narrowed eyes. He is wearing a uniform of red and black and his eyes almost seem to glow. His words are spoken in a clipped manner, with an threatening authority that borders on open disdain]
People of the north, this is Quor Adara of the Entelechy ship Vision of Will. This region has been declared a war zone and your rulers are considered criminals. The sovereignty and authority of Xaigar Naraja and his Vayakasi are not recognized by the Tower or the Imperium. Xaiger Naraja and any who follow him will be punished. Know that your own leaders have abandoned you, falling upon each other like hungry grots, cowering before the light of the Heterarchy. Your mightiest warriors have been defeated, fleeing these lands in shame. They will not escape punishment.
You possess no technology or power that can withstand the Entelechy.
Those who surrender will not be harmed.
Those who assist in bringing the Naraja to justice will be rewarded.
All who stand against the Entelechy will fall.
There will be no further warnings.
Battle Report ∞
Metadata: Date: Corrupted, Location: Aarnivakara, Source: CG-AT-III-A-3, Distribution: Secure, Declassified per Retention Schedule
– 14,342 Casualties recorded.
– Defensive units are maintaining layered barriers coverage of the city.
– Barrier status; 67% coverage remaining.
– 2 Enemy Aerials disabled, coordinates attached.
– Armoury’s report material shortages reducing output.
– Conscript units have proven ineffective against enemy.
– Tagah has initiated site B protocol and and Konesydän overseers are focusing resources to facilitate.
– Isarvan has authorized use of host technology to boost combat effectiveness.
– Otichyt remains engaged with Comanas and Serdheim. Odds of survival are below 40%
– Kertsu prisoner at remains secure at Academy. Orders given to execute if barriers fall below 30% coverage.
– Barriers at 52%
– 22,672 Casualties recorded.
– Hunstagr forces abandoning defensive positions. Orixmenos advised.
– Barriers at 47%
– 32,512 Casualties recorded.
– Counter-aerial defenses destroyed. Entelechy Aerials entering critical airspace.
– Warning, distortion detected. Warning.
– Warning, massive object detected moving at high velocity.
– Warning, munition shows extra-dimensional properties.
– Warning. Warning. Terminal Event Imminent Detected.
…System Failure, Power Interrupted…
…System Failure, Power Interrupted…
…System Failure, Power Interrupted…
Power restored. Timecycle verification required.
Message from Librarian Sandar ∞
Metadata: Date: Corrupted, Location: Aarnivakara, Source: Elsi Sandar
I have been called upon to fight. Thought I do now know how, I know I must. The enemy does not know the power that resides here and we cannot reveal it for our own defense. They believe the Loom Guard’s might originates in the edifice or Huldra, but those are just decoys. The real power is hidden below. I’ve seen it. If we protect it, he will protect us.
Message from Technician Danaio ∞
Metadata: Date: Corrupted, Location: Aarnivakara, Source: Danaio Jarason
Aia fucks us with her thorny cock once more! It was bad enough to have the Narries and their bloody freaks in power, then we had to have Comanas and his lot start all the trouble. Now we’ve got a bunch of iron blooded praxitors darkening the sky over the city. A thousand messy ways to die and no good way to live! Oh yeah, and the Ayr-damned clankers are also causing havoc and the webwork is all kinds of fucked. Layla, I don’t know if you’ll get this but if you do; stay in Aynar and stay safe. I’m going to try and make my own way there just as soon as I can.
Device Ping Map ∞
Using the Luminar’s network and mapping functions and some triangulation from various active nexi within the city you are able to get pings off of several active devices in the region with varying levels of intensity and accuracy.
- A small faint ping from the library Nexus
- A small faint ping from one of the towers in the farm district
- Two small faint pings from structures in the industrial district
- A small but strong ping from the heart of the crater
- One large and strong ping from the government district
- A cluster of variable pings from the eastern part of the city
Isarvan’s Journals ∞
Origin: This enormous trove of records spans thousands of hours of recordings retrieved from the personal chambers of Isarvan within the Special Projects Facility. These were previously audio-visual recordings but the copies made to Khai’s luminar are audio only. All content has been translated from Old Urul and a predecessor of Subinese using an algorithm harvested from the Hungry Library Geist and modified by Khai and Lita.
