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Author Topic: Tilea, IC 2342  (Read 8787 times)

Offline Padre

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Tilea, IC 2342
« on: November 11, 2012, 10:16:12 AM »
A Tilean Campaign

Prologue
Early Spring, IC 2342
Campogrotta, Northern Tilea
 
“Is anyone coming?” asked little Franci, employing the loudest whisper he dared.
 
“Can’t see no one,” came Paulo’s strained reply - supposedly hushed but still louder than necessary.
 
Not entirely satisfied by his friend’s answer, mainly due to the fact that Paulo had a habit of not quite getting things right, Franci nevertheless went back to the task in hand. He had counted three sleeping piglets, lying by their grunting (snoring?) mother. There were probably more in the shadows, but he cared not as he wanted only one. He was hoping that a lone missing piglet would not even be noticed. The merchant family who owned the yard were rich and surely above such small incidents. This yard was not even their main yard, being merely one of several similar clusters of houses surrounding their palazzo's true wall. Inside they had a proper courtyard, with statues and a fountain instead of pigpens.
 
Tiptoeing in silence – easy enough for a barefoot boy – Franci continued his approach. Behind him Paulo squatted silently in the gateway to the yard, the only sound being the creaking of an unlit lantern hanging by a rusted hook outside. Paulo had set it swaying it when he extinguished it moments before, but he would rather have the slight sound than the light it cast on the gateway. This close to dawn a dulled lantern was by itself no strange thing, for few candles burned all night.
 

 
Franci now stopped right before the pigpen’s doorway and scrutinised the slumbering creatures to ascertain which would be the easiest to snatch. He’d like to take the fattest or the silliest looking one, for such would make for more fun in the game, but the current situation called for taking whichever was the easiest to extract. “Beggars can’t be choosers,” he thought, especially as dawn’s light was only minutes away, when no doubt the first of the merchant’s servants would start to emerge from the doors all around. Besides, the guard dog he had befriended with the gift of a dead cony was now busy licking its lips and might well decide to announce with a bark that it wanted another.
 
Suddenly Paulo’s voice hissed across the yard: “A light! I can see light.”
 
Franci glanced up and saw only the dark sky of a cloudy night. Then it occurred to him that his friend did not mean the first rays of the sun.
 
“What light? Where?” he snapped.
 
The pigs grunted, the dog whimpered.
 
“Down there,” said Paulo unhelpfully.
 
Franki turned to see if his friend was pointing. As he was not, he was forced to ask again, “Where?”
 
“The corner, around the corner.”
 
Paulo frowned. “How can you see it if it’s around the corner.”
 
“No, it’s coming around the corner. Listen.”
 
“How can I listen for a ...?” began Franci in exasperation, but then fell silent, deciding that whether or not his friend was making any sense, he ought to do what was asked. After all, the Wizard-Lord Niccolo hanged folk for pinching less than a piglet, so caution was his watchword right now.
 
Almost immediately, he heard: heavy boot-steps, probably iron-shod, pounding the hard dirt of the alley to the side of the yard. Not Wizard-Lord Niccolo’s men, but worse – his brutes!
 
Realising his friend was still squatting at the threshold of the gate, Franki hissed: “Get back, Paulo!”
 
“Just want to get a little look-see at them,” Paulo answered, strangely calm.
 
Franki felt frozen, caught fast in a sickening moment, unable to take his eyes off Paulo’s shadowy form silhouetted in the gateway, unable to move his limbs.
 

 
Then, suddenly, Paulo ducked back inside the yard, the motion somehow releasing Franki. Forgetting all about piglets, he hurled himself over to the wall his friend was now hidden behind. When he arrived, Paulo winked.
 
“Best place here,” he whispered, “‘cos they can’t see us even if they look through the gate when they pass.”
 
But the worst place ever, thought Franki, if it is this yard was the one the brutes are heading for. Being caught outside after curfew was bad enough. Being caught in a yard you had no right to be in was much worse. Worst of all was being caught by Wizard-Lord Niccolo’s brutes. The tyrant of Campogrotta had an entire regiment of mercenary ogres and through them he held the sort of sway over the city that even his wicked father and infamous grandfather would have thought impressive. No-one grumbled grievances against Niccolo Bentiglovio as they had done against the previous tyrants, not even to their trusted friends. 'Best keep quiet' was the city's unofficial motto.
 
Franki was too young to remember the old lords, but he was wise enough to see that people had found a novel depth to their fear. Life was harder than before, even if no-one admitted it. For an afternoon game of chase with a piglet in the market square the worst one might expect was that an ogre would eat the pig. But stage a poppet play poking fun at the Bentiglovio family and it would be you who gets eaten by the ogres.
 
“They’ve gone past,” said Paulo, still exhibiting no apparent sign of fear.
 
Franki exhaled. He had been unwittingly holding his breath, as the real sound of the Ogre’s boots merged with the imagined sight of nightmarish, brutish teeth tearing human flesh. He looked at his friend.
 
“Are you a special friend of Fortuna tonight, Paulo?” he asked. “Because if not, I don’t see how you’re so calm.”
 
Paulo smiled innocently, as if he did not quite understand what Franki was saying.
 
“Let’s go see what they’re up to,” he suggested. And before Franki could grab him to stop him, he was out the gate and creeping down the street.
 
“No, let’s not,” Franki found himself saying, even though his friend was already gone.
 
For a moment he just sat there, a kind of tired relief suffusing through his limbs, then he saw the dog was back up on its feet, directing a mean stare his way. “Then again …” he said to no-one. Letting the words trail off, he ran after Paulo.
 
Twice he caught glimpses just as Paulo turned this way or that - enough to stay on his track. He caught up with him only when Paulo slowed to a halt behind some large casks standing upon one side of Spello Square, probably discarded when Niccolo’s brutes had taken their fill of the wine. The first hint of sunlight was beginning to colour the sky behind them, picking out the lighter stone of the line of statues before the opposite wall.
 
The boys did not notice such subtleties, however, for there was something more horribly fascinating to watch in the centre of the square.
 
“Look, they found someone,” said Franki needlessly. “It's a boy, not much older than us.”
 
Paulo’s eyes widened, though it seemed to Franki an expression more to do with sudden understanding than fear.
 
“That could have been us,” Paulo said.
 
Franki nodded his head slowly. “Thank the gods it wasn’t.”
 
The brutes, each one sporting a spiked helm fitted so tightly they looked like they had been hammered on, had formed a circle, their naked steel blades longer than a full grown man. Curfew wasn't lifted 'til the morning sun shined upon the Melzi Tower.
 

 
It was a ridiculous sight, akin to a pride of lions hunting a mouse. The ogres did not speak, instead issuing guttural snorts and guffaws, as if they found the situation amusing. One of the brutes suddenly shouted “Boo!” Then as the others broke into growled laughter, he clutched his enormous sword with both hands and took a step forwards.
 
“I ain’t watching,” announced Franki, tugging at his friend’s tunic. “C’mon, let’s go.”
 
Paulo stood up slowly, nodding. “Aye,” he said, and turned to join Franki’s flight from the square.
 
“Did you know that lad?” Franki asked as they ran through the shadows.
 
“Never seen him before. Why?”
 
“I’d have liked to put his name in my prayer to Morr.”
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 01:48:43 PM by Padre »
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 11:31:24 PM »
 :icon_biggrin: :::cheers:::
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 09:36:29 PM »
A sealed letter delivered to the Castel Santangleo
 
This to His Eminence Frederigo Ordini, ArchLector of Morr, Lord of Remas
Written on the fourteenth day of Spring, IC 2342
 
Concerning Father Sagrannalo of the city of Trantio
 
I have willingly followed your instructions to the best of my abilities. None could have suspected that I served as your eyes and ears, for I was but one man amongst many, in a crowd containing a good number of foreigners. Nor was I the only one scribbling down Father Sagrannalo’s words.
 
I shall begin with the man himself. He is an impressive orator, but that much is evident from the fact that his fame has spread throughout the length and breadth of Tilea. The multitude hangs upon his every word, indeed great sighs and gasps greet his pronouncements. The great concourse of citizens believe him, even though he has done nothing extraordinary to compel them to do so. They seem to take it for granted that he converses with gods. The nature of the tricks he deploys to keep his audience in thrall is a subtle art, and I confess I find it impossible fully to fathom. The people of Trantio certainly do not think themselves gullible nor simple, in truth they have all the refinements that education and wealth provide, yet they seem not to doubt the veracity of any part of Sagrannalo’s utterances. They express their admiration openly, shed tears at his warnings and admonitions, and finally make solemn promises to mend their ways.
 
