Meanwhile, in the News

Headlines from the Flint Tribune

Meanwhile in the Apocalypse

  • Shedding Skin. Around the world, huge numbers of snake-skins are being found, all white and hollow. Snakes are dying en masse by constantly shedding and re-shedding their skin until muscle and bone becomes visible.
  • Pardon Me. Prisoners across Risur seek pardons so they can be with family. However, two unrepentant prisoners—the dragonborn brothers Eberardo and Valando—desire release solely so they can fight in Risur’s army and burn as many people in the opposing armies as possible before they die.
  • Utopian Societies. While most of the world fell to chaos recently, Obscurati control has been impressively solid in the Malice Lands and Elfaivar, where there was little existing government to contend with. Model communities have sprung up, each an experiment to test different ways of solving local problems. The residents are all cooperative, or so report the Ob-endorsed couriers.
  • One-Armed Rebel. In rural Ber, a one-armed eladrin who had lived harmoniously with the locals for centuries was attacked for unknown reasons by government forces. The government lost the engagement, and the fugitive has disappeared. Local newspapers received boxes with grisly trophies from the battle, and letters allegedly from the fugitive demanding, “Kasvarina should come face me herself.”

Spring 502

  • War! As news spreads of imminent invasions from the rest of the world, the people of Risur stand stalwart, and many are eager to volunteer for military service to defend their homeland. Fearful citizens are glad to have a concrete threat to prepare against, since so far there seems to be no solution to the strange dark skies.
  • What is It? Though the shipping lanes have been opened since Risur’s monarch defeated She Who Writhes, sailors have sighted strange new leviathans, their skin slick and red as if with blood. Were these creatures always here and merely held at bay by the fey titan, or did they arrive after the stars fell from the skies? So far no one has reported any attacks by these bloody beasts.
  • Good. Clericists and adherents of the Old Faith are meeting in Dawn Square each day this month to debate the nature of goodness, and to discuss ways to increase overall prosperity in this dark time. Organizers have asked both Flint police and the Dockers Guild to volunteer watchmen with a mission to prevent hiveminds from forming. Local businessman Heward Sechim lamented that there was so much will to effect change, but the dangers of hiveminds forces them to act slowly.
  • Four. Ambassadors from Ber, Crisillyir, Danor, and Drakr have all lodged formal declarations of war against Risur. However Methan duNadria, head of the Danoran consulate in Flint, states that the Danoran people are not committed to the invasion. Indeed, they feel a debt of obligation to the Risuri monarch and those allies who managed to slay a titanic hivemind that threatened their capital city of Cherage.
  • Absolutely Nothing. Asher Henton, Distinguished Professor of Otherworldly Physics at Kitham University in Shale has completed a detailed survey of the dark sky in search of new stars. What lies out there? “Absolutely nothing,” he says, aside from a handful of readily visible planets and the swirling vortex that has been dubbed The Gyre. And what is the Gyre? Henton refused to comment until he has a clearer understanding, though he ominously stated that it comes more into focus every day.

After the Great Eclipse

  • Stable Transition. Unlike Risur, other nations have strong cells of Obscurati agents who made sure their local brands of ancient monsters didn’t wake up and start causing trouble. Magic now functions normally in Danor and the Malice Lands.
  • Danor is firmly in league with Nicodemus the Gnostic, who reveals himself and pens letters to several newspapers to explain what has happened (in layman’s terms) and encourage cooperation. He does not assume an official government position, but supported by Sovereign Han Jierre, Nicodemus lets the people of the world know that he has answers to their many questions, and invites the leaders and most prominent thinkers of these nations—all except Risur and Ber, which cannot be reached because of She Who Writhes.
  • I Knew This Was Coming. The eschatologist movement in Drakr prevents almost any chaos, as many simply accept what they’ve seen as another step towards the End Times. In the far north of Drakr, though, Grandis Komanov encourages her radical eschatologist sect to raise an apocalyptic army of the dead to sweep across the world.
  • Damned Lies. Crisillyir’s ruling hierarchs have long been subtly swayed by the Obscurati, but the nation sees the greatest turmoil of any. All those who would have resisted were visited in the hour of transition and killed. They left behind cleverly-forged suicide notes, confessing that their faith was a lie, and that they used myths of gods only so they could hold onto power over the common people.
  • Wait and See. The nation of Ber suffers small upheavals as Obscurati agents attempt to seize control, but they are brutally quashed by Bruse Shantus. Sensing the precariousness of his position, he charismatically proclaims that the darkening of the sky heralds that this is Ber’s time to prosper. Since many of the Beran races possess darkvision, the nation of recently-savage people actually remains mostly orderly. Bruse Shantus is wary of Nicodemus, but plans to attend the conference in hopes of maintaining his rule without unnecessary war.
  • Old Wounds, New Wounds. Even the eladrin living in the colonies that have overtaken Elfaivar respond positively to Nicodemus and the Obscurati. However, those eladrin who hid for centuries in the fey enclaves—which existed between this world and the Dreaming—begin to stream into colonial cities, telling of their enclaves splitting apart and disintegrating. Thousands died. Only one enclave survived; Athrylla Valanar, matriarch of the Sentosa enclave, managed to pull her city back into the real world as the Ob’s ritual cut the Dreaming off from the rest of reality. She urges her people not to be tricked, but her voice is mostly drowned out by optimism for reconciliation.

