Through the research of Alcmene and Dag Amundsen, the two were able to compile a comprehensive understanding of the history of House Iphigenia, the Conspiracy against House Orpheus, and the motives of Lady Megaera. Though the file wouldn’t be publicly released for several decades (due mainly to the machinations of the Council, who expressed concern at the political implications such information would have), eventually Alcmene informed the world of House Iphigenia. The repercussions were fairly severe, though the majority of the responses were focused around gratitude for Alcmene’s ending of the Aegishjálmr war. Here is the information she and Dag published.
House Iphigenia was one of the original Houses formed after the initial war between the Achaeans and Ymirons. (Heavily suspected that Iphigenia was a major influence on creating the ‘caste’ system – Dag). Though Iphigenia was old, it never became terribly prominent, incapable of acquiring a significant amount of money or prominent reputation. Iphigenia was known for its mysticism, possessing some of the most powerful and devout priests in Mecone until the Seidhrmenn war. It was Iphigenia that learned the secrets of Seidhr first, and it was their priests that enhanced the walls of Mecone against the powers of Freyja until they could bring about the end of the war. As soon as the Ephebeia was established, Iphigenia had its members in the school, both as teachers and students, and they embraced Seidhrmenn and Thaumaturgy with the same vigor. Over the next two hundred years, Iphigenia contributed little to the world besides mystical proficiency. It wasn’t until over three hundred years after their origin that they would gain any true prominence.
When Iphigenia became obsessed with goblin origins is not known. Several goblin skirmishes and even a minor goblin war did come to Mecone during their existence, though there is no indication that Iphigenia investigated the origins of goblins after these events. What is known is that Iphigenia had somehow discovered the procedure by which goblins turn people into goblins. (See The Monsters of Our Creation, by Dag Amundsen -Alcmene). Curious, the Seidhrmenn of Iphigenia began experimenting with alchemy, as it was an essential part of the goblin transformation. Finding the correct concoction, they worked on protective magicks. When they had enough proficiency with those two abilities, House Iphigenia decided to take in a sudden amount of Thralls, claiming that they were attempting to expand their House and would need basic workers. The Thralls were more than happy, especially since Iphigenia all of a sudden became quite nice to their Thralls over the last two years. Knowledge of these events would gone unnoticed if one of the Thralls had not escaped and ran into one of the rangers from House Orpheus returning from a hunting trip. After a few days of investigation, Orpheus marched upon Iphigenia and apprehended their members, forced to kill several of them in the process. House Iphigenia was disbanded almost immediately.
One hundred years, Megaera was born with innate and strong Seidhrmenn abilities. Due to her families disreputable past, as well as her families fear of magical abilities, Megaera was taken away from Mecone and raised in the Saana Fell. Megaera learned of her abilities early on and took a naturalistic take on them, using her abilities to manipulate the world around her. It was then that she began an interest in misdirection. She would go on hunting parties and alter the physical world, growing bramble and brush in areas that hid traps, or shifting the ground around to scare animals towards their hunters. When she became seventeen, Megaera expressed a desire to travel the world, and started with Mecone. As soon as she entered the city, she was taken care of, respected, feared, avoided, and served without question. Curious about her ancestors, she went to the Temple of Athena and learned of House Iphigenia. At the time, the historical records contained a significant amount of information, both on her House directly, and on her House indirectly. Megaera’s mind turned to vengeance and a plan formed in her mind. To enact it, she required a substantial amount of funds. To this end, she stayed in Mecone for a year and developed several contacts, acquiring a small house from which she could operate. Once she had a home, she left Mecone for almost five years. She traveled to the Reykjavik province and established several diplomatic connections there, increasing trade from the University of Alchemy and Technology to Mecone, as well as increasing the relationship from the Jarl to Mecone. Next she arrived at Port Erinyes and increased trade to Mecone by ten percent; a significant economic boost to the city. She also developed major diplomatic contacts and formed relationships. From there, she traveled back to Mecone, stopping briefly in Galdholandet to establish a military training regime for Mecone’s soldiers. Upon returning to Mecone, Megaera was rich and an incredibly prominent name outside of the city. She had also gathered lots of information on House Orpheus.
