Thom's Kingmaking

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.

Kingdom building - A Summer of Plans [Erastus to Rova] (Kerubiel's point of view)

Kingdom building – A Summer of Plans [Erastus to Rova] (Kerubiel’s point of view)

As we moved into the summer months, with what felt like the Dawnflower’s blessing upon our nation, Erastus was met with some exciting times. Drael assembled a group to go explore the lead the Old Beldame gave him about his past.
I was about to head with them, but it was two weeks before my birthday and with last year missing it due to going to war, Cora insisted that I stay home and let the others handle this. She wanted to ensure I would be home and was adamant about it. No arguing this time. I wish them luck.
They a few days they return with a new companion, a barbarian from Ustalav, who leaves shortly after. Drael has a mirror that he is interested in now.
Cora and I have a romantic day on the lake for my birthday and it is by far better than last year. But these are the accounts of a king and ruler, so I won’t write in detail here the special moments. Those are just for Cora and me to remember.
Council this month plans for a place to entertain our citizens in Silver Falls as well as offer a place of employment for our redeemed souls from the Wild Extravaganza. Out of the three that are released from prison this month, Mirwart, the gnome lion tamer, is eager for a job, and so joins the Redeeming Moonlight Theatre. He is eager to bring on more talent. Here’s hoping it goes well and we don’t regret it.
We also fund the expansion of an apiary in the area surround Oleg’s Trading Post, although the farm representatives there have said the summer heat in the area may be causing some issues. We will investigate this right away.
At the end of the month, I receive a reply from Savren from my invitation to be a part of the wedding party as my best man. I have included his words below.
Dear Young apprentice,
I shall at once away, to make myself available in your time of need. You, as do many, recognize the capacity of which I bring.
Now this won’t be the easiest travel, as I must make my way there under great subterfuge. Your connection as a potential rival to the crown, must not be known to affix to your parents. 
I do have your parents’ blessing, although they make it under all discretion, so that none around them know where their true hearts lie. Both of them doth be secretly delighted for you, and hope for your best, even if they cannot publicly declare so. I bring with me a small token of their fondness. 
And with that I’m off, to secure the series of disguises and characters of which I’ll assume as I make my way south, undetected. Prepare to feast your heart upon the glory of my banner as I arrive to lead your way into your next chapter. As once I have before, so shall I do again. 
Savren Snowthorn – loyal retainer of the Surtovas, Gromeshi champion, lion of the Klorgush, wielder of Coppertongue, holder of The Four Chimes, slayer of Hrogathi and announcer of Peralta.
His words fill me with joy and Cora is happy for me. She believes that she is going to ask Miss Aila Zorn to be her maid of honour and I cannot be more pleased for her. Aila is a fine warrior, and I am glad Cora feels like she has someone else she can be close to again. She will also have the other sisters and Lily Weaver-Garess as bridesmaids.
Moving into Arodus, we honour our fallen breathren and take time to reflect on our bodies returning to the soil as Ellira’s father told us to do in honour of our wonderful Ellira. The new monument is given its proper inauguration and people seem to have a sense of contemplative respect for the day.
We continue growing our kingdom this month by expanding our borders into Tiressia’s land and put roads through the area to connect us to future part of the kingdom but leave her grove more secluded. We will respect that we share this land together.
The devoted followers of Sarenrae also rejoice as our shrine has now grown to a full temple, with ample room to eventually become a cathedral. Finn says he has a group of very devoted followers who are eager to see the Dawnflower’s healing word sweep through our nation.
As we close summer and move into the early fall of Rova there are big things happening. Our Festival of Silver is once again a huge success, and we reveal our nations own currency as we have finished building a mint in Silver Falls. The earns us a lot of applause from the citizens.
Negotiations with Kasner, Oleg, and Brevoy are successful, and Oleg’s is officially within our borders. Kasner did a fantastic job negotiating this one; however, some citizens are a little worried of reprisals from the crown and so some unrest arises due to this outcome and is brought to our attention from Gith, but I am sure it will be fine.
Just to be sure, we finish construction on a garrison in Silver Falls so that Glanrim can really start training a professionally army instead of a militia whose focus is divided between serving and their day jobs.
Finally, the farmland around Oleg’s has proven to need irrigation that we will have to investigate in the future, but to salvage the livestock from the minor droughts of summer we quickly relocate them to the hills east of Silver Falls, adjacent to the ever-growing farms owned by Phrowenia, and the former residence of the deceased, Howl of the North Wind.
Our treasury is doing well and as we look toward the fall months, we make plans for growth in our other two towns of Tatzylford and Silver Stag.

Book 2-3 Interludes - Liessa’s Journal – Erastus – (Liessa's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – Liessa’s Journal – Erastus – (Liessa’s point of view)

My search for my dear Freja has led me deep into the Stolen Lands after following rumours of werewolf attacks in this burgeoning kingdom of Argentum. Perhaps this werewolf took her after what we did to the pack back in Ustalav.
I have heard rumour that there is a tower nearby this new kingdom where people go missing and one of its rulers, a Baron Drael, is planning an expedition to this tower. I will join them and hopefully find some trace of my friend.
I meet this Baron and his companions near the gate to the city of Silver Falls. He is a haggard looking blond half-elf in fancy robes. He is accompanied by a halfling – I assume, in an owl mask and black leather robes. He has a troll hound, I believe, on a leash. There is a final member a strong looking half-orc woman with black hair a hearty laugh. She has a hefty maul strapped to her back. At least one other of this group will be capable in a fight.
