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Caslan Interactions with Nagintyar, Kengir, and Basmarra


Although Caslan has been fairly silent throughout much of its history since rebelling and leaving the Orduin empire, their presence in trade has always been partly felt as traders in paper and fish. However, troubles on the isle and political intrigue has been pushing the Kerks out of their island home, and moving more abroad, primarily more and more south.

On the large isle itself, the laxing of requirements to the Kycer has intrigued the paper merchant Tesner Uman and his political ally Lavar Brav. Tesner’s grand political ploy was to bring prosperity to the isle, proving that despite being a human amongst the Kerks, he was worthy and capable of joining the Kycer by providing jobs, trade, and wealth to the Kerks. To do this, Tesner and Lavar looked south for their goals. Tesner was especially interested in increasing trade from the south, wanting to see the Kel Trach becoming a grander trade port and staging ground for trade between the north and south. However, achieving this had many troubling qualities, and a number of political consequences.

The first trouble was the purpose and location of Caslan trade wise, as reaching Caslan was more of a hassle than just rowing up trade ships along the coasts. The other trouble was the sister county of Olgan. Port Uvan was run by a ‘peasant republic’, made up of many minor clan patriarches who ruled the city and surrounding rivers, a rich land which was less than enthusiastic about giving the Brav clan any edge in the grand conflict. Finding solutions to these issues would be difficult, but Tesner was confident that he could convince the southern nations to come to Caslan to trade.
_____

With encouragement from the Bravs, two Kerkian vessels went to the trading ports of Basmarra and Nagintyar. The first to arrive was in Nagintyer, which was already a popular spot for Tesner’s merchants to trade paper, but was also visited heavily by the Elkwood and Coladdic merchants to trade iron and gold. The Kerks who came to Nagintyar were envoys from the merchant Tesner, primarily being his son and several merchants aligned with Tesner, who wished to form a trade agreement, in which the merchants revealed they had brought gifts of vodka, seal skin, and vast sheets of blank paper. Although mentioned in passing of the necromantic faith of the Kerks, Tesner’s son avoided any and all mention of it, as Tesner feared that being a bit too revealing of the necromantic mastery the Kerks had would be damaging to the relationship of nations of cultures which was foreign to them.

The second ship sent by Lavar and Tesner was commanded by Cilov Brav, the spiteful brother of Lavar. Although a merchant by trade and an envoy of the Kycer, he had been sent mostly to keep him away from family affairs more than to trade, so when he arrived in the trade ports of Basmarra, he was grumpy and angry. Basmarra was less frequently traveled to the Kerks, primarily due to distance, but had come with offerings and gifts. Cilov wished to meet with the heads of the Zhosa Alliance, bringing gifts of iron and gold ingots, baskets of paper, and bottles of vodka. As a personal worshipper of the god Melakos, Cilov also came to present a tome of Caslandic history as well, a honored gift in Kerkian culture. Cilov’s deal was rather straightforward and overly honest, promising fair trade agreements with Caslan. Outside of Tesner’s own demands, Cilov mentioned that the people of Caslan were highly interested in the sale of fruits and meats.

The last ship was not from Kel Trach, but rather port Uvan, led by a Kerkian merchant named Syman, a farmer. Syman had wanted to go beyond Basmarra and to explore the regions of the Kengir Emirate. Bringing a trade ship full of fish, paper, and vodka, the Kerk set out for the region. When he and his people landed in the trade ports, taking in the sights and culture, the Kerks wished to present their gifts to the leaders of the emirate, and saw several notable opportunities. Syman spoke of wishing to create a lucrative trade deal, offering fish, shellfish, and seal to the Emirate at a decent cost in order to buy sandstone and other building materials. When Syman and his traders came, they had also brought along with them a number of poor Okan sailors and servants, many of them taking in the sights of the Kengir ports. Many looked and talked like they wished to stay, especially when they noticed how rich even the poorest of the Kengir was compared to their own lives in Caslan.

Universally, the Kerks were. . .interesting envoys to say the least. The Kerks are obnoxiously honest and brought tales of Caslan as they traveled abroad, and it became clear to those who talked and conversed with the envoys that their trade meetings had a secondary purpose; to get an edge in the politics back home. Although the Kerks may not bring their priests or some cadre of the undead with them as they traveled, the tales of Caslan was known enough to know all manner of dark things called the island their home, and the Kerks were all more than eager to regale tales and complain of their homeland.
Caslan
Tomb City of Scribes
Fall Meeting of the Kycer


In early Fall, all the Zupans in Caslan along with the members of the Kycer were ordered back to the Tomb City of Scribes in Hilgas. On the roads to the city, danger and trouble was usually afoot, which prompted most of the Kerkian members of the Kycer to bring an assortment of bodyguards. It wasn’t usual, as the Blyamen guarded the city and the Kycer itself, but usually kept the tomb city’s inner walls. Shov Coladdic made his way first to the city, as was his habit, and began to greet his faction before the arrival of others, while also discussing political strategy in the privacy of his clan’s catacombs. What was more abnormal however was that he had brought a larger contingent then usual, allowing his Beurian bodyguard and slave Drasken, to enter. Many of Shov’s allied clans were not very sure about this, as it was abnormal for a head of the assembly to need such protection, especially with so many undead to guard them in such a neutral environment. It wasn’t forbidden, it just wasn’t done.

Shov however had his reasons, as he was quick to exclaim his intentions to them. He saw the trouble in northern Caslan between the Hydov and Gasner clans as an opportunity they could not miss, and wished to use the trouble to it’s full effect. His vicious glare soon came on Tomov Gasner, who was a member of his faction. Tomov was not a minor priest, but he was in the Zupan council, but the reveal of his clan’s actions against the Hydov’s lost tomb city had created a black spot which Shov did not want his rivals to use against him. Shov ‘politely’ asked Tomov where the necromancers of the clan who defiled the Hydov ancestor were being kept. Although Tomov continued to insist in desperation to his fellow Coladdic clansmen of his innocence, Shov nor his priests did not care.

Tomov relented, saying that the two necromancers were outside the tomb city in disguise, one being apparently a brother and another a brother-in-law, both of whom were in good relations with Tomov and had asked him to seek forgiveness. Shov was pleased by this news, and ordered Drasken to take them into custody. Tomov pleaded for mercy, but was shut down by Shov, who ‘comforted’ the Zupan by exclaiming that he would ‘take care of the troubles’.
_____

Lavar Brav was looked up towards the familiar tomb city, with a shortness of breath as he affixed his purple robes. His assistant Okan servant kept close behind him, turning from side to side in worry. Lavar may have had experience climbing the stone stairs, but Lila was younger, and was less exhausted when they climbed. Several members of the Kycer were behind them, and several more in front of them in a line of purple, red, green, and black. She saw a number of Kerks had brought bodyguards of all types. She could see several Kerkian bodyguards, two Okan Ghilmen, and a Beurian mercenary. Yet, the most common type of guard were the undead, as several necromancers walked together under the shadow of Husks.

“Keep up, Lila” Lavar politely asked of the Okan. Lila snapped back to attention and came even closer to him “I am sorry, sir. It feels like we are marching with an army.”

“I noticed.” Lavar looked around him as well, less impressed and more annoyed. “No doubt everyone is on edge due to the recent events in Nasklan and Fesdan, or they tire of the raptor attacks.”

The name sent shivers down Lila’s spine. They were creatures the Kerks brought over from their homeland, and have menaced the isle since. They could move fast, were intelligent, and hunted in packs. Yet, Caslan was brutal to them, the creatures hibernated in deep, warm caves, as they perished out in the snows of winter. In all her studies, she wondered where the Kerks came from to have such beasts, and yet was quick to wonder why the Kerks even brought them over to start with.

“You think the Kycer is going to do something about the violence there?” Lila meekly asked. Lavar nodded. “Hopefully, but that is not my full business with this session today. No doubt it will come up.”

Lavar and Lila continued onward, coming up to the main gates. Meeting them there was Dylon Geuder whom Lavar had hoped to see. Lavar greeted his fellow Zupan gracefully, but noticed that Dylon’s company was a bit off. Instead of his usual sycophants, Dylon was in the company of his son Polchov Geuder, and a Beurian named Daygov Geuder. To Lavar, this was abnormal. Most times, heirs were not seen with the patriarch, as they were off gaining experience or aiding in administration back home, much like Lavar’s own heir. Daygov is a Beurian, a bear beastfolk who was adopted into the Geuder clan and was Dylon’s brother, but more realistically was his bodyguard as was seen by the large cloak which covered the creature’s large blade he bit to the side of him.

“Ah. Dylon. I was hoping to see you inside, what pray tell makes you live outside these gates?” Lavar asked. Dylon looked to him, as if annoyed by something. He wondered why Lavar was being so kind to him, and was quick to ask “What is it you wish to discuss Lavar Brav. I am in no mood for jests or clever talk.”

