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  1. 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
  2. Name: Fort Arltrees Ownership: Squatter settlement founded by Tristan Rimbaud Location: El Oleonda, New Haven Sea Map: Mayor: Lieutenant Marcel Dubois (@Keymonus) Who can own property in Fort Arltrees: Currently only citizens of Oleon; members of other factions upon approval Who can freebuild in Fort Arltrees: Citizens of Oleon, Citizens of Eslandola and the independent traders who call themselves “Sea Rats”. Due to the political situation, citizens of Corrington are banished from the settlement. Description: Fort Arltrees is a little military outpost, founded mainly to ensure a safe landing point for the future Oleander expeditions. With the nearest settlement, Fatu Hiva, hundreds of miles apart from El Oleonda, the Kingdom of the Light needed a stable foothold in the area, a place where soldiers can rest before marching in the inland and where friendly ships can resupply ad find shelter. Located in a little bay on the North-Western Coast, Fort Arltrees is surrounded by a thick tropical jungle. A nearby river with no name offers easy access to the interior areas of the island, but still very little is known about the surroundings. The first explorations of the interior confirmed limited presence of other nations in the area -substantially some small military units hunting one another- and found a number of small native villages, likely inhabited also by early Lotii explorers stranded on the island. The jungle around Fort Arltrees is also spotted with large ruins and by an ancient system of canals, likely remains of an advanced civilization. Currently the settlement is nothing more than a palisade surrounding a tent camp, but due to the distance from the rest of the Empire it would have to rely mainly on its own forces for the needs of the inhabitants: the building of simple housings, small crops and basic services is planned. All the future structures in Fort Arltrees are expected to be simple wooden buildings, mainly dedicated to very basic services. Most of the few residents are soldiers, even if is not unusual that merchants, civilian suppliers and similar figures follow military expeditions to sell extra food rations and small commodities. More Information: El Oleonda is one of the four large islands of New Haven sea region. It is currently one of the "hottest" areas of the New World, with the tension between Carnites and Lotii quickly turning into open war. Halosian Empires are being involved in the hostilities too, with the Corrish settlement of Spudkirk recently raided by Lotii forces and Carnites hiring mercenaries and corsairs for their war. You can find more about the situation here or in the spoiler below. Garrison: 1 Company of Essener Totenköpfe El Oleonda Ragamuffins - local militia unit Builds in Fort Arltrees: Please post a link to your build and specify if licensed or not. Properties: 19 Size for EGS purposes - Level 2 'Town' Required for Level 3: 30/31 (4/4 artisans, 4/4 residences, 4/4 commerce, 3/4 factories, 1/1 educational, 1/1 cultural) Trade value (unofficial): 154 (30 license points + 2 freebuilds) Notable Events: A fort in the jungle - Founding of the settlement, in February 620 Residence: Fort Arltrees Vicarage - medium Hotel in Fort Arltrees - small Tree House - small An Essener House - small Factory: Vin de riz brewery - medium Small Factory Sawmill - small Candy Factory - small Plantation: A'Chua's people - small Rice Plantation - medium Mine: Artisan: The Tavern - large Fort Arltrees Bazaar - large Mr. Shur's Lotii Curiosities - small Ship repairing workshop - small Commerce: Sutler's shop - small Lighthouse of Fort Arltrees - medium Small Commercial Wharf - small Dress Shop - small Education: A Little Schoolhouse - small Art & Culture: Church of Hades - large Forts: Fort Arltrees - small Unlicensed Builds (similar to EGS properties): Other Freebuilds (not similar to EGS properties): Sweet, sweet rotten eggs - A sulphurous spring, somewhere in the interior
