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The Mordukai spent much of the tail end of the monsoon huddled in the low-altitude caverns of Skyrender, until the rains finally began to dissipate. It began once more on that second-most fateful of days, the day when all seemed right with the world once more, but not until late. With the rains apparently finally ended, and the Mordukai pent up and anxious, the Queens decided to begin moving the Hives back towards the lands they first colonized.

A hundred insectoids picked up camp and began the hike back down the foothills of Skyrender, merry that calm times had finally come again. They set down much of their belongings not far from where they once made camp, though this time the Mordukai decided to settle at higher altitude. They began to set about rebuilding home as the day ended, and the rains once more began in the night.

At first it seemed little more than some errant droplets, irritating a few sleeping Mordukai, but slowly, it became a very clear sprinkle. The Queens were made aware of this issue, and watched for hours as the rain slowly increased, until it was clear something must be done. Before the Sun rose, the Mordukai grabbed what they could and began heading back towards Skyrender.

Yet it was too late. As noon approached, the storm became so intense it was difficult to see. Finding themselves on a forested hill surrounded by rain and the sounds of what may have been creeks become rivers, the Mordukai huddled close together, interlocking their limbs, ensuring no one would be lost.

With lightning crashing down repeatedly not far away, thunder deafening them, winds pummeling them, the Mordukai began to shiver and shake, losing hope. In desperation, the first Queen begins muttering to herself quietly, "End this storm," over and over. As the minutes grow into what feel like punishingly long hours, her fervency grows until her closest Soldiers hear her and begin repeating the mantra. Soon, all ninety-nine Mordukai are chanting together, though to describe it better would be more like ninety-nine roaches hissing and humming together in a giant clump in the middle of an ultra-hurricane. The Drone, meanwhile, was some distance away, yelling at the storm and fighting it with four stone blades.

At the peak of the storm, the strangest thing occurred. Shadowy figures began appearing in the rains, popping in and out of existent around and sometimes between the Mordukai. Panic began to sweep through the Mordukai, for this was something that was truly unearthly and impossible to them. Seeing this, the first Queen understood the Mordukai could likely do little to fight this figures, but she could still steel their souls, as she gripped those who held her hands tighter, declaring with her loudest voice, "This storm will break before we!" A second mantra that spread like wildfire, a mantra to hold themselves against the darkness that surrounded and enveloped them.

Ninety-nine insectoids hummed so loudly and in unison together that it is said that day that even the thunder could not drown them out, the vibrations even moving their bodies as shadows danced between them.

But finally, the darkest seemed to have past as the storm moved east. As the first rays of light began to fall upon the huddled Mordukai, they lifted up their heads towards the sky, relieved. The first Queen looked around and told them, "Sisters, let us pray until we are sure the storms have gone!" As none challenged the first Queen, the Mordukai returned to their 'chanting' as the day wore on.

When the night came, there was a new display awaiting the Mordukai through the branches of the trees; a great display of newborn light stretching from horizon to horizon. It was utterly marvelous to the Mordukai. The first Queen looked upon this display and felt in her heart a message, declaring, "This is the reward for our efforts! We have broken the storm!"

Her closest Soldier raised up her fist, "You lead us through the storm, you told us what to do. You are the Stormbreaker, leader of the Mordukai! Do any stand with me?" Rapidly, the entire peoples of the Mordukai, save for the Drone doing who knows what, stood and raised their fists. The great display above, the Mordukai declared to be the Stormbreaker's Crown, as the new stars appeared to be a crown atop the earth, and through weird logic, a crown atop Stormbreaker's head. And so the first Queen was anointed as Stormbreaker, First of Names, Breaker of the Great Storms, Crowned of the Earth.

To ensure their victory, Stormbreaker ordered, the Mordukai would return to their prayer until they were certain the storms were gone. And thus they prayed for three days and three nights until delirium and exhaustion forced them to slumber. It was then that Stormbreaker received a dream that has been recorded through time as,

When they awoke, Stormbreaker declared that there would always be at least one Mordukai praying to ward off the darkness, lest they risk the return of the shadows. She further declared that they would build their homes here, naming the spot 'Adamant'. This was now their home, their holy land, the land where they had stood against the storms and the shadows and won, in their opinion.

This caused some minor issues. Pottery had been refined not long after the storms ended, so storing food, water, and goods was much easier, but Adamant's relative distance from the rivers resulted in some inconvenience. This inconvenience pushed the Mordukai to begin pondering how to move goods around better...

