House of the Winter Moon (Rise of the Malandanti Book 1)

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Hands, the current leader of the Jhereg, was forced to step down; Ackiatta of the Pack was chosen to replace him as leader of the faction. While the heroes and scholars of the war hosts made sense of the information they could gather, Lord Valarkin of Norsca and King Carl Trueheart of Albion met in secret and arranged for a summit to be held to lay down the battle plans to try to deal with the Imperial threat permanently. So the factions travelled to a secret location, far from the front line of the fighting, to discuss the war and make plans for a final assault later in the summer.

While the rest of the war hosts dealt with the undead portal which had appeared in the middle of the area the factions had camped in, the scouts and war leaders gathered all information available on the Imperial invasion and drew up their plans. The situation was dire.

The Imperials held territory across the entire continent; Estragales, Franconia, half of Erin and Caledonia, parts of southern and eastern Teutonia, southern Siberia and the key mountain passes in the Bashkir mountains which divide Siberia and the Steppe from the rest of the continent. They had control of all the major ports and so controlled the sea routes too.

The factions devised a desperate plan. Before they could set out, however, disaster struck the Wolves as Lord Valarkin was lost, killed by the undead portal as he risked his own life to save others who had become trapped. Lord Bothvar was chosen to lead the Wolves. With determination, the factions travelled to Franconia. In the days leading up to the final assault, scouts were sent out and as much information on the Imperial movements was gathered.

The usual business of the war hosts also continued, with trade and diplomacy between the factions taking centre stage. Disaster struck the Lions, when the Archbishop of York performed a catastrophic ritual; unknown to the rest of the ritual team or to his King and Queen, the Archbishop planned to sacrifice his Conclave ring in the circle in order to make himself immortal. Ritual itself rejected the attempt and the circle was flooded with demons who killed all within the wards.

Brother Gabriel, furious at the Lions for the arrogance of their Archbishop, demanded they enter the circle and make recompense. Taking the titles of Lord and Lady Protector, they established a Parliament to govern the kingdom. Following the death of their Lord at the start of the year, the Gryphons undertook a mission to travel by portal to the isle of Lyonesse, where they planted a seedling from the Silver Oak Forest and sought guidance from the Goddess on who should lead them.

The Goddess appeared to them in the form of a young girl and confirmed the people of Estragales and Lyonesse as her people and chose an elf named Elsin to lead them. Returning from Lyonesse, the Gryphons put aside their old name and announced themselves to the rest of the factions as the Algaia — the People of the Goddess. The following day, while the ships were made ready to sail, the Vipers, Algaia and Lions attacked the main transport circle. The fighting there was intense; hundreds of Culjag ogres, Blood Hags and Joinings fought viciously to hold their ground.

Once the factions gained control of the circle, Brother Gabriel and a ritual team of the Algaia opened the way and the war hosts began pouring through the portal into the spirit realm. The 95 th Regiment and the Evil Sunz, both of Teutonia, were ordered to hold the rear and protect the others as they passed the gate; all were slain as the remaining factions entered the portal and began their long journey to the Imperial islands. After a winter of travel, either by ship or spirit path, the factions arrived at the centre of the Empire of the Golden Isles in the spring of Landing their ships, the Wolves, Jhereg, Fir Cruthen and Nomads fought their way onto the island and established a beachhead.

Brother Gabriel opened the way to exit the spirit plane and return to the true plane and the factions established their camps. Surrounded by the enemy, in strange territory, the factions camped close together, the dismal weather dampening their spirits and hampering their attempts to gain intelligence on the enemy.

The Empire utilised every tool they had; extremely effective scouts, doppelgangers and of course their formidable Culjag and Kaladin army. It was a difficult battle; the factions faced large numbers of Culjag ogres and several Joinings. Despite the odds, they were successful in achieving their objectives. Again, they faced difficult odds, but again the factions proved capable of holding their own. Following her defeat, the remaining Culjag surrendered to the Vipers. Returning to their own lands, the factions travelled back to Franconia to the area known as the Heart of Darkness, where they had initially held diplomatic discussions with the Empire back in The Imperials had come to negotiate and led by Maximus Khallaing of the Jhereg, the factions sued for peace.

The negotiations lasted for days, during which the factions also had to contend with a nearby undead portal, which spewed forth relentless waves of undead until a ritual was performed by a group of Gnolls, which closed the portal. There was much division between the factions as to the approach to take to the negotiations.

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Some, including the Wolves, had no desire for peace and wished to continue the war, believing that the small victories won in the Imperial heartland would give them the advantage to sweep the Imperial presence from the continent. Others believed the time for peace had come and were willing to discuss terms. The Jhereg successfully distracted the brother through the final negotiations, which led to the signing of the Treaty of The treaty required the factions to give up large portions of the continent to the Empire, with the Imperials taking control of the whole of Franconia and half each of Teutonia, Norsca and Estragales.

