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Forever Future 1.8 PBEM game

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  • Forever Future 1.8 PBEM game

    This thread is devoted to the Third Grand Game of Call to Power: Forever Future, which has started on the 19th of March 2017.

    Introducing the players:

    1. AI as Mahathma Gandhi, leader of the Indians.
    2. AI as Adolf Hitler, leader of the Germans.
    3. Me as Alexander the Great.
    4. Ivan Dogovich as Monty Zooma, leader of the Aztecs.
    5. Rikers as Ragnar Lothbrok, leader of the Vikings.
    6. Eerion as Gilgamesh, leader of the Assyrians.
    7. Tuiteraz as Hannibal, leader of the Phoenicians.
    8. Dioxine as Vlad Dracula, leader of the Slavs.

    Game settings:
    Map size: Huge (Forever Future Huge, which is much bigger than standard Huge), Earth-shaped world
    Difficulty: Deity, Raging Hordes, Pollution on, Bloodlust off
    Civs: 8 (human and AI players)
    Terrain settings: 50% Dry, 20% Cold, 80% Ocean, 70% Continent, 70% Diverse, 70% Goods

    So, without further ado...

    At first, he heard the sea. Gentle waves, stroking the beach back and forth, following the ageless rhythm. And also rough calls of seagulls, darting through the air somewhere above him.

    After he slowly opened his eyes, he saw a festival of colours: unrealistically blue water, rich yellow of the sand, and incredibly azure sky with no trace of clouds. And after he rolled to the side, trying to shake some of the sand off his beard, he also saw the green of trees, tall and sturdy against winds from the ocean.

    As he was about to sit up, he spotted someone was moving about in the trees; a small group of slender, auburn-haired men, wearing only simple loincloths and armed with primitive, stone spears. They have already spotted him too; they were gesturing towards him excitedly, whispering loudly. Still he managed to catch one often repeated word, a word from his own, incredibly ancient language: "Okeanos! Okeanos!"

    "Oh damn, here we go again", he groaned, and fell flat on his back. He already knew he could only afford a few minutes of rest, and he wasn't going to waste it.

    ---===---

    For the past days they had been travelling up a river which lazily flown across flat, grassy land, scarcely dotted with trees. The river split in two, then again, until it was more of a stream than a proper river, barely traversable for their flat boats. Luckily these people knew the river well. These people... His people. He didn't even have to do much to assume leadership, since he was immediately recognized as a divine being anyway; the only effort was knocking out one sceptical shaman, a mere formality - even though he felt incredibly weakened, he was still one of the Masters, far surpassing any ordinary man of these lands.

    "Hey, Pelagias, how far is it to your village?", he asked. "Two, three days?"

    "It has been raining, so the water is deep. Two days at most." Pelagias, the leader of the hunting party which had found him, was a young, reasonably handsome, but quite short man; he was reminiscent of a relaxed weasel. "Then we will eat and drink, and pray! So much meat! And you, Titan, will be an even greater blessing!"

    Iskandar laughed heartily. "Sure, Pelagias! Don't mention it." The boats carried a dozen wild boars killed in the forest, most of them by his own hand. "Well, meat is good, but there are more precious things in life than meat. Just wait and you'll see what we can accomplish together!"

    ---===---

    The attack, traditionally, came just before dawn. They were no longer travelling through a river, instead they were in a luscious, dense jungle, walking down a barely visible path. It was on this path where they made their last camp of this journey, but it was not meant to be peaceful.

    It was nothing new for Iskandar to wake up to sounds of battle, but to say he was accustomed to it would be an exaggeration. He stumbled in the dark, for a moment unable to tell his companions from enemies; there were men screaming, snarling, swinging clubs at each other or writhing in pain on the ground. The attackers weren't any better armed than them, but they were more numerous and had the advantage of surprise; at least two Iskandar's men were already dead, and several more were being worn down quickly by the relentless attackers.

    Iskandar didn't waste a moment; he grabbed the nearest weapon-like object, which turned out to be a piece of wood from the smouldering fireplace, and fell upon the nearest foe. The warrior didn't even make a sound when the club smashed his skull; he was dead before his body hit the ground. Another one tried to stab Iskandar with a spear, but Iskandar grabbed the weapon and with an abrupt turn of his huge body, he snapped it like a twig. Then he delivered a swift kick to a third enemy, who managed to pin Pelagias to the ground, and sent him flying.

    "Come fight me!" he bellowed, easily drowning other voices with his roar. "I will gladly send you to the afterworld!"

    ---===---

    When they were ready to move out, it was already late morning. Four of his men out of sixteen did not survive the attack, either slain on the spot or having died of blood loss. Three were gravely injured and could not travel on their own. Both the wounded and the dead were placed on makeshift stretchers to be carried by their companions.

    Despite their losses, the hunters were in a relatively good mood, knowing that without their new friend they would all be dead - or enslaved, to be killed later. About fifteen more corpses were strewn across the small battlefield, abandoned by their fleeing brethren.

    "So, Pelagias", he asked, "what are these people called?"

    "Spartans", answered the hunter with an angry gleam in his eye. "Wretched men, who worship dark gods of blood. We used to live in peace, but it ended a few winters ago."

    "Spartans, eh?" Iskandar scratched his beard. "Well, they were good warriors, they fought bravely. We should at least give them last rites."

    "What are you saying, Titan? They are our mortal enemies!"

    "For now, maybe. But remember, my boy, everything flows... as my teacher used to say."

    And so they carried the bodies of dead Spartans onto a pile and covered it with stones. Then Iskandar took some broken pieces of weapons, placed them on top of the mound and light them on fire, humming a long forgotten hymn to the fallen. The others waited patiently.

    He was about to signal for march, but something caught his eye; a gleam in the grass. He picked up a small, green crystal on a leather string; one of the attackers must have lost it in battle.

    "And what is this thing?"

    "It's jade, Titan", answered Galen, the oldest and wisest of the Greeks. "A rare stone which can be found in these jungles."

    "Oh, really?" Iskandar carefully tied the stone to his makeshift club. "Then let's take it as a good omen. And now let's hurry to your village, they could be in danger!"


    Last edited by Solarius Scorch; March 20, 2017, 14:49.

  • #2
    Monty stirred on his pallet restlessly as his sleeping mind was led into realms strange and distant. A vast darkness filled the expanse of his awareness until he felt as if he would be lost in the eternal emptiness. Powerless to escape from this primordial abyss he despaired of ever finding release. Then, as a dim spark in the night, a tiny pinpoint of light fixated his attention. With all his will, he concentrated on it, as a drowning man will grasp at any hope of salvation.

    He soon found that the tiny light grew and a form resolved itself as a new primordial force was born into this universe of darkness. Closer and closer, he was drawn to the presence, yet despite his growing proximity he could not comprehend clearly that which he beheld. His mind struggled with his perception as the form consisted of both elemental dark and light. As he pondered this impossible duality, he suddenly saw with understanding beyond his natural senses. The awareness struck him that not only was this both dark and light embodied, but also Good and Evil. Male and female. Fire and water. Judgement and Forgiveness. A duality from the abyss. A comprehension from the incomprehensible.

    As this understanding inscribed itself on his consciousness, he suddenly found a name in his mind: “Ometeotl (Two-Force), Lord of the Duality.” A sharp pain upon his chest jarred him out of sleep and he thrashed upright and placed a hand the stinging area. Warm to his touch, the pain subsided and in the darkness of the night, he lay back down. He soon drifted back to sleep on the soft night sounds. When he woke in the morning, he noticed in the dawn light that he had an image tattooed upon his chest that had not been there before. He knew that this was the mark of Ometeotl. Though why a god had chosen to leave its mark on him, he knew not.

