Meanwhile, in Scyros

EVENTS NEWS #421
Date: 01/28/2013 at 07:30
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: Meanwhile, in Scyros

From the writings of a Scyrian scribe:

"Order!" shouted the Archon Basileus, his purple robe swirling in the
sluggish currents of the water-filled chamber as he slammed his
bronze-shod staff against the floor in the traditional manner. It took
several minutes of this pounding for the hundred noble tritons of the
Scyrian Senate to quiet down.

The elderly archon stopped pounding his staff on the floor and glowered
across at the seated senators. "The matter of the taxation of estates
that have profited from landwalker slaves will be adjourned for another
day. I will have no further disturbances!"

This provoked a round of quiet muttering, but the archon ignored it and
continued on. "The exalted Minister of Trade is to report today."

A matronly triton woman in an elaborate dress dripping with jewels stood
up near the bottom of the gallery. She raised her voice so that the
assembled senators could hear. "Internal trade within the empire
proceeds. Silver production is at an all-time high, thanks to slaves
gained in the war, but external trade is still greatly diminished. The
doom of Shallam has not affected us; the Caliph had closed his doors to
us several years before. This ministry has established a commission to
determine if it is worth exploring the sunken city for its rumoured vast
wealth, but its location in the Lemnian war zone makes salvaging
difficult. The trade mission to Ashtan is the exception to downward
trends and proceeds as predicted, though curative shipments are being
harassed by Lothian and Caspiite raiders. I request further citadel
support." She looked across the gallery to a row of senators bearing
military regalia.

A purple-robed senator in a black military sagum stood up to angrily
face the Archon Basileus. "We can spare no more citadels for trade
missions!"

"The information of the honoured Minister of War is noted," the archon
quietly replied.

The Minister of Trade curtseyed to the Archon Basileus and said, "If
curatives are to flow, the convoys must be protected. I am finished,
noble senators." She then sat back on her chair, surrounded by other
senators who immediately began whispering to her.

The old archon sat back down on his simple chair where it rested on the
floor of the senate hall. "Next is the report of the Archon Polemarch,
the Minister of War."

The room quieted as Eridanus, the war minister, rose to his feet once
more. "The legions of Scyros are ever victorious. The Fifth Legion has
taken up garrison of the Riparian Reaches, and has begun to chase
landwalker ships to the shores in efforts to keep them away from the
sensitive places we discussed earlier. The Second, Third and Fourth
Legions are still under active orders to destroy all foreign presence in
the Scyrian Reaches. To date, it seems to be only landwalker captains
that exhibit their typical adventurer hubris. No enemy forces have
penetrated the Scyrian Reaches since the war against the Mad God. I
recommend cycling out these legions to the battle fronts in order to
give them better experience."

There was some murmuring at this in the senate hall. Several senators
had children in these legions, and were not happy at the thought of
sending them into actual battle.

The Archon Polemarch continued, unabated. "The Sixth Legion prosecutes
the war in the Lemnian Sea with honour, despite General Aeolia being of
the House of Aeotar. The Phocian forces in that sea fight like savages,
led by Prince Anaxos and the hero Polynikes. Lemnos continues to change
hands. The Lemnian exiles harass our forces, and likely those of the
Phocians as well. With the doom of Shallam, the landward flank is
exposed; the Guild of Shadows reports that the refugees of New Hope do
not intend to resettle in the Lemnian Sea. Without Shallam, the grand
strategy for the Lemnian front will need to be re-evaluated."

Interrupted the minister, the Archon Basileus interjected, "Recall
General Aeolia. The Strategoi of the south will need to plan this
change, Archon Eridanus."

The Minister of War glared for a moment at the Archon Basileus, then
nodded his head. "It will be done."

Archon Eridanus continued his ministerial briefing. "The Seventh Legion
continues to watch the border east of Ulangi, the front with Phocia
itself. Though skirmishes occur, battle is not so frequent. The
fortresses are too strong, the value of the sea floor too high. It
appears the Phocians continue to focus on the Sea of Lemnos."

"What of the north?" shouted a voice out from the senate gallery. "What
of Hyrtakos?!" Many other senators began pounding their fists into their
palms at the name of this beloved general.

"General Hyrtakos continues to hold the Cnidian Gates," the Minister of
War smoothly continued. "Great victories have been had, even to the
Lothian side of the Gates. The battered armies of Queen Zephra yet cling
to life. The general requests permission to invade Lothos itself." Many
senators jumped to their feet and cried out, "Aye! Aye!" while as many
others shouted out, "No! No!"

"Order!" shouted the Archon Basileus. "This has been discussed before.
The danger of overextension is real. Lothos cannot be held while war
with Phocia continues."

Eridanus did not pause. "This concern has been anticipated. In lieu of
this invasion, General Hyrtakos has recommended that the landwalker port
of Tasur'ke be captured and held. Too many landwalker ships use this
port. It is likely that the Lothians will try to use it to outflank the
Cnidian Gates."

Senators continued to shout support or opposition, though diminished.
The Archon Basileus said, "This request seems more reasonable. This will
be discussed in committee prior to the next meeting of this august
body." Archon Eridanus smiled and slightly bowed to the Archon Basileus
while he said, "My report is finished." He then sat down on his chair.

The clicking of a staff against marble reverberated through the watery
chamber, signalling the approach of an old man from outside the senate
hall. A hush fell over the assembled tritons in their gallery as they
watched him arrive.

The Archon Basileus shouted out from the other side of the room, "This
is a meeting of the Senate of Scyros. The priesthood is not welcome
here."

