• Time of Hope and Death



  • As creaking and complaining hand wagons wormed their way into the few remaining human cities, angry and hungry eyes followed each wood wheel's lament. Starved but resolute shadows darkened doorsteps and shadowed the edges of window sills. Only the suggestion that going out to take away what ever these brave or foolish cart carriers had in their vehicles, seemed to indicate that it may be a trap. Probably only by the now years ingrained paranoia of the die hard human survivors, saved these Plains men and women; paid well in precious salt to bring these tarp covered wagons to specific old markets inside the dangerous hunting ground of the city born survivors. This was just the beginning, as ominous as it seems, of a very good thing. Those wagons all carried hundreds of pounds of perfectly human edible plant, high in minerals and carbs. This sudden and large inflow of a mushroom based food was found available in the dark and damp caves that dotted the northern coastal side of the continent. Political alliances began to be forged between the dominants in the remaining three human cities, as individuals now had the actual time to do something other than work or kill each other for the food they ate. A large stable influx of stable carbohydrates, generally leads to advancement.
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Allen Doe, through his network of contacts in the various tribes of the Three-Finger, and the now subservient Simians, and flushed with the returning mercenaries sent to fight for the Liss to the south; used his exceptional social influence and wealth to capitalize on these mushrooms found by Lia Seku. Their selective harvest in the thousands of small caves and covered inlets that liberally range the northern coast line, began to offset the near meat and organ/fat/marrow only diet that had been nearly the only things that Ansalonians had found to be able to consist on. Previously all plant life had been found to be violently deadly, in shredding the digestive system. This service, Allan provided with no course of return; and did not look specifically towards any sort of compensation. There was of course, a reason behind the effort and the draining of his salt cellars.

  • Later on that year, he called upon the large families, the gangs, the posses, the clans, the syndicates, and all the individual groupings of living Ansalonians that remained in the cities to appear at each of his next shipments. A small gathering of coweled men were along with the many wagons; who proceeded to touch or shake hands with each of the populace that allowed them. A great culling of the population, a census of a type if you will. It was not exactly clear as to what was going on at the time, but many of the men and women touched; were picked out of the masses within each city, and sent off to serve Allen Doe's cause. However since that time, quite a few of those called individuals have returned to visit with any relatives they might have had. It has been openly stated that they are training under some mysterious instructors on the subjects of Magic, in a compound build too the north and east near the coast line.

  • In another lighter note, the Druids seemed to have returned hesitantly from their sheltered and warded groves, offering their assistance to the common plight. Their ability to manifest the idea of food and drink literally out of thin air and in mass quantities is looked upon as nigh on to mana from the non existent gods. However, darkly to their backs, and muttered between cups of sour milk koumiss, that maybe their help could have saved hundreds of lives. Perhaps children's lives. Bitterness is a deep firm undercurrent to the thankfulness, rendered to the Druid's gifts. This new outpouring of altruism seems to be at the behest of the Elven druid named Lia-Seku. Their help would be of great effect, as would be see later.

Three-Finger

  • A closer and more understanding relationship blossomed between the Ansalonians and the Three-Finger, as they had always been interested in the crafted tools and trinkets that the human race seems so apt to make. During the time of strife and killing each other for food (and some of the indigenous peoples too, one should admit), the native tribes moved further a-field to avoid the ravenous hunters that roamed the plains in search for living meat not poisonous to digest. So some soothing of tempers were needed, as there were too many conflicts between the tribes of the Three-Finger during this Time of Famine to just lay aside. In recompense, Allen Doe helped to revitalize some of the trade that had existed before the Gate had catastrophically failed, more like gifts perhaps, a pound for a penny so to speak.

Simians

  • The Simians also were to become more prominent in this Time. Out of the Eastern Jungles they came in mass. At first we were afraid of their size and their seeming infantile knowledge of how things worked. This also would relate to their general carelessness with things of delicacy. But they came none the less.

The Choice

  • After the beginning of the year, a second mass call was sent out throughout the human cities still inhabited. A call to arms, a call to defend our lives from an enemy most foul. They were portrayed as the antithesis of us, willing to swallow our floundering society whole in their inescapable and insatiable hunger. But, if perhaps they had known how much it would cost us, they may not have gathered at all.