    The mark of Ometeotl:
    The Mark of Ometeotl
    The Mark of Ometeotl

    The following night, as Monty slept, he again found himself caught up into an other-worldy visitation. Again the void, but again, Ometeotl was present. A vast dark sea seemed to form the plane of this universe and the resplendent duality before him hovered just over the waters. Slowly the two-force began to rotate as the energies within swirled in their tenuous balance. Light flash in the darkness as the rotations picked up speed, jets of flame flickered out in ever longer streamers.

    Suddenly four orbs of energy spun off in four directions from the creator being and began their own swirl. Within each one, a new force began to take form, while Ometeotl returned to stillness.

    To the West, the first form took that of a bright feathered serpent. The embodiment of light, his color was white, and the winds were at his command. He became lord of the Day, and Ruler of the West, the Wisdom and Mercy were his nature. Quetzalcoatl was his name.
    The Mark of Queztalcoatl

    To the South blue wings of flame formed the shape of a hummingbird within which appeared the figure of a magnificent man. In his left hand he bore a shield with five suns upon it and four arrows. As Lord of War, Sun and Fire, his color was blue and he was known as Huitzilopochtli (Hummingbird of the South).
    The Mark of Huitzilopochtli

    To the East a ball of Golden Energy began to coalesce into a human form crouched into a ball. Slowly the figure rose and as it did, began to stretch out its limbs. As it reached out the skin began to peel back from the fingers and toes similar to a snake shedding its skin or a seed emerging from a husk. Seams sinews and flesh glistened in golden light as the flayed skin hung on the godlike figure. This symbol of death and rebirth typified the renewal of Spring and the agricultural cycles of farming. The name of this being is Xipe Totec (Our Lord the Flayed One) and is the ruler of the East, Springtime, farming and Goldwork, his color is red.
    Xipe Totec

    To the North there spun a ball of smokey darkness. The dark vapor swirled into a rough column and dark limbs began to emerge. A face emerged with golden bands across the eyes and mouth and the remaining smoke fused itself into a smoking obsidian disc on the striking figure's chest. This dark deity is Lord of the North, ruler of the night and darkness, the god of Judgement, deceit and divination. He is known as Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror) and his color is Black.
    Tezcatlipoca

    Again, when Monty awoke, he found strange representations of these powerful entities engraved upon his form. Quetzalcoatl on his left arm, Huitzilopochtli his left thigh. Upon his right, Xipe Totec and above Tezcatlipoca. The fantastic figures of his vision echoed in his mind and he considered what the divine forces might be telling him.

    He recalled the lands in which his people now found themselves as they traveled to plant a new kingdom. Immediately to the West, White expanses brought Quetzalcoatl's winds and held unknown promise in strange nearby ruins. To the South, blue waters of a verdant river promised bounty in Huitzilopochtli's realm. To the East the sun's golden rays glinted off a verdant plain in Xipe Totec's promises. And to the North, dark forests marked the obscure domains of Tezcatlipoca.



    Which of these mighty deities would favor these Aztec peoples? Which of them would play false and bring woe and sorrow upon them. Monty did not know the answer to these questions, but he vowed in his heart that he would lead his people to the best of his ability, and would prove himself capable of the regard of gods and men.

    Comment


    • #3
      - They all are going to recognize our might! – The shout echoed through the stone room – They will bow to our strength!
      Gilgamesh was incredibly angry. Hundreds years have passed since the capitol in Nineveh was established and the bunch of tribes he united under his enlightened rule started operating as a proper civilization. New settling expeditions marched in every direction. But it was not enough. Insufficient. Meager. Not worthy of his existence. From vast lands, small trade expeditions started arriving bringing news from lands far over horizon.
      He was not alone. And he was not the best. When the recent expedition brought him the news about Hindi people finishing the wonder… he became infuriated. His creation was not even close to start building any monumental creation. Nothing to show off own might. And others… they were close to completion.
      The leadership was replaced with quickly population-reduction statement. After all… it’s just a few people. Foolish, as they couldn’t utilize resources they’ve got well enough. And their families, but it was a fair price for the committed failure. They rose and fell together.
      - Guards?! – He yelled.A few heavily armored soldiers walked in up. A salute and not a single word. They have learned that opening their mouths is the quickest way to losing the whole head.
      - Call every stone worker that lives within the proximity of Nineveh. Make them appear in front of me tomorrow. – He paused for a moment – But make sure it is a friendly invitation. Do not bring them by force. Yet if someone refuses… you know what to do.Soldiers did not budge. Regardless of what the order was – revealing any sight of weakness resulted in quick demotion to corpse.
      - Tell them… They will create something beyond amazement. A wonder that will make the world envious of Assyria. Just like it always should.

      ***

      The blue light flickered, running on the remains of electric power. The man opened his eyes. He stared at the darkness in the direction the ceiling should be. Thousands of thoughts were running through his head, as if to establish what was going in.
      - This is not ****ing possible – he murmured. Sighing, he sat up and looked around. Almost whole room was shrouded in darkness. The remaining light was too weak to enlighten anything. But he knew well enough where he was. Or rather inside what he had been sleeping. He knew it far too well. Capsule. A container used to deliver masters to the planets.

      The outside ripped him of any remaining hope. The air was fresh, free from heavy pollution he remembered. The surrounding looked pristine. The view was breathtaking, especially compared to desolated post-nuclear and post-cataclysmic landscapes. He looked for any signs of civilization, but it was nothing but wilderness.
      - First, I have to find someone. Then I will look for answers. – He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.It was warm. Much warmer than any other of his locations. Fortunately he won’t have to set up fire on his travel. Fire. His train of thought brought the memory of Hinotebi. Gritting his teeth, he started moving forward.
      There was much to figure out. Too much.

      Comment


      • #4
        Getting to the capitol was not an issue. While city walls were mostly non-existent at this point in time, the scarce packs of barbarians were no match for the mightiest empire on earth so everyone was loosened up. Guards were mostly sleeping on duty or playing some dice games, so passing them by unnoticed wasn’t even worthy of calling it a challenge.

        It was enormous. The biggest city in the world was full of riches thanks to the legendary Labyrinth. Caravans from the whole empire were arriving there greatly increasing the wealth of Delhi. It was truly the greatest city in the world. On top of that the white stone used for constructions made everything look pristine. It gave a feeling so much different, compared to the dirty and artificial constructions of the future. The man clearly enjoyed the view. People’s lives were rather simple, in contrary to what their descendants are going to face. World simple, untouched by wars. A place where you can enjoy your life. Harsh, but predictable. Yet the change was inevitable. Nothing could save the world as it could be seen at that time. It was bound to fall, change and be forgotten by all, but the ancient ones. Ironically, the great wealth of India that allowed such wonderful city to exist was accelerating the dusk of antiquity. The man walked toward the town square. Thanks to caravans coming from afar he did not stood out too much. He felt slightly clueless. He knew he had to get there, but at the same time was unsure what to do afterwards. Encountering Gandhi somehow? While it could result in receiving few answers to the yet unspoken questions, at the same time it looked like a quick way to slavery, which had to be avoided. The only thing he could do was to walk around and try to gather as much info as possible. Also a place to spend some nights has to be found. It doesn’t look like he is going to move anytime soon.