Special Dreaming Clover Edition

  • Rock Rackus Memorabilia. After his high-profile death, Rock Rackus and everything to do with him has become the talk of the city of Clover. Collectors desire any sort of connection to the slain celebrity, and within hours of the announcement of his demise, his suite in Thistle Palace was looted. Rumours say an unnamed figure is offering a lifetime supply of gold in exchange for Rackus’s diamond-encrusted gold pistol, which was not found on his body.
  • Gremlin Recruitment. The river port of Clover has been befouled by the presence in the Waking of a whirligig ship, its tails spinning and its blowhole belching steam at a mechanical rhythm. The maddening song of the vessel’s metal heart is felt in every fey’s bones, all the more vexing for its silence to the ears. The High Gardens along the shore call upon every gremlin in the city—no matter your factional loyalty—to gather each dusk to take a barge out onto the water, where their presence can disrupt the clicking and clacking and hopefully drive the monster away.
  • When the Hunt’s Away, the Cats Will Prey. With the Great Hunt active around Clover, the great rivery fields of the Weftlands are untended, and the mighty herds are prime pickings for every would-be hunter in the land. Such grand horned beasts are normally kept tightly guarded so that only the formal members of the Hunt can keep them as trophies, but several expeditions have already set out, foremost among them led by Agunn’s Children, a litter of sentient cats.
  • Snake in the Hen House. Falgo the Henkeeper, whose illusory eggs make for delicious omelettes, says his chicken coops were raided, and numerous eggs were stolen. When questioned, the chickens said a snake charmed them with his song and then made off with the phantasmal treats.
  • Seeking Dogs. The Big Thicket of the west fell under attack by wolves wearing men’s skin this past full moon. Faeries of the Magnolia Burrows have put out requests to buy hounds raised in the human realms, in hopes they will fend off the wolfweres. They are desperate, because their normal paths into the Waking are blocked, so they cannot simply steal the dogs they need.
  • Exiled Mermaid. Beshela, Archfey of the Sea, has decreed her court prophet Leira Yensid banished to the land for making false predictions and impugning her honour. Leira claimed, “Soon ships shall fall to the sea floor, and the realm of Lady Beshela shall no longer permit their passage.” The prophetess, reduced to crawling from the shore on her hands, leaves a trail of blood as she seeks the aid of the Unseen Court in Thistle Palace.

