Cyre, 1st of Vult (December) in the Year of the Kingdom of Galifar 999
The world is changing.
I feel it in the desert wind. I sense the future in the shifting sand dunes. It is dark and reeks of decay. Perhaps that is what compels me to start this journal on the cusp of the Millennium. Or the hubris of thinking I’m important enough to warrant it.
My name, for whatever given names are worth, is Evangeline Fabulis and I am a Priest of the Lord of Blades. Most would call me a Warforged, my people have been called much worse. I was created in the year of the Fall, after the Day of Mourning as the humanoids call it. On the 20th of Olarune (February) of 994 [YK] the Great War was stopped dead in its tracks. The armies of Cyre were fighting against two invasions, Karrnath from the north, Breland and Thane from the East, and on that fateful day it seemed the sky itself was set ablaze without warning or reason. This strange magical radiation burnt a million square miles of land; the entire nation of Cyre was devastated. Or so I’ve been told. They say I’m one of the lucky ones, for I do not have any memories of what came before. I believe them.
Belief. It’s what drives me, ever since I met my Creator, our Great Lord. I dare not describe his visage. He gave me my name, He taught me that I was Evangeline the first of my Line. A new breed of Warforged, born free in the last working and liberated Great Forge in this world. A secret guarded so closely, not even I know the exact location. All I know is that exactly 4 years ago today, my sisters and I were activated inside the Machine Cult Temple. We fortunate few were presented to the Lord and He spoke to us at length. He explained our situation and gave us courage. We were to bring back faith and hope to a shattered world. It had taken almost two years to gather other surviving Warforged and to found this Clockwork City, repair the Great Forge in secret and produce our line. We were to be the new priesthood, but we would not stay in this city or within the old hierarchy of the temple. Our rank was Apostle not Acolyte, an emissary not a follower in the old tongue. Our task was to carry the message of the New Dawn to the outside world and to bring back faithful converts to our city.
But we were also burdened with a terrible secret. The Fall had affected Warforged a lot less than humanoids and other animals of the flesh, but it had long term effects that posed a serious problem. It disrupted the Dragonshard Mines that produced our sustenance and the Rail service that transported most of it. The truth was our people were starving. They would all be deactivated by now if not for our Lord’s wisdom. He noticed ruby glimmers in the sands of the newly formed deserts (no doubt another side-effect of the Fall) and invented a process to distill tiny grains of shards from the highest concentration patches. But that energy reserve was not enough for all and while stockpiles lasted, many warforged of the City were offered “Ascencion”. A divine congress with our Lord in which their consciousness would pass to a higher state, perhaps back to where our positronic brains drew our sentience from. They did indeed receive an audience and were uplifted, right before being deactivated and merged into Cerebrum. A great wonder, designed and built by the Lord of Blades and his first Disciples, where the bodies of the Warforged were put in stasis. This low energy state allowed the combined brain power of this faithful host to be used to grant divine power to the clergy in the name of the Lord of Blades. So that one day we may find salvation for our kind. To match the ultimate sacrifice of his people, our Lord stepped inside Cerebrum to guide the Machine, he gave up his own freedom too. For what we saw now was but His Avatar. A limited projection of his self, made manifest reality by Divine Will.
Which brings me to our mission. In the years following our indoctrination to the Faith, a plan was formed. Some Apostles would lead teams of Warforged and try and repair the Lightning Rail and others would try and locate suitable mines and cleanse them of whatever foul influences might lurk there and prepare them for production anew. Perhaps we could even pierce the veil and setup trade with powers external to old Cyre, a lot of power crystals used to be imported. I was assigned to guide and guard a detail of Warforged repairing the North Line of the Rail. Our long term target was Eston, an old Cyre town famous for its mines, located to the Northeast edge, by the lake Arul and the mouth of the river going north to far away Thronehold and the open sea far beyond that. We heard encouraging reports from that direction for years, though there were some who disagreed and proposed sites near the core of Cyre in the hills. One such scout group reported strange rumors about an old mining town close to the Glowing Chasm called Hilltop. Rumors they heard at the Three Daughters Inn, that is still active strangely enough, north of the old Kalazart city. But since no more info of that has reached my ears I decided to keep pushing for Eston. Besides, we had already reached the coastline of Lake Arul and we could almost see the Thornwood forest on the other side, if not for the mists. Perhaps we could resupply from there or at least try to see if an expedition across the borders was even possible. At the very least we were now on flatlands and much of the old rail was in good condition so heading for Eston to the north would be a lot faster.
