Silent Chorus

Enter the 701st

The armies of Licadeis have been strangely quiet.

Cardinal Donnegal’s armies roam the countryside around Arda Namara, the Holy City, searching for some sign of the magically-cloaked army. Among them, the 701st squad.

Among the stream of refugees, the 701st find a suspicious wagon tucked between two hillocks, unmoving. After discovering a disparate group of four and questioning them, the “refugees” reveal themselves as Licadian spies by attempting to murder the captain of the 701st, Thoril Lighthammer, before he could can alert others. The remainder of the 701st, lying in wait, sweep down upon the spies and defeat them, taking the two survivors into custody.

In the back of the wagon, beneath the stacks of crates, the 701st discover an over-sized crate containing a nearly naked wizard and a foul, mystical cauldron filled with poisonous red liquid. They discover, just in time, that the wagon is serving as a base of operations for a group of invisible spies and rogues attempting to breach Arda Namara. Zystrol Larenthrial, the 701st operative from the Battety, leaps into the cauldron, which double both as a scrying device and a crude portal.

The remainder of the squad leave for the city by more conventional means, and as a group the 701st chase the assassins through the streets. At the same time, the Licadian army, revealed to be cloaked in similar magic, appear at the gates to Arda Namara and lay siege to the city.

Evading an illusory jungle-bridge that the wizard-assassins conjured, the 701st manage to eliminate three of the four assassins before following the last one up through the great Ziggurat temple in the center of Arda Namara.

When they reach the top, losing the assassin in the process, they are greeted with the sight of the combined might of the Licadian and Rastese forces both in an out of the city, surging like a black cancer up to the temple. At the very top of the mighty Ziggurat, where the 701st find themselves, is a small pocket of Nishran forces, cut off by the Licadian army.

Among them are Cardinal Donnegal, Marsina the High Guard, two Chorus members, and the Divine Speaker of Nishra himself. The 701st are barely able to contemplate their unique situation before the Licadian army’s general, a handsome, powerfully built young man walks up the stairs, alone. Separate from his army. Adorned in bright shining silver plate mail and a matching silver crown. He smiles up at the Speaker, and with a booming voice says:

“Friends! We have no need of these arms and this bloodshed! Cannot we speak as equals?”

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The Third War Begins

In the region known as Freeland, no nation rises above Nishra. The sons and daughters of cast-off ancestors, the people of Nishra have found home, and they have thrived. Through persecution, exile, and war . . . they have endured. Held aloft by their strength, their freedom, and their faith. Faith in the one called Roon, the Father, the Guide. A god who preaches self-reliance, strength in individuality, faith in oneself. And it has taken root. The Nishran people praise the works of Roon and the works of Man. A merciful nation, one backed by justice, under the guidance of Roon, the Hebdomad, and the Speaker, has flourished.

But not all are happy to see Nishra rise. Licadeis, an old foe, the enemy of the last war, has begun to move. They have seen Nishran prosperity, and they have seen Nishran Armies, and they are afraid.

Old nobles, squabbling aristocracy, and a cruel Minister have whipped up hatred, jealousy, and fear. When the rumors began again, of Licadian arms beginning to unfurl, to begin to reach far and wide, to began to stoke the old engines of war, never cold, never dead, the Holy Speaker could not uphold the peace much longer.

The rumors of an assault on the northern border forced the Speaker’s hand. Gideon, First Cardinal, ordered all but three of the Armies, and their cardinals, to the northern border. Entrenched, waiting, the Armies found nothing.

A week later, the storm broke. Nowhere near the Northern Border. It swept in from the sea, instead. From a sea supposedly patrolled and defended by the combined Navies of Rastienne, Myscira, and Nishra herself.

When the Licadian invasion force landed, without warning, they took Point Maddox in a night. A combination of sea bombardment, land troops, and a flight of soldiers riding giant black ravens crushed the city. The mystery of the stealthy approach of over a thousand ships was solved, too – the Armies of Rastienne arrived hand-in-hand with the Licadian troops.

Cardinal Donnegal, the only Cardinal still in the region, ordered the evacuation of every city from Point Maddox to Arda Namara, and the burning of all resources between.

The Armies of Licadeis, strangely immune to scrying, have seemingly . . . .disappeared.

One army nows stands alone to defend the great temple-city of Arda Namara, the capital of Nishra.

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A Diary of the Third War
The 701st Blackbird Squad - The Third War

In the Third War between Nishra and Licadeis, a small elite band was taxed with the most dangerous tasks, the most dire quests. This is their story.

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