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The Fortress of Shadows

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    Posted: 18 Apr 2015 at 10:45
I was going through up solved mysteries when one caught my eye: the fortress of shadows. It is located at [599|-342] in Zanpur.

There was an original forum post the 11th of Jan 2013 with some information about different diplomatic units sent there:

"I have sent 125 spys and 50 assassins to the coords and these are the messages:

Spys:
Your diplomatic mission from 1. Forretress arrives at [599|-342] in Zanpur.
Your Spies cannot gain entry to the silent fortress. The doors remain barred to them; none will speak to them; they can find no other way in.
However, asking a few subtle questions in the surrounding area, they hear rumours of cloaked assassins riding out from the fortress, carrying death in the name of the god Ten Kulch. They also hear of a few select people being granted admission
How does one get in? "Only the closest allies of the Hashashin may enter. If you are not amongst their allies, you should be pleased: to be allies of the Hasashin is to lose your souls to Ten Kulch!"
Unable to glean any further information, your diplomatic mission is now heading home.

Assassins:
Your diplomatic mission from 1. Forretress arrives at [599|-342] in Zanpur.
Your diplomats cannot gain entry to the silent fortress.
The doors remain barred to them; none will speak to them - and they can find no other way in.
Your diplomatic mission is heading home."

Within the same forum post, information was giving on the Ten Kulch faction:

"From the journal of Saxil of Tundale, diplomat in service of the Council of Illyria.
Of all the cultures that I have seen, it is only the Hashishin that has truly terrified me.
In Kajadum, I stood before the Great Sage - their nameless master - to seek the return of some prisoners. I had been sent by the Council of Illyria, because the Lannigolds had appealed for the Council's aid.
Naturally we were inclined to assist this powerful house, as valued allies and loyal subjects of His Majesty. It did not occur to me until I arrived that the Lannigolds had simply been too scared to confront the Great Sage themselves.
For years, Lannigold subjects had been the victims of kidnap by the Hashishin. Now, a trade caravan, including a young nephew of the Lannigold patriarch himself, had been seized. The Lannigolds wanted their people returned, and especially their young kinsman.
I met with the Great Sage in his audience chamber. It was a sparse room, the least impressive chamber in which I have ever met a great leader. It had no carpet, no drapes, no works of art, only a great glowering idol of their fanged god, Ten Kulch. The idol, as their custom demanded, was caked with blood, some still damp, in which it is bathed each dawn. I did not ask what sort of blood it was, nor where it came from.
The Great Sage sat cross-legged on the bare floor, a thin, grey-haired man with a quiet smile and a soft voice. I explained that His Majesty, King Sigurd, requested the return of the Lannigolds. I was tact incarnate: I threatened without being threatening, begged without being obsequious, was humble without acknowledging inferiority. The old man smiled and nodded as I spoke, picked at a bowl of sugared almonds, and watched birds feed from crumbs that he scattered on his windowsill.
After a while he called for a servant. He told her, "This man has come to take you away from the loving embrace of Ten Kulch. If he takes you back to the Lannigolds, you will never again feel the breath of your god, and when you die you will not sit at His side in paradise.”
Tears welled in the woman's eyes, and without a word she drew a dagger from her belt and plunged it into her own chest. She fell to the floor, coughing up her life's blood, dying slowly, crying and smiling as she did so. I begged the Sage to save her, to call for a physician. He smiled softly and asked if I would care for a sugared almond.
When she lay still, he called for another servant, and spoke again, "This man has come to take you away from Ten Kulch..." That servant, too, killed himself, and when the Sage called for a third servant I begged him to stop.
"So you withdraw your request? Very well. By coincidence, I can foretell that two of your own followers will chose to stay here, in the embrace of Ten Kulch. The great god has lost two servants today, and will take compensation."
I blustered that he could not take my entourage, but I was pale and felt nauseous, and did not make a convincing argument. He brushed off my objection:
"I take nothing. They will give themselves joyfully. They will choose to stay of their own accord, freely, out of love for Ten Kulch. Any who feel his breath cannot help but love him. Perhaps, one day, you too will know his love?"
He sat there, smiling softly, while the blood of his dead servants oozed across the floor to pool around his feet and legs.
True to the Sage's prophecy, two of my followers announced, the next morning, that they had chosen to stay at Kajadum. I left swiftly, and a week later, organized the kidnap of the young Lannigold, to return him to his kin. I shouldn't have bothered. The day that the youth was returned to his family he denied his house and his heritage, and the following day he killed himself.
Any who are taken by Ten Kulch are forever the thralls of this bloody god.
All of the other cultures that I have dealt with, the Orcs and Gnolls, the cold serpentine races and many murderous greenskins, they might threaten me, torture me, beat me, defile me, kill me. These thoughts do not delight me. But only the Hashishin can take my mind. Only the followers of Ten Kulch can steal my soul."

