Lanton: New Troubles

Report to the New Spymaster - Part 5: On Recent Events

As requested I have put together this report detailing the events that led to the current situation in the north. This report contains much information that is not known outside of the Masque Intelligence Agency and is for the eyes of the Spymaster only.

IX. The Black Gate

We've been aware of reports from the south for some time of the massive iron doors known as the "Black Gate". This structure lay in the distant wilderness near the nations of Contar, Jefam, and Sithess. These chained and magically sealed doors lead directly into a solid stone cliff and are covered in markings and runes that don't resemble any other known writing.

Thought to be another "elven" ruin, this has been studied my many scholars who have concluded that the gate's symbols do not match anything known on the rest of the continent, including what little elven writing we have.

A few years ago (566) a scholar named Sinclarnis from the island nation of Vortain came to the gate claiming to have discovered how to open it. After spending a few years and a small fortune, in 570 the gate opened.

Rumors of great riches that that lay in the gate and drove the surrounding nations to each claim that the gate was theirs. This may have led to open war, were it not for the fear that the new air ships of the north caused.

A war between the nations would weaken them enough that they could be easily conquered by the northern nations. While only Contar had ever been involved with a conflict with the north (during the Fellus expansion). They each felt that invasion was a real possibility.

The comprise was to create a neutral group which was to oversee the gate and it's explorations. Named the Black Gate Company, this group was given control over who could enter the gate, and to tax a portion on items that came out from the gate.

While most of this tax was to be distributed back to the parent nations, the Black Gate Company also set up a sort of make shift town outside the gate. There they sold supplies, maps, offered lodging, and offered an exchange rate to the coins of the nation at a less than reasonable markup.

Quickly the Black Gate Company became more wealthy than the nations that they were supposedly working for. They are now a powerful and rich organization with their own mercenary force. By the time they parent nations realized what was happening, BGC was already too powerful to simply shut down.

X. The Fog

In 573 a crisis hit the lands of Lanton. From all our reports no place was speared as a strange fog crept over the land and failed to ever recede. Some linked this event to the opening of the Black Gate, others (notably the northern kingdoms) blamed the now absent Mages Guild. Our own studies seem to suggest that the fog originated in the western wilderness, but have not found the source just yet.

While travel between towns has become more difficult and crop growth was effected, the worse part of the event was reports that strange creatures and beasts roamed the fog killing and destroying lesser villages and farms. At first these reports seemed just a fearful reaction to this unnatural event, but as more reports came it, it has become hard to deny something is going on. Even within walled towns people started to disappear and panic was setting in across the lands.

As you know, we began heavy research into the cause of the fog and also of any way to undo it. While we did not find the answers we were looking for, we did discover a ancient record of a similar event from the Land of Origin. That document was far from complete but it did have instructions for creating a ward which could be used to push off the fog.

The council tested and learned to creation of use of this ward then sent out a series of ambassadors to spread the knowledge. This act of good will lead to our praise in many nations, but we feel a bit of skepticism and doubt from Fellus which. Much to our own surprise we found that a very similar ward was already in use in the far south with claims that the wise men of Ach-Fin-Nor had discovered a way to drive back the fog a full seven months before our own discovery. (We have already begun sending more agents to the deep south, as this area has been historically considered of little interest. I hope to have more to report on them soon).

The wards themselves are simply enough, constructed of twigs and string, and the use of a small amount of blood powers them. This of course is very simlar to the "old magic" practiced by the many peoples in the Land of Origin, and there is some concern that it might drive some people back to the old gods and practices. Notably, Norfin is concerned over the use of this "arcane force" but has had its own people use it for the time while they investigate other means. The nations of the north are less effected by the fog as they have learned to navigate their air ships above it.

Most towns now are clear of the fog and some roads and farms have even been set up with wards at regular intervals. Still travel through the fog is dangerous, and wards not placed on a stake or post in the ground seem to be far less effective. We continue our research into the cause and remedy for this problem.

XI. The Marlin

One other strange thing came out of the fog shortly after it began: the Marlin. These men are of a race we have no record of and are a great concern over how little we know of them. Physically they appear very pale, but with dark eyes with no white in them at all. Their hair tends to also be of the deepest black, though some have been seen to have a pure white or grey hair (which may indicate noble blood, as the white haired members have often been the leaders of the groups we've seen).

The other interesting characteristic is the extremely long and pointed tops of their ears. While some considered them to be the return of the ancient "elves", they don't match the depictions of them at all. Their ears are too long, their faces too angular.

In any case they appeared out of the fog in ships resembling the fish that became their name. They appeared along the eastern cost in several ports in Jefam and Comak. They spoke a language that no one had heard before, and in many cases were detained for in fear. In each case, it only took a day or two for the Marlin to learn and start using the languages of Lanton, and so far we have failed to get them to teach us any of their own.

They claim to have come from a archipelago some ways to the south east and they they became lost in the fog. I've seen the reports we've gotten about their ships, and they are indeed unlike anything we've seen before. The construction is surpassing even the alchemical hulls of the northern airships. and the sails are built of a sturdy but light materials rivaling our own best silks.

As far as we know they have been released from each nation that had detained them. Now they continue to sail up and down the cost trading some but mostly keeping to their ships. The have been refused port in Fellus, which called the Marlin "non-human monsters" so they have avoided that area.

We still don't know what to make of these Marlin. There were many unrecognized objects on their ships that we have no bases of comparison to. So far all efforts to learn more about them have failed and they seem to be better at keeping secrets than we are. This no doubt concerns to agency and myself.