They also kept hold of the Bashkir Mountains, giving them control of the major land trade route between the two halves of the continent. The Kaladin would be settled in Estragales, the Culjag in the lands taken from Teutonia and Norsca, while the hobgoblin administration retained control of Franconia. The Draken who had decided to break away from the Empire under Captain Tam were also given land as part of the settlement; on the borders of Estragales near the Silver Oak Forest. Other clauses in the treaty required the Fir Cruthen to build a temple to Krit, the Imperial God of War, on Erin and set out the terms for an honour battle to be held every two years between the Culjag and the Vipers, for control of a particularly fertile valley on the new border between their nations.

The Emperor also declared that the Blood Queen was an enemy of both the united factions and the Empire; having exposed her true identity as a demon of some power and influence who had coerced the Imperials into invading through manipulating their beliefs in their Gods and prophecy using the presence of Harak, the Principality of War. Towards the end of the negotiations, it became apparent that the Tokra goblins were not willing to accept peace.

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They attacked the Jhereg camp, where the meeting was taking place. The Emperor declared them to be rebels, no longer protected by the Empire. It seemed that despite the peace agreed between the continental people and the Empire of the Golden Isles, there would still be battles to be fought against the green-skinned foe. With peace negotiations concluded, the war hosts withdrew to the Isle des Pommes off the western coast of Estragales to hold a Fayre, hosted jointly by all of the factions.

Each nation provided some of the games and entertainment. It was an opportunity to celebrate the end of two years of war with the Empire and a chance for the factions to take stock of all the other potential threats which had been active while the war hosts were pre-occupied with the invasion. The liche Suraklin, who had been interacting with the war hosts for some time, convinced the Jhereg to assist him in his attempt to become the new Principality of Corporeal; Lady Scythe was summoned to the gathering and a corporeal wedge was organised to destroy her.

Suraklin successfully claimed the item of Corporeal from her destroyed form and ascended to become the new Principality. The highlight of the gathering was for many the grand party thrown by the Wolves. They invited all the war hosts to join them for a cocktail party, so that Lord Wall could find a wife. Ladies from across the factions attended the event although Wall ultimately chose Ylva, a fellow Norscan, to be his bride.

Refreshed from the celebrations, the factions travelled to Erin, to put an end to the Tokra raiding. The camps were concealed within the woodland, but the factions still suffered attacks from infiltrating Tokra assassins. While the factions investigated, a disturbing event took place which changed the course of events dramatically. While walking on the path outside the Jhereg camp late one night, the old Jhereg goblin Grampa Trapz was assaulted by a Swarm assassin and killed. The factions had been aware of the increasing activity of this race of rat beastmen for several years, but they had never considered them enough of a threat to deal with; certainly not while the factions had still been at war with the Empire.

But the death of one of their own incensed the Jhereg and they responded with a declaration of war. The Jhereg ritual team entered the circle and in an emotionally charged display of power screamed their bloody vengeance to the skies. Granny Trix, Head Ritualist of the Jhereg and wife to the murdered Trapz then shocked everyone present, including those in the circle with her, by sacrificing her own life in order to complete the ritual.

Taking the fight to the Tokra, the Vipers, Fir Cruthen, Lions and Nomads attacked the Tokra, who had fortified their position in a temple on top of a hill. The fighting was heavy, but the factions succeeded in taking the temple. His wife, the Lady Protector Elizabetta, was left to rule Albion alone.

The following day, the Jhereg, Algaia, Nomads and Wolves set out to deal with the Blood Queen, who had created a Blood Fountain in the area which was allowing her to extend her power into Erin. This battle was bloody and fierce, for the Blood Queen had brought not only her Blood Hags, but had summoned a vast horde of what the factions named Blood Slaves; mindless soldiers bound by blood magic to serve their Queen. The factions were unprepared to face such a force and many lives were lost, but they emerged victorious after destroying the Fountain.

The factions returned to their homes that winter with mixed emotions. While it was to be celebrated that the war with the Imperials was now over, each faction needed to adjust to their new neighbours and adapt to their smaller territories.

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Many lives had been lost during the conflict; the winter would be a time to mourn. They could not rest easily, knowing that the Blood Queen was still active but not knowing where she might strike next or what her ultimate goals would be. By the spring of , word had reached the factions that the Blood Queen was summoning her forces in Estragales.

Eager to stop her before she gained a foothold, the war hosts gathered to try to put an end to her designs although it was clear that force of arms was not going to be all that was required. A desperate search for answers began as the factions attempted to understand their new enemy.

It was determined that a circlet she possessed gave her control over her forces and it was decided that the factions would attempt to retrieve this circlet. Again, the battles against the Blood Queen and her forces were devastating to the factions. She commanded seemingly unlimited numbers of Blood Slaves; as each wave was cut down, more appeared behind in a relentless attack.

One small victory was claimed, but at great cost. Even without her circlet, the Blood Queen was still a formidable opponent. While the factions were able to disrupt her plans for Estragales, she remained undefeated. One other event took place in Estragales that had serious implications for the factions. The Principality of Magic, while visiting with the factions, suddenly collapsed while in the Lions camp. Upon the moment of his death his staff, the symbol of his office, ripped itself free from his grasp and flew directly to the ritual circle. There, Brother Gabriel attempted to take hold of the staff, but it shattered into pieces and disappeared.