Metadata: The dates on these records don’t translate into the modern calendar properly, making it difficult to determine how old they are, but they do suggest that the records span over several decades, possibly a century. In some cases there are several records with the same date stamp, suggesting multiple records on the same day, though in other cases it seems like months have passed between recordings. Unfortunately many of the records have degraded or been corrupted, leaving significant gaps in both the data and the metadata, making it hard to create a stable chronology. The copies below represent what is recoverable and have been ordered as close to relative chronology as possible. Entry numbers are for ordering only; there are likely dozens if not hundreds of missing records between some of these entries.
“I can’t believe how quickly this was finished. When Xaiger asked what it would take, what I needed, I thought it would take years to gather, to build. It took him months. The materials, creatures, genetive library… the tools alone are beyond what I could have dreamt. As though Selene itself were brought to me! Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d never left Subin… still, even in the shadows of the north I can bring a bit of home with me. I’ve uploaded a recreation of the tower in Inech; a reminder of sorts, of both of the past and the future. Xaiger insisted on a small staff to start, to avoid the risk of the Kertsu getting their hooks in. I’ve vetted them all myself and I have our first project. Full understanding of Kertsu abilities and biology. Xaiger has provided the corpses for study. Despite Xaiger’s insistence, I’d love a live one, but that has proven predictably difficult. Once we have a better understanding of the voice I have some ideas for countermeasures.”
“Apparently it was Elaios Sun who was responsible for getting the facility up so quickly. I met with him and Xaiger today to discuss some additional needs. I was surpised when I saw him. It’s been so long. Before Hellioth, before Bakunwa, before Xaiger and the Tower… back before all of it really. I genuinely didn’t think I’d see him again after our last argument. The decades agree with him; softer but no duller. He has a beard now! I remember the time in Darana when Xaiger got him drunk on Mezza right before a job and we ended up trapped under the High Minister’s manor for three days because he couldn’t get through a phrase without hiccuping. I miss those days.”
“I’ve been reviewing the field reports from the others, looking for evidence in the data that I can use to focus our efforts. Tichyt, Jin, Maghnus, and Ayek have all pointed to something similar. Resistance to the voice seems to be defined by both intrinsic and extrinsic features of an organism. This came about as a result of Ayek’s troop In particular. She’s reported that the vulnerability of Shifter features outside self-modification are consistent but certain form modifications do seem to make a difference. This makes Shifters the best candidate for my first project.”
“I’ve just returned from Huldra. The fresh air was nice, but Nathfar remains as odd and difficult as ever. It’s worth enduring his quirks for the opportunity to study Ono biology though. His guise reflex shows no sign of healing, despite my interventions and it’s clear his neuropathy is related, but he refuses to leave his chamber so I am unable to conduct a proper exam. The more I venture into that eerie dome, the more I suspect that the chamber itself, or its connection to the Shard are causative. Apparently my frustration isn’t unique; even his own son has pleaded with him to leave the chamber, but his luck was as good as mine. In the end I added a few notes to my records and provided analgesics, relaxants, and a few custom biologics, but I can do no more if he won’t cooperate. I’ll ask Xaiger again but I know he won’t force Natfhar to do anything he doesn’t want. They’ve known each other far longer than me and if Xaiger thought he could cure him or didn’t want him there he wouldn’t have built the chamber. But is it that, or is it Nathfar’s role that keeps Xaiger from seeing the poor man’s pain?”
“I’ve synthesized a material that I believe will help against the Kertsu. I’ve taken properties from various anechoic substances and, with Sun’s help, used Shaping inscriptions to alloy them into armour and other gear. Unfortunately Harmonite and Veluthrin are both too rare and difficult to reproduce for broad use. It’s not enough but it provides some small protection and it has given me an idea for how to proceed further; a Speaker’s vault. I’ve discussed it with Sun and he agrees. With enough of the material embedded in the structure it should neutralize a specimen. With a live specimen I could begin prototyping modifications and inoculations. Very promising!”
“They’ve arrived! It cost a fortune and took forever but I’ve got the proper beginnings of a garden now. Sweet Nisa even included a clutch of perapod seeds and a few Nith flowers as well! They smell of home. I can’t believe these were missing from the genetive vault. I’m going to take samples of everything to add. Who knows, maybe I can do something with them. Even just a side project to distract from all the unpleasantness.”
