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Postfest V: The Scarlet Brotherhood
Posted on Tue, July 12, 2005 by Dongul
CruelSummerLord writes ""Everything lost, everthing gained? At what price? Is it justified? Do the ends justify the means?"-Questions asked by all that know of the Scarlet Sign.

The Scarlet Brotherhood
By: CruelSummerLord
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

Korenth Zan gazed over the latest series of reports from his underlings. So far, it went well. So far, so close, so distant…whatever he pursued, he would have. It had been given to him…what he commanded in the Homeland was commanded in the Empire, and what he wished in the Homeland was wished in the Empire.

It was all there was, all there ever would be, and all there ever could be.

Zan proceeded to examine the first report from the Sea Princes:

Most Holy Father of Obedience:

Our mission is a success! We have become masters of the land known as the Hold of the Sea Princes, made it into a Proper Realm for the Most Favored of Races, and put those dogs not of The People into their just and true places.

Our methods have been patient, sure and true. For years, our agents had been at work within the realm of the Sea Princes, speaking to members of the Most Favored of Races, revealing to them their destinies and reminding them of the heritages of the Lost Imperium of The People. We made friends, we made contacts, and we made alliances. Some rejected us, and we knew to punish them when the time came. But we always selected those we reached out to with the utmost care; those we knew could be trusted with our purpose.

We have also destabilized the regime by causing slave revolts, weakening the government and economy. Sudden invasions by the Fodder (as you know, our armies of jungle savages and other primitives not of The People) have caused further damage and destabilization. As the enclosed documents show, we have used innuendo, intrigue, and covert assassination with the utmost finesse and care.

With a weakened government and society, we brought many of those of The People brought over to our cause into positions of power, aided by those of The People who were already among the Sea Princes. At a time when the country was in disarray, we were the lone source of stability, of hope.

Fools.

With the Scarlet Sign now the power behind the Sea Princes, we have been slowly but surely changing the laws of the land to favor The People, with those dogs that do not belong to the Most Favored of Races losing their place in society. The basic structure remains, and most of those not of The People can still move freely (thus creating the illusion of freedom), but it is the Most Favored of Races that wields all true power.

Our government has already re-established relations with other realms since the ending of those conflicts collectively known as the Greyhawk Wars, and trade has resumed, with visitors putting in at Monmurg and Port Toli. We make rich profits off the exporting of slaves (including those not of The People who pose too much of a threat to our reign, and those of our Fodder who are out of line), and send you this wealth along with our wishes and prayers.

I regret to announce that not is all well, however. Slave riots and rebellions have spread in the western part of the Hold, stirred up (I suspect) by either the Black Brotherhood, they who worship the Dark Lord, or by the leaders among the Olman slaves. The Olman are also enemies of our Fodder, and this does not help matters. Of concern is also an underground movement made up of nobles of the old regime, middle-class folk and even emancipated slaves, worshippers of the god Kelanen in the “Fraternity of the Brazen Blade”. I hasten to assure My Great Father that we are working to root out these threats, and expect to have them under control soon.

There is but one place where I would request My Great Father’s assistance. The forces of the Throne of the Lion in Keoland have invaded the city of Westkeep, ostensibly to re-capture the lands that once belonged to them. Military incompetence on the part of the Keoish, and disease and low morale at Westkeep, reassure us, but we would be most gratified if My Great Father would send agents to weaken or destroy the invading forces of Keoland.

To the Memory of the Lost Imperium,

I am, in the year 6105 SD,

Elder Brother Hammandaturian of the Hold of the Sea Princes.


Zan glanced over this letter, his eyes glowing a dull violet. His long, sinuous, bone-white hand put it aside, as he took a draw on his hookah. The mists and dusts of mushroom and poppy swirled through his mind as he considered, he planned, he wondered. He then picked up the next report. His eyes narrowed as he read it.

Most Holy Father of Obedience:

I write this to inform you of what has been going on these past few years since those conflicts known as the Greyhawk Wars. As you know, our invasions of the lands of Idee, Irongate and Onnwal were unsuccessful, our Fodder causing widespread havoc and damage, while at the same time our agents began to insinuate themselves.

The greatest change is that the name of the Scarlet Sign is now known, at least to some extent. Greater awareness has been spread about us, forcing us to go further underground. However, My Great Father need not worry himself overmuch for the time being about this; the name of the Scarlet Brotherhood is always accompanied with wild rumors and stories, all of which contradict each other constantly. Many people associate us with the Aerdi, with other evil wizards, with humanoids, as being agents of the Fodder, and so forth. This can, as you know, be properly twisted to our advantage with the innuendo and intrigue that is our hallmark.

My Great Father can rest assured that our true purpose is not yet known, and we are not yet “out in the open”, so to speak. We continue to operate in secret, but we must of course beware of those who might fear conspiracies and wish to investigate the whispered rumors. We are taking preparations to deal with any such interlopers, as you know.

I regret to inform My Great Father, however, that progress is slow going. Idee is now a province of the Great Kingdom, while Onnwal and Irongate are now very suspicious of outsiders. Our methods of insinuating members of the Most Favored of Races into important positions has become far more difficult than I originally anticipated. As such, I am contemplating working with the Despot Turrosh Mak, the orcish mongrel of the Pomarj, to invade Onnwal and distract the efforts of the country so that we may strike at the proper moment. I eagerly ask for My Great Father’s advice on this matter.

To the Memory of the Lost Imperium,

I am, in the year 6105 SD,

Exalted Sister Kuranyie of Idee, Onnwal and Irongate.


