Gyruff (Grand Duchy of Geoff)

Remedy for a Giant

We got news that Colwyn had come to the Brenin’s council meeting and blown up himself and much of the council. The Brenin briefly survived, until a cleric of Lydia unknowingly cured him. The Brenin and about a dozen other people coughed up blood filled with black chunks (apparently black scour) and died instantly. Only Alena and Harrison remain of the Brenin’s council.

A group of us decided that we needed to heal Gruka so the giants’ would have a friendly leader. I talked with Aurora, since the straffern was in her father’s cantrev. She shared some information on the plant. Morrick, Dandelion, Yuldra, Pookie and I set out for Hocholve by road through Daufforth. Before we got to Daufforth, we were accosted by two Gran March knights. They targeted Morrick and then Dandelion, so we ladies had to defeat them. We managed to defeat them both and so brought their bodies to Daufforth and Fort Honour. Yuldra was able to speak with the horses and discovered that many knights are based in a cave not far from Daufforth. The citizens of Daufforth were glad that two more knights were dead, but it is only a small portion of the ones who are attacking. Of the 120 or so knights who were stationed at Fort Honour, only about 60 have been captured or killed. The people of Daufforth were holding out fairly well and gave us each war horses. Morrick had a pony and Pookie rode with Yuldra, so we were all mounted. We decided to cut cross county and avoid the roads. We saw a patrol of four knights at a distance, but outran them. When we got close to the Dim, we could see shadows moving there.

We got to the Javan and some startled fishermen got us across. Apparently the shadows do not cross the river because of the positive energy from upstream. Once in Hocholve, we asked to see Arglwyth Eridan. He was most helpful and allowed us access to his laboratory and library. Aurora had told me about Nanarome Estelin, a elf from Highfolk who was investigating straffern. We found her journal and a letter she had written her brother in Eridan’s library. The local priestess accompanied us into the Dim to find her grave and her laboratory. We decided to dig up her body and those of the rangers who were buried with her, but we did not find any additional clues. We were accosted by shadows on the way to the lab and a group of six darklings on the way back. We managed to defeat both groups, but several people were hit. We found some biospheres with preserved straffern in the lab, but nothing else useful. The darklings had a potion of daylight, which we believe would cure Gruka based on Nanarome’s notes. Straffern can not live in daylight. We were accosted by the shadows of Nanarome and the rangers just before we returned to Hocholve. Apparently everyone and everything who dies here returns as a shadow unless buried in hallowed ground.

We sent a message to Gruka, informing him that we had a potential cure. He agreed to meet us in Midwood. When we arrived, the cloud castle was hovering above town. A cloud giant came down and brought us up to the cloud castle. Gruka agreed to try the cure, which worked. I asked about Burkan and was shown his statue. We were also introduced to Gleep Wurp and his wife, Margaret. Margaret always wears a hood, but it slipped once and I caught a glimpse of snakes in her hair. Gleep is blind, so apparently he is not bothered by the fact that his wife is a medusa. We convinced Gleep to come back to Gorna, as the Magi are missing and the high mage position is open. I also brought the statue of Burkan back to Gorna to give to the Brennin’s council.

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Underground Ways
The end of Sssarung

Dandelion asked Rhyzzat, Mazer, Morrick, Benton, myself and a gnome ranger, Biglee H. Za’Boom to help him with a mission. He needed to find the entrance to Moundgnomery, make his way in, and hopefully release some captives, or at least find out the disposition of these captives. Of course we agreed to go with him, even though it would be dangerous. He had the best directions through the old hill giant steading, so we went that way. When we got to the steading, we met Tunottoo, an elf monk whose monastery had been burned down by Sssarung. Since we were going to recover captives from Sssarung, Tunottoo agreed to accompany us. We entered the decaying steading to find clear tracks of the captives leading through the kitchens and down to the lower level. Mazer had glasses of detect magic and got fascinated by an evil temple. Once we roused him from his trance, we quickly passed by the temple and down another level. Once we got down a few levels, Biglee turned into a green dragon, Sssarung, and started playing hide and seek with us.

Not long after that, we ran into the Brenin and Wolf Pack 36. Wolf Pack 36 consists of Lord Dimitri ab Rancar, Darius ap Aedan, William Lea, Hoskuld, Strongswing Wheatbinder and Dandelion’s parents, Nicole Fairweather and Mordelin Larendin. Dandelion’s mother was not surprised to see us and I think she had been leaving directions for us. Dandelion’s father, on the other hand, was most surprised and displeased. The couple had an intense, although brief, conversation almost out of ear shot. Once we told the Brenin about Sssarung, he rushed off to meet him in battle, with Wolf Pack 36 close behind. We were asked to continue down and rescue some prisoners.

Continuing on, we found a red dragon, which Dandelion assured us was an illusion and expected. We heard voices coming from a wall on the other side of the dragon and concluded that they were the people we had been sent to help. Mazer also found a trap with the dragon. Since we did not have anyone able to dispel the trap, Ben decided to disarm it the hard way. It was quite impressive. There was a brilliant explosion of fire. Ben staggered a little and kept going, even though his hair was on fire. Mazer noted that the trap was rearming, so Ben quickly let the people over to our side of the trap. Ben healed those who needed it, including himself, then we needed a way out. I scouted ahead back the way we came with the rest following behind. I arrived just in time to see the Brenin cut off Sssarung’s head with his sword, Dusk.

Apparently it was quite a battle, with Essvaress, the younger green dragon, making an alliance with the Brenin. Apparently the Brenin promised Essvaress a seat on the council and a room at the palace. Nicole and the others shared that Sssarung had apparently been behind a lot of the ill that has befallen Gyruff. He had posed as the Eagle, Pebblebottom, Bran’s scribe and others to cause mischief. Inelda Botkin had posed as servants to infect people with the black scour taint. She had also been present at the birth of Prince Shaun and had killed Princess Kialla. Sssarung also called Inelda dear departed, which supports the thought that Maga Eldoran killed Inelda at the castle. Sssarung had also bragged that he had encouraged Emyr to stage a coup in Arweth to incite a war between Gyruff and Gran March. He was also working in the Keep of Storm Mountain and the Well and was working with an evil book. He bragged that all three of the Brenin’s children were dead or soon would be. Inelda had hired the Obsidian Blades and they knew where Shaun was hidden. Sssarung was also behind the disappearance of the Magi. There is much to do to undo all that Sssarung did and some things cannot be undone.

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Sounding the Call
Assessing Arweth

On Wealsun 4, Count Gareth of Arweth asked for heroes to assess the troops and villages of Arweth. Aurora, Ben, Kosef, Osiris and I answered the call. Hochoch has a population of 5500 with 40 town guard remaining, 67 archers and 8 acolytes of St Cuthbert, Pelor, Allitur and Ehlonna. I have been working with the two acolytes of Ehlonna to reestablish things here and they can continue while I am gone. Count Gareth decreed that every able bodied adult (male and female) in Arweth must serve 40 days a year and 4 hours each Sunday training (without pay) as commoner militia. The commoners need 10 days of initial training to become proficient with one weapon and those days count against that 40 days. First we assessed the commanders of the provincial troops. We decided that Cymorth Asoth ap Brundil would be the army commander and Braichdyn Andan ap Arendil would be the second in command and trainer of elite troops. Ben and Aurora felt that Asoth would make the better Cymorth as he is hard-nosed and would be better for discipline. The town guard and existing archers can start training the commoners. Each person can only train 15 people and only in something the trainer is skilled at, so that limits the number of people of exceptional ability who can be trained.

Next we headed to Newbridge, about 6 miles away. The town was in good shape, with supplies and weapons and most of the people remaining. They still had 90 archers and 80 spearmen and one acolyte of Merrika. They also had 100 Gran March soldiers and craftsmen held prisoners. Of the prisoners, 5 wanted to stay in Arweth under Gareth. The remainder we marched back to Hochoch to be imprisoned there. Of the 350 people remaining in Newbridge, 2 were picked by Osiris and 12 by Kosef for special training. We set up a town council with the cleric, one archer, one spearman and one agricultural person. The town asked for clerics, especially of light to fight off the shadows from the Dim. We will try. We stayed for a week and a half training everyone in either the bow or the spear so they could defend themselves.

Things were not as good in Fort Integrity. The Gran March forces had taken everything possible with them when they left. The 550 survivors were starving and wearing only rags. We brought the survivors and 6 ballista back to Newbridge. One teacher had remained in Fort Integrity, who we introduced to Rhyzzat for training. We made the teacher in charge of the town council in Newbridge. We spent another week and a half training the survivors in either ballista, bow or the spear. Osiris and Kosef found some more exceptional people they could train. Ben also found one person he could train as an acolyte. We kept the sending stone to report in to Count Gareth.

We next traveled to Daufforth and Fort Honour. We met 2 knights with bull tabards on the road from Commandant Baronet Charging Bull Knight Commander Montgommery Sebastian Neheli former 62nd Bull calvary regiment. We managed to capture one and drive the other off. Those calvary are tough advisories. An acolyte of Merrika had taken over leadership of the area and 660 people remained. They were in fine shape with 22 archers and 8 spearmen remaining of the provincial troops. I found one person who was suitable to be trained as an acolyte. Unfortunately they are plagued with raids by knights, of whom 15 to 25 are unaccounted for. The second day we were there, a group of 9 knights approached down the road. We decided to put 200 troops into Fort Honour, as many as it would hold. Osaris and I went to the fort as well. The remaining people all got behind the wall of the manor house. The nine knights were repulsed from the manor house and 21 knights attacked the fort and were also repelled. My birthday passed as we continued to train the commoners in warfare.

We next traveled to Fort Resolve. 350 people remained here, including a priest of Mayheine and 2 acolytes, 80 spearmen and 90 archers. They are also plagued by knights of the cougar calvary. We spent time here as well training the people.

We next traveled to Fort Loyalty. It was burned to the ground, apparently by the Oytwood elves who saw no difference between the Gran March troops and the provincial troops. I can somewhat understand their bitterness against the Gran March, who have no respect for the forest and the land. But I mourn the Flan who would have been good citizens of Arweth. I did recover the sending stone.

We met a patrol of elves on the way to Garrin’s Field. They have been hunting the knights that remain in Arweth. The war between the elves and Gran March has not abated. When Ben mentioned the knights near Fort Resolve and Fort Honour, the elves headed north to find them. It is an uneasy alliance for now between Arweth and the elves. We need to make sure Arweth learns to respect the forest and the elves for all to be well between them.

Fort Diligence and Garrin’s Field are doing fine. The patrols of elves make them nervous, but the town has not been attacked. We found more apprentices for Rhyzzat and one each for Ben and myself. This country needs more clerics, especially of the Old Faith. The town has about 1100 citizens, including 110 archers. A temple to Pholtus had been started, so the villagers are continuing, even though they have no clergy. Maybe we can use it for another god when we find clergy. We found someone of above average intelligence, so we left him in charge of the town. We spent more time training and finally returned to Hochhoch after about 8 weeks of travel.

We found 14 people in Hochoch suitable to be trained as acolytes. We send 4 to the Priest of Mayheine in exchange for his current acolytes being sent to Newbridge to help against the Dim. Ben and I now each have 7 acolytes and 8 heavy infantry we are training in the use of armor and weapons. I can train my soldiers in the use of the longsword and chainmail. My days are busy with training and the teachings of Ehlonna. When I can, I teach the people more of the ways of Ehlonna and the respect for the land. Goodmonth will be starting soon and then the crops will be harvested. Hopefully the peace lasts that long and Arweth can heal.

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FOR SALE
Nobility... going once... going twice...

After a survey of the status of Arweth, Count Gareth is in need of leaders, skilled craftsmen, military, merchants, nobility, supplies and money. – As heroes who have either helped him directly or been recommended to him from other nobles, he is offering each of you a noble title and fief corresponding to your willingness to aid the cause of the County of Arweth. Below are a number of fiefs with the corresponding title of Baronet, should you be interested (and able) to provide the start-up capital (favors and coin).

Any fiefs and titles not purchased by our mighty heroes will be offered out to the highest bidder. One fief and title have already been claimed, will you claim the next one?

Any baronet created by Gareth would be required to provide continued training for their people of 4 hours each Sunday and raise troops in the event of armed conflict. Each noble is strongly encouraged to provide additional training to their people, including developing or recruiting trained craftsmen. Any unclaimed (unpurchased) baronies will be offered to the other heroes and nobility who aided him in reclaiming Arweth before extending the offer to outsiders.