There are some - outside the temple - who complain about him, but only when in their cups and in the company of their most trusted friends. And yes, one may find men in Trantio who denounce him openly, but all such seem to be rogues or foolish, witless fellows who care not for their own safety or reputation, or have no honour left to maintain. The better sort have nothing at all bad to say of him, although what proportion do so out of fear of the consequences and what do so out of genuine acceptance of his vision I know not. I am a stranger here, and thus cannot easily gain access to whispered confidences.
 
Sagrannalo is but a small man, black haired with an ugly face sporting fleshy lips and a misshapen nose, yet his eyes flash with the liveliness of the inward spirit which drives him on. His fasting has made him gaunt and it is said that beneath his humble, grey, woollen cassock his body is criss-crossed with the scars of his self-scourging. For his sermon he wore a simple Morrite chasuble of vermilion, unadorned with lace or braiding, with nothing more than a cord of hemp about his neck upon which hung a simple wooden prayer rod.
 


Now to his sermon, in terms of its content and how each specific part was received. The substance of his sermon was subsequently (and speedily) printed, so that those who did not hear him might know what he said. I have transcribed the pamphlet, but have corrected some parts according to my own memory, for the pamphlet's author was somewhat careless in places regarding the actual words spoken. Of course even here his words are not perfectly recorded, but I believe this account to be the closest to the truth that you could obtain.

He began by praising Trantio’s actions in revolting against the Medizi and reforming their ancient Republic. This suited well the mood of the people.
 
“I say to you, and in saying I speak with the words of the gods, that as there is no one god raised above all others, then there is no one man greater than all the rest. As it is in heaven, where each god is master of his own office, so it ought to be here in the world below. The Church of Morr recognises that men look to the great god of death with more fear than the other gods. This is so because he rules us in the afterlife - death is his dominion. It is only right and proper that we mortals show him all due respect with offerings and prayers, for he will become upon our departure from life our lord for all time. But that is then and this is now, and here, in this place at this time, we are alive and must bow to every god, give each one their due. And while we recognise the dominion of each - Shallya’s healing, Myrmidia’s war, Mercopio’s money and Verena’s truth – we thus serve no one single god, but whichever god rules over our current cares and concerns, hopes and desires.”
 
So he first tells them what they already know to be true, even if it might mean they fail to favour Morr above all gods as is right and proper for men to do. But then he makes his real point, which is political and not religious.
 
“There is no tyrant in heaven. Nor should we allow one here in the world below. We rid ourselves of the Medizi despot and so Trantio took a step closer to a heavenly state. Our city is ruled by the people, every elected officer having authority over his allotted sphere. If the burden is too much for one man, understandable in that we are all mere mortals, then a committee is fashioned to govern this concern and that venture. Even this makes us like unto the gods, for a committee’s conjoined minds approach somewhat closer to the great wisdom of the immortals.”
 
Hearing his praise, the crowd feel very pleased with themselves. They have done well and it has been recognised by a great man. Thus he sets them momentarily at their ease, so that when the warning comes it is made more fearful by the sudden change in mood.
 
“But we have taken only one small step closer to heaven. The journey is far from complete. There are still a great many things in Trantio that are wicked, foolish and wrong in the eyes of Morr. Great will be the suffering he metes out to all among us who revel in such a sinful life: to burn for all eternity, to scream endlessly. I see here before me many, and I do mean many, doomed to such torment if they do not mend their ways. My eyes reveal that which you cannot see: the flickering sparks of sin already sufficiently hot to light the flames of hell; the smouldering embers of your base desires all too easily fanned by Morr’s righteous wind into a raging fire so hot your spiritual skins roast and blister until eyeballs burst, guts boil and the very marrow drips from your bones.”
 
Now he has sown great terrors amongst the crowd, that they might all the better listen to his lesson concerning their sins. His eyes dance about the multitude in such a clever manner that all come to believe he looked directly at them. And though it were only a momentary glance, they shiver at the shock of it and believe their true souls have been revealed.
 
As for the nature of their wickedness, he wastes no time in explaining.
 
“The Medizi adorned their homes with works of art, vainglorious statues, gold and silver vanities of every kind. Yet did any one of them take such things with them to Morr’s realm when they died? Did they prettify the afterlife with paintings and tapestries, gilded glasses and silver lace? Such things are the trappings of greed in the here and now, proof of puerile pride, ludicrous luxury and vile vanity. Such things are not worthy of the good citizens of our great Republic, nor are they goodly in the eyes of Morr. Clever Mercopio rules over wealth and all things gained by trade and industry, good management and careful investment, yet even he has no truck with base gluttony and vainglorious opulence. To hoard gaudy treasures is to deny mortality, to defy Morr. You cannot take it with you! Such fine works are fitting for temple and shrine, to give praise to the gods, but not for hearth and home, for palazzo and castle, to glorify yourselves. Do you love mammon more than Morr? Do you think to shun mortality and become one of the undead? Will you sink so low as adorn your rotting corpse with jewels and silken cloth, and dwell where and when you do not belong, like the foul fops of cursed Sylvania or the gold bedecked, walking carcasses who rule the burning deserts of the South?”
 
His voice, thin and reedy as ever, has nevertheless become fierce. Cries erupt from the congregation as all declare that they want no such things. Then he quietens them, draws them in once more, by suddenly speaking gently.
 
“Our good merchants bring us prosperity, that we may all be fed and clothed, and thrive in our professions and callings. But the Medizi and their kind brought only division between nobleman and commoner, taking ever more for themselves to pay for cruel diversions and greedy pleasures. While their private houses were turned into gold, the downtrodden labourers in the fields wanted for bread; while they feasted on exotic fowl and were entertained by dancing elves, the city dwellers were made little better than chattel slaves, and lay shivering and diseased by ill-fuelled hearths. And yet they ruled. How so? How did we allow them to do so? Because they distracted us with dissolute carnivals and palio races, they ensured that the streets were home to legions of women of ill repute, and they fashioned spectacles that both glorified themselves and dazed the masses.
 
“Well I tell you this - and it
is the voice of Morr that speaks through me – we will not go the way of the Medizi. Let Trantio be an example to all of Tilea, to every prince and prelate. Repent, oh Trantio, while there is still time. Clothe yourselves in humility, cleanse and purify yourselves, that your souls be not damned.”
 
Now there are cries of “Yes” and “Let it be!” There is hope amongst them again.
 
“Oh Tilea! Morr’s wrath is upon thee. All the adversities which rain upon thee are for thy sins. Repent before the sword is once more bloodied, before the foul servants of wicked gods do yet again rise up against us. I have seen Morr’s axe in the dark sky above. I have foreseen the tempests and plagues, wars and bloodshed, the famines, floods and fires that will soon visit us if we do not mend our ways. Wisdom, power, force – none will prevail if we are not made good in the eyes of Morr.”
 
“Will mighty Myrmidia lift her mailed hand to help us if we are drunkenly dancing amongst fancy fountains instead of drilling in the fields?”
 
“Will Shallya look to heal us of the plagues of war-time if we are fingering dainties upon a silver platter instead of giving all we can charitably to the poor?”
 
“Will Mercopio gift us all the rewards of thrifty enterprise if we sit at gaming tables with cards and dice in hand?”
 
“Will Verena grant us fair justice if we are busy in bedchambers dabbing scent upon our bodies and adorning ourselves with silken damasks and velvet cloaks?”

 
And now he shouts, carrying the entire crowd with him.
 
“Out with feathered fancies and filigreed fangles. Into the pit with gaudy portraits and jewelled baubles. Burn all lascivious books. Demolish all the prettified porticoes. Tear down the tapestries with their wanton images …”
 
In this vane he went on and on: smash this, break that, trample the other into the dirt. And the crowd appeared to love him for it, as if he were a physician applying a marvellous medicine to relieve their suffering.
 
I report things as I find them presently to be, yet wish to inform you further. So it is I will tarry here and discover how much sway Sagrannalo has over the city outside the church, perhaps outside the city. I yearn to know whether he speaks against other priests, or, Morr forbid, against you yourself. It is rumoured that he does, as you know, but I would hear it from his own mouth so that there can be no doubt concerning his betrayal.
 