“Well, we’re through Haragos 1-26 with only marginal gains. I may need to look elsewhere. Nisanandra pointed me to some interesting work by a Sige in the south. A project to produce novel organisms designed for warfare. Unfortunately the webwork is so patchy these days I only hear from xyr once a month, at best, and getting fresh data out of Selene is even worse. I’ve started gathering what I can to read up on later. I want to see xyr again but Xaiger has restricted travel to the south for now. He says it’s not safe. Says the Tower is targeting anyone associated with him. I don’t regret the choice to follow Xaiger, but it’s been years now. I can’t tell if the tower is actually compromised or if they’re just holding a childish grudge because of Xaiger’s escape.”
“Met with Ayek again today. We discussed the Haragos project. Hopefully I allayed her concerns. She doesn’t understand the work but I think she understands the importance. I can see why Xaiger likes her. So beautiful, and graceful like a dancer… I always wanted to be a dancer but my sire… well, medicine was my first calling anyhow. Someday I’ll have Nisanandra teach me.”
“They did it! Blessed Aia! They captured one! A live Kertsu. I’ll finally get to use the anechoic stasis vault. His name is Surlas Volson and according to Comanas he was building one of their black cults in Siklif. Over three dozen thralls, including several ranking officers. Kala tracked him down and it took Orixmenos, Xunlo, Maghnus, and Elaios to bring him down. Apparently he’s got a “wide vocabulary” according to Elaios. Fortunately Nathfar kept him under. This changes everything!”
“Xaiger has provided me with a new assistant, a gift apparently, from Tagah. As if that wipes away all the bad blood. It’s an Artilect called Veles the Medico. I watched as his drones and Sun built the new dome and frame. I’m unsure how Xaiger can trust Tagah so quickly. I’m not comfortable but I’m told his capabilities will rival Aceso or any of the other great surgeons. He’s certainly knowledgeable but… so cold. Sun reviewed the machine and Xaiger trusts him though, so that will have to do. I’ve assigned Veles to the Haragos project so I can focus on some base research. Apparently he already has tasks directly from Tagah. I’ll discuss it with Xaiger.”
“Xaiger told me why he accepted Tagah’s surrender and I think I understand now. Apparently the Weaver has been using a mechanical approach to resisting the Kertsu. He calls it a neural leash; basically it’s a skein of bioadaptive polyalloy threads inserted into an organic brain but entrained to an Artilects control. This mechanism essentially rewires the brain, overriding the will, allowing the Artilect or its agents to exert executive function, even over that imposed by the Kertsu. It’s certainly a solution, but it’s inelegant and the mortality is horrifying high; up to 65% in some populations. Given Tagah’s attitude it’s not a surprising choice but I can’t endorse it. It has given me some ideas about Project Haragos though.”
“Xaiger came to visit today. It was nice to sit and talk with him again. I see so little of him these days and it’s easy to forget… it’s refreshing to talk to someone who follows everything you say, who’s actually listening. We talked about my idea for a novel organism, something capable of resisting by design rather than modification and he had some interesting insights. He even suggested a name: Akeron, which seems fitting. I did finally get him to promise me access to an Aerial and an escort so I can make a trip to Inech and see if I can convince Nisa to join me. I could get xyr an apartment above, introduce xyr to the others. They’d love xyr, I’m certain. This place could use xyr music.”
“Xaiger sent me a new sample. He thinks it’s what I’ll need for Akeron and I think he’s right. It’s been staring at us for so long and none of us saw it. The shard is the key. It’s why both Xaiger and I are resistant. The power within is vast enough…I could do almost anything! I’ll need to work from molecular quantities. Tomorrow I’ll start Akeron iteration 22.”
“When he said he’d get me an escort I didn’t think he meant Xunlo Jin! I’ve only spoken too him a few times but I’ve read the reports. At first I thought Xaiger was just being paranoid about the tower but now… I can’t back out though. Who knows when I might next get a chance. I’ve prepared my gear. A few days there, a week in Inech, then back… I don’t know if Nisa got my message. I kind of hope xy didn’t. The look on xyr face would be worth all the gelt in Hyperion. We’ll have some time so I’m going to ask Master Xunlo about the Ujia and see if I can get a better understanding of their abilities.”
