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  1. Fort Arltrees, El Oleonda, November 623 War was still raging on El Oleonda, somewhere in the East, but the inhabitants of Fort Arltrees weren't particularly concerned. The enemy army was reorganizing around Oryant and Luyang, and the only immediate threat to the Fort was represented by bands of Lotii stragglers and Carnite deserters: they still created some troubles for the most isolated farms... but, after all, that was the New World, and always keeping the musket at hand didn't seem something particularly unusual. Therefore, during the previous months, the settlement kept growing steadily: the arrival of the allied contingent required more warehouses for the supplies, more workshops to fix the carriages, more blacksmiths, more stables, and obviously houses and taverns for all the workers. The gold mine and the farms also contributed to attracting a third wave of colonists, ready to seek their fortune in this remote corner of the Empire. With the allied fleet securing the main trade routes, and the safety offered by the imposing fortifications, the wealth of El Oleonda started attracting enterprising men from all over the Empire, but also from abroad. In Fort Arltrees, merchants from foreign nations were encouraged to settle and start their businesses in a dedicated district, close to the commercial port. In the plans of the local authorities, the presence of foreign merchants in the settlement will further boost the economy of the settlement, encouraging more regular visits from the Madrician commercial fleets. On the other hand, Oleon doesn't want to repeat the mistakes made by Mardier with Terraversa: closing the port to the other nations would only encourage them to try establishing their own footholds in the New Haven Seas, with no control or advantage for the Empire of Light. Several nations established a commercial emporium in the settlement: these little buildings represented at the same time warehouses, offices of the commercial delegation, and informal embassies. To avoid crossing too much one another's path, each trading company specialized in a few specific wares: trading from and to the very corner of the map is already complicated enough, and nobody wants to start pointless concurrencies! In the Foreign Merchants' District, hundreds of doubloons change hands every day: a single ship loaded with spices, dyes, or sugar may be worth a real fortune back in the Madrician nations, while some relatively common goods produced in the motherland or in the Western Islands might be rare and expensive in the New Haven region. In the District, it is also possible to hire captains, ships, and crews of almost any nationality, to circumvent the current political complications: for a fair price, you could get a shipment of Lotii porcelains, or even get a passage to the Southern Kingdoms on a neutral ship; needless to say, this is also of great interest for the secret services, and the "Altonian salesman" who just embarked for the Lotus Empire could easily be an agent of Corrington or Oleon, an ambassador involved in secret talks, or even a Lotii spy! Sailing under a foreign flag can also allow a safer journey to Fort Arltrees for rich passengers, valuable objects... or both, as in the case of the famous painter who has just been hired by the Garvian delegation! A real army of porters works in the district and in the nearby port: hundreds of crates, barrels, and bags have to be moved every day from the ships to the warehouses, or vice versa. Not everything, however, is worth its weight in gold, as in the case of the shipment of fruit and vegetables just delivered to the Mardierian delegation. Even if Fort Arltrees looked very different from the small hamlet of wooden shacks of only a couple of years before, the settlement was still very different from the most civilized cities of the Western Islands. Despite the fancy buildings of the District, trappers and boucaniers are still a common sight in the settlement, and the inhabitants are not particularly picky about the possible meanings of "roasted venison"... differently from that Altonian officer, who would probably think twice before visiting a local tavern! Unfortunately, the development of Fort Arltrees also started to attract a few scoundrels and petty criminals... apparently an unavoidable price of progress and prosperity, in the New World exactly as in the Old one. This officer from East Terraversa should have been a little more watchful while telling tall tales about the Glorious Revolution of 616... Citizens of Southern descent represent a relevant minority, as some inhabitants of Jiangkai resettled in Fort Arltrees after the destruction of the settlement. Some Monomonto swordsmen, abandoned by their own comrades and simply left behind, asked to serve in the Grande Armèe of Oleon: most of them were enlisted in the King's Musketeers, a unit already well-known for the swashbuckling skills of its members... if with a rapier or a katana, apparently, makes little difference for the recruiting officers. ------------------------------ A list of foreign commercial missions: The Essener New World Trading Company The Ferrer Family Commercial Enterprise The Altonian Commercial Mission Miroslav Dobric's Trading Emporium Garvian League Guildhouse Terraversan Commonwealth Rum-Runners ----------------------------- OOC: This diorama includes several little details, including a full interior for most of the builds. Therefore, apart from text completion, expect it to remain “alive” For the next few days, as I figure out the best way to assemble/move/reorganize the different parts! In particular, I plan to add individual posts for each building in this thread, so stay tuned!