“Normally you are.” Lavar shrugged. Lila came up to the side of Daygov as their two respective superiors talked. Daygov gave one quick glance down at the Okan, holding onto a tome for which to write down the Kycer’s business. He grunted as Lila looked a bit uncertain as the two Kerks spoke in an increasingly passive aggressive tone with one another.

“I was hoping the business in my city will be put aside for the good of Kycer, if that is your intention of course, Dylon.”

“Believe it or not Lavar, anything I do is for the good Caslan, not always for the good the Kycer.”

“Is not Caslan one in the same with the will of the Kycer, and thus the gods?”

“Ha! As if the Kycer is meant to represent the will of the gods. You are an idiot and a fool if you believe Shov Coladdic is using the Kycer to embetter the lives of us all.”

Daygov could see Lila was anxious and tried to comfort her with a tidbit of information, whispering “They are being honest with one another, they do not mean much by it.”

Lila looked up at Daygov “They practically sound hostile.”

“They are Kerks, they always sounds hostile.” Daygov lightly chuckled. Eventually, after some complaining, Lavar got to his point.

“Dylon, I know you and your Geuderians do not have much trust in the Kycer, but please I wish to discuss an important matter with you. I wish to bring forth legislation with the help of your faction, since I know Shov will already vote it down. I wish to laxen the laws towards new membership to the Kycer. A friend of mine, an intelligent friend mind you, the merchant Tenser Uman wishes to put up an election to join the Kycer itself. I would have introduced this sooner, but the trouble up north concerns me greatly.”

“As it does.” Dylon rubbed his chin “I was out here actually because of that. I await both Zupan Duman Hazel and Maryl Hydov. Your proposal intrigues me, but I wish to look over the details.”

“Duman?”

Polchov nodded and spoke up “Aye. Duman is experienced despite his age. There is trouble brewing in the north still.”

“Explain.”

Polchov did explain, and it was a sad and sorry tale. The Hydovs were being supported by Geuder clansmen who were putting the boot down on many rogue clans, but the retaliatory nature of the Kerks has made it near impossible to achieve any form of ceasefire. Gasner aligned clans, angry at what was done to them, were now making their way north. The difference however, was that these clans were not being told to not raid by the Gasner patriarch, but were being encouraged by the Gasners. Polchov was well aware of how brutal the raids against Fesdan had been, and ruined a great deal of things. The Gasners had been trying to build up their tomb city for decades, and the Hydov aligned clansmen had in their anger began desecrating and destroying much needed (and expensive) supplies which was ruinous to the Gasners. Now those clans were raiding Nasklan, primarily for supplies they had lost and to take vengeance on any Hydov aligned clan they could see.

Polchov went silent for a moment, as if he was uncomfortable speaking, and looked only temporarily at Lila. He continued, as he described many of the atrocities he had seen in the past few months. Several Okan clans, who had not participated in the attacks in Fesdan, were ultimately attacked. Polchov described in morbid detail the fate of these small beastfolk clans, with many dead or disappeared. Dylon was no phased, thinking that perhaps the ‘less idiotic’ Gasner clans were kidnapping the beastfolk to hold for ransom, but Pulchov was not so convinced. He believed that the Gansers knew of the relationship between the Okan and the Hydovs, and were attacking them specifically to get back at them.

Now the situation got complicated, as Polchov explained that he now had to make deals and alliances with many of the same clans who had gone rogue in the first place just to put down interlopers who attacked Nasklan. These bandit clans sickened both the Geuders especially, as one particular bandit chief and his clan had used the whole ordeal to attack Beastfolk clans and villages to sell as slaves and to hold as ransom. Polchov had no clue how to deal with him, as the bandit chief was helpful in defeating the raiders from Fesdan, and kept them at bay.

The description mortified Lavar, but Dylon reassured him “Duman is a lot more experienced in raids more so then my son, something Polchov and I agree on. We will be speaking to him to get his help in this whole ordeal.”

“You act as if you blame yourself, Dylon.” Lavar noted.

“I do not blame myself, but to the average clansmen, it may as well be. Shov will certainly use it, but these recent turn of events will at least keep this whole thing out of the Kycer. The quicker we deal with this trouble, the better.”

At that moment, Daygov grunted to get the attention of Dylon “I can see them both.”

“Lavar, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer that I talk to my charges amongst fellow Geuderians.” Dylon nodded to Lavar. Lavar nodded back, as he and Lila went through the open gates. Dylon looked out over the hills of Hilgas and down at the coming members of the Kycer, getting ready for a very long week.
_____

The first day of the Kycer was as Dylon predicted, as the entire Kycer got inside were immediately bombarded with speech after speech which spoke against the violence in Fesdan and Nasklan, but a lot of these speeches were hollowed out by the games of blame inflicted onto each other by the Hydovs and Gasners. However, the most powerful and damaging speech was reserved for Shov Coladdic who made the entire room uncomfortable with his vicious rebuke of the Geuderians.

“Is this the much needed reform that our fellow priests speak of, is the blood spilled and heads caved in the much needed leadership the Kycer needs?” was repeated by Shov, snidely looking at Dylon and giving a cruel grin. Maryl Hydov and Tomov Gasner were in attendance, but did not speak to each other. In fact, they spoke to no one, and stared hatefully at one another for much of the session. Lavar rose to speak against the violence as well, but the Geuderian aligned priests however had a much different take, and led a rather controversial attack.

Dylon rose to speak, condemning the violence at first, but then began to speak on how the conflict had even started. He pointed out that a sacred tomb city had been pilfered, an ancient ancestor of the Hydovs was raised, and then puppeted for amusement. Dylon then made accusations against the priesthood itself, much to the gasps and angry callouts of the ceremonial priests in attendance, who were not fully political. Lavar found this political tactic intriguing, but also despicable, as Dylon began to call out the hypocrisies of the priesthood who would condemn violence of the living, but not call out the blasphemy committed by the Gasners. Dylon did not want a debate on this matter, he wanted to muddy the waters enough for the Kycer to avoid talking of it.

Then, as if on cue, Shov ‘agreed’ with Dylon. Dylon was surprised and then immediately suspicious as Shov did call out that the Gasner necromancers had defiled a sacred tomb, but announced that the perpetrators had been caught, tried. . .and killed. The announcement was a shock to Tomov who looked up in despair at Shov, and then to the entrance of the Kycer where a skeletal barrow guard came in the heads of the two blasphemous necromancers. It was a morbid show as Shov came down off his stand, and ritualistic fashion spat upon the two presented heads. He ordered all members of the Kycer, starting with Tomov, to spit upon the heads as well for the crime of blasphemy, much to his physical dismay. Dylon and his faction relented and remained silent, but Lavar could see Tomov was shaking with grief, and after spitting on the heads of his relatives, attempted to excuse himself. Shov denied this request, no one knowing either out of ritual or cruelty.

Dylon was naturally annoyed, as his attempt to muddy the waters had been caught and quickly set aside. Dylon held his tongue as he also noticed that Shov did not offer Maryl compensation, nor did he even propose anything to solve the crises. Instead, Shov had the Kycer pray and demanded a set of rituals to be performed the next few days, asking for the gods to forgive them and to ask for retribution.
_____

By the time the Kycer had met up again, many members were exhausted from the partaking rituals. This wasn’t abnormal, and was a common political tactic Shov used to get a handle over the Geuderians. Being a master of the Kycer’s rituals, the rituals took on boring, long, and sometimes even pointless rituals performed at the tomb city’s various shrines. Various gods were approached by the ceremonial priests, and the minor priests such as Lavar and Dylon had to perform the correct rituals. Some of these rituals were complex and convoluted, such as was the case with Dylon’s patron god Tenera. Dylon would spend much of the early morning giving praise to Tenera, having a spear handle engraved in her name, and then broken apart. Each piece was then put into a sack, dropped from a cliff several times, and then melted back down over a low fire till the wind picked up and blew the smoke straight up. Any instance of this ritual going wrong would have been called out by the heads of assembly who could arbitrarily declare the ritual had been done wrong, and Dylon would have to restart over and over again till it was ‘done right’.

Once the rituals were done, the Kycer would meet for a second time a few days later. Normally, rituals were supposed to be done in between the meeting of the Kycer, but Shov had warped these rituals over the years to take up a majority of the time. This was primarily done to keep the religious Kerks from proposing more ‘disastrous legislation’, but it also kept the Geuderians from debating as Shov moved about in the shadows. It wasn’t long till Tomov Gasner confronted the Coladdic patriarch in private, angry and furious at his treachery. Tomov was a lone kerk, and his experience through the years and control over his own nature saved him from railing on the Coladdic head of the assembly, especially when the towering Drasken guarded him. Shov explained to Tomov that while he despised the Geuders, he would not have the stain of blasphemy on him or his faction, and that their deaths ‘released a stain on the souls of your entire clan’. Tomov angrily stormed out of the Kycer, something which Lavar Brav had noticed while conducting his own rituals.

Lavar sighed deeply and confided to Lila as he watched Tomov leave “The stability of Caslan is more important than life, for without it, only death and fury fill the gaps.”