This story is linked to a herald post about the Lannigolds:

"After the discovery of the body of the young prince, Aimeri Lannigold, his family have denied that the youth hanged himself.
"It is true that he was found hanging in his room," the family Steward remarked, "but we know who was to blame. Strangers were here, and have now fled back to their infernal stronghold, the Fortress of Shadows..."

Edited by GM Stormcrow - 15 Jul 2011 at 21:41"

The Lannigolds are one of the most powerful factions of Illyria, according to their description, which is quite long with no real information so I will not post it.

Now, onto the theory:

The Lannigold boy either committed suicide or was killed.

If he were to have been murdered:
The boy saw something, or experienced something, that the inhabitants of the fortress didn't want to leak. They sent assassins (as we know from the description of the faction, they have many that exit and entry frequently) to kill him.
Is there a way to send a unit that can tell us what happened to the Lannigolds? People have maybe been looking at this the wrong way. If we can trace back the assassins (if there are any), we might find some clues.

If he committed suicide:
The Lannigold family wants to cover it up, blaming "strangers", to save their image -after all, a suicide implies an illness of mind or depression.
However, this means the boy's mind could still have been tainted, meaning the influence of the fortress extends to quite a length.
Remind anybody of anything? Yes, the beating heart, Audrey. Troops sent there disappear, and return, evil, controlled by another force. A shred of supporting evidence is the use of the word "infernal" when the steward describes the fortress.

However, both of these theories use evidence from a 2013 post several years after the beginning of the mystery. SOMETHING must be noticeable from the original posts, right?
So I looked over the faction description again, and something caught my eye: the boy gets kidnapped, or stolen. People have sent spies and assassins, but no one has tried thieves. Maybe a lead?

P.S. I put the locations of both Audrey and The Fortress on the strategic map... They encompass quite a large area, with one side walled of due to the sea, and another due to the noob circle. If aggressive factions came from both locations, moving towards each other, it would be a huge geographical advantage, trapping the players. Plus, it wouldn't affect the new players, situated higher up.

But... What if it had already happened, the first team Audrey started beating? I'll just leave that there, I couldn't find any other evidence.

Now, could anyone be willing to help? I think sending diplomats once again (of all kinds) might work, both to the fortress and the Lannigolds "home" (I'm assuming main hub). Also, if anyone finds any information on either the murder or the fortress, please post it here.

We will solve this!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dragon Disciple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2015 at 12:13

Having just gotten into the forums, I found the topic on the gypsy fortune teller. This post will simply be my analysis of what is said, if it where in relation to the Hashinshin and Ten Kulch:

"The gypsy fortune-teller tells your Assassins:
"I often tell my clients that they will meet a tall dark stranger.

I hope that isn’t you. I wouldn’t want them to have to meet you in a dark alleyway.

In any case… I see that a long journey might beckon you, but you should not expect it to succeed; there is much to be learned from the servants of an old man, but I foresee that his followers will not yet teach you their secrets.""

