The Faceless, an elite group of highly organized individuals bred, trained and governed with the sole purpose of maintaining nought but eternal loyalty to the second God of the Creed of the Twins; The God of death.
Although much is left unknown about the elusive group. It is speculated by reliable sources that members of the Faceless are selected from among the believers of the Lord of Light (The first God of the church of the twins), presumably, at very young ages.
After passing a mysterious selection process and training regime, they exit as calamitously efficient killers. Ones who see themselves as a part of a collective whole rather than just a sole individual.
They are subservient only to the priestesses of the Creed,(who are deemed the messengers of the divine siblings, and the bearers of their will).
Although many deny this theory, even among the nobility and among members of the sanctuary of scrolls, there is not much intelligence on the Creed of the twins and its dreadful Faceless. The debate regarding the efficient development of such an elite group still hangs up in the air and is a major topic among Udorian scholars.
Despite its elusive origins, the Faceless is still a rather infamous group of killers and spies acknowledged throughout the entirety of Udoris for their secrecy and efficiency.
Specializing in espionage, impersonation, sabotage, infiltration and assassinations, they excel in instilling fear among the aristocracy.
The Creed of the twins, which oversees the development and management of the Faceless is regarded as a highly volatile group of individuals, notorious for being uncontrollable, regularly unreasonable and extremely willful. It is an organization that does things regardless of the cost, without considering the rules imposed by other powers as long as it is in line with their predetermined ambitions.
Their irrationality, unpredictability and willful nature resulted in them being considered undesirable by most other powers in Udoris. Some of which had tried various means to uproot the church over the many decades.
But unsurprisingly, such an endeavour has always instead met with failure and heavy retaliation from The Faceless. This fact alone had over the years dissuaded other bodies of influence from actively seeking the church’s ire unless meeting with a lack of alternatives but to directly confront them.
Even if forced to directly confront the Creed, most organizations would assume a diplomatic stance, preferring to avoid resorting to violence.
While the church of the twins lacks a powerful army, (much unlike any of the seven kingdoms or a large faith militant group like the Band of the Six) they can stand on equal grounds with these giants.
They are relatively weak in a confrontation with any of these powers, but none can hope to sleep peacefully with The Faceless lurking perpetually in the dark.
Excerpt from Jonas Diane fourth book on Udorian powers- ‘Religious Fallacies’.
An encampment at the fringes of…
Windy Fir Woodlands, Alvia province.
Hidden amongst the trees from prying eyes stood several temporary structures. A dozen tents, a campfire with a large deer roasting over the flames and several nailed struts for tethering horses made up the campsite.
In one of the larger tents sat three women across from each other, a large table between them. On the table was a similarly large, highly accurate map denoting all active political territories.
The map had a faint chess-like grid probably to denote distance. Carved tabletop pieces that could be moved across it in a free-form manner (subject only to terrain obstacles like routes, roads and borders) lay across it.
The pieces, each of which represented some political power or presence, were little circular blocks made of wood. Each with a varying household emblem carved and outlined in ink at the centre.
At a corner of the table was a small pile of papyrus slips. All of which was covered in neatly scribbled writing.
“I have compiled it, Matriarch,” one of the women said. She was a slightly short lady with brown hair.
She sifted through the last papyrus slip for information before jotting it down on a scroll. Upon completion, she passed it to the third person in the room, a young lady in her late teens.
The matriarch, possibly in her late twenties to mid-thirties, was dressed in a crimson dress. She opened her previously shut eyes, her slanted sword-like brows easing up as the dark-haired beauty received the scroll.
The young woman read, her expression growing more solemn as the seconds went by. The silence seemed to drag on for several moments.
“What does it say, Lovell?” The matriarch asked, her expression changing from blank indifference to a faint curiosity.
“My apologies, Aunt,” the younger lady said, looking up from the scroll. “I got carried away for a moment.”
“We might have a problem then?” The matriarch asked, staring at the younger lady. It was hard to tell her age, given the contrast between her delicate facial features and her gentle curves.
“It is not often I see you looking this worried.”
“Well, that might be somewhat true,” Lovell said, glancing back towards the scroll.
The matriarch raised a questioning brow. “Explain.”
“Well, according to the intel here, Hertalese succeeded in annexing Alvia province and have begun fortifying their positions.” Lovell gestured to the map as she stood up. She immediately removed the Algrian royal household’s emblem from the grid, placing it in a basket by the side, replacing it with the emblem of the Hertalean royal family.
“All other provinces received written letters from King Tuhkus of Hertalese imploring them to put down their arms and send their oaths of fealty as well as a tribute to aid post-war efforts in restoring the capital to functioning condition. These letters have been mostly ignored, with more attention being paid to the ongoing conflict between Claula, Erytria and Zagia provinces which erupted shortly after the king’s capture was confirmed. The dispute is said to be over a series of large crystal ore mines(previously controlled by the crown) along the borders of the provinces concerned.”
Pausing for a moment, Lovell continued.
“The royal household of the Kingdom of Verum released two announcements shortly after the capture of the king. Firstly, the Verumitte crown had finally confirmed that they indeed approved the second fleet’s intervention in the ‘reformation’ of Algrim. As well as approving materiel loans, ship leases and monetary sponsorships from certain vassals to ensure the success of the war effort.
They also announced that their second fleet, which aided n the war effort, will remain at the Ignis basin. They are to anchor off the coast of Cinden islands, indefinitely, to support the ‘reformation’ of the ‘rogue’ state, Algrim, and ensure the ‘safety’ of their allies inland.
