Thom's Kingmaking

Season 3: Episode 75 – Violent Vagabonds (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 3: Episode 75 – Violent Vagabonds (Kerubiel’s point of view)

As we were approaching the gates leading up to the Block House, each of us seem deep within thought. Drael seemed to be muttering to himself about the centaur tribes, the ‘Nomen’ and their apparent god, ‘Vordakai’. Finn seemed very agitated and kept looking over his shoulder in the direction of Duskholde, a desperation to get back to the rest of his kin. Glanrim just seemed a little shocked that this place was not as nice as he’d heard us all talk about just a few short weeks ago after Valla’s wedding.

I, myself, have this strangest feeling that Varnhold is sharing some kind of curse similar to what Ervil helped us with the zombies and ruins around our castle grounds.

These thoughts were all interrupted by a high-pitched gnome-ish woman. I say gnomish because she did not have the colourful flair that is normally associated with the race. She was pale and balding and then she apparently knows Aila from Dunkaliar – which the look on her face just spells confusion, not very good at masking any emotions or thoughts there.

Then Aila calls this gnome Jeji and they apparently know each other, but Aila whispers that she used to have a vibrant teal auburn hair, not this grey skinned bald gnome we see up on the parapet of the gate. Finn is on edge and whispers to Aila that she has the same color skin as the spriggan we saw in the inn and if the same thing has happened to Jeji, she is not the same person Aila once knew.

Aila and Jeji then have some small talk about their past – apparently Aila helped her with her roof once, and that the asymmetric architecture of Dunkaliar is something they both enjoyed. She then asks Aila who she is traveling with because we aren’t her family.

She introduces me as King – rightly so, I nod and give a hail, which Jenji just gives a little wave and is somehow not impressed. Truly something must be off with her.

Then after pleasantries, Jenji asks why Aila moved and if it had anything to do with joy, and then wants us all to tell her where we find joy and Aila is talking about Silver Falls and her family and our great kingdom.

Jenji then says she’ll make a deal and tell us where the people are if we tell her what gives us joy. I am getting an uneasy feeling so when she asks me, I say that I find joy wherever Sorath is, no way am I giving this creature more information than that. Drael says he loves flying, Finn says he has herbs that help people find joy.

As I observe her body language, I get the impression that there is something more going on with this fey creature but Aila is talking more about Silver Falls and how great it is there and so I try to also steer Aila subtly in a different direction, but she is oblivious to my cues. Finally, Finn gets frustrated and asks whether she is going to help or not because he’s worried about his people in Duskholde.
Jenji then nods and agrees that we did our part of her deal and says that when she got here the people were gone. That another one of them, Agai, had told them of this place that was empty and free to live in. I want to know where this guy is. He has apparently taught them how to survive.
Drael noticed the mood shift and signalled to Glanrim to check our flank and he subtly slinks off as Aila is apologizing to Finn for wasting any time. I tell Finn that I need to talk to whoever it was that knew this place was empty, and although annoyed he nods and agrees.

The conversation has now escalated, and she is asking us all to imagine a world where the things we find joy didn’t exist, and when she says Sorath I draw my lance, and what would we do if we lost them forever. Her voice dropped during that final statement, and she jumped over the wall as she grew in size to close to the 10 feet tall and slashed out at Finn, who ducked behind Aila.

Finn then yells that she is no longer a friend, and asks if we should try and redeem her? Drael tries to cast some kind of sparkling magic at it, but it seems to have no effect. Finn then tries to reason with giant Jenji saying they don’t have to do this while throwing a bomb at her chest and steps behind Ray Jay who growls defensively.

Aila lets out a primal scream and slams her hammer in the monster’s knee cause it to buckle slightly but on the back swing it brings up its halberd and blocks.

Meanwhile, Sorath and I have moved into position to charge, and I shout at her and say that she should have never threatened my cat as the lance connects right under her jaw and the momentum severs the head as we continue on our charge. The head slowly sliding back down as we turn around to rejoin the others.

Aila and Finn investigate the gate as Drael and I look at the head and body of Jenji, we end up putting her large weapon in Finn’s magical bag. As Finn is trying to figure out how to unlock it, Sorath and I go to the side walls, and she stands on her hind legs so I can peek inside. I see a bit of movement – maybe another spriggan and some wolves but they are trying to be hidden so I can’t be certain on numbers.

Once we come back, Finn has shared that the gate is barred, and it’s decided that Aila will fly over with Drael’s magical assistance to unlock the gate to let us all in. The moment Aila starts to go aloft a huge grin spreads across her face and then it quickly shifts back to gritty determination.

She gives one large heave, but the bar is quite heavier than she expected and a little stuck,” Blighted begonias” we all hear from Aila as we also hear the dire wolves coming up behind her. We need in there now.

Drael thinks quickly and makes himself fly so he can assist her from an aerial vantage point, and he shouts out that the wolves are avoid the regular path as they are rushing over – four of them, so make sure we steer clear. Probably another pit trap.

Thinking that Sorath was easily able to get her paws up to the top of the wall we try and climb it to get us both in there quickly. She scampers up without issue, but the wall is not prepared for her size and wobbles slights causing to scratch her flank on our climbing over, I pat her, and she snorts her assurance that she is okay.

I look around and see Finn poking is little finger through the gate and one of the wolf’s attitudes seems to shift. Looking around I am in the cattle pen and just as Sorath and I are about to move out another spriggan comes around the corner of the livestock shed and steps inside with us. I also hear sounds coming from the block house. I feel some heat from gate as Drael is lighting up the 3 non friendly dire wolves. Yup one doesn’t seem to be hostile anymore. Good work, Finn.

Aila then roars and curses that the bar is stuck. I then do a ride by attack, piercing the spriggan in the chest as I deftly block its blow with my shield. I then hear Finn tell Ray Jay to dig. Looking around briefly I see the ground is littered with gnawed on animal bones.

The spriggan in the pen with me tries to swing hard into me but I am ready and braced with my shield arm. At the same time, two crossbow bolts ricochet off my armour, the bolts having come from the second story of the block house.

Meanwhile, out of my periphery I notice more flames over near Aila and the smell burnt wolf hair tickles my nostrils. Then a roar from Aila and a small yip tells me at least one wolf is down. I then hear Finn shout ‘Now’ and notice that the one wolf who he had befriend is behind the spriggan and locks its jaw into its leg and pulls it to the ground. Good wolf.

Seizing this opportunity, I ride up and stake the spriggan to the ground with Lily’s Thorn and it heaves its last breath. I then let the others know about the bolts coming from the building. Finn calls his wolf back to him and yells at Aila to open the door because he’s doing nothing outside.
More bolts, but I am ready for them, but this time they are accompanied by a small boulder off the top of the block house. I deftly direct Sorath out of its path as I notice more grey arms.

Looking over at the gate, I see Aila still has one wolf on her and is on the ground, but she dodges out of the way and hauls that bar off the gate with a primal scream. Drael also flies up while mirroring himself and shouts down a confirmation of what I thought – another spriggan on the roof.

Finn sees one last non-friendly wolf and he and Ray Jay put it down mercifully and it looks like h send his new friend one out of the compound. Anyways, I urge Sorath up to the front door of the block house, ready to confront anything that might come out, while also keeping my guard up from targets above…rushing into the building, could use the general’s help as the door is a little small for Sorath. Where is he anyway?

Season 3: Episode 74 – The Mystery Builds (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 3: Episode 74 – The Mystery Builds (Kerubiel’s point of view)

The sun dipped behind the horizon as we looked in the inn. Aila heading in and asking an audible “what?” as she looked at the creature in the corner, but not getting too close. I entered as well and took up a defensive flanking position with her just in case something nefarious was about to happen.

Finn paused at the door, still caught up on the ‘NOMEN’ on the door. He and Glanrim banter back and forth as Drael comes in and starts investigating the source of the light and gleans that it is some sort of conjuration magic.

Finn has finally come in now and shares that the creature is the same color as the legs that were inside the Chull, but clearly a very different size. Taking a long look at the creature Finn starts to say that it looks like a ‘spriggan’ – some sort of evil gnomes who are related fey creatures as well.