“Caslan is unstable, sir?” Lila asked.

“If we were stable, neither Fesdan nor Nasklan would burn. The Kycer is an entity, like a king or an emperor, and it must act. Without action, we are useless as an insane monarch.”
_____

When the Kycer met for a 2nd time, it was noticeably more silent and grim. Dylon was peeved, and Shov smirked as the meeting did not begin until Shov called the Kycer to order. Shov noticed that of those who meandered late into the assembly was Duman Hazel and Maryl Hydov. Dylon had approached Duman earlier, but the young Zupan was reluctant to agree. In order to get Duman to agree, Dylon had twisted his arm severely, which annoyed Duman but he ultimately obeyed. However, unknown to Shov who was suspicious as to why Maryl and Duman talked quite casually to one another in low whispers, Lavar and Dylon were trying to put forward another piece of legislation, as during the recess during the rituals, both Zupan had come to a secret agreement.

In return for Lavar’s support in the coming years, Dylon agreed to help push and sponsor Lavar new edict which would open up the Kycer electorate to non-Kerks. To Lavar, this was a long time coming, as the priesthood had never barred non-Kerks from joining but had been extremely biased against them when it came to them joining the Kycer. There has not been a non-Kerkian member of the Kycer since its founding, and Lavar wished to laxen the requirements to allow his friend and ally, Tesner Uman, to join. Tesner had been more politically active as of late, the merchant wished to put forward his own legislation rather than rely on Lavar to get things done. As part of Lavar’s deal with Dylon, if Tesner won, he would be effectively a loyalist to the Geuderians in all but name.

The specifics of Lavar’s bill was debated, and it was lengthy to say the least. Effectively, it would reduce the requirements to become a member of the Kycer, and unbar non-Kerks from entry into it. When it was brought to the Kycer to vote on, Shov nearly vetoed it on the spot, railing against the bill as ‘destabilizing’ during a time of crises. However, Lavar was quicker to the draw, arguing that if the bill was destabilizing, he would not have brought it forth. He argued that if the Kycer was not acting on the troubles in the north, then he assumed the gods and the Kycer were satisfied with what was happening in Nasklan and Fesdan. Shov relented, and allowed the vote to continue, and was passed with a very slim majority.

However, before the Kycer dismissed itself to perform the religious rites for the remaining days, Shov called another vote, and on the spot ordered that a member of the Kycer lead an expedition to Nasklan and Fesdan to bring order. Lavar was open to this suggestion and was supportive of it. . .at first. Shov then called on Pelkov Elkwood to lead a Kycer army into Nasklan and Fesdan to bring back order, something the Zupan confusingly agreed to. Dylon and Lavar looked at one another, unsure of what Shov was playing at, as Dylon was already open to sending Duman Hazel to privately end the conflict.

As the Kycer ended for the day, Lavar met up with Shov, who was instructing Pelkov on the rituals of leading the Kycer’s armies, handing him (and introducing) various Coladdic lieutenants and officers. Lavar asked the head of the assembly why he did not choose himself or his co-head of council Taspov Beusdov. Shov only smiled, not answering his question and simply reiterating his faith in Pelkov as an experienced commander, which Pelkov was not. Lavar wondered what Shov was playing at, but relented, concluding the 2nd meeting the Kycer.
Caslan
Nasklan-Fesdan Feud


With all the trouble in the port of Kel Trach resolved, the zupans and their compatriots began to return back home, with a sudden and dark realization. Mel Coldfinger was away, and already the gears of ambition were turning in the heads of many Zupans. The Hazels were the only clan to return home with some relative peace and stayed quiet as other Zupans swiftly began to speak of Mel’s departure as either the best thing that had happened to them, or the worst. No clan was more thrilled then the Geuders, whose leader Dylon Geuder was to call for immediate return to the Kycer’s assembly, and that the assembly should meet in a more ‘less depressive’ place, such as the grand circular hall in the formal capital of Helgave. The two heads of the assembly sent out couriers denying such a request, and firmly entrenched themselves in that the Kycer will meet in the coming fall as was tradition.

However, Dylon did not give up so easily, and did not return to Helgave just yet, but meandered in Hilgas. Despite being an ‘honored guest’, Dylon’s purpose in Hilgas was more political. He was quick to meet up with Mel’s temporary replacement, the necromancer and priest Naya Coladdic. Dylon was practically wooing the young Kerk, who was nearly 20 years his younger, but was talented in magic. She was being advised closely by the lich and ancient elven librarian Gra’vyen, whose spite for politics was obvious when he magically teleported Dylon three miles out of Kel Loch for trying to barge in on the two. Annoyed and distraught, Dylon was thankfully picked up by some Beurian clansmen who helped him back to Kel Loch.

Dylon was eventually able to get in a conversation with Naya, discovering her general anxiety in leading the Kycer, and that most affairs would be handled by Gra’vyen in his stead, but it was her voice that held final judgement. Although discomforted by Dylon’s persistence, she warmed to the Zupan who seemed genuine in his political career and pursuits, in which Dylon discovered the most important thing about Naya; her distaste for the Coladdic patriarch and his rival Shov Coladdic. Shov was more of a distant relative, but Naya’s line came directly from the children of Mel, which Mel held closely. However, her aligned clan may have bore the name Coladdic, but she Shov and his family viewed them as minor and irrelevant members, and Shov showed no compassion towards her, and often was dismissive of her family. Naya even recounted a tale of her father approaching Shov for a loan and a couple goats, and Shov dismissed him without as much as listening to him. Dylon knew from past experiences with Shov that this was fairly common with the old archconservative.

Dylon finished up his business with Naya, being reassured of her abilities before leaving for Helgave. Once back in his home, he was greeted by his adoptive brother, the Beurian Daygov Geuder and the rest of his clan. The only ones not amongst their number was his heir and his wife, who were out on business elsewhere. Dylon got to work almost immediately, sending out invitations to many of the Zupans aligned to him to meet in Helgave.

Many joined Dylon as he was laying out his ‘battle plan’ to become head of the Assembly before the Zupans of Telgan, Pemolas, Nasklan, and the surprising Zupan of Ushas. Dylon had made a deal with Zupan Molov Pinewood, a Coladdic who had sympathies with Dylon, to run on a joint ticket for the Geuderic faction to run for the assembly. Dylon figured that a fellow Coladdic would make him seem far more neutral then he actually was, and maybe even get support from the likes of Lavar Brav, whom Molov spoke very highly of. It was during this meeting, that an agreement was struck on how to plan for the election, which was divided up Shov’s voting base of conservative Kerks while retaining the support of various minorities, the slaves, and reformers.

The only Zupan who was not fully onboard was Pelkov Elkwood, who was fairly conservative himself. Pelkov wanted stronger reassurances that Dylon and his faction would not go ‘too far’ with reforms related to the slaves, or damage the economic model of the Pelkovs. Although Dylon tried to reassure Pelkov, the Zupan’s single minded fury was more directed towards the Hazels, whom he complained were ‘foxes amongst hens’. It became clear that Pelkov cared very little for his clan’s economic model, and more about damaging the Hazels, bringing accusations that the Hazels were aligned with Okan bandits who prey on the roads of Telgan. The meeting eventually agreed to give Pelkov what he wanted, not wishing to remove his vital support, allowing any reforms passed by the group to ignore Telgas and the Elkwoods in general.
____

Things seemed to be going well, at least at first, up until an incident came to fruition in Nasklan. Zupan Maryl Hydov, who increasingly has become known as ‘The Lady of the Seal Peninsula’, had been in a partial feud with the poorer Gasner clan of Fesden. Zupan Tomov Gasner. For years, the Hydov have been looked down on by the Coladdic clans for having lost their Tomb City to the undead, a misery which the Gasners were quick to exploit. Sending in necromancers from time to time, small teams of Gasner clansmen were making off with large stone pieces of the Hydov tomb city, a grave insult to the clan. Although this had been happening for years, the recent excavation by the illegal pillagers dug their way into an ancient Hydov tomb and pilfered the grave of one of the Hydov’s ancient patriarches, a hero of a long gone age which tamed the Peninsula of Seals. In cruelty, the necromancers raised the ancient dead of the grave, had it dance for them, and then mockingly broke it apart to keep as trinkets. One of the excavators, a poor Okan who was helping the Gasners, was mortified by the show and reported the desecration to Maryl.

The Hydov clan flew into a fury, and a clan meeting was called. Insulted beyond belief, the entire clan was soon shouting ‘Gasner Delenda Est!’ ‘Fesdan Delenda Est!’. Maryl called for a meeting, wishing to retake their ancient tomb city from the rogue undead, but also to take vengeance on the Gasner clan who defiled their tomb. However, the necromancers of the Hydovs were quick to remind their angry clan the reasons why they lost their tomb in the first place, as the ancient powers within the vast burrows were far too strong for their clan to handle, and that any and all burials were done in secret. It was why the excavations of the Gasners brought so many necromancers, to mask them from the denizens within. Maryl however was unconvinced and mustered raiders to retaliate against the Gasners.

