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October 27, 2007, 3:12 am

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Cheka Man

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The Order Of The Eagles

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Prowling the wild seas of Acqua like the ravenous raiders that they are, these militant priests of Holy Jove are sworn to their sacred mission of destroying the unbelievers and infidels wherever they may be found on the open ocean.

Night has fallen rapidly over the tropical sky, and the sun has begun to diminish, slowly reducing in size until it is but a mere shadow on the horizon. With a swift nod, the captain signals to his men that all is ready. Their fingers reaching for the assorted cutlasses, sabers and daggers that they have been concealing under the voluminous folds of their clothing, they slowly lower themselves into the small flotilla of dug-outs and boats hovering around the scarred, weather beaten sides of their creaky schooner. As darkness soon blankets the balmy waters, the oarsmen begin to row their way towards the sprawling town lying across the opposite side of the estuary.

Within the span of a few moments, the first few boats in the leads have disgorged their occupants. Moving swiftly, the armed men storm the little guard-house positioned in front of the town and unleashes an arrow into the sentrys chest before the astonished men can sound the alarm.  His face still bearing an expression halfway between shock and fury, the unfortunate man expires even as his fingers make a valiant but futile effort to grab the cord of the great bronze bell that lies beside his bed-roll. With a grim smile on his face, the captain bends down and quickly removes the large key from its place on the dead man’s belt..

What takes place next is a confused blur of pandemonium and terror as the buccaneers rush to the nearest homes and drag away their slumbering occupants at cutlass point. Then the homes are ransacked as the pirates practically smash everything in their greed for plunder. Once they have satisfied themselves that everything of value has been removed, they set the pillaged dwellings alight move on to the other homes in the vicinity. Soon desperate screams are heard throughout the narrow streets, as frightened villagers that have been awakened by the numerous burning conflagrations raging all around them, attempt to flee, pursued hotly by raiders brandish their weapons with amused glee. At last, having sated their vile appetite for plunder and rapine, the pirates rejoin their captain in the humble square of the town. Huddled before him, are the trembling residents.

It is then that one of the raiders begins to address his captives. Dressed in the incongruous neatly starched white cassock of a Jovian priest, he would present a somewhat ridiculous contrast to the cut-throat pirates gathered around him., were it not for the hideous helm that crowns his head. Large and intricately forged, it resembles the head of a giant raptor, and as the priests merciless gaze holds them, the unfortunate folk begin to feel that it is an indeed a ravenous bird of prey that fixes it gaze upon them. And then the frightening being begins to speak.

‘‘I have placed a simple choice before you now, oh vile, faithless pagans. Either you convert and earn the right to win salvation for your soul, or refuse and face the just fate that faces all that deny the glory and omnipotence of Almighty Jove. The Crimson Eagles do not show mercy to those that defy the All father by embracing the darkness.’‘.

For decades now, the DeMadden Company ahs found itself locked in a furious struggle with its foes to locate and exploit the richest amethysts mines in Acqua before its hated rivals can get to them first. The golden days when the Company retained a strangle-hold on the control of invaluable amethyst has all but become a faint memory that lingers only in the minds of aging high officials and sea captains that look back to that time of abundance and prosperity with a nostalgia and regret that is sometimes too painful in its intensity. For with each day that passes, the monstrous krakens and their unwholesome allies continue to expand the boundaries of their shadowy empire ever further. Boren ever forwards on the waves of Acqua through the crazed blood-lust of fanatical Shura warriors that serve the cause of their deranged messianic leader, the alliance of Shador has violently seized many former possessions and domains of the Company which it then proceeds to liberally share with the bloated behemoths that have chosen to ally themselves with this accursed race. So the kraken overlords have grown ever stronger, the wealth and power of their subject domains replenished by new amethyst mines that their Shura allies have awarded them the right to exploit to their heart’s content. Not a few within the Company privately wish that the Shogun had the courage to mount a furious assault on the kraken dominions and loot them entirely of the vast hoards of amethysts that the vile monsters have amassed. But in their hearts they know that their lord is not a cowardly man but merely a prudent one. The krakens have become wealthy a powerful, with that arch fiend Big Red himself possessing a formidable fleet capable o facing the Companys finest Marines on the open seas. To mount an open assault on the Krakens would mean sowing the seeds of a terrible conflict that would tear the world of Acqua asunder as each side strives to annihilate the other.

