Thom's Kingmaking

Public Scandal - Neth
In the month of Neth (October) an unfortunate event was rolled, Public Scandal. A failed stability rule means that mechanically the kingdom gained 4 unrest, but more worrisome than that maybe the story implications. The following, is the genesis of that scandal:

I don’t know what you’re talking about, Loinarv says from across the table. You look at his indignant face with the craggy shadows of his face lit by the flickering flame of the truth candle in the center of the council table.

I had nothing to do with Elyel’s death, but the fact that Olivia found my boot beneath the waves of the Tusk water, with the murder weapon stuck in is truly interesting. I lost those boots, I haven’t had them for months. Well I guess I know where they are now, or at least one of them. If you or Olivia find another one, it’d be nice to have a full pair. Let me leave this room, and grab my notes from that day. I keep notes on many topics, on every day.

When Loinarv returns, a small leather bound book held in his beefy forearms, he comes with a thoughtful expression on his face. The day I lost those boots, I was interviewing suspects and leads to see if I could find out more information about who in the castle saw something around Elyel’s death. You could also call that doing my job he says sardonically.

On that day, I interviewed Kesten’s man Dilph, Kasner’s wife Yolie, and Gith the stable girl. Would any of them have a motive, to have killed Elyel. As long as you have that truth candle burning maybe you can get some real use out of it, and interview them all.

………………………………………….

After cursory interviews with Dilph, Yolie, and Gith, it becomes evident that Yolie is the guilty party. When questioned further, you realize that she saw it as a way of getting justice for the trauma that Elyel and the other slavers put her family through.

“How many of you here have children? How many of you here have infants? Once you have your own infant, then you can judge me, and until then you can’t even pretend to know whether what I did was wrong. Further, once you do have your own child, as soon as you hold them in your arms, then you will know that I was right to do what I did.”

[DM note: I wrote that part before most of us had children. Not sure if it lands differently now?]

After a moderate public trial, you are once again reminded of the difficulties of ruling. Some of your population thinks a sentence of death for Yolie is justified – a life for a life-. Most of your population thinks Yolie should have a couple congratulatory rounds at the Blue lantern bought for her. No matter what you decide on this one, there will be some public unrest and not everybody will be happy with the result

I don’t know what you’re talking about, Loinarv says from across the table. You look at his indignant face with the craggy shadows of his face lit by the flickering flame of the truth candle in the center of the council table.
 
I had nothing to do with Elyel’s death, but the fact that Olivia found my boot beneath the waves of the Tusk water, with the murder weapon stuck in is truly interesting. I lost those boots, I haven’t had them for months. Well I guess I know where they are now, or at least one of them. If you or Olivia find another one, it’d be nice to have a full pair. Let me leave this room, and grab my notes from that day. I keep notes on many topics, on every day.
 
When Loinarv returns, a small leather bound book held in his beefy forearms, he comes with a thoughtful expression on his face. The day I lost those boots, I was interviewing suspects and leads to see if I could find out more information about who in the castle saw something around Elyel’s death. You could also call that doing my job he says sardonically.
 
On that day, I interviewed Kesten’s man Dilph, Kasner’s wife Yolie, and Gith the stable girl. Would any of them have a motive, to have killed Elyel. As long as you have that truth candle burning maybe you can get some real use out of it, and interview them all.

Elyel Yolie Dilph Gith
 
………………………………………….
 
After cursory interviews with Dilph, Yolie, and Gith, it becomes evident that Yolie is the guilty party. When questioned further, you realize that she saw it as a way of getting justice for the trauma that Elyel and the other slavers put her family through.
 
“How many of you here have children? How many of you here have infants? Once you have your own infant, then you can judge me, and until then you can’t even pretend to know whether what I did was wrong. Further, once you do have your own child, as soon as you hold them in your arms, then you will know that I was right to do what I did.”
 
[DM note: I wrote that part before most of us had children. Not sure if it lands differently now?]
 
After a moderate public trial, you are once again reminded of the difficulties of ruling. Some of your population thinks a sentence of death for Yolie is justified – a life for a life-. Most of your population thinks Yolie should have a couple congratulatory rounds at the Blue lantern bought for her. No matter what you decide on this one, there will be some public unrest and not everybody will be happy with the result

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Akiros' note after the fall of Glanrim

The morning after the Barons return from hunting Hargulka, the barons are awakened early in the morning by Tig, who tells you that Keston need to urgently see you.

When you make your way to the castle courtyard, you see Keston waiting for you.

“You better see this. We waited for you.” Keston leads you outside around the back wall of the castle.

As you round back of the castle, the first thing you see is a shovel blade buried in the ground, standing straight up silhouetted by the rising sun behind it. You start as you notice a couple feet away a head poking up from the ground. A puffy and bruised face squints in your direction. “Finally, get me out of here” Jhod croaks. “And after that, you better hunt that crazed bastard Akiros down.”

He has been buried up to his neck in the earth, and there is a package tied around his neck with brown twine. When you open the package, you find the following note:

_The Barons of Argentum,

I’ve been such a fool, but I finally understand now. And to think that Erastil has already held my life hostage for so many years. No more. I don’t know what they taught you about Erastil, but in my village they never taught me that he was the greatest trickster of all the gods.

I will warn you to abolish all worship of Erastil, in Argentum, or else his devious ways will lead to ruin for the place you hold dear the same way it’s led to ruin for me. Make and enemy of Erastil, and return to a life of holiness and good. But I won’t hold it against you if you don’t believe a word that I’m saying; no one knows better than I the sound of the sweet lies of Erastil. May you free yourself from his web of lies, for the good of your kingdom.

I leave your kingdom now, I need to find my way again free from the evil influence of Erastil. If you successfully do what I say and outlaw the worship of Erastil, send me a message and I will return as a faithful servant of the Kingdom. Until that time, I will seek to regain what I have lost due to the pernicious meddling of Erastil.

I believe my parents were right when they believed I could be something more than an average village boy. But they were utterly mistaken that my path to self-realization lay in Erastil. Yet two more innocent folks that the trickster God Erastil has manipulated for his own wrongful gain. With the deceit cleared from my eyes, I can now see that the Stag Lord was more right than wrong. He was still an evil twisted man, but he understood some important lessons about governance and being a leader. I understand that some of the kellid tribes to the west practice more natural leadership free from Erastil’s ugly grip, and I will learn what I can from them.

I will leave this man alive only because I know of your attachment to him. I believe that you attempted to support me sincerely, even if your judgment was at the time clouded by Erastil’s trickery. But Jhod is a snake, and you would be best to end him right from where I leave him.

To Baron Glanrim,
I don’t know what you did to make such a strong enemy of Erastil, but any enemy of Erastil will forever be an ally of mine. I’ve seen divine intervention many times, but never have I seen anybody smote by a god the way Erastil smote you. I’ve enclosed all of the gold that I own with this message, to be used for the attempted resurrection of Glanrim. [1082 gp] I owe you more than this, and I will fulfill my debt once I have the means.

Akiros Ismort
_

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

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

Erastus
 
The expansion of the kingdom continued this month and funds to build another apiary went ahead as planned. To help appease the lumberjacks we have dedicated this new area of land to have a sawmill so that they may have a focused home base when outside of the city’s walls.
 
Finally, the construction of the monument was started, and Cora and Robin are doing a fantastic job. With the help of different council members, they are collecting the names of every family that made the initial trek to find our glorious kingdom. Jensothi has put into the budget for monument for some other features to make it a wonderful place to visit – gardens and benches, that sort of thing.
 
Despite the end of the month resulting in a terrible war with the trolls, and a horrible bit of uncertainty with Grigori and his influence, the monument is finished on time, and I think that it gives the people a sense of pride, especially those that got in at the ground floor. The town sculptors have done a fantastic job. I of course don’t get to see the completed work until returning home, victorious, but saddened by the loss of a dear friend.
 
Arodus
 
We fought valiantly against the trolls and won the day with the help of our lizardfolk allies. I hope this relationship will continue to be bountiful and we can encourage them to eat ‘people’ less.
 
With some of the supplies won from the troll settlement, we complete the addition to the Blue Lantern, and it now is a proper inn and tavern. The people seem happy with this. There are more people flooding to our country and more homes are built. Finally, we establish a proper fishery in the waterways that surround our great city. Despite having been at war we are able to provide food for all our people. The army is now garrisoned in the castle and Glanrim continues to train those that are interested in being full time soldiers. Some go back their jobs, but others join our cause with the success of our troll campaign.
 
We send word to our potential allies, the Varnling Host and give directions to our kingdom from Oleg’s Trading Post. We tell them because of our recent war with the trolls we will not be able to visit them until mid-autumn, but give them invitations to our Festival of Silver.
 
Finn approaches GIth and asks if she was genuine about wanting to speak for the people. She seems shocked at first but then agrees, so Finn begins preparing for her to take his place in Rova, when he will assume Ellira’s previous position of high priest. It will be a good fit for Finn.
 
Cora and I are able to get away at the end of the month, once council has met. She takes me up into the woods near Oleg’s trading post. We stop there first and greet Oleg. Him and Svetlana are doing well. After getting some food and such we make our way to this little cabin in the woods.
 
