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As Time Goes By: 919 - 921

State of the Union
Month 4, Year 921
Despite skepticism from both within and without its borders, two years after its creation the Northern Union shows signs of resilience in the face of numerous issues plaguing the region. Under the leadership of President Kyoko Hara (former headmistress of Chusei University), the Union has proven to be an institution strong enough to resolve regional disputes and preventing full-scale war. When Melusine's theocracy threatened to wage a crusade against Oda Clan to reclaim its mountain passes, the Union acted as a neutral third party and helped redraw the region's borders to de-escalate the conflict.   Numerous problems continue to plague the Union: Sardivelia has proven to be a bad faith actor in the Union by destabilizing the region’s economy, and radical members of the Knights of Rarita refuse to leave Oda Clan despite their contract with the kingdom having ended late last year. And the limits of the Union’s authority remain unclear, especially in regards to setting legal and economic norms within the region.   Despite its flaws, the Northern Union can be praised for its ability to peacefully resolve conflict in a region frequently plagued by wars and feuds. The Union’s operations have become President Kyoko’s main focus, but she still takes time to check on her alma mater and speak with Headmaster Klute. Gen. Toshiro Matsui's campaigns against the Knights of Rarita's insurrections will take years to resolve, but on the homefront Cpt. Inaba has doubled the size of Sanjuro City's territory by annexing large swaths of the Koulan Forests. No longer just a city-state to host international events, Sanjuro City is now a kingdom large enough to stand beside neighboring nations as an equal.   Speaking of Sanjuro City, no visit there would be complete without a visit to Chusei’s newly-established Gith Cultural Exchange. There students and civilians alike can meet with the burgeoning population of Gith sheltered by the university, learning about this race of interstellar beings and the unfortunate circumstances that led to them being stuck on Ekal. So far the University has destroyed more than 50 Horns of Valhalla, and according to President Kyoko the goal is to have 500 destroyed by the end of the decade.
Qajar Raiders Defeated
Month 1, Year 921
The hopes of a nation were dashed against the harsh reality of a powerful spellcaster just days after the start of the new year. The Avventuri, Sardivelia's elite adventuring force, killed Wendel Shadman and destroyed his pirate fleet (known as the Qajar Raiders) in a quick naval exchange off the coast of Oridelfa. Oppelby, the Avventuri’s gnomish wizard, summoned a giant cube of water to submerge Shadman’s flagship and everybody onboard. In the chaos only a handful of ships managed to escape, most fleeing to safe harbors in Sabha or New Tolball.