I remain your loyal and obedient servant,
 
Jacopo Michellozzi
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 01:54:46 PM by Padre »
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 05:44:33 PM »
It was interesting that there were twin tailed comets in the windows of where the Priest of Morr was speaking.
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 06:54:27 PM »
@ GP: Yeah, strange that. But then again, having painted the priest especially, I wasn't sure how to remove the already painted images on the windows of the walls. Maybe I will edit later and put it right?

In the meantime, the next part.


................................

Holy War
Early Spring, IC 2342
Remas, Tilea
 


“It is almost time, your holiness,” came Father Mariano’s gentle voice from the doorway.
 
Frederigo did not turn to look at the man, nor did he reply, distracted as he was by the fact he could delay the decision no longer:
 
Should he meet the emissary?
 
It was not, and perhaps should not be, an easy decision. If he chose not to go, a potentially great opportunity might slip through his fingers, but if he did and it became known he had done so, he risked utter ruin. No man enters lightly into any sort of alliance with a ratto uomo.

He could end this right now. It would be the easy thing to do, perhaps the safest course of action. He trusted Father Mariano, his principal servant and adviser, implicitly, so if he took the matter no further then knowledge of this and the emissary’s previous communications could remain secret. Unless, that is, the emissary chose to reveal it?

Glancing at the door, he saw Father Mariano standing silently, his clasped hands emerging from the copious sleeves of his grey cassock, his vermillion zucchetto cap lined with the close curls of his almost white hair. Having done what he had been asked to do, the old priest seemed content, as ever, to await further instructions. His presence was reassuring. Frederigo allowed that feeling to calm his mind a little and clear some room for simple, rational thought.
 


He glanced once more at the parchment. The strangely worded writing was extraordinarily neat, in a hand the like of which he had never witnessed any man or woman employ. Perhaps, he thought, clawed fingers necessitate an eccentric calligraphy? The ink was of a dark green hue – a colour unusual enough that he had been careful so far not to touch the markings, rather to hold it only by the blank spaces at the margins. In such matters, he knew from countless tales of assassinations, one cannot be too careful. Yet the message did seem to be writ in exactly the same hand as the missive of three years ago, which had proved not only safe to handle, but vital to his safety.
 
“This is for the eyes of the magnificent great Ordini, over-lord ruler of the Man Church of Death, from he who warned saved you before. You know I can write speak the truth. This here now is also true. My last warning kept you safe alive, but here soon, if when you meet me, I can will offer much much more. It will be to your my benefit, for we share the same enemies, which should must make us necessary allies. Meet me at the place your servant was given this, exactly one day from the time it was given, and you shall hear know the truth.”
 
The emissary was well informed, for the suggested meeting place was beside the route of Frederigo’s regular weekly perambulation. If it were not the case that the emissary had saved him from a previous assassination attempt, he would have been very concerned that such a creature knew his movements so well, and in fact could meet so easily with his servant there. Yet the spot was the perfect place for a secret rendezvous, a place of shadows within his own palazzo precincts which did not require any suspicious alteration of his usual movements.
 
He inhaled deeply and asked, “The guards, are they well chosen?”
 
“Both are honourable, obedient to the church and devout followers of Morr,” answered Father Mariano. “They will say nothing if commanded so to do.”
 
Frederigo raised his eyes. “Then give them the command and we shall go.”

A minute later and the little party was making its way down the hallway towards the door to the palazzo gardens.



Frederigo knew he must go about his walk in exactly his usual manner. If any spies noted his passing, they would see only what he always did at this hour upon this day of the week - nothing remarkable, nothing new. As for when he came upon the proposed meeting place, he would have to assume that the emissary would ensure that there were no unwanted witnesses. The archlector supposed that such a creature would be much more adept at obtaining privacy than any amongst his own court.

Other men might well be apprehensive concerning such an encounter, but now he had decided it must be done, his own worries sloughed away. He need not fret over whether the guards could really be trusted, both to protect him should it prove necessary and to keep silent concerning what was said. Father Mariano had vouched for them, and if they did prove a disappointment, Mariano would no doubt see to it that they were suitably ‘corrected’. Nor did he allow fears concerning what might be said by the emissary to assail him. After all the risks he had taken to get to where he was now - ruler of the Church of Morr, the richest, most powerful and respected church in Tilea - tonight’s encounter was no more dangerous than so many others.

The spot chosen by the emissary was beside the ruins of an ancient, tumbledown Temple, said to have been torn apart during now legendary wars against the demonic servants of ruinous powers. The site was considered sacred, even though scholars and priests could not agree exactly which particular god the temple was dedicated too. It had thus acquired the name of Tempio Dimenticato (the Forgotten Temple). Decades ago a low wall had been placed about it to mark out its hallowed, if indistinct, precincts. Its uncertain origins meant that it had never been demolished for fear of angering an ancient deity, nor – for just the same reason - had it been re-dedicated to one of the current gods of the realm.

As soon as the temple came into view, Frederigo could see signs of occupation – two half-shuttered lanterns beckoned, almost like eyes, and clearly meant as a signal. As the party approached closer, both lights suddenly disappeared, their work done, and a hunched, robed figure strode confidently over the ancient steps, staff in hand and with an long snout protruding from its crooked hood.



The two guards hurried to take position either side of the creature, one holding his viciously serrated sword at his front in readiness to cut very cruelly should he be commanded to do so. Frederigo felt his stomach tighten at the sight of that which he had come to treat with. There was no denying this anxiety now, for here was the fanged, furry face of something very definitely outside of his understanding, and the meeting's heretical nature suddenly felt very real.

The emissary’s snarling hiss of a voice did not make things seem any less strange.

“Greetings, yes, yes, greetings most willingly given,” he began. “Words I have for you, important, valuable, filled with promise. Words you must hear know. But …” The emissary glanced at two soldiers and the priest, “… words for you and you alone. Yes?”



Frederigo, his mouth dry, nodded, “As you wish.”

Gesturing with his hand, he signaled that the two of them might proceed alone – a sign meant not only for the emissary but to inform his companions it was indeed his intention. Then, side-by-side, he and the emissary made their way around the ruins to the far side, there to talk where they could not be heard.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 05:39:30 PM by Padre »
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 02:55:26 AM »
@ GP: Yeah, strange that. But then again, having painted the priest especially, I wasn't sure how to remove the already painted images on the windows of the walls. Maybe I will edit later and put it right?
Nah, don't bother.  Working it into the story could work, too. :icon_wink:
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

Offline Inarticulate

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 08:59:48 PM »
Someone's been watching The Borgias! This is great!
I for one welcome our new flying cat overlords.

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 09:07:44 PM »
Yeah, I did. But then I got a bit disappointed with the tv series and started buying history books about the Borgias, Machiavelli, the Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, Condottieri etc etc. And this made me want to do this.

There are others involved in this project, I am sure they will join in this thread (maybe other threads, separate ones) as the ball really gets rolling. These pieces are all intended as background and scene setters. We're already discussing the rules for the first battle scenarios.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 11:16:32 PM by Padre »
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 09:16:34 PM »
Can others get involved?

Might be a good reason to get back to painting some Empire figures, and playing some games.  Perhaps there could be two other opposing characters/generals/cities/towns in some nearby area of Tilea, one allied each to one of the other factions involved, maybe get a nephew or friend involved in playing one side, set up a series of games, take some pictures, write up some stories, and then contribute.  The effort could be a side show to the main line.
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2012, 11:30:38 AM »
At the moment, GP, this is all background and build-up towards running some story-based wargames. But the original motive, as discussed via PMs, was to have a group of geographically 'proximous' (I think I made up a new word there, perhaps I am a genius?) players who could meet up and play the games. So, we wanted scenario based games that arise from and drive an ongoing story, using fluff based armies, which give us a reason to make the effort to get together. Oh, and to paint, model and write.

We already have an outline of the region, who is who and where, which we have been building between two of the players involved, and although I am the only one (as yet) to start writing stuff, I ahve been (for the most part) sending draft versions of pieces to the other players before publishing them here. Right now I am working on building some Tilean houses and film-set-style scenery for both games and photos.

So, sadly, a player in the US doesn't exactly fit the original plan. BUT ... that is not to say it will always be the case. Once we really get this off the ground, and have enough stuff 'out there' for you to read that the story has become alive, we will revisit the idea of new players joining us, perhaps within our area, perhaps across the world. And like you say, 'side efforts', i.e. certain regions and their own involvement and events during the timeline of the campaign, would probably be the way to go. So forgive me, GP, for being a bit vague in my answer, but in a nutshell the answer is: Maybe.