The halfling introduces himself as Finn, and then the half-elf confirms he is Baron Drael and the female is Aila. Finn says something about a dwarf. They then ask how long I plan to stay, and I let them know, if I find Freja, I will stay if she wants.
They seem idle, so I ask for a hot bath if we are not leaving right away. This kicks them in butt, and they offer me a horse to ride from a girl named Gith. It is nice to ride a horse again.
After a day of smooth travel over roads and through the small quaint town of Tatzylford before we rest for the night in the grove a dryad named Tiressia. They are apparently friends with this beautiful fey, but I keep my guard up while we rest.
The next day of travel, my silence and focus on our tasks seems to unnerve the short one and he comes up with a convoluted way to find out more about me. He mentions customs and some other such nonsense while conversing with Drael. They seem silly for supposed rulers of kingdom. Finn tells me that he is a healer and Drael uses magic.
I tell them to stop beating bush and just ask what they want to know. They ask who I am, so I tell them of my father and the Burning Crow Tribe. That when I came of age and my appearance changed, I found and killed my hag mother.
This seems to stun their lips until the half-orc Aila says her dad is human and her mother is orc. Then Finn talks of candles, and I stop listening.
The summer heat is pleasant here and the white clouds are fluffy and full when we spot a huge tower surrounded by vines and trees. Four surrounding towers with one large central one. As we get closer, the Finn one mentions something about runes and elven architecture. Whatever… looks like a perfect home for the monsters I hunt.
As we get close, I check the perimeter to see if there are any sign of undead, fey, or monstrous humanoid, but can’t find anything fresh. Must not be werewolves here as they need to hunt regularly and are often sloppy at covering tracks, more savage animals.
When I finish my scouting, the rest are standing out front of the high walls in front of an open portcullis. Drael is talking to his amulet or something magic folk do. He then says that he senses a lot of magic inside. Perhaps Freja’s nature magic has had lasting influence here…here is hoping at least.
Finn and Aila are talking of craftsman ship. I ask the hound in its giant tongue if its smells anything, but it cocks its head to side and does not seem to understand. The Finn one then asks what language I spoke. Strange that he does not know gianteese when he handles a trollhound.
We decide that despite there being most likely traps, the best way in is through the front gate. We head in and Drael senses magic on a stone to our left, so we pause. It looks like a stone statue of an animal. Gargoyles look like statues, so I shoot it with my bow and a small piece breaks off, but it does not move. Guess it’s not a live at least.
Then Drael says the magic is coming from below the rock. I then say I will head towards it but the others enter and head the opposite way, and as Finn and his dog are passing through the portcullis it suddenly drops on him, pinning him and the dog, who falls unconscious from the piercing spikes.
Aila and I both rush to lift the gate and after Aila curses about some sort of ‘Blighted Begonias’ we get them both out, and Ray Jay, the hound, has his wounds start stitching back together. Lucky troll blood. However, the gate does not go up.
The sudden trap has Finn spooked and he wants to leave. Aila and I can’t seem to get the portcullis open. He then starts curing himself with a wand. Handy to have, this wand.
The inside area is all overgrown with dense foliage. Now that everyone seems healthy, the Candlemaker asks if we should try lifting again. I nod and we both dig in and try to hoist it. The ground starts to sag where we stand but we can not raise the bars. Damn.
Finn then looks and says that it is mechanical in nature, but he can’t find any trigger. We try one more time, this time even the spindly Baron Drael helps, more man looks like he will pull every muscle he has.
We give up on that plan, and Drael looks for magic, Aila talks about drilling out and I take a couple attempts to climb the vines and plants with a rope. After two attempts I let them know we have an exit if needed…I don’t want to leave yet though, what if Freja is in here.
This time we sweep the perimeter to the right, circling the central tower, before we come to the weird animal statue. It is not as grown over as the rest of the area and the ground looks more recently disturbed than the surrounding dirt. Looking closer, the statue looks like a bear and there is some Sir name on it. The others seem very interested in this, but it’s not why I am here.
Suddenly there are five flashing lights surrounding us and I draw my cold iron blade from back. Evil spirits will fall today.
One approaches and flash lashes out at me but misses. I draw upon the primal fury of my people and swing back, but even though my strike is true, it passes right through. These must be ghosts of a kind. I drop my great sword and draw Bloodstained Heart – the ghost killing axe.
There is a sudden flash in the corner of my eye, and I see a small lizard of an elven creature with pale skin and a jagged bone like dagger. There is a constant blurring around it. This must be one of those evil quickling fey. It stabs but misses both the hound and me.
A sudden burst of fire enshrouds several of the orbs, but they seem unphased…Baron Drael apparently uses fire magic. Finn then tries to douse them in holy water but despite a look of sizzling they are unaffected.
There is a sound of clinking clunky armour climbing the rope from the other side of the wall and then with an ungraceful thud a dwarf appears after moaning about being up in the air.
This is apparently Glanrim and a friend of theirs. I share with all of them that the little shit is a fey creature known as a quickling and to use cold iron if they have it.
More blurs and stabbings and the lights fade out. Perhaps they are tied to an object, and I yell for Aila to break the bear statue and I swing again at the lights, but my axe finds no purchase. I chose to sheath the axe and grab my sword. I’m readying to hunt this damned fey instead. Aila follows my guidance and there is the sound of cracking stone.
The hound has the scent of it and Finn follows him into the tower. It runs by and narrowly avoids my blade. It then slashes Finn’s throat and blood splatters the ground. He is standing and hopefully he is as good a healer as he says.
