Diary of Willem Lafayhe

“Day one

My name is Willem Lafayhe. I’ve come from another world to find power. Or at least so it feels. The path I’ve travelled has made me cross an ocean, to reach another continent, in search of Runes of power. I currently possess one. A Rune of Fire. Or at least that is what I think it is.

Back home I have left my mother, my younger brother and my two younger sisters. I do not expect to see either of them again for many years, if I ever see them again.

I arrived at the port in Luciat, a bustling town of trade and commerce in search of these Runes. The Runes in question came into my possession when I was younger and more inexperienced. I had a very limited understanding of the things in my possession then. So I did what any other stupid teenager would do, I sold the Runes in my possession. All but one. They brought in a fair amount of money, money I used to buy a home for my family and another small place for myself. Little did I know that I had sold a fortune for no more than small change in comparison to it’s real worth. Something I found out when my small house burned down one night, and all that was left was the one Rune I had kept after the sale, to remind me of my success… Or my failure as it would prove to be.

And so it came to pass that I used most of my remaining fortune to ensure myself passage across the Broad Sea, to another continent in pursuit of the Runes I had so foolishly parted with only months earlier. And after a while I found myself in Luciat. Where I am now. I have hired the services of two local “informants”. One a wily fellow styling himself Vim, and another one a thug by the name of Pugsley. Not my choice of loyal retainers, but one got to make do with what is available.

I have followed the trail of one of the middle men in the sales of my Runes, and as improbable as it sounds, my informants have managed to dig up some information about his whereabouts.

Day two

Seems my informant was lacking on a little bit of critical information. Such as the fact that Torok, the middle man, is in fact dead. Murdered in the streets. Luciat is such an uncivilized place… And my informant almost got himself jailed over a bar brawl. I am seriously starting to doubts the benefits of this arrangement I’ve made with my two “informants”. At least they managed to scrounge up some useful information about Toroks daily whereabouts before his most untimely death. It seems the man used to live in a warehouse belonging to a merchant from afar named Genahl. As he styles himself, an exotic merchant dealing with only the rarest of trinkets, cloth and spices. So naturally I was curious about what wares he sold, in addition to what his employee might have stored in his warehouse. I think a visit is in order.

And to my surprise I found that I rather enjoyed the visit to Genahl. His selection of wares have proven invaluable. He does indeed deal with some of the most interesting amounts of rare trinkets and cloth and spices. A most curious box with ancient seals have piqued my interest, and we were able to reach an agreement about price. I have also found several scrolls with basics on learning his language, Da’Nuhn, and some scrolls retelling the story of his, compared to the savages who live here, advanced culture.

A quick search in Genahls warehouse, searching the area where Torok was supposed to live, has yielded very few substantial leads, but entirely without merit it was not. I learned that Toroks murderer, whoever he is, is in possession of at least 3 of the Runes of power. If nothing else, I am at least on the right track here.

About a week after last entry.

These past days have proven to be most interesting. I have run across two very distinguishing savages. Much more so than the inhabitants who live in this muck-ridden city.

Borgar, a savage from the far north. He seems to be a bounty hunter or perhaps a lawman from the society he comes from. He is in search of a murderer named Krais, who he has pursued from his homeland far to the north. Borgar is a most intimidating northerner, and his stature proves that the stories I’ve heard about the northerners are probably true. But he pales in comparison to the giant who travelled with him. A man of truly fearsome stature. Bran, a mountain of flesh on two legs. The fascinating thing about this though, is that Bran, more muscles than brain it would seem, is the son of a shaman from his homeland. He knows about the old powers. I must find out more. Maybe this man can lead me to even greater powers? One thing is for sure, this man is not the biceps for brains as he might appear to be.

I think it would be in my interest to help these northerns with their search for the killer they are in pursuit of. Not that I really got a choice, since Vim has made a disappearing on us, and Pugsley seems to be more than eager to abandon his contract to help with catching the killer. Most curious to find something resembling morals in a street thug.

A day after last entry.

The killer was not that difficult to apprehend and secure. But it seems that he had plenty of allies in town, and it would be wise to leave until things settle again. Annoying as it is, it seems I must now rest my investigation of my Runes of power again. And Borgar is insistent that we deliver the culprit for local justice in the land he committed his crime. Why waste the time, he is surely going to hang anyways.