We will know better once this thing has turned into whatever it has turned into. I have a feeling that the people involved might still have quite different ideas of where this is going and how exactly it will work, ideas that will only coalesce into something solid once we have really got off the ground and we have a game or two allowing the story to properly unfolding.

In the meantime, I am gonna enjoy this delicious, anticipatory phase of modelling, painting, reading books, making notes, drawing maps and such like! What you have seen so far are the seeds of potential later stories that we have outlined as possible directions. Not that we have said certain things will happen, rather that certain characters might think and act in such a manner. We want to see what happens next too.
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2012, 02:55:00 PM »
Yep, understand quite well where you're coming from on all that you have answered.

At the same time, I've already got a partner in crime, and our creativity is already brewing.  However, I will be careful, and co-operative.

Story based wargames are wonderful things.  The two of us are "proximous", consider you a genius, interested in scenario based gaming with fluff based armies founded in story, and like yourselves, this wraps in with our desire to paint, model, and write.  Its the best way to go, from our perspective.

If you provide an outline or map of the region, we'll stay clear of it, operating on the periphery instead.  It seems highly unlikely we could ever hope to be directly involved, geographically challenged as we are between us and you folks.

By the way, I've got Tilean/Estalian (Italian/Spanish) style buildings in process, left over from T&G, and the other guys got some quality scenery to contribute as well.  Both of us have Empire Style armies (although I've got a menagerie of others in small quantities, including Skaven), while mine includes specific figures converted for Tilea as well as Perry Mercs and WotRs, although he has more completely painted than I.  We haven't fully commited yet, but that seems to fit with your "maybe" as well.

We'll be paying close attention to what your story line brings along the way.  And I love how your doing a preliminary build up, taking time to read, imagine, build, and create.

It sounds like there's a bit of an emphasis on religion and politics playing itself out in the story already, and thats the kind of background that can easily be spread across multiple regions, countries, cities, towns, and villages.  In the meantime, while waiting, we can be doing our own preparatory hobbying (hmmm ... another new word? ), and who knows what the future might bring.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 04:02:22 PM by GamesPoet »
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

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Offline WallyTWest

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2012, 03:29:51 PM »
I... I...

 :icon_cry:

This is the most wonderful thread on the Internets right now...

I beg you, let me participate. I surrender.
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2012, 04:00:42 PM »
 :icon_lol:

Don't mind Wally, sometimes he's overly dramatical. And he's already caught up in the religiousness (another new word?) of the moment :icon_wink:
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

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Offline MiB

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 01:11:37 AM »
Ok this is cool  :happy:

Offline Derek Contyre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 12:44:07 AM »
Ah, a good twist to the story, though it is making the plots kind of murky.

I am interested :)
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Offline WallyTWest

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2012, 11:58:05 PM »
Padre, again great job.

I am waiting for the next installment.
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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2012, 10:27:08 PM »
I am working on all sorts of stuff - four houses, a bridge, a tower, and many, many new figures. I wanted to paint stuff for the stories this time, not just write stories for things I already have. I am working on some pieces that should appear quite soon.

This is all still building up the story ready for battles to begin. The others involved are in no rush (for various reasons). Give this some time to grow and evolve a bit and then hopefully others can perhaps begin to join in in some capacity.
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2012, 04:02:58 AM »
I'm working on various different miniature projects, and this has got me wanting to paint some more Empire, and finish some more scenery.
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

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Offline WallyTWest

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2012, 11:18:01 PM »
Padre you are awesome.
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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2012, 08:39:38 PM »
Why thanks, WTW! I am still painting and modelling (when I can) but in the meantime here is another prologue piece using old figures and scenery. After this piece I am going to post a kind of report on Tilea, which should fill in a lot of background and recent history and thus give you (and us players) more to hang the stories upon.

Upon the Walls of Miragliano



“I hate him,” the young Duke Marsilio announced, not for the first time. “I know you must be tired of hearing it, Little Gella, but there are no others I can tell. He has what I should have, wields all my powers, commands all those who should bow to me. I have my title and nothing more, yet I am now full grown. It should all be mine.”

Gellafno fixed a look of concern upon his face, knowing it was enough to hide his true emotion concerning the commencement of another of Marsilio’s whining bouts. The young duke was not the kind of man to notice the subtle difference between feigned and real concern, nor even to consider the possibility that his halfling servant was not truly his friend. In Marsilio’s mind halflings were little people, like children were little people, and from that physical similarity alone he seemed to assume (like so many people do) that they were childlike in their honesty and straightforwardness.

“It is not right,” agreed the halfling. “You have suffered many ignominies, and yet …” Here he paused, not merely for dramatic effect but to ensure the young duke was listening. “… I think you are too noble to complain publicly.”

“I am too noble, yes,” said Marsilio, the pride evident in his tone. “It is in my blood. Lord Francesco might be my uncle and bear the name of Sforta, but I was made by both my parents, and I think my mother added even more nobility to that which was gifted me by my father.”

The halfling skipped a step as if surprised, gesturing to make it appear he was impressed by Marsilio’s insight. “You see such things so clearly, your grace. It is further proof – if indeed any were needed – of the truth in what you say.”

Not that this was what Gellafno was really thinking. The duke was an arrogant simpleton who had failed even to fathom the truth that his mother was little better than a whore.

“I am so glad to have you, Gella, the one friend who has not abandoned me. The rest have been scared away by my uncle, every one of them fickle and cowardly. Yet here you are, the smallest of them all, yet the bravest.”

Gellafno almost burst out laughing at this, and had work hard to conceal the fact. The young duke, as ever, knew not the half of it. Oh yes, some few friends were indeed clever enough to escape the consequences of befriending Marsilio. Most, however, had paid dearly for their nascent support. The merest whiff of rebellion, the tiniest sign that they might side with the young duke against Lord Francesco, was enough to have them whisked away to oblivion – the sort from which they would never return.



“I would make a much better ruler than my uncle,” continued Marsilio, now in the mood to vent his frustrations in full. “He is so cruel, and the people hate him for it. You see, they know he’s not their rightful lord. It is not for him to send traitors to rot in the dungeons, or to wrack those who plot against him. It should be me. My father ruled with an iron grip, and the people expect me to do so after him, not my uncle. I would not let anyone into my court who did not either love me or fear me, yet I have been told that my uncle conspires with the foul denizens of the western swamps. That sort despise all men, they are base and wicked with no nobility and are not worthy of alliance with my Miragliano.”

If only you knew the half of it, thought Gellafno. “What have you been told, your grace?”

“My uncle is desperate and foolish, when I would not be so. He stoops so low. What must people think of him? Are there not engineers and smiths clever enough in our own city without turning to the likes of rat-men?”

“What exactly is your uncle accused of?” asked the halfling, hiding his exasperation at the duke’s half answer.

Marsilio stopped walking for a moment and looked into his friend’s eyes. “You sound like you don’t believe me.”

“Not that, your grace. Not that at all,” said Gellafno, chuckling as if it were obviously not so. “Rather, I wonder what depths your uncle has descended to.”

The young duke smiled, apparently happy to hear Gellafno talk of his uncle that way.

“Then I shall tell you,” he announced. “I was told my uncle spends his afternoons touring the ordnance foundry and the old workshops beside it, inspecting the engines there. And not just the guns, but those monstrous, metal things taken from the foe in the old wars, those left behind when they scurried away with their tails between their legs. You know the ones I mean – they reek of brimstone and glow green in the dark no doubt still carrying some wicked enchantment upon them. I think he means to make them work again, to put them to use in wars I should be waging. I myself heard him say that he wanted uncle Gianpolo to come to Miragliano, not to waste time playing alchemist in Udolpho. Do you see, Little Gella?”

“Erm, he wants his brother Gianpolo to repair the engines?”

“Yes, and if uncle Gianpolo won’t leave his laboratories, then uncle Francesco will ask the rat-men to do it. That’s what I was told, see? He said they would know how to make them work.”

Now it was the halfling’s turn to stop. He made a point of looking all around as if to ensure no-one could hear them. “You are right to worry, your grace. None of this bodes well, for your uncle could tarnish the noble reputation of this city, and that would reflect on you, its rightful ruler. But,” here he craned up close to the young duke, closing the gap between his mouth and Marsilio’s ear, “can you trust him who told you this? Can you really?”

“Oh I can trust Romolo. He has worked in the foundry for years, and he has shown me the guns on many an occasion, and he is honest, I am sure. He has no reason to lie, for I have never promised him anything, so he gains nothing by telling me. He’s about the only person left who ever really talks to me – besides you, of course. Despite his not asking, I think, when I am come into my own at last I shall reward him. He might be foundry master, or if it is to his liking perhaps he shall serve in my artillery train.”