But if the Companys foes imagine that if it will simply stand by idly and passively watch its dominance erode away, they couldn’t be more wrong.In a move born out of both desperation and a stroke of sheer genius, the Shogun had sought aid from one of the most powerful institution that exist in Acuqa.

The power an influence of the Church of Jove lies heavy and powerful on Banhosea for a great majority of the great island-state’s inhabitants are devout adherents of the all-powerful ,omipotent god and the Church that serves him. The Shogun of the Company may claim economic and political authority over the maritime empire that Banhosea rules, but the souls and minds of an overwhelming number of his subjects are exclusively
ruled by the Patriarch of the Church that is revered by thousands as the holy steward of great, holy Jove. His own kingdom is almost as wealthy and extensive as that of his lay master, for the priests of Jove have grown wealthy with the tithes that all parishioners are required by divine law to pay. Moreover, many of the clergy are successful and wealthy money-lenders, reaping huge profits from the crippling interests that they charge on
even the meanest loans that they offer to the truly desperate. The fact that they have amassed great wealth at the expanse of their fellow men does not overly perturb and bother the hearts of Jove’s earthly minions, for they know well that their divine master will smile upon them as long as they remember their obligation to contribute not a small amount of their ill-gotten earnings into the great treasury of the Church. Nothing pleases Jove more than having a grand ziggurat is erected in his honor.

Would it be strange then for this great bastion of the true faith to find itself consumed by confusion and wrath at the unholy rise of the dark powers which may yet someday succeed in devouring all that is good and scared in Acqua, rendering it a place so unspeakably foul and tainted that great Jove will scorn to shine his luster upon it ever again? If this great apocalypse is to be averted, hen great Jove must know that his faithful, devout followers, the pure and exalted ones that revere the true and only faith, will not stand idly by as monstrous abominations birthed by the evil of Ma-O conspire to strangle the most noble Company into economic extinction. Banhoseas prosperity depends on the Companys ability to once again retain its old monopoly, and Banhoesa is the beating heart of the Jovian faith. Were that great nation ever to fall into decline, the teachings of great Jove would falter, and pagan savages would fall upon the believers, their evil minds whipped into a state of blood-thirstiness by the diabolical schemes that
serve the cause of Ma-O from the shadows. And so the Church must step in and intervene if this terrible fate is to be averted. A holy war had to be declared against the fiends that threatened to erode the dominance of Joves chosen nation.

And so it was that the Shogun wisely sought an audience with the holy Patriarch and humbly appealed to him that the secular authorities of Banhosea required the aid of Joves dedicated servants in this increasingly grim commercial struggle. His hopes were not disappointed. The sagacious and farsighted high priest was quick to offer an ideal solution to the terrible challenge confronting the Company.  .

The Shogun would not have to worry about confronting the formidable fleets of the krakens head-on. The Church of Jove would fight battles that needed to be fought, shed the blood that needed to be shed and butcher the foes that needed to be butchered. All they asked in return from the Company was their official permission to conduct their operations with absolutely no inference from his officials, and just as importantly, the right to retain a significant portion of any spoils that the Church obtained from its upcoming struggle with the foe. Though somewhat wary and suspicious, the Shogun had little choice but to agree. He dreaded the terrible possibility of all-out war but one way or another, the Krakens and their bestial Shura allies could not be permitted to continue their amethyst mining and trading operations in peace. The Church of Jove had provided him with a way to achieve this. If the Patriarch would stand to reap as richly as from this enterprise as the Company, he could not begrudge them their due. And so he left, taking his solace from the fact that for the first time in decades, the krakens would find their nascent empire challenged.

In the following days, a missionary was dispatched by the Company to the strong-hold of the fabled kraken over-lord Big Red. Much to the astonishment of the inhabitants, the deluded friar begun to reach a fiery sermon, urging them to forsake their wicked ways and embrace holy Jove if ever they desired to escape the flames of perdition in the after-life. Did they not fear that a day might yet come when Jove would refuse to shine forth upon Acqua since they like so many others, had chosen to honor and worship to a bloated behemoth that should have long since been slain by a hero?