Zan scowled as he read these grim tidings. He could not tolerate loss, as he could barely tolerate failure. He was quite aware of Kuranyie’s past successes, which had gotten her promoted to her current rank. And she, of course, knew the horrific fate that awaited those that displeased him in these matters. As if to reinforce the point, both to himself and anyone else who might question, he slammed his fist into the wall…grinning at the deep cracks it left behind.

Most Holy Father of Obedience:

As you know, the Lordship of the Isles has wholly come over to our worthy cause, being already populated in the main by The People. The hunger for power, wealth and revenge that drives so many citizens of the Isles make them amenable and eager to restore the Lost Imperium and the heritage that is rightfully theirs.

There has been no violence or covert assassination here. Why should there be? We do not aim to destroy other lands, only to make them into just and Proper Realms for The People. That the Isles are already populated mainly by the Most Favored of Races has immensely simplified our task. Those who join us will not suffer, but share in our wealth and prosperity!

There is little else that needs to be done in this quarter. As The People already dominate the laws and society of this country, we need do little more but ensure that those who are not of the Most Favored of Races know their places and stay where they belong. They are the second class of citizens, and all power and position belong to the People. That is the way it is, and the way it will always be.

To the Memory of the Lost Imperium,

I am, in the year 6105 SD,

Great Nephew Sandrestal of the Lordship of the Isles.


Little resistance was needed for them, Zan knew. The people of the Lordship were well in line with his own beliefs, they knew the same sense of loss, what could be regained, what destiny would grant them if they worked hard enough. Unfortunately, not all of The People knew how it must be. With that in mind, he recalled the last letters he had received from the north. It was a pity that news traveled so slowly from that area…

Most Holy Father of Obedience,

The Traitor-King has been punished! King Lolgoff Bearhair, nephew of Traitor-King Cralstag of old, has been deceived into preparing for a false attack from the barbarians of Snow and Frost, which of course never came. The barbarians struck to the south, while the crude and wild men of the Fists (some of whom are of the Most Favored of Races) struck at the lands known as the Taival Tundra, slaughtering the barbarians that lived there, and claiming the whole for the Hold of Stonefist.

Lolgoff struck at the barbarians of Snow, angering them and turning even the Ice King’s own people against him. The barbarians of Ice are notoriously independent, and still not within our grasp, but they are growing distrustful of their kin of Frost. We have found many willing ears among the barbarians of Frost, many of whom are upset by the “modern” actions of their foolish king. Even some of the older, traditional jarls are proving receptive to our words.

As we gain ground among the men of Frost, we are now speaking with the men of Snow. Their new king, one Ingemar Hartensen, is considerably more open and willing to speak with us than his mad father Orvung. Whether or not he accepts us is still open to conjecture, but I believe we are, slowly but surely, winning him over. The glory first sought by his father Orvung is also, I believe, something he wants for himself, beginning first by conquest of the barbarians of Frost and Ice, and then the lands of those not of The People.

We continue to work and intrigue, turning the men of Frost to our cause, and the men of Ice against their king. There are different ways in which we may intrigue: we may turn the men of Frost against their king, or encourage the Frost realm’s downfall by encouraging its king against the king of Snow; we may encourage the ambitions of the king of Snow, or stir up his anger against the men of Ice; we may lull King Lolgoff into a false sense of security, or strike him down immediately, perhaps framing another barbarian lord or king for the deed. The advice and counsel of My Great Father is solicited and encouraged.

My work thus continues. I apologize to My Great Father for this dispatch to have taken so long to reach him, but the ocean currents and tides make travel in this part of the world very slow.

To the Memory of the Lost Imperium,

I am, in the year 6101 SD,

High Uncle Myrenodor, in the Thillonrian Peninsula.


So it was written, so it was done. Zan was all too aware of that. He knew also that the Brotherhood under his control was rife with tensions and conflict: ambitious young sharks sought to rise in the ranks; different groups sought his favor; family feuds, religious quarrels, and personal vendettas put a number of agents of the Brotherhood at each other’s throats; schemes and plots could be defeated; and the Black Brotherhood, that society that worshipped the Dark Lord, Dread Tharizdun, infected the Scarlet Sign like a cancer.

Zan stretched his impossibly thin, long limbs and gazed into the fire for a long while. He then shook his head and closed his eyes. The god Lendor had made him immune to the ravages of time, but he still had to sleep. He hated to do so, however. Sleep only brought nightmares, for thousands of nights. Taking a last draw on his hookah, he made for his bedchambers, but slowly, as the images flashed through his head once again.

...Burning fire, coming from the sky, destroying all it touched…

…A young man with purple eyes and long arms, screaming as he held the bodies of his wife and son…

…A birthright, existing for thousands of years, gone in but a single horrific night, the rise and fall of hubris defined…

…A man in white, totally of white, soiled both inside and outside with blood as the ritual upon the hated enemy was Invoked…

…The endless years of training, of meditation, of gathering The People, the strain of ages pressing on the man…

…Consorting with the darkness to bring back the light, a grim irony that led to foul deeds of murder and violence…

…Now preparing to enslave millions of those unworthy creatures as the ancestors had done, as was the royal birthright…

…All fell on the shoulders of a man who woke up from the storm of fire with nothing, his world literally reduced to ash, as far as he could see…


"
 
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Re: The Scarlet Brotherhood (Score: 1)
by Argon on Mon, July 18, 2005
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Anytime you take something that has been written before it is very hard to make it your own. I think you did a great job explaining how the Brotherhood works without changing anything that has been done before.



Re: The Scarlet Brotherhood (Score: 1)
by Tzelios on Mon, July 18, 2005
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Good job!

We also have Brother Scarlator's report on the Supreme Enemy of Orders;)




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