Archived weekly news from around Clare.
The top news in the city this week is definitely of a large green creature with horns calling itself “Grettid” bursting out of the task force headquarters and bulldozing a small trail to the outskirts of the city. There is quite a bit of concern among citizens about what’s going on inside the task force lab, but those concerns are somewhat assuaged by the later news that an expedition of task force agents tracked down and defeated the creature in the foothills of the Fulcrum Mountains, and that there were no serious injuries as a result of the incident.
The other big news is of rare appearances by non-human creatures in the city that match some of the legends of elementals from before the Sealing. Humanoid creatures dressed in blue with a marking on the forehead, some with pointed ears, and red creatures that alarmingly match the “demons” of Maddonite teachings. The Maddonite Church quickly published pamphlets urging citizens to reject and avoid interacting with these red beings.
Later in the week further news comes from the foothills of oversized mutated animals roaming the area, and increased bandit activity, though the reason for these things isn’t known.
The main news this week isn’t as widespread, but a short communique is distributed among task force agents by the Council to keep everyone up to date with some recent events.
Attention All Agents:
The previous task force, aka the 23rd Paranormal, strode into the task force HQ, summoned an unidentified Order elemental and walked out again with little resistance. News was then delivered that the 23rd have gone to ground in order to prepare for something big in the next week. Be alert for any indication what that might be.
- Representative Arturo
In other news, a powerful Destruction elemental calling itself Drenth has been sighted stalking the streets of Clare. The origin of this elemental and its aims are both unclear, but it has seriously injured several citizens. What is known however is that this elemental did *not* originate at the task force headquarters like the previous rogue elemental, Grettid.
Finally, House de Lumiere is reporting it is near success with experiments grafting elemental material in to humans to grant them new abilities. This news has been met with some concern by regular citizens, given the mistrust in many circles of the elementally touched.
The Watch has published some information about the elemental Drenth, that apparently it invariably announces its presence by whistling. Armed with this news citizens have been better able to avoid the elemental and its appearances have drastically lowered, but many are now jumping at every whistle of the wind. The more pessimistic say that fostering an atmosphere of fear and paranoia is giving the elemental exactly what it wants.
Other elemental-related news is that a short compendium of elemental names has been published, noting some as safe or unsafe to summon. One named Fantasia has been declared safe(r) to summon, while Grettid and Drenth have (unsurprisingly given their history) been declared unsafe. In any case, advice to all would-be summoners has been given to use a warded circle, one of which apparently exists in the task force lab.
A rumour spreads of bodies being dragged out of the task force lab last Friday and dumped in ditches in nearby streets. A short Watch investigation however concluded that all of them were known or heavily suspected of banditry in the local area. Some citizens have raised concerns about the task force agents dispensing summary justice instead of summoning a magistrate, but Council representatives published a short statement that enforcing security within the lab during meetings is absolutely within the task force’s remit and that they have the Council’s full support.
House de Lumiere publicly apologised for the violence perpetrated by some of their late stage grafting test subjects that escaped last week and have requested assistance apprehending them. Questions have been raised as to what the heck is going on with the Lumiere grafting program, but Lumiere have been tight-lipped in response.
Finally, joining the few blue humanoids and red demons wandering the city, some green and white lesser elementals have been seen. The green appear to be very interested in human activity, while the white have so far only been seen observing silently.
The news this week is mostly about the task force itself!
After investigation in to the summoning of the elemental Drenth, the task force has made its first “arrest”, turning a local Supremist activist in to the Watch for the deliberate summoning of a dangerous elemental and attempting to frame a local Deirdrist group for it. This has sparked off a bit of a legal discussion over what exactly he’s guilty of though.
More sensationally, the task force mounted several armed raids on two buildings in the city, one supposedly abandoned warehouse that apparently contained a shadowy outlaw group called the "23rd Paranormal", and the second an active Asura Cabal research facility. After apparently causing much violence in both buildings, the small group of agents exited the Asura facility and were immediately arrested by the Watch. They were then quickly released again after confirming they were on official business. Asura Cabal have stated they are waiting to make a statement on the subject until after following up with the task force agents this Friday.
In other news House de Lumiere have apparently recovered their test subjects, partly with the assistance of task force agents. Reports are that the test subjects had signed contracts agreeing to a period of experimentation. Such arrangements are not unheard of in Venucci, but those who identify more with Enclave culture are decidedly unhappy with what they see as exploitation of those down on their luck.
