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.
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.