Although partly experienced from several internal conflicts, Maryl was confident in her campaign against them. Her first order of business was ‘cleaning up’ the expeditions into the tomb city. Several poor Okan masons had joined the Gasners in this illegal operation, which shocked and angered Maryl to no end, especially with the clan’s close relationship with many of the Okan villages in the north. These masons were found and hanged, much to the equal shock and horror of many of the Okan clans who did not fully understand the brutality against them. Maryl’s clan then began to make their way southward towards Gangave, and were on a crash course towards the home of the Gansers.

Maryl’s retaliatory raids were beyond brutal, targeting structures more so than civilians. Maryl knew that the Gasners were poor and valued construction, and thus Maryl and her clan began a slash and burn raid across Fesdan. Her main target was the city of Gangave, home of the scribes and a smaller and less traveled city. Tomov Gasner was soon gathering his clan to counter the raiders, but was not prepared for the devastation Maryl and her clan wrought. Several smaller Kerkian clans were utterly annihilated, their sacred shrines desecrated, and many of the non-Kerks hanged in rows to mark Maryl’s advance. Tomov and an army of 1,200 Kerkian clansmen were able to catch up to Maryl and her 800 outriders, initiating the Battle of Feslow.

Feslow was a small kerkian village, although the size of a large town by normal standards, and was only a day’s ride from Gangave. Maryl and her clan were in the process of raiding Feslow when Tomov and a mostly infantry army caught up to her. Maryl’s cavalry were too busy dealing with Feslow’s militia, so Maryl and half of her raiders skirmished with Tomov’s warriors. The battle went poorly for both sides, as Maryl’s constant flanking saw severe casualties on both sides, to a point that both Maryl and Tomov were horribly injured. Bloodied and beaten, only 200 of Maryl’s clan limped back to Nasklan as Tomov secured the village, although ironically the Gasner clan raided the village anyways in a bloodlust of victory.

Maryl returned home only to receive worse news. Without her consent or order, many of her aligned clans were now swarming into Fesdan and were brutalizing the clans aligned with the Gasner. Although happy to know the Hydov honor was avenged, the border wars was now slowly killing both districts, and was now turning into a crisis affecting the rest of the country.

For the Coladdic clans, this trouble was an embarrassment, who were only made aware of the extent of the crimes Tomov and his clan had done, even though the Gasners swore their necromancers would never defile a tomb. The necromancers who did defile the tomb however were never found, likely either disappeared or fled once the fighting broke out. A Kycer army marched on Gangave and occupied the city to keep the Nasklan clans from destroying the city outright, but had to watch as the Hydov aligned clans burned and sacked their way around it. Although Tomov was able to beat back many of the raiders, the non-Kerkian populations of Beurian and Okan suffered horrifically. Both races were being captured by Nasklan clans and being dragged north in chains to become slaves, seeing as that many of them were abandoned to fend for themselves, as bandit clans slowly began forming across Fesdan. Norad Okan were especially enthusiastic to capture fellow Midad Okan, whom many blamed for the ruined relationship they had with the Hydovs.

For the Geuderians, this mess became a black spot on them politically, and only grew daily. Dylon Geuder was furious with Maryl and her actions, especially as Fesdan burned and Shov Coladdic was rumored to be preparing speeches for the next Kycer’s meeting to decry the violence by the Geuderians. The whole ordeal became quite a political scandal, especially amongst the reformer Kerks who felt disillusioned about the Geuders and their aligned faction of having any control over the country being little more then the same troubled clans with less religion involved. In order to try to fix this, Dylon Geuder sent his son Polchov Geuder and a contingent of Ghilmen to aid Maryl in bringing many of these new bandit clans down. Polchov however could not do much, even as the vast web of political ties between the aligned rogue clans and Maryl prevented him from enforcing his father’s will. In the end, it seemed the Geuders could only hope the fury of the Kerks died down.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Mel Coldfinger’s Interactions with the Hill Tribes

@OddlyParanoid

A cloud of mist and fog comes over one of the tribal ports on the coast, and a small rowing boat appears. The port bears only two living figures, and a skeletal figure in a softer armor rowing at the oars. The two figures are cloaked entirely in a purple gown, their only features showing are their eyes and the tip of their nose, but those who can get close enough to them would see their sunken in eyes, the Kerks of Caslan. They wore no fine jewelry, and have nothing of value besides their clothes and two large books at their side. When they land at the docks, they are quick to try to find a leader to lead them to the former imperial capital, revealing themselves as envoys of the archlich Mel Coldfinger, and announce only in private that their master Mel was coming.

The two figures are entirely silent, and do not speak much, but those of any magical nature would be able to catch on that they were enchanted, as their eyes were very foggy, as if they were being watched. One of the Kerks was also a user of magic, having waved his hand at their boat and skeletal rower, in which it sunk below the waters and rowed into the abyss beneath the waves, but besides this, the two Kerks did openly try not to offend. They were quite studious and self aware, telling those who may try to confront them that any harm that came to them would be cursed, and would incur the wrath of their master, and that they simply only wished to convey their message to the ‘archduke’. It was clear that the Kerks nor Mel were informed on recent events, but did not seem to care much for the changes.

The message they wished to convey was relatively simple, they only wished to inform whoever was in the former imperial capital that Mel was coming, and that he wished for safe passage for himself, his servants, his slaves, and his undead. Once they got an answer, along with any demands from the current leader who greeted them, they would return to inform Mel.
Caslan
City of Kel Trach
Ports of Kel Trach


Back at home, the week-long journey to Kel Trach had left Lavar and his party in poor spirits. One of Lavar Brav’s aids had journeyed out too far during a rest in a village near Kel Loch and was ambushed by Raptors who nested nearby, his remains scattered and half-devoured before the camp could even react. It was a sad state of affairs that despite all the bluster of the Coladdic’s famed roads, built by the dead, they lacked any and all means to defend these roads. Lavar even noted to his aid and servant Lila that the roads of Hilgas were as well managed as the Coladdic ruled all of Caslan, ‘a decaying and rotten thing built high and mighty in its prime, but laid abandoned to the march of time.’

When Lavar and Lila finally made their way back home, the mighty city of Kel Trach was a sight for sore eyes, the billowing smoke from one of the temples had just signaled a sacrifice had been made, mixed in with the busy sounds of city life. To meet Lavar there, on horseback and clothed in the old red garb of Orduin imperial might, was Tesner Uman. Tesner rode up with his own entourage which was mostly parts of his family, including his son and brother. Tesner gave a quick bow to his friend and dismounted to embrace his friend. Despite being a shrewd paper merchant, Lavar was always impressed with Tesner’s firm grip.

“I see you return earlier than usual, Lavar. When I heard of you returning, I was worried they had kicked you right out of the Kycer.”

“Ha! The uproar on that would have considerably ill indeed! No sadly, we met for only one session. Our overlord and ever watchful overwatch makes a mockery of such an institution by using it as his own personal speaking platform. I have much to prepare for, as Mel Coldfinger is coming to the city.”

Tesner looked surprised “Mel Coldfinger himself? That old lich barely ever leaves Hilgas. . .”

Lila interjected out of habit “Well, not technically, Mel is known to travel to Fesdan, and of course there was his journey out of. . .well . . .Oh. I am sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to sp--” Tesner was a little annoyed, but Lavar only gave a friendly pat on Lila’s back. “She is right. You and I have only known Mel to live in Hilgas, but in our most sacred histories, he is known to travel and make his way across Caslan. His view of time greatly differs from ours I think. Being an immortal lich and all.”

Tesner felt a shiver of discomfort with the word ‘lich’. He may have sworn himself to the Kerk’s gods, but the practice of necromancery still felt wrong to him, and he had ignored it mostly. Lavar continued “I must gather the entire clan to a meeting, and prepare for Mel’s arrival along with many others. You will join us, friend?”

Tesner smiled and nodded “Of course Lavar.”
____

Mel Coldfinger’s coming arrival to Kel Trach was cause for celebration for many, but concern for others. Lavar Brav called a meeting of the clan, which may as well have been a meeting of the entire city, to discuss the coming festivities. The clan bickered loudly and violently, as all Kerkian clans did, and eventually it was decided to let the local priesthood command the effort to prepare for Mel’s arrival. The merchants from far off lands who may have been in Kel Trach soon found the Kerks making their preparations, and the dock workers, normally Okan slaves who made their home in a slum enclave in the city, were abandoning their work to make sacrifices in the local temple before the Lich arrived. This was often done in emergency festivities such as these, otherwise the Okan would not have any opportunity to make their sacrifices to the gods due to being conscripted to help set up for the coming festivities.

Lavar and Tesner paid an absurd sum for the coming games and attraction, with Tesner and his people hiring out some popular performances. One was to be a mock battle between two Beurian clansmen in a faked and highly stereotyped gladiatorial battle, more comedic then dramatic, while for the calmer Kerks, a troupe of elves from the north would perform a popular play on Caslan known as The Fool and the Prince, a dramatization of the life of Gazhain and Dezhain who invaded the isle long ago, depicting Gazhain as a naive, arrogant idiot. Lavar also planned to open his library entirely to the guests, along with providing a massive amount of ale.