  2. Essener New World Trading Company Part of the Foreign Merchants' Trading District of Fort Arltrees Located in a strategic position between Neustadt and Seawatch, Fort Arltrees always represented a fundamental waypoint for the ships of Carno. The first presence of Carnites in the settlement was established as early as the summer of 620, during the battle of El Oleonda: a company of Essian infantry was hired in the garrison of Fort Arltrees, soon reached by a squadron of the hussars from the same city. Treesborg -the Carnite name given to Fort Arltrees- also had a crucial role during the siege of Seawatch: brave captains from Carno, Garvey, or Oleon left the settlement during nights of storm, defying the Lotii ships to provide the defenders with gunpowder and supplies. Most of the Carnite activities in Fort Arltrees were linked to the Free City of Essen, which traders didn't dislike a little more autonomy from the Grand Merchant Council of Aden and its representatives in Neustadt. The security of the commercial delegation is ensured by a small contingent of marines of the Essener New World Trading Company. On paper, these guards are employees of a private commercial entity, but their uniforms and equipment show a clear connection with the regular armed forces. During the previous two years, organizing the smuggling runs to the besieged settlement of Seawatch was one of the main activities of the Essian merchants in Treesborg. A noble mission, but also a quite profitable activity, as each cargo was generously paid in emergency certificates by the local governor. This represented quite a gamble for the Company: the hired captains demanded payments in doubloons or silver thalers, not in promises, and a Lotii victory would have turned all the "siege money" accumulated by the Essian merchants into wastepaper. On the ground floor, clerks and secretaries write and organize the huge pile of contracts, certificates, reports, and other documents that any trading company produces daily. People from Essen are known to be honest, precise and methodical, therefore any comma in the registers could be expected to be in order. In the near future, the Essener New World Trading Company planned to expand its activity on the island. The discovery of rich gold and silver ores on El Oleonda suscitated a particular interest in the Essians, well aware that the experience in metalworking of their countrymen could be put to good use there in the New World, where most of the smelting facilities were still rudimentary. Many Essians see in the New World the opportunity for a new dawn of prosperity for their city: for this reason, the sea flag of the Company includes the golden yellow of the historical flag, a symbol of greatness and power rarely used by the city in the current times... who knows, possibly the sacred Oak of Wotan could find a fertile soil on El Oleonda, so far from its homeland! ------------------------------- I hope you enjoy the first building of the trading district, belonging to the Free City of Essen. Obvious credit goes to @Khorne, who invented it and established most of the lore... for this reason, it was also the most complicated in terms of text writing, as I wanted to be as coherent as possible with what was previously established. The reason behind the black and yellow flag is that while building I realized (to my surprise) that I don't own a white one, required for the more canonical Essen City Banner... my soldiers never felt the need to surrender, apparently!
  3. Cattle die Walls crumble Crops wither same as with Men but I know of something that is eternal and that is the glory of the Raven City Raise the Raven Banner - A Guide to the Free City of Essen Description The Free City of Essen - the Raven City, the Black City and home of the Ever-Oak - is nested in the upper bend of the mighty river Karn, at the foot of the Iron Hills. Once a powerful and high-standing duchy, it lost most of its might and territory during the Dance of Dukes: a dynastic dispute with its rival Aden that saw the death of all of Essen’s von Helborg rulers and thus their claim to the Carnite throne. Despite its historical misfortunes, Essen still remains one of the strongest city-states of Carno, backed by a powerful economy that thrives on metalworking, forging and arms manufacturing, which have earned the city the title of Carno’s Armory. Nickname Essen has several monikers, but the most common ones are the Raven City or Carno’s Armory. Colors Predominantly black, accompanied by shades of dark grey and odd traces of white. Flag The historic flag of Essen was yellow and black (figure I). However this flag is rarely used nowadays and is known as die Fahne der Grossmachtzeit, or the Flag of Great Power (Times). It was the flag flown during the heyday of the city, when its was still ruled by its duke and before it was defeated during the Dance of Dukes. As a sign of the great wealth they lost, the Essians since decided to discard the yellow-gold from their flag and now fly a stark solemn black and white banner instead (figure II). Iconography Der Rabe, or the Raven (figure III) - the Raven is the symbol of Wotan, chief god of the Essian pantheon. Legend says Hraban the Founder settled his people after following a raven to the location of what was to be Essen. Essen's riches are said to have been a gift from the gods themselves. Der Totenkopf, or the Skull (figure IV) - the Skull was added to Essian uniforms and general iconography after the Dance of Dukes. It is the symbol of the nation's perpetual mourning for the loss of their dukes and the city's prestige and stands as a reminder of what once was and should be re-won. It was also chosen as a means to strike fear in the hearts of opponents. Die Eiche, or the Oak Tree (figure V) - while not as often used as the Raven and Skull, Oak iconography still forms a major part of Essian symbolism. The oak is the tree to which Wotan speared himself in search of greater understanding of the world. As such a great oak tree was planted at the city's founding in his honor. The tree was later burned down with the rest of the city in the aftermath of the civil war, but has since slowly started to regrow. Many Essians see this as the symbol for things to come and believe one day, they will be the ruling city-state of Carno once more. Oaks and oak leaves also form an integral part of Essian religion and places for contemplation are often centered around ancient oaks. Laurels made of oak leaves are bestowed upon those who have performed great features or deeds for the city. A DETAILED LOOK at the FREE CITY OF ESSEN Leadership Stadtrat or City Council The Free City is governed by the City Council: a body of thirteen members total comprising mostly of wealthy merchants and guild seniors, representatives of Essen’s dependencies and ranking figures of the military. The Council is presided by the Stadtholder, the official head of Essen appointed by the King in Aden. Stadtholder or Steward In the aftermath of the civil war, Essen was stripped of its authority and its nobility and ruling lineage was eradicated. Over