Appalled by the man’s rash and thoughtless words, the aggrieved inhabitants seized the missionary and promptly fed him to Big Red. Once news of this grisly sacrifice reached the streets, the captain of the ship that had brought the missionary sailed away, satisfied that his mission had been successfully carried out.

In the subsequent months, the Church of Banhosea declared a crusade against Big Red all the other Krakens that were allied with him. Since Big Red had devoured one of their missionaries, the warriors of holy Jove would hold him and the rest of his accursed kindred responsible for the atrocity. With cold steel and the fist of righteousness would they make the Kraken regret his insult to the true god. Through its massive army of priests and vicars, in both the teeming city and the rustic fishing communities, news of the great undertaking was announced: The Patriarch had declared a war of divine retribution against the treacherous krakens that devoured unarmed, defenseless men of god that had doe no crime save what Jove demanded of those that did his holy work. Great would be the rewards, both temporal and material that awaited the warrior who took up the saber and cutlass against the bloated monsters that grow wealthy and soft on their trade.

Vast multitudes left their homes to join the struggle, many of them improvised fishermen eager to raise their families out of poverty by plundering the rich ports that the monsters ruled. But the call of a holy crusade also drew nobles who desired to win fiefdoms of their won in the lands and waters that the Krakens ruled. And so out of this eager rush to avenge the spilt blood of a priest, and the infinitely more tempting promise of plundering the lucrative trading net-work of Banhosea’s foes, arose the beginnings of the Churchs war against the Kraken.

Originally, the army that rushed to answer the summons of the Jovian patriarch was no more than a motley, ill-assorted rabble that took to piracy on the opens seas. Greedy for plunder and loot, the most prosperous among the would-be crusaders would purchase a schooner or galleon and then proceed to gather for himself a crew among the less well-off that had chosen to join the great offensive against the Kraken domains. One this was accomplished, the newly-minted crew would sail off for the kraken dominated waters, where they would embark on a ferocious and bloody but very rewarding campaign of piracy. Ships carrying amethyst and other valuable cargoes were plundered and small coastal towns along the shores would be raided and torched, with the raiding corsairs carting of everything they could carry off. As a tool to shock and destabilize the commercial trade in amethyst, gold and slaves that the krakens depended upon for their wealth, it worked well enough and a vast fortune was lost by Big Red and his hideous cohorts as ships under their protection were simply seized and liberated of everything of value that they carried. Frantic diplomatic attempts to force the Shogun of Banhosea to put a stop to such atrocities were terminated when the envoys of big red retuned with the shocking news that the Shogun himself had denounced the pirates that were causing them such grief and agony. Over these wild and rebellious pirates that did not recognize the supremacy of the Company, the Shogun possessed no authority..

But in spite of this resounding success against the kraken states, the Church of Jove had grown unhappy. Much to their intense disgust and rage, their holy warriors had prevented to be more true to the cause of their own self-enrichment than the holy Patriarch and his noble Church. Only a small trifle had reached them from the corsairs returning successful from their ventures and it was out of this paltry amount that the Church would have to pray the Company its rightful share. Already, the Shogun had begun to complain about the slim pickings that reached the treasury of the Company. As they well knew from their spies in the shadowy underworld, much of the plunder taken from the Krakens had been sold for enormous profits by the corsair captains. 

Enraged out of his mind by the blatant greed and rapaciousness of the very ones that had sworn to be true to Joves service, the Patriarch begun to shape a plan that would allow him to put these arrogant corsairs in their place and demonstrate to them who was really in charge. The crusade had to be rescued before it denigrated into a mere free-for-all on the open seas.

The day came when all the corsair captains and their crews were invited to attend a grand banquet by the Patriarch. Minions of the Church personally delivered the invitation to the valorous holy warriors that had brought the enemys trade to its knees. Everyone from the most successful captain to the lowliest crew-man, would be treated to a sumptuous banquet where great honors and rewards would await those that had earned for themselves a distinguished names in their daring raids against the hated enemy.

