The newly born Builders Guild worked quickly to build Sudis. They had to beat the winter season so that the representatives would have shelter during the coldest time of the year. With only a few months to work, the guild enlisted as large a workforce as they could find so that they could be finished on time.
Renge winters could be harsh. Travel was all but impossible during the worst of it. The cold and snow made it seem unbearable on the best days while slush and mud became a nightmare during the spring thaw. Still, winter was the Renge’s season of rest and renewal and all welcomed it heartily.
Fall harvest festivals marked the grand end to the year’s season of growth and the beginning to the season of rest. Leaves began falling from the trees late in the summer, gradually changing color to herald the coming fall and winter. Just another part of the cycle of life in the Renge.
Most Renge landers looked forward to winter time. It meant a pause to most work. farmers, mages, soldiers, and merchants tended to stop traveling or working for the six cold months or until it was planting time and the spring festivals began.
But winter wasn’t restricted only to the Renge. The kingdoms of the northern continent all shared the experience, as did parts of the southern continent. There were rumors that other parts of the unknown world also enjoyed such seasons, though there was no real proof. No one had ever been beyond the coasts. No one except the pirates, and no one associated with them. Still, it was fun for the Rengelanders and their brothers to the south, eat, west, and north to dream of others enjoying snow and a time of seasonal rest from toil. It made them feel like a part of something bigger, even if the rumors weren’t true.
With few months left before winter arrived, building had to begin. They had to have the villas ready for the delegates who would be arriving shortly. Not to mention the council halls for them to meet in. the Building Guild had their work cut out for them.
Muspel was not a cohesive empire. In fact, it wasn’t an empire. It was simply the name given to the warmer lands south of the Renge by those who lived in the fertile wedge. It was actually four loosely allied kingdoms—The Saidome, The Gaelheim Fenns, The Battleshard, and Muspelheim. The Battle Shard, the northernmost kingdom, was a Gelven stronghold. Hardy warriors, the Gelves had all the height of the elves with all the wiry strength and agility of the Goblin. Battle hardened, they gave no quarter. Nor did they take any prisoners.
Sane emperors and kings avoided any conflict with them. Even the barbarians to the west remained as far away from the Battleshard as possible. As their name implied, they were a hybrid race that combined Goblins and Elves to create a new race. Their swarthy skin told of their Goblin heritage while their battle readiness was reminiscent of their elven blood. The mixture made them dangerous in peace, lethal in battle.
Below Battleshard lay the dual kingdoms of Gaelheim Fenns and The Saidome. The Fenns were ruled jointly by elves and trolls. Few wandered into the wooded lands for fear of becoming lost within the thick forests or being taken prisoner by the troll-lords. It was more a land of myth and legend that few really understood. The warriors from the Fenns were renowned for their ruthlessness and unwillingness to surrender.
The Saidome was a different story altogether. The Fire Lancers, or god slayers as they were called within the Renge, were second to none. Their spears were the things of nightmares, made of pure energy…the reason for their name. Like their brethren, they were avoided by any sane king or emperor.
Finally, at the very southern end of the region lay Muspel—a swampy, steamy, almost tropical land of monsters that wasn’t worth any attempt to raid. Muspel was the only kingdom of men south of the Renge. Mostly mages and sorcerers, few challenged the power of the kingdom for fear that their kings would be cursed.
To the west of these kingdoms lay the “wastes” where the barbarian hordes called home. Far from actual wastes, the plains and hills were dotted by small rudimentary villages that were more mobile than what was considered to be civilized. These lands had been the home of the ancestors of those who were now Masters of Orders within the Dark Ring. The Ring owed its allegiance to those who still lived on these lands.
On to the west lay the mountainous kingdom of the Roc riders and beyond them, Vaenirium—the western sea kings. These kingdoms would be the most likely targets for Kyrzhad, but he would have to go through the wastes and conquer the barbarians. If he could find them. And they were sure to make it hard for him to do so.
To the east of both the Renge and the four southern kingdoms lay the eastern wastes where creatures strange and wonderful-and even dark and deadly-roamed. East of that lay the lands of the horse lords, which heralded the nearness of the mountain domain of the dragon riders. Beyond that lay the eastern sea kingdoms, which few had ever seen…save the merchants who had wandered that far east.
Zarange’s messengers had returned from their missions and delivered the replies. She read the scrolls as they stood waiting. She smiled as she read each message. Every ally had committed to any action she would decide upon. They had also accepted the chance to be a part of Sudia’s interkingdom peace council. This meant that once the other three councils were ready, they would accept places within them as well.
She gathered together the agreed upon wage for each messenger and threw their pouch to them. Each took their pouch and left her throne room. She watched them go. It paid to have such marvelous friends.
After they were gone, she called for messengers from among her own. It was time to send word to the barbarian tribes. She only hoped that the other Orders had already contacted their own brethren. She would send messengers to the rest of the Orders just to make sure that all were alerted.
The rebellion had begun. Quiet, undetected, and strengthening, the storm was building. Zarange was at the head of it, orchestrating it and giving it life. The nobilis were living on borrowed time as was the Master of the Ring. Then the Inquisition would crumble without its two main allies.