time, the City regained some of its privileges and rights, except the right to appoint its own leadership. For decades now, the city has been ruled by a Stadtholder, a royal Steward sent from outside of Essen and chosen by officials in Aden. While the City Council has the right to govern and makes most day-to-day decisions, the Stadtholder has the power to veto and turn back any of the decisions made by the Council. Location The Free City of Essen and its surrounding territories are located in the upper bend of the river Karn. Upstream to the west of its rival - and the nation’s capital - of Aden. In the past, its great power and western location gave rise to the nickname 'Grand Duchy of the West', with the von Helborg dukes referred to as 'Grand Dukes of the West'. Fiefs and dependencies The dominion of Essen not only controls the Free City itself, but also holds sway over vast farmlands and smaller villages and hamlets outside of the city’s walls. Although Essen’s territory has greatly diminished since its heyday, it is still large enough to make Essen one of Carno’s powerhouse city-states. Points of interest: In the Old World: Drachenfels - A small mining village in the Iron Hills, mostly known as the place of origin of the Karsten family. Karlsbad - A spa town founded on natural springs in the Iron Hills. A luxurious place where many of Essen's elite come to relax and spend their weekends. Kärnitz - A rural village located on the fertile plains around Essen. A farming and husbandry community, Kärnitz supplies Essen army with a unit of Kärnitzer Ulanen. Wiesenburg Karnemünde - An exclave of the Free City situated at the mouth of the river Karn, on the Carnite coast. It was acquired by Essen via marriage politics and was once the capital of a larger strip of land along the coast. After the war Aden gifted most of Karnemünde's territory to its own allies, leaving only the city in Essen's control. In the New World: Treesborg - The Carnite name for 'Fort Arltrees'. It is not truly a proper colony, but rather a joint settlement with Oléon on El Oleonda. It has grown out of a regiment of soldiers stationed there in the aftermath of the Lotti conflict. History To be updated, currently a copy-paste from Flickr. Essen was founded a long time ago by Hraban the Founder, who had followed a couple of ravens into a bend of the mighty river Karn. There they nested upon a black rock, which Hraban took as a sign of Wotan, the All-Father. Thus he settled his people - descendants of Garveyan stock - there. In honor of the gods, Hraban planted a mighty oak, a holy tree that would become a symbol for Essen. The black rock turned out to be coal and coupled with an abundance of metal ore in the surroundings hills propelled Essen's economy forward in unprecedented ways, transforming it into the metalworking and arms forging capital of Carno. The power of Essen grew and the Duchy came to dominate the southern banks of the Karn, rivaling and perhaps even outshining Aden. Under the guidance of the von Helborg dukes, first Wilhelm and then his son Karl, Essen clashed with Aden over control of the Kingdom of Carno through a dynastic dispute. It was a bitter-fought civil war that saw both dukes killed and Essen on the losing side. Aden would remain the prime city state of Carno. As a punishment for their uprising, Essen and its mighty oak were burned to the ground and stripped of their ducal titles. However, Essen and its people are resilient and just like the oak started to regrow over time, so did the city and its people spring back up with an iron resolve. Not looking for another war, Aden compromised and restored some of Essen's privileges making it a Free City in the Kingdom, ruled by a Stadtholder appointed by the King. Essen begrudgingly accepted the terms. In an act of defiance, however, they decided to change their uniforms to black in honor of their late rebellious dukes and added the skull and crossbones to their caps, so their deaths would never be forgotten. The Esseners still refer to their beloved fallen duke as Carolus Dux Perpetuum: Karl, the Eternal Duke. Society and Culture A Mercantile Nature The Essians are very mercantile in nature and belief that hard work pays off eventually. Unlike most other great cities and city-states in Carno, Essen does not have a strong base of nobles. This is because many of its nobles families lost their lives either during the civil war or were put to death afterwards as a reprisal measure to ensure no other claimant could rise up to defy Aden. As such, the divide between commoners and upper class is less rigid in Essen and a strong mercantile middle class has sprung up. Indeed, the city’s wealth has come from its merchants and artisans for ages. Thus, it is no surprise they hold much of the city’s power. Many powerful merchant families have worked their way up into highest echelons of Essian power over time and large conglomerates control much of Essen’s economic and political life. The most well-know and mightiest of families is that of Karsten. Originally a miner from Drachenfels, their ancestor moved to Essen some generations ago and through mad luck and entrepreneurial endeavor managed to acquire a smelting oven. The combination of mining and metalworking provided a great nucleus to amass wealth and over time the family rose over all others, managing to acquire more land and businesses during its ascendency. Religion As is common amongst the Madrice Peninsula, Essen too knows the Faith. However, only a minority of its subjects follow the Faith in its traditional sense. Carno in general, just as Garvey, mostly has its own unique versions of the Faith, its gods and its customs and Essen is no exception. Slightly deviating from standard Carnite practice, most people of Essen practice a very naturalistic and spritual approach to the Faith called Wotanism. Wotanism focuses on the purity of the mind, body and the surrounding world through contemplation and finding solace in work and understand one’s surroundings. Wotanism has no real rigid structure and is more of a collection of customs and beliefs than an actual religion as such. Like the Faith, it knows many deities and spirits, but as its name implies Wotan is the chief god. The One-Eyed Allfather who speared himself to the World Tree in search of understanding of the world. It is known some radical Rune priests follow his example and take their eye, hoping to unlock the secrets of the world, just like the All-Father. Fondness of Science Perhaps a combination of the Essian mercantile instincts and an influence of its naturalistic Wotanist ways of finding enlightenment have led to a great scientific interest. Essians are thoroughly intrigued by all things technological and have amassed vast knowledge in the field of metallurgy and ballistics over time. Many rich families send their children to famed Corrish universities so they can learn from the best there. Values and Traditions After their defeat at the hands of Aden and its allies, Essen lost most of its power base and prestige and was stripped of virtually all privileges it had obtained