  3. The ruins of Jiangkai, December 620, El Oleonda Wisps of smoke rose slowly in the sky, from right beyond the hill... they had almost arrived. The small party, led by the "governor" of Fort Arltrees Marcel Dubois, spurred the horses, and a desolate landscape appeared in front of them. It was even worse than they had imagined: the crops in front of them were a stretch of mud and ashes, turned into a marsh by the recent rains. Further beyond lay the ruins of the city: blackened walls, piles of rocks and burned beams, nothing more... the Corrish sacking had damaged the city, but the retreating Lotii army was far more scrupulous, blowing up the city fortifications and setting all the other buildings on fire. In spite of the devastation, several people had remained among the ruins, building a series of miserable shacks. Civilians frightened by the long march towards Luyang, stragglers who returned from the jungle just to find their barracks devastated, some deserters... all the people left behind by the Kingdom of the Lotus, now struggling to survive with the scarce food available. Technically they were still enemies of Oleon, but most of them would've not arrived to the following summer without help. This was the reason why Lieutenant Dubois was there, with a dozen of mules loaded with food and a small bodyguard. The organization of the rescue expedition was the last order left by Tristan Rimbaud before leaving for Terraversa. Marcel personally approved the plan, but he also knew that it could end very, very bad for himself: scared people can be dangerous, especially when they have weapons and poor discipline. As expected, the sight of armed horsemen set the nearest encampment into complete caos: some people started running towards the ruins, others grabbed weapons, tools and sticks to repel the "attackers". In spite of the immediate reaction, the signs of scurvy and denutrition were already clear on those men. Calming down the spirits required a lot of time, diplomacy and all the limited knowledge of the Lotii language Marcel had. Then, the distribution of food could finally begin. Lieutenant Marcel Dubois spent two of the following areas trying to understand who could represent the local heterogeneous community, and several more discussing the terms of a treaty: Jiangkai would have become part of the glorious Empire of Light, although with a certain degree of autonomy; in exchange, Oleon would have helped with the reconstruction, and would have provided military protection in the future, especially against the hated redcoats. Marcel didn't know if he, or -for what mattered- even Tristan Rimbaud actually had he authority to stipulate such an agreement, but it was the right thing to do. He signed the paper, frankly hoping that the Crown would have agreed. At least, this time he only risked a degradation, not his own head... following Tristan's orders, for sure, was quite far from a boring job in the colonial administration!
  4. Fort Arltrees, November 620, El Oleonda As the battle for El Oleonda arrived at a stalemate, the Oleander presence on the island could become more stable: the first wave of colonists arrived in Fort Arltrees, with small farms, houses and workshops sprouting near to the fort itself. This was for sure something absolutely positive, but also started turning the small settlement into an interesting prey for hostile natives, Lotii soldiers or deserters and, even worse, for Corrington. A small militia was therefore raised in the town: currently, a single platoon framed in the 1ere Compagnie Milice Coloniale de Fort Arltrees, together with a small unit of Essener mercenaries. The soldiers of this unit are nicknamed ragamuffins, due to their untidy and "customized" uniforms: the blue coat, ubiquitous in the Royal Army, is often torn and mended in several points, due to the long marches in the thick jungle; for the same reason, several parts of the uniform are replaced with robust and comfortable hunting clothes. These soldiers lack most of the formal training and discipline of the regular army. However, they know how to move and survive in the hostile jungle of El Oleonda, and how to fight in this unique environment. An attacking army must cross the jungle to reach Fort Arltrees, and there the ragamuffins would make their stand, shooting from the bushes and hunting the enemies, one after the other. These soldiers are expert trackers, who can find and follow the little clues that a group of people inevitably leaves. (Note: the color of the little piece of cloth, possibly ripped off a coat or a jacket, is not so casual) The whole figbarf The officer discussing with a native warrior. (Note: the credit for the warrior's design goes to @Khorne). ------ I'll use this small building to raise a platoon of soldiers in Fort Arltrees.