Drael then asks if it is related to gnomes then why are they so much larger, which Finn tells us is part of their fey magic that lets them change size. Drael also adds that there is strong conjuration magic coming from around the spriggan so best be careful. Finn adds one more tidbit about them in that they are usually solo creatures.

I take a moment to notice that Sorath’s hackles are up in proximity to this thing. We decide we need a closer look at it if are we going to learn anything more, so Glanrim, Aila and I advance each taking a different aisle of the tavern towards it.

It doesn’t move at all so Finn decides to turn invisible to get a closer look at it and says that the back of its head has a huge hole in it but doesn’t go into the nimbus of light that surrounds the creatures. Eventually Glanrim volunteers to do so and I give him a thumbs up of agreeance.

Once closer, nothing seems to happen to him, and he shares with us that there is a huge pile of books around it. He then tries to drag the body of the light, but it follows the body. Interesting.

Drael then takes a closer look and discerns that one of the books had an enchantment placed upon it that cast this light nimbus on the spriggan probably when it tried to read the book. The trap is a one and done, and it was probably killed after it was suspended in the light.

Glanrim then cuts the creatures wrist off to let Drael examine something it was holding. The books in the pile are mostly geography books that focus on south of Brevoy and East of Argenturm – the area of Varnhold and even over to Duskholde.

There was a steel pauldron in the hand, and it has 2 sigils that Glanrim recognizes as Brynkuld rangers and a high peak clan. Looking at the craftsmanship of the pauldron we deduce that it must be over 200 years old.
Meanwhile, Drael has started to pour over the books and shares that he thinks this stuff belonged to Ervil’s stuff, and that this spell happened when this creature tried taking it. Or I offer that this might be the Professor after something went horribly wrong.

Drael then continues to read more and learns that the Rashalka centaurs had an offshoot known as the Nomen that lived in the area that is Varnhold and Duskholde. He also finds sketching of the pauldron and a jade bracelet that is dated to the premigration of the centaur tribes.

While all this research is going on, Sorath and I decided to take a look upstairs to make sure we don’t miss anything or anyone else. As I am reaching the top, Glanrim trots up behind me, apparently a little bored with the book stuff as well. Finn has started to help Drael now.

Out of the 5 rooms in the inn all are empty, save for the middle one, which has what we assume to be the Professor’s belongings. A large trunk as well a beautifully crafted viola. There are more research notes in his room, and we decide that Drael and Finn are probably the better candidates for looking at this stuff.

I do find a note to Ervil from Maegar on the desk, mention that Maegar was a former pupil of Ervils, and that Willis had found something on the riverbank to the south of Varnhold, a jade bracelet, and that they would need some help with it.

I ask Sorath to take on last sniff of the room and she smells something along the bottom of the travel trunk which after closer inspection finds a secret compartment. Good girl. Inside is a centuries old book. Carmyn e’Brothasa (chronicler of Taldor’s Third Army of Exploration into the north) mentions of a name ‘Vordakai’ and notes “perhaps a Nomen centaur god?” – which none of us have heard of before, but probably is not a good thing with the letters from Duskholde and the disappearance of everyone so far here.

When we look on what to do with Ervil’s belongings, we decide to hold onto them until we find him, or to help us with his research and I ask to take the viola, thinking that I could learn to play in his honor and Aila nods thinking that would be nice.

With all these books, and mysteries to be solved we decide to hole up here in the Water horse because it is pretty fortifiable, and we wouldn’t have to move as much stuff.

We find food preserves in the storeroom and able to have a meal that isn’t rotten and sleep in shifts in the remaining inn beds.

By the next morning, the body of the spriggan is no longer in the glowing nimbus and has slumped to the ground. So, we decide to take it to the pit trap to remove it from the inn. It is a cloudless day, which would be nice, if it weren’t for the eerie atmosphere of the town.

Drael then says he wants to stop at Kardel’s on the way up to the Block House, we nod agreement and head on up the road. We pause at his house to let Drael investigate and after a few moments he comes back out to say his place looks very similar to Valla’s.

The garden outfront, which was always well tended the past couple of times we have been here is slightly overgrown with the beginning of spring growth. We also notice that there is a thin line of smoke coming from the Block House, so we start to continue on. Drael says that he will want to tend to the garden before we leave with a sad look upon his face. We nod, Aila mentions that is hard to see blighted begonias and we ride on.

As we get closer to the Block House and the outer palisade it is clear that the smoke is coming from a chimney inside, and as we approach the front gate we are interrupted by an unseen voice from within.

They ask Aila if she is a ‘Zorn girl’, which she says yes, and then asks if she is from Dunkralire, which she says yes again, and the unseen voice just says, ‘Oh.” …What is happening here?

Season 3: Episode 73 – An Unexpected Welcome (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 3: Episode 73 – An Unexpected Welcome (Kerubiel’s point of view)

As the enormous murder of crows leave the far edge of the river and fly out of town over our heads, the feeling of foreboding can’t help but fill us all. Aila’s face is clear that she has a high level of concern. Finn is looking anxious and is mumbling to himself.

Drael voices that he wants to check in on his dad, Kardel and Glanrim nods with a look of he will go wherever we want. Before panic and worry can overcome any of them, I quickly give voice that something serious has happened here and we will check on Aila’s sister first, then Drael’s dad, and then head up to the Block House, but we best be prepared, and so I draw Lily’s Thorn. The others do the same with their weapons.

As we ride those few steps further into town, my mind flicks back to a recent evening in Silver Halls, taking a moment to look down from the castle rampart to admire my bustling city and the rapid growth we have succeeded in achieving in these past couple of years…to then look out at this town and up to the Block House with absolutely no movement.

We move first toward Valla and Traikore’s house, a humble dwelling, wooden with no windows, just storm shutters, like many homes back in Silver Falls. As we approach, I notice that the front door is not quite latched, and I can hear Aila pushing forward so I give her space to do so. As she reaches the door, we hear a large clattering sound from around the back side of the house.

All on edge, we quickly take strategic battle positions, and Drael casts his defensive spell that creates illusory duplicates of himself. I go to flank around the north side and Glanrim heads straight to the source of the noise. I then hear him shout that it was just some wood that had fallen over. Finn shouts out that it must be a trap. Glanrim comes back and says it was no trap, just the wind and a crow. Finn nods, reassured, and Aila heads inside.

Glancing in, the place looks turned over, but there are no people or sounds aside from us. Aila, starting to become overwhelmed drops to a knee, but Finn rushes up to her side, putting a hand on her shoulder and points out that there is no blood. Drael goes in to take a look around and I point out that perhaps they are at the inn. Aila nods and starts to head out when Drael says he found something – a note addressed to Aila from Valla.

It is just correspondence of a sisterly nature – catching up on life events and that she looks forward to the next time they can see each other but stops mid-sentence and Glanrim notices a pot of spilled ink nearby. Aila thinks they must have left in a hurry and Glanrim thinks that someone may have come in here after they left.

I say again that we should make for the inn with haste…the others follow my lead this time.

We head to the fjord of the river that divides the north and south side of town. The Water Horse is in view as we start to cross but then we hear a splash of water and suddenly Glanrim is pinched inside a massive claw of a large tentacle faced bipedal crustacean. With him in its grasp in pulls him to its face and the tentacles writhe all over him and he goes still. Shit.

I then hear a muttering of an incantation from Drael, and the world seems to slow for everyone that is not us.

Finn quickly starts to get to work on some kind of concoction since he can see that Glanrim is still breathing. Aila screams with fury and charges the creature but before her maul can make contact it grabs her with one of its pincers.

I quickly make my way up along the south side of the river and position Sorath and I to pierce this creature with Lily’s Thorn. While I ride past, I take notice of its impressive reach and block its other claw with my shield.

As I am turning around, I hear Drael yell that help is coming and I see out of the corner of my eye, Glarnim getting munched on while Aila is coated in a thick layer of magical grease. This gives her the boost she needed to slip free and prepares to attack again while Finn rushes up to Glanrim and wafts some kind of fume in his face.

