Of Nations and States 4.0

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Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Peanut » Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:56 pm

Of Nations and States 4.0

GMs: Peanut, Dante, Jingo Jaden

Story: Nostalgia is one heck of a drug. Anyway, welcome to the fourth rendition of Of Nations and States. I have no witty titles for this version like “War and Peace” or “New Era” or “Reborn” or even “The Next One.” I don’t think this version is going to need that. Of Nations and State 4.0 is a perfectly fine title that has a certain elegance and simplicity to it that I believe can stand on its own. Yes, we’re bringing back Of Nations and States (or at least trying too). Though you probably already know that. I’m pretty sure this thread will only be seen by individuals I’ve been talking to about this for the past several weeks or by other individuals who I’ve sent PMs too on the off chance that they too are nostalgic for the days when Ninja Monkeys roamed the Earth and Ryuken took one too many ZPEBs to the face.

This all isn’t “story” though, I’m not even sure why I titled this section that. Probably some sort of weird attachment to the traditions in this long, since defunct RP forum. But if you need a story here: Once upon a time, Earth existed. And it was pretty cool I guess but what if we could make it cooler. Not like literally cooler (though given current climate projections that's probably something we should be doing). I’m talking about cooler as in Will Smith in the nineties cool. You know when he was doing Fresh Prince of Belair and writing rap songs without curse words in them. That kind of cool. Well this is your opportunity! Create a nation and with the help of your fellow RPers you can make the history of civilization on Earth way more 90s Will Smith like then it currently is. Apply below! Service guarantees citizenship!*

Nation Sheet

Nation’s Name:
Primary/NPC:
Primary Species:
Secondary Species:
Short Description:
Desired Starting location (preferably somewhere near a river):

Character Sheet
(only required for you main character though feel free to make multiple ones for each character idea you have)

Name:
Species:
Apparent Age:
Gender:
Physical Description:
History:
Talents/Special Powers:

Stay tuned for a run down of the rules (such as what in the world are NPC nations) later.

*Of Nations and State 4.0 is not responsible for actual real life citizenship to any nation in the real world. If you think that participating in this RP will allow you to gain citizenship in some other nation you are terribly mistaken. When you get deported please do not PM me. Instead direct all complaints to Jingo Jaden who is now officially heading up the “Failed Immigration Complaint Department.” Or FICD for short. He has told me that his memory is that of a Goldfish these days, so if he doesn’t get back to you within 30 minutes, feel free to PM him every half hour until he takes care of your problems.
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Peanut » Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:17 pm

Starting us off with a nice Double Post.

Nation’s Name: The Ninja Monkey Kingdom
Primary/NPC: Primary
Primary Species: Ninja Monkeys
Secondary Species: Silverbacks
Short Description: The Ninja Monkey tribes used to wander throughout central Africa but eventually settled into the land we know as Ethiopia during the mid-Neolithic Era. There is no evidence as to why this occurred, but one popular theory holds that they mountainous terrain provided refuge from their natural predators. Whatever the reason, the population of the Ninja Monkey's exploded in this region and they quickly developed a cut throat culture built around an honor and shame dynamic. The good Ninja Monkey undermines those around them, bringing shame to their name while cleverly thwarting his own opponents, bringing honor to their own. Because of this dynamic, unity and cohesion has been rare up to this point and has usually been brought about by powerful warlords who manage to briefly subjugate the tribes before dying through natural causes or assassination. This continued on until a surprising wrench was thrown into the works, the arrival of the Silverbacks. A tribe of large Sentient Gorillas who were driven to the the Ninja Monkey's lands by famine. While their culture is different, their skills as warriors and craftsman have made them a welcome addition to one tribe which was ruled over by the Hiero family. Following his father's death, Zohar Hiero took it upon himself to unify the tribes. With the Silverbacks supplying his army with weapons, and his brother Khalon helping with strategy, Zohar managed to bring the tribes under his rule in a surprisingly successful campaign of unification. But, will it last?
Desired Starting location (preferably somewhere near a river): Ethiopia


Nation’s Name: The Ratkin Under-Empire
Primary/NPC: NPC
Primary Species: Ratkin
Secondary Species: None
Short Description: Giant Rat people who love to backstab, plot and sneak. In many ways, the Ratkin are a mirror of their Ninja Monkey neighbors with a two noticeable differences. The first is their hunger. A literal pang in their stomach that no matter how much they eat, they cannot satiate. But, they are not strong enough to kill what can feed them and so they have to rely on underhanded tactics to survive. This hunger also gives them their second difference, a bizarre expression as a result of this physical ailment in the form of ambition, both personal and national. While the Ratkin Under-Empire is filled with treachery, it is stunningly stable and unlike the Ninja Monkey's next door, the Ratkin have no trouble creating a unified front against their foes.
Desired Starting location (preferably somewhere near a river): Somalia with an unknown portion of their territory under ground.


Nation’s Name: The Free Tribes of the Orks
Primary/NPC: NPC
Primary Species: Orks
Secondary Species: Grotz, Snotlings, Squigs
Short Description: Green humanoid creatures that exhibit physiological traits of both animals and fungi, the Orks are a savage and war like race that has recently migrated to the fertile plains of the Nile within Sudan. Orks are all about "Krumpin," "Gettin Stuck In" and screaming "Waaaaagh" at the top of their lungs. Their leadership is always loose with Orks and their lesser sub races the Grotz and Snotlings rallying around Bosses who seem to have gotten their position by just being bigger then the rest of those around them. Their own nature makes it next to impossible for Orks to unify as they are known to fight amongst themselves even more then fighting against others. Surprisingly, Orks are incredibly builders and often put together structures that seem to defy logic. Also what defies logic are the Orks weaponry which is often laughably ineffective in the hands of anyone whose not an Ork. Rumor has it this is because of a low, Arcane Energy field that each Ork produces that alter reality around them to the whims of the Ork gestalt conscience. But that would just be silly. As silly as seeing a Purple Ork because we all know that they don't exist and if you see one you've probably had too much to drink and need to stop before that alcohol destroys your family Tim.
Desired Starting location (preferably somewhere near a river): Sudan
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Dante » Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:01 pm

Nation’s Name: Tinkerbrücken
Primary/NPC: NPC
Primary Species: Dwarves
Secondary Species: Goblins
Short Description: Olde wisdom says the roots of the Himilayas are greediest of all mountains, with roots that dive into the depths of the Earth's mantle and whose winding caverns, innumerable to the counters, trespass into the forbidden spaces that should have have remained lost, even unto the oceans of the deep places, whose waves are unaccounted for before the stars.

The land here is vacant of all but forests, a plethora of spiders and those who have settled to the madness of the rhythm. Bees do no nest here, the naked feet of humans do not nip themselves on these stones, nor do the big ears of Vesari or Oniru turn towards their canyons. For the rhythm is relentless, the hammering of the pick-axe and clack of stone upon the walls of the things that infest these mountains, and strange noises that turn the stomach inside out. These are Dwarf-lands, who love only gold and precious gemstones and wicked forgotten things of eras lost, and the realm of Goblin-Folke, who love only their machines and the dance of their gears. They carve away at these mountains day and night, unaware of the cycles of the moon or the passing of seasons, in rain or sun, the pounding continues always, rhythmic and constant, as all the creatures below were of one heartbeat and mind, controlled by the will of the mountain. For even as the mountain pays them in it's infinite sum of stolen treasury from the Earth, even it posses them to carve labyrinthine arteries deeper, expanding the veins of the mountain.

The two are of one mind and one purpose and are suspicious of all that trespass in their caves, inclined towards xenophobic beliefs that all are thieves, seeking ever their treasure. And, truly they are not entirely wrong, for such a trove is surely the object of mischievous desire, but they bury it beneath the countless traps and machinations, these beings of almost magical levels of determination and gadgetry. Though easily addled by technological wizardry, their vast vaults could purchase them anything they desire, except that they desire most to stay unseen beneath the mountain range, and do not venture beyond the limits of their caves, except in rare and terrible raid on outsiders that have provoked their wrath.

They would be content to stay beneath the Earth, hoarding all their treasure to themselves, but the Dwarves are driven mad with the desire for alcoholic drinks, beer, whine and spirits, introduced to them by the cursed humans, whom they hate and love for their addiction. The goblins, likewise, have a desire for mushrooms of the surface world, which they're inclined to steal if they can't purchase them, so that they might have hallucinations of “The Great Machine”, describable only as a a gear within a gear within a gear that turns and drives the whole world. Mostly because of Dwarven stubbornness, neither of them will deal with the humans of Sansaria directly for the substance of their desire, but instead opt to work through the far more trustworthy nation of East Caspirius as their intermidiary in these affairs.
Desired Starting location: Himalayan Mountains/Tibetan Plateau

Nation’s Name: Sansaria
Primary/NPC: Primary
Primary Species: Humans
Secondary Species: Oniru
Short Description: We Children of the Indus River, the Sansari or formerly West Caspirius according to the Eastern Caspirians, are a little strange you might say. We are water critters, and love a good adventure up the river, a swim in the depths, or even daring voyage out to sea. We are also artisans, who tickle the world with sights, patterns, carvings, body painting and music, music wild, hypnotic and alluring. But strangest of all, we are cyclic in soul and belong to this river and earth. You see, most people live, die and go someplace else, but we seem a bit more stuck in this mud. We get reborn, and though we don't remember our past at birth, we can learn it through the words we write down, and share past memories through the people that we meet, elder or younger, or through meditation. Though all of us hate dying just as much as the rest of you (we love the maya of being in one life and forgetting we must one day die), we know that at least we will always come back to where our home is... Even if we might not always feel like this is home. This is where the fates decided to blow our sails and no matter how far we should sail, we will always end up back in this port.

What adventures will our next life bring!? Who cares when we're having so much fun in this one!
Desired Starting location: Indus River Valley

Nation’s Name: East Caspirius
Primary/NPC: NPC
Primary Species: Oniru
Secondary Species: Humans
Short Description: The Regency of East Caspirius reveres itself for it's fortitude, history and slow and steady investment in themselves. The study of geometry, philosophy and markets dominate the culture of their cities, which often decorate themselves in Dwarven gems and house Goblin trinkets, among a plurality of other acquisitions from distant and foreign shores. This situation owes not only to the ruling Oniru class, who above all things chase after the market and it's currency (which is typically the exchange currency in this part of the world) but it also fell upon the lucky favor of diplomatic relations with Tinkerbrücken, which does not exist with Sansaria (They will not have words with those thieving human monkeys). While East Caspirius has settled in the past for hording this wealth to themselves, opportunities in foreign lands require a nation of ocean fairing capacity, which is why they have become more inclined to re-establish their relationship with their vassal state, Sansaria (West Caspirius). They are just as greedy as any Dwarf, but do not crave the stones of the earth so much as they relish their value at the market. They display great works of art, less because they cherish a masterpiece, but more because they look forward to a profitable auction. Every breath of their being is about their next financial reward, even to the point that they often forget their families, some even forgetting to have them altogether, or forgoing them because of 'economic incentives'. But their vast quantities of wealth mean that they can attract people from foreign lands eternally, unnaturally, refilling their ranks, in the constant pursuit of wealth and power, while bringing a constant stream of new ideas from foreign cultures.

But as much as they love their wealth, they are also far more conservative in it's acquisition when it comes to foreign markets, rarely offering investments there, so much as loans, so as to be insured to the safety of their principle. This differs from West Caspirians who loan freely among each other without interest if they can, but invest externally for the love of the gamble or adventure.
Desired Starting location: Bangladesh
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Davidizer13 » Fri Oct 29, 2021 4:18 pm

Nation’s Name: The Empire of Omega
Primary/NPC: Primary
Primary Species: Fair Folk
Short Description: From generations unknown, the Fair Folk have lived on the fringes of human awareness, passing into their legends, sparking their imaginations. The truth is that, through the use of technology and psychological tricks, they have been hiding themselves, maintaining their civilization in the midst of humanity, in the places humans never think to look. Their interactions have been antagonistic at times, but any time they did, they were meeting with humans on their own terms. Plausible deniability is always the order of business in these meetings - the Folk leave no trace.

However, the veil is breaking down. The Fair Folk are diminishing, and fewer of them know the traditions of their people and how to run their cloaking machines. Humans and other species have gotten better at doing things that could discover them, and they're getting dangerously close to succeeding. The past wars on Earth used strange weapons and power sources which frayed reality. In their awareness of this, their current empire has adopted a human name symbolizing endings: Omega. This is the end, and their time is short.

Fair Folk are very long-lived, with many living for thousands of years. They are game players, seekers of drama and new experiences, but with long memories of grudges and past hurts. They always play the long game on the rare occasions they interact with other species with shorter lifespans, leading to the impression of flightiness or a lack of care. However, in the long term, they always have some goal in mind they're working to bring about.

Desired Starting location (preferably somewhere near a river): Columbia River, lower portion

Character Sheet

Name: Fell Thornschild
Species: Fair Folk
Apparent Age: 28
Gender: Male

Physical Description: Tall, sharp featured. Wears dark clothes. Light hair, strongly pointed ears. Yellow eyes. Carries a boar spear as tall as he is, carved with runes of the Folk.

History: The Folk are dying out, they say. It was fun while it lasted. The end of an era. A time to live and a time to die. Fell has heard it since his birth.

To the devil with all that.

Rage against the dying of the light.

He was born into a proud lineage among the Folk. He gained an inheritance, a title, a position. Carefully, he has been spending what he has to build his gambits, maneuvering himself into position over hundreds of years. An unwitting human becoming a metaphorical grenade against a rival. Repeated sabotage of a superior apparently content to watch the empire fade away. But anything is worth doing to earn his prize: to become the Fairest of the Folk.

He is close. A few more moves, and he will be the one in charge. He's devious, a strategic mind more than a tactical one. He's cultured and well-read, knowing the history and philosophy of his people, and using that to his advantage. Making small talk with him is fine, but even while he comments on the weather, there's a fire burning for something else, deeper within.