over time. Its people were at a loss, the city had lost its leadership and income. However, diligent as any Carnite, the Essians doubled down on their values and traditions and somewhat secluded themselves from the outside world, working on rebuilding their city and recovering its former glory. While most Carnites are know to be disciplined and industrious, the Essians are double so, making them seem detached, overtly serious and distant to many outsiders. The society of Essen became geared towards one purpose: showing their adversaries that despite their defeat during the Dance of Dukes, Essen was and still is the beacon of Carno. Essians are known for their austerity, determination, discipline and extreme industriousness and punctuality. A strong sense of loyalty, obedience and respect is instilled from an early age on and one is heavily frowned upon when neglecting these values. The Military The army is the pride of Essen and the reflection of its might. Like all Carnite city-states, Essen controls several of its own units, next to the tithe of men they are obliged to send the crown for the nation’s unified royal army. Essen’s soldiers are famous for they black uniforms and aggressive tactics, whereas many other Carnites prefer to be cautious and tactically defensive. While the infantry forms the largest part of Essen’s army, there are also small yet effective cavalry units, drawn from the surrounding rural villages. Have an in-depth look at the army here. Characteristics of the Free City of Essen Overall when part of the Carnite nation proper, Essen will follow Carno's general values. However, in terms of Essen's specific background or for actions concerning Essen specifically, some values differ from those of Carno. Naval Power • • • • • • • • • • | As a largely landlocked state, Essen holds very little naval power. It upholds a minor trade fleet that plies the Karn river and some military vessels to protect its trade posts. The Essian exclave of Karnemünde stations Essen's little ocean-going fleet. Military Power • • • • • • • • • • | Essen is renowned for its disciplined infantry and agile combat doctrines. In the military field, Essians tend to be less conservative than other Carnite states and more easily adopt new strategies and armaments. Essen's combat stratagems emphasize speed, surprise and psychological warfare. Science • • • • • • • • • • | Like most Carnites, Essians are quick to accept tried-and-tested advances. However, unlike most other Carnites, Essians themselves also search themselves for scientific insights, especially in the fields of metallurgy and engineering. Diplomacy • • • • • • • • • • | Essen lost most of its diplomatic autonomy after the civil war and as such holds little official diplomatic influence outside of Carno. Behind the scenes, it still has considerable sway over lesser city-states it once dominated. Inner Stability • • • • • • • • • • | The society of Essen runs like a clockwork and is geared towards one purpose: the greater good of the city and restoring the honor and power it lost. Treasury / Coffers • • • • • • • • • • | Essen's role as prime metallurgical and arms manufacturing center of Carno have given it considerable wealth. This, coupled with its strategic location perfect for trade with Carnite interior and other Madrician nations, has made the city one of the most wealthy and powerful in Carno, rivaling Aden itself. Exploration • • • • • • • • • • | While Essians have always been intrigued by the world surrounding them and try to learn and understand as much about it as possible, state-sponsored exploration and colonization has never been a prime objective. Most explorative enterprises are undertaken by private individuals. Culture • • • • • • • • • • | Essians are considered dour by most and their cultural exploits are often put away as "archaic" and "passé". It is true that the pragmatic Essians are rather conservative in terms of art, but they still love artistic fields such as architecture, painting, theatre and poetry. They are romanticists at heart somewhat stuck in an idealized past. Known Essians Maximilian Coehoorn, Chief of Essen's military on El Oleonda Helmut Von Braun, Knights Treasurer Chapter Master in Terraversa [OL - @Ross Fisher] Sources A collection of links and posts containing RP'ed information pertaining to Essen and its background: The results of the Battle for El Oleonda - Here you can find out about Carno and Essen's involvement in the conflict, plus the aftermath. Advent calendar MOC - Here you can find an in-game MOC pertaining to Essen's religious customs. Fort Arltrees Carnite house, by @CapOnBOBS - Following the Essians' footsteps, other Carnites too have come to Fort Arltrees to make a profit off close Carnite-Oléonder relations in the area. You can also check out the post below to find more MOCs with their own topics. Inspiration The Free City of Essen draws inspiration from many sources, both fantasy and real-world. Main real-world influences are: Northern Germany in general Hanseatic city-states such as Hamburg, Lübeck, Duisberg, etc. Kingdom of Prussia A small dose of Sweden and a dash of Dutch Republic You can view an architectural mood board I put together here. Essians are down-to-earth, pragmatic, militaristic and conservative which is reflected in their sparsely decorated (neo) Gothic brick buildings, the likes of which you would see along the Baltic Sea among various Hanseatic cities. Note: I made this guide to centralize all of the currently available information about the Free City of Essen, its people and history. I intend to further update this with more pictures and work on the lay-out, but the general idea is there already. None of this stuff is really new, but it was all over the place. I thought it might be easier if the background information could be found in one place.
  4. With the Lotii threat causing the entire Carnite settlement the be on edge, Captain Esposito comes out of retirement to lead the local Neustadt militia on patrol around the outskirts of the town. ------------------------- OOC: A chance to play with yellowish green and make a barrel tree.
  5. After two days of travel, Major Brickleton and his party of cavalrymen approached the Carnite settlement of Seawatch. Reports suggested the town was under siege by Lotii forces and Brickleton had orders to confirm the veracity of those reports. Brickleton had the company of 18th Hussars dismount as they approached a low hill. Not far off they could hear the sounds of men at arms. Removing his bicorn hat, Brickleton crouched low and crawled to the top of the hill. He peered toward Seawatch with his spyglass. Kneeling to keep below the ridgeline, the troopers accompanying Brickleton took his lead and removed their bicorn hats as well. The trooper tasked with watching their horses wondered to himself what Brickleton was he seeing beyond the hill. Upon hearing a toucan in the tree above him, he mused to himself, "I bet that bird knows where the Lotii generals are". -------------------- OOC: Continuation of the recon mission to see the status of Seawatch.