Finally, in place, Sorath and I start to charge the beast, just as a fiery explosion goes off near this thing while Aila wails on its back and I, gaining the boon of Lancer’s Hope, skewer the beast right through its maw, causing it to drop Glanrim as it collapses down into the shallow water.

Glanrim then stands back up and even though he’s down on himself for being a pin cushion, I remind him that that is his job in our group. He chuckles and nods. It is then that Drael’s spell wears off and a wave of fatigue washes over all of us.

Finn wants to dissect the beast and Glanrim wants a trophy so with Sorath’s help we pull it up onto the bank. Finn shares that he thinks this is a Chull, and stats cutting it up. He says he finds the legs of a gray-skinned humanoid creature, two left legs actually. He shares that it is an adult leg so must have been a halfling or gnome based on its size.

We then move onto the Water Horse, Glanrim pointing out that this isn’t what happened to the whole town. We nod as Finn says something about Ray Jay with tentacles – oh man.

As we pass the watering hole, suddenly the ground opens up and Drael and Glanrim fall into a pit trap and are skewered by spikes at the bottom. Nothing fatal, but definitely painful looking. I help them up and assure Glanrim that that is a new addition to the town and Finn tends to some of their wounds.

As we approach the two-storey building, one of the only in town, we notice something carved into the door – “NOMEN”…hearing us say it out loud, Finn says that only Aila and Sorath will be able to go in. We shake our heads at the pun and open the door.

The common room looks as it normally would, except that the tables are lined with rotting food and no patrons, but in the back corner is a yellow nimbus of light encircling a large humanoid who is like a small giant of ten feet in height, but he seems to be paralyzed in the light. Things are getting stranger and stranger here in Varnhold.

Season 3: Episode 72 – A Call for Action (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 3: Episode 72 – A Call for Action (Kerubiel’s point of view)
After receiving the letter my Dogrul family was definitely amped up. Kasner was quick to say that we have to do something with all his…our kin live there and we need to do something now. Finn agrees with him right away as to do I so I tell him we will convene the whole council. To gather everyone, it will probably take till the early afternoon.
Each of nods and goes off to figure out our next steps. Cora and I go and discuss things in our tower, but as we step out of council and look out from one of the parapets it’s hard to not reflect on all that we’ve accomplished in the last few years. Since that dreadful war with the troll abominations.
This letter puts into perspective the easy time we’ve had the last few months. Visiting the old Beldame and upgrading Lily’s thorn, trying to sell the robe of bones in Restov to only find out that it’s cursed. Thank the gods that Finn never put it on. We decided to keep it and have it as a special present for Grigori if he ever shows up again.
Once Cora and I are in our tower, she tells me that she’s concerned for Valla. That if Varnhold isn’t helping Duskholde, maybe somethings happened to them and her. I nod my head in agreement and agree that we should make haste. That even if we don’t bring the army, that us barons should ride ahead and see what’s happening. She hugs me and I can tell how worried she is.
Council convenes just after lunch. Jensothi and Jhod have laid out maps of the Kingdom and our towns as all of us are present and we call this council to order. I share with every member of the council the details of the letter and that Duskholde is being ravaged by centaur barbarians. Brevoy is not helping them and Varnhold has ignored their request for aid.
They are requesting us to bring our army and so we look to the council’s wisdom to see what Argentum should do next.
Glanrim Is the first to respond by saying that we cannot march the army through another Kingdom. He cares deeply but he just cannot foresee doing this. He will definitely get the Ironborn to have the military on standby but for now that is all we can do.
He goes on to say that things are not as simple as when we were just adventurers we have to think of the whole Kingdom and what’s best for it.
Drael then responds by thanking me for my wise words and passion for our people and Glanrim’s Keen tactical mind. he agrees that putting the army on standby is probably a good idea but, in the end, if Brevoy says no we can’t risk all-out war. We of course should go and plead our case to them.
Gith then comes in late, but many of us hadn’t noticed and she is quickly filled in on the situation. Aila then asks me what my opinion is.
I tell her that I think that the Court of Argentum should go with any council members that are willing to lend a hand and she nods.
Finn then pipes up, clearly agitated, mentioning how we turned the Kingdom upside down to bring back sorath and then he turns to Drael and mentions how we took Glanrim to another country and a god we don’t even know to bring him back. If we don’t quickly act his kin – our kin, are going to be destroyed. Duskholde will be obliterated and so he needs to go because people will obviously need healing.
Cora then pipes up, looking specifically at Aila while mentioning that if Varnhold is struggling with these raiders, what might be happening to Valla as well? Valla might be in serious trouble as well. Which leaves Aila mouth agape and stunned.
Gith then goes on to agree with what Finn said. General Glanrim have you ever lost a war? We haven’t lost yet? We have an army that they need, why aren’t we sending it?
Having heard most of the voices I then pipe up to say that we should head out right away as a small party. We should have Kasner head straight to Restov to plead our case while the rest of us head to check in with our allies in Varnhold.
This is where Kasner pipes up and says he can’t leave because his wife has left suddently on important business and that he has to take care of Porthos. This seems quite suspicious, but my uncle doesn’t share anything more than that. So, I tell him that this is quite disappointing given the current circumstances. But I guess the king will have to do the job of the diplomat. To which Drael agrees that we will take Kasner’s role.
Jensothi then seems very fidgety and finally pipes up saying that with all due respect to Finn and Kasner, but we have nothing to do with Duskholde. We are an independent nation and what if this is all just some plot of Brevoy’s to make it look like Argentum is the aggressor? I nod in agreement and Aila looks shocked still.
Jhod then adds his two cents by saying that he doesn’t spend weeks every month patrolling our borders just to be powerless. We are a Kingdom why don’t we hire a party of adventurers to help? Drael questions whether a party of adventurers could deal with centaur raiders? Jhod Then goes on to say isn’t that what adventurers do? And Drael responds by saying that he thinks this is a more of a personal mission.
Finn then iterates that there are injured people that will need his help and he will be going.
After a bit more discussion it is becoming clearer why we were originally a group of five chosen to rule because that swing vote is important. The Court of Argentum has differing opinions and so we meet briefly the four of us and decide that we should vote in a fifth member of the Court of Argentum. We will ask the court to nominate someone other than themselves and then vote from there. The names put forward end up being Keston, Jhod, Gith and Aila. Once we all vote, Aila ends up with the majority of the vote, and we welcome her officially to the Court of Argentum. She just tells us all that she’s happy to help.
In the end we decide to leave the army in Silver Falls and as council is adjourning, Glanrim requests a word with Kasner and just the Court of Argentum. Aila forgets to stay but we fill her in afterwards. (Maybe all of us forgot, it’s new having a fifth again).
He asks him if there was somethinghe wanted to get off his chest, to which Kasner responds aloof and insists that it is just business as to why Yollie is leaving. I see the general thinks more is going on here than what was said earlier. As we pry for more details, he then says that some things just have to get done. Letting the silence fill the space a little longer he then spills out that his home is under attack and asks what would we do? He goes on to say that Yollie has special skills like she is handy with a blade.
Finn then interrupts and asks why we are questioning him. Saying we are wasting time and storms off. Oh brother. I then make it very clear that we want to know where she is going and whether she has left yet. All Kasner can do is look down in silence.
The silence aggravates me to no end, so I lash out and tell him that I hope she doesn’t end up dead. I then head to my tower to start packing, using some choice language under my breath.
Cora comes in while I am muttering, and she hears me say ‘stupid aunt’ as I throw things into my haversack and throw a treat for Sorath. She pauses my packing, reassures me that she will take care of things while I am away. She lets me vent about my frustrations and then we kiss, and we head back into the courtyard. I hope the others have been packing.
Thank goodness, the whole Court is at the castle stables and as we mount up, I ask if we are all ready. The boys all respond with nods, and Aila, bless her, just says, “Happy to help!”. As we are leaving, I look back and wave to Cora and notice Kasner in Finn’s tower window, holding Porthos, and I can’t help but shake my head.
We make good time and are most of the way to Oleg’s by the time it is time to break for camp the first night. Campfire talk is a lot of strategy but nothing that hasn’t already been hashed out in council prior.

