Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #42: Brothers in Arms

29 HexDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Upon Talis Makolin's discovery of the death of the King of Crosedes and Baron Echelon getting replaced by a ten-year old boy, he needed to talk to his friend Norm Dingleberry, newly minted royal knight and recently commissioned General of the Southern Armies responsible to preventing the War in Ruuna from spreading into the kingdom.

The dwarf was resting in the bungalow of Babette and her infant twin boys. The first thing that Talis noticed was the normally sloppy dwarf's impeccable dress and hygiene. The biggest thing was complete absence of a beard. Norm still had long, groomed sideburns running down parallel with his mouth, but the center of his face was completely shaved.

Norm did little to placate or worry the bard. He knew the new King was a bad man, but it was wiser to pledge allegiance to him, earn his trust, and figure out his true angle. There was no direct route from the fort in Lansluck to Ruuna, so he anticipated regular patrols and keeping the rest occupied with building a road, maybe a fort closer to the border.  No real danger that he couldn't handle.
Regardless, the dwarf promised frequent visits.  

"Lansluck is very quick by pony.  You need to stay hidden for now, Talis."

Norm hugged his friends, kissed the babies, and tried to make amends with his beloved Dew before departing for Lansluck.  The housekeeper treated him slightly better than before, but it was more of a maternal instinct towards him and the love and passion they had shared before.  Dejectedly, Norm departed on his pony, My Lyl.

36 HexDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Lady Iris escorted Baron Timmy and his adoptive mother (and Carthon's wife) Jenny back to the Chateau for a family meal.  Talis was ushered down into the wine cellar to prevent Timmy from discovering him.  The bard managed to sneak a peek at the young boy trying so very hard to act noble and dignified, yet still having all the energy and spirit he had running through the woods of the Chateau.  Right after dessert, Carthon took Lady Iris down to the wine cellar to reveal Talis, and the knight was relieved.  Like his other friends, she suggested he stay hidden, at least through the Fall... or the hopeful return of the "lost" Baron Echelon and company.

"Regardless of the others' status, you are still a Knight of the Pigeon, Talis, alongside Norm.  Once Timmy is more comfortable, I may allow him at Yule to name more trusted Knights to your ranks, but for now you are still entrusted with defense of the Barony and the defense of the Baron.  I know you would have risked your life for that little boy before you left for Ruuna.  Nothing has changed."

With that, she departed, leaving Talis to a long period of isolation and introspection.
And possibly wine.

5 OctDec 1070 - Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
A bedraggled Echelon, Melandria, and Velandro finally arrived at the Chateau. They had been unsuccessful in negotiating with the dwarves and their rampage through Ruuna, and subsequently thrown out of Skyforge when "Royal Agents of the King of Crosedes" arrived to negotiate. 

They were quickly moved to the wine cellar, to meet a half-drunk Talis. 

"I get why Mohammad stays in a closet.  It's *hiccup* relaxing."

They were informed of their recent deaths and the installation of Baron Timmy. Echelon decided it wise that they should stay dead, "Lest the new king send people out after us."

6 OctDec 1070 - Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Norm arrived for a quick visit while his troops built a road from Lansluck to the road to Ruuna. He had received correspondence from the King that he was to immediately report to Lady Iris if the three diplomats... or Count Zabty showed up. 

"Too bad you are all under an invisibility spell and I, Sir Norm, am talking out loud to himself." *WINK WINK*

Amongst meetings on the far end of the Chateau with trustworthy individuals (Carthon, Jenny, Felix) three glaring facts had somehow been completely overlooked: Ariel the Bard had moved out and resided as the permanent musician at the Blue Wizard Inn, Rolf never returned from his mission in Hydincall, and Ashe and his brother Binklen had disappeared at some point over the last few weeks... and no one cared enough to notice. 

