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Turn 2 News

News of the 33rd Day of the 2nd Year of the Reign of Her Most Noble Highness, Amlatta the Pious

Bookwala Trade Fleet Sunk by Pirates; Hadar Fleet Out On Maneuvers

In the middle of the month, the Bookwala family's annual convoy to the Puntish trading post of Londameldorol sets sail from Shalazar. The Bookwala quarters are lively with festival and frolic, as they are every year as the young men of the clan are bid farewell by family.

Two weeks after this, local merchants begin to notice that the fleets of the Hadar begin leaving Tobrukh and setting sail to the west.

Towards the end of the month, twenty or so messenger doves are seen flying in formation into Bookwala palaces. Some carry words of sorrow, regret, or goodbye; some are more informative than sentimental: 'we have seen their masts in the distance for nearly a day now--they are closing on us as if to attack.

After two days, he doves stop arriving. The Bookwala convoy never reaches its destination.

Many theories are expounded regarding this. Much gnashing of teeth and pulling of beards can be heard from the Bookwala quarters. Most Hadar explain, in taverns and temples, something like this: 'We set our ships out to sea for manuevers. Perhaps pirates, having seen the size of our navy, were suitably cowed, and moved south out of their habitual prowling grounds. It is a pity we did not hear our brothers cries for help: we would have set sail at once...

'Things have gone downhill at the Palace, I heard; well, sine the Calipha's guard were replaced, anyway. What with the loss of (ahem) those, uh, valuables, one wonders whether the palace is safe at all. I heard that the Order of the Blazing Sword are in charge of recovering the missing goods; and no wonder - after all, they're to blame if they don't get found!'

'Hear ye, oh hear ye. The Grand Magnificent Guild of Alchemists announce the Colloquium of Cloud-weavers. All alchemists and other parties interested in the most respected profession of cloud-weaving should attend. Oh hear ye, oh hear ye.'

'Is that as interesting as it sounds?'

'Probably...'

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

'Well, you think you've got problems! Have you heard about Sagal's daughter? Yeah, the one with all that lovely black hair - I tell you he makes the most gorgeous wigs with it; Well, anyway, I heard that last week, when she was helping him organise his wigs for the next day's market suddenly he heard her scream. He looked round and she had fallen to the floor. When he went to see if she was alright he saw her face was all covered in boils and weeping sores, bubbling and forming before his very eyes! Her hands were growing thick black hair on the backs and the palms, and when he tried to help her up her hair literally just fell of her hair to the floor, leaving her bald as the day she was born! Apparently she's alright, but hasn't left the house for a week. Poor girl. Bit of a sickening irony for a wig-maker's daughter, eh?'

'The Alchemists' Guild are steering very clear of alcoholic substances now, so I hear. Instead, they're focusing more and more on the carpet business. Well, it could scarcely go worse that the exploding drink fiasco, and if anyone in the city can win that competition, it's the Alchemists' Guild.'

'Hear all the message here delivered on behalf of the newly formed Organisation of the Carters, Haulers and Message Beast Operators: we, the purveyors of all forms of sea and land travel have hereby joined together to confront the unfair monopolistic, competition quashing practices of the supposedly Honourable Company of Messengers and the menace of their flying carpets. Did you know that the avaerage earnings of a barge operator have fallen 15% since the carpets were introduced? Did you know that there have been no less than 34 mid-air collisions, injuring message-birds, the carpet-operators, their passengers, as well as numerous innocent bystanders! United the Organisation stands, strong, and able to provide cheap, efficient, safe transport of goods, people and messages. Shalazar is a city of great and free trade and commerce; don't let some fools on rugs spoil that! This message was brought to you by the Carters, Haulers and Message Beast Operators: 'Honest Transport by and for Honest People!' Glory be to Shaliq!'

Hadar Palace gets Pygmified!

[A loud rumble, then a tremendous crash and several groans of pain and screams are heard from within the Hadar quarter]

'AAAAHHHHH! My palace! My beautiful palace! What's happened to you?!'

'Well, it's still there, dear. It's just a little bit, um, shorter.'

'Oh my god! By shaliq! What could've caused this?! Is everyone alright in there?'

'I don't know, dear; we can't even get in, the front door's under ground level. Maybe we should call some slaves with shovels?'

'Slaves? Oh my god, my concubines are in there! Someone get help! Help, I say!'

'Well, you know, even if they aren't, you've always got me, dear.'

'SOMEONE GET HELP, RIGHT NOW!'

'The party Jolem al Kazak threw last week was the best the city has seen in ages. Mind you, I heard some kind of necromancer turned up and made some trouble before disappearing into the night. Seems he was looking to attack some poor young girl - and since that evening, she hasn't been seen without one of the Calipha's olg guard nearby.'

'Carry your papers, foreign devils!'

(A notice appearing across the city of Shalazar, posted by the Order of Kal'Nayak) : By order of the glorious Calipha, all foreign mages and practicioners of magic are required to report to the Invisible college within three months in order to have the purity of their magic tested. All those whose magic passes these tests will be issued papers allowing them to legally practice magic within the city, and will be required to carry such papers on them at all times. After this period, all unauthorised performing of magic will be justly punished. Praise be to Shaliq!