Insiders are saying that House Gabrielli have been more active recently and seem to be gaining influence in the city, for reasons unknown. Rumour has it smuggling operations have expanded and businesses in more quarters of the city are being approached for “protection” payments. The Watch are none-too-pleased at these developments, and House Avanti are said to be minorly concerned that the reduction in trade taxes will start hitting their bottom line if the trend continues, but the impact on regular citizens has been minimal.
Two big pieces of legal news this week. The first is the news of the vigilante justice delivered in the task force headquarters to the local Supremist personality Sven. He admitted summoning the elemental Drenth who’s been terrorising the city, in order to discredit the city’s Deirdrists. In the absence of any laws to convict him, he was taken to the task force headquarters by persons unknown (with Watch insider involvement suspected) and was summarily executed for his deeds by task force agents. The Watch have expressed their disappointment with the agents’ unwillingness to work within the law, but it seems unlikely that many in the city will be shedding any tears over the death of this particular individual.
The second news is that immediately after this, Magistrates visited the task force headquarters and consulted agents, as the foremost experts on elementals and summoning in the city, on new laws to be passed to deal with reckless and criminal summoners. The decision, made with wide support, was that summoners are responsible for any crimes committed by elementals they summon. This new law has been put on the books effective immediately. Legal pundits have been quick to point out this doesn’t directly affect the task force agents that coined the law, since they’re immune to prosecution, but it will likely still shape public opinion should any elementals summoned by the task force escape and cause trouble.
On the subject of Drenth, details are sparse but rumour has it the task force are gearing up to deal with the elemental, though how is a mystery to regular citizens.
Finally, Asura Cabal have released a statement thanking the task force for their intervention last week. “Rogue forces opposed to the Council and city had infiltrated our facility, and we invited the task force to assist us clearing them out. They did so with skill, professionalism and, we trust, discretion.”
The big news in Clare is that Drenth is dead! Or, well, discorporated? Whatever, it’s gone, and rumour has it some experimental thaumaturgy was done to make sure it can’t come back, though details are scarce. The name Brand Alyson is being spoken as the main architect of Drenth's demise, though he had assistance from others in the task force.
The other big news is that House de Lumiere published a statement damning Asura Cabal for losing control of one of its research facilities to a rogue group called the “23rd Paranormal” and nearly causing catastrophe. Contradicting Asura’s version of events that the Clare task force was invited to the facility to regain control. Lumiere have stated that Asura were completely duped, and the task force in fact prevented disaster *despite* their efforts, rather than with their assistance. The statement is met with some scepticism given the source, but some Watch members have corroborated several parts of the story, lending it a lot of credence.
A group calling itself the “Order of the Balanced Blade” has rather abruptly sprung into existence. They claim they are tired of the task force flouting the law and that if the Watch are prevented from holding them to account, the Balanced Blade will…
In less urgent news, there has been disruption to trade caravans in and out of Clare. This has had the immediate effect of making rare goods harder to find in the city. It has also had knock-on effects on the already beleaguered House Avanti, who are now reported as having serious income problems due to this and continued pressure from House Gabrielli on their economic interests.
The source of the recent trade disruptions has been tracked down to a nearby group of Destruction Deirdrists, who were apparently kidnapping traders from caravans to “subject them to adversity to make them better” in, apparently, a small wooden, but otherwise fully functional, Colosseum… An investigation by the Clare task force in to the goings-on, precipitated by rumours of elementally-mutated animals, led to them shutting down the operation apparently very emphatically. Some local Deirdrists have described their actions as “heavy-handed” , stressing that those running the colosseum had made sure no one suffered permanent injuries, but most citizens are unsympathetic and enjoying the resurgence of trade.
The task force is also rumoured to have undertaken a successful expedition to some local ruins. The same ruins they went to in their first official outing 6 weeks ago in fact. Apparently there were setbacks, but the expedition made the area safe and excavation started in earnest, and several finds are expected to be presented to the representatives who went to the ruins at the next meeting.
Asura Cabal has suffered a further public relations setback as a slew of testimonies supporting House de Lumiere’s accusations were circulated around Clare. Meanwhile House de Lumiere’s star appears to be rising meteorically, as their alchemy programme is reporting advances in leaps and bounds to match their already quite successful grafting programme.
In more private news, all agents receive an unofficial communique from representatives of House Gabrielli:
Greetings task force agents. Your friends in House Gabrielli would like to ensure that all of you are aware of opportunities we’ve uncovered against the 23rd Paranormal. A combat mission will be available, targeting a 23rd camp that is rumoured to have their martial Captain present. Meanwhile those of a more diplomatic or stealthy disposition have an opportunity to head off a rumoured assassination attempt led by Captain Dermoux. A masked ball may be involved, so you may want to bring appropriate headwear if available.