When we get there, it looks a little overgrown but it’s quaint and a wonderful place to relax and forget some of my troubles, although on the second night the nightmare of Ellira’s death haunts me and Cora comforts me. The next day we notice a trapdoor hidden under a rug in the center of the hut. Excited nervous energy fills Cora, and maybe a little me, but more that I get to have an adventure with her as we decide to explore what lurks below.
 
A waft of burnt lumber hits our nostrils and the stairs seem blackened with soot. After a few steps the sound of splintering wood breaks the silence and at Cora’s encouragement, we decided to abandon exploring the basement. The rest of our weekend we find a nearby pond and swim, climb trees and act like young kids and lovers. It is nice to not have to worry about the fate of so many people for a brief period.
 
As we ride back, on the eve of the first of Rova, she tells me that she is going to let Falco know that she no longer wants to be with him. She tells me that while I was away, she realized that she didn’t want to risk not being with me and losing out of time together and is excited to spend time together during the upcoming Festival of Silver in mid Rova. I can’t believe we have almost made it a year as a country.
 
 
Rova
 
The festival was a huge success with some eventful surprises. People continue to flock to our glorious kingdom with higher spirits. The tragedy of war slowly slipping away from most minds, but still lingering for those of us who lost someone dear to us. But I think Ellira would want us to be celebratory at our amazing accomplishment.
 
We are able to claim the area where Tatzylford will be and begin the preparations for founding the settlement. Finn seems to be enjoying his new position of high priest and so far, Gith seems competent enough as councillor.
 

I will keep you more up to date as we progress through the steady rise of the kingdom of Argentum.

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Book 2-3 Interludes - The Festival of Silver – (Kerubiel's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – The Festival of Silver – (Kerubiel’s point of view)
 
As summer hangs on, the town is becoming larger as we draw closer to our country’s one year celebration. Everywhere I go since getting back with Cora, people are in better spirits. Posters and invitations around town from Gith, our new councillor, seem to be really helping build excitement.
 
The food, fireworks, monument park, and decorations have seen many involved and happily taking part to make our first Festival of Silver a memorable one. As we gather around the temporary stage the crowd must be close to one thousand.
 
Due to his size, others give him a lot of space, I see that King Vesket has joined us with one of his lady friends, Kulgutfrul. Cora seems a little nervous at first, but I squeeze her hand and she seems reassured. She rests her other hand on Sorath’s head, who stands behind us.
 
I welcome him and introduce him to Cora as my partner, because I can’t think of a better term. Before we can talk more, Gith has taken the stage. Here we go, I hope she meant it when she wanted to be able to speak for the people.
 
Strong start, saying we are here to celebrate the founding of our great country, good. Gives herself a new title, ambitious young thing, but for today, I’ll allow it. It causes Jensothi to do a spit take, however.
 
She then tells us that many were involved in the hunt for the impressive stag skull that sits at the base of the stone. Which, Cora and Robin did fantastic work on. The names are clearly carved and as look and see the staff and carved into it a small tear forms in my eye. I wipe it away and smile at Cora.
 
I wonder who did win this hunt, as many came asking me for advice, which I never did provide, just smiled at them, and wished them all luck. Didn’t want to play favourites after all. Gith then announces that the winner of the hunt is a dwarf named Kvasir. A good man who was a big help in the hunt for Hargulka. Gith is holding up the Silver Bow reward, but he is nowhere to be scene. Then someone whispers to her that he’s out feeding his bear. Must let him know, trusted companions are welcome in our town.
 
Gith then announces that the race will begin in two hours and that the winner will receive a spot-on council as Champion of the High Councillor. Oh man, what have we done giving her a position? The crowd then starts to disperse and visiting market stalls and eating delicious foods is a priority for some, going down to get a good viewpoint for the race.
 
Cora and I continue to chat with Vesket. He says he is happy to experience our strange culture and tradition with its weird foods at our banquet, but still excited to try it. I whisper out of his ear shot that I saw him eat raw troll flesh and he calls our food ‘strange’. She giggles and we all five continue to walk.
Picking up on me calling her my partner earlier, Vesket points to Kulgutfrul and then to Cora and says ‘harem?’ ‘same?’ and not sure if it is the same, but I nod and say yes. Apparently not what Cora wanted me to say, because she stomps my foot, grabs Sorath’s collar and says she she’s Finn has arrived with candy. I again thank Vesket for coming and rush to catch up with her.
 
Later, as we gather for the beginning of the race, Gith reminds every one of the rules of the event and that they will become her champion, oh brother. Then Finn goes up on a stage, and he has a new look. His plague doctor mask has been replaced by a mask that looks more owl-like in appearance and he has a jaunty walking cane. Good for you, cousin for rebranding yourself. He then says a prayer and blessing to all contestants, mostly from Sarenrae – as Meridith and a small group around her know exactly when to echo certain parts of the prayer.
 
Gith then comes back, thanks Finn and tells the contestants the route of the race. Cora and I then hop on Sorsath and ride down to the ‘box seats’ for council members at the finish line, but we watch the water balloon toss first. Oph, Drael just took one in the face from Corax I think, but he’s still going. That a boy.
 
As we ride ahead it appears that a bulry half-orc woman with a large hammer strapped to her back is in the lead. I wonder if she’ll maintain that the whole way through. We ride ahead and get to our spots to watch the contestants as they hit the line.
 
We sit peacefully and chat with each other. The day has been near perfect, Cora and I hold hands and look at the Tuskwater and I think back to when we started dating and we went out in her little rowboat so she could show me how to fish. I still do not like fishing, but it was great to see her side of life.
 
Oh snap, there is that same half-orc woman, still in the lead, by quite some distance. It looks like she is close to 100 feet ahead of Drael and another half-orc woman, but what the hells. That same monster that attacked me last spring has risen from the Tuskwater and snatched the woman near Drael! Damn. I didn’t think I’d need the lance today. At least I have Gyronna Sunwrought with me. I kiss Cora quickly and leap onto Sorath’s back and we charge to help.
 
As we ride, Drael causes fire to erupt at its base and it retaliates by spitting at him a thicky sticky substance. Then hammer girl makes an impressive leap from the cliff and lands it. Sorath and I are almost there, Finn has showed up from his spot in the crowd and hurls a bomb at it.
 
Then a dwarf with red hair is peppering it with arrows and the guy who helped with Hargulka is telling bad dad jokes. I wonder if this guy helped much on the hunt. Shit, looks like the girl has gone limp. Looking around to be able to give battle commands, because we won’t make it in time, but there is no need.
 
The monster, having a victim constricted in its long snake-like body, starts to try, and flee but the hammer half-orc seizes the opportunity to jump and drive her hammer right into the eye on the top of its head and it tears down several feet. The monster then lays limply and the dwarf and funny guy, use some healing magic to bring her back to consciousness. Well glad that crisis was averted. We do inspire greatness here in my kingdom. Oh look, Finn is already collecting samples.
 
Later, after Gith announces Aila – that’s the hammer lady’s name, as the winner, I approach her and congratulate her on winning the race. I also let her know that Gith is just the councillor, there is no such thing as a ‘high’ councillor.
 
She tells me that her dad and sisters just moved here and are new residents of Silver Falls. I welcome her ask her where she is from. She addresses me as King Kerubiel – I like that she shows respect where it’s due, and then says they are from Dobrinth. It is a unique place, if I recall correctly where half the city is underground and mostly occupied by gnomes. It is a kind of free city with no formal government, and so citizens do their own thing.
 
I then ask why they chose to move here, and she says that she recently lost her momma so her father thought that this place would be a good place to have a fresh start. I tell her I am sorry for her loss. I then tell her that she certainly earned her title today of champion. She smiles and says that she’s the strong one in her family. And if we ever need help lifting things, she is happy to help. She might have even said she can lift a house. Will definitely need to keep an eye on this one. Lots of potential. I then say let’s go to dinner and welcome her once again to Silver Falls. I then ride back to Cora and fill her in on what I just learned about the ‘High Councillor’s Champion’.
 
As we ride back into Founder’s monument park, lots of log table rounds have been set up and a large banquet table is in the center. Riding towards the stage, I recognize the faces of two of the three Varnling Host. Glad that they were able to show up. I greet them and thank them for coming.
 
They respond by thanking me for the invite and saying that they are sorry they are here later than intended. They are experiencing some troubles back home and so he (Maegar Varn) and Cephal were only able to make the trip. I tell them, sorry for their troubles and share that we recently experienced a great loss in the death of Ellira.
 
They agree that these are dark times and tells us that centaurs have been harrying them quite a lot. They are nomadic and they tried to make a deal with them when they arrived, but it did not work. Then Cephal interrupts and says they were fools to ever try and make a deal. They should have never given them an inch.
 
Finn, who has joined up with us responds that they are sentient beings and wonders if there is a possibility of redemption. As he is saying this, I wonder if he knows we are talking about centaurs, because I think that is what his hometown was attacked by lots in the past. Hmm.
 
They continued the conversation while I was lost in thought for a moment and Finn looks like he may have offended them, oh well. In the awkward bit of silence, I offer for them to please stay in the castle while they are in town as our honoured guests. They are thankful and of course extend the same offer for when we come to visit them later in the fall. Finn then wanders off to go mingle with others.
 