The next day we take a quick break around lunch at Oleg’s and fill him in on the situation. Make sure he’s got his extra bunks ready just in case we need to have the army on standby closer to our border. He nods and says hopefully it won’t come to that. I sure hope so.
We end our third day of travel at Navitka’s Crossing and while having dinner at the tavern that night a messenger approaches Glanrim. He receives a letter from Saphirebraids asking him to check in on Ervil Pendrod in Varnhold who has found some dwarven relic. The Maestro has been apparently doing some work for them.
Thinking back to what he dealt with for us with our zombie problem makes me wonder what they might have uncovered in Varnhold and say a prayer to Sarenrae and Erastil that that is not why they aren’t answering Duskholde’s call for aid.
The sun shines through the clouds as we gear up for our last day of travel before hitting Varnhold. It appears as if they too have expanded their borders to bump up to Brevoy. As we head south along the Kiravoy Road, the farmland we are passing has a strangeness to it. After an hour, Drael is the first to break the silence and point out that we haven’t seen anyone but suggests that maybe it is a holiday here and everyone is in town. We nod but I don’t think any of us are convinced.
Another hour with empty farm fields causes Glanrim’s curiousity to get the better of him. He goes off the road and follows a path up to the nearest farmhouse. We all trail along but keep our eyes peeled around the perimeter of the house. Finn whispers to me that he doesn’t like this.
Ten minutes later, Glanrim is back saying the whole house was empty. The fires are all out, but food looks like it was left out, about to be prepared. It looks like they left in a hurry he tells us. As I am suggesting that we make haste then Finn whispers – left or vanished. Glanrim pauses and then says he doesn’t think anything was packed.
Drael then says the obvious – that we should be on guard and doesn’t think there is a festival.
We arrive at the northern edge of Varnhold, and it has grown in size since we came last spring. It looks like our trade agreement has helped them prosper as well. It is easier to see these changes now that the winter snow has melted since our visit here for Valla and Traikore’s wedding two months ago.
As we are all noticing the changes, we all notice at the same time that there are no people to be seen and the only sounds we hear are the babble of the river. Finn then breaks the silence by asking Drael if he was going to check on his dad. Drael nods yes but says that whatever is going on here is wrong.
We all pause and look around before taking a few more steps toward the river crossing when from the other side of the river, the largest murder of crows any of us has ever seen suddenly burst into the air cawing loudly. That ain’t a great first sign of life.

Solo Quest - Aila's Curses - (Aila's point of view)

Solo Quest – Aila’s Curses – (Aila’s point of view)

Meanwhile, straight after the royal wedding Aila makes a solo trip to Restov to complete a series of events she needs in order to heal from her curse. The curse she received from the killing blow in the Elven Tower from that wretched dancer. The curse has been a depletion of her strength (minus 6 to be exact) but the real curse has been how it has made her feel emotionally. She feels useless. After that encounter you no longer heard Aila’s gruff and eager “happy to help!”. In fact now you recall you haven’t heard much from her except her maid of honour speech at the wedding. You know she supplied candles at the wedding too but come to think of it, she only carried a few in at a time, not ten stacked trays like you would have expected. Aila is ashamed and doesn’t want people to suffer from her weaknesses so instead of asking for help; she goes to Restov to sell her ring of protection. She needs the money to pay for this curse to be removed. With Jhod’s suggestion she heads to the high priest of Restov, Ezvanki Keegh, and quietly has the curse removed. She feels immediate relief upon the return of her strength and you notice a pleasant skip to her step once she returns. Losing her strength has changed her though and you perceive more hesitation and less confidence in her actions going forward.

Kingdom building - Winter in Wonder [Kuthona to Calistril] (Kerubiel's point of view)

Kingdom building – Winter in Wonder [Kuthona to Calistril] (Kerubiel’s point of view)

With the arrival of Kuthona, the kingdom was a flurry of excitement in anticipation of the wedding to be held on the winter solstice. Council met early this month so that the bride and groom could spend some relaxing time post wedding without having to worry about imminent kingdom decisions. This was also Cora’s first council where, she told me later, she first felt comfortable sharing her opinions. Before she’d felt more like an observer, but now she feels like full member. Good.
The kingdom’s agriculture grew some more with the building of facilities to accommodate more fishing along the Tuskwater, and the farming in the land east of Silver Falls has put apiaries into place.
Silver Stag is continuing to grow according to Jhod, who frequently visits there as part of his patrols. Perhaps we should find a way to make that a home base for him. Anyways, we built more homes there to help house the new citizens. But that was all the major construction that was had, as most of the taxes collected this month helped to cover the cost of the wedding. More details on the wedding later.
Moving into the new year, Cora was the first to tell me that while we were planning our wedding, Valla was planning one of her own. To the bartender, Traikore Zalphon in Varnhold. They were to have their wedding at the end of Abadius and she was moving there. We were of course invited and needed to bring a great gift.
So, we packed up an envoy and headed to Varnhold for a beautiful wedding. Nothing quite as extravagant as ours of course, but it was nice, and Cora seemed to really enjoy her duties as a bridesmaid.
Before we left, we met for council and expanded the kingdom more. We now have in our territory the area to the southeast of Silver Falls – where we fought that giant turtle so long ago. We also expanded our farming operation to this land.
Loy and Latricia, who have been very pleased with our progress, had sent word that their investors are still looking for a market space, so we sent resources to help them establish that as well as more homes for their growing town.
Jensothi told me later that we may have overspent a little this month with the cost of attending another wedding and Gith said that the people are worried we are not being responsible with their tax dollars. Best to do something about this in the upcoming month.
In Calistril, council decides to continue to add apiaries to our farming land. A great idea with the amount of mead that is consumed during Merry Mead this year. A great night in Silver Falls and I hear it also does well in our other towns as well. Helps keep morale high during this cold time of year.
We also upgrade the barracks space in Silver Falls to a full garrison. Glanrim thinks he can properly train his remaining soldiers and no longer are they a rag tag militia, but full soldiers. Good. We’ll be ready in any other monster nation comes knocking.
As winter ends at the beginning of Pharast, we are enjoying breakfast in the council chambers when Jensothi brings in letters for Kasner, Finn, and I… It’s from the Mayor of Duskholde. They are being overwhelmed by centaur raiders and both Brevoy and Varnhold have not sent help or replied to their call for aid. Looks like we have some decisions to make fast… At least we had a nice winter.

Book 2-3 Interludes - The Wedding of a Nation – A flashback of memories

Book 2-3 Interludes – The Wedding of a Nation – A flashback of memories
So many in Argentum will remember this day for years to come. Many of them remember the sound starting in the morning with the sound of being in a deep, deep snow all around – the sounds being quite muted in the way that when there’s a deep snowfall. Sounds just seemed to be quieter but as the sun slowly rose on the day the sounds around Silver Falls and Argentum began to crescendo with the hustle and bustle of hundreds of people moving about and scurrying around Silver Falls and they began preparing for the day. In the early hours of the morning, Tamus, Ray J, and Sorath all smell this maelstrom of senses that they’ve never really smelled before in this combination. There’s a low-level centre of anxiety and sweat and humans, halflings, dwarves, and elves, and everything in between, begin to engage in their preparations. Across all the buildings in Silver Falls there’s a smell of overarching excitement and anticipation for a big day for the Kingdom of Argentum but also one centred in a very personal and intimate relationship of love. People remember some of the individuals around, standing out particular, people remember Loinarv bustling around taking a moment or two to watch in stillness people just stare at him, for his traditional trademark black eye patch traded out for an eye patch of green silk on this particular day. People remember Keston and his boys all wearing flowers as part of their uniforms – fresh green and white flowers pinned to their uniforms that look like they were carefully cleaned and ironed sometime in the wee hours of the morning. People remember King Vesket making his way with only one other lizardfolk in attendance. King Vesket looking particularly majestic in his crown embedded with lapis lazuli around the top. It doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the day. He is particularly a little more lethargic than your used to seeing the big, big lizard walk around, but he’s there and he’s proud. You see Chiefs Sootscale wearing a glorious headdress made of feathers and bits of fur and scales hanging from it. It bounces slightly as he walks across the snow.