While it became apparent that magery had not been overly affected by the death of Trask, it was soon identified that rituals calling specifically on elemental magic were dangerous to perform while the office of the Principality remained vacant. The factions retired to the Steppe lands to consider the events in Estragales. Seeking answers, they consulted with the Celestial College.

Master Joseph believed that the answers may be found within the ancient library of Erness Marr, a ruined city deep within Albion. Recent activity at the city indicated that now might be the time to access the information hidden within and perhaps find the secret to defeating the Blood Queen.

In the early summer the factions began their investigation of the ruined city. It was discovered that the city had once been home to a reptilian race called the Satuuin, of whom Trask had been a member. They had been extremely knowledgeable on the subject of demons and the factions learned a great deal from scraps of documents which were discovered in the ruins. Not only was the Blood Queen confirmed to be a named demon, rather than a Kaladin troll, it was also discovered that Brother Gabriel himself, who had served for years in the office of Ritual — second to the Principality of Magic — was also a named demon.

This came to light when Brother Gabriel was assaulted by the ghostly cannibals who haunted the paths, for he returned to the factions in his true form even while they mourned the loss of the person they believed to be their friend and ally. His death at this time had apparently been set the moment he took hold of the staff and became the embodiment of magery.

From these conversations, they learned of the existence of a creature known as the Nonborn and of several prophetic writings which hinted at what might occur should this entity be able to enter our Plane of existence. Edris Marr himself was particularly insistent that the factions do something about it, as it was in trying to defeat this entity that the city was destroyed. From the writings obtained in Erness Marr, the ingredients required to forge a bane weapon to finally end the threat of the Blood Queen were discovered. The priority for the factions on arrival was to confirm the existence and location of a particular metal known as edas metal, for they knew she could only be killed by a weapon forged from this peculiar material.

The location of the edas metal was confirmed when it was discovered that the Blood Queen herself had control of the material and was keeping it safe in a demi-plane she called the Soul Prison. The factions decided that they should move in force against her and plans were laid to use the ritual circle to open a portal to this place, so that the war hosts might pass through and recover the metal. It was hoped that with a successful foray into the Prison, the factions could then forge the weapon required and set out again the following day to defeat the Blood Queen once and for all.

With determination, the Wolves, Jhereg, Algaia and Nomads set out the next morning. A portal was opened and they entered the Soul Prison. None knew what to expect. The Jhereg, still reeling from the events of the previous evening, sang a battle song of revenge. As the song reached its crescendo, a wave of Blood Slaves was sighted. More numerous than any they had faced before, the war hosts readied themselves at the bottom of the hill, preparing for the Blood Slaves to attack. The battle that followed was fierce and extremely bloody.

The factions pushed forward, fighting wave after wave of seemingly unlimited enemy forces. Despite all of their efforts, they were unable to gain enough ground and obtain the metal they so desperately sought. Defeated, they retreated from the Soul Prison and returned to their camps to mourn their losses. Despite their losses on the field, the Wolves had another battle to fight. Mustering their forces, the Stormwolves marched to face their ancient enemy, the Crimson Wolves. Low on healing magic and spent from the desperate battle in the Soul Prison, the fight was a difficult one.

While the enemy was defeated, the majority of the Stormwolves lost their lives. Overcome with grief, the survivors brought their fallen back to the camp, aided by their friends and allies. As darkness fell, the fallen warriors were taken to the ritual circle. As Lord Bothvar, Gunn and Thorgrimm spoke of the dead, the triptych opened and the valkyries entered the circle. One for each warrior, come to accompany the fallen on their final journey to Valhalla.

With the warriors taken, the gates opened once more and the shade of Cyak, former Lord General of the Wolves, stepped forth to welcome the surviving Stormwolves back to the Isle of Myst. The following day, the Vipers, Lions and Fir Cruthen set forth to enter the Prison and retrieve the metal. They fared no better than their allies had done the previous day.

Fighting for their lives, they too were forced to retreat empty handed. As began, reports arrived that the Swarm, no longer attempting to hide their alliance with the Blood Queen, were massing in large numbers in the Skadi Mountains in Norsca. Lord Wolf called upon the factions to join him there to crush the Swarm before their corruption spread too far.

It was determined that the priority for the factions was to once again return to the Soul Prison and attempt to reclaim the edas metal, for with the Blood Queen dead and no longer supporting the Swarm, the factions believed they would then be able to deal with their new enemy fairly swiftly. Again, they faced a difficult fight; determined, they did not allow themselves to falter and fought hard, pressing the enemy back until they reached their goal. Defended by a Blood Rat called the Brood King, they located the edas metal hidden in a bloody birthing pool, where the Blood Queen was creating her Blood Rat hybrids.

Johannes of the Vipers was able to get his hands on the metal and the factions fought a hasty retreat. Once the metal was secure within the Faction camps, they began to plan the ritual required to forge the weapon they so sorely needed. The sword could only be forged correctly if it was quenched in the life blood of a living person who had faced her on the field of battle. The factions deliberated for many hours, before Sir Giles de Vries of the Knights of the North stepped forward, volunteering himself for the task at hand despite knowing that it would cost him his life.