With the air growing colder by the day, the Mordukai begin building their homes of stick, stones, leaves, and mud. They reconstruct their irrigated fields, hunt, gather, and spend more time working on domesticating the Lepus and Ovis. Their objective until they reach what their instincts tell them is winter is to store up as much food as possible and become established, and to those ends they focus.

How do you plan to have all these characters in different factions interact?
2021 Budget Proposal

Written upon a paper presented secretly before the cabinet members is a paper inscribed with the words of Colonel Pepe, "With President Saavedra becoming indisposed, his delegation to me the position of Acting President, or Acting Presidente, as I prefer, comes with great responsibility. Until President Saavedra is once more capable of taking the helm, I shall hold this position until the end of his term, at which point I shall release my position to whomever wins the next election. Thus, I lay out my proposed budget for 2021:

Proposed 2021 Budget
  • Ministry of Security - $2
  • Ministry of Defense - $5
  • Ministry of Transport - $5
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs - $2
  • Ministry of Energy - $5
  • Ministry of Industry - $5

My logic is simple;

I do not believe the Ministry of Security is in dire need of more money, as they shall receive double their budget from the previous year. I have appropriately allocated more funds to Defense in accordance with our increased income because he who wants peace must prepare for war.

The Ministry of Transport receives more funds because we need to develop Melizea's infrastructure and logistics capabilities far beyond what it is currently if we wish for Melizea to compete on the world stage to any extent. The same goes for the Ministries of Energy and Industry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is receiving double its budget from last year, and I know although it is less, I would not be surprised if we were to close the borders very soon, so foreign relations are likely to become less important.

Thank you for your time, Gentlemen and Ladies, Acting President Pepe"

The skies quickly began to grow dark no doubt all across the lands as the Mordukai witnessed an intensely rapid change from sunny, to increasingly stormy. It turned out that the land they inhabited, what they would eventually discover to be the South of an island, was usually particularly hard hit by the storms, being that they came from the South. The structure of their land, Mountains a few days walk away North, with coasts right next door, created a kind of physical wall into which crashed the Southern Storms like a freight train. Their hot, humid air was sent crashing upwards into the colder altitudes by what the Mordukai would come to call, 'Skyrender's Wall'. And, as hot air becomes colder, rain begins to form. And rain, god damn, it did there in the South during this time.

Within a week, the Queens became concerned and began ordering a harvest of the fields, as the banks of the Sunset and Sunrise began to rise. Within the past three months, a great harvest of vegetables from wild beans to squash had been grown. What couldn't be eaten by the Mordukai was often eaten by the Lepus, which the Mordukai had finally mastered the husbandry of with the help of simple stone age plant fiber ropes, adding more food to the Mordukai supply.

It could have been larger, the Queens lamented, considering the help that irrigating the fields had given to its yield versus having moved the fields somewhere safer. In the end, they decided to test the difference later.

During Week 13, the storms only worsened, until the Queens decided to move towards Skyrender and seek shelter there. All the Mordukai grabbed what they could, tearing up huts at times, and moved north, seeking to avoid the coasts which were reported by one Soldier as, "having over my head waves." Unfortunately, without a good means to store things, a large portion of food was left behind, pushing the Queens to wonder how to store items.

The Mordukai discovered the beginnings of the Skyrender cave systems, taking cover in the lower altitude cave entrances. At higher altitude, conditions were a fair bit less wet, though the Queens worried that the Storms would simply increase further.

Even as the storms worsened, the Drone, whom had once been simply exploring the area, killing and eating game but now found himself huddled in a cave losing his mind, came to the Queens and declared, "Lay with me!"

A horny, bored, eight foot tall, dangerous Drone is not a good Drone. The Queens agreed on one condition: that the Drone go out and kill an Ovis singlehandedly. In truth, the Queens had seen the beasts on the Mordukai's journey up to the slopes of Skyrender, had seen how they were thick, muscular, Soldier-height beasts that would likely trample and brutally murder even a Drone most likely. And so, half hoping the Drone would get itself killed, the Drone set off.

Upon returning home triumphant, he fell to his knees among a crowd of Mordukai within the caves, holding up his Ovis skull helmet to the Three Queens who had assembled in front of him. The First Queen took the skull from his hands and looked it over before placing it upon her own head, finding it fit better. With the horns of the Ovis jutting out from her head, she thanked him, "Thank you Drone, for your gift. We will lay with you." Satisfied, the Drone became less restful, for now.