The first two lines seem unimportant. Words to get you enticed.

However, the next ones are more providing, in terms of information:

"I see that a long journey might beckon you, but you should not expect it to succeed."
Note, in the previous comment, that the assassin has no success went being sent to the fortress. Nada. Nil. Nothing. However, the fortress is towards the south west of Elgea- Quite a far distance for many locations on the map, especially the centre.

"There is much to be learned from the servants of the old man,"
The Great Sage, leader of the Ten Kulch, is described as "a thin, grey haired man, with a quiet smile and soft voice." These characteristics are often associated with the elderly. His "servants" could be one of two: actual servants, as the ones described in the faction description of the Ten Kulch, or assassins.
We have no way of knowing if their assassins are more skilled than others, but we can assume they have at least a degree of success if the boy was murdered. So, the gypsy might have been talking to the assassins, telling them they could learn skills at that location.
If they are servants in the true sense of the word, (note: the same word is used explicitly over and over in the faction description) there truly IS much to learn from them. Something big. After all, they are somehow rendered completely engulfed my some type of deity or belief, or power.


"But I foresee that his followers will not yet tell you their secrets"
This seems pretty clear. Be it for assassins or players, nothing could be learned from it. Yet. That is the most important factor: the temporal structure of the mystery. This means that, unlike many other mysteries given off, this one perhaps could not have been solved until a future time (additionally, it makes sense in a marketing style to keep the players occupied with an unsolvable riddle whilst coming up with new ones) From what I can collect, the gypsy told this in 2012- After the mystery had started, but before the Lannigold prince died, according to GM Rikoo's post.
I am almost persuaded that we must find something from the death of the boy to progress.

P.S. This already gives us enough information to start supposing what rewards we will find. We will learn something- either to help in the future or as an upgrade for our assassins.
However, this is 100% THEORY. I do not have the diplomatic units yet to move forward in discovering. So please help! I also may be completely wrong- propose a counter thesis if you think of one. Let's finish this mystery once and for all!

P.P.S. Notice, the heart stopped beating, and the Fotress of Shadows is unclaimed.. A link between the two?!

We will solve this!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brandmeister Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2015 at 12:53
The Lannigold boy commits suicide because Ten Kulch steals his soul, and he is "rescued" by being kidnapping away from the Hashashin. The fortune teller link has been noted elsewhere on these forums regarding assassins. For the history of Ten Kulch and the other human gods, read the faction descriptions for Wen Kun Dynasty, Forbidden Kingdom, and the related factions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dragon Disciple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2015 at 14:16
Thank you for your comment, Brandmeister.

First, let us address what you said about the Lannigold boy's death. After your message, I immediately went back through my documents, and, low and behold, noticed something: at the end of the description of the faction of the Hashinshin, it says the boy first "Renounced his house and heritage" before killing himself.

So, I to catch a trace on why the Lannigolds would deny the boy's suicide if it were truly one, and why the story they come up with seems so fitting for a murder.

Obviously as mentioned in the above text, it could be to hide the dishonor. But if that were the case, why let it be published by the author of the faction description, who is a diplomat for the Council of Illyria, who is obviously going to spread the word?
It doesn't seem to make sense. Why would the boy wait a night to suicide?
Therefore, it is just as indecisive as before. However, thank you for making me look over that aspect once again.

As for your post on the assassins being linked to the fortress, I haven't been on the forums very long, so I hadn't seen it. My apologies if I happened to plagiarize.

Now for the interesting bit: after you linked me to the other two factions, I noticed something in one of their descriptions. Towards the middle of the description of the Forbidden Empire (underneath) it mentions of the Ten Kulch were banished "Far to the south" in the desert.