And so on the appointed day they arrived at the entrance of the great feasting hall of the Patriarch himself, in greedy anticipation of the rewards that the great cleric had promised them. Dressed in their most splendid finery each captain and his crew of cut-throats were escorted past the great-doors by perfumed, implacably attired servants that bowed almost reverently before leading the guests to their rightful place in the great banquets hall. But not before they had searched all of the distinguished guests for weapons, checking each of them so thoroughly as to ensure that that not a single one of them could have entered with even the smallest dagger concealed on his person. If some of the corsair captains found the whole business somewhat humiliating, they held their tongues, well aware that common sense dictated that the Patriarch take measures to ensure that he was not inviting a potential assassin into his great hall. A small indignity to put up with, when once considered what awaited them beyond the massive wooden doors.

The Patriarch was good as his word. A great feast did indeed await them, one in which the zealous moral standards of the Jovian clergy were relaxed for once. Vast quantities of ale and wine were downed and soon most of the corsairs had become completely inebriated, too inebriated to take much heed when the great doors were promptly barred by robed Jovian priests. All the way throughout the ruckus the rude pirates were creating, the elderly Patriarch merely smiled tolerantly. Then, as the feat was drawing towards its end, the old cleric clicked his tongue sharply in quick succession.
What followed next is an event that will go down forever in the annals of Banhsoea’s history as a day of infamy.

At this prearranged signal, columns of armed men suddenly rushed out from the various passage-ways stretching from the great hall. Attacking with brutal efficiency, they plunged their daggers into the hearts of a dozen drunken pirate captains, prompting the rest of the corsairs, terrified out of their minds by the savage killings they had just witnessed, to tearfully declare their surrender and beg the Patriarch not to murder them.

During the course of the next month, the captured corsairs were tortured in the bowels of the monasterys great dungeon into revealing the various locations where they had stashed their plunder. In the day that followed, the Church of Jove found its coffers swelling as recently unearthed plunder was carried to various Jovian ziggurats by their minions. But that was not all that they obtained from their prisoners. As the burning iron was pressed to their flesh, the corsair captains found themselves confronted with a stark choice. They could either perish horribly at the hands of their tormentors, or they could live by choosing to swear utter obedience to the dictate of the Patriarch and the Church he ruled. As the priests had hitherto inflicted the most gruesome tortures on them imaginable, now begun to invoke the most sacred names of Jove in his various aspects, the words of eternal loyalty tumbled out of the mouths of the prisoners. By swearing upon the name of holy Jove in their moment of terrified desperation, they had placed binds on their souls that would forever make them the obedient and compliant thralls of the Patriarch. To betray the oath once they found themselves beyond the reach of the Church, would mean eternal damnation for their souls in the after-life. Great Jove does not hold lightly with those that treat his name in vain.

And so the order of the Eagles sprung into existence through this ruthless but brilliant stroke of cunning. With the corsairs completely in his power now, the Patriarch begun a major move to reorganize the chaotic war of sabotage being waged against the monstrous enemy. Where the ‘‘crusade’’ had previously consisted of hundreds independent freebooter captains answering only in the name to the Church and its partner, the Company, the Patriarch now resolved to ensure that every roving pirate pillaging the dominions of the Krakens would now have to report directly to him. An instrument would have to created expressly for this purpose.

With this ambition in mind, he summoned a number of his closest advisors to a meeting. Within the confines of a small, discreet chamber tucked away in the recesses of the great ziggurat, he revealed to them his grand plans for the next phase of the divinely sanctified campaign of plunder. If it was executed competently, the entire clergy, from the lowliest novice to the most prominent bishop would greatly profit as a result. And that would make great Jove joyous indeed, for it was His divine will that his dedicated misters be recompensed for the hard toils that they spent in His service, with no less than the riches of the infidel that denied Him.

And so the secret undertaking begun. Unbeknown to anyone but the Patriarch and his tightly-knit inner circle, an effort to form the first truly militant religious order in Aqua had begun. The priests in charge of training the young novices in their duties, were told to keep a special eye out for the most distinguished among their new charges. Those that had impressed their teachers thus far with remarkable obedience and genuine devotion to the holy sacraments and the Patriarch that interpreted them, were to be chosen for a great honor that the supreme leader of the Church had devised for them. However, every one of these individuals had to be physically strong and formidable. Weaklings would not be welcomed.