FOR SALE

Baronet of Fort Integrity – priced to sell at 500 gp, this fort is a steal.
175’ x 150’ wooden palisade fort with four twenty-foot high and square high corner towers and two gatehouses on a 500 acre wooded lot in northern Arweth at a crossroads from Daufforth, Newbridge and Fuiornana. Buildings include a Grand Hall, Temple ready to be rededicated, Stable, Warehouse and Barracks. Central well. The 10’ wall constructed of whole logs from the Dim Forest set into a 10’ high berm surrounded by a 10’ deep and wide ditch filled with wooden spikes for improved protection. A 700’ swath around the fort has already been cleared of trees to provide a clear line of sight. Permanent magical daylight provides a glowing view, even in the midst of the night. The nearby village of Newbridge, a mere three miles away, is clearly visible from the towers of the fort. Great fixer-upper with minor pests.

The primary resource includes lumber from the Dim Forest. Easily has capacity for 300 free people who may be encouraged to resettle at Fort Integrity with an average production of 2 sp per day. With a 30% tax rate, that provides a potential tax income of 18 gp/day with only 5 gp 4 sp per day due to Count Gareth. Due to the fort’s initial condition, no taxes are due for the first six months.

Baronet of Newbridge – priced at 5000 gp or a favor of Count Gareth –* SOLD!!!*
Typical rural community of 600 free people, well stocked and supplied with fields already planted. 640 acre partially wooded parcel located on the road from Hochoch to Fort Integrity irrigated by the Winding Stream. Newbridge is named for the only stone bridge across the Winding Stream, used by wagons to reach the elvish village of Linhir before the war. Good pasture land on the southern portion of the property. Constant magical light provide illumination in every nook and cranny within the village and out to a radius of 60 feet out from the wooden palisade wall that surrounds the community. A mere three miles from Fort Integrity and six from Hochoch by road, travel between communities is relatively easy.
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-The primary resource includes lumber from the Dim Forest, with grain fields, vegetable gardens and a healthy herd of sheep. Three craftsmen (carpenter, tailor, baker) and two merchants (outfitter, wool) have remained in town. Since the town is fully supplied and equipped, the lord or lady of this village should be able to start producing right away. Estimated tax base (at 30%) is 39 gp/day with only 11 gp 7 sp per day due to Count Gareth.

-Newbridge boasts an already trained military of 90 archers of the 6th Provincial Archer Company, 80 spearmen of the 14th Provincial Spearmen Company, and has an acolyte (and temple) of Merrika the Oeridian goddess of agriculture. A recently established town council consists of the acolyte of Merrika, corporal commanding the archers, corporal commanding the spearmen, eldest farmer and the mayor/teacher who is also studying wizardry with Count Gareth’s senior advisors, the Mage Rhyzzat. 2 acolytes of Mayaheine from Fort Resolve are resettling in Newbridge. There are six ballistae brought down from Fort Integrity, but none are yet trained to operate it.
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Baronet of Daufforth and Fort Honour – a matched set at 20,000 gp or four favors of Count Gareth. Although they are a matched set, he is willing to split the two for 10,000 gp or two favors each.
Wonderfully located at the crossroads from Fort Integrity to Fort Resolve and Hochoch to New Midwood in Geoff, the Fort overlooks Greenrise Ridge, where the historic Battle of Bloody Ridge was fought against the giants. From peak vantage points, one can see Fort Integrity, Fort Resolve, the glow of Newbridge and even Hochoch.

Originally a community of 500 who farmed acres of land surrounding the village, it has swollen to 660 in recent weeks as people sought a place of safety. 1250 acres (if split 625 acres each) of grazing hills with a relatively level valley of fertile grain and vegetable fields, which have already been planted. While the property does not include breeding stock, the pastures east of the village were previously used for horses.

Fort Honour has an established military of 22 archers and 8 spearmen as a garrison.

Daufforth’s current mayor is the acolyte of Merrika the Oeridian goddess of agriculture. There are a few supplies and herds of sheep from the occupation and the fields are planted, but there are plenty of opportunities for craftsmen and merchants to enhance the economic output of the region. Estimated tax base (at 30%) is 39 gp 6 sp per day, of which 11 gp 8 sp 8 cp would be due to the Count per day. Three mills along the stream could be made functional again, if someone knew how to operate and maintain them.

Baronet of Fort Resolve – priced at 5000 gp or a favor of Count Gareth
Set along the road from Fort Honour to Fort Loyalty, this community has focused on the military for a generation. Built on the north edge of the southern bluffs, one can see Fort Honour to the north and Fort Loyalty to the south. The wooden palisade consists of tree trunks set into the earthen ramparts to provide additional shielding from giant attack during the War of Liberation.

At the foot of the fort’s hill is a tiny thorp of a dozen or so buildings group around the road and outside the fort’s gates. Among them are an unnamed (cheap poor quality) tavern, blacksmith shop, mercer, farmer’s market, a temple rededicated to Mayaheine and a single-room chapterhouse claimed by the Shining Beacons, a knightly order. While the master craftsmen were slain or fled, many of their tools and servants remain. With time, the businesses should start producing again. In the meantime, the expected tax base is 21 gp per day from which 6 gp 3 sp is due to the Count per day.

Fort Resolve has a relatively large intact military with 80 spearmen of the 15th Provincial Spearmen Company and 90 archers of the 8th Provincial Archer Company. It is led by the Priest of Mayaheine and has accepted four acolytes-in-training.

Baronet of Fort Loyalty – priced to sell at 500 gp, this building lot is a steal.
806 recently cleared acres with access to some stone building materials. This lot has a wonderful view from the top of the bluff with a view of Fort Resolve to the north and Fort Diligence down the road to the southeast. In addition to grazing land suitable for sheep, the valley below is fertile enough for crops and can be irrigated easily from the Javan River. To encourage construction, no taxes to the Count are due on this property for one full year.

Baronet of Fort Diligence – priced at 5000 gp or a favor of Count Gareth
A wonderful ironwood palisade fort built on a bluff overlooking a set of historical standing stones. The fort comes with approximately 500 acres of grazing in the hills and pastureland in the valley to the north. The site of former Fort Loyalty is visible to the west and nearby village of Garrin’s Field to the north.

With a population of 400 herdsmen and shepherds, the estimated tax base is 24 gp/day of which 7 gp 2 sp is due to Count Gareth each day.

This fort is currently the home of 60 archers of the 7th Provincial Archer Company.

Baronet of Garrin’s Field (aka Grolleck’s Grove) – priced at 5000 gp or a favor of Count Gareth
Originally a village of 400 people before the war, the community has grown to 700. In addition to two significant estates (the former Morrick Mansion and former Eldoran Estate) with excellent vineyards, the community has a Temple of Pholtus ready to be rededicated, stables, two taverns, leather shop, barrelmaker, glassblower, corkmaker and an alemaker. Although short on actual craftsmen, their servants are attempting to learn their trade.

Grapes prosper in the sandy soil along the southern slope of the bluffs, while the lands south are even more productive as pasture than grain or vegetable fields. Once the source of the most famous wines and ales in all Arweth, the processing facilities are still in place. The estimated tax base is 42 gp per day from which 12 gp 6 sp is due to Count Gareth each day.

The three 30’ watchtowers, armory and village hall house the 50 archers from the 9th Provincial Archer Company.

Baronets willing to prove new communities in western Arweth – 1000 gp
Many building lots are available for those willing to establish new communities in western Arweth. Size of the lot depends on the number of people expected to settle within, averaging 1 acre per person. 1 year reprieve on taxes due the Count. See Count Gareth for details.

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Brenin Council Meeting - Flocktime CY617
Brenins End

Background:
Rhys the Brenin has been under the effect of a powerful Fey Lord’s love spell. It is one of the few enchantments powerful enough to overcome his heritage and magical abilities to withstand enchantments and charms. Through it, the chaotic neutral swashbuckler has been in love with a lawful good paladin. Nearly polar opposites, they each were drawn to each other through the same magical spell, but that doesn’t mean they lived in harmony and bliss. If anything, the opposite was true, but the two (magical) lovers couldn’t remain mad at each other for long and would ultimately forgive each other and make up.

Although the two were parted by death, the spell did not end. When Princess Kialla died in childbirth, Rhys sought some comfort with his children, but that was short-lived as he fell deeper into the grief from their magical love. Instead of slowly healing, Rhys could never get over his loss, and neither could she. Over the last nine years, the ghost of Kialla, still bound to Rhys, has continued to haunt him. If the air was still and quiet enough, he could even hear her voice as she reached out to him from beyond. The castle and much of the city of Gorna were always too busy and noisy, but he discovered that the reflecting pool before dawn was one of the quietest places in Gorna. He would wait by the statue of his beloved, where she would speak to him. For a transitory moment each day they could be together, but this was as much a curse as a blessing, for it would never last. Each day, the wounds would re-open, never to heal. On occasion, Gorna would become too noisy and busy, so the only way to commune with the ghost of his wife was out in the quietest of the wilds. This started the Brenin’s walkabouts.

Rhys took some solace in his children, but they often reminded him of what he had lost. He turned from them and walked through his life as if it were a dream, leaving the details of governing to his High Chancellor, Bran ap Aeron. Over the years, affairs of state became trivial things that others could manage, and Rhys sunk deeper into depression.

The longevity of the Brenin’s fey blood loomed as an extension of his curse, despite continuing to suffer from Blackscour Taint. He considered taking his own life with healing potions, but still retained a loyalty to his children and it was disapproved of by the ghost of his paladin wife. Rhys ap Rhys, the Brenin’s son, was not yet ready to rule. – This summer, the boy will turn 24, the age his father became the Brenin. – Although Rhys ap Rhys has grown up rich and spoiled, he is the eldest legitimate child of the Brenin. Bran has given him a command of his own and provided an opportunity for him to spread his wings and learn his own way. That gives the Brenin a chance to find a way to “step out of the picture”. – The only acceptable way to do that was through a noble death. The Brenin began taking greater risks, but his awesomeness, experience, skill, magic and Contemptuous Ease™, were a problem. After the War Against the Giants, most of the worthiest foes were dead or driven off. There is one foe though, that would be worthy of the Brenin’s death: Sssarung the Ambitious. An adult green dragon should be sufficiently powerful enough to end his suffering, but not only would he have to shed his griffon guard and entourage, he would have to make the struggle worthy of song.

A few months ago, Rhys the Brenin was on walkabout again and ran across a bulette, by chance. Taking the opportunity, Rhys wrangled the creature instead of slaying it, providing a chance to escape the entourage. After a chance meeting with some minor heroes, he slipped off into the Stark Mounds headed for the ruins of Moundgnommery and the lair of Sssarung the Ambitious.

Finding his way back into the ruins was more challenging than he remembered, as the entrance he had previously used by Deward was overgrown and now sealed. It took weeks to find a way in again and more to explore the labyrinth of passages to search for Sssarung, but all was for naught. The dragon was not here and the remaining monsters unworthy of effort. Yet there was an advantage in the rooms and passages of Moundgnommery. Many parts of the ruined city were quiet enough to commune with his beloved again. They could spend hours together, whereas they only had minutes per day before. They would talk, fight and make-up. The weeks and months passed (good thing he had an Everful Rations and Everful Hairfoot Mug) quickly as he waited for the dragon to return.

Their time together would not last, though. Adventuresome heroes (Wolfpack 36) assaulted Moundgnommery, freeing the captives and causing a disruption, but they also brought word of a potential end to the Brenin’s suffering. The Fey never like for things to be eternal, so they impose restrictions and weaknesses to their magic. The spell upon Rhys and the ghost of his beloved wife could be broken. He just needs to unweave this prophesy:

O human child, may this love be binding,
woe into death, your fates are intertwining.
A land torn asunder, like the lover’s heart,
as the survivor in sorrow stands apart.
Till the false father returns to the selfish son,
the wizened magi will be mystic undone,
secret followers the old one awaken,
a prince to the lost tomb be forsaken,
treacherous plots of the serpentous green
shadowy threats strike hard at the fourteen,
once arcane staff words are forcefully spoken,
in the storied end, all twill be broken.

The love of Rhys and Kialla has extended beyond the grave. The land is torn between the traditionalist old ways and the progressive immigrants. The Magi of Gyruff are dead or missing. Rise of Sssarung the Ambitious. Who are the fourteen?

The last two lines seem to be the means to end the spell and free both Rhys and Kialla from an eternity of suffering. Before his untimely death, the Spymaster of Gyruff, known as “The Eagle”, had arranged for a wizard from the east to come to Gorna to address the threat from the doppelgangers, lift the Brenin’s curse and help deal with Sssarung. Perhaps he is the key to breaking the spell?

Nicole Fairweather, a member of the adventuresome Wolfpack 36, convinced the Brenin to wait another week. She was confident that the dragon would return soon, but even that optimism waned. They had just given up waiting when they encountered another group of younger heroes heading down.

