In the Shadow of Princes
Phil, tell us about your favorite techno-punk gear-jockey.
Sometime in the late Fall of 999 CE, a stranger came to Timberley.
Hidden in the ancient forests of old Provence, Timberley Castle had always been a haven to travellers and a place of pilgrimage and refuge for humanity’s exceptionals, the adventurers and mystics, the Seekers of Truth. It began here in the 1st century BC, before Capetia was called France and was instead called Gallia. At that time the Romans called this province Narbonensis, and somewhere between the House of God and the House of Demons, Marcus Alivoctis, an auxilliary commander of one of Caesar’s legions discovered a nexus between worlds, a point at which the time and space governing our physical universe might bleed into the eternal realms celestial and infernal. Confronted by awful and glorious truths, Alivoctis deserted Caesar’s army and founded a secret colony in what would later be called Timberley Forest.
It was an Anglo-Saxon ranger/crusader named Kay of Whitby who, in the late 11th century AD, gave Timberley its enduring name. After swindling Raymond St. Gilles IV, Count of Toulouse, out of a sizable parcel of Provence lands, Kay and his would-be crusader associates came to realize that they had unwittingly inherited the legacy of Alivoctis’s lost colony along with the mysterious sacred groves and shrines that the descendents of Alivoctis had kept concealed for centuries. The new masters of Timberley, Odo and Marc Blanche, sealed a convenant with the remnants of Alivoctis’s Gallo-Roman tribe and pledged to the continued defence of Timberley and its sacred places for generations to come.
After the passage of untold years, the Timberley emerged yet again as focal point of history, when Jimmy Nails and his allies rallied here to repulse an all-out invasion of Phoenix Order psions and clone-construct soldiers. A collaboration of Machinist tech, Denille Olivaw’s unparallelled spellcraft, and Timberley’s native magical might resulted in the first loss ever to be suffered by Golan Trevize’s war machine.
Jimmy Nails came to learn that the Four Heroes of the previous Heroic Age had made Timberley their homebase for a brief time during the Wars of the Princes. Jimmy also discovered the abandoned Timberley laboratory of the Heroes’s resident Machinist, Manfred Klinnsmen, the pre-eminent authority on both Precursor and Nu tech of his generation. Indeed, it was Klinnsmen who had founded the Order of Machinists, the very order of which Jimmy Nails was now the sole survivor.
After a failed attempt to locate Klinnsmen in the Western Continent and a bizarre multiversal trek across infinite planes of existence, Jimmy participated in the BEF campaign against Phoenix power in Frisia and was instrumental in the final destruction of the Arcane Temple of the Phoenix in Amsterdam. Afterwards, consumed by a mounting belief in the existence of a Phoenix plan for global genocide, he returned to Timberley to resume his own work and studies.
This phase of labour was interrupted by news of a rebellion against Phoenix power in Paris. At the urging of the mysterious James Knight, Jimmy joined Phillipe Depardieu in the defence of Paris and Capetia’s Queen Anna II against the rise of a Phoenix-loyal military dictatorship. The ensuing clash between Phillipe’s loyalist allies and Phoenix forces, led by Archon Stroh Gendall, the Phoenix leader who led the attack on the Machinists at Elgin, resulted in a fantastic sewer tunnel battle that witnessed a stunning victory for Jimmy and the French resistance.
It was at this time that Jimmy Nails made contact with an isolated subterrannean clan of pseudo-Precursors who had descended from tunnel dwelling survivors of the Age of Poisoned Sea and Sky. This lost clan of Parisiens had been living in buried tunnels, cut off from the outside world for generations by a tunnel collapse in the Paris underground. The investigations of Jimmy revealed the existence of the lost Parisiens and his excavation efforts eventually freed the long-surviving clan from their underground exile.
Jimmy returned to Timberley in triumph with a sizable war chest looted from Phoenix coffers and the survivors of the lost Parisiens, noted for their mechanical lore, in tow. Having learned details of the Phoenix Flagellum Project while accessing Phoenix databases, Jimmy was now certain of Golan Trevize’s genocidal plans but lacked the information and manpower necessary to intercede in a meaningful way.
And so he made the Timberley lab his home once more. Now driven by the knowledge that Trevize had fixed humankind to a Doomsday clock and not yet willing to concede defeat to the self-proclaimed masters of the world quite yet, Jimmy directed his dedicated team of Parisien techs to help in the construction of nothing less than the very salavation of humanity itself. [Over the top sentiment: check!]
And sometime in the late Fall of 999 CE, a stranger came to Timberley.
Julian Beech, the spymaster of the Britannian Expeditionary Force, had made the perilous journey through the enchanted and haunted wilds of Timberley to bring an important message to Jimmy Nails. Salvor Dorrick, Lord Protector of Britannia and long-ally of the Machinist, was bound in chains and now being held by the Phoenix Order in the very heart of Rome. More, Salvor had learned more of the Phoenix Flagellum plot and managed to smuggle info out to Beech through a BEF agent. Beech was beginning to organize a rescue mission and he had come to the Machinist, Jimmy Nails, for assistance. According to Beech, a mission into the heart of the Golden Empire of the Phoenix depended upon technological skills that only Jimmy could provide. The fate of Salvor, indeed, the fate of the world now hung upon Jimmy’s response.