Talents/Special Powers: Trained in spear fighting, stealth, and the politics and history of the Folk. A capable user of glamour magic: he uses illusions to change his appearance or shape people's perceptions.
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Peanut » Sat Oct 30, 2021 4:45 pm

Welcome Davidizer. You are approved. We are waiting on a few other players (and also Jaden...come on Jaden) but we should be good to go soonish. I'll have the rules up sometime early this next week.
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Peanut » Tue Nov 02, 2021 8:13 pm

Rules
A quick note before I get into specifics. We are starting out in the Bronze Age but if things are moving too slowly for our own liking, I’m open to a time skip. With that said, all of the following rules are written with that in mind so just be aware that this could change as time goes on.


Some General Things first
Systematically, we’re doing this like Or Nations and State 1.0. Meaning there are only going to be loose systems in place (described in way too many words by yours truly) and that you can pretty much do anything as long as its era appropriate, you have reasonable justification for why it would happen and you spend enough time setting it up (no making one post and suddenly owning half of someone's economy). So, with everything, the most important rule is don’t be a jerk to people. This is meant to be a collective storytelling game and “winning” at it really accomplishes nothing. Let’s try and focus on creating a great story over our individual nations being the biggest and the bestest. A couple other things to keep in mind along with this:

-Don’t post for other players. This is especially true whenever war breaks out. Write out what your nation does and let the other person respond and calculate casualties.
-We want this to be a relaxed RP. In other words, don’t feel like you have to post every day. Its probably a good idea to try and read everything in the thread but if you can’t that’s fine just don’t be surprised if someone snaps at you in character when you insult their leader by not following their well written, and detailed description of their nation’s court etiquette. If you have to take some time off that’s perfectly fine. We’ll just assume your nation has gone full isolationist or something and will catch you up gameplay wise when you return (you are welcome to come up with a different explanation if you want and have the time to make the post but I do ask if you do that to just let everyone know over OOC so we don’t start launching major military campaigns into your nation thinking you’ll be back in like a week)

For some more specific things, check out the rules below!

Player Characters Vs. Other Player Characters:
-No killing Player Characters unless approved by the player. I don’t care if you have 50 ZPEBs targeted and inbound on Ryuken 2.0s position, if you haven’t been told you can kill him, then he’s taking those ZPEBs on the chin and commenting on how it exfoliates his skin and gives it a wonderful glow (or something like that).
-If you want to duel someone or reenact your favorite shonen anime scene (or both I guess), then follow our provided link to Roll20 to simulate that all out. We’re going to be using 5E D&D for any character conflicts such as combat, espionage, or anything else the GMs can think of that seems like it needs some definitive structure (and believe me, we have some wonderfully awful ideas for you all..awful for you but fun for at least Jaden and I).
-This does not mean that you are limited in terms of powers and abilities to what is in 5E D&D. We’re literally just using the rules because its easy and convenient so if you want to have some super, awesome special power on a character (see the section on Technology and Arcane Arts for how you can get said power) then don’t worry, if its been approved, we’ll figure out how it can work.

Campaign Events
And by Campaign events I don’t mean running for political office. In Of Nations and States history there have been moments when characters have, essentially, embarked on a normal Tabletop RPG campaigns like what you would find in any Dungeons and Dragons one off book. For things like this, we will be using D&D 5E (with some house rule modifications) as well
-Jaden will be creating a Roll20 for Of Nations and States, you can create your character sheet when it becomes relevant
-We will give more details to this when and if it becomes relevant including a run down of the homebrew rules
-IMPORTANT: This is not a required activity. If you don’t want to do it, don’t feel like you have to to get the most out of Of Nations and States. You can play this game without ever setting foot into Roll20 if you feel like you don’t have enough time to commit to something like that.

NPC Nations:
There are currently 195 countries within our own world. That is significantly more than the number we are going to have in this humble RP and limits the ways a nation can wield power. We want people to be able to create powerful nations without having to conquer half of the world (a task that is rather difficult when you think about it). We want smaller nations that can be brought into a larger nations sphere of influence without being conquered or that can exist to be a thorn in a nation’s side, dragging them into costly conflicts with them that players always win but tie them up from doing something else. So, new To Of Nations and States are NPC Nations.
-Every player is welcome (and encouraged) to create up to 3 NPC nations to border or be in the general vicinity of their nation.
-NPC Nations are open to any of the players to manipulate; if you create one, note that this is how other players will be interacting with you early in the story
-tech/arcane arts for these nations does not need to be approved but note that if you start doing something over the top with them, we will drop the hammer down and bring things back to in line
-any player is allowed to create characters who are leaders/citizens/whatever in these nations and do something with those characters within reason (no declaring that you’ve created the emperor of someone else’s NPC Nation unless you cleared it with them ahead of time)
-other players are not allowed to use NPC Nations to conquer a player nation unless the creating player has started doing so themselves;

Progression and Milestones:
We’re going to be simulating a lot of history and there needs to be some ground rules so we don’t have someone end up with space lasers while everyone is still learning how to make Iron based tools.
-A nation can only progress to a new era of history if it accomplishes a milestone
-A milestone is anything story wise that would be considered a major achievement for the nation and precipitate a leap in technology (for instance, conquering your neighboring NPC nation, achieving a Golden Age period of peace and stability, or even failing at one of those things as long as it can be used to justify pushing your nation forward)
-milestones cannot be achieved in a single post
-you are encouraged to incorporate your milestone into your nations focus for that era (for instance, you want to conquer some contested cities from your neighbor and so you push your country to develop in that way)
-when you feel like you’ve accomplished a milestone, feel free to announce it in OOC. If none of the GMs or other players have any issues, then you can move your nation to the next era.
-for the sake of simplicity, the era’s we will be covering are as follows
-Bronze Age
-Iron Age
-Antiquity (the time of Greece, and Rome)
-Dark Ages
-Middle Ages
-Renaissance
-Late Modern Period (18th century to 1945)
-Contemporary History (1945 to present)
-Near Future (Think The Expanse from colonizing Mars to when that series actually takes place)
-Far Future(This is where Of Nations ended so its beyond all of that; the world of things like Star Trek, Star Wars and Warhammer 40k)

War
-You are responsible for keeping track of casualties for your own forces; to keep things simple, just track it via percentages for your forces
-You should be losing a part of your army throughout a war. If it seems like you are not doing this or are under-representing losses, the GMs will have to step in to make adjustments.
-as said earlier, don’t post for other people. If you are describing a major battle, describe your maneuvers and let the opposing player respond likewise. The exception to this is when you are fighting an NPC nation and you are in control of the leader leading the opposing army.
-try to keep things like logistics in mind otherwise Jaden will stomp all over you and Dante and I will not be rescuing you from your inevitable serfdom under his heel
-Above all, remember that war is costly and being in a constant state of war is not necessarily the healthiest thing for a nation. On top of this, many wars that are fought don’t really change borders significantly as taking and holding territory can be a difficult (and costly) endeavor.

Technology and Arcane Arts
-For the sake of everyone’s sanity, the only pieces of technology that you need to clear with the GMs are ones that are unique to your nation. Uniqueness includes pieces of tech no one else has or your take on a common piece of technology (things like Chariots, aircraft, cars etc. Would be like in your nation).
-Note that approval does not mean you have created that piece of technology. You should and must still mention in character that you are developing or have developed that piece of technology. If you want to keep it a secret, then make your posts vague or reference a secret project with a cool name.
-Keep all technology era appropriate
-The Arcane Arts are our fancy name for Magic or other powers that are seen in anime and comic books
-You are allowed to have your country actively research and create these like technology and (if you want) even just use it as a replacement for technology as a whole (those please don’t write any descriptions of nudist elves who cast magic to deal with everything)
-The Arcane Arts are viewed as being the same as technology and thus equal in power
-Keep your Arcane Arts era appropriate as well in terms of power. If you need a frame of reference, feel free to take the levels of spells from a game like Dungeons and Dragons and apply them to each of the eras listed earlier (so Cantrips in the Bronze Age, Level 1 in Iron, etc…) but also with the understanding that they will have more limitations then what might be depicted in the player guide for 5E such as taking more resources and time to cast. Think along the way that technology developed, with refinements on common things throughout the years and just apply it to magic and you should be fine.
-For both tech and Arcane Arts, fill out the following form and PM it to Dante for approval.

Technology/Arcane Art Name:
Description (how it works):
Flaw (as in what’s suboptimal about it):

Economic
While wars and technology are great, they aren’t free. You need to pay for them (just like everything). To represent this, we will be using the following rather simple system.
-You pick how much of your resources you will devote to one of five sectors- Military, Infrastructure, Economy, Achievement, Research
-Military-->influences strength and size of one’s military; how you get fancy new weapons
-Infrastructure→ Everything from Roads, to means of production, to buildings; how you really get anything done
-Economy--> influences businesses, trade, etc…; how you pay for everything
-Achievement→ covers monuments, certain scientific advancements (landing on the moon), arts, etc…
-Research→ covers non-achievement based technological and arcane arts development
-Each of these sections will have a percentage in them; they must all add up to 100%
-There will be penalties for not investing in each category sufficiently, examples are given below
-Military→ Low army morale; desertions; possible coup if you try to maintain a large military and then cut their spending; you will not be able to conquer much if your military isn’t funded
-Infrastructure→ existing infrastructure goes into disrepair; no roads are built; no factories; don’t expect to produce much of anything if you leave this bare
-Economy→ poverty runs rampant; people starve; peasant revolts or other similar problems; general economic depression
-Achievement→ you don’t accomplish anything meaningful as a country; get embarrassed on the world stage for being unremarkable, unmemorable and just plain boring; will probably get talked about behind your backs for not having an amazingly tall sky scraper or something
-Research→ even if that technology design or arcane art makes sense, if you have a zero in this then you aren’t getting that approved; lower amounts means it will take you longer to develop anything new
-Similar to Wars, players are allowed to freely describe how their economies are developing while following the standards set here. This can include things like trade, tariffs, investments in major foreign companies, etc…
-We will have a separate sheet available to the GMs to keep track of the percentage of your economy going to the categories listed above but besides that, you are responsible for representing your own economy and any damage that things like wars and disasters might cause. Speaking of which...

Disasters
Did you know that archaeologists have discovered a bronze aged city (dubbed Tall el-Hamman) that was destroyed by a meteor? Yeah it might have even been the inspiration for the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (or collateral damage that wasn’t mentioned). Point is, history is filled with moments where everything’s going great and suddenly a rock the size of a mountain ruins your day. We want to simulate this so that not everyone is running perfect, idyllic utopias where nothing ever goes wrong and society is always at its strongest. To do this we will be using Dice rolls and a secret Chart I developed. Don’t worry, disasters should be rare but I want to say this so that on the off chance that someone has a plague, famine and major earthquake hit their nation in the span of three weeks you know that its not because the GMs hate you. The dice on the other hand...well maybe you should of paid it back that $100 dollars you owed with interest instead of pretending you never asked for it (even though you both know you did).
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Dante » Wed Nov 03, 2021 11:34 pm

Name: Amir
Species: Human
Apparent Age: 13
Gender: Male
Physical Description: Amir is a runt of a boy with a hint of muscle in his scrawny arms, he has shaggy, unkept dark brown hair and deep brown eyes. His tawny skin is just a bit darker then most other boys, lending to a love of swimming, but the backs of his palms and the bottom of his feet are lighter then most, as if drawing a contrast. His looks lend themselves to a constant, cheeky sense of sense of innocence.
History: At twelve years old, Amir is at the cross-roads of life, but hasn't yet “crossed-paths” with his past. Like many of the young people in southern Sansaria, one of Amir's parents, his father, Chaganti, died during a famine, five years ago. His mother died during childbirth when he was two, taking his sister with her. Since then, he has been raised by the tribal diviner and wizard, Pallando, who was a friend over multiple lifetimes with their father (Chaganti). In fact, Pallando succeeded in causing Chaganti to “cross-paths” with his past again when he decided to train the boy in their mutual practice of Moon-Dowsing. It is rumored that he may have used the technique to find his friends' soul.
Talents/Special Powers: Amir, like his father, has some talent with Moon Downing, which Pallando was keen to teach him. He also has a penchant for mischief only equaled by his surprisingly good luck. He can also swim, which his brother cannot. He's also surprisingly nimble and fast on his feet and is excellent at climbing, but doesn't own sandals so he can't run over sharp, extremely hot or extremely cold surfaces.
Weapon: Fishing Rod
Equipment: Moon Downing fish-bone flute, fishing rod.
Languages: Dravidian

Name: Lusha
Species: Human
Apparent Age: 17
Gender: Male
Physical Description: Lusha has a long chiseled face with with silver eyes, with a hint of purple, framed by long black hair going almost to his waist. He is a tall for his age and has a thin, but muscular frame. He has the scales of an adder tattooed around his arm in black with an arrow dashing in opposite directions above and below it in red.
History: At sixteen, Lusha has secretly crossed-paths with his past, but he didn't like what he found. Since then, he's been quiet and a bit moody, and has never told anyone that he remembers who he was. He can't escape his past sins and fears that he might be forced to endure punishments or even exile for a past that followed him from another life. His good luck in prior lives now feels like a curse, weighing upon his neck. So instead, he feigns ignorance as he watches over his little brother, in hopes that being a good big brother will find him some pittance of mercy... if only from himself.
Talents/Special Powers: Lusha is rather good at picking pockets and somehow, locks. He's also adept at sneaking and better at running away from a fight, but worse at running towards it. He cannot swim and is afraid of water despite living on a boat, nor does he know how to use a Moon Bone. He's also surprisingly tough on the surface, but grows scared and soft just beneath the surface once his memory of past rough times is forgotten by the stinging pain of the present.
Weapon: Burglar Sword/Dagger
Equipment: Large satchel with a bit of money, stone shovel implement, flints, sandals, thick woven tunic and a reed-hat.
Languages: Dravidian/Indus Script