Though somewhat perplexed by the final condition of this strange decree, they complied faithfully, submitting a list of those they deemed worthy of meeting this criteria, to the chamberlain of the Patriarch who in turn passed them to a bishop that was in his masters complete confidence.

A few months after the young novices on the list had satisfied their teachers who judged them to be of sufficient religious piety and obedience, each and every one of them was slipped a message. Bending to pick down the grubby parchment slipped under the doors of their tiny, solitary cells, they immediately recognized the seal of the Patriarch himself. That very night, they gathered in the extensive swath of wood located on the grounds of the great ziggurat.

And it was there that learned what exactly the Patriarch had in mind for them. Escorted by a detachment of man-at-arms, a robed figure slipped out of the shadows and moved into the great clearing where the young men had been ordered to gather. His features bathed in the pale moonlight, the Patriarchs face was clearly visible. As were his words.

‘‘Good. I see you all gathered here as I had commanded. We now command an army of ravenous sea-hawks through the sacred oath that binds them. But there is still a major obstacle that remains if our plans for them are to be fulfilled.  Separated from the authority of the Church by the wild sea, many of the corsairs might be tempted to sell some of their plunder in foreign markets rather than bring all of it to Banhosea.  Sheer greed might cause men as denigrate as them to temporarily forget Jove’s righteous wrath and trade with the very pagans they were sent to weaken and ravage. And this, my brave warriors is where you come in. Over these sea hawks, shall my eagles reign supreme, striking down any that dare to forget who their true master is. As hawks fear the wrath of the eagle, so shall they come to fear you. Arise, my Eagles.’ And thus were the Eagles brought into existence.

Thus were the Eagles first made aware of the special destiny that their master had planned for them. Separated from the rest of the novices, they spent the next five years mastering the art of combat, especially the deadly hand to hand fighting styles for which some Jovian adepts were famous. Rigorous training with weapons such as sabers, daggers and cutlasses was also part of the game and eventually the time came when the initiates had mastered a formidable level of proficiency in the arts of combat. Whether with cutlass, dagger, or his bare hands,  every one of the Eagles was more than a match for any pirate or another threat. Their physical endurance was tested as well, with the young men forced to subject themselves to brutal ordeals that tested their devotion to the vision that the Patriarch had proclaimed to them. The ones that proved unable to cope with these painful trials were quickly purged, banished from the service of the Church in shame. Being made to witness this pathetic spectacle, embolden the rest to redouble their efforts, shouting a hymn in praise to Jove whenever terrible fatigue and pain threatened to ruin their dream.

But that was only the first step. Before they could serve their purpose, there were other equally vital skills that they were required to master. If they are to govern the wilds corsairs that woe their allegiance to Jove, there are other skills that they need to master.

Every one of the Eagles were subsequently drilled in the basic skill of keeping basic tallies and counts, a skill more suited to accountants or scribes working in a ware-house than an army of aspiring holy warriors training to control and govern a fleet of unruly pirates. But they were quick to realize the importance of this seemingly mundane skill, and strove to perform their best. Those that proved to have great skill with simple arithmetic moved ahead to the next stage of their training, while the duller wits were abruptly dismissed from their training and told to return to the regular clergy, much to the dismay of some of the brawnier ones that had surpassed their fellow novices in the combat arts. But their trainers brooked no futile protests from them. To be an Eagle demanded more than sheer physical prowess.

The following steps of their training proved to be in some ways the hardest of all. Having endured great agony in the first part of their training, the young Eagles were now expected to dole it out. One by one, they were given the task of ‘’‘putting to the question’‘, pathetic unfortunates that fallen afoul of the Church. More often than not, these supposed ‘‘sinners’’ and ‘‘heretics’’ were no more than wealthy men whose riches the Church coveted. Through the intensive training that senior inquisitors imparted to them, the Eagles learnt how to squeeze the truth out of an unwilling man. Terrible agony they learnt to inflict on the hapless victims, before the traumatized wretches finally succumbed to the terrible agony and shrieked aloud the locations where their wealth had been carefully hidden. With eyes trained to notice the slightest indication of a lie on the faces of their victims, the zealous among them quickly redoubled the torture if they deemed that their prisoner was lying. For years, the dungeons rang with the screams of their victims as the Eagles dug savage steel talons into the bleeding bodies of wretched victims. The inspired inventor of this device was quick complete his course with glowing comments of approval from his superiors, along with the others that had proven dedicated and eager in their search for concealed riches. Those that had disappointed their superiors on the other hand by displaying signs of squeamishness, joined the very victims they had been tasked to torture. And the dungeons were soon filed with their screams too.