  5. Fort Arltrees, November 620, El Oleonda People called it "The Tavern", nothing more. The simple wooden building didn't have a real name or colorful signboard, but still everyone in the little settlement knew it... quite unsurprisingly, since it was the first real tavern on the island. The first wave of colonists had arrived on El Oleonda even before the end of the battle. Hunters and adventurers arrived first, though men looking for their fortune on the island, and ready to defend it weapons in hands. Soon, however, the ships started carrying also farmers and artisans, fishermen and priests... common people who decided to leave a miserable past behind, or who simple tried to improve their lives with a new start. Wooden houses replaced the first shacks, while the first shops and stores started opening their doors. And, among them, The Tavern. The owners, a young couple from Breshaun, had moved with a little money and a lot of enterprise. Currently the meals they serve are drastically influenced by what is hunted, fished or collected around Fort Arltrees every morning. However, the customers seemed to apreciate the sometimes strange stew served in The Tavern, especially if accompanied by a glass or two of Fatu Hiva booze... currently nothing was brewed in the settlement, even if a few guys down the main street were already trying something a boiler and an alembic. The settlement was growing at sight, with a certain satisfaction of the major, Lieutenant Marcel Dubois. With the new tavern, the settlement could already be considered a Town, and new colonists were arriving with every ship. After all, Fort Arltrees would have remained on the maps for longer then he had expected, and was quickly turning from a temporary camp into a real settlement. However, the political situation in the area was far from being calm... Carno was friendly, and had also provided the settlement some mercenaries, while the Lotii had signed a treaty and had withdrawn eastwards, at least for the moment. The Corrish declaration of war, however, concerned Marcel. For this reason, he had given order to raise a little militia, nicknamed "the Ragamuffins" from the untidy and customized uniforms of the soldiers. Corrish redcoats, however, were definitely far, and a real fight there in the East was quite unlikely. Life in the settlement continued exactly as before Corrish declaration of war, vibrant and colorful: a tiny market had started appearing along the main street, with new stalls sprouting each time. A fortune teller had also arrived into the settlement, a clear sign that money had started moving. However, she should probably make more favorable predictions, if she wants to keep her customers! The tiny colony established excellent relationships with the nearby villages, with Halosian and Tyree'De hunters and traders regularly visiting each other's neighbours. Quite unsurprisingly, some of the colonists took a local wife, while others left the settlement to live with the natives. An overall view of the scene: I will license it as a Large Artisan in Fort Arltrees, using the license awarded in the challenge. As usual, I preferred a downsized, minifig scale build to a microbuild, but please let me know if there is any problem. In this case the "excessive size" of the license compared to the build accounts for the overall growth of the settlement.
  6. Not far from Fort Arltrees, May 620, El Oleonda Tlaloc, the native scout, was right as usual. A few broken branches, a bush cut by with a machete, some light footprints in the mud... that was enough for him: he understood that a band of Lotii was following a small Carnite patrol, and that they both were dangerously near to Fort Arltrees. After several hours of march, almost following a straight line towards the coast, the Oleander soldiers finally reached their target. Quite unsurprisingly, Tlaloc sighted them first. Tristan, by gestures, ordered his men to crouch in the tight undergrowth, and slowly crawled towards the small clearing. He already knew what he would have found... The Carnites weren't used at all to the brutal, disloyal fightings in the jungle, that was clear. Exactly as all the Halosian Nations during the first wave of colonization, they arrived in the archipelago with flamboyant uniforms and shiny armors... they expected pitched battles and glorious victories, but they found themselves trapped in a green, suffocating hell. Exactly as the other Halosians during their first battles in the New World, they were completely unprepared. They marched slowly in the undergrowth, plodding on the mud and stumbling on roots, but they couldn't find a single track of the enemies... until the enemies were all around, fast and lethal. How the Lotii had learned to fight so well in the jungle was a mystery... maybe they had found themselves in a similar situation