Ray Jay then looks like he is following a scent into the central tower while Drael tries to cover the invisible light creatures in some sort of magical dust, but it flutters to the ground, and he yells to us that they aren’t creatures at all, and we should focus on the little one. My plan exactly.
Ray Jay nips at it and Finn is back in the fight, his wounds healed, so I tell him to get his hound to help pinch the fey in. The distraction lets me bring my sword down hard on its leg. His puny dagger no match for my cold iron and flesh gives way to bone. I stare inches away from its horrid little face.
Knowing that this its fate, it makes a sudden burst from under my sword and bolts. We try and swing as quick as possible, but it eludes us and flees into the woods. One day, I will find this little rodent.
With the threat over, I take a moment to catch my breath while the dwarf and Baron drael chatter about something – they pause and the dwarf, Glanrim, wants to know why I am here. I say to find Freya and then start looking at the inside floor of this tower while the rest of them investigate the bear headstone.
Inside is a large pillar with five cracked gemstones and some fancy tapestries. There is also a winding staircase that heads up. As I walk backout, there a loud hissing noise and some toxic gas trap is set off as I am leaving – not a great trap since it happening on my way out. It does stink though.
I then go to look at one of the smaller towers, and the dwarf whines about this. I notice the short one heal Aila as well. I hear Drael say that the trap is discharged. See. I helped.
The first tower I look in is very run down with mountains of rubble. I look around a little but cannot see the remains of any bodies, so I am confident that Freja is not underneath. Mister Finn goes to look with Aila’s help they find some bracers.
The next tower I try to enter has a stuck door. I give it a kick, but it does not budge. I am about to give it more when the dwarf comes over and puts his thick hide into it and it opens. Saying I must have weakened it. I did not need his help.
Inside is a small living quarters with pots and a table with chairs. There are scalps of humanoids. This must be the quickling’s home. Inside a pot I find another set of bracers. The dwarf gives them to Baron Drael. He then tries to tell me to not smash this evil creature’s home for fear of angering it. I want it angered. It can come hunt me if it dares. He tells Aila we should not smash it. I then smash the table and chairs before leaving the room. Onto the next tower.
As we walk over, I whisper to Aila, asking if she always does what men want. She smiles saying she just likes to help. Fair enough, she is definitely helpful, and her cheery demeanour is pleasant to be around.
As we go to open the next tower door, we have split. Finn, Glanrim, and I are at the one closest to the gate, and the other two are at the last one. Suddenly the sound of chittering gets louder and swarms of rats come pouring out at us.
I slash and rip at the vermin as they attempt to swarm over me. Through cutting and ripping I am able to disperse the first wave. More pour out and head towards Finn who lets loose a bomb. I hear some kind of charge – to show that Aila is on the way to help.
When she is have way there, Drael is surrounded by vines as another strange fey creature descends from the tower walls. Rats climb over Glanrim and we slash at them. He tries to head to help Drael. More rats, so I retaliate with the rage of my ancestors. In the that moment of primal clarity I remember the new creature is a Grim Stalker. A fey who can control all sorts of vine like entities.
Fire erupts at the fey as I hack and slash rats. Ray Jay even starts eating them. Moments later they are gone. But so too is the new fey creature, having been burnt and bashed by my temporary allies.
With the new fey dead, we look in the last tower but there too is not sign of my Freja. Damn. So we head up the central tower’s staircase. As we are in the lower area. Drael says he would like to take the tapestries, but at least will wait to our way out.
When we reach the second floor we are high up in the tower. There are windows that look out below that we did not see from the outside. The ground is a plush canopy of mossy grass. Standing across the room is an extremely attractive, pale skinned woman with golden hair and she is breathtaking.
Finn is also overcome by her beauty and kneels before her. Although something starts to ring in my mind about a certain fey like this. She then asks if we came to see ‘him’ or ‘her’ but Finn answers you and so she starts to sway her hips and they are captivating.
Oh shit. This is a Baobhan-Sith. …and I can’t help but stare as she dances and traces her fingers all over us while she moves her body. I even think I felt her tongue on my neck.
I come to suddenly as her mouth has elongated and she is drinking the blood of Baron Drael. Clinging to his back. Finn shouts something about his type of women, but the rest of us fighters rush up to her and get into a flanking position.
She then turns and with a voice like honey asks me to defend her home. I feel the urge to help her but then realize what she is trying to do and let the rage well up inside me.
We slash and bash and as I swing down, I get a flash of inspiration that I might miss, so I call upon the Warden’s wife to guide my blade and it bites in hard into her leg. A wound she will not soon forget.
After a round of beat down and Aila talking of broken candles, the evil fey starts to dance again and yes, it is nice to watch. So, we do.
I come to again and she is back on Baron Drael. As we are all snapping out of it, the dwarf chops into her arm twice. Finn does some healing vial for Drael and I chop back into her leg trying to cleave it clear off. She would have trouble dancing then.
Aila then connects right in the chest, screaming of broken candles as the fey fiend collapses, but she looks at Aila first and whispers something incoherent. Suddenly, Aila’s muscles look atrophied but she continues to swing her hammer, over and over and over. It’s too bad she fell victim to the baobhan-sith curse.
After combat is over, I let my heart stop pounding as others stop to catch their breaths. I use my war razor to remove a finger and take her sash.
I then look around the room for signs of my Freja, the view from the window is expansive, but there are no signs from what I can tell. Finn comes and asks me if there was a part of it that was responsible for how it captivated us, and I tell him it was all the dance. No magic or scent, just fey trickery.
I then tell her that the curse can be lifted by powerful healing, and she seems reassured. Perhaps even their Finn has the power.
