Travialce's Report on the State of the Empire (03/06/2007)

Dear Prince Trion, Lion of the Kingdom,

I trust this missive finds His Royal Highness in good health and fine spirits.

Please find enclosed a simple diagram displaying the relations I have discovered between the various individuals and organizations within the Empire of Aht Urhgan.

I have also included notations of certain observations I have made during my sojourn here in the Near East.

I hope this information may prove useful.

Empress Nashmeira II

This individual remains shrouded in mystery.
However, one thing is clear: Her Magnificence is no simple puppet under the control of the Grand Vizier. This is evidenced in her decision to authorize the establishment of the mercenary company "Salaheem's Sentinels," despite vehement protest from her closest advisors.

Grand Vizier Razfahd

The Grand Vizier's main function appears to be the command of the Imperial Guard, or "the Immortals," as they are more commonly known. As His Highness suspects, I am almost certain that the Grand Vizier's constant deployment of these Immortals to the various reaches of the continent--despite their primary role as bodyguards to the Empress--is in some way connected to the Astral Candescence.

Aht Urhgan Archaeological Research Institute

The A.A.R.I. is an organization funded by the Imperial Palace.
It appears to be occupied with the investigation of historical remnants; however, the fact that it is led by the alchemist responsible for the development of automatons, and also has the frequent cooperation of the Immortals, suggests an agenda beyond simple archaeology.

Lady Aphmau, the Court Puppetmaster

I have learned few absolute truths concerning this inhabitant of Al Zahbi beyond her occupation and her ability to simultaneously control a pair of automatons. Judging from her speech and dress, I have little doubt that she resides within the Imperial Palace, and has ties to the Imperial family.
Lady Aphmau has already come into contact with the agent in question, and I intend to observe her future movements with increased vigilance.

The Ashu Talif

I have learned that the ghost ship spoken of in recent rumors is also known as "the Black Coffin." This vessel is under the command of one Admiral Luzaf--a man who is gathering growing support under a flag hostile to the Empire.
It is my intention to attempt a closer investigation of this ship in the near future.

Salaheem's Sentinels

This mercenary company has changed little since the departure of His Highness.
However, I am concerned by the subversive behavior of one particular employee. It is possible that our agent entrenched within their ranks would know more of this employee's motivations.

This concludes my report.

Your loyal servant, Travialce

Illustration by Mitsuhiro Arita