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Issue #105

Edward Stuttgart, Augstat, Hesse

Yesterday morning, Enchantments Guard awoke to hellish bellows and screams of alarm from legionnaires manning the Steeple front gate.

The drasildar sentinel that stands resolute at Enchantments Guard’s entrance came suddenly alive, seemingly without provocation and howling as if in immense pain or anguish, and lashed out, killing four legionnaires and wounding a dozen others. Legionnaires pursuing their early morning regimented training routines found their exercises disrupted by titanic concussions and ear-splitting cries of despair as the drasildar leapt from the Steeple and onto the Imperial Highway, where it destroyed an approaching supply caravan. After this, it turned northwest, wading across the river and disappearing beneath the Garnon Forest’s canopy. In its wake, soldiers lay dead and dying, the survivors left bludgeoned and confused by the sudden attack of the drasildar. 

Swamp Demons

Most Chaldeans are familiar with Emperor Kordaava’s one hundred drasildar sentinels. 

“Swamp demons,” wrote a survivor of the battle of Juba during Kordaava’s campaign to conquer Chaldea. “The beasts were like trees, covered in rough bark and with thick swamp grass manes. Before the blood, before the destruction and the merciless killing, first came the overwhelming pungent odor of swamp gas, decaying plants, fungus, mud, and earthen loam.  The drasildar, one hundred in strength, moved in formation as if of a single mind, like a tornado…or a century of tornados. The swamp demons blew through Juba like the wind, not pausing, and to the east they marched.”

It is rumored that nothing can hide from them, that no spy or intruder can slip past their guard, and no evidence exists that they’ve ever been defeated in combat as a unit or as a single individual; this is true whether they face organized militaries, dragons, demons, or ambitious gravers. During the time of Kordaava’s reign, they have been the vanguard of the emperor’s legions, the protectors of wealth, the jailers of evil, and the dread monsters parents use to frighten their children into obedience. In every story of the emperor’s rise to power, the drasildar are there, the deus ex machina to Kordaava’s narrative arc.

Drasildar are the perfect guardians, as they are able to stand motionless for years, even decades, at a time.  They never eat, they never sleep, they never defecate or urinate, and they seem incapable of boredom or to be even remotely susceptible to any humanoid emotion or vice.  Many have stood silent and still as a stone statue through all seasons and inclement weather.  “Duty is service absent emotion,” said the emperor when describing the drasildar. And as far as anyone knows, they are utterly loyal, obeying Kordaava’s every command and serving his every whim with flawless execution, even those decrees issued indirectly through a legatus to whom the drasildar are assigned.

Emperor Kordaava allocated one or two drasildar to each legion to be deployed by commanders as required. The two assigned to the 10th Legion stand guard over their post, the castrum in Stollhofen and Enchantments Guard. The latter has stood erect at the top of the Steeple Causeway in front of Enchantments Guard since the dawn of the empire. But as drasildar go, this one is more “active,” relatively speaking, prone to sniffing and scrutinizing the comings and goings, causing the consternation of arriving visitors. Odder still are the reports that Legatus Reiswitz has an unusual relationship with the beast dating back to when he was a lad, the fortress his classroom and the soldiers his professors. Legionnaires tell tales that young Reiswitz would often speak and play with the drasildar. “Play” may be an exaggeration, but the stories of the two interacting are too plentiful to dismiss. Whatever their relationship may be is only speculation, but such behavior hasn’t been witnessed since the legatus received his promotion and returned from Somarria.  Since then, none have seen even a twitch or a quiver from the drasildar…until yesterday.

Incarnate Terror

Yesterday morning, with no forewarning or sign of discontentment, this selfsame drasildar suddenly cried out. Centurion Drake, whose century was on guard duty at the time, was witness to the chaos. “I had just marched up the Steeple Causeway and turned toward the main grate. Suddenly, I noticed the drasildar shift. It craned its neck skyward, looking up into the heavens with what I thought of as great dismay. Its body heaved as if it were inhaling a great wind, and then exhaled it all at once, with such force and anger that it shook the ground.

