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Rise of Legends™ boasts three completely unique races that you can lead to victory. In this section, we explore the industrious Vinci, the mystic Alin, and the enigmatic Cuotl. Delve into the characters and cultures that populate the world of Rise of Legends and learn about the stories behind the game.

Part 1

Day 1:

Hello, Brother. I know that you will never read these words. But I wish to record this journey, and when I thought of an audience, of a person I would wish to bear witness to it, yours was the first face I saw in my mind.

Day 1, you ask? Yes, Petruzzo. For if this is to be the beginning of my new life, let me then begin my observation of time anew with that simple marker. What other dates could I use that would have meaning? The third day of the third month of the Vinci year 987. What significance should this have, when I have no intention of living another day among my own people?

The eve of my sixteenth birthday. Again, equally meaningless. No one will know, or care, where I am going.

The eve of my conscription, perhaps I could say, my forced military service under the watchful eye of Father and his General Carlini, as well as your own expectations. But this is not true, for my actions make it untrue. If I had stayed in Miana, conscription is indeed what morning would bring—drilling with the Musketeers, learning the simple art of destruction. The first morning in four years of mornings, and afternoons, and nights, among men who care for nothing else than showing their strength, men with minds suited only to the brute tasks of marching in a straight line and the firing of rifles.

No offense, Brother, but I was not meant for such things. I suspect that you know this, and I had hoped that even Father would be able to see it, to see what an impossibly poor match of gears it would be. He has already groomed you for leadership, Petruzzo. And you seem to enjoy it enough. You were born a soldier. Like Father, I suppose.

I wish only to learn. My education at the Mianan academies has taught me everything it could.

Ha! Even as I write these words, I realize how preposterous they are. I have been years ahead of my own teachers since my first day of classes. The Young Inventor of Miana, they called me, as if there were anyone older with a better claim to the title. Certainly no one among them.

So, with my ‘education’ behind me, and nothing but mindless military service ahead, I choose to leave Miana. I am ready to discover what I cannot learn among my own people.

I was uncertain, at first, as to where I should go. Venucci seemed like a possibility. I feel that a trip to Venucci would only end in disappointment, however. Some of their technology is mildly interesting, but it lacks subtlety. The Venuccians would rather apply twenty tons of power to a problem that could be solved with an ounce of finesse. Though, even if I had little to learn there, I could likely teach them a thing or two. I could just as likely make a fortune for myself in the process.

But politics is not so arcane a subject to me that I do not grasp the ramifications of such a choice. Father would likely assume that Venucci had simply abducted me, and would use that as leverage for another border skirmish with their Doge, if not an all-out war. Perhaps, with Father getting on in years, he would even give the command of his armies to you. I would not put you in such danger, brother.

If not Venucci, then perhaps some other city? But compared to Miana and Venucci, every other city seems little more than a backwater. I have been to several, accompanying you and father on your diplomatic trips to Tarona and Vernazza. I would rather replace my arms with clockwork than to live in such places.

No, I wish to learn, and to learn something new. There is no place among the Vinci city-states where I might do such a thing. If there are new developments in clockwork technology, I cannot help but believe that they would be spun from my own mind. I will have a lifetime to invent. For now, I would very much like to explore.

The Alin Kingdom. That is a place I have never seen. They send trade caravans through the Silean Pass, goods and spices carried on the backs of impossible flying beasts. I have seen their Desert Walkers. More soldiers, perhaps, but they do not seem the simple grunts of our own battalions. The Alin, to a person, simply seem to emanate wisdom.

What could I learn of magic, you might ask? I have no idea. But I sit now in the dark of the Silean Pass, writing these words by lamplight, and I cannot help but believe that my entire future waits but a few miles away.

I would like to continue writing to you, Petruzzo, though I know these words are for me alone. I hope that you will understand why I am doing this, and that you share that understanding with Father. For what it is worth.

Your Brother, always. – G

Part 2

Day 2:

The desert seems endless, blank, and sterile, my Brother.

But if you look closely, there is life everywhere. There are signs of travel, of civilization, of a people, scattered between every grain of sand. I brought a great deal of my own equipment with me, and though it is a bit heavy, I have never been so glad of a decision. I would have cursed myself to be in such a place without my magnoptics.

If you had told me, a month ago, that I would happily spend a day sitting on the ground, staring at piles of dust, I would have thought you mad. But perhaps, I am the mad one. Perhaps I am mad with the heat!

But I’m telling you—there are mysteries, here, in the desert. The sand itself seems alive, somehow.

