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Copyright 2003-2006


It has been several generations since the slave army of Corak laid waste to the Empire's army, but still the nation of the Freedlends was rebuilding to regain its former glory. Many living ancients recalled the plagues and starvation that came after the fighting stopped. It was during this time that the foundations of the major cities were born. Through the goodness of the people, did many thousands survive those hard years.


Rebuilding the nation proved daunting as raiders, slavers, and rogue bands created unrest. Many called to the gods K'aya, she of enlightenment, Yousaf, the sky god, and others, begging for mercy.


The high-priests were able to restore order and faith in the gods, and some even had the gift of miracles. In those times it was hotly debated that the worship of Zacharias be banned for its Human-superiority beliefs that lead to the slavery of the other races. Though many supported the ban, the Council of Justices, the combined legal bodies of the major cities, decreed that `to be free is to worship freely'.


However this freedom did not pass to the study of the arcane, which rumor had it, corrupts the mind. Even priests who preached the words of their gods come under scrutiny when they perform their miracles. Heresy and witchcraft were common themes spoken under the breath of the mob.


So it was, in an age of suspicion, where legends mixed with lies and conspiracy. Many a tale had been sewn to the fabric of myth, and such tales were born by sellers of stories. It was said that the song of the lyre was filled with half-truths and lies, but a story over fine ale was sure to be believed.


And nigh, on the heals of a Century of peace, the cities of the Freedlends began to prosper. The markets were full and life was bustling with activities of all sorts. A celebration was set, and the streets would be filled with revelry.


The chancellor of T'Aarn, a portly human of waxing years named Malichai of Sourth'gn, planned a great feast in the fortress-palace. The nobility, guests of honor, and entertainers would live as kings for a day. Tis good business, this merry making. Ale had been stocked many barrels high and prime livestock fattened for the butcher's block. Common folk far and wide filled the inns and taverns, and the brothels had but the wretchedest of ladies, if you could call them such, remaining and waiting on their heavily burdened patrons. The town martial ordered twice the normal guard to patrol the streets as the cutpurses and murders seemed to have seen prosperous times as well.


Many a fresh face could be seen among the militia guild, and in a hodgepodge of ill fitting garb. The chief inspector, Phineous the sleuth, hired on several mercenary types and rumor had it he was searching for more. It seemed that some of the murders made it up-town, to the noble's quarter, and the pressure was on to quell the attacks. As such, the deaths of those with less import would be handed down to the new investigators.


And so, on this rainy season, with the precipitation swelling and fading like some twisted percussionist tapping on the tar-roofed common houses, we suffer through the steam and sweaty bodies waiting for something to call our attention. For now that the sky cries daily, many of the normal work is at least unappealing, and at worst dangerous in slick streets, and flooded fields. The hard rains have driven laborers indoors, and with the exception of farmers, entertainers, and pubs, little work exists.


Chapter 1


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