        ***

        The Royal throne room was filled with people. Dignitaries of all kinds gathered here to hear the news that scouts risked their lives their lives to gather. Small packs, sent with trade ships had one mission. To learn, so any threat to the empire could be distinguished and dealt with.
        - Enkidu, I believe you have managed to gather and put all data together.
        - Yes Gilgamesh. Everything is ready. I can start whenever you want. – The green haired man of fragile posture walked to the throne.
        - Good. – Gilgamesh ignored the direct tone of his friend. He was the only one in the world who could call him by name and live. – Go ahead.
        - First of all – Enkidu moved closer to the crowd to ensure he is well heard – There are two civilizations living quite near us. First one, the Phoenicians who are west of us, are masters of agriculture. Their dry lands, filled with steppes and lifeless mountains forced them to organize crop management and harvesting. And they became great at it. Their farms are so huge you can walk for days and there won’t be end to them. They outperform us by far at this, but at the same time it is a necessity for their survival. There are few forests or jungles they can hunt in. At the same time, with their strive for survival, they quickly adapt to the changes. Nothing is certain as of now, but it seems like they might rebel in order to overthrow their ruler. What will come of it though? I have no idea. – Enkidu took a deep breath and looked at Gilgamesh. His face was expressionless. Nothing could be read from it. He gritted his teeth. The ruler looked as if they were discussing last year’s harvests. – Either way – he continued – We should monitor their development. They have potential to become a powerful neighbor in the future and underestimating that aspect can be deadly. Situation looks similar with Aztec Imperium south. They are developing rapidly and their lush green forests and grasslands are bountiful enough to feed a huge empire. They are becoming well known already for their honey farms and mead brewing. Furs they produce are also first class and become more and more popular even in Nineveh. There is nothing they lack and we should approach them with care. Their ruler, overseeing whole Imperium likes to look big, and should he lay his eyes on us we might face an endless waves of soldiers. Setting mountain forts is an absolute necessity if we want to ensure the peace. Show no weakness to them and we shall stay safe.
        - Worry not. No matter what army comes at us, I shall end their pitiful lives with my own hands. – Gilgamesh interrupted him. – It is not us that should be afraid of them. It is not Assyria that should fortify and cover in fear. It is us that should be feared and these peasants should thank their gods for each day they do not see our banners at the horizon.
        - Quit it! – Enkidu shouted angrily, clenching his fists – I know you are the biggest warmonger in the world. But no one is going to attack anyone, unless you want this country to die within months. No Assyrian soldier will set foot in their lands. Don’t even think of anything stupid.
        - Then shut up with your pathetic remarks of what we should do. – The ruler was visibly displeased. You spout bullshit about how we should be afraid of them. I simply stated how things truly look like.
        - Nothing looks like you’re imagining it. – Whatever. I’m not here to discuss about your point of view. Not in front of these people.
        - And you’re certainly not making anything better filling them with fear of the potential enemy. So just continue and bear in mind that Assyria bows to and fears no one.
        - I will… - Enkidu gaze was filled with hatred. Such quarrels are only going to spread the dissatisfaction among the empire. Much will have to be done to wrap it up. – There are five others civilizations we have encountered somehow and are worth mentioning. First of all there is a German empire. While it is clearly powerful, we were unable to get any data regarding their whereabouts. All we know comes from their merchants we have met along the way. We should be… - He looked at Gilgamesh and bit his lip – wary of them and try to locate them as soon as possible. The case is much easier with Indians. As majority of the trade in the world is related to them, we have managed to get to know a lot about their civilization. While I am not happy with it, they outperform us by far on every field. Their cities are populous, their coffers full of gold and armies grander than any other. They create enormous constructions just because they can. As of now, they are a deadly threat to anyone who encounters them. In our best interest is scouting their whole empire and looking for aspects we can use to our advantage. But it’s going to take time, that’s for sure. Next is the Macedonian empire. Engulfed in chaos of the civil war, they are going through some serious changes and I am sure they will become stronger than ever after all fires of resistance are put down. Their ruler, although mysterious, is well known for his charisma and unifies local tribes with ease. He seem to wish to create a similar structure our south neighbors have, so for sure he will expand quickly. We have to watch their development and react appropriately.Enkidu looked at the crowd. Murmurs could be heard here and there, but vast majority listened very carefully. Until some time ago they barely knew of any other culture and now they hear about big civilizations that compete or outperform their own. Their concept of the world is drastically changing at the very moment.
        - Next is the Slavic empire. We know they are living on the frozen lands far beyond Aztec Imperium. Environment takes a harsh toll on them, forcing them to spend huge amount of workforce to irrigate any field that can yield crops. On top of that they are in constant threat of invasion from nomadic tribes leaving nearby, so many men serve in military. Harsh environment and harsh times give strong people who are used and prepared for anything. We should watch over their development with care, as out of all nations, they are definitely the one that will not go down without a fight. The last, but not least is the Viking empire. Unfortunately we were not able to gather much data regarding this civilization. All we know is that they are developing rapidly and conquering new lands for their overlord. They are men of few words and our scouts were not able to gather any detailed data. We have tried to follow their merchants, but they have swift sailors and managed to lose their tail. Was it intentional or whenever they are that efficient – we are unable to state. – Enkidu took a deep breath. It was quite a monologue – This conclude our today’s meeting. You are dismissed. – Enkidu looked at Gilgamesh. This day was far from over and the winds of change were already sweeping through the country. Much has to be done in order to ensure the prosperity of Assyria. The current form of ruling becomes obsolete. The structure has to expand and give more independence to local rulers. This country was becoming too big for one person to keep it in check. Enkidu knew that Gilgamesh is going to disagree initially, but he will eventually give up on his stubbornness. Not even immortals are exempt from change. And the world slowly unveils itself together with all its dangers. Things must change. Or they will all die.

        Comment


        • #5
          - Thank you for everything father. – Her voice echoed through his mind.
          The man opened his eyes, trying to focus on whatever was in front of him. A damp ceiling of a castle, lightened up by torches did not provide him any insight. Battle rumbling could be barely heard, but was it a leftover or his dream still ringing in his head or something happening far away… it was impossible to verify.
          - You must rest, my king – A young maiden leaned over him – You are injured! You cannot move! - She tried to stop him from even sitting on a bed.
          The man looked at his arm. The pain was killing him. The pieces of loincloth serving as bandage were soaked with blood. But wounds themselves weren’t the only ones responsible for his pain right now. He could feel the wounds on his whole body. Cuts, pierces. They were everywhere. But his arm. He overdid using his powers by far.
          - I… have lost. Haven’t I? – He asked with a weak voice.
          The girl hung her without giving any answer. The fight. He remember cutting through hundreds of enemies. He burned and smote many more. But no matter how hard he fought, he couldn’t get close enough to land even a single hit on him. A god of war has suffered a humiliating defeat. He was no match for the enemy. Alexander’s Ionion Hetairoi creating an eternal army was way too strong for Perun and his powers.
          - Your name. What’s your name?
          - Svetlana, my king. – She answered, while keeping her head low. The girl was trembling. Ignoring the question of a king was usually punished by death. But bringing bad news was treated almost as bad.
          - Where am I, Svetlana? What is going on? – Perun did not bother looking at her. The constant rumbling did not disappear. Someone was fighting, he was sure of it.
          - We are in the castle of Lord Stanislaus. In Southern Ruthenia my king. - She answered quietly after a small pause
          Ruthenia… So he had to lose consciousness after the battle. Alexander allowed him to return home… that could be expected of him. He treated enemies and allies alike as long as they weren’t playing dirty. And they brought him back to his lands.
          - And what is going on here? I can hear a sound of battle. Did Iskandar’s soldiers get that far? We’re not close to the border.
          - I do not know my king. All I know is that you have to lie here and rest. You are safe my king. Lord himself ensured your safety.
          Perun stood up. Svetlana tried to stop him for a brief second, but his angry look stopped her in tracks. His body was rebelling against his actions, but he knew that resting is the worst thing he could do right now. Something was going on around and he had to react. His men were dying, he was sure of it.
          - Help me with putting on my armor
          He commanded her, pointing at his equipment lying nearby. The armor and weapons were cleaned of blood, but the cuts and holes, especially in the breastplate could be seen easily. Before the battle it was a great piece of armor. Made mostly of iron, with fires encrusted on the surface. Hardened leather was used for joints to provide a decent protection. The winter wolfs furs were used to add a finishing touch and represent well the wilderness of Slavs. A masterpiece that became worn down beyond hope for repair. While it has served its purpose it was still a loss. Yet, despite its poor condition, there was nothing else he could wear. It had to suffice for time being. He commanded the girl to help him with the parts he was unable to do himself do to the ongoing pain, attached axe to his belt, grabbed his hammer and slowly walked outside.