In a glorious battle, the Brenin slew the great green dragon Sssarung the Ambitious with Dusk, the Sword of State that prevents any future resurrection or reincarnation. After hacking the head off the beast, the Brenin appointed Sssarung’s adopted green dragon son as Minister of Education and promised to knight all members of Wolfpack 36 for their heroism in helping the Brenin with the dragon.

The trek back to Gorna was uneventful, but once back in Gorna, the Brenin learned about recent events in Arweth. The surviving members of the Brenin’s Council were immediately assembled:
• High Chancellor Bran ap Aeron
• Personal Secretary to the Brenin Janice Goldbloom
• Druidic Advisor of the Old Faith Druisina the Crocusblossum
• High Forgesmith and Minister of Public Works Bolthar Bloodstone
• High Exchequer and Minister of Trade and Industry Caswir the Caustic Uradawc
• Druid Minister of Agriculture Davyth Meadowood
• Foreign Secretary Lady Alandra Morrick
• Minister of Health, Radiant Servant of Pelor Alena Araul
• Master of Coin, Treasurer and Minister of Weights and Measures Harrison Mojo
• Minister of Cultural Heritage and the Arts Brohan

BRENIN’S COUNCIL MEETING:
The closed-door Brenin’s Council is assembled, immediately followed by a number of ambassadors and other representatives who seek an audience. (The Brenin’s Council is expected to remain for the diplomatic meetings.) Many members of the council are happy that Rhys has returned, although Bran looks as stiff-necked as ever.

Bran> Your Radiance, first on the agenda is a briefing on the situation in Arweth: On the 18th of Flocktime, during the dark of the moon, Gareth Gaelyn Arweth (son of Padrig), staged an overnight coup within Arweth. It was not a bloodless takeover, but those Knights and Gran March forces remaining were immediately ordered out of the county by Gareth. According to eye-witness reports, Governor Neumann signed the territory over to Gareth, apologized for the treatment of the people of Arweth and threw himself from the castle walls. The Gran March ambassador claims that the rebels were funded by Gyri and elven nobles who even used their own troops in the coup. There will be more of a discussion later on in the meeting.

Rhys> Arweth: What is the Gran March position? Their appointed governor admitted to poor treatment and being under the influence of something/someone else. Is this the kind of thing that we should expect from them?
Negotiate some reparations for the soldiers killed, collect it from the nobles involved, and pay it to Gran March with our apologies. Make it modest as to not really hurt our Cantrev’s coffers very much.

Bran> Your Radiance, in your absence, the former Gran March Ambassador was killed. The Gran March Commandant appointed a new ambassador, but… I’m afraid to say the ambassador is little more than a novice kid. Ambassador Watcher Crouching Vole Stevil Murtock is in his mid-twenties and while he’s been promoted to a Knight of the Watch, it is unusual for someone so young to retire from the Gran March military into a civil-service job. Gyruff is not considered a prestigious position among the Marchers, so the fact that he’s here doesn’t speak that highly of him. – He is waiting outside for his audience, where he has message(s) for Your Radiance. He would not discuss it with me ahead of time. I suspect they are angry at the events in Arweth and may suspect Gyri noble aid. It is unlikely they will admit any wrong doing or dishonorable behavior.

Lady Morrick> I would hold off on offering reparations until we find out what Gran March’s expectations are, but I agree something moderate would be in order.

Bran> Are you insane? Admit nothing. These were not sanctioned actions, so if they think they can extort money they can just stuff themselves… But, it is your decision, Your Radiance…

Rhys> Lady Morrick is correct; we’ll wait to see what the Peacock representative has to say, and keep reparations in our pocket as something to put on the table.
And Bran, we’ve had enough war don’t you think? You’d have us fighting the Gran March, the Giants, and half a dozen others at the same time.

Bran, biting his tongue> Of course, Your Radiance. War is counter-productive and wasteful unless conducted for a nobler purpose. I am reminded of my mentor’s words, “Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.”

Rhys> “If I didn’t need you, I’d wipe that smartass smirk off of your face myself.”

Bran stews for a moment and clears the expression from his face before continuing> “In your absence, we have suffered a number of vacancies in your ministries.
• Minister of Defense as we may soon be at war. (The position was not refilled after Sierra Blackblade passed away.)
• Spymaster as we need to know what is going on. (“The Eagle” has been missing for several months.)
• Minister of Justice as crime is becoming rampant, especially in Gorna. (Maga Eldoran was killed by assassins.)
• Introduction of Essvaress the green dragon as the NEW Minister of Education. Janice has arranged a signal for Essvaress to land in the courtyard and forewarned the castle guard and Griffon Guard to not attack. Essvaress is escorted into the meeting under guard and introduced.
Most everyone is taken aback by the appointment of a green dragon to the Brenin’s Council.

Rhys> Ministry Vacancies: Find me some candidates. There have to be some able commanders that could fill the Ministry of Defense position. As for spymaster, we’re probably pretty much out of luck; whomever we hire will be a disguised enemy because we can’t tell the difference.
Minister of Justice: Get me a simulacrum, clone, or other back-up body for Sheila. She may have been harsh but she was fair. Find a way to get her out of that gem and into a new body. Preferably a young, sexy female body but whatever we can find will do.

DEFENSE:
Bran> For Minister of Defense, I recommend your Cadofyth, Angus ap Chattelguard…
Lady Morrick> The HALF-ORC?
Bran> He has plenty of experience running the bragad and I think he would do an excellent job.
Lady Morrick> What about Cymorth Ser Girais Longdraw? He’s a leader and a Peer of the Realm.
Bran> Lady Morrick, promoting Ser Girais over his current superior is just asking for trouble.
Davyth> What about appointing one of the nobility?
Bran> No, we need them to each run their own bragads and not be distracted with managing a whole war.
Davyth> Who said anything about a war?
Bran> If we go to war, the Minister of Defense will have to coordinate strategy. – Your Radiance could also appoint Arawn Strongbow, First Ward of the Olwythi gan Gyruff who served with distinction during the war and replaced his uncle, Cuthalion Strongbow.
Rhys quietly to Davyth> Wait, Bran wants a half-orc?
Rhys> I like Angus. He’s tough, straight-forward, and gets things done.
Bran, seeming pleased with the choice> We will offer him the position on your council then, Your Radiance.

SPYMASTER:
Bran> If you are seeking someone you can trust as Spymaster, perhaps your old friend Arglwyth Eridan would be a suitable candidate.
Drusinia> My brother is most competent, Your Radiance, but he often fails to “share” what he knows.
Alena> I second that. Remember when we were looking for the Gonfalon?
Bran> Do you have anyone else who can fill the position and be as trusted? …
Rhys> Yeah, I guess Eridan is the defacto choice because there isn’t anyone else. But he’s busy chasing shadows right now. Maybe a little distracted? – Talk to Eridan, see if he’s willing.
Bran> We will send him an invitation to join our… your council as Spymaster then.

JUSTICE:
Alena> With the giants and a few other clerical volunteers taking over Gruka’s care, I can arrange it, Your Radiance… But, wouldn’t now be a good time to find someone… less… harsh?
Rhys> Who were Sheila’s top lieutenants? She must have had some head investigators or local chiefs. Find them and we can possibly promote from within.
Alena> Your Radiance, she largely acted alone, entrusting the apprehension of suspects to the local town guards and rangers, but reserving all but the most mundane cases for herself. Many of the local town judges were instructed to only handle civil lawsuits and crimes with less than a year’s imprisonment listed as punishment. She would teleport to the various towns and conduct the executions… excuse me, Your Radiance, trials and then executions herself. However, I will inquire about her must trusted lieutenants.
Rhys> “Rangers, perfect idea. Get me a ranger who is high ranking, well spoken, familiar with city life as well as the wilderness, and orderly and we’ll make him our new minister. Better yet, get me a few candidates like that. Oh, and not racial biased.”
Alena> We will summon the leaders of the Olwythi gan Gyruff, Your Radiance.

Bran> We also seem to be short on magi, Your Radiance.
• High Magnus Thomlin G. Pebblebottom is missing
• Magnus Burkan ap Carteira was last seen heading to the cloud castle
• Magnus Sheila Eldoran’s soul is imprisoned in a gem
• The remainder of the magi are likewise missing or dead
Rhys> Bran, um…WTF? Really? I go on walkabout for a few months and the whole place falls apart. You LOST the magi. How do you lose the magi? Admittedly, Sssarung tricked you as well, but still.
Rhys> And lighten up Francis; we’re all people here. Sure we have to keep an eye on some of our people but loosen up a bit.
Bran> Your Radiance? – I… WE ALL have been doing the best to get along without you, but if you didn’t have your head up your own a…. <harrumph> weren’t so distracted by your understandable grief, the country could be governed more to your wishes. Many of the woes of our people are not limited to Sssarung’s plans. He merely exploited an already existing cultural rift between OUR Way of Life and foreigners seeking to undermine our culture and security.
Rhys> Sssarung may have been kidnapping and trapping them but we still need to find them. Can’t just hire anyone for these positions. Get someone out there finding them.
Bran> I will commission search parties immediately.

Bran> Your Radiance, we need to discuss the status and future disposition of the royalty and nobility of Gyruff:
Crown Prince Rhys ap Rhys is in command of the Keep of Storm Mountain, but none of the recent Sendings have been received. He could be on another plane and unable to receive, or he could be dead. There has been no response from any of the members of his Griffon Guard or Saethwri unit garrisoning the keep.
Rhys> Send someone to Storm Mountain please. Why did you send him there in the first place?
Bran> Your Radiance, the boy is undisciplined, impulsive, arrogant and in dire need of seasoning. (And a pain to deal with.) – He had petitioned for a command position and this one opened up. My hopes were that the responsibility and isolation from distractions would man the boy up. It is too early to write him off. We’ve been out of communication for a while, but they could be some magical features of the Keep. – Until we send an expedition, we won’t know what really happened there.
Rhys> According to Drusina, so am I. Maybe I should have let Melwyn rule. He’d have quickly tired of the Druids whining interference and gone into a rage. Send an expedition; obviously include someone that has been there before.
Bran, biting his tongue> As always, Your Radiance, your wisdom is self-evident.
Rhys> “As is your sarcasm Bran.”

Bran> Princess Caitlyn merch Rhys was killed by assassins back in Readying. Your Radiance was on walk-about and missed her funeral.
Rhys> So it is true…Rhys and Caitlyn are lost, Shaun is soon to follow. Sssarung said that he knew where Shaun was and plans were already in motion. Probably more of that damn sect of the Druids that’s been undermining everything else.
Druisina> Your Radiance, the Druids were not behind any plot against any of the Royal Family! – We have pledged to keep Shaun safe, and continue to do so at Bran’s request. He is safe, Your Radiance.
Rhys> And Drusina; your Old Faith is what did this to me. We can navigate the mysterious ways of the Fey but can’t handle a few demi-humans and giants in our lands?
Druisina> Excuse me, Your Radiance?! – We have marked eleven thousand and sixty-eight seasons since the first stones were raised. Do not presume to lecture us on change. We have seen the changes in the Land come and go, but we are talking about preserving our culture, our way of life and our faith. While there are those among us who may disagree on how to read the signs, the Archdruidess Gwenllian ap Luth has instructed our order to cooperate with Your Radiance’s more moderate leaning government. In fact, she seeks an audience with Your Radiance this very day.
Rhys> The country is moving forward; adapt. Fighting it is only making things worse. How about we work together so we can keep the old traditions strong while moving forward.
Druisina> Without our past, we have no future, Your Radiance. We continue into the future as always, but must not lose ourselves. The New Ways do not respect The Land the way we do. If they did, we would have more respect for them, but I will defer to the Archdruidess when she arrives, Your Radiance.
Rhys> Yes, I would very much like to talk to Gwenllian.
Druisina nods.

Rhys> Take me to Caitlyn’s grave.
Druisina> In accordance with the Old Ways, her body was cremated in a glorious pyre suitable for a princess. After the embers cooled, a gemstone was found at its base. Master craftsmen have polished it into a gem suitable for royalty and named it the Heart of the Princess, Your Radiance. We have it here to present to you.
Bolthar> Once the area cooled, the largest fire agate anyone had ever seen was found on the site of the Princess’ pyre. The High Chancellor commissioned the best dwarven smiths to craft a gem out of the stone. The wondrous result was a masterwork displaying a cacophony of color in iridescent layers and bubbles formed in the shape of a four-chambered heart (the organ, not traditional shape). According to the gem smiths, the stone itself resisted any other shape. The gem, called “Heart of the Princess” will be added to the Crown’s Jewel collection and preserved in Eagle’s Peak.

Rhys takes the gem and holds it close as if it were a baby and quietly talks to it for a moment, apologizing for not being a better father.