against one of their neighbors, or simply they followed more flexible tactics, but for sure they had the upper hand in the war. Only half of their soldiers had firearms, mainly antiquate matchlocks, but they almost always prevailed in the jungle skirmishes. That day, things had gone in the usual way. The Halosians had made their camp in a dry river bed, an exposed position surrounded by thick vegetation... not a great choice, since they were taken by complete surprise during the lunch and forced to surrender. Only the officer, who was on guard, had a chance to grab his sword, but he was wounded and captured with his men. Unfortunately for them, however, the Lotii had no intention of dragging prisoners with them in their operations, and had chosen a radical solution. One of the soldiers started begging for mercy: "Wait, wait... Please don't kill me! We have found them, we have found the shipwrecks! I'll tell you everything, but don't kill me!". The Lotii laughed. Probably they didn't even understand a word, or they didn't believe him. "Shut up and die like a man!" Yelled the Carnite officer. The Lotii soldiers laughed again. Meanwhile, completely ignoring the brutal spectacle, the Lotii commander was pointing something on a map. Probably, he was planning the itinerary, looking for the next prey. Tristan had definitely seen enough. At first he wasn't so sure about attacking the Lotii band, but he couldn't just sit there and watch unharmed prisoners being slaughtered in front of his eyes. Moreover, those Lotii were dangerously near to Fort Arltrees, and he probably wouldn't have had a second chance before they noticed the settlement. With only five soldiers and a native scout, his forces were largely inferior in numbers, but Tristan had learned an important lesson during his previous campaigns, from the woods of the Varcosian border to the alleys of Charlatan Bay: if you appear out of nowhere, screaming as madmen and shooting on sight, the enemy will hardly have a chance to react, regardless the real force balance. Not exactly what instructors teach in the Royal Military Academy, but simple and quite effective. Or, at least, this was the plan... if things went wrong, Tristan wouldn't even have the time to regret his mistake! Well, there was no more time to think now... Tristan gave the signal, a low whistle, and jumped forward, followed by his men. Soon, the Lotii would have thought that some Halosians knew irregular warfare too! As they had already done in similar circumstances, the Raiders attacked the musketeers first, before they could represent a real treat... ...while other soldiers ran towards the guards, blocking the execution and setting the prisoners free. The Carnites were taken by surprise too: most of the prisoners simmply ran for their lives... ...while others remained motionless, paralyzed by terror. The officer alone, probably the only veteran, attempted a reaction, trying to disarm one of the enemies. A Lotii warrior... ...and the last thing he sees! The battle was fierce but short. The Lotii fought well, but were surrounded and disorganized, and soon everything was over. Tristan Rimbaud would have had something quite interesting to write in his relation, including the exact position of the Lotii settlement and of some mysterious shipwrecks, probably the remains of the lost Lotii fleet. Moreover, he had just saved a Carnite patrol from annihilation, probably gaining some useful allies... not bad, for a tiny skirmish in the jungle! Overall view
  7. Somewhere in the jungle, April 620, El Oleonda The Carnites didn't tell them all the truth, that was clear. Probably the archaeologists were actually studying the ancient ruins, but this was only a part of the story: their report on the Lotii expedition was surely too detailed for someone who considered the treasure a little more than a legend, and they said too many times that it was impossible to find. However, those idiots had neglected the most obvious thing to do: ask the ones who could know something. Finding a Tyree'De on such a large island wasn't so easy but, once again, the remains of the ancient civilization helped Tristan and his men: if the ancient inhabitants of El Oleonda had built their cities in the best locations, probably the Tyree'De had chosen the same places for their villages… and the Oleander expedition had literally a comfortable road to reach them! After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, therefore, they found what they were looking for: a place where the inhabitants weren't only snakes and scorpions. What Tristan and his men found surprised everyone: probably the Carnites wouldn't have even noticed that, but the "natives" themselves were a clear answer to the mystery of the lost expedition. Most of the Tyree'De had the same somatic tracts of the indigenous people of