Representatives of all the factions gathered at the ritual circle, where Dengezich of the Jhereg led the rite which forged the blade. After a long night keeping the new Blood Sword safe from the hands of the enemy, the Jhereg, Wolves, Algaia and Nomads mustered their forces and set out to challenge the Blood Queen one final time.

Fighting alongside a large army of Swarm rats, the Blood Queen put up her final defence. As one, the four factions advanced, resolved to end this threat once and for all. All rejoiced when the factions reached the demon they faced and Dengezich of the Jhereg plunged the Blood Sword deep into her heart, then struck off her head. Despite the loss of their ally, the Swarm fought on, urged into the fight by their generals, Snikt and Bubous.

Facing Swarm rats, Blood rats and Rat Ogres, the factions continued the battle until the Swarm army was defeated and fled the field. Rejoicing in their success, the factions returned to their camps and spent the evening celebrating the defeat of their hated foe, while honouring the noble sacrifice of Sir Giles of Albion who had made the victory possible. For some, however, the celebrations took a sour turn when the Jhereg discovered one of their own slain on the paths; not by Swarm assassins but by one of the other nations. The murderer was identified as one of the Fir Cruthen and the situation quickly escalated into a major diplomatic incident. Ebooks and Manuals

Four entire war hosts congregated outside the Jhereg camp where many harsh words were spoken. The incident resulted in the breaking of the Axis Treaty which had united the Lions, Jhereg and Vipers since After the victory in Norsca, the factions travelled to Franconia at the invitation of Emperor Heyami. In keeping with the annual tradition of the continental people, he offered to host a Grand Fayre, showcasing the traditional entertainments of the Empire of the Golden Isles. Intrigued, the war hosts returned to the Lonesome Pine and prepared to socialise with the nation that had so recently been their enemy.

While many of the games were familiar, some were new to the continental people and sparked much interest; in particular, a game called endurance which pitted its champions against each other in such contests as the eating of strange insects and not moving for prolonged periods of time. While there, the factions took the opportunity to engage diplomatically with the Empire. While their customs and rituals seemed strange, it was clear that there was a benefit to maintaining a cordial relationship with this new continental power.

The Jhereg goblins spent some time attempting to convince the Empire to join in the fight against the Swarm, but Heyami was determined to remain neutral. That changed when a Swarm assassin managed to sneak into the area and attempted to kill Knox, the Goblin King. In response, the Swarm advertised large bounties for the heads of Knox and his Queen Lix. From Franconia the factions travelled to Siberia.

Scouts had reported large numbers of Swarm fleeing from a vast breeding area near the Aral Sea. Beyond the rudimentary fortification they had found a number of dead Swarm rats, but no sign or indication as to what had killed them or what the rats were fleeing from. As soon as the camps were set up, they were under attack from packs of rats that ran unchecked through the wooded pathways. Reports began to arrive of three strange women who would appear and attack the Swarm. The women were unnaturally strong and seemed capable of healing from even the most grievous of wounds.

It was soon discovered that a mystical box was empowering the women but did so by drawing corporeal energy from its surroundings, including any people who went near it. The factions differed in their approach to resolving the situation, with some suggesting the women should be killed, others seeking a more peaceable solution which would sever the link and destroy the box instead. The factions made several excursions into the rat tunnels and fortifications, spurred on by the Jhereg goblins.

Many died in the tunnels but they were ultimately successful and drove the last remnants of the Swarm from the area. With the Swarm under control in Siberia, the factions turned their attention to Estragales. King Elsin of the Algaia called on his allies to aid him in removing them from his own lands. The rats bred so quickly, it did not seem to matter how many died on the battle fields or in their tunnels.

Other matters also required attention. The Lions had lost one of their artefacts in the failed attempt to rescue the edas metal from the Soul Prison the previous summer; using the ritual circle and calling on their Gods, the Lions opened the portal to the Soul Prison once more and their Queen Elizabetta went through alone to retrieve the Sceptre of Parliament.

It was decided that the Wolves, Lions, Vipers and Hei Ravni would be the first to enter the rat tunnels to fight the Swarm. They fought the rats through the woodland, until they reached the entrances to the tunnels and followed them in, fighting in very close quarters. The rats, however, were more familiar with the tunnels than the factions were, so had the advantage and could not be defeated. Eventually, the factions retreated. The Swarm fought fiercely. Once more, the factions pushed them back until they reached the tunnel entrances and plunged on into the tight, dark spaces to keep fighting.

The losses were grievous, particularly for the Jhereg as the Swarm were targeting those among their number who had so sorely betrayed them; the Jhereg goblins lost all but five of their number. As the factions retreated from the tunnels, the Algaia were holding the rear. King Elsin was cut off from the rest of his forces.