Bran>
• Prince Shaun ap Rhys has been fostered with the Druids on the Isle of Rhûn. A squad of Griffon Guards stands watch over him.
• Araul Anterth: Llwyres Ffiona the Ebontress, her husband Sir Darian Malthus (a Knight of the Watch) and their adult son Tralvan have remained within their estate and very cautiously wary of potential poisoning from Blackscour Taint.
• Blodyn Cain: Arglwyth Alvestar Glorandaal has brokered a deal with the Cult of Lydia to get his ships through the lethal positive energy field surrounding Ravonnar. Alvestar has also been dealing with King Karackus and his lizardfolk.
• Cymeravon: Llwyr Victor Brightblade is dead. His younger brother is Knight Commander Elusive Stag Peredur Blackblade, a Knight of the Watch who has been serving in the Principality of Ulek. He has come here today to have the Brenin recognize his claim.
• Daden Bryd: Arglwyth Emyr Cadwaler has accused Western Royal Trading Company of a variety of charges (espionage, conspiracy, murder, kidnapping and more) and seized their assets. The Regent of Keoland is demanding the immediate release of WRTC people and assets to Keoish authorities. Additionally, Emyr has sponsored the rebellion in Arweth without consulting the Brenin.
• Dwyr: Arglwyth Eridan Shadowblade continues to fight the shadows of the Dim Forest. There have been strides forward, using light-producing fey, but the struggle has not been won. Additionally, Eridan was involved in the Arweth situation.
• Eryrnyth: The Brenin has returned. Prince Rhys is in command of the Keep of Storm Mountain. Some suggest Prince Rhys, at 24, should marry to solidify a political alliance and continue the bloodline. Princess Caitlyn was assassinated. Prince Shaun is being protected on the Isle of Rhûn with the Druids. The giants, previously encamped outside Gorna moved north.
• Ffrwythlon Dol: Arglwythes Vilina Lea and her husband Knight Captain Crouching Manticore Cormac mac Aoibin were assassinated in their beds. Their daughter Gretta is 25, unmarried and petitioning to be recognized as heir so she can go to the Druids for confirmation. She awaits in the outer hall.
• Gwyrth Bryn: Arglwyth Andras Dryadson is concerned about the number of giants in his lands, who raid his people’s sheep and goats. His people are afraid to go far outside of their fortified towns. As the Brenin has seen fit to see the giants as subjects, what does the Brenin suggest as a solution?
• Melgorn: Arglwyth Ullich ap Llen is still in the early stages of Black Scour Taint, but ably and aptly ruling his people (half-orcs, orcs, goblinoids, etc.) and keeping them under control.
• Rhad Derwyth: Arglwyth Janos Garren was involved in the recent Arweth situation.
• Rhwng yr Coed: Arglwythes Briallen merch Luther was involved in the recent Arweth situation.
• Rhychdir Rhos: Llwyres Rhian “the Spearbreaker” continues to be a friend to the giants who live peacefully under her moderate rule.
• Tjalf: Recently recognized as a new cantrev, giant candidate Gruka Duk has not yet been confirmed as Arglwyth. He suffers from the Straffern disease contracted in the Dim Forest. The giants who were camped around Gorna have moved up to Gwyrth Bryn to be near their leader, but have been unable to cure him.
• Ystrad Cloer: Arglwyth Krelor Deepforge is bedridden with the later stages of Blackscour Taint.
Rhys> Peredur Blackblade and Gretta Lea can both make their pitch to me. They have to convince me first.

Rhys Addressed to Druisina the Crocusblossum, Druidic Old Faith Advisor> The old faith is one of the pillars that supposed to hold up Gyruff. If they can’t get their house in order we will start approving the nobility in-house. If the druids can’t move forward with the rest of Gyruff they will be left behind. Get your house (Isle of Rhûn) in order – I don’t want any more potential nobles being poisoned by our own religious leaders. Killing each other is what the nobility do, not the Druids; make it STOP!
Druisina> Your Radiance! – The Old Faith is indeed one of the three pillars of Gyruff along with the people and THE NOBILITY. We do not expect anghrefyddol to understand our ways, but we demand proper respect. The Druidic faith has kept and preserved our people, culture and Land better than you can possibly comprehend. Your Radiance is hidebound, impulsive, arrogant, self-absorbed and controlled by your grief. It is your lack of faith and understanding of your place in the turning of the wheel which prevents you from taking your proper place as a true defender of The Land. Know that whilst you walked your paths, Bran, your High Chancellor, worked tirelessly to protect that which you should have! – He is, by far, the greater man here. – - – Know that when the leadership has turned from the wisdom of the Druids and fallen from the Old Faith and Old Ways, ruin and destruction, such as in Sterich, have come. Thricefold will your actions turn upon you, Your Radiance.

Bran> Is there any additional business of the private council before we continue on to the public ceremonies and audiences?
Bran> No? – Begin the Audiences!

Ten of the Griffon Guard, headed by Ser Rhodri of Llentrev, secure the area around the Brenin’s Council, while a dozen of the castle guards cover the balcony above and open the great hall to the gathered nobility, foreign dignitaries and other rich and powerful elite here in Gorna. As the first public audience by the Brenin in over a year, anyone able has arrived to watch the spectacle. Essvaress the Green Dragon withdraws, so as to not panic the crowd. He will wait until the end of the audiences to be presented, if it pleases Your Radiance.

The first audience is with Knight Commander Elusive Stag Peredur Blackblade, a Knight of the Watch who has been serving in the Principality of Ulek. His skin is an ashen grey offset by solid black eyes and snowy white long billowy hair. He approaches in full platemail and armed with a massive black greatsword. “Your Radiance, I come before you to make my claim to the County of Cymeravon. I am the eldest surviving son and claim the right of lands and title by my heredity; however, I have performed many mighty deeds to prove my worth. I have served my order and my country faithfully for two decades in the fight to repel the humanoid savages of the Pomarj from the Principality of Ulek, the shield of the Sheldomar valley. During the War of Liberation, I patrolled the western Stark Mounds all the way to the foot of the Crystalmists, where I served with the Underfoot dwarves of Urtcheck to reclaim their mountain fortress. By your leave, I seek to be worthy of the honor and position of Count of Cymeravon.”

Rhys whispers to Bran> Is this Sierra’s son or nephew?

Bran whispers back> ‘Brother’, Your Radiance.

Rhys> “Excellent! Maybe we should give you Bran’s job. Just kidding. Your mother/aunt Sierra was one of the finest people I have ever met and held our country together during a time of chaos. What are your views on current political topics; non-human races and their citizenship, giants, Arweth/Gran March, the Old Faith and allowance of other faiths, etc., etc.”
Peredur, ‘modestly’> I would never presume to be able to fill his great shoes, Your Radiance; however, if you call upon me to serve, I shall not refuse your command. My sister, Sierra, was indeed one of the finest people I have ever known as well. As was my brother, Victor Brightblade, who led the people in the Plane of Shadow against their oppressors.
Peredur, unsure> I apologize, Your Radiance, I have been fighting far afield for the last two decades and unfamiliar with the current political topics. I did not realize the non-human races, such as elves, gnomes, dwarves and halflings were having their citizenship questioned. – I have been fighting the humanoids of the Pomarj for the last two decades in a violent and brutal incursion into the Principality of Ulek. We have only barely held our own against the foul creatures, fighting over land and in the tunnels underground. I could scarcely be spared, but my family and country come first. I am prepared to retire from the knighthood’s active rolls to serve as Count of Cymeravon.
Peredur, somewhat confused> I was led to believe that the giants had been defeated, Your Radiance. Stand assured that despite Cymeravon being more centralized, my cantreval army will be ready to repel any giant incursions into our neighbors.
Peredur, still confused> Arweth was annexed by Gran March during the War of Liberation as spoils of war. It is regrettable that they have not yet returned it to Geoff, but I hope it will be returned someday. Do you want me to speak to Gran March on behalf of Geoff and Your Radiance?
Peredur, believing he has this one > The Old Faith is and always has been sacred to my family. I pledge to uphold the Old Ways, the Old Faith and dutifully serve My Brenin, the Druids and the People. Other faiths will be welcome in my cantrev, as long as they don’t infringe upon Our Ways and Our Culture.
Rhys> “Eh, sorry, sister. Jeez, hard to keep track of everybody around here. So this may…no will come as a shock to you, but after the excellent aid provided by the half-orcs of (at the time) Camp Clearsky, once the war was complete we decided to allow amnesty to some demi-humans. So there are some goblins and even orcs amongst us. Guessing you might have an issue with that. I can see that I may be appointing those who would oppose me. Wouldn’t be the first time the Cantrevs rose up against the Brenin though.
But you got the pedigree for sure. Just keep things fair and all is good.
Approved, next…”

The second audience is Gretta Lea, daughter of Vilina Lea. She is equal parts young (mid-twenties), confident and forceful. Her blond hair pulled back in a sensible braid, she has a tensed, yet relaxed stance like a noble swordswoman prepared to defend herself. “Your Radiance, I am Gretta Lea, daughter of Arglwythes Vilina Lea and Knight Captain Crouching Manticore Cormac mac Aoibin. By right of heredity, I claim the cantrev of Ffrwythlon Dol. I have lived a dutiful and honorable Gyri life by the Old Ways and Traditions of our people. I follow the Old Faith and have a love of The Land and the People of Gyruff. Recognize my claim, so that I may be confirmed by the Druids and assume my place as leadership among my people.”
Rhys> “Gretta Lea, you are a Lea and a Gyri through-and-through aren’t you! And I mean that in the best way possible.
I will pose some similar questions to you; we have half-orcs, goblins, orcs, and even giants in our lands who have promised to live peacefully and under our laws. A few have actually followed through! Any problem with that?
I’d like to know, even though I’m confirming you. If I didn’t I’m sure Darlon would come give me hell.
Gretta Lea is confirmed. Next…”
Gretta Lea> “Your Radiance, I have grown up in this land and know where we stand today. Non-human races, even the giants, will be treated as citizens as long as they behave such. Anyone breaking our laws, hurting our people or breaking their oaths will be known as anudon (tr. oathbreakers) or cass (tr. enemy of the Gyri) and treated as such. While it is true that I follow the Old Ways, among them are honor, tradition, hospitality and listening to our elders and superiors (as long as they too have honor). Thank you.”

Janice comes forward with a scroll containing the names of Wolfpack 36 for knighting and traditional script. As is tradition, only Griffon Guards, other Knights and castle guards can carry weapons in the Brenin’s presence. Ser Cedric the Whiteflame has a number of ceremonial swords, chains and baldrics.

Bran> Wolfpack 36, present yourselves to the Brenin to be received as Peers of the Realm.
Bran> Your Radiance, now comes before you:
• Nicole (Fairweather) Larendin
• Mordelin Larendin
• Hoskuld
• Strongswing Wheatbinder
• Darius ap Aedan
• William Lea
• Lord Dimitri ab Rancar
Each of them approaches as their name is called and takes a knee at the base of the Brenin’s dias.

The Brenin confirms their willingness to accept the accolade of Peer of the Realm. A chain for each is then passed knight to knight until seven knights (one for each candidate) stand with a chain by each candidate. The knights present then affirm that these candidates are worthy.

The Brenin then calls for Dusk, the Great Sword of State. As a Peer himself, the Brenin can wield it, but generally does not carry it.

Each candidate then swears to defend the Crown and Country from threats foreign and domestic. They will honor, defend and protect all Gyri and those weaker than themselves. They will be courteous and honor their Peers. They will conduct themselves in all matters as befits a Peer, drawing their sword only for just cause. They will enshrine in your heart the noble ideals of Chivalry to the benefit of your own good name and the greater glory of Gyruff.

Once each candidate has sworn by all that they deem sacred, true and holy, the Brenin dubs each knight: Once for Honor… Twice for Duty… Thrice for Chivalry. Then, after passing Dusk back to the swordbearer, he places a white baldric, symbolizing the purity of honor and sign of their Knightly rank and station upon each new knight.

Each knight then swears homage and fealty to the Brenin. “This day do I render homage and fealty to my Sovereign Lord Rhys ap Colwyn, by Right of Arms, who will, from this day forward, be my Liege Lord. I will remain true in all ways, serving him faithfully – this do I swear, by my belt and chain and by my honor and by the high ideals which I hold as a Knight of this Realm.” Then, the Brenin places their chain around their neck, a reminder that each knight is a link in the honour of our country and symbol of fealty to Crown and Country.

Swords are presented, symbolizing the new knight’s prowess at arms. A reminder that the sword of Chivalry should only be drawn in defense of the realm or of those weaker than themselves. Wear it with care. Wield it with mercy.

Ser Ioan, the Brenin’s bannercarrier, then presents the new knights to the assembly and announces their new heraldry by reading the declaration from the Brenin. The assemblage then applauds.