Meanwhile, there was a mirror in the corner that Baron Drael has been fixated on, with Glanrim at his side. There are lots of different images that flash inside the mirror, but none are my Freja.

They do ask if I recognize a green skinned lady with a flawless beauty. I have seen beautiful dryads, but this fey looking woman seems different.
Baron Drael is interested in taking the mirror, so I help them carry it down and out to the horses.
He also wants to take the fresh grave and take it to a proper burial, so we make a sled to tow it back. We then pack up our things and make for Silver Falls.
Upon arrival we part ways, and I continue my search for my dear friend. Until our paths cross again, rulers of Argentum.

Kingdom building - Spring Has Sprung [Pharast to Sarenith] (Kerubiel's point of view)

Kingdom building – Spring Has Sprung [Pharast to Sarenith] (Kerubiel’s point of view)

With a successful trip to Varnhold, and some unexpected closure to an old wound for the Dogruls, the kingdom seems to thoroughly enjoy springtime.
In Pharast we continue our expansion north and build more roads to connect the different parts of our kingdom. We are almost to Oleg’s and the South Rostland Road, so when we do agree to this trade agreement with Varnhold, it will be even more lucrative than initially planned. Work also continues on finishing up the Garess-Weaver estate, and the noble family is able to move in by the end of the month. Keston and Lily are very appreciative of their fine new home.
As we move into Gozran, the idea of a Silver Springs Festival takes off with Gith and she thinks it a great idea to keep the people motivated. Since we owe them six holidays now and only have had one so far, we go forward with it. It has a music focus and a chance to enjoy the gardens around the Founder’s Monument in Silver Falls.
The festival is of course celebrated throughout the country as Silver Stag is officially settled with the Temple of the Elk in the center of the town. I sent word to Keegh that the terms of our agreement have been completed and that he should come visit the new city sometime soon and perhaps perform a blessing to his god there. I have yet to hear back from him, but as a high priest of Erastil, he must be very busy. Jhod is thrilled by this achievement.
We also officially expand our northern border to meet Brevoy’s southern one, and Oleg and Svetlana are now a part of Argentum. We expand roads to meet the South Rostland Road and there is a feeling of connection through the kingdom. More farms are raised as our population rises and we aim to keep up with the demand.
I may have spoken too quickly on Oleg’s Trading Post – Kasner informs me that Brevoy would like to discuss this site becoming part of Argentum as it was their understanding – since they are funding the guards posted there, that it was part of Brevoy. He would like to know what the council would like to do before we push forward more.
Council meets and we decide to wait to push for the trading post. Glanrim is a little impulsive and wants us to start negotiations right away and Loinarv agrees with him. Drael and Finn both think that we should ask what Oleg and Svetlana want, fair point. There are no voices that argue leaving them apart of Brevoy, so we start discussing strategies and send Kasner to talk to the Levetons.
We find out that they would be happy either way. They trust that we would take care of them based on our history of helping them when we first came to the Stolen Lands. Jensothi and I have come up with a plan that will take a few months to enact. So, for now, we wait.
Moving into Desnus, we have Phrowenia over for dinner one night and Cora asks her to walk her down the aisle at the upcoming wedding. She also asks for her to accompany her to Restov to look at dresses with the Zorn sisters. She comes back after her trip, buzzing with excitement. Also, she lets me know that her mother and dogs will be walking her down the aisle.
The treasury is also higher so connect the kingdom more by building more roads. The only place left to connect is the Sootscales…soon. The shrine in Silver Falls to Sarenrae is completed and Meridith and Finn are overjoyed. We have placed in an area where we can expand upon its foundation and eventually make it into a full cathedral to the Dawnflower. My hope is that we will have it done before the wedding, but I don’t share that with Meridith – don’t want to get her hopes too high.
Also with our abundance, Jensothi advises us that now would be a good time to sign the trade agreement with Varnhold, so we do, and in turn the economy thrives even more. Things are looking great as we move in Sarenith.
In the month of the Everlight, with the summer solstice bringing the heat of summer we complete roads into Silver Stag, with a new inn as well. The owner, a Fay Dustone, a human woman in her 50s. She is not one to wear dresses apparently, but she has saved up her money and we match it. She likes our apparent naming tradition, and the Green Lantern opens its doors. When we agreed to help, her sparkling brown eyes shone through her huge round spectacles.
With the expanding nature of the kingdom, we need more lumber, and we set up another sawmill in the woods near Silver Stag. With all these designated spaces, the fey seem to be leaving us alone and the lumberjacks can work in peace.
Although speaking of the fey, my own Sorath has started to put on size this spring and it looks like she will need a larger bed soon. I have also noticed that there seems to a hazy shimmer around her. Guess that will be something I will have to get used to when we ride together.
Finally, our tomb memorial is completed with a statue honouring our beloved Ellira above it. She has returned to the soil like she wished and perhaps that is why we flourish now. We will remember her sacrifice and all the others that fell this last summer, one year after our victory over those horrid trolls.

Book 2-3 Interludes - Visiting Varnhold – (Kerubiel's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – Visiting Varnhold – (Kerubiel’s point of view)

With winter drawing to a close and the snow and ice giving way to an early spring, we are able to visit Varnhold at last. We of course have sent word of our planned travel and they are excited to receive us. Although the rumours of Grigory still float through town from time to time, so Glanrim thinks it best that not all the Court head out and he offers to stay and keep vigilant.
However, since this is a diplomatic trip, Kasner has elected to join us and Yollie has requested to come because she felt some cabin fever over the winter and her time due to her crime. Since Glanrim is staying behind, Aila offers to join us as well as she is taking her job as Royal Enforcer seriously and insists on keeping us all safe by lending a helping hand.
