From the Ashes: The Future of Arda

Valdis: So It Begins...

I take a great risk by resuming my journal entries. While I witnessed the Cult Leader die at the hands of my family, it is unclear if the death was genuine or merely another attempt to exert control over my actions. I refuse to let paranoia get the better of me or dictate how I live my life. I have to write, especially now that we have returned to the Empire with wealth and ancient powers that many will covet and attempt to control. I am tired of control; my actions in the coming months and years shall prove that true enough. These entries are not for myself but for those who come after me. No doubt the Empire will distort my coming actions to make themselves appear justified. I offer you my voice so that you can hear both sides. Take what you will and form your own opinions of me, the Empire, and the family that you will know as the Mithrill Eight. All I ask is that you return the same courtesy to those you meet and speak to about such matters.

I am Valdis Hydwen, the First Magi in over 2,000 years. In all my life I never expected that such a statement would ever become truth, but so it is that with the persuasion of the Magi spirit Levith, I was inducted into an ancient order of magical practitioners that harnessed the power of magic in its purest form. I am overwhelmed and honored that my life has led me down this path. I hope I’ll be able to honor Alamar, Elminster, and all the great practitioners of the past who strove to achieve where I am now. The power is incredible. On more that one occasion I have feared losing control and seeing what would become of myself and the area surrounding me. But the power is a gift that I must use wisely and to benefit the people of Arda. Obscurity is no longer my realm. I have transcended into the public forum and shall speak as a guardian of magic, neither arcane or divine alone but the totality of both.

By the time I conclude writing this journal, I am fairly confident that I will be sought after by Arch-Magistress Mialee, the Magisterium, the Churches of Xaneak and Hennet at least, and probably the Imperial Master of Magic. Already I know what they wish to speak about. They will want me to turn over all the research I collected from Mulhoránd and provide them with it’s location so that they can come in and make the knowledge and power there openly available to the wealthy and important nobility of the Empire under the guise of giving it to the people of the Empire as a whole. I refuse to do so, not only because I have yet to fully understand what we discovered in the ruins, but eventually Mulhoránd will become the epicenter for a massive war to acquire both the Nether Scrolls and the Nexus. Whoever wins that for themselves or the Empire will most likely then go to war against Anrok and anyone else they fear and deem to be different. I cannot allow that to happen and so I must protect the Netheríl Empire from plunder.

The efforts to resurrect my brother were successful. He is currently resting within the walls of Valárim City until his energy has returned. From there, he will return to the Knights of the Golden Shield and continue to fight against planar evil and those who seek to bring such darkness upon Arda. I still feel guilt over his death. He is my younger brother and I put him at risk for my own selfish desires. He had every right to be mad at me, but his joking response caught me completely off guard. He is a better man than I will ever be in ten lifetimes. I thank all the gods that we have found one another and we are doing all within our power to make our family name one of power and pride.

Following Randall’s resurrection I spent several days in the ruins studying and reflecting on the next step. My time in Harrenhal exposed me to a single truth that to this day I still cannot fully accept; that the Empire believes the best thing for it’s growth and prosperity is the destruction and assimilation of Anrok into the Empire. So powerful was this truth, that the generals of the Imperial Military were seeking out opportunities to convince the Emperor that a war against Anrok was in the best interest of the Empire. What was worse was that the generals were succeeding. I may not know much about the Orcs of Anrok, but I do know that a war with them was stupid, frivolous, and solely based on the divisive notion that they are lesser than Imperial citizens.

The truth is that the Empire wants to go against Anrok because they are fearful of going up against two constant reminders of their inferiority: the Bloodlands and the North. The Empire will never go up against the North because the Syndicate is too powerful that it has unspoken fathoms of influence over the Imperial agenda. The Bloodlands have a climate similar to Anrok but it’s people are “civilized” and more attune to Imperial tactics and culture than the Orcs. Going up against them means going against brothers and sisters; a harder feat to accomplish than going against savage beasts. It was in my fury over the masculine bravado of the generals and the green Emperor that an idea was posed that will protect the Orcs from yet another Empire coming to exterminate them while allowing me an opportunity to make my family a source of power and influence within the Empire.