The funny bard has just finished his set and people are all about to be ready to eat. Plates of food are piled onto the banquet table. Stag prepared a plethora of different ways. Smoked, baked, braised even. There are lots of root vegetables and fresh, late summer fruits. The sweet chestnuts are delicious. While we eat, I introduce the host to Keston, Lily and Taldeth.
 
Gith addresses the crowd again and awards Aila with the stag skull marking her as this year’s race winner and again calls her the ‘High Councillor’s Champion.’ Aila says thank you and accepts the trophy, then they go and sit and eat a table with Finn.
 
Meanwhile, a different bard has quite a display set up of various trunks and chests and he starts to address the crowd after pulling out a white beard and wig and talks about having a baby and losing it – I don’t get it, but then he looks at Kasner. Oh he’s trying to make light of him. Some people chuckle and Kasner who is a couple spots from me just raises an eyebrow.
 
The performer then goes to get another costume on and Kasner asks who arranged this guy, and I honestly don’t know, but reply that he is awful. Oh gods, no he has a boogery raven mask and is talking like a baby about his cousin. Ugh, this is enough, I quickly find Jensothi and ask if he knows anything about this guy. He doesn’t, which seems suspicious because this man always has his finger on the pulse of what is happening in our town. I tell him to go ask some of the other council members and I will go ask Gith.
 
The ‘entertainment’ – if you can call him that, now has a hat with a wide variety of phallic shaped items dangling from it as says he’s so well loved and then uses a cloth to rub one of the penis shaped things. Some chuckle, but some families are trying to hide their children’s eyes.
 
As I approach Gith, Finn whispers to me, that he thinks that is supposed to be me…’Cockatrice’. Ignoring him, I ask Gith if she hired him, and she says she’s never seen him before. The champion, Aila, says this guy is a huge jerk and I think I hear a piece of the table crack and see her shaking with rage.
 
I then say, I am going to deal with it, and Finn just blurts out, ‘like cut his head off? Feed him to sharks?’ …I just keep walking but turn and mouth ‘shut up’ to my cousin.
 
As I get to the stage, I walk up the stairs and start giving him so applause to interrupt him, he is currently going to change his look again, but this time I see a blue wig start to come out and he will not sully her memory so I try to make it look like I am tripping, and go to push him off the stage into the dirt like he deserves. However, he didn’t buy my feint and steps out of the way and rushes over to a door on his wagon and disappears through it.
 
Moments later from over near Finn’s welcome tent we see him appear and hop on a black smoky spectral horse…but then, that voice that fills me with so much loathing shout out, ‘So long suckers, see you losers next year!’ …By the gods, I want Grigori’s head on a pike.
 
To then try and undue the horrible performance he just gave I raise a glass and give a toast about the glory of Argentum and thank everyone for being there. My words are not as eloquent as usual, probably due to my burning hatred of that man. There is general applause and glass raising but the rest of the meal has a cloud that hangs overhead. Bastard, taking this from us. From the people who worked hard all year and deserve a day without huge pricks getting in the way.
 
I then tell Jensothi to get people to start clearing his shit off the stage. He nods and gets some people, and Aila even comes and gives a hand. She seems eager to get past that jerk’s performance as well.
 
However, I will give it to my cousin, because while we are cleaning up, he has had people moving to another section adjacent to the monument. There is a beautiful flower archway at the front of a many rows of seating. People are being handed a blueberry toast type dessert and then I catch sight of a beautiful bride to be. Lily is with Taldeth. They have planned to get married today. That’s wonderful.
 
To try and help I encourage people to leave the dinner area and head to the ceremony area. The archway has seats on either side of it reserved for council members and I bring Cora up there with me.
 
Once many are seated a quartet of instruments come in and start to play as Keston and his boys get into place. And then the blushing bride comes down the aisle, escorted by Taldeth.
 
Finn speaks of Sarenrae’s healing light and love and to be honest, I have never heard my cousin speak so eloquently. Looking at the people of Argentum as he talks about faith and devotion to a loved one, tears of people being moved fill the audience. I take Cora’s hand and we both squeeze at the same time.
 
Finn then has them pause and tells them to take in this moment with all that are present. All the people that are here to support them and care for them. They each slowly turn and look at different faces. And then, just as the sun sets, he invites them to kiss and be named man and wife of house Garress-Weaver. We stand and clap. I think I hear that Aila girl snort cry at some point. She’s quite loud in her laugh and cries apparently.
 
We are then encouraged to head to the hills overlooking the Tuskwater for the evening’s fireworks display. I think Drael has been working on these since they got back from the hunt. I don’t know if I have seen him before this morning.
 
Cora and I find a cozy semi-private area and lean together against Sorath. My arm wrapped around her when the darkening sky is lit up by a solitary firework that explodes with a medium firelight. There is some clapping and cheering from the crowd, but then, from just above the Tuskwater come a blue and silver dragons that swoop over everyone and race to the sky and then explode in a brilliant flash of blues, golds, and silver. The crowd is very impressed by this.
 
As the fireworks continue to go off, ones better than I ever saw in Brevoy I might add, even on celebrations for the King there, I pause to reflect on the how much I miss my friend, and I run my fingers through Sorath’s fur and remember all she was willing and did do to help me get her back.
 
I then look over and this wonderful woman who I met in a bar at the beginning of this year. How she did incredibly as my partner today, meeting various honoured guests. She was sweet, charming, and intelligent. Although I don’t like calling her my ‘partner’, I want more than this.
 
She then meets my eyes and tells me how happy she has been since we meet and the whirlwind romance we have had. She has learned that she can be herself around me. She tells me again that she was so worried that she would lose me during the war, but she was even more worried that I would change and be someone different afterwards. She says I have changed, but not for the worse. Losing Ellira she can see that I have a kind and compassionate heart and one that will strive to do what’s best for the people of Argentum and that includes her.
 
I then share with her how much I loved spending the day with her and the only part that kept feeling wrong was when I called her my partner.
 
She agrees and that she was shocked during the wedding – we both agree that we were surprised by how moving Finn was and well-spoken. And she tells me that she was nervous that I would be able to put someone besides myself first, but she now believes that I will do that and care about her needs too. She then says that she doesn’t know much about being a queen, but if I was interested, she would be my betrothed.
 
Completely overjoyed, I quickly reach for the silver ring I have worn almost right away since coming to the Greenbelt, and I get up to kneel and ask her if she would do me the honour of becoming my queen. She says yes and we kiss.
 
I am told that the finale of the fireworks was quite spectacular, but Cora and I don’t see them. Our moment ends when the sound of people clapping fills the hillside. I make a mental note to tell Drael that it was incredible.
 
As we ride back to the castle, we see Finn heading that way too and both congratulate him on a fantastic service tonight. He nods and then Cora says we might need his service soon and shows him the ring on her finger. He congratulates us and then says with a grin, that we’ll have to book soon because he is very popular, and others have already asked him to do their weddings. We laugh and say that we will. A wonderful end to the Festival of Silver.
 

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Book 2-3 Interludes - A Stand-Up Act – Festival of Silver – A Tomio Routine (Tomio's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – A Stand-Up Act – Festival of Silver – A Tomio Routine (Tomio’s point of view)

 
Gathering in monument square is far out. The kingdom is all here, and they all seem to be excited for the day’s activities. Man, these flowers are awesome. The sun is shining, and it is a beautiful day.
 
As I am admiring this wonderfully cultivated gazebo, I start to hear the voice of a young red-headed girl. I thought she worked in the stables when I visited the castle last month. She says that her name is Gith and she’s the High Councillor – wow, she must be super qualified, or maybe this job is just more stable. Chuckles to himself
 
Anyways, she’s here to announce who won the stag hunt. I wonder if my new friend Kvasir did alright? He said he was going to participate. Where is he anyways? I bet he’s feeding his bear again, Orso. Oh, and look at that he won. And she’s holding up a silver bow and he’s nowhere to be found. Oh well, better buck next time to the rest of them.
 
I wander past some pumpkins and tell them that ‘life is gourd’ and the stem curls ever so slightly around my finger, then lets go, as I continue on.
 
Hey there’s a candle booth here. A strange place for a booth, but perhaps a bright idea for these entrepreneurs. A human man, maybe a little older than me if these young women are his daughters, waves me over and offers me a free candle to promote their new shop. He introduces himself as Jaymen Zorn.
 
I thank him for his kindness and tell them I’ll ‘candle’ it with care. I get a deep throaty chuckle out of his largest female companion. And she smiles and says she appreciates a good laugh. I smile as tell that I do too.
 
One of the other girls starts complaining about it being ‘too bright dad’ and okay, confirmed it, must be father, reminds her to put on her sun goggles. They look to be of gnomish design, very similar to sunglasses some other folk in bigger cities sport. He then tells me that they are fresh to surface, and I tell them it’s great to have them here.
 
I then turn to the one who was complaining and ask her how to make an elephant invisible? She looks confused so I lay it on her. Put a pair of sunglasses on them. They all look confused – perfect, lining it up nicely. Then I hit them with – Have you ever seen an elephant wearing sunglasses? Delivered with a smile and a wink causes another chorus of laughter. Man, if feels good to spread joy. I thank them again and continue over to this beautifully crafter gazebo.
 