Hart of the Ael went back to save him, but neither came off the field with the rest of their people as the tunnels collapsed behind them. While they had succeeded in killing a great many rats, they were still no closer to defeating the Swarm generals and ending the threat once and for all. Demoralised by their losses, the factions returned to their camps. The loss of the goblins proved to be too much for Knox, King of the Goblins; he declared he would return to Siberia and not travel again with the war hosts.

For the Algaia, it was a bittersweet end to the year. Following the battle, they mourned the loss of both King Elsin and Hart of the Ael. Much to their surprise, both then appeared in camp; Hart was uninjured, but Elsin was still recovering from his injuries. It transpired that Hart had been suddenly filled with the power of the Goddess, which had enabled him to rescue his King and find an alternative route out of the tunnels. Confusion reigned over why the Goddess had chosen Hart and not Elsin to empower, until a messenger arrived from Lyonesse telling Elsin that he was needed and must return home to protect the place beyond the sea where the Elves of Lyonesse go when they die.

Elsin instructed his people to follow Hart, now chosen of the Goddess, before journeying to the land beyond the sea. As the seasons turned and the year began, reports arrived that the Swarm were once again massing in Norsca. The scouts believed that most, if not all of their remaining forces were in the area, along with all of the remaining Swarm Council members.

It was the opportunity the factions had been waiting for. The factions realised early on that the Swarm had contaminated the water supply. All who drank from the water came down with a strange disease. As they investigated, it became apparent that the cure for the disease would need to be brewed using particular ingredients; the liver of the Swarm Council member Bubous and water from the Temple.

It was decided that the Jhereg, Vipers and Algaians would be the first to attempt to retake the Temple from the Swarm and find and kill Bubous. Fighting through difficult terrain and faced with horrifying weapons of the enemy which sprayed poison over the advancing troops, the war hosts struggled to gain ground and were eventually defeated just as they reached the doors of the Temple. That evening, the War Council gathered once more and discussed the task that faced the remaining factions the following day.

Queen Lix of the Jhereg argued strongly to be allowed to accompany them, despite having already fought one battle that day. It was her belief that nobody else in the factions taking the field would be able to recognise Bubous. The Jhereg were loath to grant her request, until Captain Cornelius Mourning of the Kings Own Volunteers vowed to protect her and the two goblins who would accompany her. So the next day, the four factions mustered, with the three Jhereg goblins secreted inside the Lions war host, disguised in the black and yellow of the Regiment. Again, the fighting through the forest was difficult, but they succeeded in taking the Temple from the Swarm.

Queen Lix was able to identify Bubous to her allies and he was cut down by the Fir Cruthen. As the alchemists began their workings inside the Temple, Lord Bothvar decided to disctract the Swarm forces from the area by marching his people out in force and facing Snikt on the field. The Lions and Steppe Alliance were left in the fort to protect the alchemists.

Unfortunately for Queen Lix, when Snikt arrived at the Temple her disguise was insufficient to hide her from the gaze of her most hated enemy. Sending in two rat ogres to drag her out of the fort, one was defeated by the Fir Cruthen but the other managed to enter the Temple. The rat ogre chased Lix down and threw her over the walls into the open field.

Fighting his way out of the Temple, the ogre then began to drag her back to his General. While Captain Mourning screamed at his fellow Lions to open the gate and let him and his men pass, Lix bravely fought off the rat ogre using the hunting knife she found still attached to her belt. With the ogre defeated, Lix stood and turned to face the Temple, preparing to run back to the safety of its walls. However Snikt, seeing his prize getting away, crept up behind her and prevented her escape by the cowardly use of poison.

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As she fell to the ground, Snikt finally took his vengeance on the last of his goblin enemies. The Lions were forced to watch as he tore her to pieces. Bothvar and Snikt came face to face and in a show of strength, Bothvar wrestled him to the ground and after a short but bloody fight, Snikt lay dead on the ground. The Swarm Council were defeated. The Jhereg, blaming Cornelius Mourning for her death, threatened the Lions with bloody retaliation. With the Swarm no longer a threat, the factions were able to turn their attention to other matters.

It was decided that they should return to the ruins of Erness Marr in Albion, to further investigate the entity known as the Nonborn. The influence of the Nonborn had been growing since the factions had learned of its existence. An agent of change, it appeared that it was manipulating events all over the continent. A variety of civil uprisings rebellions seemed to have sprung up almost overnight. The ruined city was as dangerous on this visit as it had been the first time the factions travelled there; cannibals still haunted the paths and made the ruined streets unsafe to navigate alone.

In each circle was placed an orb which stored the magical energy, the thirteen smaller orbs channelling their power to the larger orb placed in the central circle. The factions decided to seek out the central circle and find the orb within.

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As they pushed through the ruined city they located the circle, defended heavily by hundreds of the cannibalistic ghosts. Many felt the influence of the Nonborn; voices in their heads telling them to turn away from the fight. As they fought their way past the cannibals, Sigurd of the Stormwolves discovered that the orb itself had been corrupted and instead of acting as a preventative force against the Nonborn, it was now amplifying its influence on this Plane.