Finn and Drael both want to accompany the envoy as well. Finn I think follows wherever I go sometimes and Drael was interested in chatting more with Cephael – their arcane caster, probably their country’s magister.
I of course insist that Cora come too as this is a diplomatic mission and since she will be queen one day, it is important for her to make connections as well. A few days before we are set to leaver, however, she comes up asking if Aila’s sisters – Illianna and Valla can come on the trip as well. Says that it will be much more fun if all the Zorn sisters are present. Apparently, she has become closer with them since the two shops opened up so close to one another.
I agree to her proposal – it’s nice to see her making new friends after Fastinbur passed and Falco did the right thing and moved to Tatzylford. I ask her if they can just leave the new shop, and that’s when she asks me if we can send replacement workers from the castle while we are away.
In the end, I think it best that if she wants the Zorn sisters present and they need people to fill in for her, that it be best if she makes the requests of them as their future queen. By the time it’s time to leave she has found 6 ‘volunteers’ and I ask Jensothi discretely about it, he assures me they will still be paid their wages.
We head out with a supply wagon with Aila driving and the other being the Dogrul family one where some extra people travel inside. As we travel, we have brought our pavilion tents for any night we are out of towns. During the days, when she is not with me she does enjoy spending lots of time with the sisters.
We spend a night at Oleg’s and Finn says he’s ordering a wand of curing – probably will be useful. Oleg and Svetlana provide us with a nice meal, and we share that are starting to expand north and they look forward to seeing us grow more. I wonder if Oleg’s is part of Brevoy.
We end up heading south at Navitka’s crossing, a small town on the southern border or Brevoy. We then follow the Kiravoy river road and shortly after crossing a bridge we come upon a small town, nestled at the base of the Tors of Levenies, somewhere between Silver Falls and Tatzylford in size.
We come across a shallow fjord that marks the center of town and to the south up a hill high rise plateau is a large log house surrounded by a stockade. A pretty good strategic defensive position. Then some burly looking farm types kind of stare at us – with amazement I am sure, and I address them and let them know that we are here from the great kingdom of Argentum and are here to meet with their leaders.
A big man with long stringy black hair is somehow unimpressed – must not be well educated in foreign affairs, points us to Maegar Varn in the stockade. I thank him for his time, and we slowly cross the fjord.
On the other side of the water is a quaint green space like park similar to our Founder’s Rock area and they have a well for the citizens at one end. At the north end of the park closest to us are a small collection of wagons that seem to be all shut up tight and suddenly Kasner is next to me saying he wishes we hadn’t made him the diplomat. Confused I look back at the wagons with their colourful banners and then notice a banner that reads ‘The Wild Extravaganza”
I then look back to him with inquisitve eyes and he says that this is the carnival that was responsible for them being kidnapped on their way to Silver Falls last spring. We then discuss if they were slavers as well and he says that they definitely drugged them.
This is concerning as they are in Varnhold and not a great first impression. As this information is whispered around the envoy, Finn adds that we should not accept any food or drinks while here. We all nod and keep the convoy moving towards to the hilltop.
We pass a nice storey building that looks like an inn and tavern with a galloping looking half horse, half fish on the sign post out front. Interesting – later find out that place is called the Waterhorse.
Talking to locals as we go, we find out that the Waterhorse is the most popular place except on Sundays or at night time when the carnival opens – they’ve been here for the past two weeks with all kinds of neat attractions. Finn asks if any people have gone missing – which earns him a confused look from the local and I shoot him a dirty look and turn the conversation in a different direction… don’t know who to trust yet after all.
After thanking this townsfolk we continue on and pass shrine to Erastil with stained glass windows and a giant bow engraved on it. Moving up the hill we pass a house that is built into the side of the hill with a lovely garden. Aila and Finn are talking lots – while Finn is talking and Aila is a kind listener, about the different architecture.
As we approach the stockade gates I remind Kasner to be calm and that we need to learn more about the carnival before we bite our tongues too hard. But then Finn and Drael make some comment about burning being their speciality. Oh brother, diplomacy at its finest.
Finn then looks to me and asks, “Burn it?” – I say not yet, and he and Drael echo with ‘yet’.
This is when a tall blonde Ulfin woman approaches us and tells us that her name is Willis Gunderson the newest member of the Varnling Host. She then welcomes us in and brings us to Maegar Varn.
We exchange pleasantries, discuss how well they are doing. I comment that their people seem happy. They then invite us to feast with them tonight. He apologizes that they can’t host us here in the big house, but they have booked the Waterhorse for us. Says it’s the nicest place in town. Suggests that we might like to rest there before dinner tonight.
We thank them for their generosity but mention that we have some concerns that are quite urgent. He says that he had hoped to wait to the feast, which then Finn says he is on a religious fast currently. Oh brother. They are polite enough back and Finn gives an awkward curtsey. They have a proposition on a trade agreement, and they would love to discuss it more over dinner.
I then say that dinner does sound great tonight. We also congratulate them on their growing council. Drael then asks for us to have a brief moment to discuss something, and they give us some privacy.
He thinks that we need to discuss the carnival with them, and Finn agrees – also telling us he made up the whole fasting thing just in case. We agree and turn back to Maegar Varn.
We ask him about the carnival which right away he has a noticeable tell that makes him appear uneasy. Hmm. He asks if this conversation cannot wait. We are insistent and he says that he will gather the rest of his leaders.
While this is happening, Finn does not like that we are in a center of a kill box, and we try to discretely have our women and child hide in their wagons. On edge we wait another 20 minutes until a large table is brought out with some baked radish chips and the guards are asked to leave.