“Akeron Iteration 52 failed. Saw one additional day out of this round, but the duration is too short and the post-death cellular burn is making our work harder. If the damned corpses didn’t eat themselves within a few minutes I might… I’ve been studying the properties of the shard again, hoping for some new insight into how to maintain the power while avoiding the burnout. We only have seven molecules left for new subjects and I don’t want to start a new round until I can be sure we won’t see this again. The base effects of temporary exposure; enhanced physical attributes, durability, strength, those are consistent. But the mental effects always fade with proximity. Some portion of the shard needs to be embedded in the subject to act as a permanent conduit, but I don’t know how to control for the uneven transfer of axial power. A single spike can send a subject into melt and none of the compensating mechanisms seem to help. Aia save me, it’s driving me mad.”
“Just got back from forum at the Edifice. Too much time away from my work, but a good reminder that I’m not alone. Xaiger was looking tired and thin, but that’s a bit like saying the sun looked dim today. He still held the room. Perdis was bothering me about sharing data from my projects again but what would she do with it? Copy it to some nexus where the enemy might get hold of it? Utterly fail to understand any of it? Tagah and Sun both agreed so it was settled but I need to talk to Xaiger about her. The generals report wasn’t good. We’ve lost everything west of Lake Fenjo now. Nathfar’s powers can only reach so far, even with the shard and his chamber. Hellioth isn’t doing much better apparently. Tagah suggested using more of his leashed, but no one wants that. I honestly thought Ivit-ka might shatter Taga’s emissary right there. I don’t know enough about Artilect culture to know what is between those two… I’d call it bad blood but neither has any. I need to make progress on Akeron; it’s an alternative I think they’d all support given the options. For now, Kala has proposed working with Xin to begin hunting Speakers. I’m looking forward to reading those reports.
“Xunlo Jin has gifted me with a fine short sword, as thanks for curing his daughter of the void-sickness that plagued her. Unexpected and unnecessary but generous. I told him it wasn’t necessary, but he wouldn’t have it; just said thank-you again and… vanished. Probably a dozen miles away before I could blink. I managed to get a bit of the mist he left behind. I’ve assigned it to Feno to study. I wish I had spent more time studying the Ujia but I’ve no time now and they deserve more attention than I can spare. I doubt we can, but if we could replicate even one of their abilities it would increase subject effectiveness exponentially; one of the Haragos, able to self-teleport or an Akeron able to alter phase… I have no clue how to use this really. It is quite beautiful though so I’ll find a good place to display it.”
“Veles reverse engineered one of the new plagues, a strain found in refugees from the south. He’s dubbed it ‘Nemiin’ using the same mythological taxonomy we’re using for the other subjects. The sample shows excellent mutability and considerable potential for reuse. A cure shouldn’t be too difficult but it might be a useful weapon against the enemy, particularly with some modifications.”
“The Nemiin is proving less malleable than originally thought. Something to do with the sample purity. Veles believes the disease’s initial mutability was a response to being housed near samples of the Shard and has an idea to replicate this effect to mute some of its more adaptive properties and engineer a proper cure or inoculation.“
“Provided treatment to Master Tichyt today. He entered the academy covered in blood and scared my new assistant near to death. His pain tolerance truly defies comprehension; my scans showed broken medial and dominant limbs, a punctured lung, fractured skull, three cracked vertebrae… still not so much as a groan or a limp! It took five hours to get him mended and in that time I think he said maybe a dozen words. He wouldn’t even tell me how he was injured. I’ll have to advise Xaiger but knowing Tichyt it was Xaiger who sent him to me.”
“It looks like Haragos 202 has passed all tests. The physical enhancements are impressive but the test against the Surlas, that was what we needed. Sub twenty percent response rate. Barely a tick. The domination of the pack-leader acted perfectly, warding off the Kertsu influence. We did have to sedate the subject to prevent her from eating Surlas alive, so we’ll need to work on the aggression levels, and Veles has indicated some minor aberrations in the subjects shifting abilities but Veles seems unconcerned. I sent the record of the test to Xaiger and he is going to get Orixmenos to provide additional volunteers. I asked for additional time to ensure stability but Xaiger has need of them; he says the Speakers have begun pressing from the southwest. The Haragos should make them think twice.”