Audiences with Foreign Powers (to be introduced by Lady Morrick, Foreign Minister)
Gran March (Ambassador Watcher Crouching Vole Stevil Murtock [in his twenties?]).
Rhys> Gran March; welcome Watcher Crouching Vole Stevil Murtock (really trying to say that with a straight face…). I bet we have a lot to talk about. The stories I hear from Arweth sound interesting. Let’s get this settled before there’s any more killing.
Murtock> His Most Resolute Magnitude, Sir Petros, Commandant of Gran March, in the middle of his fifth 5-year term, demands a response of the Grand Duke of Geoff about the situation in Arweth. He wants to know if this rebellion was sponsored in any way by the Brenin. He needs an immediate answer, as he and the other Knights of the Watch have been recalled for a special conclave on the matter.
Rhys> “Watcher Murtock, I thank you for delivering this message.
I, as the Brenin of Gyruff, swear to you that I had no knowledge of this action, nor did I directly or purposefully promote, supply, or finance the actions taken in Hochoch or Arweth in general.
I would have much preferred a diplomatic solution but all had been rebuffed, apparently because of the controlling influence over Governor Neumann.
With that all said, Arglwyth, Breyri, and other Gyri nobility, as well as all Gyri citizens are ultimately my responsibility. I am saddened that there was loss of life and though I don’t have the exact numbers, I do feel that it was not excessive.
I think this is an excellent time for our two countries to put away our differences and enter a new era of cooperation.
What say you Watcher Murtock?”
Murtock, a little suspicious and puzzling over the Brenin’s response> I will relay your words to the Commandant, Your Radiance. Thank you for your time.

Keoland (Ambassador Dior Rhola)> The Regent Jessa Skotti Lizhal DeMontvale, Countess of Sayre, demands compensation for the raid on Western Royal Trading Company, which operates under a royal charter and demands to know if Geoff was involved in the Arweth incident. Many of the slain Knights of the Watch came from Keoland and both Geoff and Gran March are subject states. As a subject nation of the Kingdom of Keoland, she reminds the Grand Duke that he is still obliged to follow Keoish law and obey her rule. (Personally, the Rhola are pleased that WRTC was taken down, but are concerned about the precedent.)
Rhys> I will not allow a hostile mercenary army on Gyri soil, and I will not have slavers operating within Gyruff. Since WRTC was directly involved in the slave trade in the Aberglain area they immediately forfeit all property and personnel in Gyruff. I’m sure you can understand how we feel about slavers. They were also pawns of Sssarung by the way. Any Keolish trading company who wants to operate honestly and fairly in Gyruff is welcome.
Dior> I will inform the Regent of your decision regarding Western Royal Trading Company, but I do not think she will accept it. She will expect reparations. Perhaps full value of the assets of the company, immediate release of captured employees and say, 50 gold for each employee slain in the attack on Western Royal?
Rhys> “WRTC in Aberglain was operating a slaving operation which is against the law. No other WRTC assets were seized and no other WRTC personnel harmed outside of those lawbreakers. Did you also know that the relatives of the Arglwyth were being held prisoner by WRTC? And that they were fortunately rescued during this operation. Again, making the actions taken against WRTC property and personnel completely within the law. The WRTC personnel captured can be returned so long as they face appropriate legal action for their participation in the WRTC operations. Payment for the employees slain will be used to offset the damages done to Aberglain and the people and families impacted by the slaving operations. There’s little way to determine exact numbers so it will be considered an even trade and no further recompense will be asked of WRTC or the Keolish crown who sponsored them (and is ultimately responsible for their activities).”
Dior> I have heard that assets of WRTC were seized in both Blodyn Cain and Rhad Derwyth, Your Radiance. Of course, it is unacceptable that anyone act against the nobility. Rest assured that the instigators will be properly punished back in Keoland. I will relay your suggestion of compensation back to the Regent.
Dior> Now, onto the Arweth incident. It is the Regent’s understanding that certain members of your nobility did conspire with the Oytwood Elves to instigate a sham of a rebellion and place into power someone who had been coached by your nobility for the position. Why, we understand that the so-called leader was a simple laborer who has no education, no training and can’t even read. How is such a person to lead such an important province? The Regent Jessa commands you and your nobility to withdraw any troops and support you may have provided from Arweth. She sees this as an internal matter within the Gran March, one of the Crown’s vassal states, and will not have further interference from another of her vassals.
Rhys> “No personnel under my direct control were involved in the coup. This is an internal matter between Gyruff and Gran March. Arweth was returned to the rightful heir as outlined in the succession laws determined by Keolish law. Currently the leader of Aweth has not sworn allegiance to anyone, but be assured, at this time I support Gareth’s claim to Arweth. He was indeed a common laborer, but he is of noble blood. Did not your own country think that Kimbertos was nothing but a country bumpkin when he was elected? And yet he was one of the finest rulers in recent memory. At this time we should be happy that there was minimal blood spilled and work to move forward without further bloodshed.”
Dior> In regards to Arweth, I’m not sure Her Grace, the Regent Countess Jessa, will see this the same way. Any matter between the Grand Duchy of Geoff and Gran March or any two of her vassal states necessarily becomes her business.
Dior very quietly to Rhys> I would caution against mentioning the Regent’s father. She discourages talk of him, including praises of his work. She feels it encourages backward thinking and increases internal strife against her Regency.
Dior, just before turning to leave> Your Radiance.

Oytwood Elves (Ambassador Elder Dintriel): The Oytwood Elves are pleased at the action finally taken by His Radiance, the Brenin of Gyruff and would like to coordinate future offensives against Gran March and the Knights of the Watch. As His Radiance knows, the Oytwood Elves have been at war with Gran March for nearly thirty years without resolution. We ceded land along the Y’Avon that the Gyri would be able to contain the aggression and ambition of Gran March. The Weeping Council is pleased that their trust in the Gyri people was not misplaced.
Rhys> “We are happy that the Gran March is no longer in control of Arweth and I will work with Gareth to ensure that all Elven lands and properties (trees) are treated with appropriate respect. I expect the Oytwood Elves will want to set up some agreements with Gareth as soon as possible.
Be aware that Gran March is quite displeased about all of this. I intend to keep the bloodshed to a minimum and would like to work with both sides to bring an end the long-standing war between Gran March and the Elves.”

Dim Forest Elves (Ambassador Darlon Lea): After witnessing the horrendous ways the Marchers treated the land and her people, the Dim Forest Elves are sure the Brenin will want to pursue a punitive raid to push them farther back, perhaps reclaiming Farvale and expelling the Marchers from the Dim Forest entirely. The Dim Forest Elves have been able to push the shadows back far enough to spare attention against the Marchers, who annexed territory along the eastern edge, so they are prepared to join the fight.
Rhys> “We have stirred up a potential hornet’s nest already, I don’t think we want to push it. You would have me fight open war against Gran March. This I will not do as it would be disastrous for Gyruff. I don’t think we want to give Gran March an excuse to mobilize their forces against us. Let’s let the current tension settle and I will gladly negotiate on behalf of the elves for return of any annexed lands. I would like to maintain peace in the Sheldomar if at all possible.”
As Darlon Lea withdraws, those that knew him can see how old and frail he’s gotten.

Sterich (Lord Andres Rhola): Sterich has no opinion on the strife within Gran March, including that within Arweth.
The Yeomanry (Spokesman Groft Wheatbinder): The Yeomanry likewise has no opinion on events within Gran March, including Arweth.
Rhys (to Adres and Groft)> “Nor should you. We neither ask nor expect your intervention. Oddly, I thank you for your neutrality in the matter.”

Bran, perturbed> Ambassador Glim Tinkertockle and the entire embassy of the Stark Mound Gnomes were recalled a few months ago, well before the situation in Arweth arose. They should have been here to greet you upon your return; instead, I call your attention to their absence here at Your Radiance’s court. Next, we have the three dwarven realms:
Stonereaver Dwarves (Ambassador Trel Goldhand)> Moradinath Mor stands with the Brenin, as long as his adherence to the Old Ways and Old Alliances remains strong.
Deepholm Dwarves (Ambassador Glim Batterhand)> Deepholm is not yet recovered or rebuilt from the devastation under the giants. The struggle with the Duergar has not yet ended, delaying our efforts to rebuild. Until that struggle is ended, we would have trouble providing any aid. (Quietly aside: If anything, we may be asking for your aid.)
Underhill Dwarves (Ambassador Bomfur Silvermantle)> Urtcheck is also rebuilding, though we have no desire to assist Gyruff in a war of aggression. We stand with our brothers, the Stark Mound Gnomes who sheltered us when we needed it most, against tyranny, including against an imperialistic Gyruff.

Rhys> “Friend dwarves, it is my sincere intent not to go to war with anyone. We will help our allies as needed but I am going to do my best to ensure there is not war with Gran March, Keoland, or anyone else.

Rhys>Ambassador Silvermantle, I do ask that you aid us in finding out what has caused the sudden departure of the gnomish delegation. I meant to provide them the good news that the dragon Sssarung had been purged from Moundgnomery and that they could explore returning to their city.”

Ambassador Bomfur> We shall make inquiries. Many of the gnomes live among our folk, so it should not take long for any response to arrive.

Rhys> We’ve all been the victim of a great deception by Sssarung and his team of very bad people; Colwyn, Inelda, etc. From fake forms and lies to Blackscour plague, to social unrest, we’ve all been played. Any remaining doppelgangers or other spies, shapechangers, or others that are expecting a payout from Sssarung, here is his head; he isn’t going to pay you. You can get up and leave. Go on, take off. Gyruff is no longer everyone’s playground to mess with.

There are hushed whispers among the crowd, but no one has the audacity to leave. Rhys, the firey tempered Brenin, seems to have returned. Even Bran holds his tongue.

Rhys (in general)> “No one has the guts to stand up and admit it, eh? Just like a bunch of sissy spies.”

Janice whispers in Rhys’ ear> Only eight more audiences to go, Your Radiance…
Rhys> “Now I remember why I hated this…”

OTHER AUDIENCES:
High Priestess of Wee Jas, Charlene de Frame, wishes an audience. “Your Radiance, our church has faced an ever growing number of threats from some of the common people. Many of the less sophisticated have been throwing rotten vegetables and other waste upon our temple, clergy and worshipers. Our goddess teaches us a certain measure of compassion for some of the less enlightened among your people, but I’m becoming concerned for the safety of our followers. Could Your Radiance intervene?”
Rhys> “I don’t like your religion or your ways, but we do allow you here so we can’t be having people living in fear. What areas have this issue? I will send messages to cease and desist all throwing of foodstuffs and other waste at worshippers, temples, or grounds. However, if I find that people had reason to protest I will apply the law to its fullest degree.”
High Priestess Charlene gasps> Why, right here in your capital city, Your Radiance. When your own Minister of Justice was interred in our vaults, the less than enlightened people of your city chose to throw refuse and otherwise deface our temple for performing the funereal rights to one of your own ministers. – I point out that your own Minister of Justice followed the Lady of Law. – We are fully aware of and compliant with all laws in the areas we live, our goddess commands it!
Rhys> “Ah, the people were not throwing things because of your religion, they were throwing things because the former Minister of Justice was a little harsh on the people. They didn’t like her much. I will have a couple town guard posted near the temple for a little while to make sure the haters are kept away and it will die down quickly. Next…”

Luminescent Matriarch of Lydia, Luxa Splendida Magnum, wishes an audience. Her fine long blond hair is so light that it is almost white against her alabaster skin and in contrast to her vivid sky blue eyes. “Your Radiance, my sisters and I seek your blessing in establishing a mission here in Gorna. The Mistress of Light sends her handmaidens out to spread the word to the masses and uplift women from all stations. We revere music, light, education and equality for all genders; however, we have seen how the followers of Wee Jas were treated. I cannot help but feel concerned for our missionaries who may begin preaching here. Can we count on Your Radiance’s support and protection?”
Rhys> “Support, no. Protection, minimally. I will allow you to operate within Gyruff and Gorna. However, foreign religions are going to start to have some limitations here. We are a country that reveres the Old Faith. So you will be allowed a minimal presence here in Gorna and other areas of Gyruff.
You may not construct any church or religious-based building as large or larger than a similar existing Old Faith building.
Further limitations for non-Old Faith religions will be coming.
I don’t intend to exclude other religions, but the state religion has preference. I hope you can understand. Nothing personal against you or your religion.”

