[Wednesday June 19, 2002]
Griflet's Report: "The Stone has been planted. Governing time..."
HOME - Day of the Cat (21st), White Witches' Moon, Year of the Lamia
You ride through Black Earth's Bloom with Windwood and Jaern Shadowblade and arrive at Whispering Stone. Gorianthas and Leonore listen to your report about your adventures on the isles of Xenophon and Oriab. Leonore muses, "It must be one of the soft places in the world, where the fabric of reality is weak and things and people can pass easily between. Perhaps it is from a place such as this that the People and maybe the Quarmallians first came to Nehwon." Gorianthas is impressed with the silkworms you have brought. He hopes they will flourish in this land. "When you did not return from the Isle of Xenophon, I feared the worst, as I do each time you are gone from us, Sire." he says. "Thank the Powers you and Councillor Shadowblade have returned safe and sound. As you can see, work has continued in your absence; master Grogromanth has been busy. And Councillor Bearspear has managed to transmit messages via pigeon from here to the Isle of Zecy."
THE FEAST OF THE PROTECTORS - Evening of the Swan (22nd), White Witches' Moon, Year of the Lamia
You summon Corinth, Leader and the upper echelon of the House Protectors to the stone for council. From the High plateau overlooking the Great plains you hold a feast for the Protectors.
You decree that (from the population of 3000 migrants, 1000 are able bodied) a standing army of 250 men and women are to be professionally organized into THE "Whispering" PROTECTORS. They will be organized like this:
All Soldiers are expected to know House Battle Language AND basic fire signalling.
The ARMY itself is to be divided into 5 DIVISIONS, each one consisting of:
ELITE CORPS (These are only recruited from the regs, by merit in competitions [see below] they do NOT train squires) :
"The Royal Scouts, Keepers of Law and Kings Guard will be recruited through three competitions which will be held in the land. Each of these competitions will take place once every 30 years, at which time current holders are expected to compete again to hold their title. The competitions are open to ANY competitor of Elven descent - Wild Elves & Elves from Houses other than the Protectors."
"The Competition of Scouts (Tests-cunning, adaptability, iniative, ability to avoid detection, bow and general scouting skills) will occur between New and 1st Half of Harvest Moon (mid-Autumn), in every alternate Year of the Sea Serpent (the days of the Hare, Minnow, Turtle, Newt, Raven and Spider). The Year of the Sea Serpent is next year, and the date will be exactly 3 years since the destruction of Imric's Hold by the Dragon Bloodbane. Leonore regards this as auspicious, to prevent by intelligence such a tragedy from ever re-occurring."
"The Challenges of the Keepers (Tests-mind, spirit and skill with weapons) will take place in the waning of Seed Moon in every alternate Year of the Titan (the first of which is two years' hence), on the days of the Bat, Squirrel, Rat, Fox, Beaver and Crab."
"The Discipline of the Guard (Tests- Loyalty, mastery of choosen weapon, strength, spirit and mind.) will be performed in the full of midsummer (Murderer's Moon) in every alternate Year of the White Angel (the first of which is in four years). The sacred days shall be the Dove, Hawk, Falcon, Dog, Skunk, Worm and Butterfly."
You address the Protectors "The land is a fast one and we will use speed to our advantage. Every Protector will be required to ride well. Your legs are your horses out here and it will do you well to understand and care for your steeds. It should be said in time that Elven horses and riders are without parallel. This is not expecting too much from Elves! Hahahaha Perfection is in our blood. The key to our strategy and advantage will lie in our cohesion. As Elves we must fight as one. Signalling and command structures are to be given the strictest attention."
Corinth appears deep in thought. "All this is very good, Sire. However we do not presently have enough horses - we are probably short of this number by two thirds. If we were to purchase them through our trading post, I am concerned that such a bulk purchase of horseflesh might alert potential enemies to our presence here."
"It is good that I am well advised Master Corinth. Our secrecy is in many ways our best defence. Therefore we shall create a filter to find our horses. As I calculated, we already had managed to find 200 horses, right? So that means we'll need 100 more light horses and 60 draft horses for our siege chariots. So I suggest we send the Swan Ship east to Tisilinit to purchase the light horses, and the 60 draught horses could wait untill we have made the machines. What do you think Lord Corinth?"