Task force agents mounted multiple expeditions to target the officers of the rogue paramilitary unit known as the 23rd Paranormal, foiling an attempt to kill a Ferros Cabal Councillor and killing two Captains of the 23rd in the field. The remaining 23rd Captain Grant then led an all out attack on the task force headquarters with intent to kill all agents. Grant was killed, but rumour has it not without cost among the task force.
It seems with the demise of all of their top ranking officers the 23rd have been abruptly defeated - without commanders the rest of the unit have become directionless slaves. At the insistence of the Council, the task force was asked to choose a major faction for them to be assigned to, or put them to death. The task force chose to assign the 23rd to House de Lumiere to do with as they please. Councillor Maria de Lumiere is reputedly delighted.
Things now seem to have quieted down for a while and the factions in Clare are taking some time to consolidate their positions. Rumour has it there may be a shift in the makeup of the Council over the coming weeks to reflect that the balance of power between the factions has shifted dramatically recently.
Finally, House de Lumiere has published a short compendium of recent scientific advances in the hope of encouraging citizens to embrace the new wonders of alchemy and grafting that are available. Local religious groups have also circulated a list of known elementals, though whether it’s to encourage you to talk to them or avoid them depends who you ask.
The major news is that after a long closed session the Council have decided to recognise the relatively rapid shifts in power in the city recently, and reapportioned Council seats. House Avanti lost some influence and were reduced to two seats, and in a major upset Asura Cabal lost their only seat, completely ejecting them from the Council. House Gabrielli and House de Lumiere both gained a seat, the latter undoubtedly rubbing salt in the wound for Asura. This is the first time a group has entirely left the Council since the Maddonite Church lost their seat decades ago, and many in the city are waiting with trepidation to see how this affects the city’s direction and what Asura will do from here.
Some agents expressed interest in learning of the public perception of the task force’s recent actions. People are fairly indifferent to the task force’s decision to award the remains of the 23rd to House de Lumiere. The public are still largely in the dark about the nature of the 23rd, but they were described as a rogue group who were a threat to the city so are mildly approving of the task force taking them down. The Council are impressed by the task force’s competence but have decided it is adequately resourced right now so funding shall remain the same.
Rumour has it that there was an extended debate in the Council chambers this week to do with a conflict between a religious group called the Witnesses of the End and the Maddonite Church. It appears a resolution was approved by the Council but, unusually, no details have been released what that resolution is. What is clear is that neither the Witnesses of the End nor the Maddonites got what they wanted.
A new group called the Guardian Hunters of Clare is making a splash in the city. They espouse the benefits of training to hunt and guard against the new threats to the city caused by the "Unsealing". Ferros Cabal are said to approve of the group, and the Guardians' numbers have swelled comparatively suddenly this week.
There’s been a lot of chatter among socialites about a certain rising star in the city of the name Stefano de Lumiere. A relatively new member of House de Lumiere, Stefano was apparently a major contributor to their recent meteoric rise, and conversely of Asura Cabal’s recent fall.
The law the Council agreed on in principle last week has been written and passed. Inciting a non-human to commit a crime is now itself a crime. Time will tell whether this has the desired effect of curtailing criminal activities involving mutated animals and elementals.
The arrested bandit leader Gregory has had a stay of execution, the Magistrate citing new eyewitness evidence possibly leading to a lessening of the sentence. The final sentence is set to be decided this Friday.
The city has been particularly abuzz with rumours this week. The first is that when the Council voted on what to do about the Witnesses of the End, only House de Lumiere was willing to take action, while the other Councillors refused to take a side on the contentious issue. Furthermore, Ferros were particularly quick to change their position to one of abstention. Finally, rumour has it bodies are going missing in the city, but information is otherwise scarce on the issue.
The Guardian Hunters of Clare, backed by Ferros Cabal, take up a new and slightly controversial role in the city, inspecting goods shipments and weeding out fake magical baubles. At the same time House Avanti announce a surge in trade with the Republics and Enclaves, resulting in more reagents coming in to the city. The upshot of these things is that white, blue, red and green reagents are now much more plentiful than before and can be bought freely on the open market for 2 Ducatto, with both Ferros and Avanti taking the credit.
The missing bodies have rather spectacularly turned up, seen shambling around. This is remarkably surprising, but no one’s entirely sure what to do about them. On the bright side they don’t seem to be hurting anyone, or indeed doing anything in particular except poking things and asking very short questions.