He says we are important people and want nice things for us. We then get to talking about the Carnival – the Wild Extravaganza. They have been in town for 2 weeks and their people seem to enjoy them.
We end up explaining what happened to Kasner and his family and what hand we believe the carnival had a part in it. Which is met by an odd laughter from members of the host. When we don’t join in, they explain that the carnival has been a thorn in their side – causing money to not stay in their country coffers but that their people seem to really like them.
I ask if they want us to get rid of them. They say that would be great, but better if it wasn’t tied to them so there wouldn’t be any tie to them and political backlash from their people. They also say that if we can deal this, they would love to establish a trade agreement between our two nations. The details of which are a little slanted in their favour at first, but long term would benefit us greatly. We decline for now and they say it is an open offer.
We discuss levels of removal and Finn of course wonders if redemption is an option. The Varnling Host don’t totally care what we do, if it isn’t tied to them in some way. We eat some more spicy radish chips and then head to the Waterhorse, at least a little relieved that our hosts are not aligned with the carnival.
As we are heading to the Waterhorse, Finn wonders if he could breed creatures like this, which Drael thinks they are fictional and Aila says she’s never seen any underground. And then about breeding shark semen and merfolk with horses and oh brother. I ride a little ahead
I then try to stir the conversation back to deal with the carnival. Drael suggesting that perhaps we arrest them. Yollie pipes up saying that she has a quieter idea to which Finn responds reminder her that all have a right to redemption. She just says that we won’t understand until we have children. I look to Cora and perhaps Yollie is correct.
Finn responds that maybe he does as he pets Ray Jay – oh cousin. It’s at this point we pass the hillside home again and there is an older man out front gardening, but it causes Drael to give pause and suddenly dismount. The man is an elf with wide grey eyes as Drael approaches him.
Drael hails him as Kardel. He starts having a conversation with him and we pause the envoy and I whisper to Finn if we know this man. While they are talking, Finn whispers to me that we must try redemption first and if that doesn’t work Sarenrae’s swift justice. I nod and at this point Drael is done talking and comes over to us with that man in tow.
He introduces us as the council of Argentum and that he is a Baron. Kardel clarifies – like the Varnling Host and Drael nods. Kardel seems pleased and then Drael invites him to visit us. Kardel says that it might be a long journey, so I pipe up saying that if it is important to Drael we could help support the visit or move to Silver Falls.
He says he’d like and that he’s only been here a couple of months. Finn then mentions that it would be good to have another man of the soil around while pointing to the garden. Kardel smiles and says its mostly chard. They then talk about visits and Finn mentions tending a special tree.
Then Aila pipes up asking why he moved here as she has recently moved with her family. He responds saying that it was a good opportunity and that he needed a change – but something in his tone is different and I get the sense this is not the truth. Hmm…curious.
I then say that we are visiting for a couple of days so he and Drael should take some time to catch up later. Drael then nods agreement, and we head on. I say nice meeting you, and that’s when we find out that he was Drael’s adoptive father. Finn is shocked and says he is heading to bed. I remind him that we have dinner to go to later. He nods and we make for the Waterhorse.
The Waterhorse is a nice tavern with a lot of room for patrons. Across from the front door is the bar where a tall well-dressed half-orc is working. The Zorn sisters seem interested and rush to get drinks. The rest of us follow a little more casually.
The bartender then welcomes us and said that he knew we were coming and has a party night planned with drop shots. He is quite eager. The sisters are quick to partake but the rest of us are cautious. Getting a good look at this guy I get the sense he means us no harm, so I take one of his drinks. Finn still refuses and Drael does a clumsy toast and spills most of his no so subtly.
Cora rubs my back and says that it could be fun, so we do the drop shot of double pipe ginger into the ale. The whisky is smooth just like what Cora and I drank at our first Merrymead with that nice warm spicy feeling.
The sisters stay and chat up Traikore the bartender while the rest of us head up to unpack and chat about the plans for the evening.
There are five rooms that we split up and Cora and I share the largest one. Cora tells me that her and nibbles are going to watch over the sisters while the rest of us pile into the lavatory to have a private conversation.
In discussion of what to do with the carnival, Finn wants to use a Candle of Truth to find out what crimes they are guilty of – which intrigues the hell out of Aila.
We ask Yollie to clarify what they did exactly – they dined with them and then woke up in the chains of slavers. So, thinks they should be dealt with by swift death as they are guilty in some way. I am curious to know how the Extravaganza would respond if they saw Yollie and Kasner – might be able to tell a lot by their reaction.
Aila questions if we have authority here and I also start to wonder what the rest of the townsfolk think of the carnival, so Aila goes to ask the bartender. Yollie is still adamant that they are met with the swift end of a blade and when questioned more about it just responds that none of us have had a child taken. Fair point.
Drael then pipes up and points out that we still don’t want to make a scene and cause problems for the Host. Perhaps following them into a more secluded place – Finn whispers ‘bathroom’, to which I just nod to him.
It’s at this point that Aila returns with a drink in hand and says that the bartender says he’s not too much of a fan because it draws the crowd out of the tavern…and that the wagons were still closed up so there weren’t many people around to ask.
Drael then suggests we just confront them about it and Aila responds with a brilliant plan – to invite them to Silver Falls. And Drael rolls with this plan, suggesting that we then ambush and arrest them on the way there. This gets a smirk out of Yollie.