archipelago, this was true, but others were clearly born in a different part of the World; moreover, their straw hats and the peculiar rice fields, similar to the ones seen in Mooreton Bay, were definitely something unusual among the native tribes. Tristan asked to meet the leader of the little community. Fortunately, the Tyree'De language was quite similar to the one of Astrapi natives, so communicating with them wasn't too difficult. He was brought into a ruined stone build, another trace of the ancient inhabitants; inside, the Tyree'De had built a little wooden hut. The old man waiting for them, despite all the amulets and the paintings on his body, was clearly a Lotii. All the pieces of the puzzle were now in the right position: the mysterious motherland of the Tyree'De, located "southwards"; their interest for tools and weapons, the things that they couldn't repair or replace without a smith and a real forge; their riches, probably a part of the fabled Lotii treasure. Against all the odds, some of the Lotii sailors had survived: the old man, once the helmsman of the junk Nan Feng, confirmed Tristan's reconstruction. When it became clear that no help would have come from the motherland, the survivors realized that remaining in the camp meant certain death: the supplies were running low, and so many people couldn't survive by hunting in a little area. Therefore, they formed small groups, split the treasure and went in different directions. Some of these small bands were unlucky, and all the men were killed by hunger, diseases or in fights for the food. Others built rafts or small junks, and were never seen again. Most of the surviving Lotii, however, peacefully lived their lives with the natives, becoming the Tyree'De ("new tribe", in the language of the natives). The newcomers repaired some of the ancient canals and taught the natives the art of rice farming… a hard work, but also a source of food by far more abundant and reliable than hunting and gathering. Many married local women and had children with them: most of the living Tyree'De knew the Kingdom of the Lotus only from the tales of their fathers, and some of them already considered it a sort of myth. When El Oleonda was "discovered" by Lotii and Carnites, the survivors of the old expedition had already lived there for almost thirty years… they had settled on the smaller islands of the New Haven Sea, grown their crops, formed their families. In the motherland there was nothing left for them: everyone considered them dead, and they had been forgotten. So, the old Lotii decided to remain forever the Tyree'De, the mysterious tribe from the South. They visited the Halosian settlements, and bought agricultural tools with gold and silver, shiny souvenirs of their past. Tristan asked the old man if he knew something about the nautical maps but, unfortunately, the answer was negative: the chest with the maps was lost decades ago, disappeared in the jungle with large treasures and with the lives of several men. "I've been completely sincere with you, Rimbaud San." -a word that Tristan didn't know, but that sounded very, very respectful - "Here we have found a new home, here we have found peace. Now I want a promise from you. If somebody asks you about our unfortunate expedition, if they ask you about us… tell them that we are all gone!" ---------------------------------------------------------- An overall view
  8. The Glittering Caverns The Carnites keep a tight reign on their plans and discoveries on El Oleonda, however, recently some careless troops let a supposed discovery slip while drinking in a local pub in one of the fledging settlements. As the story goes, two scouts were on the hunt for a escaped Loti prisoner and got lost in the think jungle. Cave 1 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr In the wandering, they stumbled upon a cave and decided to take refuge for a short time before attempting to regain their bearings. Cave 2 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr As one solider lit his torch and climbed through the very narrow opening, he was surprised to find that his torch light was greatly magnified by all sorts of gemstone imbedded into the rock! The Carnite soliders had heard rumors of caves like this, but never in their wildest dreams would they have thought to see one in brick! Cave 3 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr All they knew is that their superiors would be most pleased with such a discovery! -------------------------------------- My entry for category B. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with this entry, but I'm quite pleased with the end result. I'm not fully satisfied with how I ended up attaching the stones as it looks a little wonky, but overall it was a fun little scene to build so I'll give it a pass. C&C are welcome a appreciated!
