August 24, 2019, 10:49:25 AM

Author Topic: Arraxia Rising: A View from Infernia  (Read 1792 times)

Sabrath_Kell

  • Official Loremaster of Etheria
  • Full Mage
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Banana Stickers 0
    • View Profile
    • @ArraxCrown on Twitter
Arraxia Rising: A View from Infernia
« on: May 03, 2015, 12:34:07 AM »
3. ARRAXIA RISING: A View From Infernia

For over 500 years, the Arraxian Crown has plotted and schemed to bring about the destruction of the nations of the world, through whatever means necessary.
ARRAXIA RISING is a chronicle of its stories, plans, and machinations, played out across Etheria and the Dark Realms.



Infernia, Inside the Bastion of Chaos

Adramelech smiled as he watched the siege of Elbereth play out in the coalescing mists in the main oversized crystal orb that hung suspended from the ceiling. Other lesser orbs also hung here and there, each for displaying other locations in Etheria, but with the bulk of the Arraxian Crown force assembled in Westlock, most were now dark, or still.

The Bastion of Chaos was headquarters to the Council of Lies, the coordinating group responsible for running the Arraxian Crown’s movements on Etheria. To be perfectly honest, Adramelech hated to visit this place, and hated the three Demons that headquartered here.

To Adramalech’s left, Grethmene’s heavy-set form slouched in an oversized chair. Though he appeared to be watching the battle, Adramelech knew he was far more interested in watching the reactions of the other demons in the room — including himself. This one watches too much for his own good, Adramelech thought. And not of the things that he should.

Grethmene was an old demon, even by Infernian standards. Referred to as “The Deceptive Shadow” by his demon peers, the goateed spider had served under five Infernian Imperators before Adramelech had come to power. On the day that he had disposed of the previous Infernian Lord, Adramalech had found Grethmene waiting for him in this very council room, ready to swear undying allegiance. That kind of loyalty was unsettling, but he had rewarded Grethemene on the spot, making him the leader of the Council of Lies and the Arraxian Crown’s spymaster. A prestigious reward for loyalty — at least, that’s what he told the old demon.

In truth, the Council of Lies had become a shadow of its former self since the Infernal forces had been defeated five centuries ago, and Adramalech suspected that Grethmane’s forthcoming work on the Council would be anything but pleasant, since he would have to work with Selverane and Esmere — the other two demons in the room — both of whom were annoying enough to make Asyra blaspheme herself. Promoting Grethmene to focus on Etheria meant Grethmene would have little time to meddle with plans in Infernia — in essence, a convenient, tactical way of putting the demon out to pasture.

Grethmene had taken the promotion gracefully, even appreciatively, even though Adramalech was certain he was harboring resentment. Which is exactly what I was hoping for, and yet… something about the spymaster’s smugness in this situation was... bothering, the Lord of Fire mused.

“Have we not done well, my Lord?” asked Grethmene with his characteristic drawl as he watched the battle unfold, his fingers working back and forth, as if  impatiently weaving black webs with his very fingernails.

Adramalech tapped his iron talons on the table, focusing on the killing stroke of a skirmish he was watching between an orcish Warlord and a female warlock. “From the embers of Arraxia, it seems we have forged a new blade,” he said. “Our Etherian agents seem to be taking to their task with vigor.”

“Oh they are my Lord.” Her slight emphasis on the word “my” was barely noticeable. “Your battle plans for have been met with a renewed sense of purpose. Is it possible that this might lead us to once more find a way to open a door to Etheria?” The words came from Esmere, and were coated with the poisoned seduction that all succubi used as their calling card. Still, even by demons of her race, she was called “The Poisoned Seductress” — Adramalech eyed her warily, as he always did.

She had achieved her position on this Council through deft maneuvering, rising steadily upward through the Infernal legions. Without doubt, she had used her charms and played off the temptations of those in positions of power above her, but the part that gave Adramalech pause was that now that she was of a much higher rank than those who had been her stepping stones to get there, she maintained relatively few enemies. That she could keep those that she used happy, even as she advanced past them could result in a gang of problems later. Something to consider — and watch.

Why hadn’t he replaced her already? Or seen to it that she met some (un)fortunate (un)timely end? Perhaps it was because he enjoyed the friction that existed between she and Grethmane — the old demon seemed impervious to her charms and seductions — or perhaps because he had to admit that he valued the wealth of knowledge that she uncovered about the shady deals and backroom discussions that occurred throughout Etheria. Grethmane was adept at using her networks, and putting her agents in play, but Esmere was uncanny at finding those who would further her cause, and then convincing them to help her. Often of their own choice — she had an unusual reputation for a demon of eschewing physical violence, as long as she could get her way by other means.

“Taranis believes the time is right. It is rare that he calls the Chamber of Embers to order.”

Esmere wore a small statuette of carved ruby on a white gold chain that hung low and nestled her ample breasts. It pulsed red now, and her eyes took on a far-off look. “We have an extra attraction today,” she said after a moment. She reached her hand out to one of the other suspended orbs in the room, and its darkened interior flared to life, showing a heavily armored orc warlord and a brown-bearded wizard locked in spell combat. “Trokoth,” she said, “This is the other Blood Wave camp, near Victoria.”

“And the wizard?” asked Adramalech.