The first guests to arrive were Shov Coladdic alongside many important zupans and Kycer clergy who had joined him. His procession was priestly, but his attitude towards Lavar as the two met once again was sour. Shov had come early and was quick to only make small talk with Lavar, and immediately head towards the temple to perform the rituals of their faith. Lavar could guess that Shov was unhappy, and avoided him the best he could, as an upset Kerk could quickly turn violent if not left to their own devices. The next arrivals were the Geuderians, among them was Dylon Geuder and Pelkov Elkwood. Both Zupans embraced Lavar quite publicly when they met, but in private were quick to be more distant from him. Lavar expected this behavior from an ambitious creature like Dylon, whose public appearance he felt was more important. This was usually abnormal for the Kerks, but Dylon could pull it off quite well.

Yet of those to arrive before Mel did come by the most absurd means. A Okan fishing vessel docked in Kel Trach and three Kerks made their way into Kel Trach. Lavar was notified that a zupan came by ship, and went out to meet them, only to find Duman Hazel and his brother Jaskov Hazel drinking among the commoners. Lavar calmly came to greet the Hazels, but was instead embraced by the younger Kerk, his youthful expression was cheery.

“Lavar Brav! It's good to see you again. I had originally thought of not coming, but once word reached me of Mel’s intentions, I supposed me and my brother would at least enjoy the festivities!”

Lavar smiled as Duman and his brother chugged down the beer from wooden mugs. They may have been royalty to the common Kerk, but they looked more like ragged bandits. They both wore their armor, rusty breastplates which was covered in a dark green cloth. Another Hazel clansmen was with them, but he was already fast asleep nearby, having drunk himself into a stupor. Lavar found such behavior intolerable usually, but the Hazels were a young family, and were quite agreeable.

“I had hoped you would arrive. You were missed in the Kycer. I imagine your envoy has told you of what happened?”

“Aye. Pelkov mumbles so openly against me when I am not there.” Duman’s mood shifted suddenly, an anger in his eyes. “I am not surprised, but I am not here for festivities alone. I am to speak with Dylon soon, and get a taste of his fury.”

“You suspect he wants you to join the Kycer?”

“Yes, but I am not so certain. I am no priest.”

Lavar laughed “Neither is Dylon nor myself, yet here we are. Come, enjoy the festivities. We have much to do on this fine day.” Lavar led the Hazels through the street, the three talked like friends amongst the crowds of Kerks.
____

Mel’s arrival was quite dramatic, as a black shape of his procession moved alongside a magical mist which covered his group as they traveled, protecting them from the dangers of Caslan. Tesner watched from the ramparts of Kel Trach as the levitating lich came through the open gates, the magical mists disappearing as he appeared amongst the people. Tesner had never seen a Lich before, let alone an undead abomination, the floating mummified corpse wrapped in the decayed purple cloth of the Kycer’s highest clergy was unnerving to him. He turned to see Shov Coladdic and a procession of priests make their way through the crowd and bowed humbly before the Lich, who bowed in humility back. The ancient undead made its way to the temple in the city, and many followed.

Mel made a sacrifice to the god of knowledge, Melakos, before the temple and spoke to the crowd gathered at the foot of the temple itself. Mel’s vast cadre intermingled with the Kerks, a mixture of Bylamen guards, death knights, and undead which stood without motion. Mel preached of the need of knowledge, the will of the gods, and other typical things. It was an uninspired speech, as if the lich was in a hurry to leave, and was quick to allow Shov to take over as he made several long rituals to the point that even his fellow conservative priests became bored. The festivities continued as Mel was soon off towards the docks.

The planned festivities certainly had their effect as Lavar joined with the Hazels as they got a taste of Tesner’s planned bloodsport. Two Beurian clansmen comedically fought one another in a pretend duel, cracking jokes to the crowd in a makeshift arena. The crowd of humans and Landarric kerks were enjoying themselves, but the Geuderians got rowdy and some flooded onto the arena and began boasting loudly. Lavar was about to call guards in, but Hazel convinced him not and instead had the acting Beurians retreat from the field. Three sets of Kerkian clans of the Geuderians soon began to brawl, much to everyone’s entertainment, and much to Tesner’s horror. The viciousness in which the Kerks broke skulls and smashed each other with fists amused the crowd even more so, but eventually the normal play was allowed to continue in a more secure part of the city, as the Geuderians continued to lay down their grievances against one another.

Tesner was unhappy with such a state of affairs, but he was pleased when the Coladdic Kerks became amused by the play being performed by the elven troupe, although this was often interrupted by the scribes and Kerks who were always quick to point out their own histories. During one recess of the play, Tesner listened to a small fight breaking out between two Coladdic clergy over a dramatization of Gazhain’s recorded words, neither of the Kerks agreeing to what was said. Despite such incidents, Tesner was just glad the Kerks also decided to not turn the stage into a brawl.

However, of all the festivities, it was the opening of Lavar’s library that was perhaps the most popular attraction. Lavar was joined by the Hazel brothers as members of the scribes were soon settling down and reading from Orduin historical records, journals, and reports as if they were watching some grand play. Many Coladdic Kerks were also there, although of those Lavar was surprised to see was his servant Lila and a member of Mel’s entourage, the elderly scribe master Cragov Bystan. The elderly kerk, his white unkept beard was barely hidden beneath his absurdly rich robe of purple and green, as he and Lila were looking over an old manuscript and deep in conversation.

Lavar came over as Lila snapped back to attention and quickly tried to excuse herself “I-I am sorry, sir, I was just. . .Just, ummm. . .”

“No need to apologize, Lila. I know who this is. It is an honor Cragov.” Lavar humbly bowed to the elder who gave a bow back. “The honor is mine, Zupan Brav. Zupan Hazel. We were just discussing the older district borders of Governor Antonius, and his absurd proposals.”

Lila was a little embarrassed, she had been under Cragov’s partial tutelage before her poor parents had sold her to Lavar due to their outstanding debts. However, neither Lavar nor Cragov thought of her as a servile, nor treated her as such. Lavar sat down at a table of the library as he look to the Okan servant “Lila, why don’t you get some of the finer vodka from our kitchens. A proper drink of the high society of us Kerks, aye?”

Lila went off and obeyed as Duman and Jaskov Hazel sat next to the group. “You know each other I presume.”

“I know all of my scribes, both successes and failures. Although in the young Lila’s case, it was abnormal. It is always sad to lose such a studious scribe to such a sordid state of affairs. Poverty is quite a bane to many young and intelligent minds, as any scribe can tell you.”

“Hear hear.” Jaskov noted “So what is the leader of scribes doing here anyhow?”

“I will be joining Mel Coldfinger on this journey, of course.”

The Hazels looked surprised, but Lavar seemed rather disappointed. “I see. Who will take over the scribes while you are gone?”

“Several members will decide, a Coladdic I think most likely. Shov had been pushy on that issue entirely.”

“You are old, master scribe. You must certainly think that this journey Mel will drag you along will be beyond difficult for you.” Duman noted.

“It will be, but I am prepared in both body and soul to serve the will of Melakos. In his thrall, I serve the pursuit of knowledge to my dying days, just as Mel and many other Liches have done. I do not intend lichcraft, but I will do as Melakos commands me, for the sake of knowledge. What is not written in history will be forever lost, young Hazels.” Cragov coughed, but looked happier when Lila returned and served the group mugs of vodka. Almost without thinking, Lila looked back down at the old manuscripts and maps as Cragov leaned in.

The happy little moment as the group talked was soon interrupted by a loud crash. Two Coladdic scribes were scrambling about, as two Elkwood clansmen entered the library, partly drunk. The two clansmen, yelling in slurred language at one another, began to knock over several of the visitors to the library. Lavar shot up, yelling at the two to leave, but the two Elkwood clansmen only crept closer. One of the Elkwoods took one look at Lila, and demanded of her to grab them drink. She stood still, and the Elkwood clansman didn’t understand and yelled more harshly at her again. When the two aggressively began to close in, Duman and Jaskov stood in front of the group and silently looked at the Elkwoods. There was a silence as Lavar tried to calm everyone down. This failed as one of the Elkwood got a good shot and punched Duman.

Duman’s head went to the side and slowly returned back around to look at the Elkwoods, and without thinking and with warrior’s speed he grabbed the Elkwood clansman by the throat and threw him to the ground. Duman began to punch into the Kerk over and over again, hitting his face with increasing brutality as his brother grappled the other. Lavar was mortified as blood began to spill from the Elkwood’s head as he intervened, trying to get Duman up. The Kerk had not calmed, but Lavar stood in his path. Lavar and the group looked down at the body, the face mangled and bloody. The Elkwood kerk convulsed for a moment, coughed, and then slumped down. Only realizing what he had done after his rage left him did Duman and Jaskov quickly exit the library, as others looked on.

