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Silent Knives at the End of an Empire
After a grueling seven-month campaign, I’m happy to report the Imperial legions have finally emerged victorious over the hordes of Balatia. Today, we took the heads of the last chieftains and their thrice-damned hags, piked them and sent them to every fortress on the northern border so that all Balataic brutes may witness their peoples’ defeat. Though we’ve made the martial victory, at great cost in blood and coin, I yet feel it is we who have lost, for they will return again in the next season, even more aggrieved, to fight a diminished force with equally diminished will to fight. But the campaign has given me a chance to prove myself on the battlefield and I have made a particularly strong impression with my centurion, Adrakus, who granted me the honor of planting the golden leonis of the XLIII Legion at the hill at Gormaugh. Adrakus is cousin to the Duke Latha, himself cousin to the Patron of Bordo Lamum. Though Father would doubtless disapprove of any alliance with the curs of House Revus, such men could be a great asset to Corlanteum when the need arises — a time that appears fast approaching.
The late news from Imperia has quickly soured the sweet wine of victory still in our mouths. Rumors of Emperor’s imminent death are now well known even by the lowest-bred legionnaire and auxilia, and morale quickly falters. Whole bands of men desert the Legion to return home each night, while others stay on to recruit friends and comrades to future causes. House Olegea, naturally, has pressed its advantage, its Imperial “overseers” leveraging the continued allegiances of officers with the spoils of war and promises of status. Assuming the death of the Emperor, we are no longer a legion but a rabble, for every man has accepted the inevitable, and is preparing for the war of succession to come.
In such times, I’ve found myself returning again to your request, General Harko, my uncle, and I now feel I must accept out of loyalty to our empire and duty to our family. War is coming to the Golden Empire, but it will be our erstwhile allies of the Great Houses whom we fight. This war will not be fought by legions but by lone men, who set aside spatha and pilum and shield to wield guile and deception and secrets, with the stakes no less than the throne of the Golden Empire itself.
To this end, I have enclosed the materials you requested — detailed descriptions of troop movements and training regimens of the provincial troops, whom I observed while serving here in Tertio. Should they ally with Atrodia as you’ve predicted, these could prove invaluable to our peoples’ future. Please forgive my precaution of encoding this message using the outdated Corantic method. I’ve been under increasing scrutiny by our Tertic hosts and thought it wise should this letter be intercepted…
Cloak and Dagger is a game of espionage set against a classical fantasy world, where opposing families vie for control of the throne of a crumbling Golden Empire. Player characters are silent soldiers fighting a covert war, whose actions guide generals, transform politics, and undo nations. Though the trappings have changed — high tech gadgets are replaced with mythical relics and criminal masterminds make way for legendary monsters — the arts of manipulation, intelligence gathering, and tradecraft remain the same, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.