Several days after last entry.

The northlands are so damned cold. So immensely cold. How can there even live people up here?

Several days after last entry.

A town, or something. A fort I’m told. Here we can rest and recuperate. and get some warm clothes. Crag Keep is the name the locals have of the place.

I have studied more of the language Da’Nuhn when possible, and it seems to be a rather simplistic language, but with lots of smaller exceptions. It’s grammar is very straight forward, but the verbs have non-standardized ways of directing time and action. Which makes it very confusing if you don’t know how it is supposed to be. So far this is the only obstacle to mastering the language as I’ve come across. It’s quite ingenious in it’s complex simplicity.

I’ve also come across a few ideas about catalysts for unleashing the powers of the Runes, from the shaman-son Bran of all people. This man is most decidedly not what he seems. Maybe I should try to see if I can get it to work.

One day after last entry.

Borgar has left us to pursue some local bandits and dispense some local justice upon the local populace. I don’t really mind, as it gives me more time to experiment.

A few hours after last entry.

Breakthrough. I can’t believe it. I finally figured something useful from my Rune. Had I not known better I would say that the thing is alive. Alive with power, although running on fumes. I must figure out how to recharge the thing. How, oh how. This is getting me more and more excited. Maybe I am finally on the verge of a breakthrough here. I can’t wait to test it out more later. And I found out that the same method I used to operate the Rune allowed me to open the chest I bought from Genahl. I believe had he known what was inside, he would have charged a higher price for the chest. Not my problem though. Most defenitely not my problem. Also a local has spilled his tounge about a place of power. Or at least so it seems from his descriptions. He claims it is not a place for mortals. It is a place with a will of it’s own and it does not like visitors. I simply must know more about this place. Perhaps I can convince the others to make the trip?

One day after last entry.

Stormy and cold. Hardly a day anyone sane would be outside. And as proof of that, I think I will remain inside today and work more on my studies. See if I can figure out some of the scrolls from Genahls box. They seem to be instructions of sorts. I am unsure of what they instruct though. I am still not fluent enough in this language to make proper sense of it all. But I will continue to study it.”

-W. Lafayhe, archaeologist.

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Narjannast (draft)

Narjannast, the mightiest force in the north, or so they claim to be… my forefathers wanted to prove them wrong, and if I may say so myself, I think that history will agree, but I forget myself, this isnt a lecture on politics. Narjannast is an old country with proud traditions that go farther back than most people care to remember, King Erathon IX and his court rules with an iron-grip, yet justice as a rule, prevails. Nayr, the capitol, is a grand city, possibly the largest in the north, well defended and well fed. The palace and the districts north of the river are large, extravagant and well kept. South of the river on the other hand, things are more like what we are used to, practical, functional, grey and hard, sometimes worse than anything found here in Luciat. The rest of the country suffers from similar tendencies, the local lord or knight sits in his castle, well fed, well kept, whilst his hard-working people live in less than they deserve. So is it in a country where the noble and rich live off the work of the less fortunate, and especially when there are so many noblehouses, so many barons, knights and lords and ladies, strong and wilful ladies, beautiful and dangerous, more so than their counterpart

-Lord Nimael Bendheart of Luciat

Da‘Nuhn

DaNuhn:

These eyes of mine have seen the sun set on the lands of Danuhn for over two centuries now. You ask how a man such as I have achieved this feat? How I have managed to win a victory over the sands of time?

You obviously have no idea who I am, allow me to enlighten you: I am Mudagu.

Capitol: Da’Nuhn

Cities: Da’Nuhn, Te’Nahn, Go’kuhn

Villages: na’lehn, Ti’rohn, Ro’mek, an’teh, Spa’ruhn

Ruler: The Serpent Empress (The God Empress)

Religion:       Ghedra (Snake Godess), Tharloss (Spider Godess),  Arnez (Eagle God)

Other Religions:              Various

Imports:                     Wood

Exports:                     slaves, precious stones and metals

Cultures:                     Urban, Nali, Rural, nomadic, tribal.