A little while later I see Kvasir and welcome him. The high councillor tells us of the day’s activities – there’s a race that should be some fun…oh and the winner gets to be her champion and get to be on council. Neat. And a big dinner and fireworks after. Sounds like a lot of sun and games. My kind of day. Oh there are even going to be some performances. I find Baron Drael and tell him I’d be happy to do a routine some point today. He later tells me I can warm up the dinner crowd. Everything’s going to be brie alright!
 
A little while later we are lined up along the edge of the park, there are quite a few of us, oh hey even Baron Drael is trying out. And two of those wonderful candle makers girls. Maybe they’re each just looking for a match. Smiles to himself
 
Gith tells us that there are series of obstacles as we make our way to the Tuskwater and that the first one is to dodge water balloons! What a far-out celebration this town holds. And before we are all off. Whoa that one girl can run. Oof, I think Kvas just hit me, never mind, gotta keep running.
 
I hit the next obstacle and it’s a rope to climb a tree and my heritage pays off as I scamper up the rope with ease. Onto the next challenge. It’s log rolling. I slept like a log once but had dreams of ending up in a fire. Ugh, oh man this is heavy. Hey that chuckly half-orc candle girl is damn strong, she’s the only one not slowed down by this. She’s already at the beach. Phew, might just need a moment. I take a seat and ask the log why it’s just laying around?
 
That’s when the cries from the beach reach my ears and I can see from here and a writhing purple mouthed monster, taller than some trees has grabbed the strong girl’s sister! It’s time to help and I leave this dead log behind.
 
As I rush towards the beach, Baron Drael is already there and flings a signature fireball at it. He’s getting fired up now! Eww it then like spits thick white saliva at him.
 
Whoa the king is rushing up, and Baron Finn too. And whoa! That strong girl just jumped the cliff.
 
I make it in range and try to yell it a stinker to throw it off. “What did the ocean say to the shore!?…Nothing, it just waved!” …my voice resonates in ear holes or something, but damn that joke was too funny to nauseate it. Gotta be less funny.
 
Oh yea, my new friend Kvasir and Orso are pitching in too, and they hit it with an arrow. The monster seems to realize it’s over its head and starts to move away, but wait, the strong, throaty laugh girl is jumping in the air after it and ‘oooh’ that is some dead flacid purple monster. Her hammer with right through its one eye.
 
The girl who it grabbed is unconscious, so I rush up and ask her – How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it!” and as my hand rests upon her arm she regains consciousness. Then Baron Finn is giving her potions. And my buddy Kvasir heals her too – twigs and vines seeming to stitch her back together.
 
Everyone is okay, thank goodness. The strong girl, her name is Aila, is named the winner and the high councillor’s champion. Good for her. Walking back with Kvasir, Drael comes up and tells me that I get to open for dinner.
 
That’s great, but when I get there seems to be some other performer who has monopolized the stage with a bunch of prop boxes. Man, I hope I am good enough, I didn’t bring any props.
 
I drink some water and do some vocal warm ups and once people start mingling around looking for places to sit I wander the crowd, delivering fresh humour to prep their appetites. The crowd loves it and I end with, ‘And if you don’t like tacos, then I’m not your type!” – So much laughter. It fills my bucket, ya know?
 
As I start to wander off, the other performer, Cal is his name, says that he’s glad I warmed up their laughter. I get some serious bad vibes from this guy. He may even be harshing my performance, so I just turn the other cheek and tell him, ‘Nature loves balance, I filled them with laughter…it’s your turn to fill them with sadness.’ And then I go join Kvasir and Orso for some good food.
 
Then Gith addresses the crowd again and says for us all to enjoy the food. There is a lot of it! And I never knew stag could be prepared in so many ways. It is far out, but the baked chestnuts are what really stole the show this meal.
 
While we are eating, Cal starts performing. Oh, it’s satire, ugh, so not my jam. Tried it once, but I felt icky afterwards, ya know? Wow this guy is kind of cruel. And very niched, maybe it would make more sense if I was from around here.
 
Oh, hey there’s the king wandering up, hey does that guy have a blue wig. He wouldn’t dare. Oh, good the king is interrupting him and man that was a terrible fake trip, your highness. Whoa the guy just went through a magic door and disappeared…and now is across the field near the welcome tent – nice place. He then jumps on a ghost horse and starts riding away saying “so long suckers, see you next year!” …Who was that guy?
 
The king then gives a nice speech and calls that guy garbage, I mean if the king says it, who am I to argue? And then thanks everyone for coming and raises a glass and cheerses with Gith. That’s nice. Man, that guy sucks, ruined all my hard work.
 
After dinner we are invited over to a clearing for dessert, but there is a large flowery arch, breathtaking really the craftsmanship. And we are served Blueberry toast, very sweet and delicious. Oh, we are all going to be a part of someone’s wedding. Looks like they will eat, drink and be married. Chuckles to himself
 
Well to say the least, Baron Finn is quite eloquent and the wedding of Keston and Lily is very moving and makes me miss Asami even more. I hope the kids have been good for her. Oh, they will be the first noble family. Right on. Oh, they even blended their names – Garess-Weaver. That’s sweet. And they kiss – at length. And now fireworks…again.
 
Kvasir, Orso and I sit together on the hillside, overlooking the Tuskwater. The fireworks are incredible. Large, colorful, dragons – this show has everything. That Baron Drael has some talent when it comes to pyrotechnics.
 
As I sit and marvel at the awesomeness of what I am witnessing I realize that this would be so much better with the family. I have helped avenge my old friend and hopefully helped them figure some stuff out for Lyrontell, but I must be getting home. I guess I will bid my goodbyes in the morning and be off.

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Book 2-3 Interludes - Not Hunting for Laughs – Tomio’s Hunt for Hargulka (Tomio's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – Not Hunting for Laughs – Tomio’s Hunt for Hargulka (Tomio’s point of view)
 
I meet the Royal Enforcer by the castle gates on the night of Arodus the 19th. My time in Silver Falls has been filled with hot weather, and the air has a thick dust in it from dirt roads and little rain, but this doesn’t seem to have bothered anyone.
 
Lyrontell has left to head back to the Whisperwoods and I decided to stay behind to see if I could gather any other information for him from talking to people around town. Akiros, who I am to meet, has been organizing a group of Barons and whoever else was interested and qualified to avenge sweet Ellira.
 
After a few minutes he is there, joined by Baron Glanrim and Baron Drael but not one else. He tells us that we are leaving at first light and are meeting up with a dwarf named Kas along the way. Sounds good.
 
The next morning, the clear blue sky is engulfed by the dawn. We head out of town and after an hour or two we see a red-haired dwarf riding a white bear with blue tribal paint. Guess the dwarf couldn’t bear to walk. self-chuckle.
 
He greets us in a rough voice and asks if we are doing this. I guess he knows who everyone else is. Akiros nods and I say thistle be a great day. Glanrim then leans over to Drael and has a look of confusion, wondering if he was drunk during the planning of this hunt. He asks who’s this, loud enough for the other dwarf to hear.
 
Kas, oh wait, he calls himself Kvasir – the K is silent, says he’s not here because Akiros or anyone asked, Ellira was a friend and he’s going troll hunting either way. Deep.
 
Glanrim welcomes him and asks how he knew Ellira. He says they travelled together years ago in a different land. They shared stories and battles and when she passed, he felt it. Wow, what a connection. He then introduces his bear as Orso, a gift from Gozreh when he asked for guidance.
 
Baron Drael then breaks this awkward moment by saying any friend of Ellira is a friend of his. Kvasir nods, and then says let’s get to killing. These guys are ‘in-tense’ like sleeping bags.
 
Akiros then waves everyone to keep moving. Riding alongside of Kvasir. Glanrim goes up in between them and looks at Akiros and asks how it feels to be connected. Kvasir answers though. He says that bonds between friends and the land are special and that there is a spiritual part to it…Glanrim looks confused, so I ride up beside Kvasir and tell him that I think Glanrim was talking to Akiros. He nods and continues to ride.
 
Akiros then says his connection seems tenuous at best, but it’s not him this time and he has peace with that.
 
We make camp the first night after crossing the Gudrin River fjord. Kvasir says he will hunt for food for everyone, and I offer to help. He takes down so wild birds and I find some nice herbs to flavour the meat nicely.
 
The next couple of nights of camp, we sit and get to know each other. Akiros says it’s important that we know each other as a team. We each do things that help keep spirits high and our mission clear. Kvasir regularly hunts for us, providing lots of food from the land. I keep everyone well entertained with regular comedy – such as, what is the fiercest flower? Chuckles. The dandelion. So good. Glanrim offers to use his whetstone and some oils to make sure are weapons are in fine form. I allow him to work on my whip. And Drael tells us tactics he has noticed while fighting trolls. And says beware that Hargulka can hurl balls of fire so try not to group up. Use choke points to draw them out.
 
Akiros asks us each what was the toughest thing we’ve ever defeated. Both Drael and Glanrim look at each other and mention the last troll they defeated – a two-headed, part giant, massive troll named Nagrundi. It was the one who killed Ellira. I, having not really kept track of that sort of thing over the years mention some wild beasts or evil plant monsters. Only things that couldn’t be dealt with in a more harmonious way with nature. Yea know, some vile plants that I ‘sapped’ the life from.
 
Then Akiros tells us the toughest thing he ever fought was himself – but not literally. He has some demons from his past. He apparently killed a lady’s husband who didn’t treat her well and was forced to leave his town. Then he joined up with the Stag Lord – a bandit that the Barons defeated over a year ago.
 