Name: Ela
Species: Human
Apparent Age: 18
Gender: Female
Physical Description: Ela is Janishas older sister, and is on the cusp of being a full grown woman. With skin that's extremely dark and tan, she keeps her hair pulled back into a bun with a wooden ornate hair ornament that her father keeps eyeing as bartering material. She is just one inch shorter then Lusha, and her sinewy arms hide immense muscular strength, having taken up more then half the share in every duty in her family of three. She's missing her pointer toe on her left foot, lost to a turtle or other river creature when she was seven, she also has a scar going up her right calf from a miss-strike of a hoe from when she was twelve during the height of the famine. Her eyes are a cold and haunting blueish-tan, and she's fond of lipsticks and other makeup.
History: Ela has been the strength of the family since she hit her teens. The year her mother died. Amir and Lusha lost their parents, but gained a competent guardian. Other kids became complete orphans and struggled to survive or were even captured by slavers after leaving the village of Takri. Ela not only had to take care of herself, though, but also had to be a kind of parental sister figure to her her younger sister, Janisha and to an extent her father, Ritvik. Unfortunately, Ritvik is her biological father and holds all the power in the household, even if she's responsible for cleaning up the mess. Marriage might have pulled her out of this, but it would have left her immature sister helpless and Ela's strong demeanor and take-charge attitude hasn't earned her any favors with the eligible bachelors of the village, sadly, who see her hen-pecking of her father as a sign that she's a “bossy one” which she admittedly can be.
Talents/Special Powers: Voice of The Pirate Queen. Ela can command when she wants and her voice is not easily turned down, she is incredibly persuasive and versed in speech craft that causes others to listen and listen good. She also has a small capacity for healing salves for reducing suffering, itching and discomfort derived from a few local herbs that she learned from her mother before she died. Can swim and taught her sister.
Weapon: Stone Frying Pan
Equipment: Side satchel, filled with a few handy medicinal flowers/root, light tunic with a woven reed belt, sandals and a water gourde.
Languages: Dravidian

Name: Janisha
Species: Human
Apparent Age: 13
Gender: Female
Physical Description: Janisha is a small framed girl, with her hair braided back into a pony tail. Her body is only slightly paler then Amir due to her time outside helping with the farm, but the dark tan covers her from head to toe. She has warm chocolate brown eyes and a soft nose that hugs her face in a way that Amir thinks is 'cute'. While her sister is a fan of makeups, Janisha loves elaborately colored dresses if she could afford to wear them. Sadly, she's been stuck with drab clothes since her drunkard of a father gambled away half her prettiest outfits and bartered the rest on alcohol.
History: Janisha, or Jani to her closest friends is Ela's younger sister. Ela does her best to hold up the girls weight in the family, but without their mother, life on their farm has proven incredibly difficult. Janisha has also not crossed-paths with her past, and occasionally tries to find ways to do so, hoping that the wisdom of prior lives will make her life easier, ignoring the possibility that it could also bring unaccounted for burdens to her mostly carefree youth.
Talents/Special Powers: Cute. Janisha can flirt with boys her own age and charm them into making her happy. She can swim and is good at climbing like Amir, but afraid of heights, which paradoxically causes her to refuse to climb down if climbing is the only way down, and no one is able to help her. As a consequence, the only way for her to get down, is to accidentally fall. She's as agile as Amir, equally barefoot and just as prone to sharp, extremely hot or extremely cold surfaces.
Weapon: A Big Stick (Bow Staff)
Equipment: Light red tunic, satchel of dried fruits.
Languages: Dravidian

Name: Pallando
Species: Oniru
Apparent Age: 91
Gender: Male
Physical Description: Pallando is as coal black Oniru, so imagine a rabbit, with eyes eclipsed by thick cataracts, swimming over the surface of mottled eyes of golds, yellows reds and splotches of black. He is short in stature, like most Oniru, but looks even shorter because of his long-long ears, which stretch all the way past his feet and drag along the floor like a tail. He is often seen wearing a woven tunic of deep maroons, with bright red way-lines, and a tri-cornered hat, almost as black as his fur, with a little black tassel hanging from the top.
History: Pallando, eldest of the Sansari village of Takri, is the resident problem solver, and one of the best Moon Dowers in these parts of the river Indus. He might be called the mayor of Takri, which is a town of about 350 souls, down from it's height of 750 several years ago when a famine of mice ravaged the cities crops and a dry monsoon filled the Indus with algae blooms that killed off the many fish and poisoned many of the residents. Pallando and his friend, Chaganti, did their best to save many of the villagers, but the half-light of the moon spared them few favors, even if it saved the village from being obliterated in completion. The two were heroes, but they didn't feel it. Pallando also had to bury his friend, who grew sick after exposure to the algae in the river waters, finding him severely ill on the eve of a solar eclipse.

Chaganti, his apprentice and friend, died, and left Pallando with the burden of his two young boys, Amir and Lusha, who were seven and eleven in the year of their father's passing, and who's mother had died a few years earlier during childbirth. Pallando has since taken charge of watching over the village and raising the two boys, but his age and loss of vision is causing him to make mistakes, while the two rascals are growing older and more cunning in their ability to outsmart the wily old rabbit.
Talents/Special Powers: Pallando is excellent at Moon Downing and even has a penchant at times when most would have no chance of learning anything from the craft. He is completely blind, but can use his giant ears to find his way around particularly well. He's particularly adept at knocking you in the head with his giant bone-whaled boomerang if he hears something he doesn't like. It's a good thing it comes back to him, because were he to lose it, he have a tough time finding it again. But after all these years, it seems to pick up the slack and finds it's way back to him instead. Handy if he ever 'truly' looses it. It was the item that caused him to “cross paths” with his past lives and when he looked on the bottom, afterwards, he suddenly recognized his name, carved into the bone.
Weapon: A bone-whale boomerang that doubles as a Moon Bone (Downing Rod).
Equipment: His tri-corner hat, a gold pouch half-filled with gold, magical bone dice and charts of the star, leather boots, and a thick woven tunic.
Languages: Dravidian, East Caspirian, Indus Script (Literate)

Name: Chaganti
Species: Human
Apparent Age: 5
Gender: Male
Physical Description: A short, chubby five year old boy. Has short black hair on his head.
History: Chaganti is the spiritual father of Amir and Lusha, reincarnated as a boy. Things worked out. He has a long history with the old rabbit, as he was Pallando's former master, and then Pallando was his and so on and so on. Their friendship spans over four life-times, and Chaganti is hoping Pallando kicks the bucket soon so he can train up and get back to being the older one. Being this young feels so dumb when your memory goes so far back that you lose count of lives.

In spite of having so many lives of experience, Chaganti is five and acts just about the same, but he remembers being different and sometimes is embarrassed by himself... sometimes, but not for long. But for a child of this age, he is also a prodigy by any account in the art of Moon Dowsing and even with an infants dowsing bone, his sharp eyes can find whatever you're missing – and once he learns the words and understands why, he'll be able to find anything else, or anywhere else you might desire as well.
Languages: Dravidian, Indus Scribbles (Literate-ish)

He does not and cannot help Pallando raise his former children, but is fond of them, even if he's a bit jealous that they seem (do) to have more privileges then him. It's mostly lost on him that he orphaned them, even remembering his past, death isn't something he quite understands, yet.
Talents/Special Powers: Chaganti is insanely good at Moon-Dowsing... for his age. After multiple lifetimes of studying this talent in alternation with Pallando, the two have had an uncanny ability to find each other again and “cross paths”. Not entirely surprising given that their natural talent is in “finding things” using this arcane art.
Weapon: Temper-Tantrum Screams
Equipment: A small turtle Moon Bone (Downing Rod).
Languages: Dravidian

Name: Ritvik
Species: Human
Apparent Age: 33
Gender: Male
Physical Description: Ritvik is a low-shouldered, sad looking example of a man. His hands and feet are covered in calluses, his arms covered in wild hair and his face is a bad shave, dotted with stubble. He also has a bit of a stink to him, and sweats a great deal. His hair has a receding hairline and eyes of a dull lifeless dusty brown, framed by dark circles.
History: Ritviks lived through the famine, but sometimes can be an emotional shell of a man after losing his wife. A drunkard, prone to gambling outrageous things, his physical strength, his daughter Ela and the economic dividends of agricultural experience are the only things pulling him through life. He knows how to do things, but seeks an easy way out of life so he can finally rest. He's lost track a bit of his moral compass as well, especially when drunk and is prone to gambling both his own things and his families. Neither daughter knows where it will end and while Janisha hopes for his redemption, Ela is working towards reconstructing a new world, with, or without him.
Talents/Special Powers: Acquiring debt/surviving alcohol poisoning. Is a better fighter when drunk, but far worse at gambling.
Weapon: His Fists and his Mouth, he can throw a mean insult and seems keen at coming up with good ones.
Equipment: Sandals, a loaned tunic which "no longer fit Jagat", borrowed coin, his own home/farm, farm tools.
Languages: Dravidian

Name: Sagara
Species: Human
Apparent Age: 43
Gender: Female
Physical Description: With long straight black hair, and scented in flowery perfumes, Sagara pursues beauty at any age.
History: Sagara and her husband, Jagat, run a prosperous farm in the northern part of the Takri. By some miracle, the farm was almost entirely unharmed by the famine (even the mice didn't want to hear about her #%^@%# grandfather, people would joke), and Sagara benefited from this in wealth and her waistline. The two were not greedy with their food, to the contrary they gave most of it away when they could have ransomed the entire town during those years, and they both lost a few pounds, but neither of them have ever been skinny and they could have easily put on weight if they wanted. After the famine, they were the only ones indebted to no one and everyone else was at least a little indebted to them, even if they didn't bring it up.

The downside of using Sangara as the town bank, is that she does nothing but brag of her their great great great Grandfather, Mahavira... Both Sangara and a Jagat are also third cousins. But luckily you wouldn't know about that unless you really listen to the story and most people outside of youngsters tire of hearing the tenth retelling of the great defeat of the Macaque King, and his tribe of monkeys that sought to conquer the entire Indus River from the north-lands. No one who'd crossed-paths in Takri can remember this Macaque King, and so, they somewhat wonder if he actually existed, or was really so important that he never even made it around Takri and their ancestors. That Jagat claims to be the reincarnated soul of Mahavira makes it even creepier... though everyone is grateful he did not retake that name. The only remnant of this monkey king? A bronze water vase which Sangara keeps on a stone pedestal, supposedly a gift from the Oniru of the North Lands... which does leave most villagers curious, as none of them have ever seen bronze before, even Pallando though he's heard of such artifacts among northern little people that inhabit the caves under distant mountains. The vase is not entirely useless, though, as she happily lets anyone use it to carry up water from the Indus to water their crops, animal troughs ect. In fact, she'll practically force it on you if you borrow from her and it would be rude to turn her down. How it hasn't gotten lost yet, is a mystery, but no mercy would save anyone that dared lose her precious vase, or leave so much as a dent in it's shiny metal circumference. Even if useful, most people regret having to borrow it.
Talents/Special Powers: Forgiving debts. Except any that should mistreat the story of Mahavira, or her keepsake vase.
Languages: Dravidian
Last edited by Dante on Sun Nov 14, 2021 10:03 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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The Village of Takri

Postby Dante » Fri Nov 05, 2021 3:38 pm

“I am the wind!” Amir chirps and whistles, the boys vocalizations mimicking the squawks of a pod of dolphins, his feet dashing off rocks as he attempted to parallel their stitching of the Indus River. The dolphins acted eager to race him, flippers verses feet, in a game that sent turtles and ducks diving for the turbid depths. The dolphins were winning and for being the wind, Amir was short of breath. “Noooo! The monsters were too fast! Save yourself, Lusha!” He cried out as if his brother were there, suddenly imagining that he was escaping from a vile river monster. The dolphins mocked him, breaking away down a fork in the river so that Amir could no longer follow. Amir got one last glimpse of their toothy grins before they lost him into the labyrinthine routes of the Indus.

Now plodding into the sands of a diluvial sand bar, Amir dropped himself on his rear in the shallow depths at the shoreline, his lungs eager to catch some breath, as the waters of the river's side channel burst over the top of his legs in choppy protestations. The rich sediment was ice cold , glacial melt runoff that spilled down from the Himalayas, it also tickled his skin with sand and sediment. Combined, this cocktail of soil and water stained the desert sands of the Indus valley with the alien glow of fertile green fields of chickpeas, grain, barley, and black and green gram. Branching off these squares, little single room mud-brick huts dotted the purple hill tops, above which the twilight glow of a setting sun left Venus and Jupiter alone in the sky sharing a kiss with the gold trimmed edge of a cumulus cloud, hinting at the turning of the winds, awash with monsoonal rains.

A father and his two daughters were on the opposite shore, squatting by a mud cliff, striking against an indent they had made for themselves with stone implements, Ritvik, Ela and – … Amir couldn't remember the other girl's name, which flustered the boy, because she was the same age, and he thought her really pretty – especially like this. He had a crush, and was spoiled in this moment by the fact that working life of this epoch necessitated just a bit less decency then could be afforded in most other situations. For a crickets chirp, maybe ten, Amir's soul stopped beating and he forgot all about the river devil that haunted the corners of his imagination, but then he caught his breath and the fight was on again, water splashing, filling the air with dirty river stink.

“Care for a side of tree trunk with your meal of me?!” He challenged the imaginary monster.

Amir cannot pick up a tree trunk. He imagines a critical success just the same.

--------------------------------------

Janisha would have married a tiger and let him eat her if it would have meant avoiding the remainder of this dig. Her stone pick was reduced to a nub of rock, her hands caked in dirt and mud as her father did more to pick on her then then the wall... as if hitting the earthy clay was a science and not an art. If only she'd of have crossed paths with her past, she'd get it right, but Ritvik would have probably nagged all the same. All their minds melted after working away at this wall since the golden egg yolk of the sun sizzled over the horizon this morning. Hope of enjoying this day had long since evaporated, and these girls realized they might as well douse the fires of hope for a better tomorrow, or the next day or the day after that until the monsoon eventually came and mercifully ruined their hopes of completing the canal this year. Thus, any distraction was a welcome excuse for a break.

