The Ruin of Fomoria 9

The headache just wouldn't go. Most of the time, I'd find it impossible to work on these annals. If I'd just relax and daydream for a while, a comforting torpor would settle in, and I'd had visions. Wine-induced visions, I understood that much. I saw the ancient past, a younger, unbroken world, and I witnessed it through the eyes of an ancient vigil, whiling away eternity in front of an ancient bridge leading to the future, ever forbidden to cross it but rewarded with pleasure of the senses. It did not make much sense at the time.
In the end, the headache became unbearable, I surrendered my will and joined the crowd, down below in the crypts of Rath Chimbalth. We dug for weeks, used powerful spells to weaken the protective sigils. We were driven. We did not flinch when the glyphs killed the whole party. Too much of a strange power had seeped out of the underground prison already. We all failed to die, we resumed work and we broke in.
We found a small room, pregnant with unbidden darkness and old curses. Tuan stepped in. He was carrying a jar. He sang a song. There were bones on the floor.
Sacred wine was spilled. And the wine was blood, the wine was a body.
And we all bowed.

As you can see, I took an heavy bless, which also provides an excellent platform to cast Tartarian Gate and Gift of Health. It synergizes well with it: my sacreds are harder to kill, so they survive longer and get more experience. Gift of Health can take care of their afflictions and augment their hit points even more. On the other hand, my lack of Death income still hurts (and Dark Knowledge now costs 4 Death gems).

My pretender is here but so are the long-awaited Machakan swarms. Faced with about 760 units, my Northern army proceeds to retreat in the direction of a newly-erected fort. The lack of focus of the Machakan AI allows me to lose only two provinces so far.

Did I mention Gift of Health? A few months after Lodhbh breaks out of his prison, he casts Gift of Health with an healthy supplement of Nature gems. Of course, the ritual was no small undertaking. An assistant Fomorian druid even misspelled a syllable in a chant of power, resulting in an explosion -that was mostly contained, thank you very much.

After Gift of Health is cast, I station my northern army a few months in a dominion-soaked province in order for my warriors to shed their afflictions. Machaka just suicides a few armies on them. In friendly dominion, my giants now sport huge pools of hitpoints. (I clock a record at 172 on a King with Obesity.)

My pretender also empowers in Earth and proceeds to produce a few Crystal Shields for my army leading Kings, so they can cast Divine Bless and generally use even more awesome magic.

We are now late summer of Year 4: 30 provinces, 1811 gold, 529 rp, 37 gems and 17 slaves this month. (A monk named Herman joined the previously mentioned pilgrim for
Blood-empowered virgin-hunting fun in the province just south of my Throne.)