For Part 1 See: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?/forums/topic/152056-the-small-council-chamber-of-khadira/
1: In the Halls of Governance
"What's this?" asked Hassan.
"A gift from the Desert King for the war effort High Judge. Gems and three of the enchanted blades his immortal legions use." replied the Guard.
"We have weapons, we need armor."
"None of that, High Judge."
"Very well, we'll find a use for them. We desperately need more armor, Ibrahim, can you find the funds for some initiatives?
"I will see what can be done. What were you thinking of?"
"Priority given to armor production in our own forges. A trade delegation to Mya Stedor and Barqa to source armor suppliers and a fund to encourage renegade High Council and Ulandus soldiers to surrender their arms and armor in return for amnesty and a small reward. Something along those lines."
"We already have agents sourcing armor in Mya Stedor but it is difficult to get good deals given the situation there. Barqa is more likely to give us better trade deals against the Spire but availability will be low as they are wary of the Desert King's future intentions."
"Ark Mora Raa knows the true enemy is in the east at the Spire."
"Even so he will not be pleased that Khadira rewards his enemies and trades with them."
"Ex-enemies. The amnesty will turn foes into friends. Now is the time to demonstrate mercy and that the Desert King is the true ruler of all Kaliphlim and not merely the ones who fought for him."
"Is that advice from the Codex Imperium? Should I read it?"
"Hah!" Hassan let out a quick sharp laugh. "Don't waste your time. That Varylian treatise on leadership and governance is merely full of common sense generalisations. Every "lesson" it contains is so general as to be useless in any given situation or comes with so many exceptions that it is non-advice. You should rely on your own good sense."
"I will High Judge."
"My man here, Abid, will help you with the paperwork and details but do you think think we can come up with a few thousand gold to spend on armor for our troops?"
"I can confidently start with a thousand. More will require negotiations with important figures and merchants."
"Do what you can. There is one other item. Abid has the details but I need you to provision twenty riders for a month. The Dragon Queen has been complaining that we are not doing enough to actively oppose the Spire and we aren't. I want to sent twenty experienced fighters north. Skilled with bow and horse they should fill a battlefield role she lacks. Abid has the specifics and I choose from the volunteers later today but they need to be ready to leave in three days. Is that possible?"
"I will make it so." Nodded Ibrahim.
2: The Avalonian Bunny Club
Tothmet stretched out on his chair and grinned.
"Now this is better than those hard council chairs, don't you agree?"
"Indeed, and the refreshment here is more conducise to good conversation."
"True, now we can talk freely."
"But what about our hostesses?" Asked Matthew Narciss, raising an eyebrow.
"Oh don't worry about them, chosen for their beauty rather than intelligence I'd say." Tothmet waved a hand dismissively.
"I wouldn't be so sure myself." Muttered Matthew.
"What is with the costume though?"
"Oh it is based on a rabbit, similar to the desert hare. I believe they are common across Avalonia and near Cedrica."
"I understand that but why dress an otherwise attractive woman as an animal?"
"The animal is said to represent desires of the flesh, reproducing rapidly. I believe the costume is to arouse similar thoughts in customers."
"Makes sense I suppose..." Tothmet brushed crumbs idly from his stomach. "Anyway, the Desert King appreciates the efforts of the Dragon Queen on his behalf and is grateful for her struggle against the Spire."
"She struggles against the Spire regardless of his gratitude."
"Yes well his Majesty's forces are stretched thin at present. There are malcontent elements in Kaliphlim. However he values his true friends." Tothmet squirmed for a moment."
"Of course...but remember my Queen has aligned with Khadira due to the earnest promises of Muakhah. That and the fact that Ravaage demands that she submit to his rule."
"But the Resistance and his Glorious Majesty are close allies." Countered Tothmet.
"Allies yes, but hardly close. Only a fool would not unite against Ravaage." Matthew took a pull of his shisha pipe and let it out slowly. "My Queen merely wishes to rule her territory without undue interference from others. Say what you will about the old snake but Lord Ssilyrrlith never meddled too deeply in local affairs."
"But the world changes. We must work to strengthen the bonds between Kaliphlim and Nocturnus!"
"True...but my Queen does not have a trusting nature. Muakhah had to work long and hard to convince her to form an agreement."
"Hmmm... I hear a lot about this Muakhah."
"Yes, well I do not know him well. I witnessed his first meeting with my Queen but I could not say what his secret is. He seems to have a deep understanding of people though."
"Well he has laid the groundwork for a strong alliance."
"It is still tenuous." Warned Matthew. "My Queen forbids her followers from raiding across the border and Khadira is given primary trade rights in return for regular shipments of aid for the war effort. And, might I add, the promise of Khadiran military aid which is yet to be seen."
"The Desert King will send aid."
"To the Lords of Nocturnus who aided him in his war I am sure."
"Well of course they take priority."
"Khadira places a high priority on the Alliance. That is enough."