“Don't look too fast, but you have a spy,” Janisha's thoughts were suddenly interrupted by her sister, Ela, in a taunting voice. Janisha expected a water foul, or maybe some foul-tempered turtle, Ela had a tendency not to trust turtles. But ignoring her sisters advice, Janisha turned around and caught the steady stare on Amir's face. She knew his name, he was the adopted sun of Pallando – spoiled brat. “He's suddenly become interested in trench digging?” She naively replied and, to be fair, Amir did go through a digging phase a few years ago, but it never yielded anything productive. Ela snickered at her sister's naivety, even as Amir appeared to dart his glance back towards the water, thrashing about as if suddenly taken by some invisible foe.

“Or you know, he's watching a bird.” Ela jeered, “He might be old enough to really get interested in birds. Especially birds without feathers.”

Ela looked up at her sister in agitated confusion, as if she'd been left out of some mean joke, she knew it wasn't a bird that drove such an intense stare a few minutes ago, but with Amir back to thrashing in the water the bit of almost scary flush tension in her shoulders vanished and she could get back to attacking the construction of this ditch... or so she thought.

“Oh good, if Amir is nearby, that means that long-eared ragdoll, Pallando, must have parked his boat not too far off.” Ritvik's voice cracked as he stretched his arms behind his head, causing both girls to squeeze at their noses.

“Ew! Dad! You're wilting flowers. Yuck!” Janisha gagged, but Ritvik ignored it sensing a sudden plot. Boys were interested in his girl. He wasn't sure that Janisha was old enough to be married off, but it was worth a shot! That dowry could buy him so much booze! And then he could pressure Amir into helping with the farm work! If only I had been given sons instead of daughters! Pallando must be tired of playing parent as much as I do by now anyways! Ritivk thought, taking a swig of watered down booze from his clay gourde.

“Why don't you um... go catch up with him over there before he grows fins and swims out to sea, so he can lead you to where that wizard's anchored. Tell him I need Pallando's help.” He said matter-of-factly, which caused Ela to shift her jeering to derision as she could practically taste the lazy scheming just under the scent of his putrid pit sweat.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Janisha was game. Her mind tasted an excellent chance as skimping out on another hour of forced labor and she wasn't about to let it slip away. Just to be sure she asked, “Will I have to make up the rest of this if I do?”

A barter, she's gonna fall for it! Ritvik thought. “No, no, I need him to moon-find some better stones to make up for the ones you broke... We can make up twice the time if he can get me a few of those.”

“Deal!” Janisha grinned, “I'll run back up and wash off and then -”

“By the time you're done with all that, he'll have chased a turtle to the sea and Pallando will be off having conversations with that dead whale corpse he lugs around,” Ritvik complained, “Either get running or keep digging.”

One of them was doing some digging all right... Something about this felt like a trick, but Janisha considered that her Dad had no idea how much she hated digging this channel and huffed “Fine!” As she got up and made her way towards the bridge.

“Be nice or offers off.” Dad threatened, he had to keep up appearances of discipline or she'd suspect something! Act natural... Of course, what worked for Janisha wouldn't work for Ela.

“Are you after Pallando, or Amir?” Ela asked, as soon as her sister was gone.

“Who me? I'm totally innocent, you never give me enough credit.” He whined, trying to take another attempted swig from the gourde. Drats! Nothing left.

“Given your penchant for raising more hell then daughters this year,” Ela said, “I couldn't be blamed for having my suspicions. I'm not as naive as Jani.”

Ela rolled her eyes, but knew Amir was just a harmless boy, and given the small size of the town, he probably wasn't a bad match. She just hated the idea of messing them up too soon.

“This is why I have to act now. Before you corrupt your sister and I'm stuck with TWO spinsters! Now if could grab Sagara's vase, I could really use a top off of my drink... if you want to abandon this task as well.”

"Why not, you'll drink away all our profits anyways. Might as well give up early."

--------------------------------------

Amir was running for his life, behind him, a crazed, but very cute-when-angry girl, whose name he couldn't remember, was chasing him, screaming, with raised fists. She was probably going to murder him and he didn't even know WHY she was going to murder him. Had he summoned the river devil and it had possessed her? Why did he keep looking back, if he kept doing that, he'd trip! Think Amir, think!

“I am the wind! I am the wind! I am the wind!” He now reassured himself, ignoring prior dolphin-racing evidence that such phrases did nothing to increase your haste. Rather then run directly towards home, he took a left towards Sagara's farm, whose paths were famously cleared of rocks and debris. Just beyond the hills began took on shades of deep purple as more stars collected in the sky, but with a curious feature that both tweens noticed right away, a light glow as if from a second rising moon rose up to illuminate the hillside in a faint flickering glow. But a chase was a chase, and neither of them paid it any caution as they rushed further and further towards the edge of town.

“I like birds, too! I don't know why you keep running from me!” Janisha yelled, hopping a few times as her foot struck a stray rock. Both of them gained and lost meters a few times from stepping on stray stones. This time though, lightning struck twice and as Janisha hopped up and down cradling her foot, Amir looked back (why did he keep doing that?!) and missed a river roller in the darkness skidding over the dusty trail with an unappealing.

“Omf!” He yelled and grabbed his ankle in a sharp zap of pain, that slowly subsided. If this girl wasn't going to kill him, nature would!

It took a moment for the space between Amir's head to clear, during which time his ears could pick up on the unfamiliar twang of strings on a ravanahatha, the beating of hands on drums, and the even more unfamiliar crash of something else, though they would come to learn they were called cymbals. No matter the instruments, though, the language was undeniable, “Do you hear music?”

Amir looked back to see Janisha nod, reduced to nothing more then a silhouette. “I do.” She answered and that could only mean one thing. Travelers! Just as the thought crossed both of their minds, the roar of one elephant cried out over the sleepy valley and a second came behind, waking up the ears of the entire village, and Amir and Janisha would be the first to meet them!

The two eagerly gathered up their haste and pursued the noise towards the hills. Elephants! There were elephants! Not that either of the two children hadn't seen such creatures before, but Takri had no such creatures that called their tiny village home. Amir tried to remember what they looked like, and had this strange vision in his head of a stubby nosed creature with floppy ears, maybe a bit bigger then an ox. They were big, but not too big? But when the flickering flames resolved the shifting, rolling shadows into form, both of their memories were restored back to reality, with a cacophonous toot of the the great big elephants trunk. “Heel, Arjun, heel!” Commanded the voice a wiry trader on the back, dressed in fantastic silk trousers and a short tunic, that sparkled with silvery green and blue threads as he held up a lit torch above his head, and a black thick bushy beard like a rain-cloud covering his chin. Amir and Janisha both felt themselves grow incredibly small as the animal bounded into the air a foot before crashing back down, shaking the earth so that their scrawny legs became jellified in fearful awe. But neither were in any danger as the creature calmed itself and another strolled up alongside it, and gently nuzzled him, caressing his tusks with her trunk as if to let the two small creatures know, “This one is mine.”

There were a train of elephants, roughly ten in total, mostly carrying large wooden barrels that sloshed with barley oat alcoholic beverages, some spiked with the flavors of exotic fruits and flowers. The mohouts riding on these elephants each brought their own beasts to a halt as well, and the music that had grown so loud quickly dimmed to a halt.

From the very back, a small grey rabbit with perky ears perched upon an thick quilt howdah, or elephant saddle, pulled himself down to the ground and quickly made his way to the front of the pack. Amir immediately recognized it to be an Oniru, akin to Grandpa Pallando, but it took Janisha a moment or two longer to put the two together given the creatures bright sparkling eyes, rich silk dressings and a jeweled turban with a giant peacock feather drifting in the wind. The iridescent feather being as tall as he was. He looked very important, but left both of them out of the conversation as he turned his attention towards the trader in a strange with an unfamiliar accent. “Ragu, you were telling me that Tapur was just around this bend. Up the river. A city of 3,000 people? Warm food. Warm beds and an inn or at least a big home with spare rooms? This does not look like a city of 3,000. I suggest we keep going.”

“Tapur is up the river,” Janisha jumped into the conversation, her father, Ritvik went their once when the famine was destroying everything. The city was also reduced to a little over half its former size. “but it's at least a days foot travel away. What's your elephants name?”

The rabbit didn't seem amused, consumed the freely offered information and then continued to speak to his guide, Ragu. “Did you hear that. That seconds my notions that this is not even a village this is a – a – what is this place even called?” He finally asks, but he addresses the question clearly to Amir. How rude! But Amir wouldn't get a chance to answer.

“The name of this village is Takri,” A wily old voice whistled behind the two of them, as a short figure showed off his crusty old incisors beneath the shadowy veil of a tri-cornered hat. “I am Pallando, a witch of the water, eldest of this place, and the moon has lead me to an auspicious meeting of fates with you. The road is dangerous at night, and you would subject yourselves to much peril and discomfort to leave at such a late moment. You are just fortuitously at the gates of the estate of Sagara. Her family comes from a long and honorable line of warriors and we would love to let you taste of our hospitality. Please tell of your travels and rest here tonight.”
Last edited by Dante on Tue Nov 09, 2021 5:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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The Village of Takri

Postby Dante » Mon Nov 08, 2021 11:26 pm

“And then Mahavira pulled back the arrow of the gods and let loose a volley of thunderbolts! All around him, the monkey-kin chattered and scowled in fear, their wisdom leaving them for ignorance as the great and mighty Mahavira then rushed forward and unsheathing the sword of a thousand truths, plunged it into the heart of King Macaque,” Sagara brought her voice down to a whisper, draping her hands in the air as if casting a spell on the crow of three bored archers and a very excited Chaganti, who sat on the floor cross-legged, leaning forward with excitement as if he hadn't heard this story for the tenth time in his five years and five lifetimes in the village of Takri. This one was slightly different though... “But then the Monkey King laughed, a powerful wicked grin spreading across his face, for he had tricked Mahavira and traded out the sword of a thousand truths, for the dagger of ten-thousand lies while he was looking away.” Yes, that last part was new.

The cries of a new born baby mixed with the off-timed tempo of drunken ballad, as a slain goat turned on a pit over a roaring fire and chickpeas sizzled in fat. Lusha took the first bite, “Yum!” then passed the dish around with a wooden spoon, to be shared, a mug of barley-brew beer not far behind. Hand to hand it passed, but in human hands it would not stay. Suddenly a matte gray trunk reached over Jagat's shoulder as the man hollered in terror and lost his share to Arjun the Elephant. Three rounds in and already drunk, he stood up and threatened to hit the beast, only to lose his balance and roll backwards as Myra reared up lightly pushed him back with a playful shove her head. The traders, having seen these two at their tricks before laughed the loudest, as the gasps of others soon retreated to join them. The drink was passed on to Myra and then back to human hands it returned – a glance back and forth, a shrug of the shoulders and down the hatch it went.

“Don't you know it's lucky to eat after an elephant? If they leave anything on the plate, that means they know there's more to be had!” Lusha laughed, splashing some water over the pot and mug, before scooping out another round to continue the feast. After handing it off, he noticed Grandad trying to sneak to Sagara's house with an Oniru Stranger and a wealthy looking trader. Important business. Remembering he hadn't seen his brother all night, he excused himself for a moment and rushed over. “Grandfather, have you seen Amir?”

The strange Oniru and his merchant friend exchanged confused glances, which brought a chuckle... “This is my adopted child, along with Amir, the boy you met when you first arrived. They are the offspring of my apprentice and dear friend.” Pallando clarified, leaving off Changanti's name in case his Oniru acquaintance wasn't familiar with the experience of crossing paths.

“Oh, we see, did something happen? My apologies, I am Ragu and this my tourist frie-” Ragu began when he was abruptly cut off by the waving hand of the fancy looking Oniru, his giant peacock feather swaying in a burst of heat from the fire. A roar from the crowd only further silenced the trader so that the Oniru could speak clearly.

“We are in the presence of a water witch, Ragu. You do me a disservice by lying to the boy, and below a waxing gibbous, he can probably already tell.”

“I'm actually no good with a Moon Bone.” Lusha admittedly sadly, he was good at other stuff though, stuff he wished he'd forget. In fact, he rather preferred to stay away from Sagara's house and her dumb story of Mahavira and his stupid vase, but that's always where all the fun was at in this town – and he was about to get more he bargained for.

“Well you will all be informed immediately, I am Emissary Aldamerin, commissioned by the will of the East Caspirian Regency. I am traveling on official business in visitation to the Ishtare family in Sittaragaatii. Given your generosity, I thought it might be prudent to let your Grandfather know of certain happenings.”

“You will be getting old enough to take on much of this work soon enough, Lusha, it might not be unwise to sit in with us.” Grandfather Pallando offered... but Lusha could read between the lines. He was to join them. Lusha didn't know much about East Caspirius, except that it was far far away, wealthy and incredibly powerful in Sansaria... in fact, he knew enough that he should refer to his own land as West Caspirius in this company – calling his home Sansaria would be a faux pas of immense magnitude.

“Of course. It would... be an honor.” He relented, with a pause.

Pallando smiled on the outside, but wondered at the boys hesitancy. Lusha was seventeen, and yet he still acted like a child. His fathers death had stunted his growth, Pallando figured, not in height wise – he was a reed reaching for the blue, but definitely emotionally. Try it boy, dash it all, life doesn't give you every day to roll the dice with stakes this high every day. Give yourself a path to cross again worthy of remembering. I won't be here forever.

The group of five took their seats around a wooden table on the floor, as the glow from a hearth provided a distant growing light that spread over each of their faces, fur and skin alike. “I suspect I should begin with that which you are unfamiliar. Young man, have you ever heard the legends of the 'hill people? The Tinkerbrücken?”

