Conspiracy Theory Op-Ed 9: The Lion's Prophecy
What drives men? By that, I mean the race that has been transplanted onto this alien world we know of as Terminus. None that still live have any recollection of their home world of Vas Demith. It is not carried in the hearts and minds of the culture as the sycophantic elves who hold their noses high at their own history and ancestry, or the dreaded Myr whose disgust for their present world is equaled by none.
Men are driven by power and prestige. They wish to be remembered and revered wherever they are and by whomever is in their company. The more power and prestige one finds himself holding, the greater the need for more. It is an insatiable appetite that drives them to do impressive feats and grotesque acts. This combination is perfectly represented by the current “Queen” of Thronefast and all men of Terminus, Amenthiel, descendant of Avendyr, son of Amensol.
Here we have the map of our great continent as we know it. It is named after the kings of men. For shy of five hundred years, men have been preying upon this land and its inhabitants, displacing native populations and boxing in the natural growth that would happen within the races surrounding them. They have vied to have the greatest influence, the greatest wealth, and, yes, the greatest power.
This is nothing new. You have heard this all before. I have, through careful research and anonymous sources in influential positions, garnered the information behind the sudden shift in policy these past ten years as Queen Amenthiel has rattled sabers around the world and demanded more respect from our allies and more fear from our enemies. The so-called “Queen of the Burning Heart” is insatiably after more.
The land before you is marked as territory within her grasp. Notice that Azeris has a section outside her potential control. Her uncle, being her mother’s brother, had led from the throne previously and paid with his and many others’ lives attempting to gain the smallest of areas deep within the Veil. It is interesting to note that cartographers of our day have located the great lake of the plain as the heart or the center of our lands. It is upon these shores that I was told of prophecy given to the Queen by a shaman of dark practices who laid out her desires upon the map as waypoints to her glory and dominion. It is with horror and solemn duty that I bring these findings to your attention.
- The role of the Queen of Burning Heart is that of conqueror.
Make no mistake, friend, this is the goal. Amenthiel is said to have the heart of her ancestor, Avendyr, who conquered more in his lifetime than any that came after. His lust for fame and power has been well documented, even as it has been masqueraded as vision for a more peaceful and prosperous future for his people.
Even now, the queen is steadfast in her change from staunch militaristic isolation by her predecessor to dominion. The appointment of the House of Ventori in Avalia was no mere chance. The Ventori conglomerate has been about profit and only profit for decades, stepping on anyone who gets in their way. The fact that Avalia controls the ports in and out of Thronefast sets up expansion of trade routes solely in the hands of the greediest of holdings. Those brave veterans, many of whom were injured fighting for the empire’s expansion in Azeris, have been displaced to make room for more vendors and artisans.
While we speak of the House of Ventori being given Avalia, it is worth mentioning that Avalia’s founding by the House of Sevil is most ironic. Banished from the countryside for misdeeds against the crown and its citizens, the House of Sevil founded Luckson Manor, setting up a serfdom outside the boundaries of Thronefast. The king at the time hastily brought up sieges against it and fought for years trying to end the horrible rule of the tyrants. Now, the queen is giving it back to like-minded individuals to inflict financial hardship on the people and, at the same time, is forcing the residents of the town back to the halls of the Luckson estate, now under the banner of the exiled E’mani Karos, leader of the Black Rose.
The push for conflict on all sides by the queen has driven costs of goods up in her own kingdom with horses and steel at record high prices for her people. There is a rush on the area for housing and goods, weapons and armor, as adventurers flock to the area to take advantage of the bounties on the Gadai and Black Rose bandits, so deemed by the queen. And let’s not forget to mention the eroding truces we have had with the North Tusk Orcs that have broken down under her leadership.
Here are her real aims.
As my anonymous source laid out the dark shaman’s prophecies, I was frightened for the future of these lands and the control that could be wielded by the monarchs of Thronefast.
- The Ears of the Lion
As with all leaders, information is held in highest of regards. So it is with the queen. The Thronefast border and the city of Faerthale will be the place where news of deceit or rumors of powerful assets will be found. As we have been told by the Keeper’s own hand, his sharing of the letters of Narian Castigue and Kaolyen Greyborn brought about an onslaught of political pressure.