People also remember a visitor that seemed familiar with Kerubiel but stranger to the other people that he encountered. It was a human with piercing blue eyes who rode in on a very well-bred chestnut stallion. You might be able to see that he had blonde hair pulled up into a knot behind his head except you can’t see his hair because on top of his head he is wearing a preposterous triangle hat, a brilliant shade of amber with great pinstripes perched on his head. People also remembered a couple sleds pulled in on the snow from places outside of Argentum. One of the sleds had the Surtova Crest emblazoned on the sides – a grey ship against the field of blue below in black above, the upper shield part of the Crest spangled with Silver Stars and out of this wagon sled pulled across the snow, a figure stepped out – imposing in full silver full plate black stylings in the hinges and a billowing black cape, he barely managed to fit out of the door of this sled wagon. The barons would recognize him as one of the Surtova guards – one of the personal bodyguards they met briefly when queen Natala Surtova met them as they were gaining their charter. Parked facing exactly opposite is another sled also with a Crest on it. This Crest was of the Sword Lords and had underneath were stencil letters of J and A. Out of that sled stepped two figures – Iosef Selamas, no longer the Lord Mayor but once the Lord Mayor of Restov, comes forth and with him a steward. His body servant Rush Hanel standing there with his proper white beard and black bow tie. And that is how the day opens up and some of the people that are around.

And Finn was talking to all the ushers, the guards, and his little helper Ray J are making sure everybody is situated in their positions and that everything is working. He did a brief walk down and told the guards where to stand and where to go. He was telling them to blend in but also to be wary of anybody suspicious. His ushers he was really strict of them. They were all dressed in floral blue with gold trim – this helping Finn so he could spot them right away. Finn wore a new little outfit that is for the wedding. His new look for whenever he would do a wedding service in the future.
The place was decorated with a slight nature motif, Finn’s own personal tribute to Ellira. Even her favourite flowers were present next to the altar. Finn finally would get everybody situated. He would have had his ushers ready at the door to greet the wedding party. Then the ushers were divided between the groom’s party and the bride’s group. Finn would have then said to them, “OK you’re there to do whatever they want! If they need you to get something, you get it! Make life easy for them!”
Then once everything was set, Finn would get all his stuff together and then go out to the front and then wait for the groom and bride to arrive.

The groom and his groomsmen would have arrived beforehand, and the bride and her entourage arrived by a sleigh of superb craftsmanship. It was crafted from a rich dark wood with intricate carvings and gold and silver accents. Although it currently only held Cora, her mother, and the Zorn sisters, it had room for the full wedding party. It was lined with plush velvet cushions in a beautiful emerald, green colour, trimmed with white fur. The exterior of the sleigh was adorned with garlands of holly and mistletoe and hung from the four corners were silver lanterns that emitted a gentle warm glow.

The sleigh was pulled by 4 majestic silver mares known as Fey Found as they all have a tinge of fey ancestry from being native to the Stolen Lands where the fey folk flourish. The manes ombres from silver to a deep forest green at the tips, and the tails match this colour pattern as well. A terrific find of Gith’s.

Inside the glorious cathedral, Kerubiel awaits his bride with his groomsmen, Drael and Glanrim, and his best man, Savren. To their side is Sorath, drapped in an emerald, green blanket lined with silver trim, laid down with her paws crossed in front of her. Her visage hard to focus on because of her maturation.

Standing there at the head of the aisle is Kerubiel, he is wearing a fitted emerald, green velvet jacket, with silver buttons and trim, paired with matching pants. It of course was tailored to match his physique perfectly. He definitely fit the look of a young king and not the pain in the ass braggart you met those few years ago.

Under the jacket is a crisp white shirt with silver cufflinks and a silver and green necktie. Completing the look was a pair of silver dress shoes. On top of this he wore a silver and emerald, green waistcoat that was seen more as the day went on and dancing was had at the celebratory feast later on.

The last thing of note would be a subtle one, and on his right hand he now wears a silver signet ring with the Keencoin insignia upon it.

At one-point Glanrim had pulled Kerubiel aside and presents him with this magnificent crown of steel and gold fixed with two fine emeralds in the centre and he said, “Your warrior crown is good for war, but this is not a day for war, this is a day for something more, Your Highness.”
And Kerubiel replied, “I’m – I’m honored” and he would have kneeled as Glanrim placed it.
“I have one for your Fair Lady as well, but you can’t see that one yet,” as he clasped him close and then left him to carry on with what he has to do.
And as they are finishing, Finn comes barging into the room asking, “You need something to calm me nerves? I got some fungal fun or some fruity punch?” Kerubiel replied with a kind, “No, I think that’s OK.
“Alright… Glanrim? Drael?”
Glanrim queried, “What was the first one? a fungal fun?
Finn replied, “fungal fun or fruity punch! Yes, it’ll put a little kick in your step and a little step at the end!”
Drael, intrigued replied, “Yeah I’ll have one of those before the speeches thank you, yeah.”
Then Finn turned and said, “I’m gonna check on your bride and ushers and make sure everyone is ready in ten.”

Aila remembers a moment of peace – there’s been lots of busyness going on. Excited feelings and lots of people but she remembers this moment of peace when she was in the room. They’re kind of waiting in a side room and it’s just for the moment, for just a brief moment, it’s just Aila and Cora. Aila remembering how thankful she is to have made this friend. She’s never really had such a close friend – she has her sisters and she certainly close with them, but this is a bit different and when she moved from her place underground, she never was really thinking about this and so she remembers this moment with Cora. Aila is just looking at Cora and thinking what a beautiful person and Cora confides in Aila that what she’s thinking about is the beautiful person that she’s about to marry. Her hair is glistening in a streak of sun coming through the window and Cora almost looks like she’s had tears in her eyes, but Aila detects it’s not quite happening because she’s holding it together. But according Aila, Cora is saying to her how she was so thankful to be marring Kerubiel. Because she felt she’s never seen this side of Kerubiel, but Cora – the sweet smile on Cora’s face was really showing Aila how truly sweet and kind and gentle Kerubiel is and what a beautiful love that these two have together. Aila thinks of this memory very fondly when she thinks back of the wedding because it was just this moment just the two of them before Cora’s life changed.

Then then heard a ruckus outside the door and they heard Finn’s voice shout, “Now that stop, that’s not food!”
And then the door opened up and Finn comes, and he asks Cora, “Where’s your mom?! Those great Danes are pooping everywhere. She is not controlling them! They need to be halted!”
“Where is your mom, Cora? Where is your mother?” (Who is probably somewhere with the Zorn sisters somewhere in the back of the cathedral having some ‘fruity punch.’)

Then Finn paused and looked at her and said, “Oh you look beautiful. I won’t worry you about this. I’ll take care of this… great… now alright be ready 10 minutes.”
And then Finn leaves and closes the door, but everyone still hears rustling from the dogs barking and then suddenly, silence.

A moment later there’s a knock at the door. Glanrim kind of pokes his head in asking, “Is it a bad moment?”
Aila responds, “No, no come on in I think we’re OK, Cora? (Turning to her to seek confirmation, who nods agreeance).
“Finn left and was being Finn. I don’t know. But, anyways,”
He goes up to Cora and he says, “we don’t know each other as well as I’d like but, you’ve made my man happier than I’ve ever seen him and believe me I knew him before he was a happy man. Soo, I made you something be fitting of your new standing in our Kingdom,” and he presents her with this delicately crafted white gold tiara with three small rubies engraved in the front of it and he says, “a queen needs a crown does she not?” So, Cora kneels touched by the gift.
“Ye don’t need to be so formal lass,” as he places it on her head. Then he turns and he’s looking at his companion, and says, “like she was a vision before but how about now? Am I right? Well enough of this ol’ bastard. I’ll let you get on with it. I’ll see you at the ceremony.”
Cora’s smile on her face when she receives the crown – look of joy and anticipation and nerves.

Finn then had a last quick meeting with the wedding party while the bride and groom were left to wait for a final moment.