          The city beneath was burning. He remembered it well. He often visited Chust, as it was one of the more prosperous cities in the region, and he had high hopes for its industrial perspectives. Now it looked as if it was to become a ruins that are forsaken and forgotten. Destroyed buildings indicated that every road was fiercely defended. The two towers of the cathedral blocked one of main streets. Someone was moving there, but it was too far to spot who it was. He looked for a way downstairs. The chamber he slept in was the furthest away from the city, close to the cliffs and inaccessible from other sides making it somewhat of a last man stand. He found a narrow stairs nearby and started walking slowly toward it. There was no one around, so he leaned on the wall to preserve strength. Cursing his own weakness in the times when his power was needed the most he walked on. The castle, build on a mountainside had many steep stairs and routes, which while easing the defence, made the normal traveling much longer and more demanding, especially for the injured. As he got closer to the city gates, the stench of blood was getting stronger and stronger. Together with lack of anybody else around it gave Perun ominous feeling. He tried to speed up, but his body quickly informed him that was a bad idea. The question regarding missing garrison became clear as he reached the gates. The Slavic soldiers were lying around and while the bodies indicated that they put quite a fight, this was clearly not enough. Perun has recognized enemy soldiers. Aztecs. The third power probably saw their chance in the war that erupted between Slavs and Macedonians. An unusually large amount of bodies lied at the very entrance to the castle. Perun approached it slowly, getting ready for any leftover enemy forces. Dozens, if not hundreds bodies of Aztec soldiers lied around one person. Morena, his only daughter. Perun dropped his weapons and grabbed the body of his daughter. She was wearing the similar armor to his, but the armor presented to her had engraved snowflakes as to represent winter, which was her beloved season. The scythe she was always carrying with herself was broken into pieces. He hugged her dead body, but did not cry. He rarely did. There was a fierce battle going on around, and during such there is no time for this kind of emotion. Instead, there was an endless room for cold rage. It filled every part of his body overrunning the pain coming from wounds. Perun put her body aside, far from any soldiers and grabbed his hammer. Sparks started running across it, making his body cry in pain, but he ignored it. He wanted revenge and there was no time to wait for claiming it. Especially that he did hear some horsemen approaching. He walked outside the castle to encounter the approaching units. Seeing Slavic flags disappointed him, as he wanted to unleash hell on treacherous Aztecs. The horsemen on the other hand, seeing their king lowered their guards and started cheering. Their commander, a tall young man dismounted and kneeled before him.
          - My king. My name is Ivan, lord of Chust and son of Stanislaus. I am glad you are safe! When we have noticed that enemy forces intentionally pushed us away from the castle to allow a quick siege on it, we have separated from main forces and, fearing the worst, galloped avoiding the enemy to assist you. I am sure that my father would lead the rescue himself, but he was struck down during the battle at the east gates.
          - I understand. – Perun looked at the young man. Blood on his armor and sword shown that he was not running away from battle, but acted as a proper leader should. – I am safe, yet the cost of maintaining the keep was too big – He looked behind, as if hoping to see body of his daughter. – What is the status of defence?
          - We were at the edge of being overrun, when fortunatelly reinforcements have arrived. Two divisions of hussars assisted by Macedonian cavalry.
          - Macedonian? – Perun interrupted the lord surprised. - What are they doing here?
          - My lord. During your absence Iskandar enforced a truce between us. He stated that such cowardly behavior with a large scale offensive aimed to take your life is unacceptable and the current top priority was repelling the invaders. He has given his swiftest units under our command and told that the main army will catch up as soon as possible. Thanks to our support we have managed to cut off part of the invading army and forced the rest to retreat. While the battle is still undergoing in eastern part of the city, it is a matter of time before the city is cleansed of enemy soldiers. Perun nodded, to hide a surprise from the turn of events. His rage had to wait before it gets unleashed. But it will.
          - Kill every enemy soldiers that surrenders. Slaughter them without second though. Send people to gather wood for great funeral fireplaces. And send note to the first, second and third armies. Tell them to reach Chust as soon as possible. And to prepare to take Monezuma’s head. No less than that will be acceptable.

          Perun woke up. The memories of the previous world… they were chasing him in his dreams recently. Regrets of his mistakes and weaknesses kept on haunting him. He gritted his teeth and stood up. Being stripped from his power made whole situation even more painful. He was a player stuck in a place he shouldn’t be, at the times that weren’t his own. He knew that his story has ended long time ago. He knew it was real, but in this world he currently was it was just a fantasy. He walked outside and covered his eyes from the harsh sunlight. This area was much hotter than lands he used to live in and rule over. He despised the heat and how sweaty and smelly it made his body. Unfortunately for him, saunas were not known at all in this barbaric country. Complaining about the foreign customs he walked towards the palace. The royal palace was an epitome of luxury. Marble, delivered from nearby mountains was shaped by the greatest artists in the world and represented the great philosophers and leaders of the country. He could not see clearly who, as the huge crowd did not allow him to get any closer. Something was about to be announced and people awaited the arrival of the ruler. An hour has passed, until it has happened. The dark skinned woman was a player, Perun knew it. They all had specific auras around them and he could sense it. He wondered whenever he can be sensed too and started looking around for enemy soldiers, but nothing seemed unusual. He looked back at her. She raised her hand, making the crowd go silent.
          - My dear citizens of Thebes! – She yelled – As you know we live in constant danger. The barbaric Celts to the east, while speaking about peace cannot be trusted! Russian fleets threaten our western shores! Indian empire to the south build their power on enemies of conquered lands and it is but a matter of time, before they look at us! But we are not afraid! We have the mightiest fleet in the world, who fears no one and can take on anyone! – She stopped as the crowd started cheering – Our fleet will soon dispatch Egypt to ensure that our peaceful lives will not be threatened by anyone! And this is the message I bring to you today! I ask the bravest of you to join the Royal fleet commanded by Azuria. I ask you to ensure that Egypt will not live in fear, but live a bright life of free men! I want every Egyptian not to fear for their lives, but live peacefully! I ask you to make our dream a reality!

          The travel to the south was took several days. The Queen’s request had huge influence on her people and many young men gathered to join the navy. Perun, hoping to find answers to his existence in the current world decided to give it a try as well. His posture and appearance stood out among Egyptians, but as this world did not know about Slavic people he had no resemblance to any other nation he could easily get away with “Lone mother and an unknown father” lie. To his surprise, there were so many candidates, that fleet had to choose from that he ended up standing in long line to the recruitment office. People, standing there for hours and having nothing else to do talked to the ones nearby.
          - This is the power of the Queen – The youngster in front of him spoke, answering someone’s complaint. – Our people will go even to the end of the world if she wishes us to!
          - We will. – Another person has joined a conversation. A tall black haired man – I have an uncle that serves Azuria. He visited me and told me not to join the fleet, as we’re actually going for the Japanese!
          - Japanese? Who are they? – Perun asked. He knew a little bit about neighbors of Egypt, but has never heard of such nation.
          - You did not really listen to your uncle, did you? – Youngster pointed out.
          - Well I’m too much into adventure to let that opportunity slip by – The man laughed. – And Japanese… All I know is that they are extremely dangerous to Egypt if left unchecked. We are going to ensure that they won’t pose us a threat. I do not know how, but apparently Queen and Azuria have some kind of plan.