“Laddinfance, My Lord.” It was Selverane, the third member of the Council of Lies that spoke. The pale skinned demon was tall and muscular, immaculately groomed and clothed in a tunic of fine-spun golden thread, with a swirling Cloak of Shadows. Few beings that lived in Infernia were as wardrobe conscious as Prince Selverane, King of Cons and Master of the Grift. “Primus of the White Spires of Sortilege. He seems himself as Sortilege personified, and acts as pompously as if he were a nation unto himself.”

“Which is to say that Selverane has not yet found a way to sway him into serving our interests, or the designs of the Arraxian Crown,” Esmere said. Selverane’s red eyes flashed, but he let the jibe go unanswered. “Keep watching,” Esmere continued with a mysterious smile. “I have it on good authority that things are about to get more interesting.”

“These are times of opportunity” drawled Grethmane. “Westlock is hard pressed indeed, and it’s power may have passed its zenith. A two front war wages within its own borders, and it seems that they have to outsource mage champions from Sortilege to fight Trokoth himself. The embers of the Pellian Alliance have burned down low indeed. Whether Trokoth wins or loses, it makes little difference. The balance of power is ripe for us to shift.”

“What of Malacoda’s work in the Darkfenne, Lord?” asked Selverane.

“He has stirred up his plagues and rots, and has commanded his servants there to stand ready, but it seems the Bog Queen has her own agendas. Though the Silent Lady is consort to Taranis, she keeps her own council, and commands her servants accordingly,” said Adramalech. (recap: http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15389.0)

“Surely in keeping with Taranis’s plan though?” asked Esmere. “I cannot believe that the Silent Lady would have the Bog Queen working at odds with the overall strategy?”

Adramalech shrugged. “What difference does it make? None to me, nor to our larger plans.”

“Agreed. Still, the more we know of other’s plans, the more we can twist them to our advantage,” Selverane scratched absently at his closely cropped goatee. “With the movement of so many players — Ivarium, the Blood Wave, even the Silent Lady — we can pin weave whatever fears we want on virtually anyone we want. Delicious if you ask me.”

“You may want to hurry these mind games along,” grimaced Esmere. “In case you have forgotten, several of our Arraxian cells have been rooted out by the church of Asyra. It would be best if we could shift their focus to something else.”

“Once the warlocks win their fight at Elbereth and save the city, that will all change,” Selverane assured her. “Just wait — the tide of public opinion will turn.”

Adramalech let their prattling wash over him as he turned his attention back to the main orb. The city was awash with the flaming corpses of the Blood Wave force, and rank upon rank of Warlocks continued to push forward, driving the horde back. It would be over soon, and then he would see if Selverane’s predictions about the perception of the Arraxian Crown would come true.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 11:58:54 PM by Sabrath_Kell »
  • Favourite Mage: Arraxian Crown Warlock

Boocheck

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 2105
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: Arraxia Rising: A View from Infernia
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2015, 03:05:55 AM »
GO Trokoth!

Wish i had a chance to buy tickets :)
  • Favourite Mage: Bloodwave Warlord
I am one with the force, the force is with me! (Warlord is still my fav mage ;) )

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3128
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Arraxia Rising: A View from Infernia
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2015, 10:27:08 AM »
"Which is exactly what I had hoped for."

I think you meant, exactly what Adramelech had hoped for. Glad to see that his characterization and motivations are realistic enough to even make the mistake of switching to first person from his POV, lol

Also, is Grethmane gay? It seemed heavily implied.

On another somewhat unrelated note, I can easily foresee mage wars being another fantasy world where only villains are ever depicted as non-heterosexuals and only demons, aliens, robots and monsters as transgender, lol. I know it's just fiction so it doesn't have to be physically, socially or biologically realistic, but as far as I've seen, stories tend to be better if they're at least demographically realistic given sociocultural and biological facts already established as canon in the story (not necessarily canon in real life, of course). If a demon can be homosexual, then readers will likely have the expectation that other races will also have homosexuals, even if that expectation is only a niggling confusion at the back of their mind. If other races don't have homosexuals, then it might be good to have a reasonable explanation for why not. I.e. The gods chose not to in order to maximize the birth rates and population of their followers. This might make one expect that if overpopulation becomes a risk, evil gods will wipe out large groups of people and the good gods who don't want to commit genocide will instead prevent their followers from overpopulating in the first place by making some of them homosexual.

If this is the case and if Infernia has homosexuals and Etheria doesn't then the case could be made that Infernia has significantly less space and resources than Etheria does, so overpopulation might be more of a problem for them.

Of course, some people might prefer to have these kinds of things left only to their imagination...
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 10:36:03 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sabrath_Kell

  • Official Loremaster of Etheria
  • Full Mage
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Banana Stickers 0
    • View Profile
    • @ArraxCrown on Twitter
Re: Arraxia Rising: A View from Infernia
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2015, 02:46:10 PM »
Thanks for the heads up on the Adramelech passage. I've updated the text to make it more clear.

As for Grethmane...

My favorite author, Umberto Eco, wrote this several years back in the Paris Review: "I always assume that a good book is more intelligent than its author. It can say things that the writer is not aware of."

To be clear though, there was no intended implication on my part that Grethmane is gay, only that he was not swayed by Esmere's charms. This not only frustrates Esmere (who is more than used to getting her way), it also is a cause of disdain by Grethmane toward her. (She thinks she can sway me as simply as the others?...)

No wonder Adramelech hates to visit the Bastion of Chaos. More drama than reality TV.
  • Favourite Mage: Arraxian Crown Warlock