5 minutes later, and usher comes and gets the Zorn sisters and the boys and takes them to the central hall where everybody meets before the wedding starts. Finn is there with his ushers, and he starts speaking, “guys, this is the big day and I’m not really good at pep talk but this is their day. It’s your guys’ responsibility to make sure it’s their day. So that means if they need someone to take drinks on for them, you will take drinks on for them. If it means having to dance with that touchy uncle, you dance with the touchy uncle. We gotta make sure what they want gets done you are – Aila nods and says, “I’ll dance with the touchy uncle.”
“Love it Zorn sister!” Drael then says, “You don’t have to worry.”
And Finn turns to. Glanrim and says, “You gotta take on the drinking party because I know you can put a lot of it away. To which Glarnim responded, “Don’t worry lad, I’ve been preparing for that all year.”

Then Finn ends with, “Now, OK come on you all go back to where you were. 5 minutes and we’re gonna start this thing. Get to your places. Go team go… go go go go… no, no seriously, go go go go!”

The smile that was plastered upon Kerubiel’s face was unforgettable as he saw his bride for the first time that day as she walked down the aisle to the beautiful song performed by an incredible performer that Finn had arranged.

Adorned in a dress of luxurious emerald, green velvet and adorned with intricate silver embroidery and beading. The bodice was fitted and flattering, with delicate silver straps that cross at the back to create a beautiful and unique design.

The skirt of the dress was full and voluminous, and sparkled as the silver lace and tulle added to it caught the sunlight that poked through the cathedral hall as she walked down it. Sarenrae giving her blessing on the day. The hem of the dress was adorned with delicate silver beading and emerald, green gems, adding a touch of elegance and glamour to the dress.
Finishing the look was a silver and emerald, green sash tied in a bow at the back of the dress that added a touch of sophistication to the overall look.

The breathtaking sight of the kingdom’s new queen made them quickly forget the mother of the bride, Phrowenia, escorting her down, led by four white Great Danes. Who thanks to Kerubiel’s training, went to their side of the church and behaved wonderfully during the service.

As the song of ‘Only Fool’s Rush In’ ends and Cora stands opposite of Kerubiel, Finn began to speak, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to witness the union of two souls. Bound together by light, the shining light of Sarenrae. As we stand witness to this blessed occasion, let us remember that it is only through the grace of the almighty, that we are even brought together in this moment.”
Finn then steps down beside of them and continues, “who is here in front of us, to step through the darkness into the light of Sarena’s embrace?” Finn then looked straight at Kerubiel and Cora waiting for a response from them. They each announce themselves and who they intend to marry.
Then Finn holds their hands together and ushers them into the sunlight. As they step into the light, Finn starts again to say, “Today we celebrate the triumph of love over all obstacles as Kerubiel and Cora step hand in hand. As they step into Sarenrae’s ever-loving embrace. Now we see the radiance of their love shining brighter than any other star in the sky. And their love has endured the test of time. After each challenge, they have emerged stronger and more committed to each other. But it’s not just their love that has brought them to this moment, it is their faith in Sarenrae’s plan for their lives that guided them on this journey. It is through her grace that they found each other. It is through her love they will continue to grow together as one. May the light of Sarenrae – “As Finn is saying this, the opening of the cathedral gets larger as Ray J pulls a cord and it opens more to shine down upon Kerubiel and Cora. “Shine upon them as they begin a new chapter in their lives. And their love be a testament for the power of Sarenrae’s grace. May it inspire all who witness it to strive for a love that is as pure, and as true as theirs. As we celebrate this joyous occasion let us give thanks to Sarenrae and her unwavering love and guidance. Let us pray that she will continue to bless Kerubiel and Cora with her grace. And their love will continue to shine brightly for all eternity. In the name of Raie, the Dawnflower and the Everlight, Amen.” And then Finn signals to the armband bearers to bring the armbands forward.
“With these armbands are not only symbol of your love but a promise. Kerubiel, please take yours for Cora. And remember to say I do afterwards. Repeat after me. This armband is a token of my love for you. I Promise to love you, honour you and cherish you always. With this vow, I promise to be there for you in good times and bad, sharing your laughter and tears. With this armband I give you my heart, my soul, and my life.”

It is important to note that the armbands were fashioned by Glanrim. The one that he’s giving to Cora it’s a stalking cat so it’s like obviously bent around to be like kind of nose to its own tail, but its head is turned sideways, and it’s got two emeralds for it in its eye sockets and is made of gold.
The other one for Kerubiel is also gold, but it’s of a mouse with two Onyx stones for the eyes.

The couple then says ‘I do’ each after finishing their vows. Which are, “With this armband I promise to be your partner, your confidant, and your best friend. I vow to support you with all your dreams and aspirations and to shar in all your joys and sorrows. I give you this armband as a sign of my love and commitment to you for all eternity.”

Then Finn pronounced them man and wife with permission for Kerubiel to kiss his bride, but Glanrim interrupted, “No you don’t! This first!” as he stomps forward with this big mug. It’s got this nice foamy head on it. “This is first. It’s an ancient tradition passed down from the halls. Ye share of this and then the kiss.” Which the couple happily obliged Glanrim’s tradition before sharing a passionate first kiss as husband and wife.

And the hall exploded with standing ovation and cheers of “Long live King Kerubiel! Long live Queen Cora!” as they process back down the aisle. Smiles on everyone’s faces. As they were leaving the cathedral, Drael caused an ethereal flock of doves to fly through the sky to all those who witnessed it with awe and wonderment.

Then as everyone slowly files out of the church to head to the party at the castle. Everyone makes their way to the castle with a little bit less nerves and there’s a feeling, it smells less of sweat now at this point. It is more of calm joy as people make their way through the snow up to the castle. Everyone’s bundled up in their nicest clothes with their nicest cloaks and they make it to the castle. The wedding party all gathered in the gorgeous sleigh pulled by the four FeyFound horses.
When people arrive and they enter the castle some of the things that they remember are the smells and the feeling of love it’s almost as if the love of these two has bled into the walls of this castle. And some of these people have never been here before – I mean probably lots of them and so this is just quite the experience to walk in and see this… and of course the decadent candles, so many different candles colours. You don’t even know how the the candles are these colours. Is it magic? is it flowers? Aila would like to talk to Finn about it later. Given all of these candles there is an ambience. Just the lighting, that soft yellow lighting. This is a very hygge feeling and everyone is very comfortable.

And people come in and they find seats and the food, the food is served, and it is every bit as good as it smells!

Then the feast carries on and is as delicious as all imagine it would be. Then as it is time for the speeches, Drael has a word with Finn, “Uh, about those beverages you were suggesting earlier…I’ll take those now.” Finn responds, “Right! You want the little urge of dancing fantastic, or do you want to be cool calm and collected?”
Drael took pause to think before replying, “Oh geez… what happens if you take some of both?” Which caused Finn to take pause, “oh adventurous,” and then he took a little thing that looked like. It was for your tea and mixed them together in one vial before handing it to Drael. Who takes that and down, then downs a little bit more wine and then goes to do his speech before Finn can tell him he should not mix it with alcohol.

“Too late,” he calls back as he’s already had a few. And yeah, maybe that not sweat smell went away for most up until right now, but it is now back again for just a little bit as Drael starts stress sweating immensely right all through his robes but a wave of calm starts to wash over him as he feels like no one is even looking at him and his confidence is bolstered.

Drael then goes on to give a speech, a heartfelt speech lauding Kerubiel’s many admirable qualities and services to our new nation. You can imagine he’s adding a few little kinds of quirks here and there, kind of funny stories. You know nothing too like risque or anything too embarrassing – he leaves out the one where Kerubiel like tripped out of the saddle or something like that. And so, then he gets to the end, he does the same for Cora as well – as much as he knows about her. Then at the end he says, “and to honor the service of our brave king and our new queen we have adorned their faithful mount with the saddle worthy of the Knight and Queen of Argentum.”

Sorath was then brought in with a new to her saddle. Drael then continues by saying, “This saddle is known as Lancer’s Hope. Once this saddle once served the courageous knight of house Medved’s outriders known as Sir Walthone. Drael then shared a little story of the Knights of house Medved and Sir Walthone and some of their deeds. He then goes on to say that he had the honor of speaking with Sir Walthone’s father and that many of you may not know that Sir Walthone was killed tragically – well he disappeared, and it was just confirmed that he was tragically killed. But that Sir Walthone’s father and I both agreed that we could think of no better way to honor his memory than for the saddle to be used by the king of Argentum himself.”