Could this be linked to the thieves, finding something among the sand of great wealth yet great danger? (As mentioned in the gypsy fortune teller forum)

P.S. Something else I noticed.. The Undying Flame also contains, in its faction descriptions:

"Your daily existence is founded on the shifting and tortured sands of a great untruth, and you would be wise to shake the scales from your eyes before you are entirely crushed under a malicious yoke of falsehood and injustice."
A reference to sands, torture.. Sounds pretty explicitly related to the thieves.
Maybe each line for each diplomat is related to a different mystery? I'll look into this.
(Audrey, Hashinshin, Undying Flame.. All in corners of Elgea. Anything top right?)

P.P.S. I read you telling demdigs about three faction hubs in the desert. Could I have their locations?

Extract from Faction Description of the Forbidden Empire:

"He avowed that each God may have their own area and Race of men to follow them. To Zao Kesh, he gave the Plains of Keshalia and the Horse Nation of Tipu Khan. To Taolin Vu, he allocated the mighty Mountains of Taomist and the mountain men of Kanchalka. He banished Ten Kulch to perform his bloody rites in his desert fastness of Kajadum, far to the South and named his followers the Hashashin. Tamarinda Laka did not wait to be given a land or people. She retreated to the distant mountains of Tamarin, far to the North, with her warrior monks, the Tien Zao, to the fastnesses they had prepared in advance. For himself, Lao Te Shin kept the most fertile valleys of Laoshin, the breadbasket of the world, upon which to build his great cities. These cities were to be known as the Forbidden Empire. He curtly told Wen Babo that he deserved no land, but could be worshipped in taverns and other houses of ill repute. "

We will solve this!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote demdigs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2015 at 14:39
torture could imply assassins as well
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dragon Disciple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2015 at 15:44
Whilst it is true that the word torture strongly evokes pain, and in many cases death, assassins are not known for long, drawn out tasks. They are trained to appear, strike, and evade, disappearing. At least, it is the case in the large majority of works of fiction, so it could be assumed it is the case in Illyria (the references to real events, beliefs, or myths is quite prominent), and the lore is usually accurate.

When I said it clearly referred to thieves, I was discussing the answer of the gypsy fortune teller when they were sent to her:

"The gypsy fortune-teller tells your Thieves: "Beware what lurks beneath the desert sands, for though there is treasure there it is also well guarded.""

We know the treasure is well guarded. Let us think on the different locations:
-The Fortress of Shadows: We know this is in the desert. We do not know which treasure there is (I read a rumor the gypsy works for the fortress.. Maybe the "treasure" is unlocking the mind and body to the god? A bit far fetched...) but I believe there is one, as there is "much to learn", like she said to the assassins.
We also know that, as mentioned in the faction description, "only the Hashishin can take my mind. Only the followers of Ten Kulch can steal my soul." While we don't know if the process is torturous, we do know they are somehow persuaded or controlled, to an extent that it utterly wipes out their discipline. It must be a painful process, at least while the person in question resists.

-The Undying Flame: I don't have much information on the Undying Flame, only that the old, "mad", king (as depicted in the story on the front page of the herald at the present time) and his troops are harbored there. It could be assumed there are quite a few treasures following him, though I do not know if they torture.
If anyone could post a comment clearing my doubts on that point, it would be welcome.

However, I am pushing for the fact that they are all related: it is mentioned the Undying Flame is a growing threat to the players and the king, as is the heart Audrey, whilst the Hashinshin is more of a threat in lore.

Now, all three have a manner of controlling minds, persuading them somehow. Audrey steals your heart, The Hashinshin steal your soul, the Undying Flame steals your people, one at a time. (Not 100% true, just sounded cool)
Maybe all these evil forces are operating as pawns from an outer, bigger force?

I still haven't found a "villain" in the top right, but I will keep looking.

P.S. Please, I am a low level player, so I do not have much to work with. Contact me if you want to help, or join the guild I'm in (Night Shadows) - they're great!

P.P.S. What, I had to do a little propaganda, no?

I tend to rabble on, don't I?

