The fort (such as it is)
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"First comes a terrible king, crowned but veiled
He makes war upon good and evil alike
His punishment is unfailing
His judgment absolute
None can name the king
And none can number the dead"

- The Great Prophecy of the 64th History of the Guilden Book, Second Traveller Harmonized Translation,

***

You are Kanto. You are the son of a fisherman and a fisherwoman. You barely remember your parents. The Orithoqui made sure of that: Long ago, they took you far from your home on the coast, Nebra, the lands you knew from childhood.

They took you North, along the cracked road, to a Fort at the edge of their empire. They called it an act of charity. They named you. They taught you the ways of their people, the worship of their gods...four of them anyway, the four that seemed the most reasonable to you.

...and so they gave you half a life, barely learning their language, barely learning the language of the half-drozen tribes that lay between their fort and the home you hail from.

...and so you know very little of the war that is consuming the North. The people of Orithon, the colonists, the imperial, are the mightiest force on the world, but they are overextended, here, in Thoska, they are the tip of a finger of an extended arm.

Long have they ruled this part of the world, but of late, beyond the walls of the fort, tribes long-shattered have been drawn together by one called Lagga-Daash in the language of the Svirrians, who lie somewhere to the West. His name means ill-fortune, the colonists call him Trouble. Some say he commands an army of a million men. Some say he is a living god. You would not presume to know.

When the airships came from Alkavia, a nation perhaps loyal to Trouble, they shattered the sky and blasted the fort to its foundations. You were fishing, and returned to smoke and spilled blood and numberless dead. Raiders had killed them, one by one, and looted the remains...looking for something.

They did not find it. You did. There, far from the fort, you found a priest of Floret, the kindest god, dying in the snow. He raised you. He supplied something close to kindness. His dying act was to thrust a message into your hand. He whispered through lips cracked and bleeding:
 
"Kanto. You must do what is right. The contents of this message could end the war, and you must see it safely Southward, to a city still within Orithonqui control. They have taken Thoska. The road to the South is not safe. Across the cracks of Thosk, to the West, then across the disputed ground to the far South, there is the city of Geddonstaun, still under our control. It is a holy place. Trouble would not dare attack it...The gods will see you through...I hope."

Then, he died in your arms.

You waited through howling night, clutching your prayer book. Now, the sun has risen. Day sees you alone in the fort (such as it is). Many dangers rise in your mind: Savage armies on all sides, old tribal rivalries set aflame, desperate refugees flowing from the cities. Above all, The lack of food and warmth in the dead of winter.

There are three ways to see the winter through:

The first: carry the message to the Orithonqui, in Geddonstaun.

The second: deliver the message to Trouble, and his army of a million men. His army marches along the coast to the South, but where he will ultimately make camp, you do not know.

The third: return to the village of your birth, which is to the South and East, and ride out the horrors to come. This is not a certain victory.

There are so many ways to die...but you are alive, for the moment. What will you do next?

(Type RULES for rules, type STATUS for status, type INVENTORY for inventory)

the fort (such as it is)

You see flurries on the wind.

You are the only part of this fort that is still standing.
To the South, a road runs to a mountain barely visible through the mist. Another jagged line of mountains blocks the sky to the North.  
You are surrounded by the shattered ruins of the fort. You can LOOT them, but it looks like much has already been destroyed or taken.  Exits are east, south, west, southeast and southwest.  

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