“We see Dray—that’s the name we gave it—every day,” he continues, “and eventually one comes to think of Dray as a friend, so naturally several of my men approached, concerned.  I don’t know if Dray thought they were a threat or what, but Dray just started slaughtering them, smashing them with its giant fists. They were like boulders. Poor Connor got slapped fifty feet into the air—we found his mangled corpse hanging in a tree by the river. It was incarnate terror. Nothing prepares you for this sort of thing, you know?

“And then he just took off at a sprint. I am not shamed to admit it, but I was stunned, I didn’t do a thing. I just stood there with my mouth open as Dray charged right at me. I thought I was done for, but it leaped over my head and ran into the river.”

At the time of the rampage, the governor was hosting a private family function in celebration of his 66th birthday. His wife, Frau Irmgard von Gustavus, narrowly missed the violence at the gate, arriving only thirty-minutes earlier. All members of Gustavus family are confirmed safe at this time.

Where the drasildar come from and how Emperor Kordaava gained their staunch allegiance is considered the greatest mystery of the empire. Officials say it is extremely difficult to understand what went wrong, and without more information we are left to speculate, ponder, and wax philosophical. Rumors and questions are already circulating without answers. Might war be in the offing and the emperor is recalling his soldiers to the capital? Is the emperor in trouble? Did he break the bond of allegiance somehow? What of the other ninety-nine drasildar stationed around Chaldea? How are they behaving?  While numerous theories are whispered in private, none have been confirmed or denied.

Like the drasildar, people can do nothing but be patient and wait, steady in their resolve that they will soon learn the answers.

Waldsteg Bridge Needs Repairs

But no one wants to pay for it. The bridge that connects Enchantments Guard to the Garnon, “the enchanted forest” it’s supposed to guard against, is a masterpiece of dwarven engineering dating back to before the Claw-Hammer War. It stands as a testament to dwarven design that it has remained in such good condition for millennia. Its remodel is one of the final projects of Emperor Kordaava’s grand vision of a coastal highway connecting Saratof to Augstat, but the remodel has been delayed for years because Hesse, Augstat, and the Imperial government all proclaim the other two should pay the associated costs.

Empire Investigates Hesse’s Soaring Debt

Crops are good, industry is strong, and trade is bustling, which means tax revenue is at an all-time high. So, why is it that the Hesse national debt is soaring?  This is such a pressing question that now Saratof has taken notice. Thomas Swift, the Imperial Consul of Economics, will be arriving in Augstat next week, anumians willing, to investigate Hesse’s ballooning budget deficit.

Will Gerhard von Rusdorf Be the Next Konig?

Catarina von Rusdorf, the late konigin, lived longer than anyone expected, but her death was still sudden. While her passing was too unexpected to formally confirm her choice of heir, the experts in peerage generally agree that her oldest son, Gerhard von Rusdorf the Tall, will serve as the next konig. The nobility is allegedly worried—Gerhard has physical presence but is said to lack most other traits one would hope for in a konig.

Aimian Cultural Exhibit Comes to Augstat

Opening to much fanfare and with a veritable who’s who of Augstat in attendance, a new cultural exhibit of Aimilleuse art and sculptures has opened at the Museum of Niessia in Augstat’s International Faire. The exhibit includes Aimian Woman on Horse by Sue Beigueand Triton Fine Dining and Saratof Skyline by Alfar de Foucout.  Also featured is a collection of strong glass works of armor and tools.

World Einvigi Championship Coming to Augstat

Augstat has been chosen as the site for the next world championship of Einvigi. This announcement, which is considered scandalous in the intense world of Einvigi competition, is the decision to use what’s now called “O,” or “Original Einvigi,” instead of Advanced Einvigi or Einvigi 3.5. Given the proximity of the championship to the home of Reiswitz von Gustavus, this decision is said to be a slight to a man who has had a tremendous, measurable impact on the game’s evolution and financing.

Issue #106

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