He says that when they came around, he saw a chance at something better but even after that change in path he was still not good enough. Then he tears up, and says that’s why Ellira was so important. She liked him for him – that is important in a friend or, maybe they were more.
 
He then stands up and says that that she is gone is a tragedy, but he is really here for him. And then walks away from the camp. Kvas gives Orso a look and the bear goes and sits with Akiros.
 
Glanrim then asks me, the ‘funny man’ if I have anything to say. Whoa, on the spot after such and big emotional roller coaster. I ask them about the guy who lost after getting kicked in the mouth…he knew the taste of de-feet. They don’t chuckle, but smirk and given the circumstance, I think that’s the best I could have hoped for.
 
The next day we continue through rolling hills and cross the Little Sellen River. Late in the day he pauses and has a pensive look to him. He says that we will meet his dinner around dinner time. Another hour goes buy and we see a cloaked figure emerge from the bushes. I wanted to make a camouflage joke in the moment, but I couldn’t seem to find any.
 
She says that the trolls are holed up in a cave about two hours from here. They don’t leave much but she saw them camp several different spots before landing here. It seems to be their new home, for now.
 
Akiros asks if we want to go now and attack tonight. I don’t think that’s a great idea, but before I can say anything, Glanrim suggests that we wait and be cautious. We nod, and Kvasir says something about vengeance but agrees. We make camp.
 
Essen seems like a nice human woman with blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. She and Akiros talk mostly.
 
The next morning she takes us to the edge of the troll cave, from an angle that they wouldn’t be able to see us coming. As we approach, Drael offers to give us some magical resistance to fire due to Hargulka’s flaming abilities. We all graciously accept – except Glanrim. He says he’ll be fine. Strange. That will be ember-assing for him if he gets scorched.
 
Then Essen heads off and Akiros and Glanrim take point. Glanrim is hold some potion and Akiros pauses and says he can’t see in the cave. Drael casts light on his shield and I bring up some more dancing green orbs to follow us as well.
 
Glanrim then says to Akiros that he is excited to fight alongside him again…whatever that means. Drael then reminds us that we should try and use the narrow parts to our advantage.
 
We head in and my bright idea helps keep us in the back – Kvasir, Drael and I, illuminated. After a short tunnel we come to a large cavern and are greeted by a large crystalline looking troll. Gems are encrusted into its skin, which is a dull brown rather than the traditional green of most trolls. Guess it’s a hard rock life for this guy. Oh, combat started!
 
Kvasir fires some arrows that sink in, but only one does it notice at all. He yells at us that it is a rock troll and that they are immune to fire. Glanrim then yells something in dwarven, quaffs the potion, and whoa! He’s now the size of the troll and swinging his axe.
 
Well, I tell the troll about the most self-centered opera singer I had ever met. Every time we talked, he was always, ‘mi, mi, mi, mi!’ and with that final ‘mi’ chunks of crystalline rock crack off near its ears. I then duck further into the cavern.
 
Akiros swings wildly, but the troll bats his sword away, and the troll retaliates, shield defelcts, but then some teeth find the chink in the armour. Drael flings a glob of acid at its chest, melting away some rocky hide.
 
Kvasir fires again but that rocky hide is thick, and the arrows bounce off. It seems distracted though, so Glanrim swings his big axe right into its chest and chunks of rocky flesh fall to the floor.
 
I then tell them all to the aim for below the knees, it’s the only way to de-feet them and let my sonic voice crack more rocky bits off.
 
The troll seems highly perturbed now and goes wild at big Glanrim, no teeth connect, but some claws cause blood to spray. Drael tries to fling more acid, but the wild movements of the troll cause it sizzle on the wall.
 
Then Glanrim says something about a diplomat – must be another troll coming from somewhere I can’t see. Whoa, Akiros then takes the rock troll by the kneecaps – hey he listened to my joke, and the rock troll slumps. But combat isn’t over as Kvasir is shooting at some unseen foe.
 
I then rush to the center of the room and seeing the blood on our front-line team, it’s time for some comedic reinforcements. What do you call a knight who’s afraid to get in a fight? Sir Render. It worked; they all seem bolstered with a determined chuckle.
 
Drael flings acid down the hallway at a green ugly troll – how can he be a diplomat? And it screeches in pain and starts to retreat. We give chase. To keep moral high, I tell another killer – ‘how did the octopus beat the shark in a fight? Because he was well armed’ *giggles*…So good.
 
As we run up some natural stony steps, Akrios calls back over his shoulder that he can see him up ahead. We have him cornered, hopefully…but then the tunnel we are all bunched up in- just like Drael warned us not to do, erupts into a ball of flame.
 
The cavern we are headed to and the tunnel we are in are instantly lit up and in that moment it’s easy to see the stalactites overhead and the walls are formed from shale. I hug the wall and only get singed a little. Must remember to thank Drael for the fire protection, but whoa, Glanrim just straight up takes the explosion and it like gets sucked into his chest.
 
We all seem to be fine, only a little chard and Akiros goes running toward the source of that fire, which, didn’t come from a wizard, Hargulka seems to be holding a necklace that lets him do that. And he meets with the ‘diplomat’ and gets parried once but then spills some troll blood. Kvasir then fires some arrows into him.
 
Large Glanrim rushes up and meets the diplomat with an axe blow to the chest and the force drives the troll to its knees and then with a second swing the diplomat’s head goes flying off. Drael rushes up and flings acid at the now corpse to ensure this troll will help nurture the soil.
 
Time to extract some revenge back to Hargulka. I ask him, ‘What did the grape say when it was crushed? (My voice echoing and raising as I cast) Nothing! But he did let out a little wine!’ The spell seeps into his brain, but his thick skull shakes it off. Dang.
 
Whoa, that Hargulka is bad news, another little mote of fire comes soaring towards us, and, boom, fire erupts again. Seemed smaller but got hot under the collar. This time he yells at us too. He says, “Remember this place. Remember it because you are no different than me. This time your army was bigger. Someday, there will be an army larger than yours, and after your army is crushed, you can come hiding here. Until the assassins find you too. Remember this place."
 
Akiros then yells that he took away something more valuable than he would ever know. I don’t see if he connects, but his conviction is there. And then an arrow hits Hargulka in the stomach and in the forearm, going clear through, causing him to drop the massive morningstar he was wielding. Reminds me that time I grabbed a slippery soap…It got out of hand pretty quickly. *chuckles*… Then I hear, “that’s for Ellira!” as Kvasir moves forward more.
 
Next, big Glanrim goes charging yelling, “Death comes for ye!”
 
Seeing as this troll has a thick head, time for some high pitched jokes – What did the tree says to his buddy? I’m rootin’ for ya, and I’ve got your bark…but if it goes wrong we can juST LEAF!! ..The ringing in his ears seems to only annoy him slightly. Must not be paying attention to these stellar jokes.
 
Drael then comes in again and flings more acid, this time at Hargulka’s face. Then Hargulka goes to grab his morningstar and Glanrim takes the opportunity to chop at his good arm, but then he retaliates with a denting plate whack to his chest. Ooph.
 
Akiros then reaches his quarry and, ducking Hargulka’s long arm, his sword alights with the holy fire of Erastil and thick troll blood splashes upon the ground from a mighty chest wound. He then touches his own chest and perhaps a divine spark heals him slightly.
 
Two arrows then fly into Hargulka’s shoulder, one bouncing off his pauldron. Kvasir is a pretty good shot, a man with great drawbacks. Glanrim then takes a couple swings but only one connects. I then try to fill his head with a cacophony of sound, starting with – What type of tree fits into the palm of your hand? A PALM TREE! …ugh this troll must have nothing upstairs because none of these jokes are landing. That was gold too.
 
But then Drael continues to advance and throws a vial of some sorts, I think Finn gave it to him. It smashes on his armour and whoa, an electrical spark dances up his body to his back. Drael shouts, “The arcane powers you have stolen are no longer yours to control!” That was a good line, I give him an approving thumbs up.
 
But then Hargulka swings madly connects with Glanrim right in the chin and with that blow a dissonant thunder boom fills the cavern and Glanrim’s ears start to bleed as he falls to his knees. Hargulka also slashes out and tries to bite Akiros but his shinning shield is there to block the blows.
 
Akiros then screams goes to slash Hargulka, fueled by divine rage, he spills some blood with his first swing, but his second, Hargulka sees it coming and is able to bash it down with such force that it puts him off balance and his blade connects with the now kneeling Glanrim, who neck sprays blood and collapses.
 
Kvasir then, eagle eyed, hits Hargulka in the cheek and the second arrow goes right into his eye socket. He collapses and I rush up and asking, “Why did the tree need to take a nap? For rest!” and try to stitch Glanrim’s wounds back together…but his chest does not rise. He has become fertilizer.
 
Drael, shouting in anger, throws himself onto Hargulka and fire erupts from his fingertips, melting the flesh from his skull. Akiros drops his sword and falls to his yells in ire at Erastil and has a look of betrayal upon his face as he stands and leaves the cave.
 
Kvasir tells Orso to follow Akiros and as he gets closer, he comes and chops what’s left of Hargulka’s head off. I tell him there is no breath. Drael, full of grief, shoults, “not like this! NOT LIKE THIS!”
 