One hour later

“So what has my idiot nephew got to say for himself this time?” asked Lord Francesco.

Having already thought through the consequences of admitting he knew that Lord Francesco had spoken of dealings with the ratto uomo, Gellafno was quick to answer.

“My lord, some fool in the foundry has been paying homage to his grace, asking what rewards he might get if he were to tell the duke things that he could use against you.”

“What things?”

“I know not, my lord” lied the halfling. “He wanted promises from the duke before he spoke, but they were disturbed before such could be given and the matter concluded.”

Lord Francesco pondered silently for a moment. Perhaps, thought Gellafno, he was trying to remember what had exactly he might have said in the foundry.

Shaking his head, Francesco finally spoke. “It does not matter. Whatever he has to say, he won’t get to say it.” He set his gaze upon the halfling, obviously waiting.

“Oh,” blurted Gellafno. Almost stumbling over his words, as if he had not time to take a breath, he said, “Romolo, my lord. He’s called Romolo.”
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 09:12:54 PM by Padre »
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2013, 09:34:12 PM »
A Report Upon the Lands about the Tilean Sea
Gifted to His Magnificence the Emperor by His Most Humble and Obedient Servant Uther von Gelburg

 
(Part One)

I present a brief but accurate account of the Tilean principalities and republics as they are here and now in this year IC2342, concentrating upon the more northern city states for the reason that they lie closest to your great Empire. I have diligently studied the political situation, travelling the length and breadth of the realm, and in so doing have questioned a multitude of Tileans. I have endeavoured to include only factual and trustworthy information so that the most noble reader is not misled by mere rumours and superfluous opinions. I hope that your Magnificence will accept this work as both interesting and useful, and I pray you do not think it presumptuous for such an humble servant as myself to discuss these matters, but rather that you accept this little report in the spirit in which I send it: that you might be informed how things truly stand in these southern realms.
 
Concerning Recent Events
 
The now infamous Tilean Terror of this century’s earliest years is commonly presumed to have been a consequence of a summoning of the rat-men’s vilest god, an event which briefly united the usually quarrelsome and divided rat-men in such a manner as to allow them to foray in great strength into the sunlit realm above their squalid warrens. Udolpho, the first city to suffer, was utterly ruined in 2303, its entire population brutally massacred. In the very next year the people of Toscania became afflicted with a virulent plague of boils and buboes, until driven in their desperation to employ fire in an effort to cleanse the city’s most diseased quarters. Unable to contain what they themselves had begun, having far too few able bodied men for the task, the entire city subsequently burned to the ground. That same year Ebino also suffered a grievous affliction, but being ruled by the able condottiere duke Bardollomao Colleoni, the Ebinans managed to thwart the besieging rat-men’s attempts at infiltration. Nevertheless, in the lands all around, almost every village and town was razed, as well as several minor castles, and the realm was left in a sad and sorry state. Only the city of Miragliano managed to survive the turmoil virtually intact. It’s population, living by the very edge of the great swamps, have developed some immunity to the fevers that arise from the foetid waters, and its substantial garrison remained strong enough to hold the city’s mighty walls against all assaults. The city was kept supplied from the seas, so that the hardships suffered by its people pale in comparison with those of the neighbouring land-locked cities.
 
Northern Tilea



In 2309 a great battle took place before the city of Ravola in which the Ravolans, aided by Lord Francis d’Este’s Bretonnian force dispatched to cleanse the Nuvolonc pass, scattered a massive swarm of rat-men.  Subsequently, the rat-men attacks stuttered out, so that they never reached further southwards than the villages and farms around Viadaza and Scoccio, where there they were finally defeated in a series of engagements against mercenaries and militia in the employ of the Trantian lord Jolenzo de Medizi, who believed it best to take the attack to the rat men rather than await their arrival at the gates of his own beloved city.
 
Thus it was that northern Tilea became in so many places a realm of ash, ruin and disease, much in need of repair. Today entire villages still lie empty of all human life, and the blackened, stone shells of fortified villas even now litter the land.
 
In 2322, openly encouraged by both Remas and Pavona, and led by several able militia captains, the populace of the port city of Urbimo rose up to shake off the yoke of Trantian rule. Three days of mayhem, riots and killings resulted in the imprisonment, death or driving out of all city dwelling Trantians and their collaborators.
 
Two years previously, in 2320, the War of the Tilean Sea had begun, in which the resurgent rat-men began a new and sustained conflict. Acts of piracy, both petty and large, became a daily occurrence, and several full-fleet battles were fought. The rat-men’s coastal raids grew ever more bold until in 2332 they besieged the city of Portomaggiore. Perhaps fearing they might be next to suffer, Luccinni and Raverno contracted to dispatch a large relief force, while an allied Sartosan fleet struck from the sea. So the siege was lifted. Portomaggiore, desperate to retain independence, nevertheless faced years of hardship repaying the debts incurred.
 
Fifteen years after the death of the great Jolenzo de Medizi, and grown tired of what they claimed was the tyrannical rule of his son Piero de Medizi, the people of Trantio, in an action not dissimilar to the Urbimo Uprising of 2322, assaulted every one of the Medizi clan they could lay their hands on, hounding them out of the palatial residences. This was in 2336 and became known as the Liberation of Trantio. Piero and a band of loyal armed retainers fled the city with all the treasure they could carry and rode off into exile, while Trantio was declared a Republic once again, and set about attempting to regain what they lost during the Piero’s rule, especially the port of Urbimo.
 
Tilean Religion
 
No less than any of the human realms, the worship of the gods plays a part in almost every Tilean’s life. Men’s public and private beliefs cultivate a healthy fear of the gods, bolstered by tradition, law and the powerful authority of churchmen, both spiritual and worldly, and not least by the mysterious workings of the gods themselves. But the exercise of faith does not always yield peace and harmony, for it is expressed in many conflicting ways. Just as in our own Empire, noble priests conduct high ceremonies in the grandest temples accompanied by serene hymns, while in the courtyards outside ranting preachers stir apocalyptic warnings with the common people’s fears to conjure dire visions and so elicit the much less musical sound of fearful wailing. Yet here in Tilea there are also humble, godly folk who complain quietly at nepotistic priests, while the ascetic lives of hermits contrast starkly with the wayward ways of hedonistic sects. And as the wilder men of faith openly bare the scars of their self-scourging, the more gentle simply donate gold so that priests may pray for their souls, or build temples to ensure their name is ever after conjoined with those of the gods.
 
Yet in Tilea a new trend is in evidence, strange and philosophic in nature, of a kind not found in your glorious Empire. Perhaps it is an inevitability considering the frantic swirl of ideas and invention encouraged in Tilea? Artists conjure illusions and masterpieces worthy of wizards or priests, while architects are guided by mathematical principles to create buildings to rival those made by elves or dwarfs. Such are the successes of these endeavours that men begin to wonder whether their own marvellous works might equal those of the gods. I have myself heard, upon several occasions, scholarly Tileans discussing deities as if they were metaphors rather than reality, as if they were merely the stuff of myth, superstition or literature. Some consider magic not to be the work of gods, but instead a mysterious, dangerous, yet entirely natural phenomenon, caused perhaps by sympathetic resonances arising from men’s wills and alchemical admixtures of potent ingredients, or perhaps arising from etheric currents flowing both above and below ground like air and water might do, or even as the manifestations of a neighbouring yet quite alien plane of reality. (This despite the obviously potent blessings that the wisest priests can channel through prayer.) Many such people would rather recognise ‘Fortuna’ as their only goddess, not in the form of a heavenly, immortal being, but rather as an all-pervading force, the spun web upon which all our lives are caught.
 
But I digress, for such irreligious men are thankfully few in number. Let us return to considering religion. The three most influential churches in Tilea are those of Morr, Myrmidia and Mercopio - thus it is that when an edict is jointly issued by the rulers of all three, it is sealed with the symbol ‘MMM’.
 