Hardened and enthralled by the gruesome changes that their training had fostered upon their minds, the young Eagles had succeed in becoming the capable and ruthless killers and watch-dogs that their master envisaged. Part scribe, part inquisitor and part soldier, they had no parallel elsewhere in Acqua. Religious devotion had merged with the twisted belief that it was a terrible crime for the unworthy not to surrender their riches to holy Jove and his earthly minion, the Patriarch, creating an army of marauders that would go to murderous extents to pry every last gold coin from the hands of their unfortunate victims.

As their very creed emphasizes, a day will come when Jove descends to Acqua to rule paradise in the earthy realm. On that hallowed epoch of human history, the Eagles will stand among the best of Joves chosen, for it is their unyielding search for riches in His name, that will serve as to provide the god incarnate with the material wealth needed to begin His epic conquest that will consume and devastate the pagan kingdoms that lie yet in benighted darkness where His holy words do not shine.  

Justly proud of his achievement, the Patriarch wasted little time in unleashing them upon the much loathed corsairs. Acting on tips given to them by trusted informants, little bands of the Eagles stormed into taverns and whore-houses the pirate captains were known to frequent. Taking their quarries by utter surprise, the fanatical priests held vicious steel talons to their throats and threatened to rip them asunder unless each of the terrified pirate captains agreed to sign an agreement authorizing a team of no less than twenty Eagles to join their crews in a very official position. With talons still held to their throats, the captains were told to summon their crews before them and inform them of this new addition to the ships strength.

And so the Patriarch succeeded in placing every major pirate under the direct supervision of his own men. On every major raid and expedition that they undertook each pirate took with him the team of twenty Eagles the Church had imposed on him. Warned beforehand of the terrible consequences that would follow, if any of them failed to return in the agreed moth for the Eagles to report to the Patriarch, the corsairs reluctantly relinquished their thoughts of murdering the meddling Eagles and having then thrown overboard, fearful of finding themselves being pursed by the De Madden Company as pirates.

The Eagles that accompany an unwilling corsair ship on its raids, vigilantly monitor every act and move that the captain makes. All the plunder that his men bring in are placed in a heap before the Eagles that count out everything and then take their claim, leaving the rest for the pirate crew. Careful records are made of the total amount of the riches taken for the Church and the Company, and then the gleaming heap of plunder belonging to the Church is placed in a chest that is not locked. There is no need to do Should the plunder taken back for the Church deviate from the official count in the slightest amount, the pirate captain and his men will be charged with theft and hung as thieves upon their return to Banhosea. No wonder then that a pirate crew often holds them in much fear and revulsion, going out of their way to avoid interacting with an Eagle wherever possible. If suspected of concealing any undisclosed bits of plunder on his person instead of surrendering it to his captain as he is required to, a crew-man can expect to experience for himself first-hand the notorious interrogation techniques for which the Eagles are infamous. There have been too many dark tales of unfortunate pirates dying at the hands of enraged Eagles whose suspicions have been aroused, for the crew of any ship not to fear the uncanny instincts that these holy men have when it comes to detecting the faintest whiff of detection. In truth, unbeknown to most pirates, the ease with which Eagles are able to identify those hiding plunder from their seemingly all-seeing eyes, is owed in no small part to the very effective system of spies that they create on board every ship they are stationed to. The Church they represent is only too willing to be generous with a pirate that lacks enough scruples to betray one his own to the gruesome tortures of the Eagles.  

