2nd of Redeath, 17th Era 63 (Common: 1243)
‘Perhaps the best-known illusionary tactic is that of the concealed army. It requires only enough competent magi to conjure the illusion of thousands upon thousands of spectral bodies, identical to the real army, and competent enough troops to take a great toll to one side. The spirits take most of the line, while the army is stationed in a small section. This small section will hit harder than the spirits, break a line and flood into it, breaking the army apart piecemeal.’ –Aeven the Conjurer, in Illusionary Strategy: A Compendium.
“And so it goes,” Slaér stated. “Your training is complete. Let us hope we are now more competent, and that our forces are ready. Now, I must discuss a matter of great importance, the decision on which I cannot decide alone. We are 500. Our enemies are thousands. Do we recruit more full-time Guardians? Or do we rely on citizen aid?”
The room began to murmur, the crystal ringing with swift memory, as the Defendants began to argue. Rather than try and stop the conflict, he joined in, letting the walls do their work. When it came time to decide, the results were clear. Salthiusar had made an accurate estimate: 8 for and 3 against in the opening, but 3 for, 3 against and 5 abstaining when the conversations had finished. It had been decided that the recruitment drive would take place if war appeared likely, but citizens would need to understand the possibility.
9th of Redeath, 17th Era 63 (Common: 1243)
The rain came down like the tears of a child, or the rays of the sun, continually and determinedly. Salthiusar glowed in response to the dark aura as a result of the inclement weather, to enlighten its streets, its people and itself. For the few farmers who operated outside of the city, it was a haven, watering their final crops, magically enhanced to grow before the cold set in. For all others, it made the world dark and gloomy, except for Irèsp – he did not feel it from the sky. He felt it from the East.
The Shadow was moving, stirring, becoming agitated. It was coming, and he was, for the first time in his thousands of years, unsure if the Guardians would hold it from ransacking Kolnur’s greatest centre of knowledge.
“Even the weakest of caterpillars may one day become a beautiful butterfly, pouring weeks of work into its metamorphosis,” Irèsp advised. “And by the same coin, even the most beautiful of butterflies may be destroyed by a stray wind, blowing it into a tree, or a bird, swooping upon it in a moment of rest. Every day of its life, it lives, breathes, eats, sleeps, and worries about the next day. Every second of work to keep it alive could be demolished in an instant.
“I apply this to our city. It lives and breathes, and listens and sleeps. It has taken centuries of work to build this city, its libraries, its schools, its accommodation, its people. And to think, all of this work could all be destroyed by a single, barbaric force, with no respect for knowledge. Worse still is the enemy that destroys us just for being, or to take all our work for his own. This is why I worry, Slaèr. This is why I toil – why we all toil – to preserve ourselves, and our city. I cannot stand by and watch us be destroyed, whether we are taken by the Shadow, or by a jealous or barbaric neighbour. I have appointed you Protector to protect this work. I cannot let you fail.”
“I understand.” Slaèr, who had been standing by Irèsp in his office, responded.
“Please do not let it all go to waste, I implore you.”
“I shall strive to see it never happens.”
“That reassures me. Now, I must be gone. This evening has made me taciturn, and I must attend to… duties.” Irèsp walked to the door.
“Thank you for the visit, sir.”
Irèsp turned in the threshold. “You know not to call me sir. I deserve no more respect than you. Call me by my name.” He turned again, leaving Slaèr to his work.
3rd of Darkening, 17th Era 63 (Common: 1243)
As the final harvest commenced, the sun shone through the cold that was insidiously permeating through the city. The market was bustling, the people were bracing themselves for the cold, and the preparations for the Founding Festival had begun. The Founding Festival was held on the 20th of Darkening, every year, commemorating the beginning of the singing of Salthiusar. It ended the next year, on the 30th of Sunken Sun, as the city had been completed so many thousands of years ago.
Breaths began to steam, creating a dissipating cloud above the market, often busy at this time of year. The relative lack of children in the city kept it calm and made it harder to trip over the small, but it also made tit-tat much harder to sell. The traders were selling supplies in the one time of year when sales would change. Most trade was made by contract, and the city itself removed most need for a monetary system – yet it still existed. Most of the guild bodies – the Mage’s Guild, the Salth Library, the Particulara, etc – all provided food, accommodation and clothes to the city’s many scholars, by paying the city’s few traders. Most of these took accommodation for half a month in the city and went travelling, lest they join the ranks of the Salth. However, their wares were still in supply and demand at the time, and none would stop that.
However, this year saw a shift. The market had been opened to other nations, to send their traders to exchange any needed wares. One small bandit clan, who resided on the nearby plains, sent a group of ‘traders’ to steal others’ wares. They were soon put down, the wares returned. One good of note was the crystal tree, always a favourite. They were miniaturised versions of the rare Songwood trees, which grew the crystals for singing into shapes and forms. It was tradition to sing an animal’s shape over the period, to symbolise the festival. It was a busy time. But was it to be the last?
3rd of Darkening, 17th Era 63 (Common: 1243)
‘Reports have been coming in from the south, stating that nations who have previously kept to themselves have begun to attack one another. Further sources indicate the seabound nations to the west are getting on peacefully, and the Shadow is getting more active by the day in the east.
Founder, I implore you that preparations are made to defend our walls. We cannot take some of these forces.
“That’s not reassuring.” Stated Irèsp.
“I agree with you. We need to up our relations with various nations, and better our defensive tactics.” Slaér replied.
“So invite them to market. Keep the market around for longer, and offer more support for the traders. We need some diversity, and the traders need the money.”
“Your will be done.”
-Salthiusar’s market opens again for the coming year, and may stay open for others if it helps their cause. Placed in Province 18, Salthiusar. All traders will be subject to searches and checks by Guardians throughout their time in the city (to prevent unscrupulous traders getting away with it) and are advised to leave the city for a few days every half month or so, to prevent them gaining the Curse of Years.
-Darkorin, Skibul, Indiga and Esterwynne are invited to trade in Salthiusar’s market freely, based on existing peace.
-Ambassadors sent to Likome, Kerin-Curan, Anicea, Kogan-Sul, The Pure and The Great Trade Republic, requesting a ban on hostilities between the nations and Salthiusar. If peace is agreed, the nations may send traders to trade in Salthiusar.
-Sneaky Sneaky begins to be studied in the Rhetoria, Province 18.