Lacking a navy large enough to compete with Sardivelia, Sabha’s government encouraged pirates and privateers like Wendel Shadman to raid Sardivelian vessels and trade routes throughout the Karaga Sea during its trade war with the rival kingdom. But Shadman’s death leaves a vacuum in the region that no fleet or captain is capable of filling, and with few options at its disposal Sabha will reluctantly sign a trade deal on Sardivelia’s terms.   And so ends the lengthy trade war between Sardivelia and Sabha, a years-long conflict that now grants the merchant empire near full control of the Karaga Sea. Sardivelia and its trading partners now control more than 80% of the coastlines around the Sea, monopolizing trade through one of the busiest waterways in Pescaliat. Despite his failing health, Paoli Piedmonte's cutthroat tactics have once again proven his indisputable power over the global stage.   Two major holdouts continue to defy his control over the Karaga Sea: New Tolball and the Treeleaf Union. Tolball has taken the mantle from Myltev as the world’s pirate haven, Shogun Tolball's ruthless form of justice ensuring that commoners and privateers alike find safe harbor in Nekutalin. Meanwhile the Treeleaf Union maintains its economic independence after years of bountiful harvests near Ardin, choosing to trade with allies like Gameth and Myltev while keeping Sardivelia at a safe distance.   Despite Sardivelia’s unprecedented wealth and fortune, uncertainty still reigns over the kingdom’s trade empire. With his 90th birthday just a couple years away, Paoli has yet to choose a successor (a concerning fact given Sardivelia’s history of succession conflicts often resolved by stabbings and poisonings). And few outside of Paoli’s inner circle know the limits of his ambitions in regards to the Karaga Sea: given the meager size of Sardivelia’s armies an all-out war seems unlikely, but his well-funded ships could blockade any of Pescaliat’s ports in a matter of days. Combined with the Avventuri’s indisputable power, the world waits with bated breath for Paoli’s next move.
Rakka Ascends With its Airships
Month 4, Year 920
On Sunday Rakka became the first nation on Ekal to produce a fleet of airships, the three vessels beginning a two-week journey through Southern Pescat in a clear show of Rakkan military supremacy.
“We have brought peace to our land, and now we can bring peace to the rest of the world,” High Marshal Proserpine Hafiz said during the christening ceremony for the so-called Muntad Fleet. “When Pescaliat looks up to the heavens to glimpse our fleet, they will know that a new era of stability has begun.”   Despite objections from Despero and Sardivelia, the Muntad Fleet will fly over every kingdom in Southern Pescat before returning to a hangar hidden somewhere between Delmascar and Rel-Kadrar. Taking more than twenty years to develop, each ship in the Muntad Fleet is more than 500 ft. long with a crew of 100 soldiers each. Rakka has refused to detail the firepower of its Fleet, but leaked reports from the kingdom indicate that the evokers of House Ripperda have worked closely with the Rakkan military to oversee the construction of the Fleet’s gun turrets.   With Sardivelia still struggling to develop a functional airship fleet and the Northern Union focused on quelling internal unrest, Rakka is now the undisputed champion of Pescat's airways. Gameth's airship program is still a couple months away from completion.   Airships are very modern technology, older civilizations relying on teleportation spells or draconic flight to pierce the heavens. Fifty years ago a belligerent Avicenna constructed the world’s first fully functional airship, but it quickly collapsed into the Largas Ocean during its first mission. Pescaliat’s largest kingdoms all hoped to copy Avicenna’s designs, but each ran into their own difficulties replicating schematics that shunned any kind of arcane support. Kingdoms like Sardivelia and Gameth had to start from scratch, others like Rakka chose to adapt warmachines already in the works for more novel purposes. All nations with airship programs, despite eyewitness reports, deny using the Campanel Desert for testing any of their ships.

Shake-Ups at GHG HQ
Month 2, Year 920
Kirby Magnussen, veteran adventurer and leader of the Gilded Hecat Guild, has resigned from his post as leader of the adventuring guild amid accusations of corruption and criminal negligence in overseeing its members.   In a recent exposè published by Rutik Kapuscinski in the Treeleaf Times, more than 40% of the GHG’s membership was found to have a criminal background and 5% of guild members were connected to cults banned by the Ageless One. Kirby’s lax hiring practices provided countless individuals of questionable background access to the guild’s vast network of bounties, even using membership dues to pay off local law enforcement officials wary of GHG activity.   The cracks in the system started nearly a year and a half ago when Kirby forged a letter for one of his adventuring groups condemning a local contact and their research into spirit-powered constructs. Rutik says he was tipped off about the forgery by a ‘magical informant’, conducting months of research to map out a pattern of abuse by the GHG’s founder.   Kirby disappeared from the Bahamut capital of Dhyrlonis hours after his resignation, leaving behind a void of chaos and uncertainty at GHG headquarters. Kali Taldou has taken over leadership of the guild in the interim, but the consensus at GHG HQ is that a new leader is needed free of any connections to Kirby’s corruption (names that have been thrown around as a possible leader include Tatyan Xirrinish and Xa'kara Reid). City residents have spotted members of the more well-established Royal Knights Brigade in town, prompting theories of a merger or alliance to stabilize the guild’s operations. A merger with the GHG would force the RKB to abandon its favored status as ‘Defenders of the Realm’ in Gameth, but the deal would expand adventuring territory for both groups and allow for greater collaboration on large-scale missions.   In return, the GHG would be expected to undergo several major reforms to meet the RKB’s exacting standards. Adventurers would have to check in with local handlers on a regular basis to prevent egregious cases of ‘rattery’ (as Rutik referred to it in his article), and some form of loyalty oath would be put in place to forbid GHG members from associating with any other factions besides the GHG. To quote the final line of Rutik’s report: “If the modern world calls for adventurers, let them be noble instead of mercenary. If adventurers call for adventuring guilds, let them be transparent instead of corrupt. If adventuring guilds call for international sponsors, let us all share in the responsibility for holding these adventurers to a higher standard.”  

