Years swing past as friends are made and lost. Young Techmancers are found by a mysterious patroness. They are introduced into the Keyholders. War raged as the background to personal dramas. The litter reassembles to investigate a murder. They arrive to the strange realm of Eurasia and travel to the distant chapterhouse.
Extracts from the journals of one Siria Liam, Elder of Ordo Voluptas from the Most Esteemed Order of Techmancers
The 540th year of our lord Aerus, October 29th
- - To hell with the Rimore! They truly are as paranoid as I've been led to think, and the paranoia runs deep! Blind justice indeed... Well nevermind, this career path was deemed to fail from the very start, and I did run across with notes of an interesting covenant amongst the Techmancers while working for the jackasses. Might be, that I should investigate the matter more closely once I am able to return to Arx Machinus. - -
The 542nd year of our lord Aerus, July 3rd
- - Things are progressing more rapidly than I had ever anticipated. There's talk of raising me to the rank of elder in the Ordo Voluptas and I've finally finished my initiation period in the Keyholders. At least they both seem more appreciative of my talents than the bloody Rimore. Speaking of the Rimore, they seem to have finally decided that I'm not worth their time and turned their attention elsewhere. I wonder if there's something big happening with the war and the opening of Eurasia and such.
On a totally unrelated note, I ran into an interesting initiate at the last night's Voluptas party. The poor cub was rather inexperienced, but showed some promise nevertheless. His friends seemed quite mundane at best, but they've had to do something right to make it this far. Perhaps it would be worth the effort to follow their progress for a while. Note to self, ask someone to change some of their classes to psychology or "mindcraft" as the barbarians say. - -
The 543rd year of our lord Aerus, March 15th
- - The cub had some incident with a crazed professor last month, two casualties and some wounded. The worrying thing is that the Rimore have shown some interest in him ever since and the cub seems to enjoy the attention. Luckily he also had some weird incident with the gloom last night, which gives me time to talk him over the Rimore nonsense. And even if I fail, at least I've already had some fun. Hah, the cub is so full of himself and clings to his worthless human titles, but he still makes good bedside company. - -
The 543rd year of our lord Aerus, April 6th
- - The cub's friends are having their ritual later this month, but his gloomburns are delaying his operation for now. I find myself actually worried about him at times. His silly occultist beliefs seem to have strenghtened immensely by the accident and his friends are only fuelling them. I can only hope that the ritual will set them all straight, I've spent way too much time and resources in them to have them go crazy. - -
The 543rd year of our lord Aerus, May 1st
- - Thank the God-Machine their rituals went well. Well for 2 of them at least, but 50% is quite an impressive success rate these days. The conduits have cleansed their minds and they seem mostly reasonable these days. They still cling to their occultist fancies but seem to be able to keep them under control and let's face it, we all have our vices. Vices which can be exploited by the right people.
It also looks like the cub is going to make it. The downside is that he is still hell bent on becoming a Rimore. On the other hand, the accident seems to have scarred him so that he's unwilling to take the ritual. I find myself uncharasteristically unsure on how to feel about this all. I guess an adept Rimore is better than a full blown Rimore and he might prove useful should he get far in his career. Yet I actually fear for him, as a Rimore he is sure to run into the darker side of human psyche and I'm not sure if his strong enough to face it. Luckily I will soon have something to divert me from all this. - -
The 543rd year of our lord Aerus, September 30th
- - The litter has adapted well to the world of Techmancers. Even little Gustav is showing great promise. I should not doubt my instincts, I did see something special in these three. But I still wish I had proper time to guide their steps more, especially Gustav's. I fear that he might not be ready for the world and I hear that he'll be leaving for his Rimore initiation soon. I just hope it goes better than mine. Keinon seems to be exhibiting some longing for changing his Ordo from Hospetaler to Navale and maybe I ought to help him with that. On the other hand, Valefarion (what's up with the name?) seems to be right at home in Proelium.
In any case, I should work fast whatever I do. My elder ceremony is next week and afterwards I am to go abroad as an agent for the Keyholders under the guise of a diplomat. This might actually be a fruitful time to introduce the litter to Keyholders. The elder ceremony might distract the Rimore (if they still have a watchful eye on me) and the covenant might be able to push my pups to the right direction while I am away. - -
The 545th year of our lord Aerus, January 7th
- - What the hell was Eserhaus thinking! A full blown heresy is not something the Techmancers can deal with now. Not with the Church breathing down our necks and the war taking a toll in our numbers! The Keyholders decided not to follow Eserhaus, but it was close and in my rage I actually voted for it!! I may have even lost control of my mechanima in the aftermath and that hasn't happened since the incident with the Rimore! Worst thing is that I think my pups may have witnessed the whole affair. A mess, a total mess. Well at least my litter seems to be rising in the ranks... all expect Gustav. Oh Gustav, what ever shall I do with you? - -
The 549th year of our lord Aerus, November 19th
- - I may have ruined my credibility amongst the Pasificusian and Amerachoan diplomats, but at least I made some friends amidst the Amerachoan side. I might be getting too old for this... the heck. What am I rambling? I was simply too occupied with my tasks as an agent for the Keyholders and my standing there is higher than ever. On top of that I've heard some disturbing reports about Gustav. Luckily Valefarion and Keinon haven't let me down.