"That would be wise Sire. The presence of our Swan Ship may cause a stir in the Eastern Lands. However it is possible that news may not quickly travel back to the lands of the north. The Easterners may be a threat themselves, but I believe that the Sea of the East will protect us from immediate invasion from that quarter."
"We'll first send a Swan ship with a scout ship. The scouting craft will go to arrange for the horses to be picked up in Tisinilit. We'll give them a week arrange the pick up and have the Swan Ship come in and pick them up and by gone asap, the less eyes that see the operation the better." As you are making these commands, it occurs to you that the horses of the Mingols are fast and sturdy, and the Mingol lands have little contact with the lands of the Inner Sea. Perhaps the Steppes would be an even better source of horses...
The Feast concludes.
TOLINTHIS' TASK - Day of the Mole (23rd), White Witches' Moon, Year of the Lamia
You locate Tolinthis of House Mercantile. He looks a bit wan now that he has been removed from the Treasury and the trading post. You find him inspecting one of Grogomanth's gargoyle workshops.
You approach him, "Master Tolinthis, I'm sorry to have recalled you, but you skills are needed here. I need a full report on the economics of the lower lakes Plea along the Hlal and beyond. That is, which countries have what and which want what and who is dealing with who, and how should we best benefit the people in such an affair. Further more I need you to take rank as my advisor and use what elves you need to survey this land and it's potential assests."
Tolinthis brightens when you outline your plan. "An Economic Report, Sire? I shall set about it at once."
WINDWOOD'S TASK - Day of the Mole (23rd), White Witches' Moon, Year of the Lamia
To Windwood: "Take some scouts and explore that village we saw from the Island, north of our harbour. Find out if they have contact with others among other things of interest. Go now. May the ground refuse to whisper your step." (Trad. elven scout farewell.)
THE FEAST OF HOUSE ROYALE - Night of the Shrew (24th), White Witches' Moon, Year of the Lamia
You summon the House Royale to feast. After refreshments he will deliever this speech: "Good masters of the House Royale. It is not unkown to you that I am a new king and therefore will need all of your wisdoms to guide me toward the Right path. I already can applaud good Master Gorianthas for his excellent guidance in matters of State affairs. For as it is also known to you all, I have not been before a man of the courts or politics. In these subtle worlds I am without background, however I will trust to see that you can accept and correct my follies and obey my command."
"As I understand the House Royale is responsible for the King and his Political affairs. Therefore I will need advisors of the people, ambassadors and men of real politik, courtiers and whatever other suggestions you think befits the King, I am here to listen to YOUR learned advise."
At first Gorianthas and the other Royalists seem reluctant to speak, so there are a few minutes of silence after your speech. Eventually, Gorianthas begins, "Sire our most pressing concern is to ensure the continuity of the kingship and the stability of the People. As you know, there have been many changes of late - more changes than any of us need or want. We have a new king, a new land, a new connection to our lost brothers on the Blessed Is;le. All of these changes are in large part due to you, Sire, and your adventures. However these changes have not come without cost. Our House structure is in ruins since the time of the Nightmare. No one can now feel safe in his position. The Houses must be restored somehow. Not least the House Royal, of whom you are currently the sole member -"
"And a King must marry too and children! So I will see it as your responsiblity to find me a good elven wife worthy to be Queen of the Elves. Haha I hope this is not the talk of the wine, let's drink to the future!"
"Hmm. It is no laughing matter, Sire. Indeed there must be an heir, and soon. Every time you leave on some dangerous mission or other, there is a chance - however slight, Sire - that you may not return. With no Royal Heir, what will become of the People? We shall surely fade away from the world forever. My colleagues and I have been discussing this problem in detail. Perhaps an alliance should be made with our new allies the so-called Wild Elves. Perhaps a daughter of a Councillor? There are few maidens with the purest blood around these days.."
While Gorianthas is talking it occurs to you that the House Royale spokesman seems only concerned with the Elven world and its structures and alliances. It as if the People lived in a world of their own. You know, however, that the real world is larger and more sinister than that.
Gorianthas trails off as Corinth enters and walks towards you briskly. You can tell that he is agitated, but his voice betrays nothing. "Excuse me, good Gorianthas. I must convey urgent news to the King. Sire, we have seen the signal fires. The Stone Jetty is under attack this night."