The Watch have announced a large seizure of evidence personally implicating Councillor Salvador Gabrielli in various criminal activities. The evidence was mainly for crimes in which Gabrielli involvement was suspected, but could never be proven until now. The seizure is credited to Watch Captain Adrian, who claimed it was the fruit of a closer partnership between the Watch and Ferros.
In other crime-related news, a group of chaos deirdrists have been responsible for a recent wave of chaotic activities. Not all of them strictly illegal, but some definitely are. No arrests have yet been made.
A quite strong looking red elemental was seen leaving the task force HQ this week, calling itself Kal’ad. When questioned by passers by it would mainly say something along the lines of “It’s goooood to be back!”. It reputedly made a bee line for the Maddonite Church and made a point of obviously sitting outside it waving to people going in and out as a crowd of Maddonites gathered around it preaching about ignoring it and to pay it no heed. And also don’t get too close because it keeps scratching. Can demons have fleas?
Meanwhile the task force made a statement saying that the recent chaotic activities of some Deirdrists were sanctioned and encouraged by the task force and were done in the interests of Clare.
All in all the populace are wondering if the task force have taken a pro-Chaos (or pro-Demon as the Maddonites put it) stance.
In unrelated news House Gabrielli have gone on a charm offensive in response to the recent accusations against Councillor Salvador Gabrielli. They claim they’re as shocked as the rest of Clare at the actions of their Councillor, and that they will categorically prove Salvador’s corruption was the work of an individual and not the House as a whole over the next two weeks.
There’s a great deal of dissatisfaction this week with Ferros Cabal. It seems the prospect of them getting a third Council seat has triggered some reactionary feeling among the citizens of Clare, who are suddenly talking about the good old days when Avanti were on top and how Ferros will ruin everything. They note that Avanti are also responsible for the influx of trade goods and reagents recently. Indeed, some are even whispering that Ferros’ closed border policies and militarisation might end up being outright harmful for Clare if they receive another seat.
Meanwhile, people talk about how Avanti should get that seat instead. Of course, Avanti are capitalising on this string of good will from the people of Clare and issue a statement that for reasons that they think some members of the task force will understand, all members of the task force will be able to benefit from Avanti’s new power in Clare. They are officially justifying this by speaking of how, as the sealing unravels, the task force will require more funding if they are to be properly equipped to deal with it.
Through the city, people also talk of how the Asura Cabal are somehow involved with the phenomenon of dead bodies rising once more to walk again. Some say that Asura are working with these ‘shamblers’ while others say that they are directly responsible for them. Asura are quietly denying these claims, but, they are not really large enough to have their voice heard anymore. It doesn’t help their case that the shamblers have been witnessed in the streets, performing rituals… or at least trying to. The shamblers have so far failed in every ritual they have attempted according to eye witnesses. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t getting really worried about this phenomenon where corpses walk again and are now attempting thaumaturgy.
There are several big news stories this week, all coming rapidly one after another.
First, in an announcement that shocked few, the Magistrates announced that the evidence collected against Salvador Gabrielli over the last three weeks is incontrovertible, and that furthermore the remainder of House Gabrielli is clearly also implicated in the crimes. Salvador has been relieved of his Council seat and in a unanimous decision of the remaining Council members House Gabrielli have lost the seat entirely. After much negotiation behind closed doors the Council decided to recognise House Avanti’s recent resurgence and were awarded the seat in their place, returning them to three seats, reputedly to Ferros Cabal’s chagrin.
The second big news is that the task force entered a warehouse in Clare and cleared out a large number of Descending Chain that were using it and recovered a magical artefact of some sort. The Descending Chain were considered by many to be a Bit Weird even by cult standards, so this hasn’t caused much consternation in the city. The Descending Chain have been driven underground by this setback but are reputedly still active.
The chaos elemental Kal’ad has been wandering around the city unchecked for several weeks now and is developing something of a following. While it’s not known how explicitly he’s espousing the view, it seems his followers are on a rather anarchistic track, questioning whether the structure of Clare is right for them, or even necessary at all.
It’s not known how much this is related, but the huge news that happens late in the week is that Watch Commander Adrian abruptly quit the Watch and his campaign for a Council seat, declaring the Clare Council corrupt and that it should be replaced by a more representative Republic of Clare. It seems a large number of Watch members may have been swayed to this cause. It’s not known yet what will come of this recent development.
Meanwhile there’s a comparatively minor but increasing controversy over the effects of recreational alchemicals. Supremists claim they have proof that overuse of alchemicals causes small elemental alterations to the human soul. Adherents of recreational alchemical use scoff at the claims, the Deirdrists among them noting that even if this were the case there’s no evidence this is a *bad* thing to happen to someone.