“No,” Lusha replied, and the word sounded both foreign and intriguing in the same space. “I don't suppose they inhabit any hills near here, or by the city you're going to?”

“Sittaragaatii? Thank the keepers of heaven, no.” Aldamerin, answered quick. “They're a small folk, akin to Pallando or I in stature, but hairless. Like you humans. And though you don't even know of them in legend, they are very much real, and go by many names, such as the Tommyknockers, the Kloker or the Brownie in some spots, they dwell deep in mountainous regions, especially north of your human civilization, in the Himalayan Mountains. Literally in the mountains and if you dwell for long near their settlements, you will doubtless hear the constant crack of their picks against the mountains corpus, in what many would describe as the heartbeat of hell.”

“It sounds like a place to stay away from,” Pallando mentions, “Is there money involved?”

One Oniru knew another all too well, and Emissary Aldamerin smiled knowingly. “You might say that, for those with the proper talents to make use of the situation.”

Aldamerin adjusted his position and leaned in, “The Tinkerbrücken are no friends of man, and it's all the better that their knocking is unbearable to our ears, as they would make fierce, implacable opponents inside their holes. Yet in all that digging they have, in demonstrably outrageous quantities, acquired an assortment of riches, constructions and decorations that are highly sought after to the right crowd. Gemstones in particular for the Tinkerbrücken north of Sittaragaatii. Rumors of rubies, emeralds, jasper, sapphires, garnets and topaz fill both their promises and their caverns.”

“But if we can't get in those caverns what good are they?” Lusha said, then realized he'd fallen for the trick the emissary had hoped for.

“Glad you asked. It would appear that the Tinkerbrücken, while mostly content inside their mines and subterranean colonies, still have need for but one above ground delicacy that effects you humans as well. They crave the taste of beer. Alchohol, wine, brew, lagger and ale, they drink it all and their thirst is as unquenchable as their disdain for the sun. They don't come above ground often as you might imagine.”

Aldamerin paused for a breath and then continued.

“As you might have also suspected, the Regency has managed to make contact the Knockers of the Himalayas and have for many years been making productive exchanges with their kind near East Caspirius. While it would be absolutely impossible for the people of West Caspirius to make such arrangements, due to their xenophobic tendencies, especially of you humans, we believe we can leverage diplomatic experience to help foster new inroads in the region to bring these trade routes through your community and into markets both in East Caspirius and possibly beyond. I'm sure you can imagine a few ways such information could be utilized for a tidy sum, in the right hands?”

Lusha thought for a moment, noticing that Pallando was remarkably silent. Was this entire venture a test for him? Even if he could fathom a few guesses, the weight of the moment started to press on his shoulders before he took a stab. He was no ruler after all – he was only a, only... He shook off the thought and grabbed at the first idea that came to his head. The obvious answer. “Good times for someone who knows how to make booze.”

“Or the ingredients, thereof...” Ragu finally jumped in with a rhy smile. “And the closer to Sittaragaatii, the better.”

“That's where we're trying to get a neutral meeting point set up,” Aldamerin added.

“So, barley and wheat?” Lusha nodded, bringing a knowing knod from Ragu.

“Or grapes, or rice, or fruits to add to the flavor if you have them.” Ragu added on.

“And I suppose there will also be much profit to be had in supporting these trade networks. Accommodations, food, drink, and stables for animals.” Pallando finished up the bonus question.

“And docks for ships.”

“Docks?” That part caught Pallando off guard. “Won't you be taking the route North and then east?”

“It's unfortunately not expedient to take such a long route. I have already traveled several months, just to reach your southern-most cities. It was about three months ago since we reached Lotanbaa?” Aldamerin asked Ragu, tapping the table.

“I can't say,” Ragu shrugged his shoulders.

“Oh, that's right, we traded off with our former guides there.”

Ragu nodded, “Not that you should get the impression that most of us traders travel so far. Before this journey, I've only made two trips from Kukkuta to Sittaragaatii. I typically preferred to stay between Kukkuta and Wasozai. So you will likely keep a more steady clientele.”

“But what of these docks?”

“Oh! It appears I got sidetracked,” Aldamerin thumped his rabbits foot on the ground. “The long and short of it is that traveling is a dangerous business and requires infrastructure throughout the route. You likely didn't notice, but several of the men traveling with us are armed with bows, and arrows. They are enlisted guards hailing from city of Kukkuta – some of the best archers in East or West Caspirius, and I don't say that lightly. In the event that we run into bandits or trouble makers, those evil doers will draw their last breath with the drawing of those bowstrings.”

“Is it that dangerous?” Lusha asked, now a bit curious to hear of what encounters the studious rabbit had run into. But the conversation was unfortunately cut short with a one word answer.

“Very.” Aldamerin said. He left it at that. “Our original escort, heralding from the royal guard, are resting back in Kukkuta for the even longer journey back. Small trade caravans between East and West Caspirius are not unheard of and we suspect these routes will only increase in frequency as time goes on, but we do not have the resources to spare to establish two trade routes over such a large distance, and I might admit that there is a finite risk in this venture, if something falls through, none of this might come to pass at all. This is all dependent upon whether the Viceroy can accomplish as much as his haughty letters promise. I am concerned and uncertain whether he is up to the task, especially given some of his requests. Still, at the very least, it's an opportunity to make yourself available to people when few others are privileged to such information.”

“Speaking of requests,” Ragu interjected. “Perhaps you could help me with a gift idea. I am hoping to acquire a gift worthy of the Viceroy's attention. Perhaps we could both profit from opportunities if our friend's efforts here go well?”

“Viceroy Ishtare?” Pallando thought for a moment, “Last I heard, he had just had a little girl.”

“A girl and two boys,” Ragu nodded, enthusiastically.

“Really? You don't say?” Pallando scratched his chin, deep in thought. “Are they far apart in age?”

“About eight years between the oldest and the youngest, six to the eldest son.”

“Hmmm... That was back when I was on my 73rd birthday, you weren't even a thought yet, Lusha. Yes, I might just have an idea that will bring all of us much closer together... if you're a trader worth your salt. It might also require a bit of alcohol and skill at gambling.”

“I'm from Kukkuta. I wouldn't challenge me to the dice and hope to walk away with a single coin if I were you.”

“I'm counting on it, my new friend. I'm counting on it.”
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Peanut » Tue Nov 09, 2021 8:10 pm

(OOC: Welp, since Dante got us started I might as well jump in with my own double post)

IC:

*The Great Rift Valley. Ninja Monkey Camp.*

*Zohar sat cross legged in his tent. He had hardly been able to sleep. It was always this way before he went into battle. A restless night, where he would await the dawn on another day of spilling blood. Was it nerves that kept him up? Excitement? He couldn’t tell you. Nor did he really care. These late nights so full of the unease of a group of men about to risk their lives at his command felt so peaceful and calm to him that he’d grown to love these restless nights. It was one of the few times he could sit and think or, if he was feeling nostalgic, reflect on the past. This was one such night for reflection.*

*Central Ethiopia. Hiero Tribe. 5 Years earlier.*

Khalon: He’s late.

*Khalon stood with Balthasar as his father’s body lay on his funeral pyre. The priest, tired of waiting for the eldest son, had begun to chant the ritual of passing, an unlit torch in his hand. It had to be completed before sun down or their father would be doomed to wander these lands as a lost one for all eternity. This was the most important part of the ceremony. The second and only slightly less important part was the eldest son handing his father’s corpse its sword so he would be prepared to fight for their gods on the other side. All knew this and it was making everyone uneasy.*

Balthasar: You expect anything less? The last I saw of him he was trying to find what the bottom of a jar of wine looked like. I figure he’s passed out in his tent by now. You’ll have to step in. Again.

*Balthasar had only been in service of the Hiero’s for a few years. He was acquired as a slave from the Taureans after the land he was tied to was traded to them in order to avoid a dispute. Balthasar had turned out to be even more of an asset then the land given to them as he was a skilled warrior with a surprisingly good grasp of tactics. He had trained both Khalon and Zohar and, after earning enough to buy his freedom, stayed on in his father’s army where he had been put in charge of their Skirmishers. His fur was beginning to grey and the wrinkles on his face seemed to make the scar where his left eye once was to appear even more ugly then it was when Khalon first met him. He had never told him the story of how he lost that eye. Khalon assumed it was in a fight with the Ratkin that the Taurean consistently wared with.*

Khalon: I’d rather not you kno--

*Khalon was cut off by a collective gasp throughout those in attendance. A Ninja Monkey, no older than 20 slowly stumbled through the crowd towards his father’s body, a cup in hand. Despite his clear drunkenness, he looked surprisingly well put together, dressed in the clean, crisp white tunic the eldest son of a Chief was expected to wear to his father’s funeral. Zohar had arrived.*

Balthasar: About time.

*Zohar approached his father’s body, the priest still continuing with his prayer, unphased by the commotion going on around him. He stared at him for a few moments, then moved to the priest and wrestled the unlit torch from his hands. This did phase the priest and shocked everyone in attendance. This was not a part of the ceremony. Khalon was too shocked to act. His brother was a drunken, brash fool, sure. But he had never known him to be this disrespectful. He wished that he had overcome this shock sooner. Before he could move the torch in Zohar’s hand was lit. And before the ceremony was complete, his father’s body was aflame.*

*Present Day. The Great Rift Valley*

*Since his father’s funeral, Zohar had embarked on something his dad was too cowardly to do: Unite the Ninja Monkey tribes under their banner. For five years he had fought, and won a bloody civil war to bring the Ninja Monkey tribes under his rule. He had crushed the Nasser, the Javan and the Dagan when both the Taurean’s and Keyton’s decided to bend the knee allowing him to ascend to king. It was a title that he was still getting used too as well as the responsibilities that came with it. The most significant of which was defending their budding nation from the Ratkin to the East. Ever since Ninja Monkey’s had settled in this land, the Ratkin had been a nuisance. The bipedal, rat looking folk had raided their lands, burned crops and taken slaves. To stop them, the other Ninja Monkey tribes had supplied the Taurean tribe with weaponry and resources to protect their lands. It had worked, for a time, but while Zohar was finishing his war of unification, a large Ratkin force had invaded and defeated the Taurean force before marching north to his doorstep. This was unacceptable and he would make sure that they would never think to do such a thing again. He had marshalled his force quickly and marched to this location, cutting off the Ratkin army entirely. He had beaten them to this location and it had given him time to prepare. At first he thought battle might happen quickly, but the Ratkin showed surprising patience, choosing to encamp on a hill so they would be rested for battle. Zohar had considered charging them, but at the advice of his brother had chosen to take a similar approach. Besides, this gave him time to set a trap. The soft light of dawn began to flicker into his tent. It was time. Zohar stood as his brother, Balthasar and Arius Taurean (the Chieftain of the Taurean’s) entered his tent.*

Zohar: Are our men in position?

Balthasar: Twelve Skirmisher units moved out at night along the flank. They have hidden themselves and know to strike once the battle begins.

Zohar: The rest of the army. How is it looking?

Khalon: The Silverback’s are arming as we speak. The rest of the army is uneasy but are ready to fight right now

Zohar: And how did the night go?

Arius: No incidents on our end. The Ratkin tried but our sentires turned them away. Our own forces had neglidgeable success. The scouts tell me that besides the attempted raids on our camp, the Ratkin have mostly stayed in their camp.

Zohar: I see.

*Zohar paused, lost in thought for a second. This was too easy.*

Zohar: Finish preparations. We strike on my signal.

*His advisors bowed and excited as Zohar’s personal slaves entered with his bronze breastplate, shield and short sword. His sword and shield were rather simple looking for a king though his short sword was recently cast from bronze. The breastplate, on the other hand, looked worthy of an individual of his stature, shined to a mirror sheen with inlaid gems in the shape of his tribe’s symbol: the sun. Moments later Zohar exited his tent where he was greeted by his elite guard, all taken from the Silverbacks that his great grandfather, Leto Hiero II had allowed to settle in their lands. They had proven to be excellent metal workers and were responsible for all of the armaments in his army but it was their prowess as warriors that he had come to treasure the most. All clad in bronze armor and weaponry, they were ferocious and to date undefeated in battle. Zohar didn’t expect that to change today. Upon seeing him, they all snapped to attention as he walked out to observe the battle lines that had formed in the valley. Both Ratkin and Ninja Money’s chanting and screaming as they prepared to shed each other’s blood. Zohar saw his brother off in the distance, looking towards where his tent was located. He could make out the slight signs of anxiousness on his face. This was the first time either of them had fought any non-Ninja Monkey opponent and the Taurean had wasted no moment to inform them of all the ways the Ratkin were more cunning, cruel and fierce than any opponents they had faced yet. Zohar looked forward to putting this to the test. Zohar turned to a young Ninja Monkey who held a Shofar in his hands and gave him a nod. The boy raised the horn to his mouth and blew. It was time.*
*A Hill Close the Battlefield*

*Valin could hear the faint sound of the horns. The battle was beginning. As one of the many skirmisher’s in Zohar’s army, Valin was familiar with his favorite tactic: the flanking attack. Balthasar had trained him and the rest of the Hiero Skirmishers to be experts at it. Their king, Zohar, seemed to have this crazy idea that the extreme mobility of their light infantry units could be used to effectively outmaneuver opponents instead of serving as fodder sent before the army. The advantage to this was that they tended to have higher survival rates but the downside was they often arrived at the battle after it had already ended, meaning they missed out on the best loot. Almost all skirmishers were slaves. It was part of what made them so effective. Working the fields, young Ninja Monkey’s would often be taught how to use a sling early in life and encouraged to hunt vermin early in the morning both as a way to protect the crops and supplement their diet with meat. This meant that many Ninja Monkey slaves were excellent with a sling and it didn’t take much training to turn them into reasonably skilled with a spear either. Valin had proven himself throughout Zohar’s war and was now given the honor of leading his own unit of his brethren. Balthasar seemed to think very highly of him, but this mattered little. Respect did nothing to earn him what he craved the most: freedom. For that he would have to make it to the battlefield to find loot. Still, he wouldn’t dare step out of line. He had to wait with his men for a 600 count. Then they could crest the hill and begin to descend onto their enemies. Valin’s thinking was interrupted by a large heavy hand on his shoulder. He immediately knew it was Thanatos.*

Thanatos: The tenser the rope the sooner it breaks my friend.