Despite orders to the contrary, Sigurd smashed the orb, causing massive ruptures to appear in the earth. Soon, the ground gave way across the entire city and the factions were forced to flee from the ruins as they sank into the ground. To recover from their experiences in Erness Marr, the factions travelled to Norsca for a Great Fayre. The Norscans were keen to prove that the devastation of the Swarm in their lands had not cowed their people. The Norscans put on an excellent array of games; Lord Bothvar was keen not to be out done by the efforts of the Imperial Court the previous summer.

Several new games were showcased, including one which involved stealing round wooden shields which had been placed in all of the camps. Many individuals displayed great cunning and ingenuity to collect as many of the shields as they could. With excellent weather and an entertaining selection of games, the factions left Norsca feeling refreshed and ready to face the trials of the remaining months of the campaign season.

This event came to the attention of the local priest, Don Bartolomeo Sgabarizza, who was intrigued by the use of such folk magic , and called Gasparotto to him to learn more. The benandante told the priest that the sick child had "been possessed by witches" but that he had been saved from certain death by the benandanti , or "vagabonds" as they were also known.

Sometimes they go out to one country region and sometimes to another, perhaps to Gradisca or even as far away as Verona, and they appear together jousting and playing games; and Don Sgabarizza was concerned with such talk of witchcraft, and on 21 March , he appeared as a witness before both the vicar general, Monsignor Jacopo Maracco, and the Inquisitor Fra Giulio d'Assis, a member of the Order of the Minor Conventuals , at the monastery of San Francesco di Cividale in Friuli, in the hope that they could offer him guidance in how to proceed in this situation.

He brought Gasparotto with him, who readily furnished more information in front of the Inquisitor, relating that after taking part in their games, "the witches, warlocks and vagabonds" would pass in front of people's houses, looking for "clean, clear water" that they would then drink. According to Gasparotto, if the witches could not find any clean water to drink, they would "go into the cellars and overturn all the wine".

Sgabarizza did not initially believe Gasparotto's claim that these events had actually occurred. In response to the priest's disbelief, Gasparotto invited both him and the Inquisitor to join the benandanti on their next journey, although refused to provide the names of any other members of the brethren, stating that he would be "badly beaten by the witches" should he do so.

During and after the meal, Sgabarizza once more discussed the journeys of the benandanti with both Gasparotto and the miller Pietro Rotaro, and later learned of another self-professed benandante, the public crier Battista Moduco of Cividale , who offered more information on what occurred during their nocturnal visions.

Ultimately, Sgabarizza and the inquisitor Giulio d'Assisi decided to abandon their investigations into the benandanti , something the later historian Carlo Ginzburg believed was probably because they came to believe that their stories of nocturnal flights and battling witches were "tall tales and nothing more". Five years after Sgabarizza's original investigation, on 27 June , the inquisitor Fra Felice da Montefalco decided to revive the case of the benandanti.

To do so he ordered Gasparotto to be brought in for questioning; under interrogation, Gasparotto repeatedly denied having ever been a benandante and asserted that involvement in such things were against God, contradicting the former claims that he had made to Sgabarizza several years before.

The questioning over, Gasparotto was imprisoned. That same day, the public crier of Cividale , Battista Moduco, who was also known locally to be a benandante, was rounded up and interrogated at Cividale, but unlike Gasparotto, he openly admitted to Montefalco that he was a benandante, and went on to describe his visionary journeys, in which he battled witches in order to protect the community's crops.

Vehemently denouncing the actions of the witches, he claimed that the benandanti were fighting "in service of Christ ", and ultimately Montefalco decided to let him go. I am a benandante because I go with the others to fight four times a year, that is during the Ember Days, at night; I go invisibly in spirit and the body remains behind; we go forth in the service of Christ, and the witches of the devil; we fight each other, we with bundles of fennel and they with sorghum stalks.

On 28 June, Gasparotto was brought in for interrogation again. This time he admitted to being a benandante , claiming that he had been too scared to do so in the previous interrogation lest the witches beat him in punishment. Gasparotto went on to accuse two individuals, one from Gorizia and the other from Chiana , of being witches, and was subsequently released by Montefalco on the proviso that he return for further questioning at a later date. This time, Gasparotto added an extra element to his tale, claiming that an angel had summoned him to join the benandanti.

For Montefalco, the introduction of this element led him to suspect that the actions of Gasparotto were themselves heretical and satanic, and his method of interrogation became openly suggestive, putting forward the idea that the angel was actually a demon in disguise. As historian Carlo Ginzburg related, Montefalco had begun to warp Gasparotto's testimony of the benandanti journey to fit the established clerical image of the diabolical witches' sabbat, while under the stress of interrogation and imprisonment, Gasparotto himself was losing his self-assurance and beginning to question "the reality of his beliefs".

When Moduco was also summoned to Montefalco, on 2 October , he went on to announce the same thing, proclaiming that the Devil must have deceived him into going on the nocturnal journey which he believed was performed for good. Having both confessed to Montefalco that their nocturnal journeying had been caused by the Devil, both Gasparotto and Moduco were released, pending sentencing for their crime at a later date.