We then discuss how to approach it, perhaps having them be invited by the Varnking Host up the stockade and then we invite them there, but we decide that sounds too suspicious and then Drael suggests that tonight after dinner we go ‘enjoy’ the show and talk the carnival then and convince them to come. We agree that this is a great plan A and adjourn our bathroom meeting and head back downstairs to join Cora and the sisters.
I ask Cora if she wants to wander around town or stay here and enjoy the libations. She wants to stay here because back home we have a lot of duties, and we could have some fun while we are in town. I nod and smile at her and we order another double pipe ginger.
Drael chats up the bartender some more – maybe trying to make up for his terrible ‘accidental’ spilling of his drink earlier. He later tells me that no one has gone missing since the carnival has been in town. The main problem has been the centaur attacks.
Finn doesn’t join us but stays upstairs in his room with Ray Jay, and Aila seems to relax some more as she socializes with her sisters.
As the sun is setting, Willis arrives at the Waterhorse and invites the council to our official dinner, leave Cora, Yollie, Porthos, and the sisters behind. We make it swiftly up to the blockhouse once inside we are brought to large dining room with a table laden with food.
Maegar welcomes us again and I say that I am glad we were finally able to make it out. I have some roasted stag and a stoat. As we eat and make merry, Varn mentions that Silver Falls and Argentum looked good when they came. I tell him it’s even more impressive now. He nods with a slight smile.
He then goes on to gripe a little that he did not realize running a kingdom would be this challending With the demands of the citizens and the constant dangers. But his complaints are unfortunately wasted on me, because I like all of it. Raising a kingdom. Helping our people to a better life. And leaving a last mark on this world. He wonders if I knew it would be this hard – which I kind of assumed it would be. Having been raised to possibly rule from a young age, there hasn’t been too many huge surprises, just things that need to be dealt with.
However, Drael does agree with him and says that it is very tiring and harder than he had expected – especially with the trolls. Which I clarify was a troll nation that we went to war with last summer. Where we lost our beloved Ellira.
Maegar then asks if we had ever fought centaurs and before I can reply, Finn says yes and explains how Duskholde used to be bombarded by regular centaur tribe attacks. When asked if they beat them, he said no, they moved on….
Finn and Varn then talk about his family and Duskholde and how the stoat comes from there. Then Maegar comments that Duskholde seems to have quite the influence in Argentum. Which Finn nods saying that I am his cousin and our uncle, Kasner, pointing to him, is our diplomat.
We then tell them our plan to get rid of the Carnival by inviting them to our country. The Host nods their agreement, since the plan won’t be tied back to them. Then says that if this is successful, they would love to set up a trade agreement of resources. They have drawn up preliminary plans that look like they would benefit Varnhold more initially but long term we might get more out of it, if we can connect our countries by roads.
They are also willing to defer the trade agreement a few months while we build up a surplus to start the agreement. They agree that this would be fine. We say we will bring it to our full council when we return to Argentum and let them know.
I also offer to possibly help them with their centaur problem if dealing with carnival goes well. They say that would be appreciated. We then finish dinner with plans to go investigate the carnival.
On our way down the hill, Drael stops to talk to Kardal, saying he will catch up to us at the front of the inn, since we have to go get the others anyways.
We gather and change before heading out. Aila’s sisters are not interested in the carnival, but with hanging out with the bartender instead. Fair enough, they are young and carefree after all. Cora is going to come though, as she is interested in what we are doing. Kasner and Yollie; however, decide to stay after a reminder that the plan is when we leave town. Yollie nods her agreement.
Finn meets us drapped in a bed sheet as a dress of sorts and he has one of Ray Jay as well…apparently a disguise. Drael comes in at that point and says that he will talk to the Ringmaster to convince them. Since Cora is with me, I think that is a good plan. Aila says she has to meet us there.
Finn suggests planting bombs, but I remind him there are innocent civilians. He has a fixated mind sometimes.
Down at the carnival, there are four different people, and one of them, a gnome with wild green hair has a lion named ‘Peanut’. There is also a tall man in a flowing red coat and blue trousers, holding a mallet, organizing some sort of strength contest. There is a lavishly dressed catfolk in the center of it all casting minor illumination and I assume illusionary display spells.
The final person is cloaked in mystery – a Krea Mistsplitter, a fortune teller, but she is inside her wagon with quite a line up.
Drael says he wants to check out the magic of the fortune teller, so Cora and I go check out the lion tamer – see how well he treats his cat, while he gets in line. As we are watching the lion tamer, Madame Maxine finishes her center show with a flourish of purple sparks and heads off stage.
Meanwhile, this hack job gnome has made this lion learn different showier forms of the most basic tricks. Things you start with, not something that takes any real talent. Cora seems to enjoy it…I guess I need to show her what a true trainer can do once we are back home.
Finn has drawn a crowd and people are asking if he and Ray Jay are new additions to the show. As the lion jumps through a hoop, Sorath’s hackles go up, but I am able to reassure her easily. Cora then says she’s tired and would like to go back and party more with the sisters. I think that’s a great idea, because Drael is still in line and Maxine looks like she is alone.
After dropping Cora with the ladies, I start to perform near Mistsplitter’s line, to hopefully help Drael move up the queue quicker – If my cousin can draw a crowd, then these people haven’t seen much.
While Sorath starts doing some quite impressive tricks, eyes start to fall on us and Drael uses some magic to disappear for a moment and reappear near the front of the line. Excellent. The gnome gives me a sour frown, so he earns a roguish wink from me. I then see Drael go inside so I wrap up my show and let the crowd know that if they liked this show, they should come visit the magical kingdom of Argentum. They don’t say much – obviously awed by our renown. I then head to Maxine’s wagon.