The approaching old man continued walking and spoke in a raspy voice,
"The Archon Polemarch failed to mention the threat of the Caspiites."

Eridanus stood back up and yelled back, "There is no threat! The
Caspiites fight themselves and cannot even unify their own city. Leave
these halls, Anaxamidion!"

Anaxamidion, the Doomsayer, continued to walk to the centre of the
senate chamber. He growled out, "I am the High Augur of Scyros, High
Priest of the Temple of Neraeos Pelagia. I invoke my traditional right
to speak on behalf of the God of the Sea, for you must listen."

Eridanus did not sit down. "Leave these halls. Go to the east with the
others!"

Anaxamidion stared quietly and unnervingly at Eridanus, "You dishonour
these halls, senator."

Before Eridanus could respond, the Archon Basileus slammed his staff
down to the floor once again. "The priest's right is valid, for now. He
can speak. Be brief, Doomsayer."

Anaxamidion ignored the archons, and looked out among the assembled
senators. He rasped out in a low but strong voice, "The coming of the
lizard-men changed our world, though you may not know it, senators.
Landwalker spirits and archdemons died, beings that were once thought
too strong to be immortal. Vastar, the Mad God, returned, and Neraeos
God-King has gone to war with the Winged Demon to the unreachable east.
Neraeos God-King brought with Him the armies of the priesthood. There
are no longer mighty Tempests in Scyros. There are no Knights of the Sea
in service of the Lord God. This is likely the case in the cities of our
enemies as well."

The other senators said little, but looked at one another curiously. The
departure of the armed might of the Temple of Neraeos was not unwelcome
to them at all. A military force not sworn in service to the state was
always an uncomfortable idea to the Scyrian nobility.

Anaxamidion continued, "So it is of great import that the Caspiites
appear to have united as one cult among their hundred cults. The Cult of
Caspian Reborn preaches the resurrection of Caspian and the death of
Neraeos God-King. This is the cult that has taken control of Caspia, and
which is spreading throughout the northern seas. All that have stood in
their way thus far are the Nerai, the landwalkers who claim to be
priests of Neraeos God-King."

Several senators gave several loud chuckles at the thought of
landwalkers being priests of Neraeos. Anaxamidion the Doomsayer said,
"Yes, I agree. Their claims of priesthood are blasphemous, but their
actions speak that they hold by Pelagian tenets. The Nerai have gone to
battle against the Caspiites, and have emerged victorious."

Several jeers from the senate chamber followed this announcement.
Eridanus shouted out, "I know these Nerai from when I was governor of
Riparium. They are fools and layabouts with pretensions of grandeur.
That they defeated the Caspiites only proves the weakness of the
Caspiites, not the greatness of the Nerai."

Anaxamidion paused to consider this, and thoughtfully nodded his head.
"Perhaps. Perhaps not. What is of greater worth and importance to this
council, is that the Caspiites attempted to release Borak, and nearly
succeeded save for the intervention of the Nerai."

At this, there was utter silence in the senate chamber for a few
seconds. Then the entire room erupted in shouting. The Archon Basileus
slammed his bronze-clad staff upon the floor once again. "Order!" The
room quieted again.

"What I say is true," the Doomsayer continued. The auguries do not lie.
Maeander of the Temple of Riparium confirms this report. The Caspiites
have emerged from their city and have been wandering the northern isles,
seeking that which could be used to free Borak of the North, the
primordial caspeid, known to the landwalkers as the Ice-God of Suliel. A
spirit of nearly god-like power known to be an enemy of Neraeos
God-King. It seems that they found it, whatever it was. A Nereian
scouting party discovered a vast Caspiite army on the Isle of Suliel,
where a heretic priest was shouting words of power. Borak himself could
be seen in the sky atop the isle, beginning to regain physical form. The
Nerai disrupted the ritual and fought their way to the centre of the
isle, and slew the heretic high priest and the Caspiite general. They
took this object of power away from the Caspiites and fled Suliel,
leaving Borak bound to the isle once again."

The Archon Basileus said, "Who were these Nerai? Blasphemers though they
are, a song should be made of such a deed." Eridanus snorted in
derision.

Anaxamidion tilted his head to the side, pondering a moment. He then
said, "They were... Rinzai, Saidie, Skye, Ariettie, Anaidiana,
Lisbethae, and Melodie. And the unclean Verrucht, the priest who has
claimed to have eaten a citadel whale." The senators murmured among
themselves at mention of such a taboo act.

"Where is this object now?" the Archon Basileus said.

Anaxamidion looked at the archon, "I do not know. The Nerai have hidden
it." The old man turned around, looking at all the senators as he spoke
his next words. "The Caspiites are stirred. This will not be the last
heard of them. Beware, senators. Beware the rise of Caspia. It has been
ignored too long."

The Archon Basileus looked thoughtfully at Anaxamidion for a moment,
then said, "You have told your story, as was your right. Now leave the
governing of the empire to us."

Anaxamidion bowed slightly to the archon while keeping hold of his
staff, then turned around and silently walked out of the senate chamber.

After a brief pause, the Archon Basileus said, "The Caspiites are of no
importance. Lothos and Phocia are the barbarians pounding on our gates."
He looked at the Minister of the Embassy. "Bring in the representatives
of the Guild of Shadows. I wish to hear what the spies embedded in
Mhaldor and Cyrene have to say about the matter in the Sea of Screamed
Prayers..."

Penned by My hand on the 19th of Daedalan, in the year 617 AF.