Teneria: The Ki Consortium

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Teneria: The Ki Consortium

Post by Strider » Sat Apr 12, 2003 8:46 pm

"O Honorable Speaker, The prophecy has been fulfilled. The Wanderer has come!", cried the mystic.

Strider still wondered how he ever ended up here in this packed hall, before the Great Council of the Ki Consortium. All this talk of prophecy was rubbish. Strider had merely been on one of his many walkabouts when he had come upon a band of brigands assaulting the mystic that now spoke. Strider had just dispatched the rabble when the mystic had spied his old Ar-Sereg sigil and had degenertaed into a frenzy of excited babbling. A coach had been called, complete with an honor guard and Strider had been whisked away to see the "Great Council". Strider wondered if the mystic had hit his head in the encounter.

"I thought many of the Ki had always thought that prophecy was nothing more than an old wives tale", hissed a cowled figure, "I have shown the Ki of the benefits and the power of learning from the Artificers. We will help the Ki return to their proper position of influence in these lands." Strider hadn't noticed him before, he had blended in too well with the shadows of the hall. He now stood at the right hand of the Speaker, the elected leader of the council. Strider took a closer look at the hunched, cloaked figure and froze. There was no doubt about it, the man bore a fragment of the Dark Stone on a chain about his neck. The Ki obviously knew not what horrors bode from following a man who wore such an item. Perhaps there was work to be done here after all...

"Who is that man?", whispered Strider to the mytic, Karnac. "He is the envoy of the Artificers, a powerful group of scholars who have shown great skill manipulating wood and stone with their minds!", said Karnac. "I have seen them level buildings with a mere gesture of their hands and raise structures with a few mumbled words. Many of the Ki believe that this power will lead us back to our promised place as the guardians and mentors of this land as it was in the time after the fall of the great Combine empire that split our land into many islands."

"Mystic Karnac", interrupted the Speaker, "You know we all highly value your council as the eldest Mystic of our people. But, this man looks nothing more than a vagabond. How can his abilities compare to the skills shown by the Artificers? We cannot turn our backs on this new power shown by the Artificers, especially in this time where even some on our own island of Ki even refuse to pay taxes and share their resources with the Great Council. We can finally persuade all of Ki to follow the Council once again if they see this power." The cowled one nodded as the Speaker spoke and the hall erupted into a chorus of agrrement and applause.

"Honorable Speaker, Senators and valued guests" cried Mystic Karnac, "I know the Ki have always believed that logic and reason to be superior to all, that these skills, if finely tuned, can solve all disagreements and conflicts. I wish to believe this as well, but look around you! Our once proud society is a shadow of what it once was. We were once advisors to the great emperors of the Teneria Combine, now we cannot even get the farmers to till their fields. Our greatness is only spoken of when viewing the monuments that our ancestors erected, but people of Teneria turn to pirates and warlords instead of following the teachings that we helped to create when the Teneria Combine existed. Even now, we offer help to the weak and wretched of the islands, only to be spurned and laughed at by criminals who use their strength to exact tribute and plunder from the very people we have been sworn by birthright to protect! Now, even some of the Ki refuse to follow the Council because they see the folly of merely talking. Logic requires that we use action at this time. Although long held dear by the Ki, debate will not save our people or the people of Teneria any longer." Great shock was clearly shown on many people of the hall, especially among the Senators of the Council. These were clearly men who feared action. Whether for fear of possible consequences or for cowardice, Strider could not be sure.

Karnac raised his voice and pointed at Strider. "This man did not pause at helping an old man in time of need. Those brigands which assaulted me would surely have killed me, no reason or debate would have swayed them. Our fellow Ki assaulting a mystic! Such has never happened since the creation of the Combine to bring order to these lands. This man also bears the seal of the falcon, the creature of the last Protector which lead our people to form the Combine and bring peace and prosperity to Teneria. He is the Wanderer, the one who brings the next great Change, the one who will bring peace to this land where the advice of the esteemed Coucil will be heeded and properity will reign once again. I am sure of it." A great buzz erupted in the hall. Strider could not help but notice the cowled one was not pleased.

The Speaker rang his great gavel for order. He had to use it several times to quiet the nervous chatter that pervaded the tiered hall. "Karnac! You would have us turn to violence! Violence was the very thing that brought down the Combine and shattered the peace that we had. How can war bring peace? We must learn from the Artificers so that the people will see the true grace of our power and knowledge once again."

Suddenly, just as Karnac was to continue, several great arrows sprouted from the chest of Karnac and he collapsed to the ground dead. A great shout ran up and Strider could see flames sprouting everywhere. There was great chaos in the hall. Strider ran for the exit as the honor guard surrounded the Council members. Outside the hall, Strider saw the envoy of the Artificers. He had somehow managed to exit the hall before anyone else and was speaking rapidly with a rider bearing a bow. The conversation ended quickly before others could see and the rider sped through the small village, headed north. Strider was sure that the Artificers were behind the killing of the mystic.

"Strider!", cried a heavily armed guard and he quickly motioned for Strider to follow him into an adjacent building. Many villagers were still fighting the flames that threatened to engulf the Council hall if they were not contained soon. Strider could sense the fear everywhere, it was a common feeling when the Dark Stone was somehow involved. Strider had to learn more of these Artificers and their plans.

Strider ducked into the low doorway and saw that he was in a small room with the Council.. The Senators were covered in soot and looked extremely frightened, enough to be mute which was a rare feature for a Senator indeed. The Speaker motioned Strider to come closer. "Karnac's death showed me what I would not listen to during his life. My friend...", the Speaker said while choaking back a sob. "He was right. You must find these men. The Council has agreed that you shall be named Protector. Go bring back these men by the will of the council!"

"I will help you, Strider", said the guard. "My name is Dakar. The honor guard are few but we have trained all our life to protect the Council. Use our steel to help bring these foul rebels to justice."

"Then, there is no time to waste", cried Strider. "The Council must pool all the resources they have, especially gold. I fear there is more than just brigands angered by taxes behind this."

"But Strider", cired the Speaker, "we need the money to feed our people. We do not even have enough land to feed ourselves."

"Then I will win you your fields. Come, we ride!"
Never laugh at live dragons...

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