“Spoke with Ayek today. She was angry about complications stemming from project Haragos. Apparently there are subject mutations spreading among non-subject Shifters and they appear to be getting worse. She provided a sample for study and it appears Veles failed to compensate for some of the more… chaotic aspects of protean biology. There was always a risk that the Haragos geneweave might eventually spread through the biomass but the amplification of negative traits is alarming. Shifting difficulties, form irregularities, engram retention, and heightened aggression. If it grows any worse we could see some subjects go full feral or lock-in. I’m too close to cracking the Akeron problem too switch tasks so I’ve ordered Veles to focus on this issue. Hopefully he can come up with a means of stabilization.”
“Jin returned today, this time with a rare gift; a beautiful specimen of Corvus Veridis Idolon – an Emerald Crow. He says the species has an innate connection to the Ujia and their gifts, but they’re apparently also very rare. He proposed an exchange of sorts; we find a way to help preserve the species and in return we get a valuable live void-tethered subject to study. I’ve directed Feno to create a viable clonal reserve so we might be able to do… well whatever the opposite of killing two birds with one stone is… gather two stones with one bird?”
“Ayr damnit! Damn it all. Xaiger has halted the Haragos project. It’s too unstable. I knew we should have spent more time on the treatment. He’s right, but I read the reports, I know what the cost will be. Those grot licking Kertsu will use the opportunity and for each Shifter they take we lose an ally and gain an enemy. I need to get Akeron working. We need another option.”
“I’m making progress on Akeron but it’s slow. Each iteration takes too long; 4-5 days to reach viability, even when accelerated, and the failure rate remains high. Subjects reject the Shard or melt when tethered. It’s unacceptable. I’ve been discussing it with Xaiger and he suggested an alternative of using hosts for the organisms, to act as a buffer of sorts, like an eggshell of sorts, to give the seed time to mature. It’s a long shot but it might work. Lets hope for lucky iteration 197.”
“It worked! Finally! Two hundred and twenty six in and we have a stable Akeron! Using a host worked. The Urpan is totally obedient. Even better, its taking on characteristics of shard exposure; enhanced abilities; strength, speed, endurance. And most importantly, it barely registered Surlas’ commands. Less than thirty percent on the first try. On a primitive neurology like the Urpan! With more work I think I can get it down to nil on a host. We might not even need to mature them! A perfect weapon against the Kertsu. I’ve reorganized the schedule to focus on this.”
“Veles believes it is possible to create a treatment for the Haragos mutation but we’ll need additional victims to study. Ayek has been deployed to the south so I made the request of Orixmenos. He was, as usual, curt, but we should receive two dozen Shifters shortly. He referred to them as Hunstagr, which is a term I’m not familiar with, but we’ll use it for our records. We’ll keep these Hunstagr in the Haragos vault until Veles can distill a cure.”
“Akeron host 226 burned out today. It was stable and then… it wasn’t. All our instruments suggest a surge in the tether to the Shard. The seed survived though which means that the host did its job as Xaiger thought. My theory is that if the seed can be hatched, properly developed, it should be able to survive. I’ve had it re-implanted in a new subject. We’ll keep switching it out until it gestates.”
This message appears to have been broadcast as a general alert to the entire facility: “Your Attention Please. It has come to my attention that an assistant has been infected with substance X88B, also known as the Nemiin. The facility sensors detected this contamination and the assistant in question has been quarantined. I have have been advised of rumours suggesting the disease is terminal. This is untrue. Veles has composed a cure but it requires a component that we have depleted. I have requisitioned more but in lieu of the materials needed, Veles has created a treatment package to treat key symptoms and delay onset of the more dangerous aspects of the disease. He has created additional treatments for storage in the laboratory. They can be found in storage container X88B-00. This is not a cure! This treatment is only symptomatic so please show caution when handling the specimens. We do not want any further accidents.”
“It’s finally complete. The first of the true Akeron. It’s magnificent. The result of 12 genetive sources, 227 iterations, 315 hosts, over a decade of research, another decade of experiments. Every instrument we have shows a stable tether, both to the Shard and to the other hosts. Since it reached maturity they’ve all been stable; no melt. The tether resonates with every shard-touched entity around it, including me. Terrifying power, harnessed and paired with perfect obedience. It passed every test we could throw at it; Urpan, Grommen, Yeligwi, Atrox. Surlas passed out on our first test so we had to pump him full of stimulants. I was worried we might be overdoing it at first but even with a Speaker loaded to his eyeballs there was 0% response. Perfect specimen. Feno is calling it a ‘Nargul’… says it’s to honour Xaiger. Seems a bit silly, but given the years he’s dedicated to the project I’ll let him have it.”