Da’nuhn, the southern gem, home of the sand seas and the deadly jungles of Reh’na’lah. The country is the whole of the southern peninsula of Kotani, although the whole is not united as one. Albeit all pay tribute to the Snake Throne, at least on the surface. The western part is what is in actuality the country controlled by the God Empress, this is where all the cities are, the city Da’nuhn itself is placed more or less in the middle, with river connecting it to the serpent bay and the port city of Te’nahn to the north. Go’Kuhn is on the south-western shores. In between is a long stretch of sand dunes where small nomadic tribes and some towns and villages can be found.

In the east the desert goes over into barren lands and hilly mountains, before reaching the jungle Reh’na’lah, which even futher east connects to Nadu Lila.

Luciat

“As we came upon a hilltop I looked westward and in the distance I could again see the great sea, but this a different sea than the one I left so many moons ago. Around us I saw ruins of some old town or city, so little remained that it was impossible to determine what make it was how big it had been or who had lived here and how long ago. Looking back east I saw all my folk spread out, making camp about the ruins. We had lost so many over these last few months, but passing by cities always seemed to attract more followers, whilst loosing some. We numbered somewhere around three thousand souls, plus my men-at-arms and hired mercenaries. So close to four thousand souls. That would be enough to build, protect and supply a city. It was that evening, at supper time, that I made my proposal to my wife and officers, and against their advice addressed the people and founded My city, Our city.”
-From the journals of Lord Demrod Bendheart

Founded by Demrod Bendheart of Narjannast, Luciat is a city-state far to the west and north of Narjannast and the eastern shores of Kotani.

Luciat a sizeable city, holds up to around 500.000 inhabitants inside its city-walls, with many many more just outside in what is knowns as the shanty town.
Luciat has been divided into sectors, the construction work has just recently been finished, between each sector there are check points, passing through most of them is no problem, but a few require papers, especially into the warehouse districts and the wealthier neighbourhoods.
Luciat’s docks and harbour is located about 2 miles or so west of the city, a siezeable town now, yet dependant upon Luciats protection and trade. The harbour itself has been walled, with one main gate facing east to the city, and two smaller gates, one to the north and one to the south. It is patrolled by a few Ternati, but mostly it is kept safe by the new recruits from Bendheart’s new City Guard.

The area between the harbour and the city has been fully settled, all the ruins either removed or used as foundations for new buildings. This area is filled with travellers and poor people. It is patrolled, but the Towns guard, a motley crew of seamen and volunteers armed with clubs and daggers, can hardly be trusted. Most can be bribed, in fact most expect to be. Most inhabitants have to pay for protection, this has led the wealthier of the inhabitants, mostly tavern owners, to go together and form a sort of town council. They have managed to recruit some of the Town guard to work on their behalf, and there is currently a small-time war or conflict going on between the Council of Inns and Towns Guard, in addition there are many gangs of thieves and robbers who fight each other, but small alliances are forming, to prepare for the winner of the conflict between the Council and the Guard.

The area has become known as the Mid Town, it has no walls and has been mostly ignored by the Teranti and Bendheart and his council. The recent criminal activity and the small-time war has come to the attention of Bendheart, but with so many changes and plans in progress there is little he can do. He quietly supports the Council of Inns, but there is little resources he can supply them with.

Lord Nimael Bendheart, the current ruler, has formed the City Guard, trained by the Teranti, to patrol the city markets, guard at the outer city walls and keep law and order within the city walls, for the time being lead by Teranti officers.

The Outer and Inner Cloister and the Rethorus; the power centre in Luciat, is patrolled and guarded by the Hawk’s Guard, the elite and official guards of Lord Bendheart himself.

Trade is good for the city, relations are good with Nuamci to the north and trade has picked up with Be’lak. The southern towns and villages has also started more frequent trade with Luciat. In the bay of luciat ships come and go daily, travelling north, south and westward.

With this new rise in activity, the surrounding country side has become perilous for travellers, as bandits and raiders has started highway robbery of the rich and poor alike. Within the city and the immediate surrounding areas people are somewhat safe from these raiders, but the city’s crime element seems to have become more organised and bold. Bendheart and his council has tried to strike down on this, but so far with little effect. This has lead to the Teranti now being given the mandate to hunt down not just thieves and cut throats, but also petty criminals like pick pockets and scavengers. This has led to some harassment of even honest merchants, as well as swindlers and quacks. Much to the ire of the wealthy merchants and businessmen. Even some nobles are becoming fed up with the persistence of the Teranti and Bendheart. Most common folk on the other hand take the good with the bad, more strict guards and the occasional curfew is considered a small price to pay, for safer streets.