  6. Seawatch, El Oleonda, February 622 After days of heavy tropical rain, the sun was finally high in the sky. With the warm weather, the luxuriant vegetation, and the parrots singing, the day seemed perfect for a picnic outside the town, apart from a little detail... the Lotii army besieging Seawatch! The enemies were less than a mile far, but everything was weirdly calm. The attack, however, could begin at any moment... in an hour or in a week, the enemy troops could have been right there, trying to storm the outer defenses of Seawatch. The defenders of Seawatch were ready to face them, musket in hand. They would have held that advanced position as long as they could, then they would have retreated to the second defensive line: those positions outside the city were precarious, but still allowed to keep the enemy cannons far enough from the city. Carnite soldiers and civilian volunteers were fortifying a small abandoned farm outside Seawatch: placing a few wooden spikes in a choke point required minutes, but could stop the charge of a whole cavalry company. Reinforcing the small garrison with conscripted civilians, however, had some downsides: some were undisciplined but brave, while others had clearly never held a musket before. A small group of Oleonese "merchants", coming from Fort Arltrees, had reached Seawatch right before the siege and was coordinating the defenders in the outer positions. Curiously, their leader seemed strangely expert about urban fights and irregular warfare. When asked, he always mumbled something about having fought in Charlatan Bay and quickly changed the topic. This was likely false, but the Carnite officers didn't actually care, since his suggestions were helping to keep the Lotii out of Seawatch. At that very moment, the "leader of the merchants" was discussing with a Carnite officer where to bury some gunpowder barrels to create a fougasse, using those very barrels as an improvised tactical table. His real name was Emmanuel Perrault, and he was an officer of the Oleonese military intelligence... but, there in Seawatch, he was Luc Delacroix, an Oleonese merchant trapped with his partners by the Lotii siege. He had had worse aliases, but it was still strange thinking that he would have received a medal -or he would have been buried- with a false name. He rolled the map and walked to another position, yelling orders to the militiamen... there was no time for sentimentalisms, as Emmanuel Perrault or as Luc Delacroix, he still had a siege to win! Overall view I hope you like my build! As a side note, I'm using it to introduce a secondary character, Emmanuel Perrault... I don't know when I'll use him again, but I wanted to have someone (more sacrificable than my main characters) in the besieged Carnite city. PS: After taking the photos and dismantling the build I realized that one of the muskets was chewed by one of my cats... nice!
  7. The history of the colonisation of Terra Nova has so far been dominated by nations of the Madrice Peninsular who sail southeast from their homelands into the resource rich archipelagos of the new world. As the Mardician nations push ever eastward into the New Haven Sea, however; it has become clear that they are not the only the only nations to be exploring and colonising the new world. The nation of Carno was a latecomer to colonisation and Carnite planners felt they missed the prime locations in both the Sea of Thieves and Prio Sea. Thus Carno has pioneered Mardician exploration of the New Haven Sea area. From the first Carnite settlement of Neustadt on the island known to colonial planners as number eleven, Carnite presence has expanded onto the large island known as El Oleonda on which it is rumoured huge riches can be found. It wasn't long before Carnite pioneers realised they weren't the only ones with their eyes on El Oleondas wealth. Skirmishes broke out in the jungles between Carnite settlers and a strange people who appeared to be southern Halosian in appearance. Large ocean-going junks began to raid Carnite shipping and settlements. It was soon revealed these newcomers were from the Kingdom of the Lotus. Not much is known about the large southern Halosian empire and it is thought that Lotii explorers discovered the New Haven sea area by travelling northeast of their homelands. Soon El Oleonda and its surrounds were in a state of all out war. Even the nearby Corlander settlement of Spudkirk was raided by the Lotii! The hard pressed Carnites have called for their Madrician neighbours to assist them in their struggle driving the southerners out of the New Haven Sea. Will you answer their call? Political Map of the New Haven Sea: It is rumoured that Carno has at least two settlements on the western side of El Oleonda and the Lotii have at least three; one quite large, on the Eastern side of the island. This challenge consists of 5 categories: A. The Kingdom of the Lotus B. The Mysteries of El Oleonda C. First Encounter with the Tyree’De D. Action on the High Seas E. Mercenaries Needed Note that category D has an optional t-MRCA component, resulting in twice as many prizes. See below for category descriptions and deadlines. All entries must be linked in this thread. Clearly identify what category an entry is for. Scoring Criteria: Judges will score each entry on the following criteria: Build (score out of 10) - emphasis on quality. Doesn't necessary have to be complex, but higher scoring builds will show obvious effort. Story (score out of 5) - does the build fit the challenge story requirements? High scoring builds will have a well written and interesting story. Presentation (score out of 5) - Considerations include: photography, colour palette, base/borders Individual prizes awarded for each category as follows: - 1st Place individual: x1 free large property license (micro build required for activation, usable only in New Haven Sea) OR x1 free Class 5 ship license (micro build required for activation) - 2nd Place individual: x1 free medium property license (micro build required for activation, usable only in New Haven Sea) OR x1 free Class 4 ship license (micro build required for activation) - 3rd Place individual: x1 free small property license (micro build required for activation, usable only in New Haven Sea) OR x1 free Class 3 ship license (micro build required for activation) Faction prizes will be based on a calculation that includes participation and quality of builds from each category and individual category wins: - 1st Place faction: First choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. (at the end of the challenge, a choice of islands will be set by the court). The settlement will start with the following properties: x3 small residences, x3 small artisans, x3 small commerce and x3 small factories (microbuilds needed to activate each). - 2nd Place faction: Second choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. The settlement will start with the following properties: x2 small residences, x2 small artisans, x2 small commerce and x2 small factories (microbuilds needed to activate each). - 3rd Place faction: Third choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. The settlement will start with the following properties: x1 small residence, x1 small artisan, x1 small commerce and x1 small factory (microbuilds needed to activate each). - 4th Place faction: Fourth choice of a New Haven Sea island for a settlement. The settlement will start with 1 small property (microbuild needed to activate). FINAL RESULTS HERE Category A: The Kingdom of the Lotus Not much is known in Northern Halos of the Kingdom of the Lotus, but they are one of the major empires of Southern Halos. By land, one must pass through the Mokolei Empire and the Forbidden Kingdoms. By sea, not only does the great expanse of the Drolitic Ocean separate the nations of Northern Halos from the southern part of the continent, but one must travel around the horn to the great Southern Ocean before encountering their kingdom. So what is the Kingdom of the Lotus like? Builders should show a scene depicting some aspect of Lotii culture (architecture, dress, customs, social interaction, etc.). Builds should be located within the Kingdom of the Lotus and may be based on rumours your characters in the Brick Seas have heard. The Kingdom of the Lotus is roughly based on real-word East Asian cultures and previous depictions have taken inspiration from both China and Japan. Size: 32 x 32 max Due Date: Sunday 22nd March 2020 Cat A Results Category B: The Mysteries of El Oleonda The New Haven Sea has not revealed many of her secrets yet. With four large islands and 17 smaller ones, there is much to explore. But what have Carno and Lotus found on El Oleonda that is worth fighting for? The fountain of youth? Gold or other mineral wealth? Gardens resplendent with fruit and other foodstuffs? Perhaps knowledge left behind by a lost civilization? Myths of a once great native civilization ruling over multiple islands are common amongst natives in the Brick Seas, and indeed ruins have been found in many locations hinting at some truth to these legends. Or is El Oleonda’s value in something else entirely? Builders should show a feature of the island worth fighting for by the combatants. Size: 32x32 max Due Date: Sunday 12th April Tuesday 14th April Friday 17 April 2020 Index of Cat B Builds Category C: First Encounter with the Tyree’De Ever since the Halosian nations began to explore the seas, they have encountered many indigenous peoples, and similar encounters have occurred in the New Haven Sea. Reports from both Carno and The Kingdom of the Lotus describe visitors in large canoes and even ships of curious design arriving at El Oleonda to trade with the Carnovians and the Lotii. These native traders are not Halosian of origin and, although they share similarities with some of the native peoples known so far, their culture appears very different. They trade in many exotic goods and wares, seemingly flush with silver and unwilling to part with their wares for mere trinkets. Instead, they are showing interest in manufactured goods, including milling equipment, metalworking and production tooling, and weapons. While they seem keen to learn Halosian ways and customs, they are much more circumspect when speaking about themselves. They refer to themselves as the Tyree’De and, when pushed about where they come from, they reply with vague answers “to the south.” Builders should show their faction’s peaceful first encounter with the Tyree’De, either in the form of Tyree’De people visiting a settlement on El Oleonda or another island in the New Haven Sea, or as an encounter with a Tyree’De vessel on the water in the New Haven Sea. Size: 24x24 max Due Date: Sunday 26th April 2020 Index of Cat C Builds Category D: Action on the High Seas With open warfare between Carno and the Kingdom of the Lotus, there is plenty of opportunity for normally law-abiding sailors to turn to privateering as a means of legal piracy to earn a handsome payday. Carno is practically giving away Letters of Marque to anyone who will help them combat the Kingdom of the Lotus in the New Haven Sea and protect their supply lines. Rumor has it the Lotii are also willing, if you can make contact with them, to authorize privateers to harass Carno shipping. Builders should show some aspect of a naval encounter in the New Haven Sea. There are two different types of entries for this category: Cat D(1) MOC only, and Cat D(2) t-MRCA result builds. 'MOC Only' entries should depict a naval encounter between Carnite and Lotii forces or their allies. 'tMRCA' entries. A tMRCA will be run in which players may accept a letter of Marque from Carno to hunt Lotii vessels. So that players may get their ships into the action quickly, ships will be allowed to be moved from their most recent destination to a new starting point in the New Haven Sea for free. Players wishing to enter in the category should submit a PM to the MRCA officials declaring their intention of entering this category and nominating their starting point. A tMRCA (potentially two) will then be run and players should MOC their tMRCA results as their entry. Rewards will be handed out for both types of entries and players may enter both sub-categories Size: unlimited (mirco builds also allowed) Due Date: Sunday 31st May 2020 28 June 2020 Note: Individual 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes awarded in both the “MOC only” and “t-MRCA result” classes. Category E: Mercenaries Needed Carno isn't just calling for help on the high seas; they also need troops on the ground on El Oleonda. Thus Carno is hiring Madrician mercenary units to help them on El Oleonda. The battlegrounds on El Oleonda cover a vast array of environments from thick verdant jungle to rolling plains and mountain highlands. Builders should depict a land battle/skirmish on the island or El Oleonda between Carno and/or their mercenary units and Lotii forces. Due Date: Sunday 31st May 2020 Size: 32x32 max
  8. Somewhere in the jungle, March 620, El Oleonda Heading towards these ruins was almost a shot in the dark. During one of the first explorations of the interior, following a little river with no name (by the way, River Rimbaud sounded quite well), Tristan and his men found something quite surprising: a complex system of little canals, clogged by vegetation but still functioning, that brought water towards the inland. That luxuriant jungle, somewhere in time, must have taken over fields and gardens, swallowing any trace of an advanced civilization: no known tribe of the archipelago, not even the Myzec of Cascadia, could have built something similar. The canals, now feeding only bushes and undergrowth, were by sure a sophisticated artefact: they were built with bricks and stones, and their slope had probably been carefully calculated… proof of that, they were still functioning despite the abandonment. Even though that discovery was completely unexpected, Tristan was more interested in something different: far inside the jungle, above the treetops, there was a wisp of smoke… the only trace of human presence they could find. With no other clue, Tristan and his men moved in that direction, following the remains of a paved road… another strange thing to find in the New World, but that made the men save a lot of time and fatigue. Now they were almost there. The scouts had told Tristan that the bivouac was only fifty meters onward, among some ancient ruins, but he couldn't see anything yet… damned jungle! Tristan's only hope was that the men in front of them were Carnite and not Lotii: the orders he had received included exploring the island and trying to discover what the two nations were fighting for, something by far easier if you can understand a word of what the others say. Tristan murmured a short prayer to Poseidon and moved forward… he was going to do something very, very stupid. "You are entering a military site of the Empire of Carno! Don't make a step forward or we'll open fire!" Bingo! They weren't Lotii and they didn't shoot on sight… it was already something. Tristan stopped, trying to appear as calm and relaxed as possible. Entering from the front door was by sure the best way to get quickly a lot of information, but it was also quite risky... now he had to play his cards well if he didn't want a bullet from a nervous Carnite sentinel. "I am Tristan Rimbaud, Regiment General of the Oleander army." -He replied in an acceptable Carnite- "You have at least two good reasons to lower your guns and let me pass. The first, and the best one, is that I come in peace: I don't have any hostility against you. The second one is that I ordered my men to take position in the bushes right behind me... touch the trigger, and you'll receive enough bullets to turn that ruins into a lead mine." Tristan knew very well the rule of thumb of diplomacy: raising a white flag can be a good start a negotiate, but it works by far better if the counterpart knows that you have twice his guns. A moment of tense silence followed, immediately covered by the deafening rumors of the jungle: the chatter of parrots, the rustling of leaves, the sounds of the little streams of water... and the buzzing of bugs, that disgusting horde of tiny vampires. Three more Carnite soldiers emerged from the bushes. They were in a good position, but Tristan was almost sure that his man would have taken them down before they could shoot, if things had gone in the wrong way. "Calm down, Gustav! They are clearly not Lotii cutthroats!" Tristan had barely noticed that man before… a civilian, unarmed, who now seemed to be the leader of the Carnite garrison. "And welcome, Herr Rimbaud, on behalf of myself and of the inhabitants of this place, dust since centuries. I am Hans Schneider, archaeologist, and this is Gustav Weber, head of my guards… forgive him, but we all are a little on edge, given the situation! By the way, aren't you Oleanders a little far from home?" Tristan, relieved, walked into what seemed an ancient city, similar to several ones scattered in the archipelago… also in this case, everything seemed abandoned for decades. "Nice to meet you, Monsieur Schneider" replied Tristan. "You are right, we are quite far from home! The war between your nation and the Lotii has raised some anxiety in our colonial authorities… and has also raised a lot of questions. This island is quite large and rich, but it's not the only one in the archipelago. Why the hell didn't the Lotii colonize another of the large islands? What do they think it's worth dying for?" Tristan didn't really expect an answer: if there actually was something precious enough to start a war, the Carnites wouldn't have revealed it so simply. The archaeologist, however, surprised him again. "Well, Herr Rimbaud, I can be completely frank about that: my nation is here for what always makes the empires move: lands, gold, commercial routes, valuable crops… we were a little late in the run towards East, but now we have our piece of land under the sun. For the Lotii, however, the situation is different: they arrived on El Oleonda without any warning, and they attacked our forces on the Eastern tip of the island. The incredible thing, however, is that probably they don't care at all about conquering the island… they are looking for something." "And... do you know what are looking for?" "I'll tell you a story, Herr Rimbaud. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's all I know. A story that began thirty years ago, in the Lotus Kingdom. You know that after the discovery of the first islands in the Sea of Storms, half a century ago, voices of rich lands East of Terraversa started to spread… rumors about paradise-like islands, possibly even continents, where spices grew everywhere, and gold could be found below any single rock. So, after a lot of hesitation, the Emperor decided to roll the dices and send his ships to the North: also the Lotii had their Armond Basker and their three caravels, actually a fleet of twenty ships and almost two thousand mariners. They left the capital, cheered by the population, and nobody has ever seen them again: two thousand men swallowed by the sea, the whole fleet destroyed… and a considerable amount of gold, silver, and precious gifts for the sovereigns of the mysterious new continent lost with them. It was a real disaster, and somebody says that the old emperor was killed by the sorrow. Here ends what we know for sure, but a few years ago a new trace was discovered by some Lotii fishermen…" "How was it possible? What did they find after so much time?" "A man… even if I'm not sure he still could be defined so. They found him on a little atoll, where apparently he had lived alone for decades. He was completely mad, and could barely mutter a few words. However, before losing his mind, he had carved his memories on a piece of wood. I had a chance to read a copy of it, after our fleet captured a Lotii junk, and I can assure you that I didn't sleep for days. The only reason why that poor soul didn't commit suicide was that he knew something vital for the Kingdom, something he wrote down when he was still sane: the fleet was destroyed by a storm, as everybody supposed, but several ships survived and were stranded on a large island. The admiral decided to try the return voyage with the only ship that could still set sail, promising to the survivors that he would have returned with help. He left on the island hundreds of men, all the treasures and, even more importantly, most of the maps he had drawn up to that moment… maps of this archipelago, and of all the other lands which could exist between the Lowers and the Lotus Empire." "But he wasn't lucky enough." Concluded Tristan. "Indeed. The ship sank, and the only survivor was driven mad by the sun and the loneliness. But his sketches seem to show that the ships were stranded on El Oleonda, and so the Lotii are here. For the treasure of the lost fleet and those old maps, even if I don't know whether the streams of gold and pearls or the blessed lands described did ever exist outside the mind of that unfortunate sailor…" "And so the Lotii are here for some maps that could even not exist at all and for treasures lost decades ago, possibly on this island?" "Exactly. They are convinced that their predecessors may have hidden their gold before hunger, diseases, attacks of the natives or time took them all. Maybe in these very ruins, or in some abandoned temple in the forest, who knows. In that case, it will probably decorate forever the homes of scorpions, spiders, and bats." "And you? Are you hunting the Lotii gold too?" Asked Tristan. "I thought you considered the treasure lost forever, but still you are digging among these ruins..." "We are archaeologists, not treasure hunters!" Replied Herr Schneider, apparently a little offended. "We were studying these ancient ruins, abandoned at least a century ago by a mysterious civilization… but now we are trapped in a damned war theatre!" The archaeologist continued: "I don't know if the treasure exists, or if the survivors decided to throw it in the sea when they realized that nobody would have ever come. What I know for sure is that only their maps and documents, if they still exist, could reveal to us the complete story of the unfortunate expedition and the lands they visited. More probably, however, they will remain forever in some forgotten temple, no matter how much the Lotii will search." An overall view: Without colour adjustment This is my entry for cat B. It required a lot of text, pictures, and time, and I hope you like it. As usual, C&C are welcome. PS Everything I depicted is part of the build: the treasures and the skeleton are in little niches in the two buildings