The Empire can’t touch the North because the Syndicate has it locked up tight. The Bloodlands won’t be engaged because a war with the various tribes will yield massive losses to the Imperial Military. My plan is to take command of both the North and the Bloodlands and then engage the Empire to turn their attention to the forgotten regions of Vanyar. By doing this Anrok is spared and I get to set an agenda of Imperial unity that will potentially yield me and the other members of the Mithrill Eight with vast amount of power and influence. My plan will begin with the North since Terari and Eryth both have personal grudges against the Syndicate that I can use to motivate the family. By helping the two of them get vengeance on the Syndicate, I can learn more about any resistance movements operating in the North that I could support and tag onto. The Kingpin gets taken down and the Syndicate is publicly viewed as defeated while I take control of the Syndicate’s information network and either facilitate it’s contents by myself or with Jenelle’s assistance. The band then travels south to the Bloodlands where we support a single tribe and assist in their rise to prominence and unification of the realm under their authority. With both realms new freedom and stability attributed to the Mithrill Eight, we send them out to engage the Empire under our banner. After several hopefully successful campaigns, we’ll negotiate a peace treaty with the Empire that ends the racism against Anrok and ensures power and prestige for the family.

I just returned from beginning the first part of my plan. Terari was ready and willing to travel north to find her mother and didn’t require much persuasion to want to go up against the Syndicate. Markos came with us while the rest of the family tended to personal projects. I must admit it was fun to work so closely with the two of them. I have not had much of an opportunity to work with the newer members of the family so I relished the opportunity to get to know them. It was nice for Terari to open up to us. I can’t imagine what she experienced as a child. While I was able to move beyond it when I left Maidenpool, as a Dark Elf post-Reckoning she can never fully be free of the racism that the Empire will keep no doubt for a long time. Hearing her mother’s story and struggle makes me want to find her even more. It will give me great joy to see Terari reunited with her mother. Markos is very funny and quite sociable. He made a fantastic partner when dealing with Olegg. He is a very gifted musician (he has been studying how to play music he found from Mulhoránd) and he is struggling to find an opportunity to give his life a purpose. Hopefully he can come into his own as we fight a revolution and a unification.

Learning about Councilor Kelrob and that he is one of several factions attempting to free the North from Syndicate control gave me peace. I’m thankful that there is an already created system of resistance so I don’t have to make it myself. Our venture with Kelrob and his faction, in addition to learning more information about Terari’s mother, gave us the opportunity to prove our loyalty to the resistance and establish ourselves as valued assets. We proved this by taking out the Red Skull Mercenary Band by ourselves with the aid of their commander Tormund Giantsbane. Each of us appeared to enjoy completely obliterating such a violent and brutal group. More entertaining was taking their equipment and teleporting it all to Kelrob’s faction. Needless to say we earned the respect of Kelrob and Tormund.

By the end of the venture, Kelrob had informed us that Terari’s mother was safe and with a resistance movement in the eastern region of the North. While Terari wanted to go collect her and take her back to Maidenpool, I exercised caution. It won’t be long before the Syndicate finds out about our involvement with the Red Skulls, and before we can lead the North to freedom there are additional issues that need to be addressed with the family. Bringing Terari’s mother south puts her in more danger than leaving her up in the North. I did encourage Terari to write to her mother. Ensuring a safe delivery won’t take much. I also offered Illyrio’s company and resources over to Kelrob for the resistance. Illyrio will be pissed off for a while, but as owner I don’t particularly care.

Markos and Terari know of my plan to support the resistance and destroy the Syndicate. I didn’t tell them about the rest of it. I reserve Sylvani and Walgrim the right to hear the full plan first. I plan to inform my two closest friends when I return from the North. I also plan to put Walgrim to work crafting artificial soldiers for both Mulhoránd and the North while I and a few other family members assist Jenelle with her issues involving the Faceless Lady. The first move has been played. It’s time to see what’s the family’s next move.



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