"Well it seems that will be the foundation of a firm friendship!"
"I will at least drink to that!"
3: The Tower of Sorcery
"Thanks for getting me out of my laboratory!" said Falila Mehrmani as she walked down the corridor.
"Well I thought you needed a break from overseeing your apprentices weave magic carpets." Countered Zahrnman Akkad jovially.
"It doesn't interest me like a new challenge its true. Where is the device?"
"It's just in my workshop on the wall."
"What do you need my help for again?"
"I have laid the spells and enchantments on it and the device works for me but I need your experience with enchantments to ensure it is suitable for anyone to use. You may see design flaws in it that I cannot."
"Like it being clumsy and too ehavy for one man to carry?"
"Well yes...but so is a ballista."
"Well from what you described a tripod or stand would help and perhaps some sort of wheeled carriage." Falila gestured in the air as if sketching a design.
"I also need help with suitable devices and failsafes to insure that even the most incompetent mundane can't have an accident."
"And you say you got the inspiration from a siege weapon the Dragon Queen was building?"
"Yes I teased some of the details out from Matthew and extrapolated the rest. Her project seems to be on a larger scale though. I think it is better to prove the concept at a smaller scale though..."
"Well yes, that reminds me. Please take a look at the crystal I am using as a mana recipient. I am unsure whther a different gem or cut would be better."
"A Zotharith mana crystal perhaps?"
"I tried to acquire one but..."
"What with the war and their dislike of the Desert King it is hard to pry one out of their hands." Cut in Falila.
"They do guard them jealously." Sighed Zahrman.
"There is a little news though. Rumor is Ravaage sent an ultimatum to them to commit to a side."
"Really? I don't want to face their techno-magic. All those numbers applied to magic! I don't understand it!"
"Me neither but imagine what they could create to help fight Ravaage. I heard they had a flying knight!"
"And you mass produce flying carpets...so..."
"Well true but still their mana crystals are an incredibly pure source of energy."
"I am sure we will manage without them."
4: The Halls of Aslan
"Lord Commander. We didn't expect you back so soon." Jakob Arnulf, Sworn Brother of the order of Aslan straightened as the Lord Commander of the Khadira Chapter entered.
"Grace of Aslan, neither did I." Replied Rothgar Magnusson, stern leader of the small enclave in Khadira. "Todays meeting was short and seemingly pointless. A mere review of things known and I am told there will be no more for three weeks."
"Do you believe that, Lord Commander?"
"Who am I to decide what label a gathering has Jakob. Prepare a troop. Yourself and three sworn brothers and five initiates. We will patrol."
"Aye Lord Commander. Provisions for which direction and duration?"
"Provisions for three weeks on rations. We will supplement them off the land. Horses for all, no remounts, we can't spare them. Leaving from the west gate. Patrol three days West, then North to the border. A week or so patrolling then three days East, then South and returning to Khadira from the East."
"Will we venture south of the river?"
"No just to the North."
"Yes patrolling for bandits, pilgrims, refugees and the like. But the real prize will be on the north road. The Nocturnan scum of the Dragon Queen will depart Khadira with a shipment of food and materials for the war effort. We will ambush it on the road before it crosses the border."
"Permission to speak freely Lord Commander?"
"Is that wise in the current situation? The alliance..."
"Is a travesty." Cut in Rothgar sternly. "Nocturnus can't be trusted. That the Desert King would ally with them is beyond the pale!"
"But Ravaage and the Spire?"
"Of course they must be stopped. But Kaliphlim has suffered enough. Let the Nocturnans bleed each other a while. We will take the materials and put them to better use in the name of Aslan."
"Aye Lord Commander. What news from Gorr?"
"Gorr remains silent." Rothgar spoke wearily now. "The Grand Master of our order has withdrawn to his fortress. There is wild speculation about his intentions."
"And the Bishops of the other cities?"
"Hard to tell. Some still oppose the Desert King, others have put away the sword to tend to the suffering of this war."
"So the civil war is over?" Asked Jakob, a puzzled look on his brow.
"I doubt it!" Said Rothgar with passion. " Damn the Desert King! The Council and Ulandus could have brokered a deal. The Knights of Aslan could have ushered in a new era. Now we are an Order in chaos."
"As long as we follow the light of Aslan." Said Jakob piously.
"Well spoken brother. First let us defend our flock in Khadira, then we will contact the wider Order and see what can be done."
Thanks for reading through that info dump! The photography for some of these was quite bad. The idea was to do a scene that could be viewed from different angles but there were many problems. I used my entire tan brick collection. I ran out of tiles and bits so one section is very bare and studded. I had to put in on a base tray to make it stable enought to take bad pictures. etc etc.
I am most pleased with the club section and the wizard corridor. The idea for having part of another room visible worked quite well but it made other sections look bare by comparison.
Here is an overview and I hope you found the conversations interesting.