          Perun woke up confused. He felt as if someone was messing in his head. A dream that contained a dream… It was crazy. But was he going mad? Was it someone’s doing? Yet thanks to this dream he remembered many things. He was in similar situation before. Back then he did not know it was a game. He had no idea what he should do and how to approach this problem. Now he’s somewhat more knowledgeable. He knows what to avoid. And now he has a purpose – to break this crazy cycle of rebirths before he goes completely mad. He lacked a definite plan, but… A single knock on the door interrupted his train of thoughts. Since the reawakening no one visited him. Perun looked around his room, but there was nothing he could use as a weapon except old chair and a table. Preparing for the worst, he opened the door. A young messenger stood in front of him. A piece of papyrus he kept in his hand clearly indicated that the delivery was made for someone educated, which basically excluded his whole neighborhood. There was no option this was a mistake. Boy looked at the confused man, put the papyrus into his hand and run away without waiting for the tip. Perun looked dumbfounded. These kids are usually extremely pesky if not paid. Yet it all made sense when he opened the message. A short text contained what he feared the most.
          “I know who you are. Meet me south of Bombay, I want to talk to you without anyone knowing about this, not even my people. I have answers and can offer you what you desire.
          Gandhi”
          He was found out.

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          • #6
            hello, i cannot find nowhere to download forever future. thanks in advance

            Comment


            • #7

              The town was sitting beside a river, at the feet of a hill, superimposed upon the distant massif of white-capped Dragon Mountains. The hills sprawled all the way the eye could see, dotted only by rock outcrops and a few white herds of animals. Human habitation, if there was any, was invisible. It was completely different when you looked the other way, sunwards, where the river curved lazily across the plains, quickly turning into a sea of desert that covered more than a half of the horizon. The river valley itself was however quite densely inhabited, with primitive mud huts, orderly fields and harbors for sailed boats, travelling up and down the river or stopped for fishing. There, all the way to the distant sea, that surrounded the small continent, was the world of humans.

              The opposite side, towards the mountains, was a world of fear, still ruled by wolves and other predators, despite man's steady push against them. Strands of walls, surrounding the central hill, towered above the village below. Already impressive, they were still in a process of construction, what could be divined from numerous, hazardously placed scaffoldings. This day, however, nobody was working on them. Instead, crowds have gathered around a long military column, proceeding towards the castle, with riders in front and prisoners in tow.

              The place was called Beograd; the White Hold. Its name originated from the color of bleached bone. For thousands of years, warriors met to fight in the shadow of immeasurably old ruins, standing on the top of the weathered hill. The boldest of winners braved the underground of these titanic ruins, unfathomably deep and shrouded in an aura of fear. No-one of those who went in did return. Or almost no-one, there was a single exception.

              The Dragon King, Vlad the Impaler. He emerged unharmed from that underground tomb of magic, wielding a strange spear that became a symbol of his power. He was granted strength beyond that of the ordinary men, and the gift of immortality. Some said he traded his soul to the devil and became a monster. Vlad didn't try to dispel or deny such rumors. He ruled with an iron fist and ruthlessness that was feared across the Slavic land. Yet, as much bloodthirsty he was towards enemies, his people regarded him with truly religious reverence, especially since he was crowned by the Temple of Dragon and Temple of the Night. These two orders, male and female respectively, usually tasked with seeking the forbidden knowledge, in the matter and in the stars, also whipped the crowds into religious frenzy during bloody and savage festivities. To these Slavic people, as unyielding and independent they were, Vlad was nothing short of a god. The living Dragon that was their champion against the forces of hostile universe: nomadic barbarians from the deserts and wild animals from the hills.

              This day, he was returning from the first sea campaign in the history of the Kingdom. Far on the western tip of the continent, deserts gave way to grasslands, then thick forests. Tribes of these forests, led by druids, were supporting the nomads since the Slavic Kingdom became a force capable of endangering them. When Vlad's soldiers landed in their lands, the druids gathered an army, but that army was crushed by orderly ranks of Kingdom's spearmen. Now, a fort was erected in that place, and the last of enemy survivors were taken to Beograd to be sacrificed to Mother Night, the goddess of snakes and magic.

              The Dragon King had no mercy to the conquered. Their holy forests were to be cut down, their statues burned, and anyone who refused to convert to the cult of Dragon, impaled on the spot. Vlad declared that no opposition can be suffered to live in the holy Slavic land. But it was not only a war of conquest, which had already brought many treasures to Kingdom's vaults. It was also a quest of exploration. When the western tip of continent was finally reached, soon two large islands were discovered even further away; one mountainous, with forests even more lush than on the mainland; the other dry and foreboding, promising a chance to find more rock oil which was so crucial in both alchemy and industry, especially in the eastern Slavic homeland, lacking any woods.

              The dragon priests presented their spears. The sinking sun was gleaming upon their bronze helmets. The night priestesses started to sing. Their skimpy robes of white fabric were ruffled by the wind. The crowds gathered in expectation. The prisoners reached the field of bones. Sacrifice was scheduled to start when the first stars appear on the darkening sky.

              Vlad looked up to the stars as well. Merciless stars that were the domain of the Goddess, a merciless being who set him upon the path of blood. The mystic runes he read in the catacombs were clear. His gods fought for dominance amongst the stars. The struggle on Earth was just a mirror image of that eternal war. This nation cursed with hostile and unforgiving deserts, lack of food and water, had to do everything to survive, and then to prosper. He knew they weren't alone here. Somewhere sunwards, across the immense body of the Ocean, resided the true powers of this world; kingdoms of fable and legend. For now, they could've been on a different planet. But a time was going to come, at some point, when they come into contact. Even the boundless Ocean didn't guarantee refuge. Will his people be ready, when the time comes?

              The Priests were singling out the sacrifices. Not every prisoner was to be sacrificed here, to Mother Night. Half of them were to be claimed by the Dragon; to give their lives, mining for metal ore and other gifts of the Dragon. There were many mines, and the workforce was short. Vlad nodded his head. To be ready, they would need even more sacrifices. A plan of the next campaign was already hatching in his head.
              Last edited by Max_Smirnov; June 11, 2017, 17:54.

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              • #8


                It was an unusual day in the capitol of Slavonia. Strange ships with curved hulls have sailed up the Save River, bearing foreign banners. As the guests were met at the harbour by armed guards, many citizens of Beograd gathered to see the visitors. They were warriors strange indeed, wearing full suits of iron chainmail, with long beards and hair underneath their steel helmets. Even their ships were reinforced with iron. Despite the recent prosperity, when Beograd was living through a virtual golden age, iron smithing was unknown here and items made of that metal fetched great prices, when wandering Viking merchants brought them since a contact was made with them a couple centuries ago.

                It wasn't wandering merchants this time, though.
                "It's the imperial banner of Leiff Erikkson, the leader of them all!" shouted someone.
                It was known that the Viking Empire sprawled across a large continent to the North, but despite many contacts, its ruler seemed half-mythical.