It might be time for me to return back to Arx Machinus to rein in my litter and maybe start looking for a new pack. I've heard that Gustav is about to receive a new task in Eurasia and due to the subject of the matter the Keyholders are interested in it. This might be the perfect opportunity to put Gustav back in line and check in with the rest of the litter. And besides, I could use a vacation. - -
The 549th year of our lord Aerus, December 24th
- - I don't think Gustav realizes that his status in the Keyholders is on the line here, and that I am the one who decides his fate. His arrogance and perverted fascination for the ancient mysteries and gloomdevils has only grown in the years and he has even started using his Rimore badge as a hitting weapon. It might work against humans, but then, everything works against humans. We'll arrive at the chapterhouse tomorrow and I truly hope he is not too far gone or else this mission might prove to be an unmitigated catasthrophe.
Well at least Gustav's task for the Rimore is straightforward enough: simply find out who's behind the deaths in the chapterhouse if anyone. And it seems he already has some... interesting... ideas about what might be the cause. I am just worried that in his fervor he might ruin everything for the Keyholders. We are here to convert the head of the chapterhouse, the last thing we want is that the Rimore comes here guns blazing. Oh and I'm unsure how he's planning to make the humans seem incompetent to toy with techmancer gadgets. Sorcery, void devils, ancient rituals? Sigh... I'm glad Keinon and Valefarion are here also and even they seem to have acquired some flaws along the years. Love? What a human notion. I fear I have my work cut out for me. So much for the vacation. - - '
December 21st, 549
Desert. Hot, rocky, dusty, boring as hell desert. Blasted poisonous wastelands. There are no other travellers and no threats so I'm going to add a few lines to my clockwork diary.
I'm riding in a turret of an enormous war wagon in the middle of a desert almost as huge as Red Desert of Aresia. Just the color of the sand is different. On Aresia deserts are red – some say from all the blood that has been soaked there. Here the sands are something between yellow and malevolent green. I suspect the greenish color comes from omnium dust which in turn comes from omnium core ammunition used here in ancient wars.
Lilith is sleeping in her cabin. These bright days make her feel sick but the deeply dark nights under strange stars inspire her and she has already started writing a new poem! Oh Lilith, my beautiful lover and companion! How I love thee! Without her this journey under the sun would be unbearable but together we can go through anything life throws in our way.
We arrived to Eurasia just two days ago after uneventful journey through emptyness. We were immediately ”welcomed” by the intense heat of this accursed land. Fortunately our wagon has marvelous cooling systems – inside the air is almost as pleasantly cool as in Arx Machinus itself. Only problems considering the air are the smelly local servants who are riding with us. Bronze people they are called.
We are here to investigate a case of two mysterious deaths in the important mining complex of Gharda which also has strategically important farspeaking machinery installed. This mission comes from Ordo Rimore and we are to report to them. Naturally our little circle of friends has some objectives of it's own. We are to make the local tech dabblers look incompetent – which they probably are.
One of the deceased was no less than a famous Ordo Nuntius techmancer. Aurelio was her name. I never met her but she was well known for her excellent farspeaking skills. She was found dead in a mine shaft where she had no official business being in the first place. She was in Gharda to investigate something on her own and reportedly had been very worried during her last days. A truly mysterious event. The other death was a tech dabbler called Ramon who died in what is beliefed to be an explosion accident in the mine tunnels. Another poor soul relinquished from flesh. Curse called life abruptly ended for both of them. They are beyond the curtain of life and death now – shouting their voiceless accusations against their murderers... for I truly believe that at least Aurelio was murdered. I'm certain our team will find out what really happened to those two.
December 25th, 549
We have arrived to Gharda mining complex. Everybody in one piece and equipment too – despite the ride was somewhat rough. Our driver was bored of her life and let it show in her driving style. The war wagon was magnificent though. It must have cost four numbered sum of omniums.
We have loaded our equipment on a cargo lift as the fort is built on top of a cliff. We are tired, so we are going to use the lift ourselves too – except Pedro. Pedro had difficult time in that enclosed vehicle and he is greatly reliefed now he can walk by his own feet again. During my war service in Aresia I learned to trust that man in everything that has anyhing to do with wilderness. There are many good rangers but Pedro is the best – and he knows his music too. He actually writes songs, sings and plays accordion. But what amazes me the most is the fact that he understands my music! He is the only mundane person who can understand that without Keinon being around. On our way here Pedro composed a song and performed it. 'A Palm and a Star' it was called. Nice song. Maybe a little too traditional for me but good in its own class.