Kvasir puts his hand on his shoulder and says that this troll has once again take one of ours. Drael, filled with grief, is with Glanrim’s body so Kvasir and I do what must be done and look what stuff is salvageable from this place. I find a hidden rusty key on Hargulka’s body which goes to a not so hidden chest. Inside it has a small trove of wealth, and later asking Drael whether Glanrim should fertilize this land, he says it’s not his time. So, we hope this will be enough, but I give some of my savings as well.
 
I then chase after Akiros while Kvasir loads up Glanrim’s body. I try and tell him we’ll set this right. We decide to head straight to Restov even. I am sure I can help them sell some of this troll stuff for a pretty penny. Cause two coppers who hadn’t seen each other in a long time contacted each other and said, ‘let’s get together and make some cents.’ You must find the balance and smile in the grief. Rest well Ellira, we’ll make this all right.

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Season 2: Episode 53 – Grief, Joy, and Frustration (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 2: Episode 53 – Grief, Joy, and Frustration (Kerubiel’s point of view)
 
With that incredible transformation, the elven man approaches us. His hair is a dark navy blue, very similar to Ellira’s and his eyes are also reminiscent of hers. He also has a rune of some sort – probably druidic, painted upon his forehead.
 
He asks us where Ellira is with a calm but commanding voice. I ask him who he is, although the clues are all pointing in one direction. Crap. He says one who has travelled far and cares deeply for her. Double crap.
 
I invite him inside the castle walls and tell him we have grave news. I turn to the others who also look solemn. Finn has a quizzical look upon his face as he regards this man. I then let him know of the sacrifice she gave to save our kingdom.
 
He then cries out, “My Daughter!” and in an instant a lion larger than a horse appears, roars and runs off into the hills towards the woods. Moments later we hear an even more powerful roar. I can only imagine the pain he is suffering compared the sense of loss we all feel. The two vulpine then go running off as well, but Tamus pauses at the portcullis to look back at us. I wave him away, and he goes scampering off.
 
Cora comes up to me at this point, seeming to look for reassurance that what I said was untrue. I point to Jhod and she cries and I let tears fall as well as we walk more into the castle. Jensothi approaches and I tell him to call the council. Crestfallen, he nods and rushes off to get the others.
 
As we are walking in, Drael asks if we have a plan for her body. Finn says he has something in mind and Glanrim asks a question we’ve all been constantly thinking – are we sure she doesn’t want to be brought back? Finn nods.
 
As we sit down at the council table, Akiros is quick to notice and asks where Ellira is. I let the whole council know of our tragic loss. Tears and ‘what a shame’ flow from many but Akiros after a moment of silence stands and gives a passionate speech about how us Barons helped to put him on a better path again, but it really wasn’t until Ellira talked to him and showed she cared that he started to see a change in himself. That he felt like he might one damn have a chance at healing his soul. He then pulls his sword from his sheath and says that this kingdom’s first royal assassination has a target, and it is the troll filth, Hargulka!
 
And then he slams the blade into the table in front of him and a flash of divine light and the smell of a stag fills our nostrils, and we are certain that this hunt has been blessed by Old Deadeye himself. It is then that there is a knock at the door to the council room, and the lion elf man is back.
 
He apologizes for his outburst and introduces himself as Lyrontell Thorella, Ellira’s father. We talk about how Ellira was a vital part of this kingdom and ask if there is anything we can do.
He then goes on to say that farmers don’t understand, and that fertilizer is sacred. Living things come from the things that lived before. That places matter because they nourish the people. Things and people don’t matter. That these Stolen Lands have been enriched by his sweet daughter and changed forever. He then turns to ask each of us how Ellira has changed us.
 
When he looks at me, I pause and look down at my best friend who is always by my side and then answer. Ellira has been a trusted and true friend. A stalwart ally and most of all, she helped bring back my best friend and so every day I think of her now and will continue to hold her dear in my heart and push for the things she found important.
 
The others have other meaningful responses from friend, to ally to teacher. Finn mentions his new path that he’s on. And Glanrim tries to sound deep comparing dwarves and elves to the grey and the green, but I get what he means.
 
Once we have all had a chance to respond, Lyrontell states that we didn’t want this end, but it is what happened. Then he goes to her body, which Jhod has been steward of. Cups her face and then starts to take his leave. Just before exiting he turns and tells us that normally his family is entombed in the roots of their whisperoak but that it is a long way to take her. We then ask if her tree would be appropriate. He inquires to which tree, and Finn takes out his bulb that for all accounts was the same kind as the one she planted.
 
He looks at it and says that it does not belong to a tree. What?! We continue to her tree, and he says that it looks like a tree, but it is an anchor to another plane. Glanrim says then that Ellira was quite invested in the tree. Then without touching it, he looks quite closely at it. And doesn’t say anything for what feels like ages as we stand around this tree. Then he turns to us and says that it is connected to the First World, the plane of the fey.
 
Finn then asks the good question of, it was first? Lyrontell responds by saying that the fey world was like the gods first draft, and our world, Golarion, was the 2nd draft, where they fixed things that they didn’t like the first time. The first world is where the fey are from and it is a place of infinite raging wilderness.
 
Drael then asks about what would be the consequence of using the new bulb with the current ‘tree’? He says that it would cause the anchor to grow stronger to the First World. Which could be a good or bad thing depending on how much we would want to be linked to the First World.
 
As we take this new information in, I tell Lyrontell that he is welcome to stay in the castle, in his daughter’s tower – let him hopefully feel a connection to her. He thanks us and asks what the plan is now. Finn tells him that he would like to have a park and a memorial holiday and underground crypt. I also say that we will have a service soon to honour the fallen. He nods and asks if he could speak at that occasion. We of course agree.
 
We enter back to the council room and as we are all debriefing and chatting in different pairings, a guard comes and talks to Keston and apparently has some news that is not urgent, but it’s not great news. We are all exhausted, so we decide to have him come back in the morning with his news.
 
Tears flow that night as I share the whole war campaign with Cora. She is there and holds me close, especially when I talk about Ellira. That poor sweet elven girl. Eventually we rest for the night.
 
The next morning, while eating, Keston comes in and for the first time, looks rather abashed as he speaks, which turns out he should be. He lets us know that Grigori has escaped. He did so while we were all away the rat bastard. He says that he has the head jailor here to tell us what happened. A man named Baerth.
 
Baerth is an older man with greying patches and is a little bumbling when he speaks. He says this is all a misunderstanding. They started playing cards with Grigori over the course of his first week in prison and each day they just got more and more lax with his bindings till he eventually just left. I somehow remain calm, as Drael gets redder like the fire he wields.
 
Frustrated I tell him to go play cards at the Blue Lantern, and before we can discuss it, Drael tells him he should probably look for employment there as well. None of us have any argument to keep this twit employed here so we let Drael’s words stand.
 
We then discuss the ramifications of Grigori getting out. Glanrim is still pissed we didn’t kill him before. We then discuss lawful protest vs treason. And I think we do come up with the conculusion that once found, Grigori’s life will be forfeit. Treason, escaping jail, avoiding trial. Many things stacked against him.
 
Keston finally then pipes in again and says despite the horrible timing, he would like to introduce us to Lily and Taldeth. This is at least good news, so we welcome it.
 
Lily is a beautiful brunette woman who is wearing simple clothes but wears a necklace that doesn’t match. Keston then asks if perhaps he and Lily, once married could become one of the first noble families of Argentum as the Garress-Weavers. Sounds good so far. And that they want to marry right away but want to know which faith they should pledge their love to each other in. I suggest that they meet with Finn since he is educating himself so much on, well everything, including beliefs of different faiths. All three think this is a good idea.
 
We then meet Taldeth, the gift kept by kings. Being able to create weapons that can bear enchanting. A rare treat and he just asks for a “modest” place to set up shop. I guess we may need to wait a bit. We have other priorities, towns, land, and a temple to build first. Oh well, I shake his hand and assure him we will do what we can and glad to have them all in our kingdom.
 
Two days from when we arrive home, we have the funeral for the fallen. Lyrontell speaks of fertilizer and planting and the cycle of life and things, and the people all seem genuinely moved. There is a moment as I have Sorath by side that I wonder if I made the right call, but then as my hand goes through her fur, I know I couldn’t have made any other choice.
 
Once over, he stays for a few more days and spends lots of time with Finn before he once again thanks us for our hospitality and leaves.

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Season 2: Episode 52 – Hunting a Coward (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 2: Episode 52 – Hunting a Coward (Kerubiel’s point of view)
 
My rest amongst Sorath and Tamus is cut short by Glanrim telling us all to get up as large figures were seen sneaking from the fort. I guess it’s true that evil does not rest. Gearing up quickly my mind floats back to what Finn had said earlier that night.
 
He told us that he had talked to Ellira during the campaign about life and death. That she was of course afraid of dying but if that ever did occur, she did not want to be brought back. She understood that life is a cycle and death is an inevitable end. She would also not feel right being brought back when others also lost their lives due to this war. She did not feel better than them.
 
Once in the main room, I see that Netti – one of Glarnim’s officers, a blonde human woman, is speaking to him. Once we are all assembled she relays that she say somewhere between 2 and 5 figures sneaking into the woods. We rush to where they were spotted and Glanrim is able to point out 3 distinct sets of large humanoid tracks. Two sets are very similar compared to the third.
 