                The Viking delegation was met by a council of Slavonian knights and dignitaries.
                " …We welcome the trade and peace with your Emperor", said one of them. "Yet we will not share our maps with you. Our king disallows sharing maps with any foreigners on the pain of death." - He let out a sigh. King Vlad brought prosperity to the capitol and tore many lands from the hands of barbarians. Yet many nobles, especially those living inland, thought about his interest in the sea power and commerce as a sign of insanity, mistrust and thus disrespect towards his own people.

                The Vikings seemed mistrustful as well. Or maybe they just were so stoic, they weren't known for the love of talking. Either case, the locals were ready to grab their swords if something went wrong.

                The leader of the Vikings took a horn of mead. "Like ourselves, you got some fine mead and women in your land. We can understand you don't want anyone else taking them!" He laughed. The tension vanished. "Aye. It was you who brought gifts to our Emperor first. Just don't think we're not ready to fight you if you betray us."

                "Future will tell that we have no such intention. And it will show us if you don't harbor such designs either. But, tell us of these neighbors of yours. Are they really that threatening?"

                "Aye. The great continent to the northwest of us is full of wonders. Even the capitol of our Empire pales next to the golden splendor of Niniveh, the capitol of the legendary Gilgamesh, the King in Gold, where the high nobility eats from silver platters incrusted with rubies as big as child's fist. His lands are rich, and people numerous. Yet his power is still nothing compared to Indians, who live across a thin sea from us. Their master, Ghandi, has power beyond human understanding or measure. His is the legendary Collossus; his are magical powers and shrines and wonders; his is a palace as great as this whole town, where he lives. His are strange machines and armies many tens of thousands strong. His subjects treat him as living god and will do everything he says. Currently he is a war with Germans, but we don't know the time or date when he turns against us, and possibly even all of the world, you, Phoenicians, Aztecs, even the Babylonians."

                "Babylonians? That seems far-fetched. The maps we procured show their land is huge and practically unassailable from the sea. Thousands of miles from seashore to his bastions in the World Mountains. For all we know, they seem to be a power every bit as formidable as Indians. Especially since they seem to have entered alliances with Incans and Phoenicians, who share the same immeasurable continent."

                "You have not seen what Ghandi can do. And besides, he does not live at the other side of the world, but rather close."

                "That is a fair point."

                The guests have left after a few days, never stepping outside of the inner city and harbor or meeting the King. There was no doubt that thanks to them, Slavonia will enter an unprecedented age of sea trade and exploration. But their visit also brought uneasy information about powerful kingdoms and empires existing sunwards, far beyond the northern horizon. The surrounding, infinite ocean was bringing opportunities, but also threats to their holy land.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bagxri View Post
                  hello, i cannot find nowhere to download forever future. thanks in advance
                  Hi. Sorry, I haven't noticed your post before...

                  The latest release is here: http://www.mediafire.com/file/d2783e..._Future_mod.7z

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                  • #10
                    Turn 125 report

                    The lifestyle of Assyrians changed fast. While their ancestors could live for generations without seeing a change in the world, the contemporary citizens had to face shifts and challenges the new technology has brought. Aqueducts could transport water for tens of kilometers allowing cities to develop in-land. They were not bound to the riverside anymore. Mills eased the work of men and reshaped the whole industry. Wind and water became bound to the will of men and used to ease them in tiresome tasks such as grinding grain. Great expeditions, which are meant to discover new lands and spread the light of knowledge of civilized world were sailing across the seas. The great army reform was implemented to ensure that the army is able to deflect any aggressor. The most recent invention was the public education. Many academies were built so the wisdom of ages could be shared with commoners. While it is unknown what the future holds, no one questions the fact, that the world will never be the way it used to. A new age has begun. The age of change.
                    The expedition that currently sails across the seas is the second one in the history of Assyria. The first one, which had led to many discoveries and establishment of many diplomatic outposts that work to these days is, with few exceptions, just a memory nowadays. Brave captains brought back home vast knowledge about the world and other nations that inhabit it. This knowledge, stored for centuries now became available for people. According to it, besides the Assyrian Kingdom, there are seven great nations that rule over vast lands:

                    The Kingdom of Phoenicia
                    Phoenicians are our southern neighbors whose adaptation skills became masterful. Their lands consist of a mixture of great steppe and the Great Himalaya Range in the north and frozen plains and hills to the south, forcing the Phoenicians to adapt to every possible scenario. Just like they became masters at adapting to different environments, they have perfectly cooperate with other cultures. Being surrounded by other nations - us from the north, Aztecs from the east, Vikings from the west and having Slavs further to the south, they have established many peaceful and cooperative trading agreements. As a result their cities are prosperous and can look forward to the future. Phoenicians are also quite well known for their advancement in technology, which is quickly adapted in each environment these proud people live.

                    The Aztec Imperium
                    Aztecs are another neighbors of ours. After the period of swift settling, their focus has changed. There are two new politics the Aztecs live by. First is the growth of cities and inner trade. Lands of these country are full of valuable goods, which are transported to the biggest towns in the area and then distributed to other parts of the country. Implemented system ensures that regardless of the place of inhabitance, each citizen can enjoy the great marble from Himalayas, Caribou meat and furs from the western outposts or honey and cotton clothes from the central area. The list of goods is vast, but the developed system of trade deals with them without an issue. Second one is the fleet and army in order to defend against Indian pirates. They were a threat to Aztec eastern shores for generations and well experienced Indian pirates used to raid small villages and sea trade routes. While the age of Indian sea domination has ended, Aztec people still look at the sea with distrust and a feeling of impeding threat.

                    The Macedonian Imperium
                    Macedonians are mysterious people. Few of their ships have reached known lands but no sailor or captain spared any information about the location of their home. Yet they were more than willing to share information about their great Capital – Athens. Apparently it is so rich that it could compete with any other great cities of our known world, including Nineveh. With rich lands, lack of neighbors and strong economy ruled by the firm hand of King Iskandar, Macedonia enjoys the era of peace of prosperity. Our second expedition hopes to find their lands and bring back the information about the last unknown great country that we have heard about. Hopefully that day draws close and we can establish a peaceful and friendly relation with this powerful nation.

                    The Slavic Kingdom
                    Slavic kingdom until recently was rather unknown to us, but with our recent discoveries we have managed to establish a small diplomatic outpost at their lands. It required quite an amount of diplomacy, as their ruler – Vlad has strictly forbidden sharing crucial information with foreigners and is overall not too fond of them. Therefore the majority of our data comes from observations made from our ships sailing around Slavic borders. Yet from our data gathered we were able to draw few conclusions. Slavs are settling aggressively hoping to grab as much land as possible before Germans decide to expand on southern islands. They also have created a trade relations with northern countries and try to increase their sphere of influence. For some reason they feel threatened by us and take important part in our recent trade crisis. It is extremely surprising, as from all known nations they are the furthest one from Assyria, but this might be the actual reason. Vlad is a ruler of great appetite and as he has shaped whole nation around his will he may try to shape the world in a similar matter. Being furthest away from Assyria, this is the only way he could affect us. He is skillful at diplomacy, as he is able to trade many technological elements to his advantage while suppressing our technological trade pacts. Slavs might soon face a new threat though. After India has signed a peace treaty with Germany, the latter may finally decide to expand onto Slavic lands. As German armies are numerous, this could force Vlad to slow down his settling strategy and enforce garrisons on the northern isle.

                    The Viking Imperium
                    Viking Empire is the closest neighbor of India and the nation that is harassed the most by them. Indian pirates are well known for mass pillaging Viking trade ships, who are helpless against great Indian fleet. They became desperate enough to call a great crusade against Gandhi. The objective is to take down the giant with allied forces of Vikings, Assyrians, Slavs and Aztecs, pillage his biggest cities, including capital Delhi so they won’t be able to threaten anyone for a long time. This objective might become tough to achieve, as recent Indian peace treaty has resulted in vast armies joining garrisons and creating a powerful defensive force which might be able to repel any attacker. Yet Vikings are not disheartened and believe in the success of the operation. Their lands are ridiculously vast and trade is crucial for their well-being, therefore the disposal of Indian threat is their top priority. Their economy is powerful enough to muster a great force, but will it be powerful enough? Only time will tell.