The walking corpses, after several weeks of unsettling the residents of Clare, have finally become to reveal some details of who they are. The bodies have begun waylaying citizens to explain that they have come from somewhere beyond the elemental realm. They explain that they supposedly have a “larger” soul than humans, but have benevolent intentions, offering to protect humanity from elementals. People are strongly divided on whether these statements are true and what it means if they are.
Meanwhile, the rogue watch members, now calling themselves the “Adrianic Republic” are rumoured to have joined forces with some Chaos Deirdrists and followers of Kal'ad who support their goal of dismantling the Council. Although accusation of treason have been made, besides dereliction of duty involved in leaving the watch, the group has yet to do anything beyond stating a political opinion.
In less dramatic news:
House de Lumiere’s Penal Servitude Test Subject Program is being considered a resounding success. The criminals involved are satisfied with their treatment and with continuing the program. In fact, the program seems to be even more successful than other penal service programs by this measure- traditionally, those involved are, at best, grudgingly accepting of their duties. Not only that, but those in the program say that they will continue to work with House de Lumiere when their sentence is complete. As the House are willing to continue their employment, this suggests a reduction in reoffending rates compared to traditional schemes.
It seems reagents, of all kinds, are becoming more common allowing them to be purchased for Ducatto for the first time.
Shocking news this week is that ex-Watch Commander Adrian, leader of the “Adrianic Republic” movement, was killed - supposedly for sedition - in the Task Force Headquarters by Stefano De Lumiere, a member of the Task Force. This has sparked great upheaval in Clare’s political sphere. Apparently Adrianic Republic spokespeople said this would happen, and are promoting Adrian as a martyr. This has caused a backfire which has led to greatly increased sympathy for their cause and reduced opinion of the Task Force and Council. The event has also reopened debates on whether the Task Force are abusing their above the law status.
House Lumiere has also had an eventful week- Councillor Maria de Lumiere has received criticism for her inaction on the walking corpses, especially when contrasted with the action taken by Stefano de Lumiere. Members of the House are divided between those who support the previously well-respected and long-standing Councillor and those who support the more proactive new member. The House’s increase in power and influence has stalled due to infighting.
Perhaps due to this upheaval, there is also discussion of House Gabrielli and how, despite their links to crime, they may be necessary to deal with threats like walking corpses and cults that operate in the shadows.
Outside of politics, there was also news of a large gathering of Order elementals just outside of the city. Order Deirdrists who attended say the event was the trial and deposing of the elemental Fantasia.
In international news, some ruins near Bastion, thought to have been called Trier, have been confirmed to be the site of the Sealing and declared safe to visit. Tourists and pilgrims have begun visiting the site. Enclave authorities have been slow to move on the news and rumour has it several valuables may have been removed by visitors.
The small news this week - the favourable reagent deal organised by House Avanti has come to an end after pressure from traders. Apparently vicious rumours about the task force being “bad customers” who “don’t pay their debts” spread among the traders, leading to the move.
In much bigger news, the task force assaulted a gathering of Supremists, successfully disrupting some working of magic. The number of fatalities was very low compared to other recent task force actions, with most bodies identified by the Watch as the “shambling corpses” rather than citizens.
Also big news is the presence of many more elementals in the city, including several who could previously only be summoned making appearances seemingly where they like. Some Deirdrists are ecstatic, but others whisper in fear at the idea of another such as Drenth coming into the world, and worse, being able to literally appear and disappear at will.
The most dramatic news is that of the dreams experienced by the people of Clare, and by all accounts, the entire world. Two dreams are described, the first a dream of Maddon heroically defending the world from creatures of darkness with the help of other mortals and the legendary elemental Jittal.
The second dream is of the world being laid waste by elementals, until shining beings from beyond the stars come to protect us, their power stopping the elementals in their tracks and saving humanity.
Maddonites especially are inspired by the first dream. The Maddonite Church of Clare spreads the news that this is a true account discovered by the task force of Clare, and Maddonites over the world have turned to Clare for direction as their beliefs are turned on their head. The Witnesses of the End are particularly fervent converts, putting aside their former beliefs overnight and returning to the Church.
Those who are inspired by the second dream are quieter. It’s not known how many have been swayed by it, but it seems to have been particularly appealing to Supremists and those who fear elementals.
The Guardian Hunters, with support from Ferros Cabal, continue to be a presence in the city, steadying the populace slightly. Martial training sessions offered by Ferros and the Guardian Hunters have become very popular in these tumultuous times.