The most favoured church is that of Morr, making the septuagenarian ruler of Remas, Frederigo Ordini, arch lector of the church of Morr, the most powerful cleric. The church of Morr has not always held this honour, but came to prominence a little over an hundred years ago, when Morr’s worship grew into something much more pervasive than in our glorious Empire. The god Morr was perceived by the vast majority as outranking every other god of the lawful pantheon, for it seemed to them that all things must die, and it was he who rules over death. This has made Morr the most respected and feared deity to modern Tileans, a god who must be suitably placated if one’s soul is not to suffer eternal torments. Those who by neglect or wilfulness fall out of favour with him are doomed to become troubled spirits - sorrowful, fragmented souls dwelling in the shadows of our mortal realm. Or worse, they might be resurrected by wicked practitioners of the black arts as walking corpses, forced to un-live a fate most definitely worse than death. So it is that the church of Morr is gifted the greatest bequests and offerings, and its holy ceremonies are attended by great crowds. And wealth begets wealth, for as the church acquires land so to it acquires rental income; as it acquires gold, so too can it invest in enterprises to yield even more gold. Now its ornate edifices tower above those of other temples and churches, its priests are adorned more richly, and its influence in worldly affairs is much more widely felt than that of any other church.
 
As a consequence of this vast surge in worship, the Tilean church of Morr no longer concerns itself solely with funerary rites as it does in more northern realms, instead its temples ring daily with the sound of chanting and hymns as cannons and choristers petition Morr to protect the souls in his care. Some Morric priestly orders still garb themselves in the traditional black robes, but the most important order, those directly governed by the Reman arch-lector wear a grey habit, and occasionally dark red surplices and caps. These are the colours of the late evening sky, considered appropriate for those who intercede between mortals and the god of death, between light and dark, between day and night. Their sometimes linen, sometimes silk and satin robes are occasionally adorned with gold braid or silver lace, outward signs of the precious gifts given to the church by those who wish to be blessed in the afterlife by Morr.
 
According to the established Tilean churches’ laws, the arch-lector of Morr, the arch-priest of Myrmidia and the high priest of Mercopia, wield great influence when acting in concert. They issue rulings for the investiture of kings, excommunicate heretics from all the churches of the lawful gods (thus theoretically removing all the authority of excommunicated rulers over their subjects), and can even declare holy war against states, clans or peoples serving unlawful gods. This traditional cooperation is still practised for matters of great import, involving the great nobles and principalities, but in most matters, the Morric arch-lector rarely concerns himself with the formal ceremonies required to express other churches’ willing acceptance, knowing full well that the Mercopian high priest and Myrmidian archpriest would not care to go through the whole rigmarole upon every occasion it is theoretically required.
 
It can occur that the three church leaders, individually or even jointly, have no means to enforce their excommunication judgements, and in such cases it has been known for Tileans to ignore it as little immediate practical effect ensues. Yet those who are subject to such pronouncements certainly suffer public stigma, moreso if the pronouncement is labelled MMM, as excommunication can prompt others to take action against the outcast ruler that they might otherwise be unwilling to take. Opportunists look to a ruler’s excommunication as an invitation to attack, raid and plunder without (usually) harming their own reputation.
 
The church of Myrmidia is very well respected in Tilea, and indeed there are few soldiers, whether militia or mercenary, who do not pray to her (although some only remember do so when battle is imminent). Many priests and priestesses of Myrmidia still wear the traditional robes of white and red, but there are several well established regional orders who garb themselves in different colours, such as the Reman clerics in greys, yellows and greens. Mercopio is the god of day-to-day life for a vast number of Tileans, and nearly every deal involves an inwardly whispered prayer to him, as well as his name being invoked upon deeds, bills and receipts. His clerics are to be found residing over civil law court matters such as inheritance, sales, mortgages, endowments, leases and trusts, as well as matters of debt, foreclosure and bankruptcy. Of course, the goddess Verena is invoked in criminal law trails, being worshipped by magistrates and clerks throughout the realm, but there is a considerable overlap in jurisdiction with Mercopio in civil trials and thus both gods are often called upon to bless and guide all those involved in determining such cases.
 
All the other gods of our Old World pantheon are worshipped somewhere in Tilea, having shrines and chapels, guardians and priests. These ‘lesser’ faith priests and priestesses are often called brothers or sisters rather than fathers or mothers. Manaan, Shallya, Taal and Verena are the most prominent churches outside of the Three. Shallyan sisters, for example, have hospitals in every city and major town, as well as country hospitals for those in need of isolation. There are even supposedly secret shrines to the trickster Ranald, and although his more devout followers are distrusted and unwelcomed by most people, they have never yet been put under edict of excommunication. Followers of Khaine the Murderer, or the vile gods of Chaos, as well as all the known wicked gods, are all by law subject to excommunication, making it every lawful Tilean’s duty to thwart, arrest and if necessary, kill them. Petty shrines to foreign deities, like Ulric and glorious Sigmar (may his name be praised throughout the Empire) are found in the cities and ports commonly frequented by foreigners.

(Part Two to follow soon.)
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2013, 11:15:55 AM »
(Erm ... when I wrote 'soon' I did actually mean sooner than this. Still, I have no intention of giving up this project, even though there will doubtless be busy periods and quiet periods ahead.)

Part Two: A brief description of Tilea’s main ‘Principati’
 
Miragliano
 
This great port city sits upon the mouth of the River Trino, at the eastern edge of the Blighted Marshes (from which many a foul pestilence has been birthed over the centuries to afflict the populace). After a failed experiment as a Republic, the condottiere general Ludo Sforta took control of Miragliano in one terrible night of violence and riot. Ruling at first with a heavy fist, elevating his most loyal mercenary captains to rich titles and profitable commands, he ensured the city-state was securely his. Once it was so, he encouraged art and natural philosophy to flourish under his patronage: ornate gardens were fashioned and novel machines constructed. Tales tell of a marvellous ornithopter successfully crossing half a dozen courtyards before crashing into a tower, and an ingenious collection of cogs, wheels, screws and helixes for raising water and powering fountains still in use today. Such are but two of the many wonders created at that time.
 
The current ruler is Ludo’s surviving bother, Lord Francesco Sforta, regent during the minority of his nephew the young Duke Marsilio Sforta. Lord Francesco delights in the arts as his brother did, but enjoys a much wider array of sports and pleasures, indulging in luxuries of every imaginable kind so that his court is a riot of music and dance, games and feasts, as those once busied in more serene arts and careful fabrications are now caught up in a swirl of pomp and festival, spectacular jousts and cavalcades. Lord Francesco is an even more jealous ruler than his brother, more apt to deal out harsh punishments to those who displease him, and this serves to make his magistrates and captains strive all the harder to prove their loyalty.


Three City States dependent on Miragliano
 
Udolpho
 
This once beautiful city is slowly being rebuilt from the ruins left by the siege of 2303. The city walls are still being repaired, and many of the city’s populace dwell in ramshackle huts atop the rubble. Its governor Lord Gianpaolo Sforta, brother of Lord Francesco of Miragliano, is famed for his interest in alchemy, having constructed a castle-laboratory of extraordinary proportions, from which strangely hued smoke belches forth, wreathing the bubbling moats about it in noisome miasmas.

Ebino
 
In truth  this city has now become a possession of Miragliano as the recently widowed Duchess Caterina Colleoni (née Sforta) now rules in place of her dead husband, the famous condottiere Duke Bardollomao Colleoni. She is aided by a court of Miraglianese advisers, and commands Bardollomao’s company of mercenary soldiers, a force famously including several squadrons of ‘ironside’ dwarves. These are Tilean born mercenary dwarves who are said to have banded together to prove that they could fight just as well as the Karak-bred dwarves of the mountains.
 
Toscania
 
This is now a ruined, lifeless and somewhat blackened shell that never recovered from the plague and fire of 2304. Many say it is home only to bandits, rats and ghosts, although it is reportedly used by the infamous brigand Lord Totto Sangallo of the shadowy Arrabbiati Brotherhood to hold occasional courts.
 



 
Ravola
 
Prince Sigismondo d’Este, son of the Bretonnian Lord Francis d’Este (a distant cousin to the ruling house of Bretonnia), rules here, being by law a vassal of the Bretonnian king but in practice quite independent. Most of the city state’s ruling elite are the noble sons of those knights who came with Lord Francis in 2309 to fight the ratmen, and indeed several of the original knights still serve as courtiers and castellans. Consequently Ravola has, in terms of its culture and government, a distinctly Bretonnian flavour. The Bretonnian king’s official ambassador, Sir Jean-Marie de Bordelaux, has a permanent residence in the city and sits upon Sigismondo’s privy council.
 