Teleportation Circles in the Modern Era

Month 13, Year 919
The eccentric wizard Loopmottin's disappearance more than half a year ago has become the stuff of legends, and her impact on Pescaliat's teleportation systems cannot be overstated. Earlier this month Eldermere University signed on to a shared academic network of teleportation circles, connecting the continents in ways not seen since the height of the Old Myltev Empire. From Chusei to Mulane to Tahrir, all the major institutions of higher learning have signed this teleportation circle deal in Loopmottin’s honor. The only remaining holdout is Rakka's Scherazad Academy in Rel-Odar, but it remains to be seen how long Rakka can withstand international pressure.

Long seen as a dangerous form of arcane excess given how quickly aberrations exploited them during the Ostry Apocalypse, teleportation circles made a comeback in recent years as an alternative to trains and ships for industries requiring faster means of transportation. For centuries the only circles in existence were operated out of temples devoted to the Ageless One, with entire regions limited to just a single circle to stop abuse of the system. World leaders in Sardivelia and Rakka are known to use circles to quickly traverse their massive kingdoms, but the locations of these circles are kept a closely-guarded secret.   For the time being this so-called ‘Academic Loop’ stands as the largest international network of teleportation circles, connecting more than half a dozen universities across every region of Pescaliat. Much like railway lines and shipping networks, these loops of teleportation circles are expected to grow in the years to come (especially as ambitious adventurers expect speedy transit to their goals).  
Ludmila Tomic Dies
Month 8, Year 919
Ludmila Tomic, one of Glace's longest-serving monarchs and a founder of its current government, passed away in her sleep at her home in Iverburg last night. She was 693.
Funeral services for the monarch will be held this weekend at Iverburg's Temple of Aurithrym, but recent political unrest has threatened to overshadow memorials for Glace's most consequential ruler in modern history. Kyrylo Tomic, heir to the elven royal family, has made the controversial decision to abdicate his title and relocate to the neighboring Elflands to join its isolationist community. The would-be heir has urged Glace's elven population to follow his lead, with reports from the capital indicating that thousands of elves follow his lead.
As one of the pillars of Glace's political order, the departure of the kingdom's elves from the power-sharing agreement threatens to destabilize the entire system. Elves from all levels of the kingdoms' bureaucracy have abandoned the kingdom in droves, leaving vacuums in leadership exploited by would-be revolutionaries and insurgents. The Toothless Mtns. have been enveloped in a weekslong strike as the region's white dragonborn demand better representation in Iverburg, leading to violent confrontations with government forces.

Prime Monarch Karel Vidovic and King Szymon Horvat have called an emergency meeting to rework the kingdom's constitution to quell the unrest, but sharp divisions may make any sort of deal ellusive. Karel supports a parliamentary democracy in the style of Gameth or the Treeleaf Union, but Syzmon has been advocating for a Rakkan-style dictatorship where a dwarven or human autocrat is supported by a diverse military council representing all the kingdom's major races.

Born to a wealthy noble family in the final centuries of Glace's era of elven hegemony, Ludmila Tomic was less than 200 years old when the Gamerian King Constell II began his ill-fated military campaigns of Southern Pescat in the late 400's of the 4th Cycle. His rapid-fire siege of Glace left the elven ruling class in disarray, elevating the region's humans and dwarves to positions of leadership forbidden to them by the elven aristocracy. Glace quickly reclaimed its independence following Constell's death at the Siege of Delmascar, but the old power structures would never be restored. Ludmila was one of the first elves to acknowledge this reality, brokering a power-sharing agreement with Glace's humans and dwarves where the title of Prime Monarch would be rotated among the kingdom's three royal families. Many elves showed skepticism at the arrangement, but Ludmila's relentless advocacy convinced enough elves to join the system and ensure its success. Sacrifices had to be made ensure its survival (most infamously the exclusion of the kingdom's white dragonborn from the power-sharing deal), but thanks to Ludmila's advocacy Glace experienced five centuries of peace and prosperity between its major races.
The unrest has no apparent end in sight, but the kingdom of Glace appears to have avoided total collapse for the time being. Peacekeeping forces from the Gilded Hecat Guild and Royal Knights Brigade have provided the kingdom with a degree of stability, and a significant faction of Glacian elves has chosen to remain in Poroshenko in a much-needed boon to the kingdom's economic welfare. But there are some that have chosen to exploit the kingdom's insecurity for their own gain: the Lead Kings, a band of pirates operating out of the lawless reaches of southern Myltev, has seized several mining outposts on the Glace-owned island of Nevsky and enslaved dozens of workers in the process.

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