Winter 501

  • New Technology! Excitement abounds at another new creation: Spark-Gap Transmitters! Nearly-instantaneous messages are possible between Flint and Slate now, thanks to the development of some which can send something termed 'radio waves' which can then be picked up by a receiver which has also been constructed. The nation is going to begin expanding the network across the country, and is seeking to hire technicians to both man and maintain the new devices. Most postal workers are not worried, as messages have to be relayed along multiple stations before reaching the destination, and is only suitable for shorter messages at the moment.
  • The Primo Rising! A new crime lord has come to prominence in Flint, filling a void left since the collapse of the Kell guild. Known as ‘the Primo’—a subtle insult to the Clericist followers in The Family—the new syndicate’s leader for now remains in the shadows, but has made a point of actively targeting dockers in the city. Workers speak of being threatened with death if they won’t let agents of the Primo unload certain ships, and dozens have gone missing after refusing to let cargo be looted. A few days later their bodies have been found crushed and water-logged. Thames Grimsley has sought help from the authorities, but many dockers have vowed to seek vigilante justice.
  • War Footing. Relations between Danor and Risur have plummeted despite the recent peace conference. Accusations of R.H.C. activities in foreign countries have increased tensions along the Avery coast. Anonymous sources inside the Risuri military say they’ve received reports that several Danoran battalions have been placed on high alert and moved from their normal postings, though they appear to have marched inland rather than assuming coastal positions as would be expected in the run-up to a Fifth Yerasol War. The office of Danor’s minister of war Eloise Duffet responded that the troops are simply engaged in war games.
  • Demonic Terrorists. A series of violent terrorist strikes in Trekhom and Mirsk has rocked the nation of Drakr. Using suicidal arcane spellcasters, a group of demon-sympathizers attacked seven separate museums and military compounds across the nation. While originally thought to just be random attacks against the establishment, investigative reporters have linked the attacks together, as each targeted suspected storage sites of ancient relics from the time of Drakr’s alliance with the demonocracy. The government’s Bureau of Eschatology remains tight-lipped on the subject, but updated its weekly newspaper report to remind citizens that preparedness is valuable, even for unlikely situations like an imminent apocalypse.
  • Fey Quietude. Reports throughout Risur show that the normal level of fey activity has decreased. Less than half of the normal offerings left for minor fey have been claimed, and larger cities like Bole and Shale have not received expected visits by minor functionaries of the Unseen Court. Asher Henton, Distinguished Professor of Otherworldly Physics at Kitham University in Shale, has sent an open letter to several newspapers warning that ‘Inverse Chronosomiac Cascades suggest that Extraplanar Connections will be Compromised in the Near Future.’
    • A more traditional source, a skyseer who was close to the late Nevard Sechim, when asked on what he forsees replied simply, “The third raven has not yet landed.”

Autumn 501

  • Colossus. Where’s the colossus? Crossing the strait from Ber to Elfaivar. Curious titan-watchers have been gathering rumors of all the footprints that mark the machine’s path. The colossus’s invisible approach is heralded by thunder as it collapses the ground beneath its twenty-yard long feet, so most animals are smart enough to get out of the way. Inquisitive on-lookers have not fared as well.
  • Tensions. Remember the Arripa! This merchant vessel was sunk just off the coast of Beaumont in Danor. A disagreement between a member of the crew and a local police officer spiralled into a desperate attempt to flee the city as Danorans sought an outlet for their anger at Risur. The ship managed to cast off, only to be fired upon by another vessel. All sixty-three crewmen died either with their ship or in violence on land. The identities of those responsible are currently unknown.
  • Here There (Still) be Dragons. Soldiers in the Beran army report sightings of a dragon in the Bruse’s latest campaign to put down gnoll rebels. Adventurers across the continent of Lanjyr are frothing at the bit hoping they might find another dragon to slay.
  • Shocking Developments! Royal technologists in Flint have harnessed the power of lightning! Called electricity, it can be generated in a variety of ways, and can be used to power lights and machines. Factory owners seemed thrilled with the possibilities at demonstrations, while the military has been said to be training with new 'lightning prods' and 'lightning guns'. Naysayer Catherine Romana has stated she is drafting a bill to oppose replacing any street lightning with the new 'light-bulbs' as it will put the lamp-lighters out of a job.
  • Moving Rivers, Walking Dead. Large trees are spontaneously sprouting in massive clumps along the banks of rivers in the northern reaches of Risur’s Weftlands, then dying almost as quickly. The trees either divert the flow or collapse and create dams and new lakes. Trappers in the area have reported finding long-dead animals, some nearly rotted to the bone, caught in traps they laid only days earlier

Summer 501

  • Colossus. The world reacts to news of the colossus attack in Flint. Archmissionary Cornelius Eboracum of the Clergy offers exorcism aid for evil spirits unleashed from Cauldron Hill. The Drakran military has ordered the production of extremely massive cannons to repel the colossus if it should make it to their shores. Beran peasants report local nature spirits wreaking havoc and mysterious massive footprints tracing a path from the Anthras Mountains toward Seobriga. The sovereign of Danor continues to express hope for peace with Risur, but acknowledges that negotiations are indefinitely delayed.
  • Curses. Cauldron Hill has been interdicted by the Risuri military. The side of the mountain is in flux, sometimes showing a hole that leads to the Bleak Gate, sometimes solid rock. Soldiers have been equipped with magical weapons from the nation’s vaults to combat spectral monsters that emerge each night.
  • Sedition. Sparse reports come from Danor of university students filing formal petitions against the government and even talking of repeating the riots of a generation ago. These protests come in response to a crackdown on broadsheet journalism. The leadership in Cherage has forbidden publication of conspiracy theories that link Danor to the colossus in Risur.
  • Shipwrights. The city of Shale, once governed by the king’s sister Ethelyn, has ordered a rapid increase in ship construction in preparation for possible war with Danor. Heightened logging activities throughout Risur have been stymied by fey activity. The city of Bole is suffering an encroachment of trees, which have been walking into the streets when people aren’t looking.
  • Sibilance. Colonists in Elfaivar talk of eerie whispers in the woods. Near the Sharavathi Falls, a site claimed to be sacred to the fallen eladrin empire, several caravans have disappeared except for a single survivor each. All have reported their compatriots vanishing, hearing only whispers and seeing only foot prints of mighty jungle cats.