XII. Conclusion

As you can see spymaster the world has changed greatly in your abstinence. Still the mask of time remains intact and we as ever serve our masters and the great Secret, let only those who where the mask know it less the world be thrown into flames. Former Spymaster Talonnel has signed off on these repots prior to his dawning the mask of time and I hope that they meet with your approval.


Lanton: Alchemical Advances

Report to the New Spymaster - Part 3: Advances in the North

As requested I have put together this report detailing the events that led to the current situation in the north. This report contains much information that is not known outside of the Masque Intelligence Agency and is for the eyes of the Spymaster only.

VIII. The Alchemist Agreement

With both the major powers in the north very concerned over the power of the Mages Guild and a growing distrust of magic in general, the two kingdoms began to look for ways to fight magic. The Fellus king offered to share advanced his kingdom had  made in alchemy in trade for some resources that were harder to get in the east.

The results if this was a unified effort to further the understanding of magical properties found in certain types of plants, animals, and minerals. These new advances in alchemy created a stronger bond between the two nations as did the perceived threat of an external enemy in the Mages Guild.

The results if this research lead to magic resistant armors, powerful oils and other concoctions that burn when they are exposed to the air, and other forms of weapons. But the highest achievement of course, has been the development of various air ships.

These ships are made from light but strong timber are lifted into the are by great silk bags filled with the fumes from a burned concoction that we still have not been able to fully replicate. With these great ships the northern kingdoms feel confident that they can take on the Mages Guild should it attack them.

But the guild has not attacked. In fact the Atlas has appeared less and less in the north, and we have some indication that the guild has become isolationist and no longer "recruiting" new mages.

Yet the fleets of the great nations continued to grow, and their advances alchemy continue to create new powerful weapons. Other nations have begun to wonder if the new northern allies are not looking to use these new tools of war to conquer the lesser kingdoms to the south.

Though we still maintain treaties with both nations, concern is growing that we may not be able to repel a second invasion. Our trade of silk to the items has so far kept us in the good graces of our so neighbors, but it might occur to the Fellus and Norfin to simply take what they need.

My next report will cover more recent events: The opening of the Black Gate, the coming of the Marlin, and of fog.


Lanton: The Recolin Events

Report to the New Spymaster - Part 2: The Recolin Events

As requested I have put together this report detailing the events that led to the current situation in the north. This report contains much information that is not known outside of the Masque Intelligence Agency and is for the eyes of the Spymaster only.

VII. The Recolin Events

Fifty-two years after the end of the Fellus War. Another Dragon’s Tear crystal was activated in the ruins under the fort town of Recolin in the western edge of Norfin by a group of spies from Fellus. The young King Fellus III, had learned of the crystals and wanted to gather some. The ruins in the east had been smashed or looted long ago, so the crystals would have to come from Norfin. Unfortunately there were complications.

The mages guild had already begun working on “networking” the power of the crystals which made handling any crystal very dangerous. The Fellus spy cause an explosion and was later consumed by the energies released from the crystal. It is likely that another spy or the mages guild send the energy back to him to cause his death, but we don't know for sure who was responsible.

One of the main forces behind “Project Atlas”, Al-kin Marth became involved with these event at this time also. He was injured by the crystals energy. While sick he was also detained by the Recolin guard as the prime suspect in the explosion which was seen as an attacks against the city.

A group of explorers who were companions to Marth went looking for a crystal in hopes that it could be used to draw the energies out of their friend. We know that one of these explorers was Verak Varadim, the founder, prophet, and first god of the Church of the Ascension (also called Varadimist). Though my reports are sketchy, some claim that that another was Lord Vox of the Doshin (beast men.)

These explorers entered some ruins and returned with not only a crystal to save their friend, but also the Dragon’s Stone. Much rumor and legend surrounds the event that followed. Some say that they met the Last Elf, that they traveled to the home of the Dragons, or that they even spoke to the Canthist gods. Most stories have that the two men made their wishes on the stone, one to become a god, the other to unite his people. I am afraid that the facts I've gathered are a little less spectacular.

We know they returned to Norfin, where a group of mages had tried to break Marth out, but were killed or captured in the process. This also lead to further animosity towards mages in the region. They seemed to cure Marth (using a Dragon’s Tear to draw out the energies). Soon after they left Norfin and journeyed to “Project Atlas” which was still under construction. There Marth was again injured by an attack from another Mage (who I suspect was working with on under the influence of the Shadow).

Marth's assistant sent one of Atlas’ flying ships to recover a medical mage in Recolin. This created a panic in the streets and gave Norfin a glimpse of what the guild was capable of producing.

Back at the atlas the Dragon Stone was used or otherwise consumed, as all records of it disappeared after this point. Soon after the explorers left the Atlas and went their separate ways. Varadim to the north mountains where he began to preach of a new take on the Canthist gods.

If in fact Vox was with this group, I believe he then left and joined his people who made a great pilgrimage to the south and settled in the wild country. There he founded the nation of the beast men.

As for Al-kin Marth, he was exiled from the guild along with his assistant. The reasons seem to be that he had lost his ability to use magic after he was “cured” from the unstable Dragon Tear energy. After the events in Norfin, non-mages (even former mages) were not welcome on the Atlas.

Rumors that Marth regained his magical ability and began to teach a new type of magic not bound by the traditional “colors” have circulated for a time. And still there are the strange magic writings that appear claiming that “Marth Lives”, but we have found no other information on what became of the Al-kin or his assistant.

Of course the after the airship appeared in Recolin, Norfin and Fellus both moved to take action protect themselves. The guild was cast out of the northern kingdoms and new restrictions placed on mages. This of course led to the Treaty of the Northern Kingdoms and the “Alchemist Agreement”.

My next report will cover the aftermath from and bring us up to date on the current situation.