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Territory Nouveau 06: Thorn in an Elephant's Side
Miranda, the fog-shrouded moon of Uranus, in the heart of the Jovian Lunar Commonwealth. A strange and enigmatic planetoid where, it is said, the machinations of the Commonwealth’s war machine are brought to life. Since the outset of the First Jovian War, it has been rumored and propagandized within the Rectified Solar Union that Miranda was home to the Jovian miltary’s intelligence and scientific initiatives. The stories of cloak-and-dagger operations and horrific experiments taking place...
Territory Nouveau 05: Cramped Quarters
Just outside of Jupiter’s gravitational pull, beyond the boundaries of Europa, Ganymede, Callista, and Io sits a massive ship graveyard. A vast field of decommissioned and destroyed debris placed there specifically as to not be an eyesore upon House Kennet’s glorious Commonwealth. The ships moored there passed on their names and salvagable parts to more worthy vessels long ago, and the graveyard is unknown to most folk in the Commonwealth, but some life does still lurk within the oft...
Territory Nouveau 04: What I Think is Best
In the face of Cydonia’s looming destruction the old worries of Weldon Woldt seemed far away and altogether insignificant. Money, work, comfort, all that mattered now was that next, forward step. Never quite escaping the shadow of the Amano capital ship that loomed large overhead, never quite out of earshot of the thumping boom of artillery, or the mechanical whirring of distant anchors. He’d run, and run, and run until he’d entered the Halation square, the shelter a generous sprint across...
Territory Nouveau 03: Quite the Fortuitous Meeting
The bridge of the Vehement was preternaturally calm, given the circumstances. Ambrose Belgard, on the other hand, was not. He sat alone on the quiet, dark bridge, slumped in his chair staring out onto the bright red sphere of Mars below him. The mesas, the mountain faces, the green expanses of ocean. And the Amano capital ships hovering just in low orbit above it all, their dropships still descending. The other houses hadn’t mobilized their forces yet. That was worrisome. At this rate the...
Territory Nouveau 02: Human Squabbles
“The Wingard’s Anchor assembly plant in the Cydonian sector went dark a few days ago. House Wingard is furious, obviously. Last transmission from security was a run-of-the-mill all hands call for the night shift. After that, nothing. No one in, no one out, not even the factory techs. Anything that gets close to the place in plain view either gets shot down or blown up by something on-site. Something that hits very, very hard. Most likely a number of Anchors rolled the factory overnight,...
Territory Nouveau 01: The State of Things
“I was fifteen years old, the last time the Union tried to take back the Freeholds. A ‘fact of life’ my mother told me. Happens periodically. Been happening forever, shit. And we’ve pushed them back every time, them and Kennet’s damned Commonwealth. Every time, for centuries. Like clockwork. Let’s look at the state of things, folks. Our forebearers watched the Solar Union collapse. Saw it reborn as the ghoulish bastard-thing it is now. Saw the Jovian’s close ranks. And even apart, they...
The Interdependency Shuffle 26: The Last Days, The Blue Sky
To think, no one had ever seen a blue sky before… In those days, the last days of what was the Interdependency, of what was Shard, we stood defiantly against our own end. Shoulder to shoulder, as ever in the Interdependency. Staring down the inevitable. Staring down the end. The Miasma. That once dormant sentient mist who had snuffed out all the life that came before us. Across Shard our communities, our friends, our families were safeguarded away, should we fail in this our last-ditch...
The Interdependency Shuffle 25: The First University
Imagine, if you will, a deck of playing cards. The top card of the deck, we will say, represents this tangible world of ours. The card immediately below that, I hypothesize, represents the intangible plane from where all eldritch ability is drawn. A plane of leyline energy. An astral plane. Something I call the Shuffle. My research at the First University has focused heavily on the Shuffle, on traversing the barrier weaved between the planes, interfacing with leyline energy, and drawing...
The Interdependency Shuffle 24: All the Time We Can Get
BY THE ORDER of General Aspect Abell, Acting Commander of the Armed Forces of Shard: All civilian, reserve, and active duty personnel currently residing within the Settlement of Lockstock are hereby instructed to evacuate the area within the next twenty-four hours. Following established emergency protocols, all available transports have been assigned to begin transfer of evacuees from Lockstock to the settlements of Boon, Summit, and Nomad’s Heights effective immediately. At this time,...
The Interdependency Shuffle 23: What She Wants
Seeing his sister again, here in this place, Orion was of two minds. He had been of two minds for some time now, but the feeling still left him uneasy. Everything came with a kind of duality: Panic and placid calm, fight and flight overlapping into inaction, familiarity and otherness. He stood tall before them in the clearing, his every emotion, his every action delayed or belaid by the will of another. His inner monologue now more than ever a dialogue. It was all his fault. What was going...