“Such is the way of the Kerks.” Cragov quoted from an old saying.
_____

Mel was on the docks, as if awaiting to already leave when Shov Coladdic came up to him, his face shallow and grim. From beneath the waves, there was a sudden appearance of an ancient ship coming out from beneath the water. It was a massive, coral covered thing which broke the water’s surface and docked in the harbor. The ancient wreck then began to repair itself, wood from the water creaked and added itself onto the ship and water spilled from it. It was once the ship Mel had used to travel to Caslan, and it was truly ancient, but was big enough to contain a huge crew and bigger library. Shov was unimpressed, the casual use of magic and the size of the ship did not matter to him much, and he personally seethed as his eternal patriarch began to summon shambling Drowned Lyches to make the final repairs of the ship. Of the necromancers and their pupils who watched, they were in the complete thrall of what they saw, and how little energy Mel had used to summon such a ship to his will.

“Something bothers you, Shov Coldfinger.” Mel began, looking over his vessel.

“You are open with me, so I shall be open with you, my eternal patriarch. Why have you cursed me, your own flesh and blood. Our enemy circles us like wolves, and you abandon us to go on some trip to entertain yourself. You leave some wretched niece of mine in charge? Your personal librarian? Am I a joke to you, oh my eternal patriarch, avatar of Melakos, Br--”

“Your passive aggression does not amuse me, Shov, I’d only appreciate your honesty.” Mel was used to the fury of fellow Kerks, nor surprised by Shov’s fury. “The wolves who circle you are little more than an upstart Geuder and his damaged friends, and you are of an age which should be wisened to the politics of the Kycer to keep them in line. I will be with Naya at all times, keeping me informed and versed in the schemes here. I will not make the same mistakes as last time. You will obey the directives I set before you and keep the Kycer stable in my stead. However, my distrust is towards the nature of the Kycer, not towards you alone.”

Shov sighed and took in the lich’s words. The group was soon being passed by a large number of scribes and necromancers, all hand picked by the ancient lich. Mel would be the last to board as all the zupans and members of the Kycer came to see him shove off from Kel Trach’s port. As Mel levitated onto the ship, joined to his side by his ancient bodyguard Granchkov. Mel looked down on Shov who bowed humbly to the Lich, and the Lich bowed back. After much fair and bluster, the ancient black ship was soon beyond the port, and Mel began his journey to the mainland. Shov remained on the docks, looking out at the sea, depressed as he watched the ship disappear beyond his sight.
_____

“I want their heads.” Pelkov seethed under his breath, looking over the body of one of his dead nephews. Pelkov Elkwood and Dylon Geuder were in the basement of Kel Trach’s temple, as Lavar and son Torpov Brav were overseeing the body of the dead Elkwood, being covered for the return home for burial. Normally, such a minor member would have been buried in little more then a shallow grave or thrown into a mass pit in a tomb city, but Pelkov was quick to declare his nephew another martyr in the ancient feud between him and the Hazels. Lavar tried to calm down the Elkwood zupan.

“Duman Hazel was enraged, and defend me and my honor beyond what he needed to. I know you seek vengeance, but I would prefer it not to be done in my lands.”

Pelkov pounded the table where his dead nephew was on, uncaring of the work he was disrupting with the priests. “You have much to say, you wretched snake! The Hazels kill one of my clansmen in your city, and you defend these murderers! I should have both your heads one way or another.”

“Pelkov, please.” Dylon interrupted “What the Hazels did was wrong, but we can be at least civil. More than once you and I have accidentally killed in a fit of rage and fury. I will sp--”

“No more words, Dylon. No more words.” Pelkov shouted “The Hazels have lived long enough in my ancestor’s lands as the bandits they are, and this is more than enough proof to demand their extermination. I will gather my armies and I wi--”

“And you will die, like last time Pelkov.” Dylon shouted back in authority. Pelkov held his tongue, because what Dylon said was true. More than enough times the Hazels had beaten him in campaign and the field of battle, each defeat more costly than the last. The idea of facing down Hazel clansmen did not sit well with the angry Zupan. Duman had personally defeated Pelkov on the coast years ago, using Okan slingers and skirmishers to swarm his flanks in what he thought would have been a one sided slaughter, and that Duman had some mysterious benefactor amongst the undead who gifted him and his clan some magical benevolence. Pelkov sighed and looked to Dylon “Then join me, Zupan Geuder. They live on your lands as well.”

“They do, but the Hazels are more useful to us alive then dead. They prove something which I haven’t failed to notice. Our armies are trash, our people rely on slaves to fight for us, and the Hazels are competent. That kind of clan is useful to my. . .” Dylon caught himself and looked at Lavar and smiled. “Useful to my faction. He is quite popular amongst the Okan, and their vote has proven to be influential before.”

“Quite.” Lavar raised an eyebrow. As the three talked, a Okan Ghilman came through the door, rushing to Torpov and whispering something in his ear. He nodded and went off. “The Hazels are here, looking for you Dylon.”

The Zupans went out, much to Lavar’s annoyance. He had told the Hazel brothers to flee the city, but instead the two brothers were outside the temple, meandering awkwardly at the foot of the temple. Duman looked up at Dylon Geuder as he and his cadre came down. When the group reached the Hazels, Pelkov drew his sword, which prompted Duman and Jaskov to draw their flat blades. The situation turned worse when several Brav clansmen came over, drawing their own weapons. The standoff was tense, but Dylon spoke quickly. “Enough! We are not here as enemies. Please, all of you, put down your weapons and let us reason with one another.”

“I am not letting this murderer go, Dylon. . .”

Lavar spoke up “Harm them in my city, Pelkov, and you will be a murderer yourself.” Pelkov shot a deadly glance at Lavar, but reluctantly sheathed his blade. Jaskov was the last to put his weapon down as Dylon practically dragged the two inside the temple.

Pelkov felt empowered as he, Duman Hazel, and Dylon Geuder went into a temple office to discuss. Dylon yelled and shouted over Duman as he tried to defend his actions, with Dylon practically threatening to abandon the Hazels to the Elkwoods. The Hazels were partly defended by the Geuders, although that relationship was often strained at best, and the threats by Dylon made the Zupan feel meek. Dylon then levied a compromise between the two, demanding that Duman’s clan pay for reparations for the death, and to leave each other at peace. Duman was shocked when Pelkov agreed to such a thing, mocking Duman that ‘If he cannot pay in coin, he can pay in friends’. This was a rather subtle nod to Pelkov’s intentions, planning to take the free Okan who lived amongst the Hazels as tribute. As Pelkov left the two alone, Duman was shocked as Dylon’s mood changed and shifted, as he began to chuckle and laugh outside of Pelkov’s range of hearing.

“Holy shit, the bed fellow I make. Come boy, sit down.” Dylon looked around for something to drink and Duman slowly sat down, a bit confused. “You are angry, are you not, Dylon?”

“Disappointed, not angry. Your antics are unwanted and dangerous, but I’d prefer your company to Pelkovs. I need his money, not his ideals.” Dylon found what he was looking for, Vodka hidden by some priest which he quickly took a swig of. “Now, for the real conversation.”

“Real. Conversation?”

“Aye, are you deaf?” Dylon’s mood changed suddenly again to a sneer. He poured Duman a drink and motioned for him to drink. “Taste only slightly better then Lich’s cursed blood, mind you. I can forgive this foolery, but on some conditions. You have slacked in wanting to become a Minor Priest, which starting now, you will put forward to join the assembly.”

Duman looked concerned and shaken, but nodded. It was a rare opportunity to be forgiven by his ally, as Dylon took another swig. Duman had a realization and looked up at him “And of you? Getting into minor priesthood is no easy feat. I would be stealing from your voting block I take it.”

“You would normally, but the way the Kycer works is considerably estranged. You will be up against some Coladdic nobody, which I plan to fund heavily against. You are right however, you would be dipping into our normal votes. However, this is abnormal.”

“Abnormal?”

“Aye. I will be looking to run for Head as Assembly this coming election. Everyone else knows amongst my allies, so you are the last to find out. I hope you are in on this affair, otherwise this is the last time we meet as friends.”

Duman sighed and nodded, the one thing he tried to avoid now was slapped into his face. He disliked the priesthood, and disliked the rituals they conducted. He found it boring and too far fetched from his own beliefs. Dylon could see Duman was unsure, and it disappointed him considerably. Duman was a capable leader, but lacked any ambition. Yet before they left, Duman spoke up.

“My clan is quite poor, and any run to become apart of the Kycer will be expensive. Pelkov’s reparations will be brutal on me, and my clan, and I fear I will truly have to trade those who call me friend for coin. That would hurt my chances overall, and all of us as well.”

“Explain.”

“Dylon, we align with the Okan for our vote, and although many slaves in Pelkov’s lands vote for you, they do not vote for Pelkov. Besides, a slave’s vote is only half of a commoner’s. If Pelkov is grievous towards me, he will lessen my chances. . .and yours of victory.”