  9. 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 inlands. 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 to 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 metres onward, among some ancient ruins, but still he couldn't see anything… 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 he 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 in 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 cover by the deafening rumours 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 in what seemed an ancient city, similar to several ones scattered in the archipelago… also in this case, everything seemed abandoned from 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 colonized another of the large islands? What do they think it's worth dying for?" Tristan didn't really expect an answer: if there 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… rumours about rich islands, possibly even continents. So, after a lot of hesitation, their emperor decided to roll the dices and to send his ships 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 diplomatic 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 sails, promising to the survivors that he would have returned with help. He left on the island four-hundred men, all the treasures and, even more importantly, most of the maps he had drawn up to that moment…" "But he wasn't lucky" Concluded Tristan. "Indeed. The ship sank, and the only survivor was driven mad by sun and loneliness. But his sketches seem to show that the ships were stranded on El Oleonda, and so the Lotii are here. For their gold and for the maps, even if I don't know if 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?" "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 scorpion, spiders and bats." "And you? Are you hunting the Lotii gold too?" Asked Tristan. "We are archaeologists, not treasure hunters. We were studying these ancient ruins, abandoned at least a century ago by a mysterious civilization… but now we are 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 their maps and documents, if they still exist, will reveal us the complete story of the unfortunate expedition and of the lands they visited. More probably, however, they will remain forever in some forgotten temple, no matters 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
  10. Fort Arltrees, February 620, El Oleonda The fort giving the name to the new Oleander settlement was finally completed. Fort Artrees was not much more than a palisade surrounding a few buildings, but now nobody could dislodge the small contingent without a hard fight. Lieutenant Marcel Dubois, the officer in charge of the garrison, was quite satisfied by the result: now, at least, nobody could take them by surprise, and more soldiers would soon have flowed towards the settlement… or at least that was the plan. Meanwhile, he had decided to reinforce all the weak points with additional defences: the soldiers built some cheval de Frise to protect the cannon loopholes... ...and deployed a real forest of pointy poles to prevent an attacker from approaching the wall with ropes and ladders. The garrison spent the rest of the time doing little jobs, such as unpacking tools, sharpening a blade with a whetstone or "testing the quality" of some Oleander aquavit. Others spend some time gambling, something strictly forbidden in most garrisons, but allowed in Fort Arltrees, considering the absence of any leisure or distraction. Everybody, however, was ready to run to his position in case of need… and more than grateful for the 24-pounders just unloaded from the warship Scamander. Overall view: Not so much to say about this build… I wanted to show the complete fort before licensing it. Despite the plot size (32x32) I will license it as a small fort, due to both the simplicity of the building and, storywise, the rushed and not exactly irresistible defences. Thank you for watching!
  11. Infero Pordejon, December 619, Charlatan Bay Tristan followed the instruction received… an abandoned warehouse in Lowtown, no guards, just before the dawn. He couldn't refuse the "invitation", considering that it came from a department of the Oleander administration in charge of some "special duties", but the possibility of disappearing without leaving a trace worried him a lot. By sure, he thought caressing the hilt of his sword, he wouldn't go without a fight. Fortunately for him, Tristan's suspects soon proved to be wrong. In the old warehouse he only found a man… he didn't seem the one that he had met in the morning, but the men of the Secret Service of Oleon were known for their ability in disguises. "If you want to assassinate me, you should try now… by sure, you chose the right place!" Said Tristan with a half smile. Not to find a platoon of hired killers waiting for him was a great relief. "Nice to meet you, monsieur Rimbaud. You know who I work for, and I think you understand that we don't want anyone to hear or see to much. We are in a turbulent settlement, but the elimination of witnesses may always rise some troubles. I'll be brief: some big wigs wanted you to be charged with treason, but in general the colonial authorities were satisfied by your personal endeavour here in Charlatan Bay. Bringing here regular soldiers was impossible due to the political implications, but the stabilization of the pirate settlement was functional to our interests in the region. Probably you will even find a medal waiting for you in Astrapi, where you must return as soon as the circumstances will allow. In this letter you will find all the instructions you need for now, but our men in the settlement will give you more details." The man didn't show any emotion saying this. Curiously, Tristan noticed, he was speaking with a light Altonian accent, probably part of his cover identity. "I imagine that there is something more than simply some handshakes for my role in the end of this awful civil war, isn't it?" He knew well that the man wouldn't have said anything he had been ordered not to say, but still hoped in some more details. "What do you know about the Lotus Empire?" Replied the man. Tristan was completely surprised by the question. He answered frankly: "Almost nothing. I know that some commodities are imported from that state, such as expensive pottery, tea, silk and a salty sauce beloved by our aristocrats; on the contrary, we export there only a few goods, mainly tobacco and silver, but in both directions goods pass through several hands and borders, while direct contacts are very rare. Once I met a sailor who claimed to have visited a Lotii port, but I don't know how much was true and how much a tavern history…" It had happened almost eight years before, but by sure it was enough to ignite the imagination of Tristan, at the time a young captain hunting for Saleeki pirates. The sailor described a lively and rich settlement, with beautiful women… ...floating markets, selling fruits never seen before... …exotic foods, such as a strange roll of seaweed, rice and raw fish. The settlement, said the young sailor, was called Sazanparu, that meant roughly Pearl of the South... one of the evocative names that make sailors dream. -Far more pictures in the spoiler- "Did you hear me?" Tristan was recalled from his juvenile dreams of adventure and exploration. "I said that Lotii activity was recently reported by our agents in the New Haven region" "The Lotii? Here in the New World?" "Yes... and what's more, it seems that they are going to start an open war with Carno, due to their conflicting interest on El Oleonda. I don't know much more, but all the details are in the letter. Read the new orders, then destroy it." Tristan cracked the seal and started reading, while the other man walked towards the door. "Wait a second! -uttered Tristan- YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT???" Overall view. The little warehouse in Charlatan Bay is in truth the base of the tower on the left… A little of magic, time travel and teleport!
