8/11/2022 at 23:44
The Second War of Night, Part XIV: Papers, Please
While stories spread far and wide of Kald's survival against impossible odds and the inspiring resolve of all who dwelt there, not all shared the same depth of tenacity. Whether fearful of the shadow rot or merely seizing on opportunities previously unavailable, villagers and townsfolk across Sapience have begun to flee their homes, roaming far in search of refuge in the walls of the city states.
It began in Mrenadh with a simple refugee caravan inching its way toward Spinesreach day by day in an effort to escape the encroaching rot. Within days, hundreds had joined them in their trek toward the Citadel, many drawn from the nearby Three Widows villages with whom adventurers had pleaded and pleaded to evacuate before Ohlsana's filth could take them. And so the number of displaced people grew. And grew. And grew.
Inundated at the border of the Dragon, Guard Captain Thuneron made hasty arrangements for the Republic's citizens to take on ambassadorial duties in order to efficiently process the vastly growing number of refugees seeking asylum within the walls. The Spireans, somewhat well known to have a fondness and talent for bureaucracy, took to the task with aplomb, ushering in countless new faces to seek refuge in facilities provided largely at the expense of Lenoriel Ali'vani-Ourborian.
Some were not so fortunate. Whether by dubious profession (this author notes the frequency of such vocations as respectable whoring and organised crime with no small measure of pause), attempted bribery or, in the case of Archivist Linne's ruling, having "an inefficient volume of dependants in tow", many were refused entry, forced to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Most turned to Enorian, making the long trek south toward the Beacon's gates. Along the way, the amount of refugees grew to even greater numbers, drawn from Arbothia, Salma, and even as far as Jaru and Mostyn.
With similar arrangements made by Captain Duarne of the Beacon, Enorian hastily readied themselves to receive an influx of refugees and, by Vanguard Sryaen's command, made preparations to house and feed them. Whether by fate or happenstance, the number of bribes only grew as the displaced settlers filed into line at the Landward and Jaru gates, presenting such dubious offerings as dead fish and fake spirit bulbs in an effort to grease the wheels. Too, the number of recognisable surnames grew, with many of the refugees claiming to be blood descendants of, among others, the Cardinalis, Locke, Mulariad, Mesis, Gallant, Seirath, and even Nehekhara families.
Duiran's daring ritual only aggravated the situation. "Lunar Disturbances" and "Tsunamic Displacement" soon became some of the most frequent reasons for travel alongside "Spirean Deportation", and, though the Beacon weighed each and every entrant and attempted a positive outlook (save for Benedicto Silverain who harboured a renowned and consistent prejudice for Nazetu), still many were turned away for their unsavoury behaviours or attempts to buy off the ambassador making the decision.
Largely unbothered until now, the combined rejections of Spinesreach and Enorian, coupled with yet more droves of people forced from their homes, saw the Empire come under siege from prospective citizens, too. Demon Warden Shilkar took up Bloodloch's charge alongside Ambassador Asaraii, making arrangements to ensure that all would find a home in the Empire, one way or another. The refugees' claims continued to beggar belief; many noted their desire to seek gainful employ as the Primus, others presented what was purported to be a phial of silvergrit which turned out to be flour, and yet others still claimed to be seeking refuge in Bloodloch solely to meet, in their terms, the most handsome Minotaur in the world (the competition is, admittedly, small).
~ ~ ~
Lady Malevolent's heart continues to erode, fed by Her devoted followers in order to preserve the still-standing Shadow Keep. The Warlord has invoked Memonaransa, convening the full Court of the Gods for the first time in living memory. Rot spreads unending, and all promising efforts to repel or resist it are still in their earliest days. Murgraxis' promise of Ohlsana's Shadow Generals arriving on Prime has not yet come to pass.
Hope prevails. But how long will it last?
Penned by my hand on Quensday, the 12th of Chakros, in the year 504 MA.