FfH2:Grigori/Cassiel – Chapter 10

Turns 471 –

Feel the current carrying our boat, and observe the wind filling our sails. Imagine if we were to harness their power, not merely for sailing, but for all manner of labor. The wind does not need food or payment, and water never gets tired or worn out. Ah, but this is folly… only a mage could do such, and what do they know about physical labor?

–Reaghar Yor, Fisherman  

I have now discovered machinery and in doing so, I can now build crossbowmen. Which means that those elves won’t be taking Kalm anytime soon.

The crossbow was the preferred weapon of the peasants in the First Rebellion. The weapon is fairly simple to produce in bulk and frighteningly effective at piercing armour, which meant that the peasants finally could take up the fight with the knights and men-at-arms that made up the fist of the Royalist armies. The mechanism is simple: a winch tightens the bow to a tautness that is practically unachievable by muscle power alone. The projectile is a small bolt, rather like a truncated arrow. The result is a weapon that fires straight and true with little effort and with little training required.

And in even better news, just when I thought that my shadow assassin couldn’t get any better, he’s gone and surpassed all expectations: he found the black mirror on the corpse of one of his victims, which means he can now cast mirror. This means that I turn my level 15 shadow into two level 15 shadows. And while the illusionary one only lasts a turn, it can still kill pretty much anything. Combined with Orthus’ Axe, this means that the guy is one hell of an elite unit.

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FfH2:Grigori/Cassiel – Chapter 9

Turns 401 -470

Welcome back. 400 turns already? I’m trying to remember how long a normal CivIV:BtS game is. I wonder if anybody is close to winning yet. To be honest, I’m not even entirely sure what the winning conditions are. I assume that killing everybody else still leads to victory, but I can’t see it being an option in this game. And I think I read something about building a great wonder to give a magical victory. But I think that requires access to all the mana types. There are a lot of different mana types and I only have access to a small number of them. But at least my new town of Corel has expanded my borders a little, allowing me to get some new magic. After a bit of thinking, I settle for death mana: I’m currently a little underwhelmed by my adepts, and summoning the undead might make them more useful.

I told you there were lots of different mana types.

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FfH2:Grigori/Cassiel – Chapter 8

Turns 376 – 400

The war has slid into a stalemate. I’ve lost the two cities I captured, and the mighty Melsine has been slain. But Kalm still stands defiant. If slightly empty. One spark of light in this darkening world: a great general has appeared! I decide to use his recruit ability to bulk out my southern defenses. One of the units I gain turns out to be an assassin….

A great general

Assassins make use of such an elegant and interesting game mechanic that I can’t believe that something similar wasn’t in any of the official CivIV expansions. Maybe it was and I’ve forgotten. Anyway, when you attack a stack with an assassin, rather than fighting the strongest unit in the stack, you fight the weakest. Which means I can now start some of the tree hugging elves who’re laying seige to Kalm. In particular, their spellcasters

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FfH2:Grigori/Cassiel – Chapter 7

Turns 295 – 375

The war weights heavily on my mind: these sodding elves are really starting to get me down. Huge bands of elven hunters and fawns are roaming the southern lands and I’m getting nowhere fast. So I venture out into the streets of Midgar to mingle with my people. In a bar, I happen across a strange old man with a strange old tale.

Treasure!

I decide it’s worth the gamble and gain a map to the treasure, far, far, far into the southeast. I summon the adventurer Sidehelle and charge him with venturing out into the wilderness and claiming the treasure in the name of the Grigori. Meanwhile, reports are coming in that Melusine has been torturing the elven survivors from the segie of Brakkah and in the north, barbarians continue to attack Edge.

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FfH2:Grigori/Cassiel – Chapter 6

 Turns 267 – 294

The cold war against the cold elves continues in the south. My armies of axemen led by Melusine are enough to keep the Svartalfar from taking any land but the treacheraous forests outside of my borders have sided with the elves and my men dare not enter. Damn their Fellowship of Leaves! My allies, the Luchuirp, are feeling the brunt of Faeryl Viconia’s attack , while my northern provinices are being hit hard be oppertunistic greenskin raiders. There is light at the end of every tunnel however: in the west the ship from Junon havehopefully found an ally for my cause: the Sidar.

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Shades, men who have traded portions of their soul for immortality, the Grey are detached from the events of the world. Only intervening to protect themselves or striking out to destroy undead (they see undead as aberrations despite their own use of magic to extend their life), they are happy to keep to their hidden cities, out of the eyes, and the wars, of the younger races.

Well, maybe less of an ally, but at least he’s keen to trade knowledge with me, which allow me to start researching knowledge of the ether. I will see those elves burn. Heading further into the west, my ship also discovers the Amurites:

The Amurites have no ancient history, no glorious empire in the Age of Magic to harken back to or trace their lineage from. In terms of civilizations, the Amurites are newcomers on the world stage. Nevertheless, they are a force to be reckoned with, feared by some, and respected by all. Part of that respect stems from the tremendous magical power the Amurite armies command, but no small part of it stems from the incredible story of their genesis.

Another friend

Back on the southern front, with my catapults in position, Melosine leads the troops in an attack on Aeleriss’ Pits, a small, lightly defended, Svartalfarian settlement south of Kalm.

The first victory of the war

Melosine's Charge

Aeleriss’ Pits is now mine, and thanks to the catapults’ ability to withdraw, I suffered minimal loses. The main army now heads back up to Kalm leaving two archers to defend Grigori’s new settlement. More encouraging news comes in, this time from the wise men in my capital. We know have Knowledge of the Ether.

I’m telling you, this is the opportunity we’ve been seeking for decades! Soon, we will be able to escape the boundaries of the material world. Don’t you see? There is power there, power beyond your dreams, and that power could be ours, if we were but willing to take the smallest of risks. Surely the council can approve of my proposition?

–Arean Sethrail, Mage Elder

The constuction of a Mage Guild is ordered in Midgar, which will allow me to train adepts (tier one spellcasters). I also manage to exchange code of laws for knowledge of philosphy with Sandalphon.

A few turns later Svartalfar make a counter attack, throwing a stack of units at the two archers fortified in Aeleriss’ Pits. On a hill. And while the town is eventually taken, a lot of elven blood is spilled. Meaning fewer units to hide in those dark forests. A few turns later and the city of Brakkah (to the east of Kalm) is mine. Again, my casualties are low, and I net myself over 200 gold in the process.

I knew catapults would be a good idea.

The war effort is know going pretty well. I’m hoping to have the first wave of adepts ready soon, and I’ve also discovered alteration:

There are some ways to tell the difference between a real sheep and one that has been polymorphed from a man. The latter will show greater fear and curiosity. It will not seek out its own kind. But they both taste the same.

-Gaylin Wayforth, mage and amateur chef

In the north, I have a smaller army gearing up to take some barbaian settlements that have sprung up. However, despite the recent military successes, there are dark rumours circulating:

I'm hoping I can ignore this message. And delete the image and all reference to it at a later date

To end with, here’s a map of the world. My long term plan is to destroy the Svartalfar. Partly cause they’re winning, but mainly because the scores in the bottom right hand corner of the screen suggest they are winning the game. My secondary objective is to settle and civilise the rest of the wilderness to the notheast and northwest. Hunting barbarians will hopefully be a good way to get my newly recruited adepts some experience of life outside of the mage’s guild.

A bird's eye view of the world.