8 OctDec 1070  Outside the Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Torm Touchberry, Captain of the Baronial militia, somehow got wind of the group's miraculous recovery and visited the Chateau. He informed everyone that Winston, the sheriff had been ambushed a killed outside of Lowdale.   He requested the following travel incognito with him to Winston's small home:

Echelon  cleric of the eastern god of the sea, pigeon aficionado, former Baron, now presumed dead by the new evil King. 
Mellandria, mage, former Baronial scribe, now presumed dead by the new evil King
Velandro:   Ardent priest of Akana, now presumed dead by the new evil King
Talis Makolin:  lover, bard, Knight of the Pigeon, now presumed dead by the new evil King
Norm:  Dwarven fighter, Knight of Pigeon, Red Knight of Crosedes, and Commander of the Southern Armies against the dwarves of Skyforge.  Known to be alive and well by the new evil King.

The house was messy medieval bachelor pad, that had little of value, save Winston's last will and testament. 

The will declared his two sons, born out of wedlock, were the only heirs to his family's estate outside of Omsjik:  The child of Yalana Makolin, and the child of Mersene Riemann.

Echelon scratched his chin, "Hey Talis, that woman has the same last name as you... and that other woman happens to have the same name as my mom.... err.... wha???"

Echelon, Mellandria, Norm, and Velandro rode back to the Chateau with paperwork.

Talis did what any young man would do at this point.

He rode back to the Blue Wizard Inn with Torm, stuffed his outrageously large hat in a saddlebag, and got completely shit-faced.

RIP: Winston Maless
Winston, in his completely over-the-top Sheriff's "uniform"
Premature RIP:  Echelon, Melandria, Talis and Velandro

DM Notes:  The party returning to the Chateau d'Echelon and discovering everyone was assumed dead was bad enough.  Finding out the Baronial Sheriff was murdered was worse.  But discovering the murdered sheriff was the long-lost father of two of the player characters? 

I think player SAN checks were in order.

The moral of the story: When two players hand in character stories on the same night and both characters go the "Mother was a prostitute/father unknown" route and they both live in the same hometown, it's simply begging to go the half-brother route. 

6 HepDec 1070 - Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes *FLASHBACK*
Ariel the Bard crept slowly down the halls of the Chateau.  She had already finished four different chores this morning and Dew still wasn't ready for breakfast.  Her donation towards the "greater good" Carthon and "Baron" Felix constantly talked about was paid in full for the day.  Now it was time to catch a nap before an afternoon of relaxing, and a night of carousing at the Blue Wizard. 

She heard a door in the hallway creak open, and in a moment of celerity mixed with guilt, she opened the nearest door and slipped inside. 

A pair of feet walked down the hall and down the staircase.  She was still undetected. 

Then a voice inside the closet she was hiding in startled her.

"Miss Ariel, I'm not sure you are aware, but your butt is pressing against my head" 

Ariel stumbled out the closet door back out into the hallway and turned around.

There was Mohammad, Echelon's quirky little legless mentor, shielding his eyes from the light with one hand, and rubbing his head with the other.

"It was the first time Tshang Kai Shing let me sleep for days.  He needs a constant commune with me recently.  Thespian Ariel, why are you so rude?"

"Sorry, Mohammad.  I'm just avoiding people this morning. 

"You know what would be better, Ariel?  You could avoid people by MOVING OUT!" 

Ariel was shocked.  The little brown-skinned man was always so pleasant when he emerged from his little prayer room from time to time.  The anger and derision in his voice was not loud, but also tangible.

"This whole infernal 'Chateau' is full of moochers and you, foul thespian, are the biggest moocher of all!  You don't want to be here!  Go take the gold you haven't squandered away and become somewhere else.  Sing for coppers at the Blue Wizard and ply your wiles on less virtuous women than the ones here!  Begone!

The bard ran away and out into the woods to compose herself.  Rolf, the Barbarian, didn't trust her, but he had a trust issue with women.  The rest seemed to like her... except for the seething madness of a crippled old man who was afraid of the sky.

No, no one really liked her, not like that.  Not in any way, really.  They tolerated her.  Mohammad was enraged, but he could see something in her soul.  

Ariel came back to the Chateau, ignoring the comments of some of the residents, wondering where she had been all morning.  She walked into her room, grabbed her instruments and her satchel, and walked into town. 

She strolled into the Blue Wizard, introduced herself (again) to the Emerette and Fayette, the owners, and offered her musical talents for a spot to sleep and some food.  The women immediately agreed, and Ariel would be a permanent fixture in the Inn for sometime. 

NEXT #43: Spiders in the Vineyard

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