Dopa Nu’Larseen would like to have a temple to Joramy commissioned in Gorna. The goddess of fire, volcanoes and quarrels has indicated that this is the time and place of great conflict. It would behoove us to honor her wishes and open a discourse to resolve our conflicts verbally without needing to resort to violence. As our goddess shows us, the heat and pressure are there and unless released, will explode in a fury.
Rhys> “Same deal as the Lydiots; modest presence allowed but there will be further restrictions coming for all foreign religions. We are a country of the Old Faith and intend to stay that way.”

Archdruidess Gwenllian ap Luth is the Brenin’s next audience. She is tall, confident and wise, moving with purpose and grace as she moves into the room.
Gwenllian> “Your Radiance, it is well to see you again before I sluff off this mortal coil. I have done all I could during your reign, but my time draws near and my position will soon pass to another. When I sacrificed your… predecessor, my brother, from his fate to become the Greenman, I dismissed his fey half before completing the sacrifice. Your mother has been searching the Fading Lands for his fey half ever since. Half a soul will only fuel the Greenman for a generation or so, before it must be renewed. The Greenman has come to me and explained it all, including the knowledge that I will never return to the Isle of Rhûn. A new Archdruid or Archdruidess will be chosen, who may not be as agreeable, Your Radiance. The Balance must be maintained.” She gently brushes the Brenin’s cheek with the back of her hand. “All this I could have sent through Druisina, but I wished to say goodbye before my time comes to an end.” With those words, those nearby can sense how tired she seems, despite having the look of a much younger woman.
Rhys (very sad)> “I’m very sorry to hear that Gwenllian. I’m glad you came to see me yourself one last time to give me this news.
Not sure what we’ll do without you and your calm guiding hand. Even Drusina is starting to stir up trouble and you know well the issues within the Druids themselves. I was hoping that you would clean that up but it looks like it’ll fall to your successor.
I’d like to make some changes to how we handle the foreign religions currently pressing into Gyruff to limit their influence and would very much like your guidance.
And if I understand correctly, and the Greenman must be replaced, then that responsibility falls to me. Any idea when? I’ll need to see if I can at least see my children first and hopefully get some order to this place.
There really doesn’t seem to be anyone ready to take over.”
Gwenllian> You are sweet, my dear Brenin, but to all things there is a time. This, like other times before, will be a trial or a crucible to forge that which is to come. Do not trouble yourself, all is as it will be. The other Druids know change is coming, that is what makes them agitated. Change is often a violent process, but a necessary one for the old to make way for the new. A forest fire kills trees, but fertilizes the soil for a new generation. So too, must we pass to make room for the new.
Gwenllian> Many resist this progress and do so nobly with the best of intentions, but the dam can only hold back so much water before it bursts. Once the Flan, Old Ways and Old Faith dominated and even named this content, Flanaess. Tenh, Sterich and other lands have lost the Old Ways and their Greenmen have died. We are one of the last few bastions of the Old Ways, but one day our culture will be washed away. Our Greenman will last a generation yet, as long as he is not overly taxed. – A great man was he in life and he will serve The Land well. You will not become the Greenman and Shaun is promised to the Fey as payment for your becoming Brenin. Fear not for him, though. He will live an exceptionally long life and may lose his past to gain a new future. – Our time is nearly at an end, dear Rhys.

The magi Galfcon from Keoland has arrived for an audience with the Brenin. Dressed in a simple drab brown cassock and sandals, he has a staff, a pendant around his neck and a signet ring. His head is nearly bald and clean shaven with a ring of short snowy white hair.
Galfcon> “My name is Galfcon Wypafan, I have been summoned to aid in Your Radiance’s curse. I am aware of the affliction Your Radiance suffers from and I have the means for a cure. In my many years of travels, I have learned much, including the involvement of the Fey, Druids and Dragons within Gyruff. I understand how the barbaric ways of the Gyri people have led to a decadent society bereft of understanding or compassion. I know how the Fey and Druids conspire on a breeding program with the nobles of Gyruff, often utilizing magic to arrange matings and marriages between those not otherwise suited to each other. I know of the interference of Dragons, including their efforts to interbreed with the nobility.
Rhys> “You and every other two-bit huckster from here to the Pomarj. I’ve been tricked, duped, manipulated, cursed, stabbed, hung on a tree, family murdered, betrayed, and generally screwed with for years, and you walk into my court and I should implicitly trust you? Lots of people know the information you just gave me. With all of the shapeshifters and mind readers there have been around recently what evidence could you possibly give me that would in any way make me trust you?
What’s your game? Who are you working for and for what purposes? Probably for a Keolish faction that wants to tip the scales in their favor to finally gain the crown? Manipulate all of the Cantrevs appropriately through the Brenin and then bump him off?
This should be grand; please do tell…”
Galfcon approaches the base of the dias and continues> “I know how the manipulations of these forces devalue others in pursuit of their own goals. They devalue family loyalty or even compassion. I know much better than you think, for I too was cuckolded by my she-witch of a wife, bedded to another, then banished by their bastard child!”
Rhys> Still, not really convinced. How do I know you’re not the next green dragon or doppelganger come to undermine Gyruff? Or better yet, the Crimson society (or whatever they were called) come to make another play to manipulate Sheldomar governments.
Give me your pitch so we can get on with this.
Galfcon begins climbing the steps> “I studied under the National Academy of Wizardry in Keoland, consulted with the oldest and greatest sages of arcane wisdom in the land, dragons thousands of years old and written a treatise entitled ‘Curses, Manipulations and Deceptions, a study of the Fey, Druids and Old Faith’. You see, the Druids and Fey are master manipulators, seeking to control the fates of those around them.” <many> “They see us as little more than breeding stock, much as Vecna did more than two thousand years ago.” <crowd> “I have branched out and studied multiple disciplines, becoming a Magic Initiate, if you will, with the singular purpose of studying and undoing the wrongs that the Fey and their lackeys, the Druids wrought… Oh Rhys, I have your cure…”
Rhys> “You seem a little hostile toward the Old Faith and myself. I think your solution isn’t the one I want.
Guards, this would be the time that you defend your Brenin.”

Rhys leaps up spiked chain in hand and lashes out at the imposter, leaving Galfcon badly bloodied.
The top of Galfcon’s head falls off, turning into a hat and dropping his illusion.
With blood dripping from his spiked chain wound, Colwyn ap Ffagan (Init 15+2) steps face-to-face with Rhys, shouts “YOU ARE NO SON… NO SON OF MINE!!!”, and Hexes Rhys (Dex). Rhys retorts back “Correct, I’m Owen’s son!” Colwyn then activates the retributive strike on the fully charged Staff of the Magi less than ten feet from the Brenin.

The resulting explosion is heard throughout the city.

<ooc>
30’ radius, DC17 Dex save for half
• Colwyn is just gone in the flash, most likely disintegrated
Within ten feet (400 points of damage) were:
• Rhys: even with a 2 (Disadvantage), he almost saves, but with uncanny dodge STILL takes only half damage (200 hp).
• High Chancellor Bran ap Aeron lept up to shield the Brenin with his body and absorbed nearly as much damage as Colwyn himself.
• Master of Coin, Treasurer and Minister of Weights and Measures Harrison Mojo reflexively tumbled to safety in the final instants, surviving virtually unscathed!
• Personal Secretary to the Brenin Janice Goldbloom, who turned to run, but was disintegrated in the blast.
• Ser Rhodri of Llentrev, Cadofyth of the 82nd Griffon Guard, who gave his life attempting to shield the Brenin with his body.
• Cymorth Ser Cedric the Whiteflame was on the other side of the Brenin’s honor guard and died trying to intercept Colwyn.
• Ban Cantdyn Ser Ioan ap Gwyndred, the Brenin’s Bannercarrier, perished still holding the Gonfalon just behind his liege’s throne.
Within twenty feet and did not survive (300 points of damage):
• Druidic Advisor of the Old Faith Druisina the Crocusblossum
• High Forgesmith and Minister of Public Works Bolthar Bloodstone
• High Exchequer and Minister of Trade and Industry Caswir the Caustic Uradawc
• Druid Minister of Agriculture Davyth Meadowood
• Foreign Secretary Lady Alandra Morrick
• Minister of Cultural Heritage and the Arts Brohan
• Archdruidess Gwenllian ap Luth
• Dopa Nu’Larseen rushes in and shoves the Minister of Health back, taking the brunt of the blast.
Within thirty feet:
• Minister of Health, Radiant Servant of Pelor Alena Araul (saved but) was knocked unconscious by the blast.

IC:
Fourteen are immediately dead, leaving little more than a large scorch mark in the Great Hall of Eagle’s Peak.

Rhys the Brenin, his curse finally lifted, exclaims> “Free, finally free.” before he passes out.

The Griffon Guard and several onlookers rush in.

Ser Cathal ap Trevor, Paladin of Pelor and Braichdyn of the Griffon Guard, is first to his liegelord’s side.> “He’s Alive, but only barely!”

Luminescent Matriarch of Lydia, Luxa Splendida Magnum steps forward to help and casts an elevated Mass Cure Wounds on everyone in the affected area.

Rhys the Brenin, Ser Cathal ap Trevor, Ser Osvael ap Samlet, Ser Endur Stonehlm, Ser Marcus Valerius Trueheart, Ser Alfonz Silverhair, Ser Podrick Morrick, Ser Willis Vanderhossel, High Priestess Charlene de Frame and five castle guards collapse, cough up blood filled with black chunks and die before the many befuddled observers. Only two of the original Brenin’s Council (Harrison and Alena) remain.

The doors of the Great Hall open again and a large green dragon enters.> “Ta Da! – It is I, Essvaress, your new Minister of Education… (Sorry Yer Radiance, I couldn’t wait outside any longer for the big reveal.) … Hey, what’s going on?!”

Madame Kassandra Cleo, from the Conclave of Friendly Soothsayers, was last on the Brenin’s agenda with a warning about his being in immediate danger. “Ah, nevermind.”

View
Taking Back What's Ours!
The main ain't the man we thought he was.

Dandelion’s Awesome Adventures!
Part 9: Taking back what’s ours!
A.K.A. The man ain’t the man we thought he was.

I like Emyr. I really do. Sure, he can be a bit immature and distracted at times (but who isn’t!) but he’s actually a good guy and reasonably smart.

But the idea of walking into Gran March territory, and “convincing” Governor Neumann to just walk away and take his Gran March soldiers with him in a “bloodless” coup didn’t really seem possible.

Several groups simultaneously going in to capture the important Gran March commanders at each fort, neutralizing their army, and then convincing the Governor to hand the land back over to Gyruff.

As it turned out, the “bloodless” part definitely wasn’t possible. Not too bad for our group but some of the others took liberties with their orders.

We had a tough part; get into the Governor’s compound, capture him, free him of the Fey sword’s control, and get him to hand Arweth back over to the Gyri.

We had almost no information about this sword or the “Halfling” scribe that was always by Neumann’s side. We suspected this Halfling was not what he appeared but we couldn’t find anything on him. Some divinations gave us the idea that there was a bell that could somehow help. Not much to go on.

So I decided to do a little reconnoiter and get more information on our target.

First I tracked his movements over several days. He was definitely a creature of habit, going to work at the same time every day, eating the same food, and not varying much at all. And the Halfling scribe was always there with him.

The bell was said to be at the highest tower, so that had to be the castle where the Governor went to work each day. Time to get myself in and maybe even get an audience with the man himself.

I cast Detect Thoughts so I could get an idea of what the mood was. The guards were bored and easily let me in when I said I was a Bard with a message. Apparently that’s pretty common. After being taken in (with guards) and sitting for a bit I got to go into the room with the Governor and the scribe.

The scribe was working out of a book made of fancy wooden pages that almost looked mechanical, while Neumann was looking over a variety of papers.

I could “hear” Neumann think to himself; “What now, another bothersome interruption and I’ve got a lot of work to do.” Then there was another voice in his head; “Get rid of him right away!”

I made up some story about a group of trading companies from Keoland wanting some guarantee of protection after the attack on Western Royal.

While doing so the voice in the Governor’s head said something about a box and the Governor clumsily grabbed a small 2” square box off of his table.

Interesting but hard to determine what would be inside that box and how it could help us.

After I was dismissed I chatted up some of the guards who were more than happy to talk about the castle and what went on there. They showed me around a bit and I noticed an iron bell on the top of the north tower.

Interesting; a fey sword, and an iron bell. Cold Iron maybe? Seemed the dots were starting to be connected.

The day of the coup came and we worked our way in with the servants. It didn’t take too much convincing; none of them liked the Gran March masters and a few gold made them perfectly happy.

Usually when plans like this are put together, each group has some idea of what the others are doing and when. Apparently our intelligence briefing failed to include many things.

So as we waited for dark in the servants’ quarters we started to notice that many guards and some of the servants were in severe gastric distress. To the point that the outhouse was no longer an option and many of the guards were incapacitated.