With the demonstration of this capture technique by the Drone, the Queens decided to take advantage of the situation and began hunting the Ovis with spears and ropes, also deciding to capture a number of the most young Ovis the Mordukai could find. The Mordukai would turn these Ovis into livestock just like the Lepus, the Queens reasoned. The rain and winds may have made things more difficult in one aspect, but they helped cover the Mordukai's movements on the other.

Within weeks, the Mordukai begin adorning themselves with Ovis fur, helping them adapt to the somewhat colder temperatures at higher altitude. Ovis skulls and bones also begin becoming a central focus, with the Soldiers often wearing pieces of a kill to show their worth to their Queen. Slowly, but surely, the Mordukai were beginning to form a culture.

The Storm worsened more and more though, to the point that the Mordukai decided to keep their heads firmly down during these trying times, remaining mostly inside the lower altitude caves of Skyrender. And it was during this time that rumors began to circulate amongst the Mordukai of strange, eerie sounds echoing through the caves. Sounds that would keep Soldiers up at night, standing watch reflexively. The Queens decided a simple stance of doing nothing other than being ready to be attacked by animals was all that was necessary, and so the Mordukai hunkered down and waited.

Finally, the Storm reached full strength during Week 18. And it seemed to refuse to relent. They wait, and waited, for almost a week, and nothing changed. Occasional gathering parties would go out for food, and the Mordukai had some stores, but more was never a bad thing. Finally, they sent Soldiers into the cave system, armed with torches, spears, and knives, soon discovering
a glowing purple mushroom that, after testing with a Worker, was entirely edible.

What they also discovered were the Chit. These creatures were magnificant beings to the Mordukai, fellow insectoids that also worked together as a Hive. It was a match made in heaven. Except for the fact that the Mordukai could not communicate with the creatures. Despite trying to lure Chit in with food, or trap young ones, the beasts proved difficult to gain control of. The Queens looked upon the Chit as natural underlings beneath the Mordukai, if the Mordukai could just figure out a way to tame them.

Satisfied, the Mordukai returned to their abodes, waiting for the Storm to die with the help of their new food supply.

I wanted to understand better just how large our island is, so I compared it to-scale based on the legend's scale to England. We aren't much bigger than Ireland, it seems. Warning, this is a large image:

Day 1, Week 1, Cycle 1
Springtime, 24 °C, Sunny

Almost in the shadow of the island's highest peak, where two rivers whose sources run that peak's range nearly touch, one hundred strange insectoids stood in three columns at the edge of where a forest and grassland met, arranged in a three-pointed star. Four insectoids stood out from the rest, three of them standing in front of their respective columns, staring towards the center of the group. These three were Queens of the Mordukai, and behind them, each column was organized into six columns with sixteen rows of depth. In total, there were 24 Soldiers and 72 Workers. In the very center was a single Drone, standing motionless.

And in an instant, the columns began falling apart as the Mordukai began to bob their heads around, their compound eyes taking in their surroundings. Their brains racked themselves, aggressively trying to figure out what was going on, who they were, where they were, and so on.

Slowly, the insectoids began to move around, looking at grasses, trees, and shrubs, but the Queens were more thoughtful. All Mordukai felt the Bond with their Queen, and their Queens felt their Bond with their children. Gazing at each other, the Queens felt a mixture of hostility, defensiveness, and curiousity. Deciding to be the first one to speak, one of the Queens walked towards the other two, ignoring the Drone in the middle that was examining the local foliage.

She lifted her four arms to the other Queens, welcoming them as she spoke in the Mordukai language of skitters and hisses, "Sisters, where are we?"

A few moments passed as the other two Queens considered the situation before one of them cautiously approached closer, "I know not. I know not... almost anything."

This second Queen's approach fueled the third's, "Agreed. It is like... emptiness."

The first Queen's suspicions rose rapidly as she wondered aloud, "Yes," she bent down to pick up some dirt and then stood, "Nothing is... familiar. Something is very... wrong." Frustration led her to toss the dirt away, "Nothing can be done. We may be stuck here a long time, wherever 'here' is. Where else to go, I don't remember..."

Scratching her head, the second Queen mentioned, "We need food and water. We have none I see."