I get Sorath to take in the scent and learn it, because we will hunt these bastards if need be. The question is, is this Hargulka, or just decoy cowards running for their lives? Drael insists that we have to clear the fort first. We must know that that place is empty first. Netti, who is still around, nods and agrees with him.
 
I then ask if she is coming with us, and she nods and says if the general orders it. Glanrim takes a breath and says he won’t order anyone into the fort, they would have to be doing it of their own volition. She still says that she wants to come with us. Apparently, Glanrim is training some trustworthy soldiers.
 
Although it pains us, we decide to finish our rest because if we fight Hargulka, we want to be at full strength.
 
The next morning, the weather of the day seems out of place as a beautiful blue sky and the sun shines down upon the troll village. It does not reflect our mood. We discuss and agree that we should ensure the fort is clear first. Finn says that he would like to stay and perform some druidic ceremonies for Ellira. We respect his decision, and I leave Tamus with him.
 
As we head up the path to the fort, Netti runs up to join us and asks again if she can help. Glanrim nods. As we near the door, Drael starts suggesting different strategies we might use to finish exploring the place. Tells us he could create a sphere of invisibility centered on a point and if that target doesn’t attack then the spell will hold for up to 10 minutes. If anyone else attacks or leaves the sphere they will become visible too. This is great and we decide that when we get close, Sorath is a great candidate for being the center of the sphere.
 
I then get Sorath to track the origin of the tracks and we start to follow her lead after Drael puts light on my lance again. She leads us straight to the storeroom with the cavern entrance. We continue on and things look exactly how we left them last night. Nagrundi’s corpse still lays in a massive heap. The skull glittering off the light of the lance.
 
This time we head past where the two lesser trolls were and as we are about to head through this cavern, I ask if we should sphere up now? We agree and Drael works his invisibility magic.
 
The tracks split, one from the north and two from the west. We decide to head north first. What we find is truly why trolls are horrible creatures. The air in the room is cooler but it does not hide the scent of rotting and decaying animal and humanoid carcasses. The humanoid bodies are all decapitated.
 
It is at this point that Netti vomits. Guess she’s a little green to the vileness that some monsters possess. Other than that, the room appears empty, but Drael does a cursory scan with his magic and finds another one of the strange plant bulbs that we had found in a cave near the Old Beldame’s swamp. A troll lived in it too.
 
Remembering Ellira’s fascination with it, we decide to use magic to put it in my bag and then have Finn look at it later. Backing out of the room we go the other way and we a large room and within the center of it is a crude throne that looked like it was in the process of being carved, but the place is otherwise empty.
 
Damned Hargulka must have escaped. Coward.
 
Glanrim takes a closer look at the throne and tells us that there is a Kilgrog family crest on it something about the Crown of Ril-Korag and some other dwarven history stuff. Next to the throne is a small pedestal with a space for a circular object. One side of the room also looks like it was a cache of ore that had been completely drained and a fine yellow dust covers the floor. Glanrim says that it was a stelomene vein and then puts a piece of something he was wearing around his neck onto the pedestal, and it is a perfect fit.
 
Netti then asks him what it means, and all Glanrim says is that he’s close. Hmm. Then, realizing that we have nowhere else to explore, Drael, fist balled, curses that he escaped.
 
All of us are frustrated and I suggest that we tell Finn about the dust in here so he can take samples. We get the army to gather the supplies from the storeroom and then tell them to start packing up to head home.
 
We mention what we found in the gross room to Finn, and he says he wants to see it for himself. He takes it out of my haversack, and he has a vision, (he tells us later), but then afterwards he starts acting towards it, very much the same as Ellira did when we found the other one. She never ended up trying to stab us, so we let it go.
 
He tells us later that his vision was a large maze of plant animals and then a tree at the center of it. Sounds very similar to what Ellira saw.
 
Finn then gathers some samples of the Stelomene dust, and he thinks he will be able to make 4 more ‘anti tattoo’ bombs based on what he studied from the one he found earlier. Great. Means Drael will be able to light this dick up.
 
Glanrim tells the army to start marching back to Silver Falls and that we will catch up to them. We then have Sorath find the scent track again, and we ride hard to the south. We spend the whole day trying to catch them but unfortunately can’t by the end of the day, and although it pains me, I tell them that we must let this go- for now.
 
Drael can’t believe I am suggesting this. He and Glanrim agrees that we must hunt Hargulka. As much as it pains me to disagree with them in this moment, I explain that we have a kingdom that needs us more. And that Ellira would not want us to abandon our duties to our people out of vengeance. I assure them that I want him dead as much as they do, and they can see the sincerity in my voice because they agree to turn back. Netti also agrees and says the kingdom does need us. I didn’t need the help, but the support was nice. They concede to my logic.
 
On the first night back, we spend it in the fort, and oh yea, someone said they had found the tattooing tool and Finn thinks he could perform the ritual to tattoo someone. So, we fire up the forge and when Glanrim asks if he can be first, I allow it. He giddily nods his appreciation…he’s the one that stays up where Drael wants to huck fireballs anyways.
 
The ritual and tattooing are quite lengthy and Glanrim and Finn have an awkward moment where Finn is shaving Glanrim’s chest. Whatever. But when it’s done it does look good. And before we can come up with a reasonable way to test if it worked, Drael summons a barrage of flame from his fingertips, pointed right at Glanrim…and when the flame touches him it all gets kind of sucked into the tattoo and Glanrim has a tear in his eye. He then hugs Finn in a deep embrace and Finn looks uncomfortable. We then rest for the night.
 
We catch up to the army and then travel with them back to Silver Falls. Just over three weeks has gone by since the start of this war and it is incredible how much has changed. When we cross through the gates there are looks of relief and cheers of happiness as loved ones spot each other. There are also looks of grief and sadness as the realization that we bring home ones to bury as well.
 
Once inside the walls, Netti comes up and asks Glanrim’s permission to release the troops, he gives the nod, tells them to break ranks, and the army goes to meet with their loved ones as we ride up towards the castle. We spot two rather large vulpines at the castle gates. Sorath and Tamus’ ears both perk up but then Tamus goes bounding to meet them. I see Cora standing at the gates next to Rin and Dilph and the smile that crosses both our faces is the best thing that has happened this month.
 
And as we get closer to the now three vulpines, one of them changes into an elven male.
 
 
 

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Season 2: Episode 51 – A Tragic Success (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 2: Episode 51 – A Tragic Success (Kerubiel’s point of view)
 
Coming back around the corner I see Ellira retreating from the two-headed troll, no doubt trying to get a better tactical spot. Things aren’t great for Glanrim who is fighting from the ground and discretely quaffs a potion.
 
Drael then does some magic and there are suddenly six copies of him, and he yells that he will try and hold her off. What bravery from this sorcerer? He must have been inspired but my previous exploits.
 
I still haven’t seen her again since dealing with the lesser trolls but the sound of claws and teeth sinking in the metal and flesh are still ringing throughout the cavern. Rounding the bend, I see a healing bomb land next to Glanrim, must not wanted to risk healing the bitch.
 
I then call to Nagrundi and point out rapidly our repeated success over the trolls, starting with how their pathetic attempts didn’t even work on the Sootscales… She seems to be ignoring me.
 
Glanrim then, from a prone position tries to hack into her legs while Drael flings acid at her chest. She then goes to claw out at Drael, to rend his chest open but we make eye contact, and that moment of doubt causes her to grab one of his illusions instead.
 
I then hear some snorting from where Ellira was last and I charge into Nagrundi, lance piercing her side with a mighty strike. Glanrim then tries to swing again but she easily steps away from his axe.
 
Then, from out of nowhere a wolly rhino charges up to Nagrundi but unfortunately the trolls ready for it and deflects the blow in such a way that rhino Ellira appears injured afterwards. Knowing animals, having trained them most of my life, she appears to have overextended one of her back legs. Unfortunately, Nagrundi seizes this opportunity to take a bite out of her woolly back.
 
Then with a massive, clawed arm she cleaves into four of us. Glanrim falls to death’s door, but the stubborn dwarf won’t lose consciousness. Another of Drael’s mirror images fades, I feel some ribs crack as she hits my side. But as the claw raked across the rhino’s hide it slumped to the ground and a female elven form took its place. Her chest didn’t rise, and a glazed expression filled her eyes. NO!
 
I feel a wave of healing wash over me from Finn and then Glanrim and I make eye contact. We must retreat. He mouths ‘take them’ and I nod. Damn!
 
I start to ride back to the entrance of the tunnel tell Drael we need to flee. I try and get Sorath to grab Finn’s cloak, but it tears, and she can’t grab him. Shit. I then turn her back around and we stand in front of Finn and Drael to give them a chance to fall back. I urge Drael that we must fall back and regroup when all of a sudden, he produces the blue gem we found in Arven’s fishing spot, and smashes it on the ground. A tidal wave of water erupts from that spot and a writing ten-foot-tall wave awaits his command. And with one word, it ‘attacks.’ Forming large water fists, it pummels Nagrundi twice and she shrieks in pain. Good.
 
With the large distraction in place, Nargrundi focuses her attacks on the elemental, and we see another shot at a jaded victory. I yell to Finn to heal me, and he obliges by shoving a potion down my throat. I then go to charge her, but the ground has become slippery with water and my strike glances off her thick hide.
 