“Luciat is the northern most metropolis on Kotani. It houses somewhere around one hundred thousand individuals within its city walls, and another forty thousand or so outside, most of which can be found along the four mile long harbour, adjacent to the Bay of Luciat. Luciat sits on the western edge of the plains between Narjannast and the western seas, it rests on a hill top, looking down on to the Bay of Luciat, a small basin connecting to the main sea further north and west. Luciat was founded hundreds of years ago by Demrod Bendheart, a nobleman exiled from Narjannast. His city grew rapidly and trade has been good, connecting the northern city-states with the sea and the south, and also some city-states to the east by way of Be’lak.”

-Royal Chronicler Palpus Quir

Luciat Factions

Ruler:

Nimael Bendheart – dictator (rules by right of heritage)

The ruling council 13 members:

1. Lady Reihna Uyari (elected)

2. High Lord Quitahl Bloodmoon (permanent member by heritage)

3. Lord Wilher Uhmuri (elected)

4. Lord Karai Torran (elected)

5. High Lord Andar Suntear (permanent member by heritage)

6. High Lord Torn Rockrift (permanent member by heritage)

7. Merchant Lord Iranu Steephill (elected)

8. Merchant Lord Ytanar Oruqai (elected)

9. High Lady Gwena Windthorn (permanent by heritage)

10. Merchant Lady Turee Porani (elected)

11. Merchant Lady Elaina Naheer (elected)

12. High Lady Morina Thunderspear (permanent member by heritage)

13. Lady Norinth Penla

 This is the ruling body of Luciat. Whilst Bendheart’s will is law, most laws and reforms are discussed with his council. The last year has also seen the addition of one more member, although not holding an official position, the captain of the Teranti is present during most, if not all, sessions of the council. His responsibility being the security and safety of the city makes his thoughts and advise on most reforms important.

Other factions in the city that have some limited political power are:

1. The Merchants guild (with four representatives this term)

2. The Artisans Guild (includes smiths of all kinds, masons and more. Most of the old guilds have been implemented, the main exception being the merchants guild).

3. The Guild of Taverns (although not having large impact, their opinions and issues are usually taken into consideration, as they are the ones who give the people beer and circus so to speak).

4. The Artist Guild (is all but powerless, but they are, without exception the most vocal of the guilds).

5. Thieves Guild (whilst it doesn’t officially exist, the Teranti and the newly created city guard know of them, and some deals have been struck, to keep the city in order).

6. Assassins Guild (are publicly denied, and even in the council there is serious doubt as to the existence of this guild, especially if there is a guild house in Luciat or near by.)

7. The Underground Fighting Guild (again a guild not publicly acknowledged, it does exist, having and underground arena somewhere outside Luciat. Rumours have it that Bendheart hires particularly successful fighters.).

The Techuin

The Techuin

“The lands far to the north and east are where you find the Techuin. From the rolling hills to the frozen tundra just south of the northern most mountains we have on our maps. They are as far as we know, nomadic and primitive, if not barbaric, knowing little of our civilized ways. Yet from the few encounters we have had, I would presume they have a strong sense of honour and tradition. We know, from tales from the surrounding lands that they sometimes prey upon merchants, yet they also make trade, from this I would assume that they are not one nation, but many tribes and clans, of which some are mere bandits. This leads me to believe that frequent infighting and petty squabbles between their tribes makes them weak and relatively easy prey, if properly handled.”

-Nasi’Dahr, Da’nuhn.

Odan (Draft)

“I am Loki Oak a Man of the North as I am sure you must have guessed. Send me a fine flagon of ale and I may spin you a tale of my homeland. It is a land of beauty and I would not change it for all the gold and jewels you southern men could offer. No lad the only jewels I desire are those created by first winter’s frosts and the only gold I seek is that of the suns rays upon the endless fields of snow in the spring.
 
Though some may call it a wasteland and others certain death, it breeds men of strength men like me whose hearts burn as fiercely as the northern cold and any who would to challenge this claim I will gladly grind to dust with my war hammer yet in truth I would to prefer to just drink you under the table”
–Loki Oak
 

Odan is the northern lands of Kotani. A months travel by horse and cart from Luciat will bring you to Crag Keep, the southernmost settlement of the Odan. To the east lies the Torum mountains, a chain of mountains stretching to the eastern sea, far to the north and far to the south. Crag Keep guards one of the very few roads or paths leading further north, as some ancient geological or godly force has elevated the northern reaches like a plateau. Two other paths north are known, one by sea and one far east through the Torum mountains.

