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Written By Duarte

Dec. 11, 2023, 5:41 a.m.(5/8/1021 AR)


The trail of Marco Argento was as elusive as the shadows he seemed to merge into. It was a meticulous process to sift through rumors and gossip to locate the man. Of course, I was not alone in determining the route of the fugitive Marquis. Another man by the name of Orathy Culler (whom I would later come to meet) was also looking - using his own singular talents.

The breakthrough came with word that there was a fleeting sighting of Marco Argento at the Murder of Crows, speaking with men known to deal in smuggling. He then left the city on a smuggler's ship rumored to be departed to either the Saffron Chain or Darkwater Reach.

For all intents and purposes, Marco was a ghost. A traitor. A cretin of the lowest order. He sentenced his House to destruction, moved his family to Luciva, and then fled. And it was his heirs and those loyal to him who paid the ultimate price in the end.

Luciva is a small harbor on the southern side of Setara. It has been traditionally of little value to House Pravus, and this inattention has historically allowed for corsairs to set up shop. Duke Piero would purge them out every few years. In the wake of House Argento's treachery, however, a new settlement sprung to life in Luciva led by the Argento family, aware that their time was coming to an end.

There was work to do yet before House Pravus could move in. Preparations had to be precise and the plans were multi-faceted. Duchess Belladonna was indeed righteously vengeful, but she was not merciless or unjust. And it was important to not make moves on Nilanza without crafting a plan that would remove the risk of endangering the people of the march, keep their economy intact and secure a smooth transition to new leadership.

The pirates in Luciva, however, had to be confronted head-on.

Under the leadership of Duke Cassius Pravus (RIP), a contingent of us set out from Arx to Setara and the harbor town of Luciva. My injuries were still yet healed and in hindsight, it was a bit overly ambitious of me to attend. Indeed, the Duchess had made clear her preference for me to remain in Arx. At the last moment she bid I go.

It was the time of year when the seas get rough, and approaching Setara from the South made it all the worse. The sun was setting and our arrival to Luciva was to be completed just past nightfall.

I made myself as comfortable as I could on the ship. My injuries were wrapped and despite being none too pleased, Lianne had provided me with just these lovely concoctions that made my days manageable - despite the tragic (temporary) loss of my mustache.

Before setting upon the settlement, we held a brief meeting to discuss strategy. Lord Sebastian Pravus, Lady Nicia Pravus and Felix Meadson attended. We advised a scouting run and to use the cover of dark to find a way to get the jump and surprise our adversaries. The air was thick with tension as we each weighed the risks in balancing a strategy. Duke Cassius was of another mind - and his was the only mind that mattered. With his commanding presence, Cassius insisted on a direct assault - to strike hard and fast. And that's what you need to know about the late and beloved Duke Cassius.

The harbor of Luciva is naturally protected by a spur of high land. The terrain is sheer cliffs that climb right into the mountains and much of the land is uninhabitable. There's maybe a few square miles of room to navigate inward and we drove right toward it. (After a fitful night of thunderstorms which did very little for my comfort.)

As the land came into view, Duke Cassius gave the order to prepare rowboats and direct the ships to block the harbor. I ascended the mast and with a spyglass took an assessment of our target. The Argentos had built three seige weapons and were clearing their ship from port. Men in armor were directing the passengers to jump ship (or tossing them overboard - however you wish to view it) and those on land were fleeing further inland.

Cassius at this moment knew surrender would be no option. He ordered the ballista readied and barrelled us toward them - two ships behind us and three to block the harbor.

The trebuchents unloaded their first volley of rocks toward our ship. The seige weapon must've been severely aged, as the load made it only half the reach in our direction and the bucket flew with them - rendering their offensives inoperational against the oncoming fleet.

It was clear this battle would soon meet steel to steel and, as I was recently well reminded, I don't do steel on steel.

Reaching the port, Cassius led the charge of marines with cover from the boat-posted archers. The way I like to tell it, the sheer ferocity of this man sent a good 30% of our enemies on the retreat. The remaining Argento loyals were the foolish ones, and the untrained ones - dominated by folly rather than skill - our forces led by Cassius, Sebastian, Nicia and Felix made short work of them.

The dock was secured and we started sweeping buildings. The armored contingent of Argentos fled to caves in the mountains and we spent the next few days patching up wounded and interrogating prisoners and those who surrendered.