“Yet I have stood accused as a thief, blasphemer, usurper and general malfeasant in several courts and one tribunal (though in most cases I was fortunately acquitted, and in one, rescued)... My life has oft been under threat, more so by ‘nobility’ and less often by pilferers, yet I cannot permit misdeed effect my labor any more than generosity.”
And his work to catalog all mentions of the Dragon Accord have also led to peril.
“I've had two shops burned to the stones in the ground. Four chests stolen, though one was entirely filled with dung-rubbed rocks and another rigged with an ingenious trap of inflammatory sapwood and pitch (at considerable price with considerable result). I have been hexed, cursed, haunted, hunted, whipped, expelled, excommunicated, imprisoned and briefly enslaved.”
As Amenthiel has been drawn to the same source of power as her progenitor, dragons and their knowledge, so has the use of this threat been used to dominate those around her as we will “see.”
- The eyes of the lion
The lion will watch those that wish to steal and destroy, ever vigilant. Here we see those that would threaten the reign of the queen. First, Black Rose Keep and the queen’s nemesis, E’mani Karos, hero of Thronefast, are a threat to the crown in several ways. It is oft supposed that the sudden and unmerited judgment against the most respected warrior in Thronefast was to do with a lover’s spat with the queen prior to her husband’s death. After it, she attempted to silence him, apparently after he threatened to go public with the news. Other reports say that Karos learned too much of Amenthiel’s plans of domination and disagreed with the strategy and for that he was labeled a traitor. In any case, his popularity with common folk and veterans pits him against her in the political realm. His forces of what he deems as freedom fighters claim to fight against the crown and what it stands for. It is a battle on the fields and in the hearts of Thronefast.
The other threat lies on the border of the Roan mountains. At the end of the climb up into the mountains bordering Faerthale, there stands a contingency of Ember warriors who protect their lands with unbridled passion. They are led by the progeny of Kaolyen Greyborn, councilman, historian and researcher of legend to the elves. Her name is Thaolen greyborne. Her fame is welling as her feats of bravery and connection to the proper elven culture and the Splinterfolk as well give her mass appeal. Her eventual rise to be a council leader will diminish the less apt queen of men.
- The mouth of the lion
Here we find where the lion feasts. There is much to be taken from the lands of the halflings. Their knowledge of the spectres called wraiths and what power they wield is held very closely by the halflings. The ruins of the great giants of old still hold many riches. And the natural resources of the area are what is needed to fuel the expansion of the human territory. The prophet apparently told the queen that she could topple the rule of the halflings in their new homeland if it were done at the right time.
Along with the halflings, the arcane magic vaulted in Saol would be necessary to crush any real opposition to her expansion across the plains and into Vay and Saol.
- The nose of the lion
Threats unseen from far distances are usually smelled before seen or heard. Those who try to wrest control over the great lake of the plains and its megalithic tower, the Silent Sanctum, are those vying for control of the lands around. It is the early warning for those who would threaten domination. Protecting the Sanctum and the heart of the continent is vital for lasting reign.
- The mind of the lion
What drives man? The prophecy given to Amenthiel to gain power and fame is rooted in the place where men first came to Terminus. It was by the hand of some cosmic presence and brokered with the real rulers of Terminus, the dragons, that men were sent to this place. In within lies the source of power for the everlasting remembrance of one Amenthiel. It must remain at the forefront of her mind at all times.
This, dear friends, is at the heart of all that is done by the crown in Thronefast. There are assets of unimaginable power within the knowledge of dragons and of the Dragon Accord. Amenthiel and her cohorts have been tracking it down for years and will do whatever they must in order to attain it. As the Keeper noted,
“Amenthiel's nerve and shrewdness thwarted enemies of a suddenly weakened Thronefast.”
It is to her nerve and shrewdness we should all contemplate how diabolical and unbridled Amenthiel’s will can be, and what price we will all pay for it.
Leader of the Resistance Against the Corrupt House of Amensol