We moved to the manor house, trying not to be too conspicuous but because most of the guards were more worried about the pain in their gut things went pretty easily.

We were using the cover of bringing wood to the kitchen, but there was a guard there who was less affected than the others, but still very grumpy. I tried to get him to take a break and I would watch, but he was having none of it. Fortunately Morrick came up with a solution and gave the guy a flask of strong brew! Illegal in Arweth but the guard was swayed by the idea of getting to have a drink and snuck off to savor the gift.

We made our way into the main hall and I disguised myself as a guard. There were three more guards on the second floor so that was going to be a problem.

I convinced one that extra guards were needed for the wall since all had fallen ill. As he came down the stairs he noticed the group, and started to cry out. The group made quick work of him and I spun the noise to the other two as him slipping on “mess”.

In a few moments the other two guards were also dead as they came down the stairs. We stashed the bodies and moved on up.

A silence spell was cast, intending to hide our approach as we entered the scribe’s room.

Empty.

Not even lived in for who knows how long.

Then I remembered that the Governor liked to work late.

So into the library we went and noticed a light from under the door of the adjoining study. The Druid turned into a mouse to go check out the situation by peeking under the door.

The Governor sat, barely moving, staring out the windows in the study. A Raven sat near him and the small box was next to him on the table.

Then the Druid/mouse disappeared into the room. That was bad. That was not part of the plan.

We opened the door (thanks to a cantrip by the cleric) as we rushed forward and watched the scene.

The Druid, in human form, grabbed the sword and leapt through the window onto the ground below, landing hard but coming up running for the gate. The Raven flew into the air and disappeared. Neumann sat there unmoving.

We were all shocked for a bit but quickly flew into action. Evendur quickly fired his crossbow and hit something, as we saw a small amount of blood and some feathers fly. The monk, Tornado, didn’t pause and raced through the window as did the Rogue. Eventually half the party jumped down to the ground chasing the Druid with the Fey sword while the others paused with Neumann.

I strummed a particular cord on my lute which activated a protection spell to break control from Neumann. He let out a huge exhale of air as if he’d been waiting for this to happen for many, many years. He was suddenly “awake” and aware of his surroundings, though still suffering from the effects of his age and the poisons put in the food. It did not take much convincing for him to agree that he had done wrong to Gyruff and the people and had to repent.

He asked to be taken to the castle where all would be forgiven and he would cede control of Arweth back to Gyruff!

This was exciting except that we still had the sword to deal with.

The group that was chasing the Druid, Aoth, had stopped him, but the sword was now flying on its own, hitting people. And seemed immune to our attacks.

I took a chance and asked Neumann about the sword and the bell at the castle. He managed to mumble out “Hit the sword against the cold iron bell on the tower and it will be destroyed.”

Now we had a plan; time to make it happen.

We quickly learned that the sword could dominate pretty much anyone and then force them to attack each other. It was a bad situation; the more people we got into trying to catch the sword the more it would try to dominate and force them to attack.

But we also learned that damage to a controlled target would often snap them out of the control. Plus the cleric has a ring which prevented her from being controlled.

So the cleric tried to basically grapple the sword. First she grabbed the hilt but was barely holding on. Other joined in, wrapping the sword with rope and then a cloak to try to control it. All the while the sword was dominating people and making them attack.

It was a long trip up to the castle, wrestling with the sword and trying to resist the attempts to charm us.

We noted smoke rising from the knight’s chapterhouse, and clearly someone had attacked the castle.

Remember how I said this was supposed to be a “bloodless” coup? Sure, we’d been forced to kill a few guards in the manor, but this was wholesale slaughter at the castle. I’m not sure who was going in to get the quartermaster but apparently they didn’t go along with the bloodless part.

Rather than slog through a potentially dangerous castle with murderous psychopaths running loose, I decided to strum a cord on my lute to allow the cleric to effortlessly fly to the roof and hit the bell with the sword.

It was a little touch and go, as the sword almost got free at the last moment but the cleric held tight and made contact with the bell.

The dangerous Fey sword was no more; turned to dust by the cold iron of the bell.

Though we do not know what happened to the Imp (yes, the Halfling / Raven was actually an Imp controlling the sword somehow) we still were happy to be done with the sword that had caused so much suffering for so many over the last 25 years.

The Governor gathered his remaining commanders around him and gave a proclamation that Gran March would turn over control of Hochoch and Arweth to Gareth, the rightful heir of the territory. He had a written document with his seal and turned over his sword (a mundane one this time) to Gareth.

Unable to live with the terrible suffering he had caused he pitched himself over the wall of the castle to the rocks below. It was a sad ending to a man who could have been great, but was instead a tragic figure who was forced to cause misery to many.

Gareth also had a surprise; he was going to keep Arweth independent for now, not pledging loyalty or fealty to anyone. Somewhat shocking but it did make some sense and the leadership of Gyruff was in serious question with an ineffective Brenin and power struggles at the top.

Somehow, I’d like to think that Gareth with help to heal Gyruff as there are still many threats to the Gyri.

View
Liberation of Arweth
Gelwen's Coup Adventure

Since I did not enjoy being possessed by the book, I want to the castle to see Bran. I requested that he use my favor from the Brenin to get a ring of protection from evil and good. He would not honor my favor from Prince Rhys ap Rhys however.

I spent several months at the temple in Gorna, serving Ehlonna. Then I felt Ehlonna’s call to journey to the downlands, so I traveled with a trade caravan over the Stark Mounds. I became part of the team going into Hochoch to take out Governor Neumann. Dandelion, Kosef, Thia, Osiris, Morrick, Evendur, Aoth, and I composed this team. Dandelion had visited the Governor the week before as a messenger and met Neumann and his halfling scribe. He has the ability to detect thoughts and discovered two voices in Neumann’s mind. Dandelion concluded that the scribe was probably controlling Neumann and therefore the more dangerous of the two. He had also heard that a sword might still be dominating Neumann as it had during the war. Once we reached Hochoch on the 18th, Dandelion made contact with some of Neumann’s servants and bribed them to sneak us into the servants’ quarters. We went in concealed in a cart when they got supplies for the evening meal. The servants even drew us a map of the manor house and gave us some information on Neumann’s habits. We then waited until after supper and went into the manor house. We posed as servants carrying wood while Dandelion posed as a guard supervisor. Many of the guards were ill with stomach trouble. The servants had to eat the leftovers from the guards’ meal, so some of them unfortunately became ill also. Once in the kitchen, Aoth noticed holly leaves and berries in the food. This made our job easier since most of the guards were indisposed. Morrick and I will get along just fine, he is a life cleric also and a good fellow for a dwarf. An elf and a dwarf can work together and find common beliefs. Morrick bribed the guard in the kitchen with a flask of alcohol, so he slipped out and left us alone. Dandelion went upstairs still in his guise as a guard and found three guards. He sent them one at a time down the stairs where we unfortunately had to kill them.

Once upstairs, Morrick cast silence on the area in front of the Governor’s chambers. We decided to open the door to the door to the scribe’s chambers. I used thaumaturgy to open the door from across the landing. The scribe’s room was empty and did not seem that anyone lived there. There were halfling sized garments in the closet, but the room smelled stale. We then noticed a light coming from the library, so we opened that door. The library was empty, but the light emanated from Neumann’s office. The shelves were obsessively neat with one book missing in the W section. Aoth turned into a weasel and looked under the door. He reported that Neumann was sitting at his desk with a raven. Then suddenly Aoth disappeared and we heard the sound of smashing glass. I threw open the door and Kosef rushed into the office and shot the raven with a bolt. He scored a solid hit, but the raven just squawked and disappeared. The rest of us rushed in to discover that Aoth had jumped out the window and was being chased or followed by a sword. I picked up a small chest near the Govenor and then jumped out the window after Aoth, as did Kosef, Thia and Tornado. Dandelion cast Protection from Evil and Good on the Governor, freeing him from the sword’s influence. Neumann told Dandelion that the scribe was actually an unseelie imp who controlled the sword which controlled him. Neumann also told Dandelion the striking the bell in the north tower of the castle with the sword would destroy the sword. Aoth ran for the gate and convinced the guard to open it for him. He was screaming that he needed to get out of town. Tornado managed to catch and hold him and I cast Protection from Good and Evil on him, breaking the hold of the sword. By this time, Gareth had helped Neumann down to the manor gate while Morrick retained Protection from Evil and Good on him. The sword kept trying to dominate us, thankfully with little success for 30 seconds or so. Luckily my ring kept me safe, but Thia and Tornado and Kosef were each affected in turn. Thia just ran away, while Tornado attacked Gareth and Kosef attacked me. He almost knocked me unconscious, but Morrick healed me. I had managed to grab the sword and Kosef had used rope to bind it to my body before this, so I had some control of it. It alternated with struggling against its bonds and trying to dominate us on the minute and a half it took us to walk to the castle. Osiris broke the sword’s hold on Tornado by attacking him and Evendur did the same for Kosef. Dandelion cast fly on me, so I took the sword to the top of the north tower and struck the bell with the sword, causing it to crumble to dust. I needed to use the Song of the Satyr to successfully control the sword to destroy it. Thus we destroyed the sword, although the imp escaped. While I was doing that, Thia managed to open the small box that Neumann had with him in his office. Inside was a ring inscribed Legendary Fey Ring of Mastery Over Magic. Evendur made the case that the ring should be his and slipped it on. Immediately he became less intelligent and other effects as the ring suppressed all his magic items. He will need to quest to remove the ring. They also recovered the book that Neumann was regarding. It was an arcane puzzle box which had a warning that it was for only the highest mages.

Neumann had sent guards for the knights and nobles of Hochoch. He signed papers and presented his sword to Gareth as rightful ruler of Arweth. He then plunged head first off the back of the castle to the rocks many feet below. Rhyzzat had done some tutoring for Gareth, so Gareth gave an eloquent speech declaring Arweth’s independence and ordering the Gran March troops out of the County. Tomorrow I will seek an audience with Count Gareth, asking for permission to cleanse and reopen the temple of Ehlonna and bring the old faith back to the people of Arweth. I believe that is why Ehlonna brought me here.

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Xilvyre and Hammerhold

Coup – Flocktime 617

I spent my birthday quietly with my grandparents in Pelyth’s Cove.

Arglwyth Emyr has a grand plan for a sudden strike to liberate Arweth on the 18th of Flocktime, CY617. In order to be successful, all of the Gran March/Knights of the Watch leadership in Arweth must be captured (or killed) in a single night. Regular and elite forces from Dwyr, Rhwyng yr Coed, Oytwood Elves, Blodyn Cain, Rhad Derwyth, and Daden Bryd will each be taking out a target as well as several parties of heroes.

Mazer, Aurora, Yuldra and I were given the task of keeping Westfold Force Commander Knight Field Marshall Unmovable Colossal Stone Golem Boltar Hammerhold and his forces busy and out of the fight on the night of the coup. Since she has converted to the cult of Lydia, Yuldra refuses to use deception or lies, so we had to work around that restriction. She also insisted on bring her charge, the gnomish teenager Pookie, formerly the teddy bear. I was concerned for Pookie’s safety, but she refused to be parted from Yuldra. After much discussion, we decided that we did not want to harm the Knight Field Marshall or his staff in the hopes that a bloodless coup would make Gran March more likely to accept it and avoid war. Knight Field Marshall Boltar Hammerhold is a dwarven knight of some power and prestige. He has a command staff of 6 arcane casters, 9 priests (St. Cuthbert, Pelor, Allitur, Ehlonna) and about 30 troops stationed within the Knights of the Watch Chapterhouse in Hochoch. We decided that Yuldra Garren would visit the Knight Field Marshall and bring the rest of us along as her companions.

Mazer had a contact with Chieftess Thornshelda of the stone giants. He got two doses of magic mushrooms from her and we also purchased a dose of blue smoke weed. The plant lore my father taught me came in handy, as we gathered some holly and other plants to give the residents of the knight chapter house food poisoning. We arrived in Hochoch a little before the raid and scouted out the chapter house. About 30 to 60 commoners who are ill treated work in the chapter house each day and are taken back to the slums each evening. I then disguised myself and went to the slums the evening of the 17th. I sought out some of the cooks and gave them the mushrooms and plants with instructions that the mushrooms were for the field marshall’s salad and the plants were to be put in everyone’s food at supper the next evening. It did not take much to convince the staff to do this. Yuldra also picked some tropical fruits from Ravonar and brought them along in hopes of intoxicating the field marshall. She also mentioned that she had a potion that she got from the witches on the way to Gorna months ago if we needed it.