Since she is alone, and Drael went for the fortune teller instead, I guess I will be the one to convince her to come. I must have had a drink to many earlier – this should have been me anyways.
When she sees me approaching, she asks if I want an autograph – to ease her suspicions, I let her sign my tabard. I tell her I am new in town, and I am impressed by the crowd. She boasts, like a true showman. I then invite her to perform in a real venue – our castle in Silver Falls. I even tell her she can tour our three cities.
She pauses to consider it and then asks about compensation – as she lies to my face that they were paid to be here (her whiskers twitch when she tells a lie), which I promise her would easily outshine what they are making here.
She suggests we meet for a drink at the Waterhorse to negotiate terms. I agree and tell her I will see her there shortly and take my leave.
I regroup with Finn, and Drael as he is coming out of his fortune telling and ask how his future looks – he says bright…good. I tell him that I may have convinced Maxine to come. Drael tells me that he said we have a festival coming up soon with a wink…okay, Silver Springs, to celebrate the rebirth time/end of winter. We will go with that. Finn says he will make sure the Dogruls are not insight and rushes off back to the Waterhorse.
When we get back to the Waterhorse, Maxine is in the corner, and now Aila is dressed like Finn in a bed sheet. Oh brother. I tell Drael to fill in Finn and Aila as to our plan and head over to Maxine.
She asks if I’ve had their drop shots and I nod that I have and try and wave Trekoir into bringing me one, but he shrugs and apparently doesn’t do table service. However, Cora catches my eye and she plays the role of barmaid and brings me one. I give her a tip and she giggles…we may have to explore this role-playing thing more later.
I then wave Drael over and introduce him as our kingdom’s Magister. He butters her up by saying we will have a premium charge to see them, and we will split the admission gate. We also agree to pay them 200 gold pieces for coming. 100 upfront in the morning. We will leave together.
She then takes her leave and I fill in the rest of the council as to the plan. I decide that we should also bid our farewells tonight to the Varnling Host as we won’t have time in the morning.
I opt to go quickly and say I will be back shortly – if too much time goes by, come weapons drawn. They agree.
Meeting with Maegar, he is completely impressed that we are driving out his nuisance. I tell him that they have an open invitation to always visit, and look forward to creating an alliance where we can both prosper.
As I ride back to the tavern, I contemplate Maegar Varn’s words of complaint and difficulty at ruling and wonder if in the future as we grow if they would be willing to join our kingdom. Hmm
After another drink, Cora and I retire up to our room for the night and enjoy an evening that is not appropriate to be read about in a king’s journal.
The next morning, I opt to drive the Dogrul’s wagon as we have planned to keep them hidden as much as possible on the journey home. We decide that we will try and get them all the way to Silver Falls and only deal with hostility if they try and flee on the road.
Finn straggles a little as he is looking for flowers before leaving – apparently he’s heard a lot about begonias while here. Bravo also seems to spent some time with one of his wagon wheels before they are ready to go.
After paying Maxine the 100 gold, we are on our way and make it to Navitka’s crossing by nightfall. Making good time as we are almost at Oleg’s by the end of day two.
That’s when Maxine approaches me and tells us that one of their wagons are having mechanical issues and we should go on ahead – I am certain I see a whisker twitch. There is no way we are letting them out of our sight.
We enthusiastically offer to help look at it, Finn and Drael with tools and magic. She tries to say that she wouldn’t want us to be late to the festival and that Bravo doesn’t do well with distractions. Finn and Drael then ‘fix’ the problem (Finn says later there was nothing wrong).
When we get to the outer gates, I hand to reigns over to Cora and ride ahead to alert Keston and to have Glanrim’s soldiers close the gates once we are in the city. Drael takes them to the Blue Lantern.
When I talk to Keston, telling him that we have to make an arrest, he responds promptly and gathers his men quickly. Glanrim ensures all city exits are secured.
Minutes later, I arrive at the Blue Lantern with a full squad of twenty guards. I head inside and ask all the patrons to please leave quickly by order of the First Baron. I tell Janelle she will be compensated as she asks if staff should leave too. I nod.
I then read the Wild Extravaganza their rights and explain to them that they are under arrest for the aiding in slavery and will be tried for their crimes. They all claim innocence, but Maxine is the most heated in saying that Yollie is the one that should pay for her crimes. They do come along quietly though.
During the trial we use the last of some of the truth candles to find out that Bravo, Mirtwert, and Krea had no idea what they were doing. They just were following Maxine’s orders and the Dogrul’s were bad people according to her. Maxine knew she was dealing with slavers and shouts out that Yollie deserves worse than that.
The council of Argentum deliberates and there are different thoughts.
Drael wants a sentence for all of them, but a stiffer one for Maxine. Finn thinks redemption should be offered to all of them, to which Jhod agrees but slags on Kasner at the same time. Glanrim thinks death for all of them for their part in it. Keston is unsure, because it happened outside of our kingdom. Jensothi also thinks of imprisonment. Loinarv mostly sides with Glanrim. Gith agrees with Finn, but then starts to talk about an economic regrowth plan and I stop listening to be honest. I think trying to redeem their actions is probably what is best as I look down at my mother’s holy symbol.
With the use of the truth candles, we find out that the 3 of them are sorry and are interested in atonement, but Maxine is not and still thinks it is a big mistake that we don’t lock up Yollie as well.
In the end they are sentenced to three months of jail time with regular redemption sessions with Finn and Meridith, but Maxine is required to spend one year for her deal with the Royal Roses.
Looks like we will have some carnival folk needing a job in Silver Falls come the summer.