Today, as I approached the outer fringes of the Alin Kingdom, I saw, in the distance, a group of travelers. Only when I used my scopes could I see that these were not merely travelers, but soldiers, Desert Walkers. Brother, I can only imagine what you would give to have your own Imperial Musketeers gain the skills I witnessed these men employ. My scopes are the best Vinci technology could produce—I know this, for I built them myself. And yet, I would swear that what I watched was caused by some distortion in my equipment. The soldiers, as a group, came to a halt in their march, and then, simply vanished. I have no other word for it. One moment they were there, and the next, they had simply faded from sight.

I watched for what must have been at least a full hour, and the men did not reappear. Several times I considered moving closer, to examine the scene of the disappearance for myself, but I did not wish to take my eyes away, even for a single moment. After a very long time, I was beginning to assume that the men had simply been swallowed by some desert monster, but then, as quickly as they disappeared, they emerged from the sand, and marched away.

Would that Vinci technology could produce such an effective means of camouflage. It is something I should like to give a great deal of thought.

In the meantime, I am left pondering the roots of Alin magic. Is there something inherent in the nature of the Alin that is so different from the Vinci that they master magic, where we would apply technology to solve the same problem? Is it something in the land itself?

I study the sand now, in great handfuls, under my scopes. What appears so dull and mundane at first glance reveals itself under greater scrutiny. The sand itself shimmers; it almost seems to move of its own accord. I am unsure if the magic of the Alin has infused the sand, or the magic of the sand has infused the Alin. But I shall make it my purpose here to find out.

Your Brother, always. – G

Day 3:

I may have miscalculated, Petruzzo.

My first days traveling here (has it only been three days since I left?) seemed mild enough, uneventful. But now I wander deeper into the desert, along roads that must lead to some city, some settlement of people. I have seen nothing. I have met no one. The heat has grown more and more intense. I think perhaps I shall begin to travel only at night, and rest during the day. I read over my earlier pages, and I feel a bit foolish now. Perhaps I have brought too much equipment, and not enough water.

I’m going to rest for a few moments, under the shade of some large rocks I have found. Do not worry overmuch, Brother. I have thought my way out of worse situations than this. Do you remember? That time I had to destroy that clockwork hound I worked so hard to build when I was only eleven? You laughed at me, at the gashes on my arms and legs, and said that I should avoid inventing anything else with teeth. Good advice, that. I wish you were here to give me more. And, perhaps, something to drink.

See? The heat is not so dire that my sense of humor suffers. I will be fine, Petruzzo. Rest easy, Brother. I hope that you are well.

Your Brother, always. – G

Part 3

Day …

This is folly.

I do not know what day it is. Last night was cold, so bitterly cold. I dug into the sand. I tried to stay warm, but I could not, I covered myself with sand, and I was cold, I froze, I shivered. I wanted heat again, I thought I would freeze.

Today there is heat. I have no water. There is no shelter, other than these rocks I cower beneath. The sun finds me. It will not let me hide. I would beg it to go away if I thought it would listen. The sun burns at me, Petruzzo. I swear it is a living thing, and it wants me to die, and it will have its way. I’m going to die.

I don’t know what I’m doing, Petruzzo. I thought today that I would go in search of water, but I am weak, I only sit here. My legs will not move. I am so thirsty.

I have seen no one. I cannot call out. There is sand in my mouth, always sand. I am dying, brother. Please help me.

People. There are people. They will never find me. So far away. I cannot move, cannot speak. They must find me. They must help me. Help me.

My lenses…

Day ?

I do not know what day this is, Petruzzo, but I do know that I am alive. I lie in a tent. There is light here, what looks to be candlelight, but there are no candles. The flames simply hover around the room. I touched one. There was no heat.

How did I get here? I remember being in the desert, I remember the sun baking me to death. I remember seeing people, far off, trying to move to them. My legs would not obey me, they were cramped and shaking. I could not stand. I sat in the dust, watching them move away. I remembered my lenses. I pulled my magnoptics apart. It took ages, but I found a mirror within them. I used it, trying to signal the people, begging them to see me. I do not remember them moving toward me. I must have passed out. I awoke here.

It is cool here, in the tent, mercifully cool. The skin on my face is raw to every wisp of breeze. I must have been badly burned. I can only imagine the blisters. But I am alive, Petruzzo.

I have not yet seen my rescuers. I tried to call out once, but my throat is raw, and my voice, missing. I hear snatches of conversations around me. It is clearly Alin, but of course, I understand next to nothing of it.

I am going to rest now, Petruzzo. But know that your brother is safe, despite his best efforts to get himself killed.

Your Brother, always.

— G

Day 20

Twenty days. Which means seventeen days passed while I was delirious in the desert, and recovering under the care of the Alin. But today, I saw the stars, and the moon, and I know my charts well enough to determine the date. I cannot believe it has been so long.