Both denounced as heretics , they were spared from excommunication but condemned to six months' imprisonment, and furthermore ordered to offer prayers and penances to God on certain days of the year, including the Ember Days, in order that he might forgive their sins. However, their penalties were soon remitted, on the condition that they remain within the city of Cividale for a fortnight. Gasparotto and Moduco would not be the only victims of Montefalco's investigations, however, for during late he had heard of a widow living in Udine named Anna la Rossa.

While she did not claim to be a benandante, she did claim that she could see and communicate with the spirits of the dead , and so Montefalco had her brought in for questioning on 1 January Initially denying that she had such an ability to the inquisitor, she eventually relented and told him of how she believed that she could see the dead, and how she sold their messages to members of the local community willing to pay, using the money in order to alleviate the poverty of her family.

Although Montefalco intended to interrogate her again at a later date, the trial ultimately remained permanently unfinished. That year, Montefalco also took an interest in the claims regarding the wife of a tailor living in Udine who allegedly had the power to see the dead and to cure diseases with the use of spells and potions. Known among locals as Donna Aquilina, she was said to have become relatively rich through offering her services as a professional healer, but when she learned that she was under suspicion from the Holy Inquisition, she fled the city, and Montefalco did not initially set out to locate her.

Later, on 26 August , Montefalco traveled to Aquilina's home in order to interrogate her, but she fled and hid in a neighbouring house. She was finally brought in for interrogation on 27 October, in which she defended her practices, but claimed that she was neither a benandanti nor a witch. In , Montefalco had also begun investigating a Cividale widow named Caterina la Guercia, whom he had accused of practicing "various maleficent arts".

Under interrogation on 14 September, she admitted that she knew several charms which she used to cure children's sicknesses, but that she was not a benandante. She added however that her deceased husband, Andrea of Orsaria, had been a benandante, and that he used to enter trances in which his spirit would leave his body and go with the "processions of the dead". The village of Pieris was near Monfalcone, across the Isonzo river and therefore outside of Friuli; it was nevertheless within the diocese of Aquileia. The anonymous source claimed that Toffolo openly admitted to being a benandante , and that he went out at night on his visionary journeys to battle the witches.

The source also asserted that Toffolo regularly attended confession, recognising that his activities as a benandante were contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, but that he was unable to stop the journeying. Having heard this testimony, the members of the Holy Office of Udine met on 18 March to discuss the situation; they requested that the Mayor of Monfalcone, Antonia Zorzi, arrest Toffolo and send him to Udine. While Zorzi did orchestrate the arrest, he had no men spare to transfer the prisoner, and so let him go. In November , the inquisitor of Aquileia decided to re-investigate the matter, and travelled to Monfalcone, but discovered that Toffolo had moved away from the area over a year before.

Lambasting Domenatta as a "guilty sorceress", he claimed that she had encouraged mothers to put their newborn children on a spit in order to prevent them from becoming either benandanti or witches. Agreeing to investigate, the inquisitor travelled to Monfalcone in January to gain depositions against the midwife. When he came to interrogating Domenatta, she openly admitted to the practice, and was condemned to public penance and an abjuration. In , a woman named Maddalena Busetto of Valvasone made two depositions regarding the benandanti of Moruzzo village to Fra Francesco Cummo of Vicenza , the commissioner of the Inquisition in the dioceses of Aquileia and Concordia.

Claiming that she wanted to unburden her conscience, Busetto informed the commissioner that she had visited the village, where she met a friend whose child was injured. Seeking out the perpetrator of the injury, she talked to the old woman she believed to be guilty, Pascutta Agrigolante, who claimed that she was a benandante and knew witches. Busetto did not know what the benandanti were, so enquired further, to which Agrigolante obliged by providing her an account of the nocturnal journeys.

The Sun Followed by The Moon (timelapse)

In Russian fairytales Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs. Baba Yaga may help or hinder those that encounter or seek her out and may play a maternal role and has associations with forest wildlife. According to Vladimir Propp's folktale morphology, Baba Yaga commonly appears as either a donor, villain, or may be altogether ambiguous. Andreas Johns identifies Baba Yaga as "one of the most memorable and distinctive figures in eastern European folklore," and observes that she is "enigmatic" and often exhibits "striking ambiguity.

Berchtold also Berthold, Bertold, Bertolt is a Germanic name, from the Old High German beruht "bright" or "brightly" and waltan "rule over". The name comes into fashion in the German High Middle Ages, from about the 11th century. The cognate Old English name is Beorhtwald, attested as the name of an archbishop in the 8th century. Berchtold appears also as the name of the leader of the Wild Hunt in German folklore of the 16th century.

The name is here replacing the female Perchta. German folklore is the folk tradition which has developed in Germany over a number of centuries. It shares many characteristics with Scandinavian folklore and English folklore due to their origins in a common Germanic mythology. It reflects a similar mix of influences: a pre-Christian pantheon and other beings equivalent to those of Norse mythology; magical characters sometimes recognisably pre-Christian associated with Christian festivals, and various regional 'character' stories.