Dylon grunted and then smiled. “I see. I will pay a share to pay for your. . .reparations to Pelkov. Now, return home and prepare for my instructions. This year is going to be a very long year. For all of us.”

Duman left Dylon alone in the room as the Geuder Patriarch felt a tinge of rage. He hoped all the effort he put into this young and fool clan would be worth all the effort. Sour days were ahead for Caslan.
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Kycer of Caslan

“Garza Vak Sher” “Glory to the Gods"



=-=General Information=-=

  • A theocratic republic based on the island of Caslan
  • Is ruled by the Kerks, a barbarian people who settled and conquered the island
  • Has a large native beastfolk population, with a significant human and elven minority
  • Is a home of a necromantic faith and its practitioners, called Gyloism
  • Is a fairly isolated state, although it had larger ambitions to become a power on the eastern coasts
  • Is ruled by a powerful and immortal lich scholar and his clan
  • They speak and write in Kerkian and Caslandic
  • A person from Caslan is called a Caslanian
  • Population - 2.4 Million
  • Manpower - 120,000
  • Wealth - Moderate
  • Espionage - Moderate


Races



History



Culture



Military



Government

Caslan
Tomb City of Scribes
Assembly of the Kycer


The Tomb City of Scribes sat in the southern mountain ranges, the massive stone towers thick walls of gray and weathered stone shot up across the range like a vast and untamed ruin, with a central courtyard of stone mixed in with grassy hills and small cliffside shrines. To the naked eye, it was difficult to spot, as the towering trees mixed in with the ancient Tomb City, even as it was occupied. Skeletal guards stood with motion at all corners of the city, all while in the recess of the priests who meandered around them who were deep in thought or prayer. Living amongst the dead did not bother them, nor did the smell of the undead workers tirelessly working away at expanding the city give them much distraction. It was during these hours did the priests of the Assembly began to file towards shrines, giving praise to their gods via sacrifice. Of those most noted was Shov Coladdic and Dylon Geuder.

Both Kerks were similar in many regards, but yet polar opposites. Shov was true to his traditionalism as ever, his gathering of aligned clan members all gathered at the shrine of Saokuv. The shrine was on a raised pyramid-like platform, where Shov laid down a lamb before the shrine and cut into it, spilling its blood and guts expertly onto the ground, spattering on his purple cloak. Shov turned his attention towards the shrine, depicting a deer’s skeletal head fixed to an emancipated figure. Shov coldly began to pray to the god before him, asking him for his mercy and power. A necromancer came over and waved his hands, chanting as he did, and a blue flame consumed the body of the sacrifice. Shov joined his fellow supporters, silently filing into the central structure, but lazily looking over at where Dylon was.

Dylon Geuder was at the shrine dedicated Tenera, and was surrounded by all manner of figures. For a creature such as Dylon, he was constantly surrounded by Kerks of import who were both a mix of vicious loyalists and curious onlookers. Pelkov Elkwood was near him, observing the ritual close by, but scoffed as Dylon took a priest’s knife and cut into a lobster and spilled it onto the shrine. Shov could not see it, but he had known Dylon had brought such a cheap and insulting sacrifice which bothered him to no end. He stopped, staring out as Dylon’s priest burned the sacrifice. Before Shov filed inside, he was soon joined by two other figures.

Approaching Shov was a minor priest and representative Lavar Brav, who had been curiously watching Dylon’s sacrifice unfold. Joining beside him was his servant and slave Lila, an Okan who was quick and clumsy in bowing to Shov and his fellow priests, nearly forgetting the customs. Shov ignored the Okan and turned his attention to Lavar and was quick in his tongue to mock.

“For a clan as rich as the Geuder’s one would think they would have the consideration to at least bring a proper sacrifice. Lobster. Practically an insult if you ask me. Join me Lavar, we have much to discuss.”

Lavar and Lila followed Shov’s group, the Coladdic priests were petty in their mockery of their Geuder-aligned peers. However, Lavar was quick to note a couple things to Shov “You may mock him, but it is smart what he does. As the elections come up, Dylon is set to win the vote amongst the Okan once again. Maybe even the Beurians. He relies quite heavily on it. The slaves and poor along the coasts sacrifice sea urchins and crab to the gods, and ever the populist, Dylon simply follows suit.”

Shov scoffed “He should focus on the Kerks then. The election is coming up, yes, but it years away.”

“One can never start too early, Shov. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t even Mel Coldfinger himself preparing his protege for such things?”

“Do not remind me, Lavar. My meeting with Naya did not go very well. She is studious, yes, but hardly material worthy of the Kycer. I need loyalists to the cause of the gods, not upstarts who think they know how to run things. Our society is dependent as ever on our fealty to the gods. Pretending we are overly political and petty fools like those on the mainland only drags us down to their level.”

Lavar kept his mouth shut as the two walked into the main chamber. Lavar stopped, as if knowing his own servant was shocked by just the sheer size of the assembly's main room. The dimly lit parts of tomb city’s insides were normal for any other, dirty caverns and stone hallways with little light. Yet, the main chamber was massive, a central square where the entire assembly of the Kycer met and casually discussed. On each side of a grand stadium, overhanged by a rock ceiling, stood four braziers. Coladdic necromancers chanted into them and light bursted from them, and filled the room with illumination. Then she saw him, a figure which shocked her a bit when she saw it. Mel Coldfinger himself.

Mel levitated on an upper balcony near a stone throne, above the entire Kycer itself. He was wrapped in a faded purple and dark green robe, lined with black silk. Dangling cloth swirled around him, his arms folded as he stared off into a book which levitated in front of him. His massive fur cap comically nearly reached out towards the ceiling, and the pages in front of the lich magically flicked. He looked mummified, but it was sometimes difficult to tell, as a great scarf covered his mouth and nose. Only his dry eyes with a dim light shone through the eyeless sockets, peering without care as he continued to look into his books.

Lila was terrified at first, but Lavar comforted her “Come. He is more friendly then he looks. Just be sure to take down the Kycer’s business, and pry your attention away from. . .the pettiness.”

The Okan only nodded. She had not been brought along as an observer, but as a writer. Lavar wanted to bring back the court’s business due to a fading memory by the time he was back in their home down south. Lavar took his place, giving humble bows to his peers. Lavar took his place and began to intermingle amongst several others in the assembly. It wasn’t until Dylon Geuder and his own confidants entered that things truly began to pick up pace. Dylon laughed and joked with his fellow Zupans and aligned members, but Pelkov Elkwood was pushy and more grim. Despite those in the assembly referring to Dylon as ‘The Grim’, he Kerk was vibrant in personality and humor.

“Zupan Geuder, you must take this matter most seriously. The Hazels have no intention of joining the Kycer, and their infernal family continues to hound at my borders, and yours by default!” Pelkov complained openly “You must see some reason in all this? Can you not?”

“Pelkov, you worry far too much about them. I have talked to the Hazels on both of our behalfs, and their new Zupan does seem rather open to talking at least. Duman Hazel has reassured me that he will not fiddle with your underbelly of a country, in turn you will not do the same! Trust me Pelkov, it will take time for that family to join us here in the Kycer.”

Pelkov shook his head, partly in anger. Lavar listened in on the conversation, amused that of all of Pelkov’s complaints, the Hazels being slow to join in the Kycer was his top issue. Lavar could only guess, and rightfully so, that Pelkov was trying to pry Dylon’s interest away from aligning with the growing Hazel family. Lavar himself had even talked with Duman, and made trade deals on their behalf. As Pelkov and Dylon took their place in the Kycer. There was a loud and obnoxious slapping of a book, closing with vicious intent. Everyone turned to Mel, as the book that was once infront of his face began to float down to the ground and took its places on a small pedestal.

“I call the Kycer to order.” Mel began.
_____

Lila may have been writing down conversations and summaries of the Kerks in the Kycer, but could barely understand the politics. Lavar would occasionally interject as the day dragged on, as many in the Kycer made speeches. There wasn’t a lot happening in Caslan, and every small issue was overblown into a major trouble simply to pass the time. One such trouble was the debate over the rising minor family known as the Hazels.

The Hazels had a long time ago fought a war of independence from the Elkwoods, and won with stunning victories. The clan was deeply militarized, and was perhaps the 2nd most organized clan next the Geuders themselves. However, the Hazels were poor, distrusted, and they lacked a great deal of ambition. For years the clan had been content, but only recently did the clan seek to slide its way into the election cycle for the coming years. Pelkov made speech after speech decrying the small clan, and mocked them openly, but few were listening to his constant complaining. More so, Shov showed open concern that the Hazels would disrupt the delicate balance of the Kycer. More accurately however, it would disrupt the Coladdic’s majority within it.

What had prevented the Hazels from joining the Kycer before was their trouble with money. They were not even present in the Kycer itself, and their single representative was a meek messenger who was simply there to inform the Kycer that family matters kept Duman Hazel at home. Lavar was disappointed that the Zupan again shirked any and all opportunity to join in the politics of the country, but he understood fully his caution. Duman was a great warrior, but a terrible speaker. A trip to the Kycer would have been costly for him, and Lavar blamed himself for disillusioning the young Zupan far too early to the pettiness of the assembly.