The Alin, dear brother, are a fascinating people, and they have been very kind. Though, being a bumbling Mianan, I misinterpreted their kindness at first.

This morning, I awoke to find myself being tended by one of my benefactors. I attempted to greet him, but my voice caught in my throat, and I began coughing. The Alin man brought me some water, helped me to sit upright, and helped me again, to drink. I felt like a child—unable even to feed myself. The water helped, though. I was able to speak, to thank the man for his kindness. He nodded, understanding the sentiment, if not the words. As he turned to leave, the man caught sight of my magnoptics, lying among my possessions. I watched with amusement as he picked them up to examine them. I reasoned that the Alin had likely never seen such a device.

My amusement turned to horror as the man pulled the lenses from their cradles. I spent weeks shaping those lenses from the finest glass in all of the Vinci lands. To say that they are delicate would be a gross abuse of understatement. I held my breath as the man stood, palming the lenses. Then he simply left, taking them with him. I called out with as much force as I was able, which was very little. He did not come back for at least an hour.

When he did return, he smiled, returned to my magnoptics, and carefully placed the lenses back in their cradles. I assumed that he had simply been fascinated by the lenses, and had spent the intervening time showing them around to his fellow Alin. I could only imagine the smudges and scratches that now spoiled their wondrous clarity. The man snapped the last cradle back into position and handed my magnoptics back to me. Filled with dread, I lifted them to my eye.

I thought it was a trick. I could see everything, Petruzzo. I could see every fiber in every thread of the tent wall. I could see tiny wormlike animals, scurrying about, hundreds of arms or legs waving like the oars of some impossible ship. My lenses had been the best in all of the Vinci lands. But until this moment, they had been a toy. I lowered the magnoptics to my lap, and gazed at the Alin man with dumbfounded awe. He smiled once more, and placed his hand on his chest.

Fezzi, he said. He tapped his chest once more and repeated it. Fezzi.

I did the same, with my own name. He smiled again, and I smiled back.

Fezzi has visited many times since then. We play a little game—I point to objects, and he names them. I do the same for him in Vinci. It is a simple way to learn, but strangely thrilling. I have entered a new world, Petruzzo. It is not the majestic city of Azar Harif, but I find that I do not care.

Your Brother, always. — G

Part 4

Day 23

My strength is fully returned, Petruzzo. I’m sure you are relieved to hear it. My days here among the Alin have been extraordinary. Any misgivings I had about my adventure during my days baking like a game bird in the desert have long since vanished. I would not trade these 23 days for one thousand times their number among our own people.

Fezzi speaks to me entirely in Vinci. This is frustrating for two reasons. First, I wish to learn Alin, which is made far more difficult by his reluctance to use it. Second, his mastery of our language, while rapid, began only three days ago. We still have some difficulty communicating, as you may well imagine. I would pay handsomely for a capable translator.

One thing which is clear enough – my strength has returned none too soon. The Alin camp is a sandstorm of activity – quite literally. Most of the structures here are made of nothing but magically bound sand, sometimes lined with ornate fabric, as was my own tent, but just as often not. I’m sure it must make caravanning a much easier process. I am uncertain if my recovery was well-timed, or if the Alin were waiting for me to regain my feet, but as soon as I had, they lost no time in preparing to depart.

In fact, dear brother, I am writing this now from the back of a massive scorpion, rigged with saddles and bridles, much as a Condottieri dragoon would outfit his horse. It is a remarkably smooth way to travel – the creatures many legs glide over the sand, where a horse would be forced to trot or gallop. I am having no difficulty writing, aside from Fezzi’s near-constant interruptions. I have tried, in my limited Alin, and in his limited Vinci, to explain what I am doing. He smiles, and nods, and asks again a few moments later. I cannot be sure if his confusion is genuine, or if this is an example of Alin humor.

We are traveling deeper into the heart of the Alin Kingdom, though my only point of reference is the path of the sun in the sky. The dunes are endless, and they all look quite alike to me. The path is peaceful and travel seems easy, however. We have encountered no bandits, or monsters, or any of the marauding genies that you conjured up to give me nightmares while camping in the woods near Vernazza as boys.

We have traveled for hours now. I am grateful for the light clothing Fezzi has supplied, as well as a very well-crafted pair of shaded glass goggles. I have never seen their like, and asked about how they were made, but I’m afraid my limited grasp of Alin must have clouded my question. As near as I could tell, I asked “How make dark glass?” but Fezzi reacted as if I’d just uttered some sort of curse. He looked around, as if afraid someone had overheard me, and gestured for me to be silent. I nodded, not wishing to give offense.

But I will make a point to ask again, when my Alin is less clumsy.

Your brother, always. --G