After these announcements, Hertalese immediately released a public marriage proposal on behalf of the crown prince, Everhard Wesselbutum to Verum’s first princess, Alina Scymaester. The notice implored that the marriage would further unify their nations’ bonds. Verum has yet to release an official response.
Shortly afterwards, the Blacksail, sponsored by the kingdom of Aries, attacked Hertalese and are currently ravaging the southern coastal regions of Kerezo province. Aries soon released an announcement confirming the sponsorship and claimed it was retribution against Hertalese for disrupting Udorian peace. With the Hertelean first and second fleets invested in the war effort, its southern coastal regions are now susceptible to attack.
Verum’s first fleet attempted to intervene but was routed by a joint fleet of Aries second fleet and Blacksail’s capital vessels, the opposing fleets are currently in a tense standoff off the shores of Roclif province, Verum.
Aries first fleet has begun erecting a naval blockade off Hormouth bay to prevent Verumitte merchant ships in the Lichtona gulf from accessing Buxster sea, and The Blacksails have begun boldly patrolling out of Demon’s bay in Verum’s territorial waters while flying their flags, causing unrest amongst the nobility and common folk who inhabit the coastal region.
In response, Tequilan, Quiltonitte and Ivonnian crowns released letters of condemnation. All have agreed to amass a joint fleet in the Morgan Channel off the shores of Vilevane to ‘defend the interests’ of Algrim’s remaining vassals. Quilton has also announced it would order a crusade across the border into Algrim if Hertalese attempts to forcibly subdue any of the remaining Algrian vassals, halting the Hertalean advance.
An Ivonnite army has been ordered to begin amassing at the Grotha-Buzely border, pressuring the Hertalean crown to provide a sufficient response despite their already strained resources.”
The Matriarch raised a brow in surprise. “All this happened in the ten days it took us to get here and re-establish communications?”
“It seems so, aunt,” Lovell nodded.
“Well, things just happened to move faster than expected then,” The Matriarch said, crooking a brow. “Nothing unusual has happened yet, and the other kingdom’s reactions to the annexations haven’t deviated too far from normal to be of any risk to our plans, so why the grim face?”
“There were a few complications at Greenfields,” Lovell admitted with a sigh. Her delicate brows bunched up into a tight frown. “ Levi’s adopted brother mutinied upon receiving the news, during which Levi was heavily injured. Luckily he survived.
Though not long after, one of their vassals began acting up in the hopes of expanding their territory. Before the Priestess in charge of the region could intervene to safely extract him out, that idiot decided to sneak into Redwater and stage an insurrection.”
The Matriarch gasped, visibly concerned. “Is he alright?”
“He is fine,” Lovell said still frowning, “He managed to subdue the rebelling vassal and both Redwater and Greenfields are now under a lockdown.
“They seem to be doing a really good job since the priestess predicts that it might progressively get harder to relay messages. This is mostly due to a rather hefty bounty on anyone forcibly attempting to communicate with the outside world.”
“Are you sure it is Levi you are talking about?” The Matriarch asked, her brows crooked in a questioning gesture. “I do not remember him being so resourceful in matters of these sorts.”
The tent flap opened, and an abbess walked in wearing a white dress and cloak. A black veil covering her face and hiding her features. The woman bowed to the Matriarch then Lovell before turning with a bow towards the third lady who had remained respectfully silent so far. She handed the silent lady a note before quietly leaving the tent.
“I am sure the priestess would have informed us of such if that was the case,” Lovell said, subconsciously ignoring the departing abbess. “But there seem to be no other problems besides these—”
“Pardon my intrusion, Your Holiness,” The third woman said, interrupting Lovell, “But the Faceless that was sent out three days ago has returned with your quarry.”
“Aden?” The Matriarch asked, a glint flashing in her eyes for a moment.
“Yes, my lady,” the third said, “the princess and queen as well.”
“Where is he then? Bring him to me.” The Matriarch said regally.
“Yes, right away my lady.” The woman replied as she left for the exit.
“Should I leave?” Lovell asked.
Now alone with her niece, the matriarch’s expression softened, shedding a portion of her inviolable aura.
“How do I look?” she asked, eliciting an amused glance from the younger woman.
“What?” She said as she turned towards the exit trying to look offended. “It’s not like you are any better. Getting work up because ‘someone’ finally decided to grow a pair and snatch some territory for himself.
A stifled chuckle.
Aden walked in tow after a short, brown-haired woman wearing a jet-black dress with a black shawl partially covering her hair. The queen and princess were absent due to being forced to stay behind. Although he felt uncomfortable about the arrangement, he was fully aware that there was little he could do but cooperate.
At a moderated pace, he followed behind the woman he suspected to be a priestess or higher given the colour of her dress.
The entrance flap of a relatively large tent was lifted by the woman. She gestured for him to go in.
Aden walked in, and his gaze fell unto two women. A stranger who seemed barely older than his youngest son and another whom he was familiar with.
“It’s been a while,” Aden said suddenly, breaking the tense quietude. His expression was bland, but his eyes held a hint of a complex emotion. Forlornness? Yearning? Unease? Mistrust?
“Yes. Yes, it has,” the Matriarch said, her expression stoic. But despite the bland expression on her face, her right hand twitched nervously under his gaze. A tick the acquainted man was quick to notice.
“You look nervous,” he commented with a crooked brow.
“No. No, I am not,” the matriarch denied with a mild cough, “why would I be?”
Aden fell silent for a moment before revealing an amused smile, his gaze clearing and losing a bit of its edge for a moment.
Then he chuckled, saying.
“How have you been, Vaiu?”
Political Map Udoris – Algrim
Udoris Biome Map – Algrim
Terrain Map Udoris – Full
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