The Ravolan warrior nobility are still beholden to their own or their father’s vows to make war against the ratmen, although there has been a long hiatus in their pursuance of the fight while they pursue the lives of nobility – hunting, hawking, feasting and jousting, while the native Tilean Ravolan populace work the fields and vineyards. Prince Sigismondo is very intolerant of troublemakers and provocateurs who dare to threaten his rule, and weekly, public executions are held to discourage the trend. Meanwhile his knights and their foot soldiers cannot wholly embrace sporting pastimes as they are occasionally required to deal with greenskin incursions from the scattered tribes inhabiting the neighbouring valleys of the Vaults.
 
Campogrotta
 
The wizard lord Niccolo Bentiglovio rules this city-state, being the third Bentiglovio to rule in succession. I have heard it said that each one has been more tyrannical than the last, although this may be little more than the usual grumbling of those who bear grudges and others who are envious of the Bentiglovio. Lord Niccolo’s large provisionate consists of a large regiment of Ogres, as well as veteran mercenaries reportedly more cruel than any other in Tilea. His dungeons are famed for being filled with his enemies, either real or imagined. These things conjoin to darken his reputation among many Tileans, and certainly there is particular friction between him and the Ravolans whom he has proclaimed foreign invaders. Nevertheless, a healthy trade is said to flow along the Carraia del Ferro between this city and Dwarfen mines and settlements in the neighbouring Vaults, and by some agreement lord Niccolo has ended the friction that once existed between Campogrotta and the denizens of Tettoverde Forest (the latter commonly believed to be sylvan elves). It is no easy thing to remain friends at one and the same time with these two races. Thus it is that his ill-fame among men has not hindered his successes as a ruler, and perhaps the former may well have promoted the latter.   
 
Viadaza
 
The Viadazan condottiere Andrea Dornida, who once served as captain-general of the Reman army, was unwisely given governorship of Viadazza at the end of his long service. Then, as unexpected as it was sudden, he threw off the yoke of Reman command, and supported by alliance with the Sforta of Miragliano, he made Viadaza his own. Subsequently a small army of lawyers and priests proved his family’s ancient rights as the first family of the city and the people proclaimed him their saviour from foreign domination. Soon he began acting against the Sforta’s wishes, finally making it obvious he wanted nothing more to do with their regime, and so he quickly fell out of favour with them. During the time of ‘The Terror’, when the Miraglianese Sforta were somewhat distracted, he established an aristocratic republic in Viadaza ruled by twenty three noble clans (including the Cydo, Griseldi, Dornida, Filleschi, Pallavacano and Spidola). He then went on to make the Viadazan navy a force to be reckoned with, and so successful was he in his endeavours that his fleet came out of the War of the Tilean Sea stronger than it had been before conflict began. “A man is not powerful, unless he is as powerful by sea as he is by land.”
 
Andrea is now an old man, nigh upon four score years of age. Under his guidance the city has grown rich through sea trade, controversially including the chattel slavery business. Humans from all across the globe, be they outcasts, prisoners, or born into slavery, as well as numbers of halflings and even half-orcs, are bought and sold as commodities. Witnesses have reported that several Viadazan slaving vessels include half-orcs and other greenskins amongst the crews, and that by law when these creatures disembark they must remain in certain quarters of the city on pain of death. Considering this, it is perhaps surprising that seafaring elven slavers are also occasional visitors to the city. These elves also keep themselves to themselves, though it is no law that compels them to do so, rather it is their own desire.
 
Viadazans themselves have proudly declared that their own ‘Father Andrea’ has influence over the rulers of the feared and hated Assassin’s Guild, the secret society spanning the whole of Tilea which is both ephemeral and deadly at one and the same time.
 
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2013, 11:16:15 AM »
Trantio
 
This city state is famous for its banking, wool trade and the vineyards in the Trantine hills, activities that have made its citizens wealthy, though they are perhaps not as prosperous as earlier in this century.
 
Once ruled by the de Medizi clan, Trantio is now a Republic ruled by a large and unwieldy body known as the Great Council in which one quarter of the enfranchised citizens, being guild members, serve four month sittings (provided they are not in arrears with their taxes). The highest executive power is somewhat more manageable, consisting of the six men of the Signoria plus the Gonfaloniere di Giustizia. These men are chosen by vote of the Great Council, and although they need not be currently sitting in that council, none of these ‘Seven’ can be of the same family. It is many decades since the Signoria contained any noblemen for merchants and bankers truly rule the city now. The old city towers belonging to the ancient noble families were mostly pulled down in previous centuries, though the de Medizi family did recently rule as if they were great noblemen of the old mould.
 
The Gonfaloniere is the one office awarded for life, allowing a continuity and permanence to government that would otherwise be sorely lacking. The current Gonfaloniere is Pietro Soldoli.

Pietro Soldoli encounters some looting brigante (Piero de Medizi’s mercenaries) during the Liberation of Trantio in 2336.

The Great Council appoints all other office holders, as well as secretaries and committees as and when necessary. A common complaint is that too many such bodies are created, with overlapping jurisdictions, causing confusions to arise. Permanent committees include the ‘Nine of War and Peace’ controlling Trantio’s military force, and the ‘Otto’ governing the city watch.
 
Currently the great orator and reforming priest of Morr, Father Sagrannalo wields much influence over Trantio, having held a seat on the Signoria for a year. Such is his power that the current government might even be described as a theocracy. He has declared himself to have been put upon this earth by Morr as a watchman, there to proclaim the god’s words to the people of Tilea. His ardent passion has so stirred the city’s masses that they have burned the trappings of wealth which were the vogue during the de Medizi family rule. Religiously inspired crowds of youths, revelling in their holy innocence, patrol the streets to search out all such wealth, shaming the owners into yielding their possessions to the fires. This new craze has made Trantio appear bare, more austere, than other Tilean cities, and there is little joy to be discerned in the people’s faces. I can only presume that there are great treasures hidden in the city’s secret places, where spiders weave their webs around them and the musty air imperceptibly deposits layer upon layer of dust upon them. Certainly there mist be some who dislike Sagrannalo, for graffiti declares him and his followers to be prayer mumblers and snivellers, but none appear brave enough to make themselves known.
 
Ercole della Robere, the Archpriest of Myrmidia, also dwells here, his grand palace neighbouring the Palazzo della Signoria. Although the holder of his office is traditionally awarded a place upon the Signoria he himself no longer has that honour, and despite the fact he outranks Father Sagrannalo by many degrees, it seems the Morrite priest has supplanted him entirely. It is perhaps no surprise to hear it rumoured by so many that della Robere has been pressing the Morrite arch lector Ordini to excommunicate Sagrannalo. If this were indeed true, then the high priest of Mercopia, Father Luca Lenzi would have to be in agreement for such an edict to be forthcoming.
 
For several centuries, whenever Trantio fielded an army for war, its own proud militia play a role. In truth, however, the ruling elites have long agreed that militia armies cannot win battles, and so the real fighting troops are - as so often the case in Tilea - mercenary companies led by condottiere, with supporting elements consisting of militia. The does not stop the city hosting grand and gloriously colourful parades of militia at least twice a year, involving pageants and jousting, wrestling and racing, in which the youth of the city demonstrate their physical prowess. The current Captain General of Trantio, commanding both the mercenaries and militia, is the Estalian condottieri Pablo Vancelli.
 
Once Trantio ruled both Urbimo and Varieno. Now Scoccio is the only major settlement subject to its rule. Capt. Gen. Vancelli has been engaged in a several year campaign to regain Urbimo, an expensive enterprise which aims to once more control the rich trade of the port city Urbimo. I myself have heard Trantians openly voice their concerns that their captain general is in no particular rush to achieve victory, for would result in unemployment for him and his companies. Yet they pour ever more resources and monies into the war.
 
Because the Trantians are so concerned with regaining Urbimo, the exiled master of the de Medizi, Piero, has been able to dwell for years in Varieno with the last of his cruel henchmen, plotting his return to power. He has declared that the entire mob of ciompi who have rebelliously stolen his authority will be destroyed, never again to trouble Trantio. Rumours are rife concerning Piero’s plans, including the wild claims that he has negotiated contracts with greenskins who could arrive along the Via Nano at any time, or that he seeks to assassinate his personal enemies, especially the Medizi’s old enemy the Albinni family. More sinister are the claims that there exists a secret Trantian organisation called the ‘Bigi’ (the greys) plotting the return of the de Medizi to power, considering any means possible without regard to honour or decency. Perhaps this is why those who dislike Sagrannalo dare speak openly – for fear of being thought de Medizi sympathisers?
 