Valin: *half not listening* What?

Thanatos: You need to take a breath and relax.

*Thanatos was an oddity. He was a Silverback and thus free. All indications suggested that he came from a rather wealthy family amongst them as well, the type of pedigree that would guarantee him a spot within the King’s own elite guard. And yet, when given the option, he demanded to be put with the skirmishers. Valin was told to train him and he had done his best but the concepts of stealth seemed to be an anathema to him. Thanatos had caused their unit to be caught in multiple battles, forcing them to fight for their lives multiple times and then have to endure the fierce scolding of Balthasar for almost ruining the battle plan. Valin had already saved Thanatos’ life three times and was convinced he would be better served doing anything else but this. Then again, when he did get into battle he was the fiercest warrior amongst them all. While his unit tended to get caught as they tried to sneak into position because of Thanatos, they also rarely took any casualties nor were captured because of Thanatos. This had made Valin start to warm up to him a bit and he had to admit that during late nights around the fires as they camped before heading into battle, he enjoyed his conversation.*

Valin: No time, the count has started. Tell the men to prepare.

*Thanatos shrugged and went back to Valin’s men, all who had concealed themselves in the brush. Valin kept counting, silently. When he got to 450 he turned and waved for his men to approach his location at the crest of the hill. At 500 they had all reached him, spears in hand and slings loosely tied around their belts. At 550 he began to count out loud quietly and his men joined in. At 600, they popped up and went over the hill. As they came over a bit of movement caught Valin’s attention out of the corner of his eye from an adjacent hill from the direction of the Ninja Monkey camp. They had crossed that hill silently in the night to get to their position. There was no one there. During the night, while trying to get some sleep, they had taken turns patrolling between that hill and the hill they were on and found no one. But now, at this very moment, a Ratkin with a spear was striding across it. Followed by even more Ratkin. They stopped as they saw the Valin’s unit. He couldn’t make out the features on their faces but it felt as if *

Valin: KILL THEM!

*Valin and the rest of his unit charged as the Ratkin did the same. They ignored their usual tactics of a round of slings and stones, favoring instead the visceral experience of hand to hand combat. Valin almost straight up tackled a Ratkin running at it at full speed, but managed to slow down enough to raise his spear. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted that Thanatos didn’t stop and the poor Ratkin who got in his way, didn’t quite dodge in time. The Ratkin didn’t have a chance. It was times like these that Valin loved having Thanatos around.*

*The Great Rift Valley. Ninja Monkey Camp*

*Zohar had finished the 600 count in his head. He had waited another 150 count to give his skirmishers time to reach the battlefield. He could see from his vantage point a slower trickle than he was expecting. Some of them were coming from the wrong angles too. Wait. Those were Ratkin. Zohar grit his teeth. The Rats had the same idea. He knew he would have to commit his ace to this battle. Zohar turned to his Silverback elites and drew his short sword.*

Zohar: Let’s drive these rats off our land!

*The Silverbacks responded with a loud shout and on his signal, they charged towards the center of the Ratkin lines.. The Ninja Monkey’s there, hearing the shout and the horn knew to get out of the way. Some were slain as they turned to get out of the way of what they knew was coming. Emboldened by this, the Ratkin army lurched forward, thinking it would break the morale of the army they were fighting so fiercely and ran right into the Silverback elites. They never stood a chance. 400 pound Silverbacks clad in Bronze armor slammed into the center of their line, those who weren’t killed on impact had nothing but sharpened sticks, clubs, rickety wooden shields and the occasional copper sword to try and deal with Zohar’s trump card. The Silverbacks own clubs and spears tore through them like butter. It was too much and the shout to retreat welled up amongst them as they tried their best to get away from something they had no answer for. The center of their line collapsed and the Ratkin army was routed.*

*Later*

*Valin turned a ratkin corpse over with a frown. His unit had won against the Ratkin’s they ran into and suffered no casualties. Thanatos killed most of them but they had nothing on them of value. When they got to the battlefield, the battle was over and soldiers were already stripping the corpses of whatever they could find. Valin knew this meant that the good stuff was already taken.*

Thanatos: Find anything?

Valin: No. How did those Rats end up there?

Thanatos: Maybe they hid before we left our camp?

Valin: We would have spotted them or they would have spotted us.

Thanatos: They could have snuck past us?

Valin: Impossible. We were patrolling. And no one sneaks past us.

Thanatos: I guess we’ll never know.

Valin: They made me miss out on the loot.

Thanatos: I’m sure there will be other battles where we ca--

Valin: Can die. Can be thrown away like most Slaves. That’s ou..my job you know.

*Thanatos paused. He had forgotten that, to the eyes of those in charge, Valin’s life was worth very little. Come to think of it, by joining him, his own life isn't worth much either. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. He tried to say something, but couldn’t find the words. He knew that their backgrounds couldn’t be any more different. But, he would do what he could to help his friend survive. He knew, deep down, that is what the vision meant by guiding him here. To this unit. He was meant to help Valin and make sure he got out of all of this alive.*
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Peanut » Tue Nov 09, 2021 8:47 pm

(OOC: And a double post to make a very bad joke and semi avoid making character sheets for all these characters. Only one is going to survive this era anyway so...who cares!)

*A Nondescript University. 1992.*

*Dr. Geff Joldbloom leaned on his desk as his class trundled into the lecture hall. He took his glasses off and wiped them with a cleaning cloth for a moment as he waited for the rustling of everyone’s bags. It was the third day of his class, Ancient History of the Kingdom of the Ninja Monkeys 101. The first day had covered orientation and the prehistoric migration of the Ninja Monkeys to their current home. A rather, sparse, subject given that very little evidence is left to corroborate that story, though there is no reason to doubt it. The second the rise of its first king, Zohar Hiero, something that seems more of a myth than anything rooted in reality. Still, a comprehensive course taught by one of the world’s leading scholars on the subject would be incomplete without covering it even if there was very little evidence that any of it ever happened. This was probably why his class was mostly human, like himself. In all his years teaching it, he had never known a Ninja Monkey to take the course even though many attend the university. Granted, much of what he was going to say would be considered sacrilegious to them. Still it was what scholars had concluded to be true.*

Geff: Alright class. The Battle of the Great Rift Valley. I, uh, trust that you all read the assigned chapter on it last night. *Geff paused and watched as his students nodded* The, uh, Battle of the Great Rift took place in the aptly named Great Rift which, if you look at the map of the Kingdom of the Ninja Monkey’s I have up here. *Geff gestured to a topographical map of the Kingdom of the Ninja Monkeys he had pulled down to cover one of the three white boards behind him.* It, uh, cuts the country in half, moving southwest to northeast. The battle likely took place at the northern end of this, uh, land feature and involved many of the most important individuals from this point in Ninja Monkey History.

*Geff moved behind the desk and wrote the names Zohar, Khalon, Valin and Thanatos on the whiteboard.*

Geff: We remember our friend Zohar from last week. But I’ve waited until now to really talk about him. Zohar was, uh, from what we can tell unremarkable as a Ninja Monkey. Most depictions of Zohar that we have left show him as being average height, with a bit of a grimace on his face. He, uh had the same black colored fur that is so common amongst their people and is the origin for the derogatory term...Chimp.

*Geff could barely bring himself to say that word. The very mention of it brought some snickers from those in attendance. He felt it was important to give his students a well-rounded education and show them how history has influenced everything in their lives, including the more ugly parts. And the word “Chimp” to a Ninja Monkey, especially from a humans mouth, was as ugly as it gets. Even though it had been reclaimed by them and was often used in phrases like “Sup my chimp” and popular hip hop songs like “Chimps and Funboats,” if a Ninja Monkey was in his class, he’s sure they would have thrown something at him or reported him to the dean. His time studying within their country told him this much. But his students should still know.*

Geff: His brother, Khalon was slightly taller with brown hair. As you can tell from the “Writings of the Immortal King,” Khalon was the preferred Hiero. He was, by all accounts, an attractive and level headed Ninja Monkey. Zohar, though was, uh, the more innovative one. He’s a bit of an Iconoclast as we can see. I should mention, the legend shows that he didn’t do anything sacreligious per se. Ancient Ninja Monkey’s believed that the, uh, body was a vessel that contained the soul like water in a pot. And to, uh, free that soul at death you had to break the body. If you didn’t then the, uh, soul would never join the rest of the ancestors in the after life. Instead it would rot with the body. Warriors were burned with a sword so they could help the other ancestors in the great fight. By all accounts, Zohar didn’t care for this or many other Ninja Monkey traditions hence how that funeral all went down. Though many scholars believe that Zohar and Khalon were meant, uh, to be seen as contrasts of each other. Symbolic of, uh, the old traditions of the past and the new direction for the Ninja Monkey’s. Of course, they, uh didn’t follow that too closely.

*Geff moved to the side of his desk and continued his lecture.*

Geff: Valin, on the other hand, was uh, quite short of stature according to early depictions. His, uh, color of fur changes but most scholars agree he probably had, uh, similar colored fur to Zohar. He is depicted in the legends as, uh, appearing very vulnerable hence why Thanatos would try to protect him. Valin is, uh, another great example along with Balthasar of how slavery was in the ancient Kingdom of the Ninja Monkeys. If you were a Ninja Monkey, you could, uh, buy your freedom but chances to earn money outside of the battlefield were, uh, rare. It is likely that his depiction is, uh, meant to show how many slaves got their freedom during this, uh time. Which we do know was true. We have found, clay tablets with, uh, records of slaves gaining their freedom. Like early history receipts except where you are buying yourself. The war of unification and conflicts with both the, uh, Ratkin and Orks gave Ninja Monkey slaves the greatest chance to escape a life of servitude.

*Geff took off his glasses and cleaned them once more, allowing those words to sink into his students.*

Geff: The battle itself, if it occurred, had the result of, uh, allowing Zohar to further solidify his power. It, uh, made the other tribes recognize his own tribe's military strength which would, uh, help in the battles to come.
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Village of Takri

Postby Dante » Fri Nov 12, 2021 10:50 pm

Amir slowed his breath as he dared his feet to edge closer to the herd of elephants gathered near the edge of the festivities, Janisha stood a few feet back, not willing to get any closer. The gentle eyes of the animal before him almost encouraged him forward, but his fear of such new and immeasurable power in any single life terrified him at an innate level. For all physical purposes, the boy might as well have been approaching a god, but luckily Myra was a kind and gentle god, fond of humans big and small, and they were all small to her. She had carried many over countless journeys, and over the years she had learned patience for them all, whether seeking her strength, or leaning into their occasional weakness for cruelty. She was a well of gentleness and forgiveness to all, and this boy, who's soul dreamed with the magick of maya radiated only good intentions and curiosity. They both, she thought, were brave to come so close, for neither yet knew if she was strong or weak.

“Do you have visitors, Myra?” a women's voice intruded, causing Amir to freeze.

“Is it alright for us to be here?” Amir asked, seeking an early exit to forgiveness if he was refused permission. The middle aged lady, with curly gray hair, and dressed in a scarlet dress, was too quick to have any such mischief.

“I don't remember you asking for my permission, so I suppose that would be up to Myra.” She said walking up the girls side and encouraging her forward with a gentle push. “She likes it if you scratch her behind the ears.”

Janisha looked back, and, receiving permission, took initiative, walking past Amir up to the pachyderm. Amir, not to be thought of as a coward, suddenly found his courage and was quickly behind, as the three creatures came eye to eye. Myra, rolling on her side as she used her giant trunk to play with Janisha's pony tail.

“What's her name again?” Amir asked, stroking her head with little scritches.

“Myra,” the lady said, “and my name is Chhaya, wife of Raju.”

“Myra! Oh, that's right, you said when you came over,” Amir nodded, devoting the name to memory as if the elephant were somehow important.

Chhaya could already tell that her name would be quickly discarded. The young always loved the elephants more.

“Are you two brother and sister? Cousins?” Chhaya asked, making small talk as she walked over to where their merchandise was piled up, double checking everything was fastened well, and ensuring the two hadn't been helping themselves to her wares while everyone was off at the party. Each of the guards must have promised the other that they'd be watching and now none of them were here to watch over things.

“Oh, no,”Janisha answered. “We're just... friends. My name is Janisha by the way.”

“And I'm Amir,” Amir found his manners.

“I didn't notice anyone else at the party your age back there. Do all the adults here mistrust us that much? He can't be your only friend around here.”

The two looked at each other and realized they hadn't given the idea that they were a bit of an endangered species much thought. They once could count their friends on one hand, it wasn't much, but they had each had friends, once. But the famine had buried their fingers one-by-one and it was surprising that neither of them had come to face the reality of this scarcity of playmates and confidants until now – nor had they truly grieved, given that grief was a luxury that the constant battle to survive did not permit them.

“They're. They're all dead,” Janisha admitted, looking disappointed, and Amir grabbed her hand – not as a romantic gesture, but as a shared moment of mutual understanding, a mutual respect for what was stolen from them.

“I'm hoping that some of them cross paths again soon,” Amir added in. “Like Dad.”

“My Mom hasn't come back yet,” Janisha added, “Or my friend, Saira...”

“Or Madhuk... or my cousin Bukka,” Amir added to the list.

What a cruel fate that's been thrust upon them, Chhaya thought to herself, fiddling with the guilt of the task at hand. But it would be better if neither of them had a reason to stay rooted in this place; too much death here.

“I bet you would both find many friends if you came to the city,” Chhaya said. “I am from Kukkuta, of the Red Banner and the Black Cocktrice. There are always people, and games to be had. Even a boring day always has something to do and new people to meet. And where we're heading, is even more fantastic! I think you would love it there.” Chhaya said with a smile, as she sifted through the boxes for one particular trunk, made of varnished wood, and fixed together by an elaborate grass weave.