The Lucivia pirate operation was established by Argento siblings who had already begun to cut their losses and considered Nilanza lost. They sought to mine the caves and bought slaves to do so, using them as labor in the mines. The ships were being used to smuggle dust.

Once the village was secure, we began an assault on the caves. It was a short thing. I hung back in town and served as a medic and lookout. The Pravus forces took considerably more losses in the caves in pursuit of the Argento brothers. But with Cassius, Nicia, Sebastian and Felix at the fore, they routed them out. Among those to fall was Lunara Argento - the famed Blackheart and Sword of Bravura.

From my vantage point on the docks I spotted a ship attempting to come to port, but soon turning to flee upon sight of the Pravus navy boats. Taking quick action, it was chased down and confiscated, along with Amelia Argento - the last of the siblings.

Luciva had been retaken. Next would be Nilanza.

Written By Lys

Dec. 11, 2023, 4:14 a.m.(5/8/1021 AR)

I dreamt of a king dressed in obsidian with a wide brimmed hat. He sat upon a throne made from the skulls of his enemies. In his lap sat an unassuming longsword made of alaricite. It gleamed bright with a wicked point. He held the blade out to me and went I wrapped my fingers around it cut deep into my palm. He told me in a voice like a falling boulder, "You are not your own. You are my creature now."

I woke drenched in sweat.

Written By Pasquale

Dec. 11, 2023, 3:07 a.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Jan

Things end and things begin and somehow Jan stands by my side despite it. She is truly the best of wives.

Written By Pasquale

Dec. 11, 2023, 3:05 a.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

I made a promise once, years ago, to my wife Sunaia. I promised that should she be enslaved by the Traitor then I would go and free her.

And finally it is done - My promise is fulfilled - and it is all because I had people willing to stand by my side.

Thank you Lianne. Thank you Ian. Thank you Jan. Thank you Aleksei. Thank you Mabelle. Thank you Titus. Thank you Aconite and most of all Thank you Tolv.
Without your help she would still be a slave and I would probably be dead.
Without your help we could never have achieved what we did.

Written By Skaldia

Dec. 11, 2023, 12:51 a.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

I attended my first Sip'n'Spar tonight. I wasn't sure what to expect, but was made to feel welcome right away.

I decided to compete in the archery, and it was an honor to find myself matched against Lady Titania Kennex. I would hunt with her anytime.

Valencia was very kind, and a wonderful hostess. Prince Patrizio was also very welcoming, and was a very good sport after being trounced thoroughly by Mirari Corsetina. I get the sense he is a bit of a regular there.

Princess Renata Pravus and Prince Theo Velenosa... well, let us just say I shall never look at wine in quite the same way. It was nice to meet them, too though.

I also met the Baroness Lucita Saik. She apparently wrote a song in honor of Petrichor that I would dearly love to hear her sing one day.

All in all, it was nice.

I also was gifted a tannery by my sister. I am looking forward to having a little more space to spread out, closer to the market. Tomorrow, I will spend some time moving in and getting it all set up.

Written By Lianne

Dec. 10, 2023, 9:52 p.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

I have a new blade. A proper dagger made for me, to fit my hand, my technique, with duskstone I fished from the fountain at this year's Mirror Masquerade capping the pommel. I'm nearly Apollo's equal these days, and I expect I'll need to seek a new teacher if I mean to hone my skill any further. I've enjoyed training with my husband; it's a different sort of a dialog, a poetry of motion. Will my interest hold absent that intimacy?

I think I'd like to try. I think there's something satisfying about the fulfillment of a promise leading to more. I no longer train to see that duty done, but because I like it. I like the work. I like learning. I like the way my blade feels in my hand. I like knowing how terribly capable I am with it.

What will I do with the blade Cassius gave me, then? I thought to give it to Cassia, but I already know it's not suited to her tastes. Not yet five years old and already so magnificently opinionated. Still, it seems right that it might be hers. An off-hand weapon, perhaps, when she takes to swords instead. I wish he could see her. I wish she could know him. Stories will have to do.

Written By Raymesin

Dec. 10, 2023, 7:13 p.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

I'm not sure if I'm really following the spirit of Limerance's Fast, Scholar, when I don't drink much anyway. I'm not exactly turning down my favourite tipple when asking for tea. I don't count the stuff in the Murder, that ale is almost making love in a dinghy already. Eh? Oh, right, sorry. Fucking close to water.