Yuldra wrote a letter to the Field Marshall informing him of her upcoming visit and found a messenger to deliver it. We arrived at the Chapter house just before 8. The Field Marshall had put extra guards on the doors and had fed most of his men early so as to have a formal dinner. When we were ushered into the dining room, the field marshall, his lieutenant, a mage and a cleric were sitting at the head table. He did not introduce his companions, so Yuldra did not introduce us either, except for Pookie her charge. The field marshall ungraciously let Pookie eat at the head table with Yuldra, but Aurora and I had to eat alone at a side table. Mazer was introduced as a musician, so he entertained during the meal. Yuldra, Pookie and I only picked at our food, but Aurora ate hers. It was awful, but Hammerhold indicated that it often was out here in the barbaric region. Hammerhold being a dwarf only picked at his mushroom salad and the fruits Yuldra brought. I was surprised that Hammerhold served wine and brandy, but he said that rank had its privileges. It also helped make the food palatable. First the mage and then the cleric had to leave as they were ill. Hammerhold and Aurora did not seem affected by the food. Later we found out that all but 9 of his men were stricken with food poisoning.

Yuldra kept Hammerhold and his lieutenant occupied with storytelling for a couple of hours, but they were ready for us to leave. Pookie asked to go to the kitchens to rest, but managed to throw up on the guard who was watching her. He would not leave her alone however, and just was replaced with a fresh guard. As we were running out of options, I tried singing a song. I did not do as well as Yuldra would like, so she tried to help me. It sounded as if she were bathing a cat or worse. That was too much for the lieutenant and he lost the battle with his intestines and rushed from the room. Hammerhold received word that the peasants were rising up, but Yuldra convinced him that the town guard could handle the problem, as his men were too important to be bothered with such.

We were out of time, so Mazer dropped the blue smoke weed on the floor and I lit it with presidation from a small distance. This affected most of the remaining guards and Yuldra, causing them to be fascinated with unseen things and to be dazed. Hammerhold being a dwarf was not affected. Aurora “helped” to locate the source of the smoke and spread it a little further and Mazer cast an illusion of closed doors on the dining room. At this point the field marshall became suspicious and started talking about magic and arresting us. I went to assist Yuldra and found the potion in her pouch. I did not have time to get Hammerhold to drink it, so I “tripped” and poured it down his throat as he was bellowing orders for our arrest. Suddenly I was the best person ever. I convinced him not to arrest us and asked if we could have some time alone. He took me to his chambers and had the guards leave us. We talked for a while until Governor Neumann summoned him to the castle. All the guards and the quarter master in the castle were slain. Many of the nobles were dead or ill and many of the knights also. Apparently the peasants were inspired by my example and poisoned all the Marchers. Governor Neumann pardoned all involved in the evening’s events and confessed to being possessed by a fey sword. He apologized for his actions as governor and gave Arweth to Gareth ap Padrig. Then he dove head first off the back of the castle to the rocks below. Gareth gave a stirring speech declaring Arweth a free country and demanded that all Gran March forces leave. Hammerhold used sending stones to pass the orders on to the other forts in the County. Then he and his troops headed east across the Realstream.

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Nature's Rage

Priestess Mairi Greenfield of Beory and High Priestess Selisee Goldenflame of Ehlonna have heard that a gnome druid is stirring up animals to “attack the bad people” near the village of Saertrev. They asked Ben and I to gather companions and investigate. We asked Dasut, a monk, and Rhyzzat Pyenmin, a wizard, to join us. We left Gorna on the 10th of Fireseek and headed into Saertrev. After a two-day journey, we arrived. The only interesting thing on the journey was a bullette skeleton not far from Saertrev. The bullette had been eaten after it had died, but we could not tell what had killed it.

We decided to first speak with the local druid, Alz Heimer. He told us he was more of a plant guy than an animal guy, so he would not be much help with the animals. Animals began attacking the villagers and their livestock (on the East Bank) starting a couple months ago. When the animals were questioned, they claimed that a ‘small druid man’ encouraged them to attack and drive away the ‘bad people’ who live here. It was difficult to talk with Alz, as his mind seemed to wander and every so often we had to reintroduce us. He eventually told us that a young ranger (no more than thirty or thirty five) had stopped by several months ago with an unholy artifact, a book in abyssal with Ur Flan symbols. The ranger was secret and creepy, but he had to be a ranger because he wore green and had a cloak and everything. The book had a grey-ish cover, some kind of leathery-stuff with iron clasps and a lock. Alz gave the book to Glit Glimmertongue, a gnome from the Stark Mounds. He is a druid who is good with animals and arcana. He also reads a lot and speaks at least a dozen languages. Glit has a little shack on Hampton’s Ridge, about a day to the east, if we get lost, just ask the fey for directions. He also has a home in Richmound, but is usually at the shack.

While we were in Saertrev, we also spoke to the townsfolk and to Brehyr Holt Woodjoiner. The Brehyr told us the attacks started just a day or two before the Brenin arrived in Hanner. When the Brenin heard of it, he came over, killed some of nature’s creatures and then departed. One or two groups of heroes came through a month ago, but also departed without resolving the matter. He did not have much confidence that we would resolve the matter either, but didn’t quite say so. The Brehyr did mention that Alz had gotten strange several months ago. He is much more absent-minded now that before. The townsfolk reported that a blue skinned exotic “man” was creating lions, bears, rats and other creatures from little bits of fur he kept in his satchel. They did not like these wild animals being loose in the countyside.

We set out the next morning to find Glit. When we got to his cottage, we found many horrible things. We fought a gibbering mouther in the main chamber. We freed a tortured satyr in another room. He pleaded with us to save Iana. We followed the sounds of a female voice to the next room. A fey woman was strapped to a table and pleading with Glit to stop. A gnome druid with a sick look is in the middle of an incantation. A malignant open book from atop the lectern seems to pull at us, but we resist. Dasut attacked Glit, breaking the ritual. Rhyzzat conjured a box around the book, which made us all feel better. Ben started freeing Iana while Glit summoned some skeletons to attack us. We soon dispatched the skeletons, freed Iana and captured Glit. Iana gave us each an acorn as a thank you and merged with one of the roots and disappeared. We cleaned up Glit’s shack as best we could, destroyed the undead heads we found, burned the green slime and then burned the entire shack to get rid of the grave mold. The book continued to try to dominate us, succeeding with Rhyzzat, Ben and I in turn. Ben used Protection from Evil and Good to break the book’s hold on Rhyzzat. And Rhyzzat cleverly conjured shackles to keep Ben and I from taking the book. Finally I decided to wrap the book in my bedroll and drag it behind us on a 50 foot rope. In that manner, we were able to return to Gorna with Glit and the book.

We handed the book and Glit over to Priestess Mairi Greenfield, who took care of the matter.

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Blue Smoke We Did Inhale!
Mazer's Journal

The day started out great! I got to hang with three other females for this next adventure. All were looking as good as me (Bam!) and it felt like a 2 Lutes for Love groupie thing…except Dandelion was not there and we were all working together…and like all business. Oh well. Aurora, Xilvyre, and…yeah what’s her name now? I forget…umm Yuldra was there with Pookie? I guess it was four other females and Mazer because Pookie the Teddy Bear was now Pookie a young female Gnome. Like moving around and picking pockets and stuff Gnome. Don’t get it.

So we had to incapacitate a Knights of the Watch Chapterhouse (sausage-fest) with some dwarf guy in charge called blah blah blah long name ending in Boltar Hammerhold. Marcher’s titles, geez! While we do this, other forces are attempting to gain control of the Cantrev to endorse Gareth as the rightful heir and bring it back into Gyruff’s fold. We rescued Gareth on a previous adventure and he is being schooled-up and cleaned-up but that guy can sure swing a mean maul though. Splat followed by red mist.

Who do you go to when you want to incapacitate someone? Normally Mazer! But Mazer Beams™ usually burn baddies down dead as the form of incapacitated ashes. But we wanted to not make anyone dead. Fine, add levels of difficulty and tie my hands! Well, STILL come to Mazer because I had a great idea! (Music interlude on the Lute…)

See, I had this outstanding favor from Stone Giant Chieftess Thornshelda. Previously when we were hanging outside the walls of Gorna she offered me some Magic Mushrooms. Of course Mazer does not refuse the request of a female Giant Chieftess and munched some right down. Let’s just say what happened after that I don’t really remember to well but I do recall yelling “Stick in the mud!” to some old guy high up on the Gorna city walls and he got really red in the face for some reason. Oh, and colors. Lots of colors! When I came to, I still had both my kidneys thank god! We visited Stone Giantess Thornshelda again and cashed in my favor for two strong doses of those Magic Mushrooms. Also, remembering that Blue Smoke cloud the Stone Giants were enjoying made me ask for some of that stuff also. We each had to dish out some real gold for a pouch of that good stuff but when ignited by fire…baby, the Blue Smoke will make everything alright! We also got together and brewed up a concoction of our own design hoping it would incapacitate but honestly, weren’t quite sure what it would do.

Observing the Chapterhouse’s activities, we noticed the Wait Staff did not look happy…not at all. I doubt even 2 Lutes for Love could have cheered those poor people up. So Xilvyre discreetly made contact with the kitchen help to assist us slipping in a special dose of those Magic Mushrooms to Mr. Dwarf Leader and spike the rest of the food with our own concoction for the enjoyment of everyone else at the Chapterhouse. Blue Smoke goodness in reserve.

Fast forward to mission go-time. We sent a runner with a message to the Chapterhouse in advance that a Gyruff noble…what? Yuldra!!?…was going to visit with her entourage. I let her have the limelight for a change and our way in was through the front door! Yuldra also had a cart full of some exotic fruits from Tenwalls/Ravonar that we also spiked extra special for those Marchers. This equaled many ways and forms to be looped-up for our grand party! Well we entered and were seated for the formal dinner and the special food & drink was distributed to all. Yes…this Commander Dwarf broke out some wine! I have to say he wasn’t as bad as other Marchers so I was glad our methods were not lethal. Our entire group was present, I played some entertaining lute music quite wonderfully I might add, Aurora told some stories, a couple dancing ladies came in, but Yuldra drug the party out late into the night talking, more talking, tried a bit of dancing (very poorly) while the place ate up the food! We waited to see what effects were taking place. Of course the command staff at the Gran March table looked uncomfortable and eventually had to excuse themselves and left…WIN! Unfortunately dwarves are really resistant to effects of magic mushrooms and just about everything else…loss. Dang, this is the guy we really needed to incapacitate too. So sticking to our bloodless plan instead of attacking him I planted the Blue Smoke pouch while walking the room playing my lute and Xilvyre lit the baby up! I know what you are saying…we were ALL in the funny zone too but that is the chance we took to succeed! (Another music interlude on the Lute…)

As the blue smoke filled the room, most of our group remained composed with the exception of Yuldra and Pookie. Did I mention that dwarves are really resistant already and this guy was also of high level? Strike two! The gig was up and he called in troops to arrest us and remove the source of Blue Smoke. Well ALL the other Guards are not Dwarves and were mostly incapacitated by the Blue Smoke. In a last ditch effort to get this Dwarf guy, Xilvyre remembered that Yuldra had some kind of love potion on her. In the confusion of the Guards enjoying the Blue Smoke with a bellowing dwarf commander wondering why they were just standing there, Xilvyre found the potion and sneakily threw the open container at his face & mouth during mid-dwarf loud bellowing. I have had drinks thrown in my face before but I’m glad this potion was not in any of those! Dwarves are not good at resisting this type of concoction…which was also of fey design. He was immediately taken with Xilvyre and they decided to go for a walk to an undisclosed location. (Romantic music interlude on the Lute…)

There was one unaffected Guard in the room with us and was unsure of what to do. His last order was to arrest us but then Mr. Dwarf left with one of our group so he told us to remain here so he could figure it out. This bad news Marcher guard must be a real loser because one of those dancing ladies was really mad at him, grabbed a dagger from an incapacitated guard and tried to stick him! I’ll tell you, the last thing a guy wants to see is an upset female swinging a dagger at him…especially in the sack! But that was not too smart of her attacking a fully armored Marcher that thought she was less than dirt. I tried to talk it down and intervene between them but the guard cut her down in one swing. After a while Xilvyre and Lovey-dovey Dwarf returned and she convinced him to let us go. We may also have insinuated (ahem) that the dead dancing lady was a barbaric magic-using witch who poisoned pretty much the entire Chapterhouse. Who knew?

Well, it was well past midnight and we were leaving. We heard shouting & yelling in the distance and saw some fires too. I hope the rest of the groups are successful. But let me tell ya, the lot of them here at this Chapterhouse are either in LOVE (Xilvyre!) or so uncomfortable that the long lines at the outhouse are not moving fast enough so they are sheading armor, pulling down pants, and going all “abstract art” where they stand. No great fighting capability here! Should make it easier for the others.

Leave me a like if you enjoyed the Mazer perspective!  Mazer
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