                    The German Oligarchy
                    Since ancient times Germans lived in the shadow of their neighbors. At war or threatened by the war they became master at guerilla tactics, used to fight against much more numerous opponent armies. But they were successful at their unorthodox tactics, as despite long wars and swarm by enemy units, not a single German city has fallen. Now, at peace they may finally resume their settling ambitions. After all their oligarchic government is more than hungry for many goods that nearby lands contain and just wait to be exploited. Will that put them into another conflict, or will they make a peaceful approach? It is impossible to tell, but Germans will definitely want to reclaim their position of second power in the world that was lost due to continuous wars.

                    The Indian Oligarchy
                    The heart of the world. Gandhi rules over the biggest and most powerful nation in the world and does not intend to slow down even a little bit. He is rich enough, partially thanks to pirate attacks on Vikings, to hire the best specialists and build enormous architectural wonders faster than other nations can even imagine. As a result, India has a vast display of wonders that makes the rest of the world extremely jealous. Their economy is the strongest, their technological lead is unquestionable despite the intense scientific cooperation between several countries. And there seems to be no end to that. Indians will become a threat to us if we let them develop at such rate, since our speed might never reach their level. Yet will the planned crusade be enough? Only time will tell. For now lands of Gandhi means wealth and prosperity and ruler of this country will do anything to ensure this does not change.
                    Last edited by Eerion; July 14, 2017, 05:19.

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                    • #11
                      As the city expanded, the Royal Palace moved to the western outskirts of the city. Rebuilt at the side of northern Himalayas not only it allowed its residents to grasp the view over whole city, but also was a display of wealth and power to citizens living below. The monumental palace displayed nothing but lavishness. Huge marble columns supported vast terraces full of local and exotic plants and trees. A complicated system of aqueducts provided water to them transforming terraces into great living gardens of Assyria. Golden roofs reflected sunlight making the whole building shine during the daylight. Because of that fact citizens of Nineveh gave it a name – Morning Star.
                      Vast halls and cellars contained enough living space for royal guards and hundreds of servants to live there and provide the king with anything he may ever desire. Even now, dozens of cooks worked in order to prepare the sun feast to celebrate one of the biggest Assyrian holidays organized during summer solstice.
                      However, the atmosphere at the Kings chambers was far from celebratory.
                      - Our fleet and spies were sent off from Slavs and we are now banned from their shores or lands. – Enkidu, the green haired man and the second most important persona in the country reported. He collected information from every corner of the world and presented them to the ruler. – This was to be expected, but I have to say their desperate attempts to remain in the shadows are amusing. They went into complete rage, although tried to show us that they are calm and composed.
                      - They think that if they remain hidden, no one will look at them, allowing this little nation to grow and surpass others. Being far from the world’s center helps them too. – Gilgamesh looked at the incrusted golden cup in his hand. It was empty, and since the meeting was strictly confidential he could not call a servant for refill. After a long sigh he got up and walked toward a table where wine cask lied.
                      - I am afraid you’re right. But there is not much we can do right now. Although I would refrain from giving Slavs free hand. Their attempts to undermine us could become disastrous if left unchecked. They must feel there are limits to their actions. – Enkidu joined the wine degustation. Secret meeting or not, the weather was hot and dry so speaking constantly was bad for his throat.
                      - I assume you’re not up for a quick military raid? – Gilgamesh asked, but seeing the Enkidu’s expression he changed the topic. – What about Gandhi?
                      - India… for years they are undergoing a cultural revolution. As if the ways of old became unwelcome. Old traditions are forgotten. Ceremonies at Stonehenge are but a shadow of what they used to look like. They started to look into the future. What for us is going to be disastrous. – Enkidu was clearly displeased by the fact that the nation that Assyria couldn’t catch up to was about to leap off even further – This movement is named “Age of Reason” and it looks like soon they will become the major power within a country.Gilgamesh stood up again and picked up the wine cask. Carrying the alcohol he walked slowly towards the throne. He put it next to it and filled another cup.
                      - Yes, I have heard about them. Gandhi supports this movement as well. But they had a special slogan, am I right?
                      - Yes – Enkidu nodded. He sat down in front of the throne and filled his cup. – it says “We are India” and we can sum it up as a huge decentralization process. For this reason Delhi isn’t the city it used to be.
                      - Delhi… - Gilgamesh looked at the ceiling, as if to try to organize his thoughts. – The more I think of it, the more I am sure that this crusade will fail miserably.Enkidu looked carefully at king. He was surprised that Gil could consider that something he takes part in could fail.
                      - The thing is – Gilgamesh continued – This plan was reasonable when everything focused on these two cities. And now what? Vikings want to sacrifice thousands of soldiers in order to grab two cities that may be huge, but at the same time they’re just filled with relics of the past with no actual worth. New concepts or monumental buildings emerge in other regions of the country. If anyone still thinks this will stop Gandhi is gravely mistaken. Not to mention the overall problem.
                      - Overall problem of what? – Enkidu was confused by the sudden change of topic.
                      - Vikings. Slavs. They’re so focused on joint cooperation, but at the same time treat us with hostility. The trade ban they try to impose on us goes for decades. And at the same time they claim our soldiers are essential. This does not even make sense.
                      - And what do you expect? Our science is second only to India. We are far superior to other countries, so they are afraid of making us even stronger.
                      - I know what their puny minds think of. But you can’t eat an apple and want to have an apple. Let me put it that way. When we asked for trade with Phoenicians, they said they are not interested and at the same time they have rejected our gifts, deciding to remain neutral in this aspect. During our discussions with Macedonians they have decided to reject our gifts, as Iskandar wanted to remain his neutrality and not sway towards any side. What Vikings did? Rejected our trade offer, took our gifts and send our diplomats off with nothing. What Slavs did? The have heard about Indian deal with Montezuma so they sent half of Beograd’s dignitaries as to assure they won’t trade that technology with us. And they want us to be allies? If this is a joke they must hire better comedians at their courts.The green haired man stood up and started walking around the throne. Gilgamesh just slowly drank the wine in the cask. He knew that his friend needs time to think. This was not something he had expected.
                      - So what do you plan? Abandon the crusade? – Enkidu asked.
                      - I am not sure. – Gilgamesh shrugged his shoulders. India cannot be left alone or they will swallow the whole world. I am sure of it. At the same time, the cooperation with people that are openly hostile and barbaric makes me want to puke. We could take these two cities in a crusade and destroy them. Indian army is partially disbanded. They have no wars so they have sent part of their army to assist in mines or on fields. It will take time before they would be fully operational again. But at the same time as I said this crusade will not accomplish its goal. It will fail.
                      - But you can’t really leave India alone. You know that.
                      - I do. But a full scale attack from several sides is needed instead of a point-attack crusade. Indians, Vikings, Slavs, Us. We conquer, raze their cities to the ground and leave desert behind. Much bigger attack force would be needed, but maybe then India will fall.
                      - And you think people will just leave their freshly conquered towns? Especially Vikings that live so close?
                      - If they won’t… then we shall think what to do next. But for now this is what we should focus on. A power to take them down for good. – Gilgamesh stood up. – I think it is time for us to end our meeting. There is no more wine in the throne room, we cannot continue like that. – Seeing as Enkidu nods joyfully, Gilgamesh started walking towards the terrace garden. – But there is one thing that worries me the most.
                      - What is it Gil?
                      - After India falls I don’t believe they will just abandon this alliance. We will become their next target as the new powerhouse. We are at a situation when we have no good alternatives that could ensure a peaceful existence. Either India or that alliance will try to stop us.
                      - Yea. But I don’t believe you don’t have plans to overcome that.
                      - I do. We must simply become strong enough so not even their allied forces stand a chance. This is the only way.
                      - That sounds so much like you Gil.