“About three weeks after leaving Luciat:
The northlands are so damned cold. So immensely cold. How can there even live people up here?
 
Several days after last entry:
A town, or something. A fort I’m told. Here we can rest and recuperate. and get some warm clothes. Crag Keep is the name the locals have of the place.”
–From the diary of Willem Lafayhe of Ghorz
 

This southern part of Odan is populated by clans ruled by earls in earldoms varying in size. Wars do break out, but they are all allied against any aggression from any southern forces, and mostly peace reign as the different earls will settle disputes through clanmeets or similar gatherings. The south-odani are herdsmen, woodsmen and farmers who live in small communities. They’re practical and stout, strong and tall compared to what they refer to as southerners, meaning anyone not Odani.

Furhter north, what may be called mid-Odan, the clans become more like tribes and semi-nomadic, hunting and gathering food more than farming, though the occasional and seasonal farmsteads can be found abandoned during the long harsh winters. Few tribes, or clans, have permanent settlements, yet far to the north of this territory you find Frostheim one of the few permanent outposts of these northern mid-odani. Its located near hot-springs, close by the Torum mountains. Other hot-springs exists, even further north where the north-odani lives. These hotsprings serves are farmlands and places for clanmeets during war, disputes or when other hardship strikes the clans. The north-odani are nomadic and tribal, hunting the giant icebears and frostruses of the northern plateaus of the Everice. The most northern tribes seldom travel as far south as Frostheim, living secluded and isolated lives among the ice and creatures of the north.

“Frostheim, my home, was built where Mother Frost gave birth to her son Oban, grandfather of Odan. Oban was the lifegiver, the river born by the break of the long spring, when the snows of Torum melted and small rivers combined into one; Oban. The father of Oban was the chain of mountains Torum who gave the means of Frost to unite.”
–Bran Vargson of the Frost Vargs.

Badri’Jurat (Draft)

Badri’Jurat

Badri’Var’Jurat, a sprawling metropolis, sitting in a basin within the Badri’Jurat mountains. Isolated from the outside world, except through sparse trade with Quein (locally known as Der’Euhn, previously Avalo/Court) and some small towns and cities below and around the mountain. Badri’Var’Jurat has a long history of warfare and conflict. As the Great War died down in the outside world, the war changed its scale and narrative within the Badri’Jurat. In a basin within a mountain range, far south of Torum’s Arm and the Utari, a sprawling city once laid. During the Great War the basin was a lot smaller, but over the course of the war, and various tectonic shifts, the basin grew. The first city itself lies in ruins, in the midst of the basin. The current city fills the basin almost completely. The city is mostly cut off from the outside world, except for a few trails and paths that lead down, there are no well travelled routes. Perilous paths through tunnels, passes and narrow mountainside trails lead off in various directions in the forests surrounding parts of the city. Some lead to tunnels and caves, others lead out and down from the mountains, some to dead ends, others to cliffs. There are also other threats in the mountains; beasts and monsters harass any traveller. Badri’Var’Jurat was towards the end of the Great War two houses of noble lineage, warring for control over the basin and the whole of Badri’Jurat. At the time of the last lunar alignment the two houses were united by marriage, which formed the royal house; “The third faction”. The royal house ruled and strengthened it position, whilst the two houses followed. The unification of a royal house was partly due to religious manipulation, if not prophetic and holy. For years the church held control, by supporting the royal house and sweet-talking the two houses. Still, though, vendettas and assassinations happened at almost the same rate as before. Open war and conflict, went from mass murder and bloody mayhem, to politics in a court, with blood behind curtains and in dark alleys. By the year 950, the royal house had become so strong that it started slowly, but surely, to cut ties with the church and it’s agenda. At this point politics changed dramatically. The representatives from the two houses, and various other smaller houses, started to take higher risks, suddenly the church was not in complete control, which meant that money could be spent in other ways. The church lost its position and voice in the royal political chamber, now only acting behind the scenes, struggling for power and control.