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Solen Diplomacy
Many adventurers have found that dealing with the Solen can be quite a profitable endeavor, as long as you're willing to help them out with a few simple tasks.

"The tunnels were strangely warm, unlike the damp tunnels Margrave was used to. She took off her cloak and folded it over her arm. These ants were most peculiar. Unlike tunnels created by orcs or natural caves, there was a strange regularity to the Solen home. The tunnels connecting storage caverns or fungal gardens were of a constant width, even when said tunnels passed under rock formations. The ants were civilized to the point of having enslaved beetles and spiders for various uses.

"Margrave's thoughts returned to why she was there. While they were skilled miners, the Solen had far more use as a supplier of translocation powder. Translocation powder could be used to transport objects and living things from location to location without mana. Scrolls, wands, and arcane gems all required the user to have some mystical energy. While most Britannians could use a recall scroll, very few were powerful enough to recall hundreds of objects or people in a short amount of time. Translocation powder held such a promise. With it, merchants could transport cargo more efficiently, and healers could send patients to others with more skill in treating certain maladies. Husbands and wives could rush to each other's aid as well.

"Margrave didn't have such innocuous uses for the powder. As head of the Vesper Trading Company, a front company for the Council of Sin, she planned to use the powder against Britannian loyalists and anyone who stood in the Council's way. The powder could be used to move valuable relics required for the Council's necromantic research, deliver weapon shipments and other black market goods, and as a most excellent battle aid. A single group of the Council's knights and mages could control more territory and quickly move to defend positions under attack, even if the distance was across the world!

"The Solen matriarch wasn't a skilled diplomat. She begged for seeds while telling of all her hive's problems. Margrave thought about selling this information to the other hive, or the ambitious queens in this hive, but she decided it would be more efficient to continue as she was. The matriarch talked about infiltrators who she needed to deal with. These Solen from the other hive were working to disrupt basic hive functions. The matriarch was having trouble dealing with the problem because the bugs had trouble telling the infiltrators apart. Thinking back to the Britannian Guide to Entomology she had leafed through before embarking on this attempt at diplomacy, Margrave wondered if the Solen were color-blind. The Guide mentioned that even pollen-gathering bees had trouble with reds and oranges and preferred blue flowers. Considering the acid sacs of the warriors, the Solen did more than gather pollen. This, Margrave found most amusing. Despite its organization and valuable translocation powder, all that the hive really needed was one good set of eyes.

"Agreeing to kill the infiltrators was far easier than actually finding them. Eventually, Margrave found a group of them in the Trinsic swamps. The infiltrator warriors and queens, despite their bulk, were easily confused by gentle music and forgot whom they were attacking. A few spells later, Margrave looked over the insect corpses to find a way to prove her deed. She hacked off a few antennae and returned to the matriarch.

"The matriarch was amazed and thankful. While it didn't solve the infiltrator problem, the act was seen by the matriarch as a willingness to defend the hive. Margrave accepted the praise, trying not to show her annoyance. She was here to bargain for translocation powder, not defend some big bugs. She would play the loyal defender only until she discovered a way to produce the powder on her own.

"Margrave tried to steer the conversation to the powder, but the matriarch carried on about water. The hive was thirsty. The matriarch was thirsty. Their water supply was poisonous, and the water they had gathered elsewhere was insufficient. The matriarch begged Margrave to bring her water. She would have promised nearly anything in her desperation.

"Several employees of the Vesper Trading Company carried barrels and pitchers of water into the cavern, dumping the contents into two large storage vats. The matriarch willingly converted a large bunch of zoogi fungi into powder as a sign of her gratitude. Margrave thought about offering the matriarch a more permanent solution to her problem, but decided against it. It would be better to have the ants dependent on the Vesper Trading Company for their water than not, in order to ensure steady supply of the translocation powder."

-Margrave

We are pleased to continue to present these tales of your adventures in the world of Britannia. As always, keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics! Happy adventuring!

Published: November 2002
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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