We will solve this!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brandmeister Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2015 at 19:39
The Fortress of Shadows is in the desert? It appears to be in an area of mountains and hills.

The three unusual hubs are Khafkar, Nessim, and one in the far west whose name escapes me at the moment. I wrote a very detailed post in the map experiment graveyard thread.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Count Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2015 at 00:05
Originally posted by Brandmeister Brandmeister wrote:

The Fortress of Shadows is in the desert? It appears to be in an area of mountains and hills.

The three unusual hubs are Khafkar, Nessim, and one in the far west whose name escapes me at the moment. I wrote a very detailed post in the map experiment graveyard thread.

Jarru?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dragon Disciple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2015 at 01:21
While the fortress of shadows itself is in the terrain you described, the Hashinshin live in the desert, as it is clearly stated in the description of the Forbidden Kingdom you linked me too:

"He banished Ten Kulch to perform his bloody rites in his desert fastness of Kajadum, far to the South and named his followers the Hashashin."

I do not have the prestige to zoom out enough to be able to encompass both the Fortress of Shadows and the central hub of the Hashinshin. If somebody currently has the potential to do this, could they take a screenshot and post a link, also of the area surrounding the fortress, or of Kajadum?
It's a small gift for one who has already bought the map upgrade...

Thank you for naming the hubs. If someone knows a forum where it states the answers to diplomatic envoys in each hub, could you link it? This mystery is getting more interesting by the minute.
If not, is someone willing to aid me by doing so and sending me the results? I've seen almost every type of help be provided by the Illyriad community, but not help in mysteries. Who's willing to change that?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sirius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2015 at 08:52
Originally posted by Count Rupert Count Rupert wrote:

Originally posted by Brandmeister Brandmeister wrote:

The Fortress of Shadows is in the desert? It appears to be in an area of mountains and hills.
The three unusual hubs are Khafkar, Nessim, and one in the far west whose name escapes me at the moment. I wrote a very detailed post in the map experiment graveyard thread.

Jarru?


It is interesting that those three hubs, Khafkar, Nessim and Jarru, are some of the few hubs players are offered to send diplomatic, harvest and army missions to. They're not the only ones though, I think, there are others that offer harvesting (not all). And anyway you can always send missions by manually entering the URL: http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/#/Diplomatic/Orders/XXX/YYY

I'm not sure there's a lot to find in all that though. A lot of experiments have already been conducted and their results lay under layers of dust in various sections of the forum, and we still don't know how many mysteries there actually are. But it's always worth trying of course.

From what I got it seems to me that when you manage to send military/harvesting/diplomatic units to a trade hub, the hub is treated like an empty square and nothing happens. It could just be a game mistake and perhaps those units should not be able to get there at all. Or perhaps there's something to be found. I don't know if there have been systematic research on that.

Anyway here is a scout report I got some time ago of a trade hub (the only interesting report I got from such an experiment):



From: System
Subject: FW: Scout Mission to Square [-146|241] in Norweld Completely Successful!
Received: 19 Nov 2014 09:21
Original Message:
Operation From: Ground station Sirius [StA]
Operation Against: Square [-146|241] in Norweld  
Operation Type: Scout
Operation Outcome: Completely Successful!

Mission Report:
Your diplomatic mission was undetected and completed the objective! Your units are on their way home, safe and sound.

Information Gathered:

Troop levels present, foreign reinforcements:

Type: Unit: Quantity:
NPC's forces from NPC Location
Army: Seelie Court    
NPC's forces from NPC Location
Army: Seelie Court    
NPC's forces from NPC Location
Army: Seelie Court    
Division: Barrier Unforcement from the Seelie Court    
Division: Barrier Unforcement from the Seelie Court    
Division: Barrier Unforcement from the Seelie Court    
Troops: Moonclad Archers Moonclad Archers 1
Troops: Moonclad Archers Moonclad Archers 49
Troops: Moonclad Archers Moonclad Archers 37


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