Spring 501

  • Doctor. Tales from Ber tell of miraculous healing in the hinterlands. Long averse to the Clergy and their renowned curative magic, the upper class of Ber seem quite abuzz at rumors of a foreign doctor treating the sick using science and surgery, not sorcery. Though Flint has its own medical education programs that produce fine physicians, stories tell of this mystery man repairing severed spines, reattaching lost limbs, and restoring sight to the blind, feats currently beyond the scope of secular medicine.
  • Hue. Clothiers across Lanjyr are concerned that the upcoming peace summit might endanger the production of a popular dye, Tardisian Blue, which changes color in the presence of magic. The flower that yields the dye is native to a single island in the Yerasol Archipelago, and that island allegedly lies in a “buffer zone” that has been proposed, where neither side could have settlers. Druids in Risur cheer the announcement, saying it will let the islands return to their original historic beauty.
  • Baker. For months subrail travelers have wondered at the construction outside their windows as they passed beneath the heart of downtown. Wonder no longer. The Sharon M. Baker Station (Red Line, station 4) will be having its ribbon-cutting ceremony on the 12th of Spring. The city subrail authority apologizes that the Red Line will be shut down until noon that day for track maintenance and platform alignment.
  • Tenant. The Royal Docks of Upper Flint Bay have a new short-term lodger. Freux Rouge, a second-rate frigate of the Danoran navy, arrives on the 9th bearing dignitaries for this month’s peace summit. The Flint garrison promises that Risuri ships will be ready at a moment’s notice if the Danorans cause trouble. Indeed, the R.N.S. Brawn—the ship whose berth the Freux Rouge is taking—will be on regular patrol. Gawkers are expected, because the Rouge is one of Danor’s few remaining sailing warships.
  • Smith. In Drakr, this spring’s Forge Festival will see most every dwarf over the age of 10 working to craft something out of metal over the course of a single day. Trekhom’s grand shipyard expects to launch a vessel at sunrise the next day, and has invited all non-dwarves in the city to come and watch the unprecedented construction.
  • Reunion. Centuries after it was destroyed in the Second Victory, the Aquilopolis Bridge which once connected the human world with the eladrin world has been reconstructed. Now the massive structure links Crisillyir and Elfaivar at the Strait of Sjögren, and the Avery Coast Railroad is already conveying passengers and freight between the two continents. However, security is tight, and the bridge’s completion was delayed due to numerous attacks by jungle tigers.

Winter 500

  • Fire. Scholars throughout Flint weep as the Miller Memorial Library burns down. The library, which was built over 400 years ago during the first term of Governor Roland Stanfield, contained original copies of some of Risur’s oldest literature, poetry, and religious epistles. Police authorities blame poor construction of the building’s gaslight lanterns, but some found it suspicious that no adjacent buildings caught fire. The lawyer for of a pair of dragonborn brothers serving a life sentence in prison for arson delivered a statement on their behalf. Though they did not explicitly claim responsibility, they warned that Risur should release them, or else more buildings will burn.
  • Firebrand. Benedict Pemberton, owner of experimental arms manufacturer Pemberton Industries, is on a tour of the nation, speaking with members of parliament and rich power-brokers to promote his new book, Behold! Science! In it, he argues that the Risur-Danor peace conference scheduled for early Spring 501 could kill the nation’s progress in technological innovation, since without the threat of war there will be no motivation for research. Critics charge he’s making a veiled push for war with Ber, about which he makes derogatory claims throughout the book.
  • Fired! As protests continue in Parity Lake over factory conditions and worker abuses, several owners discharged their entire workforce without notice and brought in police to arrest as trespassers any workers who showed up. The same day, several hundred Beran immigrants arrived at Bosum Strand and were ushered directly to the factories.
  • Fireworks. The year ends on the 91st of Winter, and that evening the people of Flint can expect a dazzling display of fireworks launched from ships in the harbor. Parades are being organized, including the grand March of Kings, a mobile costume ball with dancers and all manner of extravagant entertainment. A few small factories upstream of Stray River are producing high-quality fireworks, while those in Parity Lake are under watch to make sure nothing burns down.
  • Ice. Climate researchers at Pardwight University warn that extra soot and smoke in the air from the industrial economy will block sunlight, cooling the planet and causing horrible winters. A spokesman for Eschatologists of Flint United sent a thank you letter to the department, encouraging them to keep spreading evidence of the world’s imminent demise.