Written By Jeffeth

Dec. 10, 2023, 4:02 p.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Ian

I have never seen anyone swing a sword the way Lord Ian does. He saved my life and a lot of others, too. If things go well with what we did, the Compact will owe him a debt of gratitude.

Written By Jeffeth

Dec. 10, 2023, 4 p.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Raven

She should not shy away from the Faith or speaking her mind. But she could remember who she's talking to when she does speak. She is very well-meaning.

Written By Jeffeth

Dec. 10, 2023, 3:59 p.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

It has been good going out in public today. I have Archduchess Jaenelle to thank for that. There has been a lot of fine sparring. The Hippodrome (I took 3rd place). I almost forgot the excitement of a crowd and putting on a show. Most of all, I have learned that I didn't have anything to be afraid of putting myself back out into the light.

Written By Ida

Dec. 10, 2023, 3:23 p.m.(5/7/1021 AR)

Around midwinter I made an alaricite blade that I was fairly proud of, and wondered if it would ever sell. It was far less about the silver, in a way, than it was creating something that told a story I wanted to tell. On the same token, though, I wasn't letting it go for less than its value.

Anyhow, it's been purchased. I think I will miss seeing it, if I'm honest about it, but a piece like that should be cutting down monsters and not collecting dust bunnies.

Written By Aelgar

Dec. 10, 2023, 10:53 a.m.(5/6/1021 AR)

Not much time for personal pursuits lately as the city is busy with frequent threats of war and the countryside rife with criminal behavior. I am sure it is not as bad as it seems from the news, but there is always something to do. Poor Griz has not been out to the forest to stretch his legs in weeks.

Written By Ferrando

Dec. 10, 2023, 1 a.m.(5/5/1021 AR)

My daughter's going to be old enough to write her own journals soon. That's definitely something that doesn't alarm me in the slightest!

Written By Medeia

Dec. 9, 2023, 3:39 p.m.(5/5/1021 AR)

Once upon a time, there was a spider. She was a promising young lady of a humble house within the spider kingdom, and she possessed natural talents and fine training that made her a desirable match. Other kingdoms took notice of her, and she soon found herself gaining the attention of lords from the bee and moth kingdoms, in addition to some fellow spiders. This lady spider had a gentle heart, but violent tragedy soon would come and twist her kindness into an ache for vengeance.

Before that tragedy, however, another had noticed the spider. A member of the silverfish kingdom saw the spider's potential and conspired to claim her. The silverfish lauded the spider and introduced the spider to a fearsome silverfish lord in need of a wife. And so the young spider, finding the silverfish novel and exciting, followed the path laid before her.

When tragedy intervened, many thought the spider would lose her affinity for the silverfish, but oh, how the silverfish fanned the flames of the fire within her that wanted to spread and burn those responsible for the tragedy. And the spider? She was unprepared for how that fire would consume her. It danced with a power she couldn't control, leaping out to singe people she cared about and rendering ash in her wake.

The spider and the silverfish were wed. And still the spider walked the path laid by the conspirator, who now mocked and belittled and undermined her with the aid of other silverfish. The spider further twisted, bending and bending so that she wouldn't break, trying desperately to keep her goodness shining through the cracks. But still? That fire raged.

She continued to hurt others, seeking targets for the flames. She'd spun her web and seared out parts of it, claiming they weren't good enough, patching them over in the hope that all the other kingdoms would see it and know how good she was. And she was good. And she was hurt. And she felt as if she were being torn apart as each day passed, as if there would come a day when all that was left of her was an empty heart and a shriveled up husk, all her legs curled in to finally show how warped she had become on the inside.

It came to pass that those responsible for the tragedy that twisted the spider found themselves on the losing side. The fire within began to subside, and as it did, the spider saw the damage it had caused. She fled the silverfish kingdom. Upon her return to the spider kingdom, she found herself with a sundered web and a candle flame. But she was, after all, a spider. The web could be fixed. The fire could be brought to heel. Slowly, the bends unbent and the twists untwisted, and she placed her goodness and her fire side-by-side so they could illuminate the path she chose for herself.

