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Zorax and the old Kings
As you become more comfortable with this strange being, you find some of the anxiety and fear within you has been replaced with questions. There is so much that you still don’t know about the final goal, the paths towards it, the rules by which the gods govern the land, the process of sending your troops off to die for your land. Plucking up some courage, you ask about the goal, and how you should go about getting there. "Let me take you somewhere else to answer that. The Hall Of Kings exists also near this void. Here those who have battled before and won are resting until they are again able to rise to the challenge of winning the race to run my old kingdom." Zorax reaches into the front his robe and pulls out a small grey pearl slung on a chain about his neck before continuing. "Me’tre and I are now the keepers of the hall, the gods send the kings here when they are removed from power, and only by entreating us and satisfying the gods are they again allowed to tread the mortal realm and attempt to once again gain the ultimate power in the kingdom. Here are all those who have gone before and completed the palace." He holds up the pearl in front of you, and you see sparks of light swirling across the surface, some green and ghostly, moving slowly, fading in and out; some red and angry, seeming to propel themselves out from the depths of the pearl and clash against its outer surface with enough force to cause the pearl to sway on the chain. Amongst these other lights, an area of absolute blackness and a number of blue specks seem to flow; as they near the red sparks, the anger seems to dissipate, at least while they are close, and the red sparks start to move more slowly, although always away from the blue specks and the area of absolute blackness. The green sparks seem to grow in intensity whenever the black area and the blue specks are near.

"These are the spirits of the former kings, each color has its own meaning. The reds have not yet been judged worthy to compete again for the crown; they still seek to destroy the world, and to succeed in their quest, they will stop at nothing. No unfair advantage is too much for them, no tactic too underhanded, no cheating too excessive. Some of these will once again be allowed to compete once they have repented, but for now, I cannot allow their evil reign again in my land." "The greens are mere shadows of the rulers who now again compete in the mortal realm. They were judged to have good souls, perhaps a little megalomaniacal" he chuckles, "but basically good, and were returned again to enable them to try once again to please the gods with their rule." "The blues are those who were content with their lot, they succeeded where many others had failed, and now this is enough for them. They watch now from here and advise others much as I am advising you now. They also keep the reds in check, stopping them from having too much influence on the mortal realm." "The area of blackness you see is Me’tre, while I am here advising you, he is tasked with keeping the reds in check and harvesting knowledge to share with others, this information is shared within the forum by former and current hopefuls. Here, the pleas for help do not go long unanswered, and the distilled knowledge of the ages is available to you. Now let us enter the hall." He holds the pearl higher on the chain and waves his free hand below it, making a motion such as one might make while unfolding a ball of bunched cloth, and again you find yourself moving as the pearl grows to engulf you both.

This time the sudden change is less unexpected, but the view of the place you are approaching still nearly knocks the breath from your body, a huge building of improbable proportions and impossible beauty, and the smooth grey sides looking like nothing more than a pearl. Even as you approach the building, you see no cracks between the parts. Even the small windows and peaked roof seem organic in their nature. The doors you are now approaching at one end of the building open as you near them, withdrawing silently back into the walls, allowing you both passage into the interior. You pass through the doors into a vast brilliant white hall, lit from above as red, green and blue lights flash past the windows high up in the walls under the arches supporting a roof on which clouds move against the stars. Huge figures line the sides of the hall, each illuminated by the colors that sweep the hall; each of the races seems to be represented here, along with many other beings whose like you have never seen before.

Looking behind you, you see that you have passed between the legs of a hideous six-tailed three-headed mythical beast whose flesh seems to hang off its partially exposed bones. As your gaze shifts towards the cloud dashed roof, you see the face of your guide Zorax towering over the other figures in the hall, as he appears to watch them. You turn to look at your guide. He seems pleased by the look of awe and respect on your face. "At the far end is Me’tre." he says. "Despite my fearsome steed and huge army, the magics of his wizards proved to be too much for my poor priests and warrior clerics, and once their protection was gone, I was banished to this place until I was able to convince the gods to let me act as a guide." As you look down the hall towards Me’tre, it strikes you that the figures seem to react strangely to the different lights cast on them through the high windows opposite, some of the figures seem to light up when the green or blue lights are on them, others react to the red light.