It has been translated as "great queen", "phantom queen" or "queen of phantoms". In this role she often appears as a crow, the badb. Considered as one of the oldest castles in Bohemia, it stands on a promotory carved out on three sides by the river Vltava. It was first mentioned in in a document signed by Vok "von Rosenberg". The structure was completely surrounded by castle walls with a moat. Krampus and Saint Nicholas visit a Viennese home in In Central European folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as "half-goat, half-demon",[1] who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.

In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf English: Krampus run , young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most Alpine towns. Wild Hunts typically involve a ghostly or supernatural group of hunters passing in wild pursuit. It is also about pagan youths engaging in hunting to have ecstatic practices to connect to Odin and the spirits of the ancestral dead, holding these events as their processions of certain times of the year.

Carrying out these practices is blessing the land, such as for a harvest, Germany popularised the Wild Hunt. In England it is Herne the Hu. The name is quite old, believed to be originating from between the 11th to the 12th century. In the 14th century, a citadel probably existed there, but the oldest written record about the citadel comes from the 16th century. Epifania is a Latin word with Greek origins meaning "manifestation of the divinity. In many poorer parts of Italy and in particular rural Sicily, a stick in a stocking was placed instead of coal.

Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. To some the sweeping meant the sweeping away of the problems of the year. The child's family typically leaves a.

1096 to 1101 The Factions at War

Krampus is a American dark fantasy comedy horror film based on the eponymous character from Austro-Bavarian folklore, written and directed by Michael Dougherty and co-written by Todd Casey and Zach Shields. Principal photography on the film began on March 12, and wrapped in May Creature effects were made by Weta Workshop.

Max remains a firm believer in Santa Claus, and intends on sending a letter to him. Amongst his family are his parents Tom and Sarah; his teenage sister Beth; his aunt Linda and uncle Ho. Original arms of the family. Later arms of the Rosenbergs, with elements from the Orsini family arms. Members of this family held posts at the Prague royal and later imperial court, and they were viewed as very powerful lords of the Kingdom of Bohemia.

The coat o. The character first appeared in an book by Amsterdam schoolteacher Jan Schenkman. Traditionally, Zwarte Piet is black because he is a Moor from Spain. In recent years, the character has become the subject of controversy. Traditions Strooigoed and kruidnoten mix for scattering The Zwarte Piet character is part of the annual feast of St. Nicholas, celebrated on the evening of 5 December Sinterklaasavond, that is, St. This is a list of deities regarded as female or mostly feminine in gender. Stockholm Palace is located on Stadsholmen, in Gamla stan in the capital, Stockholm.

It neighbours the Riksdag building. The palace is used for representative purposes by the King whilst performing his duties as the head of state. In modern times the name relates to the building called Kungliga Slottet. The palace was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and erected on the same place as the medieval Tre Kronor Castle which was destroyed in a fi. Latin: Regina pede aucae i. It is possible that Bertrada was born with a clubfoot,[2] although Adenes does not mention this in his poem. The Dutch Witte Wieven went at least as far back as the 7th century, and their mistranslation as White Women instead of the original Wise Women can be explained by the Dutch word wit also meaning white.

They are described as beautiful and enchanted creatures who appear at noon and can be seen sitting in the sunshine brushing their hair or bathing in a brook. They may be guarding treasure or haunting castles. They entreat mortals to break their spell, but this is always unsuccessful. The mythology dates back at least to the Middle Ages and was known in the present-day area of Germany. The association with the color white and their appearance in sunlight is though.

Look up Bert in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. There is a large number of Germanic names ending in -bert, second in number only to those ending in -wolf -olf, -ulf. Most of these names are early medieval and only a comparatively small fraction remains in modern use. The female hypocoristic of names containing the same element is Berta. Modern English bright itself has the same etymology, but it has suffered metathesis at an early date, already in the Old English period, attested as early as AD in the Lindisfarne Gospels. The unmetathesized form disappears after AD an.

The recipe was originally made for King Richard II In the liturgical calendar of the Western Christian churches, ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week — specifically, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday — roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that are set aside for fasting and prayer.

These days set apart for special prayer and fasting were considered especially suitable for the ordination of clergy. The Ember Days are known in Latin as the quatuor anni tempora the "four seasons of the year" , or formerly as the jejunia quatuor temporum "fasts of the four seasons". The four quarterly periods during which the ember days fall are called the embertides. Etymology Ember days have their origin in the Latin Quatuor Tempora four times.

According to J. Neale in Essays o. There are also some old witches, who beat drums, and bearded shepherds, and a hunchback un torvo gobetto who has a "rustic duel" with the animal. Traditionally only men take part, although some are dressed as women. In ancient times women were prohibited from participating in the exhibition, or ev. Austrian culture has been influenced by its past and present neighbours: Italy, Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia.

Republic of Austria had long been an important centre of musical innovation. Composers of the 18th and 19th centuries were drawn to the city by the patronage of the Nobility, and made Vienna the European one of the capitals of classical music. Vienna's status began its rise as a cultural center in the early 16th century, and was focused around instruments including the lute.