Drael then raised a glass and did some fireworks. Towards the end of the celebrations there of course was a fine fireworks display rivaling those of MerryMead.

But first there so more gifts.

A couple more gifts to go along with the saddle after Drael presents Lancer’s hope over to Kerubiel and Cora. The first is from Maegar Varn and he approaches and Cephal Laurentis his wizard, his older wizard friend, and Casper Mororian, a cleric of Erastil that also is a part of the Varnling Host with him. Maegar Varn approaches Kerubiel and Cora and hands them a gift. It’s small, it fits right in Kerubiel’s hand, which given that Maegar is a human and Kerubiel is a halfling, it’s fairly small to fit his hand. It’s something kind of metallic and heavy but it’s just wrapped in a little bit of silk. Which Kerubiel gracious opens. how many
Apart the silk is some jewelry. It is a silver pin. It has a “V’ and an ‘H’ superimposed on top of each other and Maegar says, “this is the token of the Varnling Host, you may redeem this, and the Varnling Host will come to your Aid.” To which Kerubiel and Cora both nod in thanks.

And then next was a gift from the crown of Brevoy as the hulking knight approached the newlyweds. The armored figure in the silver and black armor with his black billowing cape. Helm stayed on throughout the whole ceremony and all the festivities the helm has never come off. This hulking bodyguard comes over and hands Kerubiel and Cora a small purse with a Paisley design on the outside, there’s a little bit of jiggling inside of it.
Kerubiel. Responded with a “thank you crown,” and a nod of his head. Later when they open the bag, they are only 4 coins in it. There is a single copper bit, a single silver link, a single gold crown and a single platinum dragon. All very clearly the currency of Brevoy. And not a very generous gift but one to make a statement.
The last gift, one more gift and the last comes from Savren himself. Savren is the fellow in the hat who was Kerubiel’s cavalier mentor and trainer from when he was a child. Savren gives him a silver locket and will tells him it is from his parents and the only way that the Locket can be opened is with the magical command phrase. Savren then told Kerubiel that the phrase is ‘relationship more than blood’. And Kerubiel repeated it while holding the locket, “…more than blood.”

And when those words are spoken, the locket will open. On one side is the Surtova Crest, engraved underneath with the words ‘ours is the right’ and on the other side of the Locket is the name Keencoin just engraved inside of it. That is the last gift.

And as the last gift is finished being presented, Finn, in this the first time you ever see him in a suit, and he actually has his mask off. He’s changed out of his robes into a suit, and he stumbles over his chair, and he saunters up to Savren and leans on his leg.
“Alright it’s time for the speech you been waiting for. The best man speech! Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, and anyone who snuck in here for free booze. I am honoured to the best man at this wedding. – even if I am only the second-best man in this room. I mean have you seen this groom?” and he stumbles over next to Kerubiel. “Have you seen this groom? He’s like a model. I am just happy my shirt doesn’t have a stain on it. Speaking of the groom” Finn paused to rub his face. “I’ve known him for a long time. In fact, we’ve been best friends since I found him in the forest. I remember the day we met like it was yesterday. He was eating paste from the tree, and I was like, that guy knows how to party. Then we’ve been inseparable ever since. And then we met the bride. I have to say I was a little jealous at first. I mean Who is this woman who is stealing my best friend away? But then I met her, and I realized that she’s amazing. She’s smart, funny, beautiful, and most importantly -she put up with the groom’s horrible jokes. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what it is? Okay, how do you get the dog to stop licking itself? Why did the groom cross the road? – to get to the other side of the buffet… But in all seriousness, I’m so happy for the happy couple! They are truly meant to be together, and I can’t wait to see where their futures will go. And hey, if they ever need a babysitter for their future child, they know who to call – Ray J (ha ha) and don’t tell them about the paste eating thing. Congratulations you too!” And then Finn leans back up and stumbled back his seat. While a snort can be heard from Aila as Finn finishes and there was some awkward clapping from most guests afterwards.

Then there were some fireworks from Drael to break the awkwardness of the previous moment.

Later, at some point during the feast and dancing, Drael and Glanrim were each pulled aside by Kerubiel individually. There he presented them with a minor token of his appreciation of them standing up with him.

He would have presented them each with a beautifully carved oaken box each with intricate carvings or a golden dragon or a bear respectively. Inside the box would be an exquisitely made silver flash with their names engraved upon it and the words ‘Thank you, with love, K&C’ on the back. He would let them know that, although it is only water, it will never let them want for thirst.

Cora would also have had a similar moment with Aila, but she would present her with a beautiful silver bracelet with intricately carved charms hung from it. The different charms would be a candlestick, a begonia, a mouse, a tankard – from their visit to Varnhold, a hammer, and finally a donkey. There would be room for more charms she would have told her, to build more memories together over the years.

Finally, just before Kerubiel and Cora left for the night, Kerubiel would have a moment with Finn as well. He would thank him for finding him his family and for the beautiful words he had spoken earlier at the service and that he is honoured to be his kin. He would then say that this relic of their goddess deserves to be a member of the faith with the conviction to do what the Dawnflower would demand. He then would have given him Gyronna Sunwrought and a huge hug.

And then finally as Kerubiel and Cora were about to go, Drael cast a spell on them – telling them it was feather fall to which they gave wry looks. He then cast fly on Sorath and whispered in her ear ‘just like we practiced’. Drael then said to the couple, “I don’t know where you guys are going, but Sorath is going to fly you there – if you want her to.”

Kerubiel and Cora would then leave the party for the night, hugging each of his. and thank you for sharing in this magical day. They would be carried off by the very large and imposing mire cat who was ever present the whole day. Flying up and around the Tuskwater before returning to their tower balcony for the evening.

And as Sorath, Kerubiel and Cora soar up and over the Tuskwater on the way to the top of the tower, the rest of the guests have seen the fireworks and are slowly entering just to grab whatever they left behind from their tables. As they leave the feast, the sound of conversation in the castle is decrescendoing. The candles – all the different coloured candles in all the shapes and sizes all the way around the castle or gradually going out. Half are already out; the rest are burned down low. The light getting very, very dark and people still remember the smell of the feast food lingering in the air as people are shuffling through doors – some walking confidently some stumbling here and there as they exit.
A couple folks are still sitting around the room and in one of the stuffed chairs around the outside of the wall you see a couple of Garess-Weavers cuddling together in the chair. In the chair Lily sits on Keston’s lap. People can just remember hearing them quietly murmur. Keston’s gloved hand resting protectively on top of Lily’s belly. “Do you think the baby Porthos will ask her hand someday?” Lily mused. “Well, I don’t know if it’ll be him, but she damn well gets to marry whoever she pleases.” And there is just a bit of a chuckle from both of them. Lily then said, I don’t know if she’ll be as physically strong as Aila Zorn. I don’t know who the other great role models for her really would be? That Gith girl is interesting but just a bit flighty for my tastes.” And Keston replied, “Oh well, I think we have someone new, a role model that most could only dream of. I think we have a new queen to watch, to celebrate, and to be inspired by.”