The Eagles take active roles in the raids as well, often moving in to perform their unpleasant work once the pirates have successfully captured an enemy ship or town. Careful to join the fray only when it is apparent that the pirates are succeeding, the Eagles will proceed to pursue survivors once the battle has died down. Moving swiftly to round up the unfortunate inhabitants, they subject them to hideous tortures with the aid of their cruel steel talons, shocking even the most blood-thirsty pirate with the depth of their cruelty.  Men, women and children alike have not been spared by Eagles ravenous to obtain even the meanest trinket from pagan infidels that recognize not the authority of great Jove.  Slowly over the ears, tales of their savagery has spread among the people ruled by the krakens to watch out for the man clad in white cassocks that hide among pirates, coming out when the fighting has ceased, to extract riches from terrified passengers on ship and the frightened inhabitants of unfortunate villages alike with the horrendous steel talons that they don for this purpose. When they stare into the eyes of an Eagle as he glares at from beneath the giant steel beak that adorns his helm, they know immediately that they will receive no mercy.

And indeed, these stories are in no way exaggerated. Jovian Eagles will give their victims a choice to either convert or die. Those that refuse conversion to the faith of Jove, are slashed with a dull blade and then cast into the sea to be devoured by hungry sharks. The ones that do agree to convert, are spared the fate of being eaten alive, only to be brought to Banhsoea on their return journey where they will be sold as slaves. Often, the brawniest men are often sold as galley slaves, while the comely women taken by the Eagles are destined for the brothels of Banhsoea. Profits from this trade are shared between the pirate crew and the Eagles, with the latter being allowed to retain a significant portion of the profits, if they have proven to be unerringly polite and cooperative. It is for this reason that many pirate captains often invite the Eagles stationed on board his ship, to personally dine at his table, hoping that by playing the role of a hospitable captain eager to assure the agents of the Church that they are more than welcome on his ship, they may earn for themselves a larger share of the profits derived from the sale of captives.

Thus does the Church of Jove strike against the Krakens, slyly pillaging them of both subjects and wealth as their Eagles swoop on the wealthy that the pagan hoards.

In this grand effort that the Patriarch has entrusted to their hands, their energies will never fail them for they know that the Church will reward them well. Those of the Eagles that have become too old to accompany the pirates on their raids, are allowed to retire from their marine duties and become vicars, living off the tithes that they collect from the large parishes placed under their control. All the humiliations and hardship that they have undergone, have in the end, led them to lives of comfort and luxury, where every need or whim is indulged. Thus does Jove reward those that strive hard to increase the wealth of His Church.



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Comments ( 4 )
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Voted Cheka Man
October 27, 2007, 9:03
0xp
A holy equvilent of Stalin's NKVD. 5/5
Voted manfred
October 27, 2007, 13:09
0xp
Once again, a spellcheck and another reading before posting would be nice. Once again, the descriptions are evocative, and a heap of setting/background details are imparted, which is kind of likeable.

But on the whole, I'm sorry to say, it fails to impress me, and it grew tiresome as the many paragraphs kept coming. It feels like more of the same story of the same setting with a slightly different window dressing... once again, sorry, but that's how it felt to me.

---

A question: how did the other side, the Krakens, react? It appears like they didn't do much to oppose this threat. They would certainly take measures to protect their interests. In any case, piracy is far from a safe endeavor. How does the Order react to failures, and their ships being chased on the sea by the powerful Kraken's fleet? (Btw, that the Shogun denied any responsibility for a group with the same power base as the Company, acting basically in the Company's interest, sounds very suspicious as well.)

In short, I see this big effect on the one side, but no impact on the other side. There has to be a reaction on the action.
Voted Scrasamax
October 27, 2007, 23:25
0xp
I second Manfred's comments and add with the spell check to do a read through edit, spellcheck doesnt know that ears should be years, to quote one example. The sub is a bit long and could be shortened some, but otherwise not too bad.
Voted valadaar
October 29, 2007, 11:03
0xp
Maggot - I appreciate the sheer effort in producing this sub, but I have little to add to what has already been said.


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       By: Scrasamax

In a savage area, the bodies of the dead are cremated, and their ashes are placed in a hollowed out pod like a gourd or a coconout and tossed into a river to bring good luck to the tribe.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | May 12, 2006 | View | UpVote 0xp


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