The Duke’s Report

Duke Arthur Tennenbaum, of Bran Tessen, authored a report after an inspection of the Posterli Junta for the purpose of expanding the Juntas monopoly to Bran Tessen. 

The Posterli Junta’s reputation as capable, resourceful, and determined is well earned. Their product is considered to be of the highest priority, and the sacrifice of individuals to ensure the success of the company is well within their methods of doing business. I have personally witnessed Posterli Junta employees throwing crates of goods from wagons sliding from cliffs; even as the wagon itself plunged over the edge the man threw one more box, while his compatriots seized not his arms, but the cargo at risk with him. One can only speculate as to the nature of the power that the heads of the Junta hold over their subordinates.

While the Posterli Junta would seem to be an unfeeling beast, devouring all before them, they have done more in the service of exploration and good trade than any two entities besides them. The Whitening Sea would remain utterly impassable were it not for the exact qualities that make some nervous of the Posterli Junta’s personal power. The channel through the Whitening Sea was found specifically that large quantities of Jade could be brought into Udor. . . 

. . . The recent upheavals in the newly christened Collective of Udor have been less than friendly to the Posterli Junta. While their philosophy bears a distaste for any power bloc of such independent strength, they can ill-afford to supply themselves without the imports of the Posterli Junta. Further, the Junta may yet have the personal strength required to maintain their monopoly by main force. . . To further their own interests, the Posterli Junta is attempting to establish a relationship with the Bran Tessen government, particularly for the supplies of Jade. While valuable in Udor for its beauty and mild rarity, it is in much higher demand in Bran Tessen as a material for the creation of rough magical foci. The Collective of Udor, meanwhile, considers it largely impractical to outlaw jade, while remaining wary of the consequences of the availability of such a material. Further, to outlaw jade would cut a very profitable portion of income from the Junta, and so the Collective finds itself further between unsavory choices. . . 

During my inspection of the Headquarters of the Posterli Junta – known to most readers as existing on the borders of Udor, looking across the Whitening Sea and allowing for straightforward receiving of the jade and spices from across said body – I glimpsed an image of the future.

Imagine, if you will, the operations of a typical warehouse. Stevedores and laborers of all flavors move boxes, construct storage areas, provide a brief moment for the ships to be cleaned and prepared for their return journey. Managers oversee the bustle, employing years of experience and a precise eye to direct the power of the hundreds of men into a singular purpose.

Not so within the Posterli Junta’s headquarters. I did not see it fully, merely catching the most passing visual through the door as my guide was unfortunately pulled away in order to take cover of some urgent business. But throughout the door, I witnessed the sight. In the streets of Bran Tessen, the lights glow with an incandescence that, were we not accustomed to its nature, would seem eerie – not least of which because of the twitching mass that lies at the heart of the glow, providing its source. The quality of the light streaming from within was not augmented with the unnatural glow of gaslamp or flame, but had the pure quality of the light shed from the Myrmidons bred for that purpose. Shed from this light, I witnessed an entire gaping floor filled with these same twisting forms. My experience with the Westround Cavalry had granted me such familiarity with the variety that Myrmidons could take and I was thus able to immediately identify the structure as bearing hallmarks of the artificial creatures. This, however, would be far and away the largest of any structure that I have ever witnessed; I am unable to imagine the age of such a creature. While it must have extended throughout the entirety of the warehouse, I cannot readily fathom such an existence. The entire training of experienced stevedores and operational managers subsumed into a being dedicated entirely to the efficient storage, holding, and passing on of product is a truly remarkable vision of the future. Indeed, one can foresee that if the Posterli Junta was able to go this far, it is impossible to imagine where it might end. . . 

My guide was a man by the name of Philander Necket, most distinguished for his participation in the Tulanne Expedition. While I confess that to be in his presence was, at first, an uncomfortable sensation in which my stomach crawled when attempting to interact with his faceless, distorted being, he soon won me over with his charming, gracious manner. His manners were impeccable, and there was even a casual mention of his partaking in Ilaclosm, which was at first surprising but which I quickly understood when I saw his fluid grasp on the intricacies of interaction with his fellow creatures. In sum, it was easy to forget, save when he had to lower his head to step through a doorway as if entering a cave, or on the occasion in which he summoned a quill to his hand without the use of any form of focus; while it was rougher and less graceful than I could have managed with the aid of my own fine silver-and-jade focus, the fact that he was able to perform the feat with a movement of his hand alone was enough to astonish me. . .