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                      • #12

                        Jaroslav was under attack. Torches were lit, faintly illuminating the wooden houses of the town and men at arms who were rushing to the palisade. There were sounds of inhuman screams coming from the direction of the primordial forest. The believers in the Old Faith were coming.

                        Jaroslav was the capitol of Slavonia's westernmost province. It was a small capitol, though, and a very large province. The town was settled not so long ago upon the southern shore of the Western Slavonia and was still but a collection of huts, the farthest-flung outpost of the Slavonic Kingdom. If you started the long journey here from Beograd, you would most likely first either sail north to Sofia, down the Save river, or take the desert road west, where the grayish sands would eventually give way to yellow waves of rye and tobacco of Varna's farmlands. Varna was the richest town of the Southern Slavonia, the larger of two small continents inhabited by the Slavs. Here was the place where numerous trade routes connected, and also the weapons of Jaroslav's defenders were made from the foul iron mined in Varna's desert mines; it was brittle unless thoroughly and skillfully hammered. Such lavishness was not for kingdom's mere footsoldiers; their weapons were made quickly and cheaply in large alchemical furnaces. In Varna, far more important than weapons were good nails to construct ever better ships to conquer the seas, the source of wealth.

                        If you were lucky, you could even board one of the newest ships, Caravels and then travel westwards, along the sparsely vegetated shores. It was the first thousand of miles to reach the western tip of the West Wing of the Dragon Mountains chain, and see the western forests. A thousand years ago, King Vlad led a campaign which conquered these lands and all but eradicated the believers in the Old Faith, the general name for the countless tribes worshipping the religion of nature and forever opposed to the royal Black Dragon. Now the last remaining survivors were hiding deep in the forest, while the city of Novigrad dominated the area; sometimes called the Western Capitol, the town was another trade center, a quickly rising star, already starting to rival Varna thanks to its close ties to Vikings who inhabited a huge continent to the north. From there, Southern Slavonia started to slowly thin down to nothing, until finally you sailed across the shallow sea towards the Western Slavonia. Its eastern shore, rich in resources and easier to defend, was already quite consistently settled; but Jaroslav was far away from there, on the other side of immense forests that covered most of the continent. Compared to these, Novigrad's forests looked like mere bushes. It was the true heartland of the Old Faith. Hidden in these woods from Vlad's armies, the tribes were numerous, strong, old and determined to hold on to their ancestral land forever.

                        Once Jaroslav was built and started to gain strength, the tribes were determined to erase it, that insult which tainted even this pristine land, not so long ago a place where one could safely escape from Vlad's tyranny. It took them however two generations to finally mount a full scale attack. Villages were already overrun by roving bands of tribesmen. The remaining royal forces, despite slaughtering many hundreds of them, were forced to retreat to Jaroslav to make their stand.

                        It wasn't looking good. The main enemy force comprised of fierce warriors, wielding large axes and clothed in chainmail and other metal armor, most likely bought or looted from either Vikings or Slavonia. Outnumbering the defenders three to one, they made a camp at the edge of the forest that evening and were preparing for a night assault, performing rituals to nature to fling themselves into berserker rage. The twilight saw various drugs being consumed and Slavic prisoners burned alive in wicker men. Then the night fell, hiding the tribesmen from the eye but only strengthening the strange sounds.

                        Midnight came and passed; and suddenly someone yelled alert. It wasn't really needed, as everyone was hearing the sudden cacophony of screams coming from the enemy camp. No doubt it was the assault coming; on the top of the palisade, soldiers raised their shields, aimed their spears, prepared their bows. Each minute of wait was nerve-wracking, but still no enemy in sight; only these hellish screams. Then… silence. Sudden and complete. The soldiers looked at each other; everyone was scared of the strangeness of it. Minutes passed in complete silence, an even worse wait than the last. Nothing was moving; minutes slowly turned into an hour. Finally, the moon pierced the clouds but it revealed nothing except unmoving plain and what seemed to be the contours of the enemy camp.

                        Only when the morning came they saw that the enemy camp was not what they have seen. And they understood the reason why their enemies suddenly fallen silent. They were all dead, either laying where they fell, or impaled upon cavalry lances, set in the ground. A single banner, depicting the Black Dragon, was slowly waving in the wind. The banner of Vlad's Ghost Riders.

                        Vlad the Impaler, the king of Slavonia, almost smiled at the memory. It was a good show, better even than kicking out these Assyrian spies, who so predictably overstayed their welcome and started putting their noses into the private business of his subjects despite being explicitly said not to. Vlad valued his privacy, and so did the Slavic people, that was why the walls of Beograd were guarded the most diligently from the side where his castle stood. No wonder, the castle was a place of many dangerous things, and purposefully so. Vlad didn't like interlopers, who would try to invade these granite walls in order to make their politics. Courtiers and courtesans made him sick. But as they were quite regularly dying in mysterious circumstances (which did amuse Vlad), almost nobody who wasn't ordered to work at the castle wanted to be here. Nobody except the most desperate ones… and the aristocrats. The aristocrats kept their distance from Vlad, their pale faces hovering above their military-style clothing. They could more than take care of themselves and rather enjoyed the dangerous castle and the strange games they played in this place of meetings. The true elite of the Slavonic society, as savage, free and decadent as their king. And considered almost equally insane by everyone else.

                        Honor and dignity needed the backing of violence. That was the law of the universe. Strength was what he wanted. The strength to destroy any enemies of his people and keep the country undisturbed by interlopers. And that strength was what he was promised by the Black Dragon. He remembered the vision from the catacombs, where he gained immortality, all these thousands of years ago. The shape of the dragon goddess outlined in the violet, sickly, magical light . Black armor like scales; black wings; yellow lizard eyes; and the pale mask of a human face. The power of dark magics in exchange for selling his soul to the Mother Night. And the souls of any aristocrats worthy of that name. A small price. Yet. He was too weak. So weak compared to the immense magic of Ghandi, or the prosperity of Assyria. Too weak to stop them if they ever decided to turn their full might against Slavonia. Did he strike a deal with weaker gods, after all? It didn't matter now. Any gods who give strength are better than none. There was no other path than darkness now. And no one he'd rather be than himself. That hateful dragon saw that force in him, a dark and violent heart like her own. So be it. He choose immortal life instead of everlasting death, and that was the life he choose. If the fates are intent on his destruction, let them come. If other nations choose death over life, there will be death. Freedom is worth any price.

                        Vlad thought about these countries. For now, they seemed to choose a crusade against Ghandi. Vlad still wasn't sure if that was a good idea, but the ridiculous power of Ghandi was real, and also real was the harassment of Vikings. For now, Slavonia seemed to be too weak to be noticed by the Indian behemoth. Wasn't this really just a Viking problem, not his? Yet the Vikings were a good, strong neighbor until now. Straightforward in deals and not nosy, unlike that golden king of distant Assyria. Also, it was likely that a lot of Slavic people will support that crusade. He'd have to kill many to suppress them, and still they would name him a coward for refusing to take the field. Looks like the crusade was going to happen, whether he liked it or not.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Solarius Scorch View Post

                          Hi, the dowloaded file is corrupt.. Please reupload it. Thanks...

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