'Heretics smitten with zeal!'

'All around the city the impious quake in the boots as Captain Hasta and his soldiers of the order of Kal'Nayak go around smiting blasphemers and heretics with extreme zeal and prejudice. Glory be to Shaliq!'

Red tape

'Don't you know you can't do that anymore? Subsection 5, paragraph 3 of Guildmaster Ashira's new rules says that sulpher should be carried in a sealed box, not in a string bag over your shoulder!'

'Oh go stick your rules up your robe, I bought it in the market, what else am I going to carry sulpher back in?'

'Well, you better make sure it's use is authorised...'

'AUTHORISED? I've never been authorised in my life, and I'm not about to start now!

'How do you expect to pass the background checks then?'

(Sound of sulpher colliding hard with head)

'Like that.'

'Bookwala hired Crimson Jackals to defend northern trade route'

'Hey, didya hear about that fightin' up north?'

'Yeah, I hear its the Bookwala tryin' to sort out their trade routes. Apparently they hired some mercenary company or another...'

'Yeah, they Crimson Jackals they're known as. They gotta be pretty hard to fight those barbarians...'

A Fire upon Al'Hadeen

'Great Shaliq. Actar, my friend, are you all right? What happened? Have you been in a fire? And where is your caravan?'

'It was terrible, like a monsterous flaming wind! It swept across Al'Hadeen. No one could stop it. I was lucky, my carpet got aloft before the brute got to the trade quarter!'

'What was it?'

'A great beast of bone, with flame unquenchable on its breath.'

Palace Predicament

'Doctor, can you come and help my son, he's not looking well.'

'I'm afraid not. I have been summoned to the palace.'

'Oooo! That's impressive! But don't they have their own doctors?'

'Yes, but most of them are ill as well!'

'What! Is there a plague in the palace? Is the Calipha well?'

'Do not worry, the plague is only amongst the servants. It seems all the Eunuchs have come down with some sort of sickness. I'm sure I can sort it out.'

Several hours later...

'Doctor, can you come and see my son now?'

'Certainly.'

'So, did you cure all the people at the palace.'

'Humbug, that's all it was. There wasn't anything wrong with them at all. They are just upset about the theft, and acting all lazy.'

'But I heard the palace Eunuchs were really hard-working and loyal.'

'Humph! Where's that son of yours....'

'...and of course you didn't hear it from me, but it looks like the whole Court is gearing up for some military hoohah. The Calipha's surrounded herself with all those big husky men with swords, and the generals go in and out all day long-'

'Yes, I know you'd like to be surrounded by big husky men too, but that's because you're a little too fond of the feel of muscle oil, if you get my drift. Now don't interrupt a good story! Where was I...'

'...oh yes, there's one general who's trying to get his soldiers onto carpets - well it was only a matter of time you know, after all those criminals started using them to waylay innocent people on their way home...'

'...Not you dear, you're far from innocent, and you know it.'

'So now the Court's all gearing up for some kind of adventure. New Calipha, new favourites dear, and she hasn't really given much time to anyone except those Khal'Nayak, led by that lovely Killian. Probably trying to get in as a husband, you know what these men are like.'

'Well you certainly do dear, I don't know where you get the strength...'

New goods from Punt

'Come and get them! Come and get them! Feathered headdresses of the Southern Jungle Pygmies! A jeweled sceptre of the Jungle King (just the right size for a particularly large toothpick)! Heathen idols of strange feathered serpents! [brief pause, followed more nervously] No, Mr. Order of Kal'Nayak sergeant, sir, no, I would never suggest that a citizen of Shalazar should worship such a thing. I keep them only so that my cherished customers can throw rocks at them... and who would I be to deny them of such a pleasure...'

[All throughout the city, a broader variety of goods, including exotic spices, jewels, feathers, and strange objects are appearing for sale, normally by the Jerezad. It seems their trade in the Southlands is flourishing.]

Bookwala in Dire Straits

'Shhh.... Magda, don't give that fellow any more wine'

'Why not? He's a regular.'

'True, and he has reason to drown his sorrows in drink--but he's a Bookwala, and their coin is beginning to run out. We don't need to be extending credit to them now...'

influence chart

Standing is a measure of the relative strength of the Great Families of Shalazar. The Standing of a great family determines how useful it is to spend points of Influence on your actions each turn. The horizontal lines represent standing at the end of last turn.

The Jerezad have seen fortune favour them: their trade with the Empire of Jade is expanding, their holdings in Punt are secure and prosperous. In short, their star is rising.

The Yildun remain secure, and their links to the Palace are strong. Their fate, however, has recently been marred by a run-in with a dragon...

The Bookwala, it seems, are having difficulties. Though Ghazi Al'Altair has reopened their northern trade route with his armies, actual commerce will be slow to resume, and travelers are scared to make their way across this territory. Within Shalazar, they seem beset by any amount of poor fortune as well...

The Hadar seem to be coping well with the changes in the wind: good news has even been heard of Erasmus, their hapless cursed Prince...

The Fesk are as they always are... doing well, doing badly, it's very difficult to tell with them.