“We’ve run out of samples of the Shard. I’ve requested Xaiger provide more but he has indicated it may take some time. I know the dangers, but without it I won’t be able to create any new Akeron hosts… let alone mature them into full Akeron.”
“I visited it today. The shard. Xaiger invited me. It’s been nearly a century since I last saw it directly. I thought he was joking when we arrived, thought he’d keep it at the Edifice or Huldra. I was happy not knowing where it was honestly and now I don’t think I’ll sleep as well. I’d forgotten the sheer power of it. He’s guarded it well, has a whole tribe of Kadara guarding it, maintaining the equations, the sigils, keeping everything under key. He wanted me there when he drew a new sample. I think he wanted me to see, just to appreciate it. I admit I was annoyed at first, but then he passed through the barrier… No one else could do what he does. It doesn’t make sense how he does it. To survive that power. Maybe the Vox really did bless humans, because just watching it felt like I was being washed away. When he emerged I could see the cost. The piece of the shard is as much a piece of him as anything else. I thanked him but I don’t know if he heard.”
“We’ve finally managed to compose a cure for the Hunstagr-Haragos. Veles announced it in his usual dry manner. It’s taken far too long. I can only hope it’s enough to soothe Ayek. Hellioth’s response certainly didn’t help, but it was my fault for letting the treatment out before it was ready. I wish we had been able to focus more on it, but we just didn’t have the resources until now. I can’t change the past but she has to know I’m sorry.”
“I spoke with Kala today. He claims the Kertsu are becoming harder to find and requested something to enhance his diascience. I suggested he may simply have done his job too well, which just about got a grin out of him. I gave him a dose of sensory stimulants all the same. I find Kala’s presence comforting, but I suspect the feeling isn’t mutual. I wish I could perceive the world as he does. I can only imagine what I could accomplish. Aia forgive me, but diascience is a much better sensory enhancement than tasting emotions…”
“The Heterarchy has gone mad. They destroyed Hellioth. Cast the entirety of the north into darkness and cold. They claimed it was tainted by the Kertsu, that they were saving the Shifters from them. It’s obscene. They’re all puppets to the Kertsu. Oh Aia…all my friends…and poor Ayek and Orixmenos… I…” [The recording ends in crying]
“Nisanandra isn’t happy. I can see it in xyr eyes. Xy doesn’t agree with my work. I’ve tried to keep it away from xyr, but with the attack on Hellioth and the Nargul now public… Xy knows the threat and the danger, but I… Xy doesn’t understand. If xy did xyd know why we need them. xy compared them to Tagah’s thralls the other day and I had to stop myself from yelling at xyr. I mean, it’s not just the survival rate, that alone is evidence that Tagah’s monsters are just that. The Nargul aren’t puppets, they aren’t lobotomies controlled by a heartless machine with crude electroshock intrusion. The Nargul are so much more; a connection to what humans could be rather than what they are. A bond with the shard and to Xaiger himself. Moreover, they work! We’ve retaken so much that was lost, rebuilt so much that was destroyed. Without the Nargul I wouldn’t be able to focus my work on curing all the terrible diseases that the thrice-damned Kertsu have released. I think Nisa just doesn’t understand Xaiger, I think that’s why xy questions it. How could xy understand though, xy hasn’t known him as I have. I need xyr to understand though. I’ll see if I can arrange a meeting. He could use a little music in his life these days, and maybe he can talk some sense into xyr.”
“They survived! Somehow, Ayek and Orixmenos both got out of the north. They said it’s a wasteland now; everything plunged into a deep cold, as if all the heat is being sucked from the world. I can’t imagine. I’ve checked them over and both are showing signs of geneweave damage. Ayek is mostly fine but Orixmenos will need to undergo longterm treatment to keep the Hunstagr mutation in check while he heals. He didn’t like that, but I can’t help him if he won’t listen.”