Written By Jaenelle

Dec. 8, 2023, 4:27 p.m.(5/3/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Leona


Let it not be said that the siblings I choose do not have wonderful qualities befitting the siblings I was born with. Lord Cillian gave his life valiantly to save others. Countless others due to his bravery. I don't believe you've ever met your replacement, but I am certain without a trace of doubt that you would be just as proud as I am to have known the man and his sacrifice. I will now miss both of you for however long it is till we meet once more.

Though my children are too old for such, I have kept the baby blanket that you made for Vittore when he was born with all the fantastical creatures on it. It inspired me a very long time ago to see if we could craft our version of spidersilk. It was quite successful, though it was never meant to end with simple cloth. While it is nothing like your own work, lacking the beautiful vinework that accompanies anything you've woven, I did manage to use spidersilk to make sails with. It was the Nox'alfar sails that I saw all those years ago that started the itch, and the goal was finally completed not too long ago. Each Ducal house was gifted the sails to fit on the caravel the fealty worked towards getting each house years ago. I hope these ships open doors that were closed before, and I hope the Lyceum benefits from the faster sailing vessels. It was exhausting, and when we see one another perhaps you can give me a few tricks.

I suppose you of all people would not be surprised at the state of the world. You always knew the horrors that were coming. You faced your own at another time, again and again without hesitation. I wish I were more like you sometimes, with your headstrong determination and unwavering strength in all that is good. It is hard to hold onto that sometimes, the good. I have faith in the people around me. I have trust in those who stand beside me. I know despite my worries and bouts of uncertainty that when the moment comes we will be ready. Sometimes I wish we simply didn't need to be. I don't know if I will be here when you return, and that has to be okay for both of us. We knew that one day I would not and you would have to continue your journey. I think it's better this way, to be honest. My biggest fear is being forgotten. but I know that after I am gone I will always remain in your thoughts and memories so I suppose I can be at peace with this knowledge. One day, much like you showed me a cherished moment of the past, you will show someone else one of ours.

I love you as only your twin could. Be safe, and return to Arx soon.


Written By Ann

Dec. 8, 2023, 3:14 p.m.(5/2/1021 AR)

I was reminded the other night I have choices to make. Sometimes, the ability to have a choice makes me freeze and feel overwhelmed. What if I just spin and point and say, "Okay, I will do that." I'd probably still not be satisfied. Ugh.

Written By Skaldia

Dec. 8, 2023, 10:43 a.m.(5/2/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Raven

I'm not very good at insulting people. But I will tell you the stark truth about what I think, if given the opportunity. At least our birds seem to get along.

Written By Skaldia

Dec. 8, 2023, 10:43 a.m.(5/2/1021 AR)

A few thoughts:

I joined the Society of Explorers, and I am already set to head out on my first mission with several other Explorers. I have my hands stuffed deep into the pie now. We'll see if they come out with any useful treasures. I suspect, however, that it's going to be messy.

I admit I am curious about the call for kites from the Nox'alfar Ambassador. What's that about? Regardless, I've found myself preoccupied with making kites. I also put my first leather set up in the shop. We'll see if it sells. It's not very protective, but I think it's pretty. Rarely do we get customers at the Harrowed Grounds. My sister's jewelry and glasswork is lovely too.

I recently attended a meeting of members of the Faith. While I am rather skittish in the city in general, I felt at home among my fellow disciples and the priesthood. I feel that we are all in capable hands.

I had the pleasure of visiting with Baroness Amari Redire. A lovely and kind woman. I think we have many things in common. I hope to see more of her, and share in our love of nature.

It was recently commented to me that my name has a strong semblance to that of a certain First Choice. Please do not make any comparisons. There is no comparison. I am trying to maintain a humble attitude, and bring honor to a name I was given. I am a disciple of Petrichor, who happens to be named Skaldia. I honor the First Choice as well as any other citizen. I was told I must be proud of my family's legacy, being descended from the first of the unchained. Yet, the story is nothing to be proud of.

Written By Mabelle

Dec. 8, 2023, 2:56 a.m.(5/1/1021 AR)

Nothing is never enough...

Written By Ferrando

Dec. 8, 2023, 1:27 a.m.(5/1/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Raven

Why should I believe you're going to pay out 75,000 silver when you can't even afford to give away one left boot?

It's suspicious, is what it is.

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