And that’s what people remember about the wedding of Kerubiel and Cora

Book 2-3 Interludes - The History of the Swamp – (Kerubiel's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – The History of the Swamp – (Kerubiel’s point of view)

After the passing of our renewal and war memorial holiday, Drael approached us and said he wanted to bring a mirror he found in the elven tower to Old Beldame. He requested that, Glanrim, Finn, and I accompany him for what he thinks will be a large revelation.
Aila wants to come to make sure we are safe. Cora thinks this is a good idea, although she has been looking rough since she came back from that tower the first time.
As we travel there, they tell me that they think the Beldame in this mirror but a lot younger. Interesting.
When we get there, I let them talk to her, she’s her usual reclusive self. Glanrim tries to be charming in his way, but she shuts him down and welcomes us in. Her hut is still an odd curio shop of interesting gems and Finn is instantly distracted by it all. Glanrim and I help bring the mirror inside.
Due to Sorath’s growth spurt, she doesn’t fit inside anymore and so agrees to guard the front door, but also pouts and blocks it. Good thing we are allies of the Beldame, or there is one giant cat blocking our escape.
Drael starts by discussing all the evil they had to deal with in the tower before the rose the center tower and after vanquishing a particularly evil fey creature who tried to drain his blood and apparently was the one who sapped Aila’s strength with its dying breath.
Then, Drael uncovers the mirror, and the Old Beldame has a surprised look upon her face. She says it has been a long time since she looked upon the mirror. She then asks if any of us know of Glorandier the Radiant One – name does not sound at all familiar, but Glanrim seems to be searching his memory and looks about to say something when Finn goes off.
He tells us that he was an ancient gold dragon who was worshipped by a select group of elves. The dragon was known as a force of good in Golarion until an epic battle happened where he was killed by the red dragon Scora – the Bringer of Searing Death.
Afterwards the elven kingdom cast a spell that like split the dragon’s magical energy amongst their sorcerors. And these sorcerors helped to push back the orc armies. Glanrim pipes up here and adds some details on the battle and the invasion as the orcs invading is a sore spot for him and something he seems passionate about.
So, the transference of power led to the elves changing, even at times being able to change into gold dragons themselves. Or so the legends go. The Old Beldame looks blown away when Finn finishes speaking, admitting that there were some details even she didn’t know.
Glanrim then asks about the young man who was in the mirror to which she replies that a handful of sorcerers whose number one priority was the continuing of their people. An elven man named Cirdore led them to a secluded place deep in the Gnarlmarches and formed the village of Thaila Aqua. A place to repopulate his people.
In hearing that name, I wonder aloud if that was the name of the place that she had mentioned to us before …over a year ago now, when we had tea with her. Man, how time has flown by.
Glanrim then pipes up asking what happened to the village. She told us that the place was very much tied to their leader and he would regularly go and visit his tower (the one they explored at the beginning of summer). One day he did not come back. And with him gone the place just disappeared.
Drael then asked if the Old Bedame was one of these people and she was apparently a priestess of the village and a part of that was going to the tower for one day and one night with Cirdore.
And after she had her kids, she felt the need to leave the village, something that most others would never have done. She only came back years later when she stopped hearing from her daughter but what concerned her even more was that she stopped hearing from her granddaughter too.
So now she stays because if she leaves, she worries the spirits, and the people of this place will fade away. She waits for Cirdore’s return.
Drael then says that they went to the tower and asks what the mirror is? She says it’s a Enyal Mirror or a ‘Mirror of Memory’ and that if it wasn’t broken, it lets you relive a moment or a feeling that can be stored inside the mirror. Since it’s cracked it can only show images.
Glanrim then asks if she knows the last woman in the cycle of images. She doesn’t but is able to tell us that she is a nymph but unsure who in particular it is. I then say that it looks like a good question for Tiressia.
Glanrim then asks if the Old Beldame knows where to find this nymph. He starts wondering if she enthralled similar to how Melianse was keeping…what’s his dumb name…Oh right Faerm…ugh…
The Old Beldame isn’t too keen on this idea, say that Cirdore was a powerful mage – I think implying that there is no way a nymph could have power over him. Interesting.
She then said that mirror resonated with Drael – which leads Glanrim to believe that this Cirdore might be his dad… I didn’t make that jump but maybe I missed something while looking at the herbs Finn was so fascinated with.
Drael then asks if it was common for Cirdore to bring humans to his tower… a valid question since he is a half-elf after all.
Beldame tells us that he only ever brought elves from the village but she has heard from the spirits something about his medallion – which apparently belonged to priestesses of Thail Aqua. Drael then pulls out his medallion and she looks closely at it.
Not many have ever left, but one soon to be priestess left before she could perform her duties and her name was Wrael and she was inspired by the Beldame’s leaving. She was smart according to Beldame.
Drael quickly asks if she knows where she went, but she unfortunately does not, but the spirits told her that she later returned with a human in tow about 30 years ago and wanted to bring someone to raise here in the swamp. But they went on one last adventure. Drael asks if there were any other clues.
She says that Wrael made for the tower and west of it. Well, it’s a start. Drael then looks at us asking if we will help him. What a guy. He didn’t even need to ask.
Then the Old Beldame pulled Drael close to her and the mirror and whispers something to him. He nods and we turn to leave, but Glanrim asks one more question about the dwarven fort. She says there were no dwarves before she left and there were none since she came back.
Glanrim shrugs as we heft the mirror and head for home. More mysteries to solve in these Stolen Lands.

And then there were three…. [Illiana Zorn's perspective]

It was always the three Zorn sisters. And then for the last while it became the four Zorn sisters, since we adopted Cora. And now we are back down to three sisters.

In fact I think Cora and Valla became even closer than Valla and Ayla over the last couple months. I guess such is the way of sisters, and as we grow and age we sometimes become both closer or further away.

But I wasn’t expecting Valla to become so engrossed in wedding planning for Cora, that she just couldn’t stop and ended up planning a wedding of her own. I know she was a bit infatuated with Traikore, but I think we all were. I have to admit that there is something a bit satisfying in Ayla swinging and missing with Traikore, and Valla coming away with the prize. So often Ayla gets more attention than Valla and me, due to her incredible strength.

Although since that accident at the mysterious tower, and the trouble with her strength, the poor woman needs a lucky break. I hope something good comes soon for dear Ayla, she deserves it for her pure heart and helping ways.

With Valla now moved to Varnhold, and Cora getting more council duties, I’m not sure I’m wild about this chapter of my life. At least I have Ayla to become closer with….

[This is a result of one of the kingdom turn event rolls. Valla moves to Varnhold and marries Traikore, the half-orc bartender. There, Valla intends to start up the Varnhold branch of the Zorn candlemaking business, while Traikore continues to tend the bar and helps with the candles on weekends. Shockingly, Valla’s wedding takes place one month after Cora and Kerubiel’s. Several prominent Argentumites attend the wedding in the Church of Erastil in Varnhold. The ceremony was presided over by Caspar Morarion of Varnling Host fame.]

Kingdom building - Fervour Fever [Lamashan to Neth] (Kerubiel's point of view)

Kingdom building – Fervour Fever [Lamashan to Neth] (Kerubiel’s point of view)

As the 2nd Festival of SIlver came to a close, we moved into Lamashan with grim tidings from Finn. A plague had broken out in Silver Falls. Apparently, someone that was visiting brought it into the city and caused the infection to spread.
As a specialist in combating disease, Finn asked some heavy things of our capital city, the first being a sort of lock down on the city with minimal in and out so that the infection did not run rampant. Cora and I lucky avoided it by spending most of our time in the castle. My only time seeing others was during council meetings.
Jhod supported Finn in stabilizing many citizens and by the end of the month they were able to clear the disease. Thank the gods that it was not more.
Meanwhile, we celebrated the 1-year birth of Tatzylford and the people of that town were thrilled. Loy and Latricia sent their thank you’s to the castle as they are loving their retirement home. We also approved a man named John Mistsplitter to have a proper forge contructed and Smelts of Heaven was built. He had a very wide-brimmed white hat on that was maybe the fanciest I have ever seen.
Also, in Silver Stag we approved the addition of a tavern room to the Green Lantern by Faye. She is apparently doing well with the many folks that are devoted to Erastil flowing into the village.
Finally, we continued to expand the country and started farming the area around the Old Sycamore Tree. Our numbers are growing, and we need more food to keep up.
With the crisis mostly averted, Lamashan gave way to Neth and damn if we didn’t have some devote construction workers who finished the upgrade of the temple into a cathedral befit the Dawnflower. Meridith says that it requires a pilgrimage to bring Sarenrae’s flame to this place.
Most of our treasury goes to this endeavour but the wedding ceremony will be perfect in these completed halls. One month and I will have a queen to rule beside me in this great new nation.
We also expand our borders further south and claim the area around the elven tower that Drael explored with his crew over the past summer. Jhod says that the tower will provide a great outpost to protect our southern border. Good news.
As we end the month and snow starts to fall on the ground, and the whole city is excited for the coming nuptials on the winter solstice. I too, am excited to make this wild woman my bride.