“I would love to visit a city one day.” Janisha's voice jumped with excitement at the thought. “But they're all very far away.”

“Does everyone dress like you, there?” Amir asked.

“No,” Chhaya, said. “As a trader I lead a privileged life, so that nobles can recognize the quality of our wares. If I dressed like you, they might not think we had any merchandise at all.” Chhaya ended with a tease, and then segued the conversation, as she pulled out a small, skirted summer-dress, colored of lapis lazuli, and trimmed with clouds of silver thread, and ornamental buttons of abalone, carved into little birds, sewn in flocks across the skirt. Just above the flocks around the waste, and up towards the shoulders, bands, like splashes of milk, of topaz stars clustered in flashing scintillation in the magic light of the moon.

“Wares like this. But there are no nobles to catch us here,” Chhaya added, as she inspected the dress in the air. “This rare treasure is the tailor-work of one of the greatest dressmakers in East Caspirius. I think this is just about your size, Janisha. Would you like to try it on? I want to see if it will fit well when I present it to the princess of Sittaragaatii.”

The sparkle of a hundred gemstones shimmered in the two tween's eyes as they became hypnotized by the fire-filled flashes of cerulean stained moonlight. Janisha instantly felt the cruel consequences of her fathers insistence from earlier, though. “I'm afraid I can't. My father worked me all day and I'm covered in mud.”

“All day?” Chhaya acted surprised, though she could hardly empathize given that working every day was life to her, too, and, to be honest, she was kind of jealous of this kid right now. But she didn't wish to indulge a princess in such things. “Well that fits fine, you should know that even these gem stones lived most of their lives in the mud, and now look at them. All you have to do, is...” Chhaya said as she picked up a jug from the side with a smile, “Add a little water and clean them off.”

Chhaya noticed that there were still TWO excited people in her presence though, and figured she should get rid of the other one. “But unless you want me to pour this entire jug over your head, you best be going boy. That way I can clean off this little gem, here.” She said, patting Janisha's head with a free hand.

Amir looked back and forth for a second before realizing that Chhaya was talking about him and realized he needed to make himself scarce. “Oh! Yeah! Sorry!” He said before running back towards the party, “Can I just stand behind the tree over here?”

“Only if you think I can't pour water over your head behind a tree!” Chhaya yelled out, rolling her eyes, returning her attention back to Janisha, again. “Boys.”

“He likes birds without feathers,” Janisha repeated what her sister said earlier, wondering if it was some kind of random phrase about the opposite gender. It was a misunderstanding that would not last for long.

“Well he wouldn't like it if you were spying on him without his.” Chhaya cleared the fog and suddenly Janisha realized a lot more then she did five seconds ago.

“Wait, you mean?” Janisha stopped, eyes going wide with disbelief

“Well that's what you meant, wasn't it?” Now Chhaya was the one confused. “Well, I'll keep an eye out for him, you just focus on looking good in that dress. I bet he prefers your feathers after this.” Chaya said to Janisha with a wink.

--------------------------------------

Amir waited back. Waited waaaaaaay back. Past the party, and the fire all the way out by the road again. Had to be sure. He had just checked around the corner ONCE, and Chhaya acted like she would chase him all the way back to Kukkuta. In fact, she'd threatened twice as much, and then beyond to someplace called “Wasozai”. But luckily he was faster while she was lugging that giant jug of water around. Why did girls have to be like that?

The boy took his flute to his lips under the moon and began to try and play along with the distant musicians under the light of the full moon. In long strides, he marched, meandering roads around the trees in Sagara's field as he sought after misplaced things among the dirt, a loose coin? Nothing called out his name. How boring!

Being bored was the worst. Everyone else was simmering down around the festival, they had just put a second set of logs on the fire and a dim light glowed within Sagara's house, but the music had dissipated to drunken chatter. Oh, if only Chhaya had let him stay! Then, then, then... then what? He wasn't sure, but he wanted to find out. Maybe a peek. It was just then that he felt the tune on his flute tilt, something he missed was near, a gem, a bag of gold – a – a – a!

“She chased you all the way out here?” Janisha said with a chuckle.

Amir spun around on his toes and at once his flute dropped from his mouth, to bob around his neck. Cliche as it was, the boy's mouth was agape with the hypnotic flicker of a thousand gems, as the hem of the dress drifted teasingly in the wind, making the birds and clouds dance. “Do you think I look like a princess?”

“You look like a goddess!” Amir exclaimed, and he'd sworn for a second that he had would need to bow for his life before a diva, even having prepared himself for the dress. “Does everyone in royalty sparkle that much?”

“If so, it's no wonder they love wearing things like this to parties!” Janisha said, spinning around so that the two them could watch beams of dancing moonlight race circles around them both. Amir tried to keep up as he ran with them and saw the girl from all angles, but found that the further he went from Janisha, the more impossible the little orbits of light were to catch – Janisha could spin faster then he could run?! Soon out of breath, the two stopped for a few, giving Janisha a chance to change the topic slightly.

“Amir,” She began slowly, as if preparing for a weighty question. “Do you like me?”

“Oh, yeah!” Amir replied, thinking it was a silly question. “Even if I did think you were going to beat me up earlier today. You're not so mean when you're not chasing me.”

Janisha shook her head. “I don't mean like that. I mean, like... earlier, when I was working with my Dad, I saw you staring and then suddenly looking away like you were fighting with a catfish or something. Like you were afraid I'd catch you.”

“A river monster,” Amir corrected.

“A river monster...” Janisha said, suddenly feeling like the questions should retreat, a bit nervous about asking these things. In fact, part of her mind was convinced that asking this directly was just a bad idea. Perhaps Amir was going to prove her right? “So... You don't 'like' 'like' me?”

“I don't really know what you mean.” Amir admitted. This was one of those confusing girl things.

Janisha felt grumpy at his antic, but inside her sister and Chhaya's advice kept coming back to haunt her, so she took a bit of a risk and sitting on the rock wall that fenced in Sagara's estate, she tugged back on the hem of her skirt to show off just a bit more skin. Amir's eyes instantly caught on, even if he wasn't, internally aware “why”.

“I think you're a liar,” She said. And stood back up walking back over, and Amir felt his heart stop. She was close enough to hit him, but something else seemed to terrify the boy more then being hit that he didn't understand.

“I've decided we need to make a decision.” She continued. “I realized something after talking to Chhaya tonight, if you and me don't have any friends left in the village, then that means... That means...”

“That we're going to have to do a lot more work as everyone gets older?” Amir asked in horror. Janisha's found this answer so absolutely off topic that it inspired an instant look of disgust. Did she have to spell everything out for him?!

“No, it means we're going to get married.” She said matter of factually. “And so you have to make that decision, too!”

This was an ultimatum from someone that looked very much like a queen. Amir was taken back and terrified all at the same time.

“Wait?! No! I can't!” Amir yelled.

“What do you mean you can't?” Janisha demanded. “I know you like me, so why not?”

“I don't know if I want to marry you!” Amir said. “That sounds like a really really big decision.”

“I've decided for you, so it will make this entire thing easy,” She said, crossing her arms. “You either marry me, or I'm making plans with my sister to go off to the big city. To Kukkuta. I'm going when Chhaya comes back, and I'm going to train with her to be a trader. Or I will if you say no. I'm not staying here and being a slave under my Dad forever!”

“You can't decide for me!” Amir was now in knots and his stomach filled with bubbles, this was not good. Though, Janisha was cute and he HAD enjoyed her company until recently, he felt backed into a corner. What if Pallando or Lusha wouldn't help him! Would he have to build a house? He didn't know how to build a house? Would he need to ask Sagara to borrow land? Would he have to stop Moon Dowsing? Would he have to listen to Sagara talk about her stupid pot every night?!

“Can I think about it?” Amir asked. Yes, this was a big decision. He wasn't sure what all he even needed to think about, or was agreeing to, but he needed to run this nightmare through his head.

“How long?” Janisha leaned in. “I have to know if I'm gonna ask Chhaya to come pick me up on the way back! And I know you like me so you might as well surrender to love!”

How long? A year? A month? A week? A decade?! No Amir didn't have that kind of time. And then the unthinkable happened. Janisha leaned over as he was wracking his mind, and planted a kiss on the edge of his lips. His brain stopped working and blurted out the first think that rolled through his empty boy-mind. “Can I have a day?”

Woah! Janisha thought it would take him at least a week, maybe ten! But a day. Also, she was feeling a bit crazy from planting that kiss, too. She couldn't believe she just did that. But it scared her so much she was almost inclined to push him out longer, did he already have the dowry saved up?! Maybe Pallando had saved something for the two of them? Or they inherited a fortune from Chaganti?! OR maybe he thought he could FIND a treasure with his Moon Dowing skills tomorrow? Either way, she had the boy right where she thought she wanted him! But now, maybe she was regretting her decision to put him right on the spot like this. “Yeah, yeah, but if you, you know... need a bit longer she said. I totally understand.”

“A promise is a promise!” Amir said, “I'll tell you if I'm going to marry you tomorrow by sunset.”

But before she could add anything else he waved to her and darted towards the river.

“Ok! Yeah, I'll see you tomorrow and stuff. Bye bye!” He yelled, frantic.

Amir's heart pounded in fear. And did he have a choice?! Agh?! Why did he have to know, now? He had only looked at her because he thought she was pretty... though that kiss was... that kiss was... Something stirred inside of him and there was a definite answer there... he wanted more of whatever THAT was. But he was terrified what THAT was going to cost him. It was a trap. Yes. Definitely a trap! So he climbed aboard Grandpa's house boat, not like a floating house, but a double-wide canoe with canopy to keep the rain out, and tossed and turned between newly hatched dreams of friendship and fear, thoughts bordering on desire and definite night terrors of rejection, until the chattering of the festivities faded into the serenades of crickets and frogs, until the milky glow of the moon put the people of the Indus River to bed and everyone, even Amir, fell fast asleep...

Well... all except two. Two who played until twilight burned with wrath for the sleepless in the eastern skies.

--------------------------------------

“No- ELA! You're my only daughter left! Don't leave me!!!” The distant sound of pathetic pleads woke Lusha from his rest as the boat rocked lightly in the morning waves. The sun was high overhead, but most of the village was and should have been asleep after last night. But two, and now three people were up and Lusha wondered if he or Gramps should go handle it. Looking catty corner in the boat, Grandpa Pallando was blowing a bubble of snot from his nose, it grew unnaturally large before popping and another started in its place, Amir was on the other side of the boat, curled up with a pillow in his arms and chicken feathers in his lips... the joys of getting old, or being young. Grandpa was too tired out from last night to take this up, though. Besides, Ela was more his age and maybe the two of them could work out what was going wrong. So slipping into his tunic, he stepped back onto land, the swaying of the river following him even as he walked towards Ela, her father's arms wrapped around her leg as she attempted to storm towards the village edge.

Before he could even wave hello, however, Ela delivered a dooming blow with a sharp kick to her father's head that knocked him off as she stormed towards the edge of the village towards Sagara's estate. Lusha could catch up with her soon, but figured he best pick up Ritvik and see if he could tell him what was going on. He didn't need to ask, as Ritvik quickly latched onto his leg as soon as Lusha had stepped within arms reach. “Oh, gods! They took everything! Everything!” He cried. “I lost it all, Lusha! That swindler took it. My money, my food, my daughter, the farm – I think he got the farm, and my boooooooze! Oh my booze!”

“Hold on a moment, quiet down and get'off me.” Lusha scowled, “Wha'did you loose now you old gambling gaffer? I don't think you lost Ela, she's probably just mad at you for gambling away half your stuff again.”

“Not Ela, nooooooooo...” Ritvik whined punching the ground with his fist. “The other one!”

“What?!” Lusha looked down in shock, and soon felt uncomfortable as others started to gather outside with all the commotion. Whether he tried to handle this himself or not, he could now see that Pallando was getting out of the boat and was drifting over. Even his little brother, Amir had stuck his head out from under the cloth drape over at their boat. Sagara too, was peeking, never one to miss the town drama... before long the entire village would be over.

“They dressed her up and took her off to marry the prince up in that fancy city!” He declared, you don't understand, I had to up my bets – but in the end I lost them both!”

“How the hell do you bet your own daughter?!” Lusha yelled, perhaps this guy deserved it, and what was all this about a prince? “And I don't think you can bet your land if they're not living here, I don't think that's how all that works. Do you know where Janisha is?”

“I tooooooooooooooold you! I lost her in the bet.” He moaned... as Lusha noticed that Grandpa Pallando looked a tad bit too smug... and something about that bothered him. It was a look that was quickly shattered, though as Ritvik added a bit more. “I lost Janisha! I lost that damned pot of Sagara's and NOW I'm gonna lose Ela!”

“YOU BET SAGARA'S VASE?!” Pallando was suddenly stricken with horror over what Lusha felt was the wrong thing, but part of him realized the terror of the situation as he too felt the horror and strange sense of joy of being rid of that damned thing...

Every thing, every bad thing led back to that stupid vase. He thought. I'm glad to be rid of it.

He would quickly realize that 'maybes' were for people luckier then him.

“YOU LOST MY VASE!” The entire village heard Sagara scream in a blood draining roar.

“No, no, no,” Pallando declared, “This must be a mis-”

Suddenly Amir burst past both of them darting down the road that Lusha had seen Ela marching down. A fishing pole on his back. But Lusha's attention snapped back to Pallando as he heard his name called.

“LUSHA!” Pallando yelled. “Grab your things and catch up to that caravan and get Sagara's vase back pronto if this fool did what he claims. There will be no peace here until that vase is back in this village and you and I both know it.”

Curse it all! He thought to himself, why couldn't the old drunkard have kept quiet until the vase was too far gone?

“What about Ela?” Lusha asked confused, but then he suspected that Pallando wasn't entirely innocent in terms of THAT affair. Something was off here.