  • During the Second War of Dominance between the Liss and the Kusk on the continent to the south, great many storied barges had been built by the Liss Elementalists. Primal water elementals were the main sources of locomotion through the Yathewah oceans, since no significant wind currents could push these boats, so instead they were pulled by relatively mindless scions of the sea brought up and bound by crafty sorcerers. Their work had been done quickly and secretly, to avoid the attention of Verna and her massed tribal army. These great arks had been sent out to gather up what warriors the Three-Finger and the Simians could muster to assist their ancient trading partners. Riding these boats also were select groups of human mercenaries, employed by Allan and Enon, to represent human interests in the south beyond the volcanic shelf. Once the war had been won by the Liss at a high cost of lives to their own forces, those self same transports returned these adventurers and guest warriors to their homeland.

  • Once their purpose had been completed, they had been left to bake in the sun, completely lacking use. However a second use was found for them, and hopefully their grand last route. When these large behemoths began to slide strangely across the placid seas into the ports of Kingstown, Lorren, and the river ways of Tier Perth, the masses were informed already. Being great orators and personages of note, Enon, Lia-Seku, and Allen Doe had greatly impressed upon the survival hardened populace; the fact that if the Ruk-Roofah to the west were not stopped, they would soon plague our lands and destroy what little we had. But this was not the great outcry that they had hoped. However, their payment was.

  • For arms and equipment, they paid in meat and fish. Those self same elementals that pulled the arks were more than willing (at the behest of their masters) to fish in vast quantities.

  • For service abroad, there was to be food always. Never a shortage, they promised. Mouth watering, stomach churning delicious food. No rationing, no starving, no shaking in the night. Food, desperate food. Even with the edible fungus along the coast, it wasn't enough for everyone to satisfy the deep gnawing ache within; the slow reduction of bones and deficiencies that plagued the new borne and children. For this payment and service, all they had to do was risk our lives against this unseen foe across the sea, led by people that had become almost like legends, defending a race of peoples that no one had ever met.

  • For the possibility of death, their families would be taken care of. That did not seem so bad, after all, it was better than being trapped in the shells of their once great cities, it seemed.

  • With a nod and a smile, Allen's organizers took all comers. Men, women, some no more than mostly grown children. Anyone who could swing a sword or load a ballista, anyone. Elders who had real combat experience from Ansalon were the most highly sought after, but they took the young and the old none the less. Their note, mark, name, or moniker was recorded in long lists, and they were pushed off to a few select locations; as the families that remained celebrated over fresh fish.
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The Mustering

  • As the mustering stations began to fill over the next several weeks, divisions were formed and the first basics of training had begun. But in truth, most of them had some form of combat experience, or at the very least, survival experience. Anyone alive at this point had fought off a cannibal at some point. To a man, except for the lie-bound young, they were all killers of one sort or another. A more steely-eyed, tired of the world, but grimly self assured population of civilians was more than likely never to be found before or ever again than these generations.

  • The leaders of this whole movement, on the first month, had gathered up the most veteran of the human troops(Mostly former soldiers, or the most militant of the gangs or clans that would work together without much friction) into specific areas. Most wondered at the time as to why, but the leaders were unusually more tight lipped When delegations and groups of the Three-Fingers and the Simians began to arrive, rumor increased. And when the black sky chariot arrived, late one night in the early third month, few were able to see it, but all heard the beast's roar and it's light blasted twisted shadows into rooms and down the cold streets.

  • Summoned down from the sky at Enon's request, or apparent animated movements, it was difficult to describe the form of the chariot spitting a cone of violet fire that seemed to lift it into the air. The next morning, the collection of veteran battalions and the larger groups of Three-finger/Simian warriors were gone with naught but a block wide blast mark to evidence they had existed at all.

  • They were not to be seen again for many terrible and brutal months, and when they were, what remained was but ravaged husks of the units they had once been. They had fought the beast terror, on the Beachheads, stalling and giving the remaining vastly larger mass of humanity time to train, arm, and equip.

Little did they know it, but the Third War of Dominance had begun.