Megaera, during her travels, became interested in causing the downfall of House Orpheus, which was increased by her knowledge of Akademos. When she heard about Akademos’ brash nature and interest in suspicious characters, she formed a plan in her mind to subvert his character and destroy his House’s reputation. The first thing she heard of House Orpheus when she began investigating it was that it had only one heir; a cousin of Akademos who had taken interest in trading with Sumarem, the continent far to the north. While she was in Port Erinyes, Megaera contacted Narcissus, the captain of Andromeda’s finest ships. She appealed to his ambition and convinced him to agree to conspire against House Orpheus, beginning with arranging for Akademos’ cousin to die at sea. Next, she needed to make sure Akademos did not produce children. She sent one of her Ymiron guards to Galdholandet to convince a man who sells Akademos tea to place a sterilizing agent on the tea leaves. Megaera, now content that Akademos would be the only ruler to House Orpheus, began creating more contacts with the Alchemists Guild in Mecone, needing for people to develop deadly toxins and poisons. However, she was unsure of how to create her own as a House after Orpheus fell. It was Narcissus that fixed that problem. Returning to Erinyes after killing Akademos’ cousin, he presented Megaera with an black ingot he had stolen from Sumarem. The ingot was inscribed with the Aegishjálmr symbol, a mysterious symbol at the moment Megaera saw it. When she absorbed its power and gained information about it, Megaera smiled, many lines of thought connecting all at once. It was through the power of the Aegishjálmr that she would recreate House Iphigenia, that she would fix any problems resulting from Akademos’ death, and that she would continue the work her House began; creating a goblin army. When Megaera returned to Mecone, she arranged to speak with the Council’s most powerful man; Tyndareus. Immediately, she dominated him with the power of Aegishjálmr and they became aligned in their goals. Through him, Akademos was publicly antagonized, his retaliation making his House look brash and ambitious. Also through Tyndareus, Megaera learned more about the history of Orpheus’ members, even if Tyndareus himself remained unaware. Megaera found out about Ivar and Anselm’s heritage, and from there created profiles for several members that she would use to blackmail them if they didn’t disband the House immediately. Finally, House Orpheus ready to crumble under its own weight, Megaera enacted her plan and had Akademos murdered. She was unaware of Alcmene, who was the first hurdle that Megaera would be unable to get past. As the House continued to prosper and gain allies, Megaera attempted increasingly desperate acts, resorting to murder, regicide, and brutality. In her mind, there was no way House Orpheus would withstand the aggression of her vengeance. She miscalculated.
While enacting her plan to disband House Orpheus, Megaera began preparing her Ymiron Seidhrmenn (all of whom were illegal) with the Aegishjálmr powers to establish permanent over her newly constructed goblins. It took several months to gather enough of the Aegishjálmr repositories to ensure that the goblins would be under their control. Though Megaera didn’t understand why or how the Sumarens could store magical energies in obsidian ingots, she also didn’t care and used the magicks to her advantage. Through her alchemical contacts she gathered the appropriate ingredients for the destructive toxin and her own Seidhrmenn research had given her the abilities required to grant the protective magicks. Though House Orpheus had not fallen, she assumed Alcmene would die during the war, as Megaera hired several person to assassinate her during the battles. With the death of Alcmene, the House would be disbanded no matter what, and so she continued with her experiments with creating a goblin army. Megaera saw a strange future in which Achaean’s would use their mental dominance and understanding of the Aegishjálmr to control all of Midgard, both human and inhuman, before moving onto Sumarem.
The Iphigenia conspiracy was comprised of (as best we can tell) Megaera, her personal guards, two members of the Alchemists guild (Antenor and Varin), two alchemists from the Great Houses (who were found after the Aegishjálmr war), two Seidhrmenn from the Great Houses (one of which died during the Goblin war), Jarl Kjeld (who funded much of the Conspiracy), Anakes Tyndareus and Deiphontes, at least one member of the Merchants Guild (more were suspected, but nothing could be proved), three Skalds, and Narcissus. All of the members of the Conspiracy were killed or arrested.
Excerpt from The Monsters of Our Creation by Dag Amundsen
From our interpretation of Brother Eldjárn’s prophetic vision, our historical investigations, oral history taken from the Thrall storytellers, and some guess work, we believe that goblins came about approximately two to fifty years after the beginning of the current political structure in Midgard. The cause is, as best we can tell, the forced subjugation of Midgard citizenry into Thralldom, especially by those that were impoverished but not uneducated. Some of the initial Thralls appear to have been prominent herbalists, as alchemy was not a science that existed back then. Others appeared have burgeoning Seidhr abilities. In response to forced enslavement, a small cabal appears to have formed and performed the first goblin metamorphosis. How successful it was, we can’t be sure. Perhaps not everyone was turned, perhaps it was as effective then as it is now. Regardless, here is the procedure.
The Alchemical reagent, a vile and thick black substance that smells strongly of putrid materials, is a highly toxin poison that tears apart the body’s insides. Death is fast and pronounced, the victim vomiting out their internal organs, though the organs are turned into liquid and evacuated in other means as the victim dies. The esophagus and other cavities are dissolved violently, and the death is painful. By itself, the substance kills quickly. The other part is a potent protective Seidhr that gives the body abnormally strong resistance to hemorrhaging and allows the internal organs and basic functions to continue even through extreme trauma. When the two are combined, a strange metamorphosis takes place, in which the body attempts to correct for the sudden loss of internal organs, as the victim continues to vomit out their innards. The correction takes the form of violent muscle and bone growths, sudden organ generation, and massive bodily alteration. At the end of this procedure, which takes anywhere from twelve hours to several days, the goblin is born.
Although goblins are far estranged from us, we must remember that we are the ones who made them. They’re aggression against us, while unjustified, was born of our mistreatment. Should they be exterminated? Probably. But it was only through our actions that they even came into being. No gods cursed us with this, no monsters came from dark places we have never known. We are their creators, and they seek vengeance upon us for crimes committed generations ago. Always, we must keep this in mind, even as we strike them down and curse their progeny.