Autumn 500

  • War and Peace. The Kaybeau Armament and Technology Exposition dominates the main festival grounds of Flint this month, but the city is already preparing for a summit between Risur and Danor. Scheduled for early next Spring, the summit will see the rulers of the two nations meet and discuss a long-lasting peace. The famed minotaur arbiter from Ber, Brakken of Heffanita, will moderate negotiations. Security is expected to be high.
  • Weird Illness. Goodson’s Estuarial Reformatory has become home to a growing population of demented people, now nearly thirty. All of them suffer from a condition doctors are calling Distant Madness. Suspected to be a magical affliction, perhaps fallout from the events on Cauldron Hill in the summer, the condition causes victims to feel physically displaced and unable to tell how far away things are. The mad men and women hail mostly from Parity Lake. A few cases were reported in North Shore, but the wealthier victims have the resources to afford magical alleviation.
  • What Horror! Police are investigating a new bizarre serial killer in Central District, who first struck in the middle of summer. The authorities are unsure of a connection between the five victims, save that all of them had their brains removed through the palates of their mouths.
  • Wicket Gates Coming. Enthusiasm in the city is mixed concerning the burgeoning subrail tunnel system. While the well-to-do are willing to put up with the hassles of large construction projects, poorer Flinters worry that they won’t be able to afford this new travel system. Proposed fees at the toll booths—called wicket gates—will just be 3 pennies per juncture.
  • Worsening Corruption? In the wake of Reed Macbannin’s downfall, more people are claiming politicians, nobles, and even police officers are part of a culture of corruption. Flint City Governor Roland Stanfield commented, “Corruption is a constant in any large city. What has changed is the growing voice of the people who support our great modern nation. We must listen to those voices, because opportunities to truly improve society are rare.”
  • Wunderbahn. A bill in Parliament is being considered to levy a salary tax on the entire nation to fund construction of a wider railroad network. The city governor of Shale, Catherine Romana, has proposed a counter bill to fund what she calls the Dream Road, “a roadway more in keeping with Risur’s traditions.” The Dream Road would involve hundreds of magical portals connecting every village, town, and city, but the magical reagents required to activate the portal cost over 100 gold shields to transport just a handful of people. Romana’s opponents in Parliament call the idea preposterous.

Summer 500

  • Murder. The Ragman has grown more active, and is believed responsible for four deaths over the course of two weeks. Flint police investigate, and an impoverished Yerasol Veteran claims he saw the same pattern of wounds on fellow soldiers in the last war.
  • Music. Randall Pell, a renowned composer from Slate, will be conducting the Navras Opera House and plans to hold auditions for performers. This has led to a boom in sales of “respectable” attire for amateur Docker musicians, who want to make a good impression.
  • Mayhem. A rash of eighteen small fires in Parity Lake is believed to be arson. So far the burns have killed over forty, but fire responders have managed to keep them from spreading. The fires seem to target properties of by factory owners, even the occasional factory out-building, and so are believed to be the work of Gale.
    • Follow-up: Two dragonborn brothers from Ber, Eberardo and Valando, have been linked with the fires in Parity Lake. They have each been sentenced to a life sentence in prison for the numerous arson charges.
  • Monsters. Citizens are warned to avoid the western bayous around the Battalion school in Pine Island. The martial university has imported exotic wild beasts from a Risuri colony in Elfaivar, and will be conducting exercises in beast tracking and monster slaying.
  • Marriage. Wealthy industrialist and renowned son of Flint Guy Goodson is getting married to a Crisillyiri noblewoman: Faith Unitas. The ceremony will be closed to the public, but reporters are eagerly sharing every detail of the arrangements. The intense interest has journalists excited about all the papers they’ll sell when King Aodhan has his marriage early next year.
    • Follow-up: The wedding was a smashing success, but terrorist Gale showed up as a guest, congratulating the couple and delivering a gift before flying off. For more details on the wedding, see page 4. For Goodson's possible links to the Cloudwood, see page 5.
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