“Aia’s luck, we finally set the Kertsu on their back foot, only to have the Heterarchy set upon us. First they ruin Hellioth and now turn the Entelechy loose on us. The arrogant Tower dandies say the Shapers have condemned us, but it’s just as likely the whole Tower’s now pawns for the Kertsu; they couldn’t get us directly so now they’ve switched to a more powerful catspaw. Xaiger thinks we can repel them but how many wars can we fight simultaneously? I tried to explain to him that our weapons were never designed for this type of fight so he’s tasked me with deriving methods to enhance our forces against them. I’ve got a few ideas but I’ll need samples. Perhaps Ayek can use her contacts at Ab-Sheol…”
“Maghnus was here today to pick up innoculations and Nargul seeds. Usually he’d send one of his Varata but apparently he wanted to talk to me about several new strains of disease that have cropped up in the west. He was asking about how to minimize casualties, reduce infection, so I provided him with some resources. He was also curious about the Nargul and the Haragos which was a welcome change. I’m always happy to talk about the work, even if these days it’s mostly routine replication. I don’t know how much he understood, but he asked some good questions. It’s hard to remember he’s less than a century old, just a child really. He’s a clever one. I suspect Xaiger has plans for him.”
“One of Ayek’s brothers in Ab-Sheol managed to smuggle out the sample I needed; Uzhas blood from one of the Tuweri. I’ve examined the structure and it’s incredible. Strikingly focused and unabashedly dangerous. A creature of singular design. I’ve ordered Veles to prepare a gestation canister and construct the security precautions necessary. I believe this may provide solutions, not just for fighting the Entelechy but for several of the issues plaguing Project Akeron.”
“The Uzhas is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Even in its adolescent form it makes my skin crawl. I read everything about it’s biology, I know its exact molecular makeup, but none of that conveyed the sheer… monstrousness of it. I’m reluctant to use its traits in other projects… it doesn’t make sense, it’s a creature like any other, but I can’t look at it without remembering the stories my Sire used to tell. I’ve had to assign Veles to work with it; the rest of the staff find it too disconcerting. Reviving it might have been a mistake but we can’t let the north fall like Hellioth did.”
“Small luck. Veles has developed a mechanism that he says can be used to control the Uzhas. Well, not control, but punish. He’s dubbed it a neural entrainment trap, a sort of dog whistle or electric shock. Apparently the creature’s cortex is protean though so it requires constant adjustment or the effect wears off. Veles thinks we can use it to train compliance. I am doubtful, but so long as he keeps it under lock, I’ll permit it.”
“I’ve introduced a strand of the Uzhas genome into a fresh branch of Nargul. The results have been… startling. Not just visually, but in capacity. The new variant is far more deadly and the nullifying properties of the Uzhas are amplifying the extant resistance. One of Sun’s apprentices barely slowed it down and it rolled over a whole pack of the Haragos like they were puppies. Veles wants to test it against the Uzhas but I want to ensure it’s stable first.”
“The attack on Hellioth did more damage than I thought. Not just to the land though. I’ve spent too much time looking at my screens and not enough watching the others, their mental state. Xaigers Vayakasi are beginning to crack without him. He so rarely emerges from the Edifice these days, leaving the Dominion to his trusted… but without him, that’s been a mistake. Comanas’ has gathered so much power in the west, grown too greedy and cruel, and he’s using the Nargul I gave him. Refugees from Hellioth and the South are getting caught between him and Orixmenos. The fool won’t take his treatment, claims the Hunstagr is a blessing. Ayek and Ivit-Ka have begun pushing for Xaiger to shut down the facility but it’s not the work, it’s the fools using it! I keep trying to speak with Xaiger but I can’t get in touch. Everything is falling apart, can’t he see that!”
“Xaiger believes an attack on Aarnivak is imminent and has requested I move to the facility at the Edifice. He says Comanas believes we can use the shard directly to strike back against the Entelechy and he wants me there to watch his health. It’s my fault; if we had more Nargul… No, it’s fucking Ayek and Ivit-ka’s fault; fucking skinthief and a damned machine. We wouldn’t be in this mess if they hadn’t stirred up the revolt, stolen my research, split our attention when we could least afford it. Aia piss on all of them and all the rest of the cowards too; so eager to save their own hides. They only care about themselves. They call us monsters but they only started worrying about clean hands after the black tongues were defeated, after I had done the dirty work. They didn’t care about the people until it was their people who were needed. Cowards and hypocrites. Mewling children screaming for the golden days with no clue how to get there. The Imperium wasn’t built by saints, it was built by those willing to do the hard work, even if it meant…even if it meant hurting people… even if it meant killing people.”