Urbimo
 
The Second Republic of Urbimo was born out of the overthrow of Trantian rule in the uprising of 2322. The city maintains (as best it can) friendly terms with Pavona and Remas, hoping thus to gain powerful allies, and as a consequence many of the leading clans have married sons and daughters into the nobility and merchant classes of those cities.
 
In 2337 the government and mob declared their Captain General Pielo Videlli to be a traitor - accusing him of plotting with Trantio to return Urbimo to its rule. When they subsequently beheaded him they gained a new enemy, Pielo’s condottiere brother Videllozo Videlli. For five years Videllozo has looked for ways to exact vengeance for his brother’s execution, though he seems keen to avoid joining with Trantio (the enemy of his enemy), for to do so might well make it appear that the Urbimians were right about his brother’s supposed disloyalty.
 
Remas
 
The seaport at the heart of this state consists of a relatively small settlement sitting amidst the ruins of a much larger ancient city. Visiting strangers might thus be forgiven for thinking Remas an insignificant place, but they would be wrong for this is the home of the septuagenarian Federigo Ordini, arch lector of the Cult of Morr, leader of the dominant religious cult in the whole of Tilea. Thus it is that although local noble families constantly vie for dominance in it’s own internal affairs - the chief of these being the Ordini and the Corrona – nevertheless Remas has great influence stretching far beyond its borders.
 
The arch lector, Federigo Ordini, heads the richest, currently most influential Reman family. An able ruler, he has successfully arranged political marriages for his children, both legitimate and illegitimate, and so forging alliances with, even gaining leverage over, several city-states. He is ever busy writing missives to nobles and rulers, composing homilies for general consumption, despatching instructions to the Morrite clergy, receiving envoys and ambassadors, and issuing forgiveness for those who most humbly and earnestly, with suitable sacrifices and offerings, pray that the god Morr will not count their sins against them in the afterlife. Several attempts upon his life have been made, commonly assumed to be the work of the rival Corrona family or agents of the dark powers. The most dangerous of these attempts was thwarted by the now famous warrior priest Gaspar Villeteschi, who was rewarded by the being given the office of Federigo’s enforcer. Since then, Gaspar has subdued the city of Remas and most of its dependant settlements, ensuring their obedience to the arch lector.
 
Pavona

This city’s current ruler, Duke Alfonso de Montefeldo, is often incapacitated by illness, and so relies upon his able wife Elisabetta to fulfil his responsibilities. The Duchess is a refined and fashionable lady, and has gathered a large number of artists and poets to create reputedly the most cultivated court in Tilea. As a suitable inducement to those of talent, she has made freely available her ailing husband’s extensive library, and has herself added many a rare manuscript and learned tome. Throughout the city building work is slowly transforming old fashioned, fortified towers into ornate and delicate palatial residences, relying on the city’s walls for defence rather than their own.
 
Portomaggiore
 
Heavily indebted both to Luccinni and the Sartosan admiral Gran Strozzi, this city barely clings to independence under an ancient form of government consisting of a council of elder nobles and their nominated representatives. It is widely reported that King Ferronso manipulates the situation to ensure that Portomaggiore is never free of indebtedness, which unsurprisingly has engendered bitterness amongst the populace. Yet there seems to be little the Portomaggiori can do, especially considering the Sartosans continue creaming off most of the city’s sea trade profits in payment for their own past aid. I have heard it said that some even believe that the Portomaggiori would have been better off allowing the Skaven to destroy their city so that they could have started afresh.
 
Luccini
 
Here the powerful King Ferronso rules, descended from an Estalian noble family who conquered the region two generations ago. His two bastard sons, Scoroncolo and Gismondo, govern Mintopua and Capelli respectively. Ferronso also possesses Alcente and Pavezzano.

Tobaro

Duke Bennozo Gorini rules most of the city, though there are wards and quarters that effectively govern themselves through a combination of ancient rights, privileges, traditions and actual power. A precarious balance is maintained that allows traders to operate and the populace to thrive, provided they remain loyal to their traditional masters. Nevertheless, the duke is always accompanied by guards, and it is said he is never without a coat of mail beneath his jerkin. His sword is said to be the most perfectly formed blade in Tilea, its sharpness exceeding all others, and pierced through his scabbard are several stiletti with points as fine as needles.
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2013, 03:18:45 PM »
Spring, IC 2342
North-east of Urbimo, Northern Tilea


“Well, there doesn’t look to be too many soldiers, at least,” said Salviati, his hand shielding his eyes from the reddening rays of the evening sun. “Plenty of workmen by that old tower, but I count no more than half a dozen soldiers.”

He was being careful not to be spotted, his legs bent so that he was not full height, peering around some foliage. The clearing that separated him and Salviati from the enemy was broad enough to ensure they were not easily seen, especially as they were also concealed in a copse of trees.



Salviati grunted a mere acknowledgement that he had heard, neither a yes nor a no, thought a moment longer, then spoke. “I bet they could summon plenty of soldiers quick enough if they wanted. Why go to the effort to build the earthworks if they ain’t going to defend them?”

“I suppose so,” agreed Agnolo. “But Urbimo is hard pressed elsewhere, maybe they haven’t got the soldiers to spare?”

“They would find them, and they would have time to do so. This bridge ain’t that far from the city – can’t be much more than a mile. We got this close because there are only two of us, and both sneaky by nature. We got past three scouting parties to get this close. No army could here without the alarm being raised.”

Agnolo lowered his hand and nodded. “Which would mean time enough for soldiers to be brought.”

Agnolo watched the labourers clustered around the foot of the tumbledown tower by the bridge. They must have been busy for some time, for it was growing colder yet some were still stripped to their waist. What exactly they were doing with their picks and hammers was unclear - breaking up the ruined masonry piles for some reason, perhaps to repair the bridge? Or preparing to add a layer of stone to the earth defences?



Salviati had been looking elsewhere, and now broke the short silence. “That’s some beast of a machine, eh?”

Agnolo nodded. “Nasty! Northern design – I saw one similar in Remas once, though I don’t think anyone was ever brave enough to actually fire it.”

“I reckon they intend to use it alright. It’s well sited. Anyone attacking the bridge would feel its sting. Mind you, if they could take that one blast and keep going, I reckon they'd overwhelm it long before it was reloaded. I count three barrels, and I ‘d lay money on them all shooting at once, like a ribou … ribadoque … ribawd ...”

“Ribaudequin,” said Agnolo, frowning. “But it’s not one of those. You count three barrels because you can see three barrels. If it is what I think it is, then it has another three or maybe even six, hidden by the earth of the rampart.”

“Why?” asked Salviati, perplexed. “If the earth is in the way then they can’t shoot them.”

“They can. They can turn the barrels – fire three, wind them around, fire another three, and so on. If they know what they’re doing, and brave enough to do it, then anyone in this clearing gets stung, as you so poetically put it, not once, but time and time again.”



“Oh,” said Salviati. “Then maybe they don’t need more soldiers?”

“Maybe,” agreed Agnolo. “If …”

He was cut off by his friend shushing him. “Listen.”

From beyond the river came the sound of a drum, perhaps on the little road approaching the bridge.

“Ironic that,” said Agnolo, then turned to follow Salviati who was moving off towards the upwardly sloping ground to their right, obviously intending to find a better vantage point. The river cut through these hills, narrowing and gaining force as it descended. The enemy had patrols on both sides of the water, so the two scouts stuck to the shadows of the line of trees.

A little while later they were lying down on the moss strewn rocks of a high ledge to spy upon the river crossing from above. There was indeed a drummer, but only a handful of soldiers, handgunners by the look of them.



“They look Estalian to you?” asked Salviati.

“That they do,” answered Agnolo. “Probably from the same company that served Piero during his tyranny. I guess they didn’t sail for home, just got as far as the coast.”

“Ain’t exactly an army down there. And that camp’s tiny, five tents is all.”

“I don’t think they came from that camp. We heard that drum when we were down by the road, but they’re only now arriving at the bridge. There must be more tents beyond those trees.”

Salviati strained to look through the trees. “Can’t see. You think we should try to take a look?”

“No,” came Agnolo’s emphatic reply. “We can’t risk crossing the river in daylight, maybe not at all considering how fast that water’s flowing. And if we wait ‘til it’s really dark, we’ll be too long getting back. General Vancelli said to be back before midnight.”

They took one last look …



… then crawled back from the ridge.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 05:05:09 PM by Padre »
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilea, IC 2342
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2013, 01:20:42 PM »
Interesting little setup there with all that scenery. :icon_cool:
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