  12. Fort Arltrees, February 620, El Oleonda "Now you are a lieutenant, Marcel, and you are the new governor of this metropolis… you are climbing the ranks, my friend!" "You too, Monsieur Regiment General. Before the end of this story we'll probably have a new Maréchal." Or they all would have been dead, thought Tristan. With the crisis between Carno and the Lotus Kingdom turning into an open war, the plans of the Etat majeur required a foothold on El Oleonda, nothing more than a little fort to secure the landing point for the contingent. A clever move, Tristan had to admit, but with the risk of losing the whole contingent sent forward… an hypothesis that Tristan didn't like at all. "Coming back to the plans… tomorrow I will leave with twenty men and our native scout for a long range recognition. We must be sure that we are far enough from both Lotii and Carnite forces. I don't know how far our diplomacy has gone up to now, and our presence could be… a little unwelcome. As I was saying, Lieutenant, you have the command of the fort until my return. You should provide for the needs of the garrison, and prepare for the arrival of more soldiers from Lavalette. A little pier could be useful, but avoid being noticed." "Yes, sir! The mouth of the nearby river could be a good place for a sheltered landing point, at least according to our native scouts." "I agree with you, it could also be a good starting point for our expedition in the inlands. According to the map drawn by the scientific officer, we could go upstream it for several miles, going faster than crawling in the jungle. Probably it's also the best option to find out something about the presence of other troops in the area." "Another thing sir… What about the other empires? Do you expect hostile activities?" Tristan feared that question. He decided to be sincere, also because everyone in the contingent knew the answer. "As far as we know, we are the only ones on the island, apart from the Lotii and the Carnites. We should avoid any hostile activity but, if we are attacked, we will defend with all our strength… that currently isn't that much. However, the high command intentionally leaked some secret information about massive troop raising in the West, and that should be enough to deter any attack against us." Otherwise, their bones would have remained on El Oleonda. The Oleander Army would have avenged them, but in case of large scale attack everybody in Fort Arltrees would have been killed. They all knew that, and they all were ready to give the life for Oleon, but nobody liked the idea of being sacrificed as a pawn in a game of chess between empires. Currently, however, the moral was quite high: after weeks at sea, the cook was finally preparing a real soup with some fresh meat… the ship rations were acceptable, but both hunting and sauces were completely absent from the mariners’ diet. Better not to waste too much time: waiting in the jungle, knowing how precarious their position was, would have worn down the soldiers. The expedition in the interior was also a mean to keep them active and, who knows, possibly to discover something about the Tyree'De, the mysterious natives of the New Haven Sea. Before his return the building of the fort would have been completed: the soldiers were cutting down the bushes along the outer palisade... …while the inner structures, currently just skeletons of poles and beams, would have soon be completed. Fort Arltrees was rising, currently nothing more than a small outpost in the jungle. May the Gods help him and his men, or it would soon have become also their tomb! An overview of the building: This is an official action, even if I still have to figure out exactly how to complete the paperworks. With this Tristan Rimbaud is starting a squatter settlement on El Oleonda, in a position still to be defined (I though somewhere near to the Eastern Coast, let me know if it is possible). Tristan is officially doing this as a personal initiative, but as you can understand he has a certain level of endorsement and backing from the faction Edit: I accidentally published the post before it was complete… sorry!