Play-through (Turns 62-72)
Before trying to exploit the shards, the Magelords probably should pacify the area
Turns 62-63: The Magelord scholars formulated a new education strategy for all of the Confederacy, and shifted their focus on Craftsmanship. New Conclave continued to prioritize building research facilities; the construction of a conclave began as soon a study was completed.
Hannis, Verga and Leadanna continued adventuring on the edges of the wastelands. Hannis was refining her swordsmanship, Verga was slowly improving his accuracy, and Leadanna was concentrating on her mercantile skills.
Boris and Ceresa approached the closest Umber city, but just as they were about to attack, they received a message from Custos, who had discovered a shard rich region colonized by Umber. The Magelords contemplated razing the outposts and erecting arcane monoliths instead, but the region was infested by slags, drakes, and obsidian golems. In order to insure the shard shrines survived the change of ownership, Boris decided to pacify the area before attacking Umber.
The Umber sovereign is not to be trifled with
Turns 64-66: Boris attacked the slag, and had to do something he had not had to do for a while, namely pay attention to the fight. The slag was quite good at finding the weak spots of Boris armor and its critical strikes actually threatened Boris's life. Fortunately, the slag was sluggish, so Boris had no trouble dashing in and out, and bleeding the beast before it could riposte.
Next he took out yet another obsidian golem, and retrieved a razor broadsword from its lair. It was nowhere as good as Boris's serrated shortsword, so he sold it to a local merchant.
Finally he destroyed a drake and its army, and retrieved a Tarth gladiator armor from its lair. It wasn't much in terms of protection, but it was light enough to allow him to move very quickly. With that last fight, the area had been pacified. Boris was ready to start razing outposts and erect monoliths. He paused for a moment to appraise what everyone else was doing.
Ceresa had been mapping Umber, until she ran across Urko himself. He was no fool, and knew what to expect. He had her immediately escorted to the border, and headed that way himself. He was extremely well trained and equipped, but still no match for Boris.
Magnar was wandering the Kraxis lands, picking off weak monsters and exploring areas of interest. A lost library yielded enough information for the Magelords to truly improve their Craftsmanship. Satisfied with their production capacity, the scholars focused their effects on Sorcery. Their goal was to teach every champion enough Air magic to cast Haste, as well as broaden Boris's magical knowledge.
On the edge of Pariden's territory, Custos spotted a Dragon statue. It did not look like much, but the wolf still made sure to remember the location, because her instinct told her the statue was somehow important. She then started exploring Pariden's lands.
Far in the Northwest, the crow demon scout met and hired the Tarth champion Uifnir. The two joined together to block Tarth and Kraxis pioneers from settling on a fertile strip of land just out of the range of the nearby Magelord monoliths.
Meanwhile, Leadanna, Verga, and Hannis were penetrating deeper into the Titans' Battlefield, destroying stronger monsters, and getting better equipment. Hannis once again proved to be especially lucky as she unearthed a pair of dancing boots in a shrill lair.
Hannis strikes on her own, and does quite well
Turns 67-68: The preparations for war with Umber were complete. Boris reviewed the messages from his diplomats. Non-aggression pacts had been signed with Tarth and Capitar, and trade and technology exchanges had been negotiated. Gilden was the only neighbor still making threatening noises, but Boris trusted that his mana reserves would be adequate to deal with a sudden attack.
Lady Irane sent 165 Gildar, asking that Boris destroys Umber. Boris declared war and rushed toward the closest Umber city, Ventraken. Its population was under two hundred, and its fall was unremarkable.
Urko had been ready for the attack. Three Umber armies advanced on Ventraken. One consisted of Urko, Lady Sculla and a throng of heavy infantry, the second comprised of three champions - Nikonus, Sothia and Diruna followed by scouts and pioneers, and third one was just a mass of Urxen. Luckily for Boris, Urko had not taken into account the fact that he would have to travel through hostile dominion. There were enough Magelord sympathizers to slow him down, and Boris managed to intercept two of the three armies. As for Urko, a series of tremors made it impossible for him to remain on his feet, let alone to assault Ventraken.
While Urko was immobilized, Boris bypassed him, and assaulted Goldag. Its defenses were considered epic. In addition to the champions he had just defeated, Noshima and Kallus Hairto faced him at the gate. It was all for naught. Boris dodged most of the attacks, and even those that landed failed to hurt him much.
Once the city fell, Boris needed to continue South, but his way was blocked by a throng of pioneers. There were nearly a hundred of Urxen women, and Boris could not see himself murdering them in cold blood. But Ceresa was nearby, and had no such compunctions towards the Urxen. She grabbed her soul staff, and cleared Boris's path, while substantially increasing the Magelords mana reserves.
Hannis decided to separate from Verga's party. She was grateful to Verga for his tutelage, but she felt it was time for her to adventure on her own. In truth, she wanted to tackle stronger opponents, such as Verga could not face because of his broken spirit. Her first target was a Fire elemental's army. She renewed her "Regeneration" enchantment, and added "Stone Skin" and "Nature Cloak". She won handily, and the experience made her an even more skilled and more lethal swordwoman.
The mighty monoliths: dozens of enemy pioneers left with no land to grab
Turns 69-72: The scholars of New Conclave published their research on Sorcery. As soon as she heard, Hannis tasked Leadanna with traveling to the nearest merchant, and buying a Air Tome. Leadanna headed toward a nearby monolith, while Hannis she took on an air elemental, a number of shrills and an army of ophidians. She was not even taking the time to loot her kills, leaving the job for Verga. It was no surprise that she was becoming a quick, bloodthirsty killer. Still, she wasn't forgetting her main task, and when she noticed a dragon statue, she noted the location on her map and for good measure erected an arcane monolith nearby.
Verga had resigned himself to playing a support role for Hannis long ago. He searched the lairs of the monsters she had killed, and found a reinforced plate and a doom hammer. He was supposed to bring the equipment to Hannis, but had to take a detour to help Leadanna who had gotten caught between a pair of shrill lords and an air elemental's army. The battlefield was too dangerous for either of them alone, so Verga and Leadanna decided to stick together for the time being.
Between Hannis, Verga, Leadanna, and Uifnir, the battlefield of the Titans was eventually cleansed of monsters. There were dozens of Tarth and Kraxis pioneers waiting to split the resources between their nations, but the Magelords were no fools. Moments after the last monster was dead, five arcane monoliths rose from the ground, claiming the area for the Confederacy.
Magnar had been exploring in the Northwest, when he was accosted by a group of Kraxis watchmen, and asked to leave the Empire. He agreed, but instead of being courteously escorted, he was blindfolded, knocked out and abandonned out in the Lombard desert, surrounded by wildlings and shrills. He did not know how to leave, so instead, he made sure that his "Regeneration" was refreshed, and started exploring his surroundings. After defeating a group and shrills and a sand golem, he became an even better Fire mage.
Boris realized that he had no idea where Urko's last city was. He send Ceresa and Custos to look for it. While they were exploring, he attacked a shrill lord in its lair, and after defeating it found a spectral plate.
It did not take long for Custos to discover Umber's capital and to destroy the outposts which hindered the champions movement. Ceresa cleared the pioneers and scouts blocking Boris's path. Boris smashed the gates and slaughtered the defenders. When he saw the brutal efficiency of the
Magelord war host, Urko surrendered.
The Magelords were again victorious, but every single other faction hated them with a passion. Boris felt that it was time to address the citizens of the Confederacy again.
The magelords won't win any popularity contests