However, the calm of the Kycer was suddenly interrupted by a sudden speech by Dylon Geuder.

“My Lords, and fellow priests of the Kycer. When I was leaving for the Kycer last week, my party stopped by the cities of Kel Felgord, and what I saw depressed me. The north has ports, but we have shit ports, manned by shit sailors. Our ports have little more then fishermen, as Orduin robbed us of any means of building up proper drydocks and shipbuilding. We have ships in the south, sure, but they are used far more for trade. The defense of this island and the Kycer relies on a stronger fleet of galleys and warships, and our forests remain almost entirely untouched. So I have a proposal for our dear Heads of the Ass--” Dylon Geuder was pulling out what looked like a tome at first, but before Dylon even could present it to any of the heads of the assembly, Shov shouted out a very meager and bored “Veto.”

“My good lord, you jest.” Dylon fumbled his words, creasing with anger.

“I do not remember you having poor hearing, Dylon Geuder.” Shov mocked, and continued “Now is not a year for drastic reform. We have no need for warships, and we certainly do not need to spend the Kycer’s coffers supplying your clan with those ships. I hardly need to ask or guess what you will even do with them.”

Dylon shot back, accusingly “Perhaps if you read my proposal first, rather then casting it aside, you would not need to gues--”

“I will hear no more of this, let us continue.”

“Continue what?” Dylon had a rather sudden realization as Shov was looking primarily at the silent Pelkov. Shov was biding his time, trying ever so silently and unmovingly, trying to see the Geuder’s coalition of Zupans break apart. Pelkov’s anger towards the Hazels had already been in debate throughout most of the day, which only made Dylon mad himself. Dylon looked back, knowing full well what Shov was doing.

“My head of assembly, when did our republic become so wretched you would have us endlessly debate over the troubles of my aligned clans rather then the good of this republic? Do you care so little for the Kerks?” Dylon shouted back. The murmurs in the Kycer became shouting as Coladdic and Geuder aligned minor priests were soon shouting and accusing one another. Fists were raised, and only the Ceremonial priests kept themselves away from the small fights already breaking out between the two groups. Shov was looking on in amusement, up until Dylon was descending the stairs upward towards him.

The Braziers of the assembly hall suddenly turned a bright blue and dimmed, and the Kerks fell silent once again and stopped. This had a specific meaning, for Mel was about to speak.

“Enough of this pettiness, the both of you. I have watched worse things in days long gone, and as I had not tolerated it then, I will not tolerate it now. Back to your positions, or I shall curse each and every one of you till you act less like children.” The groups stopped and calmed, as the brazier’s fire returned to normal. Mel levitated off the stand, keeping his pose as he came in front of Dylon Geuder and reached out his mummified hand to him. Dylon gave his proposal to the Lich’s who then levitated back to his chair and spoke.

“Shov Coladdic, I Veto your Veto as of now, you will read the proposal and debate its merits, and you will vote on the Geuder’s proposal. Then you are all dismissed.”

Shov turned in a confused state towards Mel “My eternal patriarch, we have only just arrived.”

“You will understand in time, young Shov. Now please. Do as the gods demand, and read.” Shov had Dylon’s proposal float to him and reluctantly began to read it.

The proposal was massive, far more than what Dylon had marketed it as. The proposal went into many details, from the construction of lumber yards, to the assignment of ship builders, to the buying of galley slaves, and even the apartments for sailors and captains. Shov sighed as he read aloud each individual thing, and the Kycer began to groan as debate continued to rage for what felt like days over each individual piece of legislation. Shov tried his best to rally his faction against every aspect of the bill, but soon found many being intrigued by it. Lavar was vehemently against the bill, speaking out against it alongside Shov, much to Dylon’s personal fury. Lavar didn’t wish to see his own clan get put down, and seeing Dylon’s deathly stare at him, he proposed a mutual exchange. However, this only infuriated Shov, who wanted to shut down the bill entirely.

Dylon could read the room, especially amongst the very skeptical Landarric Kerks who did not wish to lose their specialization to the Geuders. Dylon spoke and debated for the new ports to be purely drydocks and shipyard buildings, and that the Kycer would pay effectively for a new fleet on the northern coast rather than a general overhaul. Shov’s immediate agreement made Dylon’s stomach drop, but Lavar was happy with the change and was soon singing the proposal’s changes. Shov and his faction next began to speak on the costs of the bill, and complained of how expensive a new fleet would be. Dylon fought back, claiming these new warships would be primarily used to protect trade and defend the isle, and would in fact boost the income of all clans. Shov was naturally skeptical, but his clan was growing discontent. After hours upon hours of debate, the vote came. With Lavar’s support, Dylon Geuder’s shipyard proposal had passed.

Effectively, the proposal would have the Kycer pay for the construction of shipyards, forestries, and support structures in the cities of Helgave, Kel Felgord, Kel Gaven, and Kel Gargath. Individual clans would pay for the wages of workers or pay for the buying of slaves to fill most of these positions. Okan captains would oversee the training of sailors, with Kel Felgord being the main naval training ground. Southern Caslan in turn would no longer need to pay for the maintenance cost of the Caslan fleet, but instead the responsibility of both fleets will go to the Kycer. The Northern fleet would also be captained by both a member of the Geuder and Coladdic clan. Dylon suspected Shov would try to sabotage this as well, but he was satisfied for now by the passing of his bill.
____

As recess was called, Dylon and Lavar spoke to one another with Dylon openly questioning the expert statesman of his neutrality. Although both of them were annoyed with one another, Dylon had a strange respect for Lavar, as much had a strange respect for Dylon. As the two spoke in length, there was a call for a return to the Kycer. Lavar was unsure why the Kycer would meet only to be dismissed so early, and asked Dylon on this. Dylon could only guess, believing it had something to do with Mel Coldfinger himself.

Dylon was right, as when the Kycer met again, there was no speeches, only Mel standing above them all and looking down at them. Beside him was Naya Coladdic and a skeletal elven sorcerer named Gra’vyen. Mel looked over them, especially at Shov and Dylon with critical eyes, as he spoke directly to all of them.

“For a long while I have lived amongst you as Overwatch, and when I left the Kycer, I had hoped they were as mature as me to not need my position as Overwatch. However, your petty feuds today only reinforces my beliefs in your inabilities. A shame before us all. However, fret not, my protege Naya Coladdic will be taking my place as Overwatch, alongside my elder companion, my librarian Gra’vyen. You will come to know them well, and will respect them as you respect me. Shov Coladdic, Dylon Geuder, stand in the middle.”

“I will be leaving soon, on a journey across the whole of the world in the ruins of the Orduin empire, and I will be gone for a time. Many of you will see me off at the docks of Kel Trach. I will be looking for many older tomes and magical lores, and I cannot oversee you from a ship let alone on the continent. I will be ever watchful however.”

Both Zupans and members of the Kycer dared not disobey the ancient Lich. Taking a silver knife in his dry and crinkly hands, Mel cut into his palm and furled his black blood into two stone goblets. He snapped his fingers and two skeletal figures took the goblets to both Shov and Dylon.

“Drink.” Mel ordered.

Shov was the first to drink, without question and coughed a bit. Dylon was next, smelling Mel’s blood, and gulped down the vile liquid. Both coughed and gagged as Mel told them of their fates.

“My blood is cursed, for so long as you live, no harm will come to my protege by your hand or any hand you command. If you harm even a single hair upon the head of my temporary replacement, you will dissolve and become like ash. I had have you both swear onto the gods, but I felt it wasn’t enough. You are all dismissed.”

The Kycer began to file out as Dylon angrily stomped out. Shov looked at Mel, confused and distraught that his own patriarch would curse him with such distrust, but he meagerly accepted and joined his fellow priests. Lavar and his servant Lila were the last to leave. Lila was dumbstruck by the whole thing, but dutifully wrote down what had happened. As they left, the tomb doors closed as Mel turned to Naya who gave a humble bow to him.

“Thank you, my eternal patriarch. I wish to not disappoint you, but you think I am ready?”

“No. That is why Gra’vyen will be aiding you, my good Naya. Now, I must make my preparations and give some final, makeshift lessons.”
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Kycer of Caslan

“Garza Vak Sher” “Glory to the Gods"



=-=General Information=-=

  • A theocratic republic based on the island of Caslan
  • Is ruled by the Kerks, a barbarian people who settled and conquered the island
  • Has a large native beastfolk population, with a significant human and elven minority
  • Is a home of a necromantic faith and its practitioners, called Gyloism
  • Is a fairly isolated state, although it had larger ambitions to become a power on the eastern coasts
  • Is ruled by a powerful and immortal lich scholar and his clan
  • They speak and write in Kerkian and Caslandic
  • A person from Caslan is called a Caslanian
  • Population - 2.4 Million
  • Manpower - 120,000
  • Wealth - Moderate
  • Espionage - Moderate


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