After your eyes have finally adjusted to the brightness of the hall, you notice a series of small plinths before each of the figures with an opaque bubble covering much of the top; each which seems to be display a dynamic scene of some description, seeing your interest Zorax gestures towards the collection by the left foreleg of his steed. As you draw closer, you see that in the center of each of the displays is Zorax himself, in the closest, he stands on a village green surrounded only by small number of men holding shields to protect their Lord from the arrows which seem to fly in from every direction, and as the displays stretch off into the distance, the sizes of the armies increase and the quaint beauty of the village transforms into the polished beauty of a vast city, but in all cases the armies seem to be holding firm against their attackers. Walking down the rows of displays, you also see the composition of the army change as more and more magical beasts join. You realize that these represent each of the battles fought while Zorax was building his kingdom.

Calling you back to the first display Zorax tells you not to get too far ahead of yourself. "While it does no harm to dream of dragons flying off to attack your foes, you must notice that there is a progression in the forces available to you, and that you will need to adopt different tactics at different points in your race towards the palace." "Did you notice that at the start, my army consisted entirely of shield bearers? I made a choice when I started that I would not try and claim the land of others simply with militia, but that I would at first defend what was mine while I trained my dwarfish axemen and women, elfish longbow-men, orcish rage elementals and swordsmen. This was no difficult choice for me, I harnessed the power of each of these races to allow me to employ them all, and it was no huge effort to wait for them to be ready before going on the offensive. You will have to decide whether this initial tactic will work for you (you are limited to only one race after all), or whether you want to save some money up to hire as many militia as you can afford to keep employed and use them to claim vast tracts of land from yourenemies." "There are those here who have done this one way, and others who have done differently, but all made it here in the end. The races chosen also determine what the tactics must be; it is very different to be a Mef or Keldis than it is to be a Dwarf or Orc. You will also have to decide for yourself if you wish to have thieves to steal your resources, or if you want to use your merchants to create your wealth." "My tactic was always to be more aggressive than my peers once I had my specialized racial warriors, even though to keep my people’s morale high to produce enough resources and building all the different racial buildings was a huge resource drain initially, it proved to be well worth the effort. Until Me’tre unseated me, I was never defeated in battle, but you will probably not be that lucky, even if you choose to join the Keldis behind their impressive walls."

"I had advantages that you will not have, my mastery of the combined races made me a formidable foe, and you must use some of your peasants to research areas of knowledge which are now lost to the average peasant since my time. You will need to consider training engineers to build walls to protect you and siege engines to topple or bypass the walls of your foes, and a navy to protect your shores from raiding parties and to raid yourself."

"Fear not though, I think it unlikely that any new king will last any longer than a month, since Me’tre’s apprentice Fire joined them, the gods are fickle. Once you have tried for the throne once, the lessons learned in that attempt will allow you to be a better competitor in the future. Now I must return you to your home to allow you to prepare your own quest for the throne, we will watch you with interest from here, and hope that you will join us here before too long."

Zorax seems to grow before your eyes until his head almost touches the roof, and as he slowly fades back into the vast figure astride the hideous beast, his eye seems to wink at you. As you feel the hall fading away, you finally hear the conflicting voices of the former kings arguing about the best solution..

"Build walls and defend yourself!"

"No, use magics to crush all who attack you!"

"No, create a vast army of militia and take much land early!"

"No, wait until you have your racial buildings and then use your specialists to crush your foes!"

"No, get on top at the beginning and stay there!"

"No, stay in the shadows, don’t draw attention to yourself!"

"No, make all who see you fear your wrath!"

"No, seek the ancient knowledge to win without exposing yourself as the best builder!"

Then suddenly, just before the hall fades to nothing, you hear a composite voice shout: "Always plan your buildings, keep advancing your technologies both civilian and military, and never stop building towards your goals. Then you can join us here!"

You awake refreshed with the thoughts of last night’s experience rushing through your head and ask yourself if you are really ready for this… Can you seize the crown? Have you got what it takes to sieze the throne?

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More guides
Basic Guide | Quick Start | Buildings | Diplomacy | Engineering | Knowledge | Materials
First 100 turns | Professions | Races | Spells | Theft | War | Long Guide
Storyline Part 1 | Storyline Part 2 | Storyline Part 3 | The Rules | Rules of War