The Interdependency Shuffle 22: Undertake a Perilous Journey
It had been awhile since she had entertained guests. She hoped she would still prove an adequate host. She could not afford to be inhospitable at a time like this. Not with so much on the line. She did not often ask her subjects to make their way to this place, to her home. Often simply entering the Miasma under her influence was enough. But that influence could only reach so far outside without straining her, and she needed to be at her full potential for her next guest. A very special...
The Interdependency Shuffle 21: To the Front
General Aspect Abell stared out from the battlements atop the walls of Lockstock, peering down onto the clearing below. Their battlefield. The Front. 800 feet of open ground that separated the folk-at-arms of Lockstock from the toxic boundary of the Miasma. Ground pocked with bloodstains, acid scars, and craters of cool molten metal. Ground the scouts had told them they were losing slowly but surely by the day. Aspect was exhausted. They were sure that all of them were. The uptick in...
The Interdependency Shuffle 20: One Night in Lockstock
Life in Lockstock was a bit harder than it had been in Port ‘o Plenty, sure. Her skills didn’t really suit the place. She was no fighter, no grand strategic mind. But to her credit Suri was getting used to it. Getting used to sleeping in the quieter alleys and keeping to herself in the daytime. Getting used to switching aliases with what acquaintances she had made. Getting used to hiding her face in public, keeping her head low, and avoiding eye contact in case someone might recognize...
The Interdependency Shuffle 19: Decompression
They had been in worse situations, hadn’t they? After all the time Bazeen had known her, known any of them really, he wasn’t so sure. It doesn’t get much worse than this, he thought. They’d managed to skid out of plenty of scrapes before. Worse for wear? Sure, but never anything like this. Not even Glasstown was like this. He was there in the Bazaar, standing next to Coleraine of all people. They looked down on Sierra’s makeshift sickbed, close enough to watch over her, but too far away...
The Interdependency Shuffle 18: We’ve Been In Worse Situations
A white flare. The signal was supposed to be a white flare. Streaking into the night sky over Lockstock while the soldiers below stood sentinel along the walls. That was when the Deviants among them would turn their coats. When the revolt would begin. But the signal never came. The sun sank and the soldiers of Lockstock, the Deviants among them, went about their tasks with only the faintest hint of a traitorous edge. In the night of pondering that followed, the morning of uncertainty, and...
The Interdependency Shuffle 17: A Grand Restructuring
As most things often do, Coleraine's arrangement with the Deviants had started as a simple one. They'd cornered him at a dive in Sandbar. A popular spot he'd heard that a particular Salamander Warf had passed through. He intended to have words with her, and instead, that night he found himself face to face with one Bumprhy Hogart. The former Privateer Captain and her posse of Deviants could have killed him right there. He was lucky, she had said, that his reputation as a Wanderer-killer...
The Interdependency Shuffle 16: A Mage, a Maze, and a Monster
DeGrasse. A week and a half has passed in your journey from Oxbow to Lockstock and a few more weeks are ahead of you still before you reach your destination. You have no idea what awaits you in that faraway town, or who might be moving against your party at this very moment. With plenty of time to move about the cabin of Bazeen’s Bazaar, or not, you’ve had a long while to mull things over in-between meal conversations, sleep, and road games with your new friends. Your mind wanders back to...
The Interdependency Shuffle 15: The Cairn and the King Pt. 2
The Shard scientific community’s stance on the idea of a “King Aberration” is that such a thing does not exist, nor has it ever. Reports of such a creature are often rationalized as a mislabeling of a particularly large Knight by a young research assistant, or just as often laughed off completely and attributed to delirium. To the general population, the King Aberration is a legend. A modern myth. A bedtime story particularly cruel parents tell their children to keep them from sneaking out...
The Interdependency Shuffle 14: The Cairn and the King Pt. 1
Lyra, Bazeen’s Bazaar pulls away from the Tillfield Homestead. As it makes its way through Oxbow proper and starts out onto the open road, you settle in for what will surely be a weeks long journey to Lockstock. You have no idea what awaits you in that faraway town, or who might be moving against your party at this very moment. In the meantime, there is downtime. Some of your companions you look forward to spending time with. Others, you’d rather avoid. For now, you go to your quarters....
The Interdependency Shuffle 13: A Nice Enough Sunset
The old farmstead, now overtaken by the fog of the Miasma, had been abandoned by its previous owner years ago by the look of it. Empty barns, a derelict farmhouse, crops limp and dying in fields overgrown with wildflowers, the rotted wood along the perimeter fence. Whatever caretakers this place had seen were long gone, and the gate of that self same fence had been left open. To him, this seemed quite the portent. His companions felt much the same, and so the whole lot of them set down in...