  9. Part I: "Protecting her Majesty's Honour" Part II: *Link to be added later* Part III: "In her Majesty's Diplomatic Service" Montoya had gotten the dubious honour of delivering her Royal Majesty's response (not exactly soothed by the letters from the privateering captain) to the Carnite actions. As he arrived in the capital of Carno he was lead not the Royal Palace, but to the foreign office, where he was presented before an investigative jury. "Gentlemen, surely this must be a misunderstanding." Montoya said, after presenting himself. "There is nothing to investigate." "We assert no such conclusions, sir. You will present your case before this investigative jury, and we will decide where to take this issue" a man in fine crimson garments interjected, obviously the president of the jury. A juror dressed as a sailor chimed in. "And who is to say you did not fire the first shot?" "Why, your very own Captain Whoknowswho, my good sir, in his very public letters to my Queen." Montoya looked round at the shocked jury. "However, that skirmish was but a symptom of the wicked character of your foreign policy!" Pausing dramatically for a second continuing: "Your government has been issuing letters of Marque against Corlander shipping, a very harsh breach of the peace." A third juror threw his hands in the air, "There is no proof of this - and who is to say our ships were not threatened by your warships?" "Or pulled into an attack by a clever ruse" the last member of the jury shouted, spewing spittle, their contempt growing very obvious. Montoya took half a step back, wiped a speck of spit off his coat with an arched brow. "But sirs, you entirely misunderstand the situation. Corrington is not looking to negotiate but present you with our demands. Return the HMS Bullshark and its crew, cease all aggression against our shipping, and commit to pensions for those who lost their fathers and husbands in the battle, and we will consider this case closed." Montoya said in a firm voice, before furrowing his brow, "… should you fail to do so…" he looked to Cooke, who was obviously straining to keep his temper under control, before continuing "we are forced to consider the attack an act of war." The jury was taken aback, and Cooke observed with pleasure their surprise. It seemed the Carnites had hoped to push Corrington to strike a bargain, but now realised their mistake. ____________________ A sligthly higher angle to better show the interior. While a bit low on tiles and similar detailing bricks, I liked how this turned out. I had not expected those bows to work on both sides as well as they did, and I am certain to revisit the use of those. Good luck to all contestants - We shall see who made the best case.
  10. A brilliant idea! But that's not what she said... The King of Carno leaned back on his throne. It was a fine day, and the king had his mind running on a bunch of odd topics, including that of diplomacy. It seemed that his ambassador to Corrington had been quite worthless, and that really needed to be fixed. Suddenly it struck the King of Carno that an alliance with that nation would be just the thing to have, and that a perfect way to accomplish such an alliance would be to marry Queen Annette, who, however, he knew absolutely nothing about. Nothing daunted, the king leap off his throne and shouted for his horse. After riding over to Bellson in mad haste (he always did everything in such a condition), he alighted at the palace gate. "Queen whatever thy name beeth!" he exclaimed, bowing low, "it has recently popped into my head that, that, the fact is - in short, that I ought to get married. Your own worthy self instantly came to mind, and it is my great pleasure to present myself as your loyal servant, and to humble request your hand." Queen Annette looked bewildered for a second (which gave the king much hope of a good outcome) - however, she promptly ruined his dreams and smashed his aircastles by jumping out of the throne, and hurling her scepter at him. He looked up in surprise. "May I consider that a statement of your extreme willingness to share our kingdoms, and, perhaps to combine them into - let us see - Carnington?" he inquired in an elated undertone. The next moment he found himself flying through the air in a state of ejection from the polished doorways of the noble edifice, and he landed with a splat on the pavement below. The king looked around and shook his head. Suddenly recollecting his position, he leaped back onto his charger, and with only one hurried glance backwards, sped back to his capital - wishing, perhaps, that he had left things up to that useless ambassador. => next chapter: Dashing Out by Garmadon ---------------- OOC ---------------------- This was an enerving build :p First of all because our national soccerteam was playing the same time (luckily I was in another room than the tv). Secondly because I had to redo a large part of the floor mozaic... The build is based on the palace room Ska build
  11. After having his honorable suite ignominiously rejected, the King of Carno decided it was high time to be getting back home to his capital. Leaping onto his charger, he tore out of Bellson in a whirling hurry, without any intention whatsoever of slackening his pace until he was seated in his throne, and had time to sit back and contemplate recent events - also known as, his complete failure. The king was charging through a pine tree forest on his return to Carno when he happened to hear some rustling in the underbrush. Suddenly a troop of Corrington's finest poured out of the forest at his flanks, leveling their rifles and running towards him. Figuring (and correctly so), that the escort was not meant as a piece of courtesy on the part of Queen Annette, the king relieved the closest soldier of his shako with a hearty swing of his cane - the soldier, of course, stooping down to lift it from the ground (everyone knowing that a Corry is no good unless his uniform is all correct and tidy) - and, setting spurs to his horse, burst through the ambush. Turning his head back for a moment he exclaimed (without slowing his charger a bit), "Corrington, prepare for a visit from my Captain Whoknowswho! And you can't say we didn't warn you!" The king: My build for the Carno vs. Corrington case, including the required palm trees. This is actually the second part of our collab, and the first and third should be coming soon! Thanks for viewing, C&C are welcome!