Glanrim then, dumb hero that we wants to be, tries to swing up at her but she parry’s his blows with ease. Then the elemental slams into her again as Drael flings a glob of acid at her and one of her heads writhes in pain. Finn throws a healing bomb on us, and I shout to her how pathetic a creature she is and that she will die by the Court of Argentum!
 
Glanrim finally connects with her foot and some toes come off. Then a volley of magic missiles pepper Nagrundi’s chest and the massive two-headed troll falls to the ground. Then in a fury, Drael leaps upon Nagrundi’s corpse and goes about making her flesh disappear on both her skulls.
I quickly dismount and drop beside Ellira. Finn is already there, shaking his head. His breath is one holding back tears. I reach for Tamus who is whimpering beside her. I put him on Sorath’s back and tell him we will fix her.
 
Glanrim finally pulls Drael off her while I check quickly where Nagrundi came from is empty and we aren’t about to be ambushed again. I get Finn to come with me. We find a large forge room that is currently dark. Finn, think that Glanrim would be interested in this goes to get him and I follow and take over the job of leading Drael out of the fort.
 
Finn and Glanrim find some stone tablets and a flask with some amber flecks in it. Drael was holding a ring and an amulet that Nagrundi was wearing and says they will help protect us. The amulet has a more powerful enchantment than the one I currently wear so he gives it to me, and I give Glanrim my old one. There is also a ring of protection, and since I have one already, Glanrim puts this one on. (We find this out later after relaying the events to the militia).
 
Speaking of, we head outside, and I give a speech to try and keep morale up. I let everyone know that we have all but vanquished the troll vermin. We have slain their general, but unfortunately, Baron Ellira valiantly sacrificed her life so that the rest of us might live.
 
There are murmurs of sadness but not surprise. Looking around I see others that are dealing with the loss of friends and family from that brutal battle. Jhod comes up to us, shaking his head, and says that he is sorry for our loss and will tend to the body. Finn would like to help. He also shares that he thinks he could do the tattoos from reading the tablets. If he has all the right ingredients and tools. A small silver lining in the face of this tragedy.
 
Tamus is trying to curl up close to her and to comfort him, I offer my arms and he obliges. Sorath, Tamus and I all then head to the council tent. But first give one last motivational speech telling all that we have learnt valuable information from our enemy and will crush the vile Hargulka at dawn.
 

Grief stricken, I eventually let exhaustion take hold and rest amongst these two perfect pets

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Season 2: Episode 50 – The past revealed, and a large problem found. (Kerubiel's point of view)

Season 2: Episode 50 – The past revealed, and a large problem found. (Kerubiel’s point of view)
 
As we approach the door, more cautiously than the previous one, memories flood my mind. A moment as a child sitting on a rug in front of the fireplace playing with mounted soldiers all lined up. Even then figuring out battle tactics and that draws me back to the moment in the battle where I gave a mighty speech to ready the militia to charge –
 
We reach the door, and it is unlocked, I slowly start opening the door and we see a medium sized room with huge chains bolted to the opposite wall. The floor is littered with rotting meat and bones and two troll hounds are attached to the ends of each of the chains. In the center of the hounds is a hunched and cloaked figure, clearly not a troll by its stature. It has a more reptilian head like the lizardfolk.
 
The troll hounds then start barking and come toward us but are hampered by the chains, so Drael suggests we deal with them out of their biting range. For troll filth like this, I think this is a great idea; however, Ellira is hesitant and doesn’t want to hurt them unnecessarily. For what she did for Sorath, I will oblige her. She says she wants to try talking to them. Turns out they aren’t regular beasts, and it doesn’t work so they start barking and showing aggressive behavior. Finn doesn’t want to watch.
 
While they tried, I backed up. Glanrim goes in hacking, Drael flings acid, and I charge back in and pierce one’s side. In less than 12 seconds, the hounds bark no more. The lizardfolk figure still has not moved though.
 
We approach cautiously and the figure perks its head up asking if it heard the sounds of battle and if it was done. I nod and say yes and ask him who he is. He gives some cryptic reply, ‘One who has failed’ …great. Drael and I both ask at the same who he is and how he failed.
 
He apparently wanted to guide the trolls to something greater. He had apparently met Gozreh and thought she was calling him to help them. Drael, concerned asks if he was the one who helped organize the trolls.
 
He then goes on to mention that while he was reflecting one day, he met Hargulka and he was able to hurl fireballs and that he would be able to lead other trolls under his guidance. Gozreh’s feminine aspect has given him a vision of a troll kingdom, ruled by Hargulka, him at his side, and plenty of food for all. He saw this fortification in the vision and led them here. But then he says that Hargulka was not the leader he thought he was (man this guy is not that smart). There was lots of hunger, and he did not like his criticism – that arrogant bastard, no kidding.
 
Finn then interrupts his talking to go investigate him closer because he notices tatoos underneath his tattered robes on his arms. He tells us that he has the same dwarven script as some of the trolls have.
 
The lizardfolk then says that they found the tablet and materials required to grant great fire protection. Glanrim then, quite agitated, walks up to him and tells him that he put sacred magic onto one his greatest foes. All the figure can say is that the depths of his failure are deep.
 
I then go on to tell him that we have an alliance with the Murque River Tribe, to see if he knows of them. His immediate response was that he made the tribe. I then call him ‘Shisshak’ and he looks at me and says that was his name.
 
Glanrim then tells him that there is an imposter in his tribe, and I then ask him if he wants to go see Vesket and the rest of the braves. He nods, stands, and says ‘Cargathak beware’ and starts to convulse and float into the air. All of us are then flooded by the same vison.
 
We start low to the ground but then start rising into the air. We see rivers then the Tuskwater, we see Silver Falls rising on the hills as we rise higher, but then the earth itself opens and the land crumbles into the gaping hole and sinks into the magma of the earth’s core.
 
His body then drops to the gound in a final shudder, and he whispers, “Tell Vesket, I was wrong.” And then he is no longer with us. Glanrim then wraps him in his cloak and says let’s go and we head to Vesket.
 
When we leave the fort, we see the militia have set up camp and are treating to the wounded. The slaves are relieved and eating with the troops. The lizardfolk, sated, have started to pack up. Glanrim approaches Vesket and lays the body down in front of him telling him that he has been gravely misled (implying that damned will-o-the-wisp back in their village). He asks where we found Stisshak and I tell him that the trolls had him caged up.
 
Vesket tells us that he is smaller than he remembers and Glanrim shares his last words with him. With tears in his eyes, he tells us that he was not wrong, he was a great leader, he was king before, but he didn’t eat him like their tradition, so Stisshak left to look for Gozreh. We learn from the people we eat.
 
Glanrim then reminds him of fake Stisshak planted by the vile trolls and asks if we should leave the body with him. Vesket nods and says they will take Stisshak to the proper burial place.
 
We nod, and then I remind the Court that we have work to do and we head back into the fort. Exploring the final way in the fort we come across a large storeroom of assorted building supplies and equipment that would be very useful for building a settlement. In the back corner of the room is a massive hole that leads from the smooth worked dwarven stone to a tunnel in a natural cave.
 
Continuing on, after a short distance we come to a fork in the path, and we see trolls around the corner to the right. In the center of the cavern, they have set up a caravan ballista and upon seeing me in the lead let it loose. I am quicker than these damned trolls and I am able to bring my shield up in time, but the impact will likely cause bruising later.
Ellira rushes up next with her bow, ready to fire but a troll swings out and she ducks, slips on some rocks, and loses her grasp on the bow. Glanrim rushes in and dodges a troll swing to then take a piece of this one’s arm. The second troll then sets upon him and sinks its teeth into his side.
 
Drael flings some acid to stop these bastards from regenerating and as the troll yells out in pain, we feel the ground shake from down the other fork. The massive two headed troll bitch, Nagrundi has come from the darkness. She is far bigger than any of the other trolls and wicked clawed hands are the size of me.
 
Seeing her Finn rushes up from our flank and throws a firebomb at her. The flames dance along her skin and then are sucked into the dwarven tattoo. Oh Finn, you forgot. She smiles fiendishly and I charge up and pierce her in the chest. She then lunges at Ellira, who backs up and I hold the line to keep her from closing in.
 
The sounds of Glanrim scrapping with one of the other trolls rings in my ear and then a troll head comes rolling down the tunnel. Drael then coats the ground around Nagrundi with a thick layer of grease to slow her advancement on us. She steps up and I try to thrust again, but she was ready for it this time and diverts the strike.
 
Nagrundi then takes a few massive swings of her claws and ends up slashing both Drael and Finn with one swipe. Knowing that the best way to deal with her is by charging, I help clear a space for Glanrim and go run the other lesser troll through. Nagrundi tries to take a bite as I go by, but I easily duck out of her way. The damn troll doesn’t die and then claws at me, shield up, but its bite connects with my other arm.
 
Finn now resorts to what he does best and throws a healing bomb at Drael and Glanrim. Battle with Nagrundi continues out of my sight but I stab the troll again and Drael rushes into the cavern and flings acid at it. It yells in pain, and I stab it once again. Two regular trolls down. Only one giant one with two heads left to go in this fight. Hope the others have been faring better…

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