"Let us focus our efforts separately. My Hive will gather berries and food from the forest," declared the third Queen.

The first decided not to be left behind, "Mine shall work on hunting."

Finally, the second decided, "I will learn what grows here and build homes."

Once all were decided, the first lifted her arms once more, each fellow Queen receiving two hands each, "Then we work together." The other two Queens joined the circle of arms, nodding, "Together."

They set outward then, going to their respective Hives, issuing commands to their loyal children.

The third Hive quickly set about gathering berries and vegetables from the forest and grasslands, the Workers nibbling a little on different material to learn if it was edible and potentially toxic, preferring to sacrifice some of their health to warn the others. Watching over them were the Soldiers, who also helped gather at times. The food was brought back to where they all awoke.

Where they awoke, the second Hive worked on gathering sticks, wood, and leaves, doing their best to establish simple shelters while the Queen and a few of her Soldiers surveyed the area, determining what could be bent into a domestic crop. Some of the Workers were instructed to prepare fields for planting, and worked hard to clear what land they could for the seeds and plants their mother discovered. This second Queen spent quite some time considering the layout of the fields as she analyzed local flora, slowly beginning to realize the issue of how to water the future crops.

The first Queen split her Hive into four hunting groups consisting of two Soldiers and four Workers each, retaining eight Workers to help construct shelters and gather food. These Workers were also held back in order to give the first Queen some semblance of protection just in case the other two Queens became aggressive towards her. Each group was sent in a different direction in relation to the Sun, both to hunt and to report back what they found.

It was these hunting groups that brought back knowledge of the Sunrise and Sunset Rivers, knowledge of strange creatures, as well as the carcasses of a number of Lepus and even a captured live specimen. When the three Hives reconvened that night in what flimsy huts were available, the Three Queens sat in the main hut, discussing the day. There seemed to be relatively plentiful food and game in the area as well a number of water sources. With the knowledge of the Sunset and Sunrise rivers, the Mordukai resolved to build their homes here, mostly because the fields would go alongside those rivers, beginning with the Sunrise River. The beginnings of the Mordukai Civilization had been laid.

Colonel Jose "Pepe" Caraballo, Minister of Industry

January 6th, 2021

Minister of Industry Pepe's Office, São Cristovão

Pepe sat at his desk, pouring over a map of Melizea, planning potential moves for the coming year. Whilst 2020 had seen the Ministry of Industry do fairly well, unfortunately a gaff by the Ministry of Transport had resulted in some unintended events in the nation. The officer frowned subtly as he recounted the losses incurred by that misunderstanding.

A knock at his door, to which Pepe welcomed, "Come in." Lieutenant Juarez's head, a scrawny tree of a man, peered in, "Colonel, the first COVID-19K mutation was reported by the Arkanians."

Much of the color flushed from Colonel Pepe's face, "Juarez, you're certain?" Juarez solemnly nodded, causing his superior to take in a long, deep breath. As Pepe exhaled, he brought his fingers to his temples, "Lord, give Melizea the strength to pull through what comes ahead. This goddamn disease will probably be spreading rampantly here within weeks or God forbid, days... Return to what you were doing, Juarez."

After the man had left, the Colonel leaned back, looking once more at the map of Melizea. In Pepe's mind, there seemed only one solution. It was a hard pill to swallow, but now was probably the last moment Melizea would get to attempt to cut itself off from the world and this new disease. The Colonel picked up the phone and dialed the President's Office. A secretary answered, "The President is not immediately available. Can I take a message?"

Pepe took a breath, "Yes, please ensure he listens to the actual recording of this call. Prrrresidente Saavedra, this is Colonel Caraballo, Minister of Industry. It was reported today by the Arkanians that the first COVID-19K infection was confirmed in their nation. Considering how incredibly rapidly this new disease has spread, I believe it is mathematically certain that this disease will hit our nation within weeks, maybe days. I genuinely believe it is in the best, long-term interest of the nation to close the borders immediately. Or if not immediately, consider ordering the Secret Police, Army, Air Force, and Navy to move quickly to secure the routes into the nation by land, sea, and air, before an official announcement in order to get ahead of the likely panicked movements of peoples and goods. Please let me know by communication or official announcement your plan or opinion with regards to this matter. Thank you."

The Colonel had little idea what the President's opinion on this matter was, but he hoped they would soon find out.

I am interested, especially since schools are closed for the semester save for online learning.
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