My group consisted of several warforged workers and craftsmen and one transport train. A old sentient clockwork, Blaine the Train they called him. He carries all our supplies as we move forward and is often resupplied by smaller locomotives sent from the City. There is something troubling in his behavior and I do not trust him, but these trains are necessary to our work. For they run on steam and not shards. We still have plenty of coal and dead wood around for their furnaces. My close companion Perspicacious, a tinker of great skill, seems to be the only one who likes Blaine. He even talks about trying to invent a machine that will create energy from fire and feed the Warforged like the trains. He certainly is the smartest person in our group, probably more intelligent than anyone I’ve ever met before. And he means well, he always tries to help. Perhaps I should describe my “A-team” members here. Among our group I only entrusted them with my deepest secrets.
Well first of all there’s the aforementioned tinker and artificer Perspicacious. He’s the oldest among us and has worked for House Cannith in several important stations, so he knows his way around. If I ever have a problem that is hard to analyze, I can turn to him for guidance. He suffers a bit from an inventor’s lack of social skills, but he makes up for it with his marvelous eccentricity and jovial supportive demeanor. He is well liked by all in our group, he’s responsible for a large portion of the repairs needed along with me, except perhaps those of a less optimistic nature who might get irritated sometimes, but not much or for long. He doesn’t like to brag or play mind games, but if the situation calls for it I’m sure he’ll provide the goods.
Then there is Spicatus, our Juggernaut. People assume he’s my bodyguard or something, and he is indeed my rock at times. He’s an imposing figure, standing 8 feet tall, in his shining titanium (adamantine) armor and its spikes. His limbs are especially large even for his size making it a powerful build that can wield heavier and oversized weapons. He doesn’t talk much now that he has chosen to embrace fully the aspect of the machine, but then again I knew him before he started his transformation and he wasn’t a talker back then either. When we left the City, I was entrusted with a large Morningstar. It was a powerful weapon and within it was embedded the soul of an old Artificer, at least that’s what I was told. The weapon bristles with electricity when used in combat and sometimes it hurts the wielder a little to strike their foes a lot harder. No one dared use it, most can hardly lift it, except my trusted friend Spicatus. So I gifted it to him when he proved his loyalty in our previous adventures. I think it was at that time that he became galvanized to follow the path of the Juggernaut. The soul inside the morningstar is rather talkative, often annoyingly so, but not when it comes to revealing his true name. For some reason he has jokingly asked us to refer to him as Vlad, the Impaler. We often do not understand his strange ways, he seems amused at strange things that make little sense. Only Spicatus is able to suffer his antics in stoic silence (and the occasional throw or stuffing in a bag). He goes about his work with ruthless efficiency, but not a hint of anger. Good thing too, cause I doubt anyone would like him if he got angry.
Last but not least, Levis. The most shadowy member of our team. She’s a slender dark grey female-type “bot” (as she likes to say) with golden eyes (Siberys dragonshards?), sporting strange imitation white hair on her head and many human-like features on her face. Then again who knows if that’s her true form. Sometimes I am not sure she’s even a warforged. She has the ability to shift her form and she dislikes touch and all contact in the extreme. She claims to have embedded a Hat of Disguise (along with various other kit), but then again every time she speaks about her past she tells a different story. One time she’s an ex-circus acrobat who witnessed the owner murdering his wife and had to flee and hide until she got revenge. Another time she said she was abused as a sex slave for some very sick people and finally snapped one day and killed them all and ran away with all the brothel’s money, which bought most of her kit. Who knows, she seems to be a good fast talker and an amazing stealthy acrobat and thief. She has served us well and I would even go so far as to say she “likes” us. She’s the most pragmatic of our group and often does what is necessary without caring about what others find disgusting and gross or “unclean”. On specific occasions she has proven worthy of helping me bear the weight of my secrets and so I confided in her too. She seems even more loyal since.
And now Levis has returned from scouting ahead. She says there is a town ahead to the north with a port and a rail station. And it appears inhabited still, not entirely in ruins as is usual these days. Perspicacious thinks there was once a harbor city here called Newport and opposite it was a village called Oldtown in the hills, mostly abandoned as the pirate threat was gone and the port business was booming, even during war. We shall see what we make of this come morning. We wouldn’t want to approach in darkness and spook the locals. The Rail is passing through, one way or another…