Sunday, 6 March 2016

Sneak peak at the Zhaan issue

For those of you who just can't wait to see what's in the next issue here's a little taste.
Some background of the Limrust family as teased by the Stroh Branoch city map.
Of course you'll have to wait until the issue to come out to find out what really happened to the Limrust family.
Note: This bit hasn't been through the editors yet so it's riddled with typos, enjoy!

The history of the limrust family

In the heaving, churning mass of Stroh-Branoch, life is a whirl of activity, struggle and tension.
Center of the great Mining operations of the east and west Scarp all come together in Stroh Branoch to trade, live, and often die.
Ore flows into the city in the form of half refined Iron Blooms. Here is where the majority of Iron in all the world of Kartharka is bought, sold and traded.
Iron, rarer than gold, but so much more useful, is what brings all these people to the city.
But it also brings another prescence, The Empire!
More than anywhere else in the Winterlands the Emperor’s power is visible here in Stroh Branoch.
The Black caravans, with their armoured coaches and teams of horses charges through the roads in the neverending shipments of Iron from the Winterlands South.
The huge Imperial refineries belching smoke and ash, the Imperial Miners halls, desperate souless places full of the lost and the hopeless.
The endless Imperial checkpoints searching for Platinum and taking the Emperors price in Iron.
It is Iron which pays for the Winterlanders freedom from the Imperial Overlords slavers, Iron pays for the food which the Empire brings from the South without which the people of the Winterlands would starve within weeks.
The Empire demands It’s tax, one half of all Iron  refined in the Winterlands is the Emperors.
The Empires agents swarm across the Winterlands to be sure that they get it.
Checkpoints, raids, audits and seizures are all a common daily occurrence.
In return food and supplies of the South pour into the Winterlands by the Benevolent hand of the Empire.
The Targ maintain this balance. Keep imperial interference to a minimum, conttrolling mining law and distributing southern supplies  to ensure the entire country receives an equal share of goods.
But even with the steadying hand of the Targ tension runs high in Stroh Branoch when the empire shows it’s power.

Limrust arrive in Stroh Branoch

There is one story that is told again and again in the city of Stroh Branoch, a story of the power of the Empire even in the free lands of the North.
Two hundred years ago Helmar Limrust arrived in Stroh-Branoch.
Hailing from somewhere beyond the Garmach pass little is known of his life before coming to the City.
It is know that his people worshipped the Stone Brother of eastern lands instead of the Wolf Brother more known in the Valley of Fangs.
He built himself a shack, as many newcomers do, in the outskirts of the city. He left his sons and wife to guard his home and set out into the wild to search his fortune carrying nothing but his great copper pickaxe accompanied only by his wild takket sled team.
2 moons came and went as the limrust family waited, ekeing a meager living hauling rubbish and clearing roads as many do who have no other option.
In the rising sun of the morning Helmar returned to Stroh Branoch. Gone were his Takkets, his pickaxe, his right hand and Left eye. Behind him a drag sled with one small sack, stained red with blood.
Helmar walked the streets his eyes fixed on the Imperial Essay office. None saw what happened inside but when he emerged it was with two imperial soldiers dragging a sledge full of fine imperial Steel longshanks.
Platinum! Helmar had found it somewhere in the wilds, a hoard of platinum jewelery, enough to earn him a house and a comfortable life  for his family.
But he chose instead something grander.
He deposited his steel with the moneychangers, set his sons to building a large wooden longhouse and set out again.

Begin Mining

Helmar  leadings a team of Takkets and ten of the best free miners the city can offer.
Two more moons rise and fall as the longhouse nears completion.
And again Helmar returns, leading his team of Takkets burdened with some of the finest Iron ore and blooms to ever enter the city.
His men however do not return with him. A sudden collapse, an attack by bandits, their fate is unknown to this day as Helmar never tells what happened on the road.
But he stakes his claim to what turns out to be one of the richest mines of the Winterlands on that very day. More baffling to the miners of the city it lies only two days travel from the city.

Choose to begin refining them selves, very small

Although Helmar returned from that trip with many high quality Iron Blooms he also returned with a great deal of quality Iron Ore. Far better than most seen in the city.
Bringing it both the the imperial Essay office and the Winterlands essay office he was offered the standard price for ore. Insulted he took the ore back to his longhouse and decided to continue refining it himself.
The long house continued to grow as more more stonebrothers arrived in Stroh Branoch.
Helmar begin buying ore from the miners himself, often for a higher price than the imperial essay office would pay.
Soon the growing longhouse became too small.

The limrust empirt begins

The beginning of the great Limrust family empire is marked by the building of the three great buiidings. The Limrust family mansion, the Grand Refinery and the Limrust family tomb.
All three buildings were built by imprted Autumnlander engineers, great square stone structures rising up in defiance of the Empire.
The Grand Refinery was the greatest of them all. Topped by a cluster of giant windmills, a thing unknown in a country where no wheat is grown or ground.

The limrust mines

After the Grand Refinery was built Helmar began buying mines close to Stroh Branoch, mines supposedly empty of any usuable ore, but Helmar continued to carry this supposedly useless ore back to the refinery, and Iron continued to flow out it’s doors.

The limrust refinery complex

Soon the Limrust Refinery was rivaling that of the Empire. To those keeping a close eye on the Refinery, there seemed to be far more Iron leaving the Refinery than the ore entering it could possibly produce.
Imperial law  demanded at the time that one half of all ore or half of the Iron refined from it must be turned over. But it seemed that the Limrust refinery was turning out more Iron than the remaining ore could produce. Rumours started to spreak of Helmar smuggling ore into the refinery without declaring it to the Empire. This angered not only the Empire but other Winterlanders who were following the laws.

Trouble brewing, platinum smuggling

As the LImrust empire grew, more and more rumours began to spread. Helmar was sneaking undeclared ore into the refinery.
Helmar was a Sorcerer, using his infernal powers to summon creatures to refine his ore with demonic magic.
Helmar was smuggling platinum and selling it to mysterious buyer in the Autumnlands.
Helmar had sacrificed his eye and hand to dark gods in return for mysterious powers and dark knowledge.

The mysterious end of the Lirust family

One dark and moonless night, the end came to the LImrust family.
None know exactly what occurred. The empires horse were heard on the streets.
There was a great outcry from the refinery, and then silence.
In the morning the citizens of Stroh Branoch found the refinery destroyed and the family manse empty.
Stranger still the Limrust family tomb was sealed tight.
The empire declared the Limrust family had indeed been smuggling platinum. No evidence was produced but none was needed, in matters of platinum the Targ had no power over the Empire.

This grim reminder of the true power of the Empire has kept the people of Stroh-Branoch in check for centuries with any outcry against the empire followed by “Remember Helmar”

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