“Yes.” Pallando declared, and without saying anything verified what Lusha had been thinking. “Now get that infernal vase so I don't have to trek all the way up to Sittaraggatii!”

“I'll get right on it, they couldn't have gotten far,” Lusha half lied, he wasn't sure if he could bring himself to bring that vase back here... But with a sinking sense of disgust rising in his stomach, he rushed back to grab some coin and a small flint fishing knife, one that was a bit too big for most fish, but he kept just in case bandits one day decided to invade the small village of Tikra and momentarily after, his breath was chasing the wind, until his little brother and Ela came into view at the border of civilization. “I'll find that vase... bring it back to the edge of oblivion to be done with my past once and for all.” He decided, then and there.

--------------------------------------

Ela stood at the village's edge, off to the north, a few broken branches and a light animal trail led away from the village of Takri. The caravan was already gone, but had they gone this way? It seemed so, but she wasn't sure. “Alright, north then.”

The sudden sight of motion redirected her attention back towards the village. At first she imagined it must have been her drunk father, scrambling to drag her down again and so she readied her hand on her stone frying pan to really bash him off hard... but as her vision cleared, she instead found it was just Amir.

“WAIT WAIT!” The boy waved his arms as he caught up. “I have to come with you.”

“You don't even know where I'm going!” Ela yelled... “Actually, I'm not even sure where I'm going, but I don't want to have to be responsible for the two of us getting lost. You don't even have a reason to come with me.”

“Yes,” Amir declared. “Yes, I do!”

“I can't even begin to imagine why that is,” Ela declared. “Jani is my sister and I've had enough living with that drunk of a father of mine. I'm going north to find a better life with her, whether she becomes a princess or not. You have a functioning parent, even if he's old, and last I checked, your brother wasn't gambled off. If you want more? Well, I know one old man who's going to be short a few kids – but word to the wise, expect to do all the parenting.”

“I can't let Janisha get married to a prince!” Amir declared. “I can't!”

“Why not?” Ela laughed, “I only wish I could get hitched up with royalty, not that any of them would take me, even if my father gambled me off.”

“She can't marry a prince, though. She can't because I have until tonight to decide and I've decided!” Amir declared stamping his foot.

“Decided what?”

“We're getting married!” He said matter-of-factly.

Ela was suddenly struck by a thousand laughs and couldn't help herself, falling to the ground laughing... at least this village would leave her with a good mood before her journey.

“It's not funny!” Amir protested. “She said I had until today to decide, and so I'm deciding now!”

“And when did she push THAT on you?” Ela asked, “Sheesh, and here I thought it was you being all goo-goo-eyed for her.”

“Last night!” Amir said, “And this is very serious business.”

“Suuuuuuure,” Ela said. “well I'll tell the prince that she's already taken if I reach her before she makes it to... to...”

“Sittaragaatti,” it was Lusha. The older boy walked over and put his hand on Ela's shoulder. “I'm sorry to hear what happened with your sister.”

“Glad you could make it,” Ela said. “Though if you could avoid losing your brother, I'd really prefer if you brought him back home before he runs off chasing his crazy ideas planted in his head by my sister.... Or he's just come up with all this on his own.”

“What crazy fantasies?” Lusha looks confused.

“We're getting married!” Amir declared again.

“Those kind,” Ela said.

“Amir, go back home to Grandpa, I've got to go catch up with that caravan,” Lusha brushed his brother off.

“Please don't tell me you're also engaged with my sister,” Ela asked warningly.

“Wouldn't think of it,” Lusha said, before adding. “I couldn't steal my brothers girl!”

“You better not!” Amir injected himself back in.

“No,” Lusha said. “They've got THE VASE.”



There was a long pause between them.

“Sagara's vase?” Amir finally asked.

“Smoking holy monkey dung,” Ela smiled. “I thought something was missing... I suppose I'm not getting rid of you so easily as small stuff here, then.”

“Yeah,” Lusha said. “I figured I'd ask if you wanted to group up there, I'd leave you off with the caravan and all... if you're mind is made up on all that and all. I can understand why you wouldn't want to go back.”

“Yeah, my mind has done it's making up and it's been doing it for years. I really only stayed for Jani...”

“And mine is, too! I want to do that kiss thing again.” Amir said, getting all dreamy eyed.

Ela looked back, at Amir and then to Lusha, “In fact, the faster I leave this place the better.”

“Sounds great, I suspect they've got a good couple of hours on us... and they've got pack animals to speed them up, too, so we're going to have to hurry.” Lusha said. “Amir, back home. NOW.”

Amir suddenly was the one looking all smug, he'd gone from double-crossed kid lover to thinking in a hurry as his brother and future would-be sister-in-law tried to scheme ways to break apart his future.

“But you can't.” Amir said, glowing with an evil smile. “You won't be able to find the way!”

“Sure we can,” Lusha said, “They're going to Sittaragaatti. Hopefully we can catch them at Talpur? If they're not pushing hard in which case we might lose them all the way till Ragpur.”

“And I suspect you're an expert tracker!” Amir yelled out, causing Lusha to stop all of a sudden.

It was true. He'd never left the village before... if they went more then a few dozen miles and missed the trail, they could be lost... well... forever. And he had no way of finding a way back.

“What a shame!” Amir cornered his brother, “If only you happened to have to a Water Witch to guide you! Oh look at this! A Moon Dowsing bone.”

“Please tell me we don't have to take him with us,” Ela looked back at Lusha.

“You don't,” Lusha said, “But I think he's right, it might help... unless you know Moon Dowsing?”

“And here I thought the day was turning around after being the single worst day in my life,” Ela roared out her rage at the sky.

“That's a yes then?” Amir beamed, hopping up and down.

“Didn't Pallando teach you both how to do Moon Dowsing?” Ela asked.

“He tried,” Lusha admitted, as this suddenly threw a whale bone in his plans to get rid of that vase.

“Then, even if I might hate having a noisy compass along for the ride, I think you'd better take him.” Ela admitted.

“I really don't need,” Lusha tried to weasyl out of him.

“Lusha, you'll just end up getting lost, or we'll both get lost... something I hadn't considered until now and then what happens to him? We've both lost enough people we love in the last few years.”

“Maybe that's inevitable anyways,” Lusha said.

“Nothing is inevitable,” Ela was surprised at herself, changing the tone and switching over to Amir's side. “Ok, fine, I officially invite you on the find my sister journey. But I'm telling you now, you're up against people way out of your league, small stuff!”

“Really?! YES! Oh! Yeah, if we lose the path, at night I can tell where we need to go the next morning by seeking out Myra, she's an elephant.” Amir excitedly declared.

“Wouldn't you just need to find the sister of mine you're supposed to be marrying?”

“Oh! Yeah, I could use her, too... But I think Myra is much bigger and stuff spiritually, so she'd be easier to find.”

“I'll make sure the elephant knows you think she's spiritually fat when I see her,” Ela said.

“No! Don't tell her that,” Amir said. “It will hurt her feelings... So... When we get married and your my sister!”

Amir continued this rambling conversation as Lusha tried to salve the pain with quiet, hoping that the three of them could make it to the caravan before nightfall... but it would be a bit longer before any of them reached their princess...

[End Scene]
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Re: Of Nations and States 4.0

Postby Peanut » Wed Dec 01, 2021 10:14 pm

*Sacred Grove-Zohar’s Throne Room*

*Situated in the mountains, Sacred Grove was difficult to reach and a terrible choice for a capital. Khalon had lectured Zohar on how tribal representatives were going to hate coming to discuss business or issues with him because even the members of the Hiero’s hated to travel to this place. The roads leading over mountains, sometimes skirting along cliffs so precariously that it was a wonder that anyone ever made it here at all. And yet, there really wasn’t any other choice for Zohar’s capital unless he wanted to upset his tribesmen. Sacred Grove was where the ashes of their ancestors were buried and it was expected that any head of the tribe would sit amongst their urns and listen for their counsel. They never spoke, of course, but the image of his throne backed by a wall filled with decorated urns was, at least, a unique sight. An open space, more of a courtyard than a throne room, lined with twisted olive trees that gave the place its name. Oil from the olives here was used in various ceremonies and was believed to be blessed by the ancestors themselves. Though he rarely ever did sit on the throne but today was different. He had been busy consulting with his metallurgists and craftsman on developments in their weaponry. Egypt was being stingy with their tin and he doubted the Ratkin would be “donating” any to him any time soon after their last battle. And yet, even with that donation he knew that the Ratkin would have more the next time they would become bold enough to cross their border. They needed to get some sort of edge and use it to try and take their tin from them. Doing so would likely stop their raids and bring safety to his fledgling kingdom. And then they were interrupted by the words of a foreign emissary from the north that wanted to talk to him. Apparently, this emissary had been going from city to city demanding to see him claiming he had an important message for the King. What was odd was that this emissary wasn’t from Egypt. Khalon stood to the right of him and Balthasar to his left. Several of his Honor Guard stood at attention on each side of them, ready to spring into action in case this emissary tried to take Zohar’s life. One of his aides entered accompanied by a strange looking creature. He stood as tall as a human but was significantly more muscular. His head lacked hair, his ears were pointed and his lower jaw jutted out further than the top. The lower canines jutted up from his jaw and over his upper lip. He wore animal skins and had the skull of some creature fixed to his shoulder but what appeared to be strands of sinew tied in impossible looking knots. But the most striking feature of him was his skin that was entirely green. Zohar knew he wasn’t human.*

Aide: Your majesty, I present to you the emissary from the Free Ork Tribes *the aide paused and seemed to stutter a bit* Wagstabba Smishsmasha.

Wagstabba: Oi, nice place ya gotz ‘ere. Errible ike though. Couldn’t yuz picked a better locale?

Zohar: *whispering to Khalon* This should be good.

Wagstabba: Trees are nice though. Gotz to tell the boss about them when I getz back.

Zohar: The boss?

Wagstabba: Ai.

Zohar: What is this boss?

Wagstabba: Why ez you? Uh, but not yuz. Cause that would be weird know. Two of the same boss in different places. Heh.

Khalon: *whispering to Zohar* I think “Boss” might be the word for their king. Word has it that between asking to speak to you he’s been talking about him non-stop.

Zohar: I see. So did your...Boss send you to admire our trees? To perhaps return with some seeds so that he may grow his own? If he’s interested in gardening I’m sure some of our ladies and slaves would be more then happy to show him how its done.

*Zohar’s jab got a chuckle out of Khalon and Balthasar. Such work was not fit for a man let alone a king but from what Zohar could tell of this “Emissary” this “Boss” wasn’t much of one to begin with.*

Wagstabba: Nah, he haz no interest in growin your treez.

Zohar: Then what does he have interest in? You’ve been asking for me. Said you had a message for me but right now all you’ve done is waste my time.

Wagstabba: Ah, roight. The message. *The creature scratched its head and mumbled to itself as if it was trying to recall the exact wording or something of the like. Zohar was growing more and more impatient with this*

Zohar: Speak already!

Wagstabba: Ah! That’s da one. Ahem. Our bestest boss, Bonesmasha Facerippa is the biggest boss wez ever seen. He is the bestest boss. He is better then all other bosses and e’s bigger too. Our boss will ruin youz and all youz people unless you recognize that he is the bestest and biggest boss their is. Which shouldn’t be to hard seeing as how yuz a small one eh *the creature chuckled. Zohar was now enraged.*

Zohar: So what is he asking exactly? That I bend the knee?

Wagstabba: No, bending knees isn’t gonna help. Yuz just got to accept that e’s bigger and better and follow da boss.

Zohar: And if I refuse?

Wagstabba: Well, da Boss will love that! He’ll get hiz waagh! *the creature gave a toothy grin. “Waagh” was another new term, but this one Zohar didn’t need an explanation of. He could tell from this creatures face, his stupid toothy grin, exactly what it meant: war.*

Zohar: Well then, if its Waagh he wants its Waagh he gets.

Wagstabba: Iz dat so? Yuz all seem too puny for Waagh. Though maybe not those guyz *the creature pointed at Zohar’s guard* Well, I’ll give da boss your reply and your regards.

Zohar: No. You will not.

*Zohar nodded and two Ninja Monkeys emerged from the trees and pounced on the creature with daggers drawn. They sunk into his flesh at his neck and into his chest but Wagstabba didn’t fall. Instead, with a few quick movements, he shook off his assailants.*

Wagstabba: Now dis is what I came for! WAAAAAAGHHH *Wagstabba pulled one of the daggers from his flesh and charged at Zohar. In a flash, Zohar’s Honor Guard moved in front of him, Khopeshes at the ready. It ended in a flash as Wagstabba’s head rolled off of his shoulders, and still grinning the entire time. Zohar took notes and turned to Khalon.*

Zohar: Well that was certainly...something.

Khalon: What a strange creature.

Zohar: Yes. *Zohar scratched his chin* We need to know more about what we are dealing with. Specifically where in the north this creature came from.

Balthasar: Shall I get a team together my lord?

Zohar: That would be best. Khalon, I want you to go with them.

Balthasar: My lord, but he’s…

Khalon: *Raising a hand to stop Balthasar from continuing* If that is what you wish.

Zohar: It's ok Balthasar. My brother is more than capable of holding his own, you of all people should know that. Khalon’s the best scout we have. *Balthasar couldn’t deny this. Khalon, despite being born noble, was incredibly skilled at moving unseen and unheard through various landscapes. He was a keen observer capable of noticing the most subtle of details to track a target. His intelligence and keen memory allowed him to recall details that normal Ninja Monkey’s would miss. Though he hated to admit it since it wounded his pride as one who came up through the ranks, Khalon was best of all he had trained. They would have used this set of skills more had he not been the brother of the king and current heir to the throne.*

Balthasar: *bowing* I will get my best men together to accompany you.

Khalon: Thank you Balthasar.

Zohar: Then it’s settled. Muster your men Balthasar and as soon as they are ready and equipped, leave at once.
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