Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #48: The History of Counts and Kings

9 NonDec 1071  Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
After a healthy debate at Maless Manor as to what should be done within the group and within the kingdom, the four heroes thought dead by the current King of Crosedes, aka  "The Dread Lord," decided to split up.  Ex-Baron of Eding, Echelon and his former Baronial scribe Mellandria would remain at Maless Manor to coordinate further repairs before Winter finally set in, while Priest of Akana, Velandro, and Knight of the Pigeon, Talis Makolin would check in on the "living" members of the party in Eding, and start an investigation as to where County Zabty of Halfwater disappeared nearly a year before.

With a bag of gold and a few salvageable tomes from Titus Maless' library, they prodded the sages and historians in Omsjik.
  • Count Zabty of Halfwater was a half-orc born in the village of Halfwater (now in central Ras-Prythax) during the reign of Emperor MacKay Myrmidonsa, the last peacetime ruler of the Ferasean Empire.  During this peace, Zabty grew to be a faithful adherent to the Church of Akana, and a mighty warrior, becoming a Paladin to the Faith on his 20th birthday.  His heroic actions protecting the Eastern Frontier against the barbarians of Galmar, and a close, personal friendship with Emperor Leif VII years later earned him an early retirement and an appointment as the Count of Rowand, a picaresque territory to the far west of the Empire.  There were vague references to him even after the Empire fell to a Barbarian incursion in 819, but not a single mention of him, even in remembrance, when King Cesmir I founded the Kingdom of Crosedes in 846.  There is zero reference to him becoming a fallen paladin under any circumstance.   
Count Zabty of Halfwater, Circa 808
12 NonDec  1071 Cult of Light Camp, Lake Apotheosis, Kingdom of Crosdes
En route to Eding, the pair stopped at the Cult of Light's permanent campsite and were met with the usual hospitality... and more!  High Priest Jakob got them food and shelter rather quickly, and conversation turned to King Cervinal.  Jakob did not mince words that he disliked the King's new shakedown's of the Cult... and using Heavy Cavalry to enforce it, but the snow would soon be here, making the heavily armored enforcers less effective.  Anyway, the God of Goodness and Light was returning to rule Feraso again.  Soon, this would all be a distant memory.

And with plenty of daylight remaining, this High Priest presented an offer never made during other visits:  Were they willing to take a boat across the river and look at the tombs of the ancient kings?  Both our heroes were halfway to the boats before they finished saying, "Yes."

The tombs themselves were well guarded by the largest of the robe-clad cultists, wielding polearms, swords, and crossbows hidden around the corner from their sentry points.  The tombs were actually many of the high ranking dukes and barons of the land during the Fereasean Empire, well before Crosedes.  However, the further they ventured inside, the latter Emperors and Empresses were indeed entombed there.  The earlier tombs were quite ostentatious while that of Emperor Leif VII was rather hastily carved and quite spartan.  Still, each former ruler, male or female, had a noticeable carving in the shape and size of a longsword on the lid of each sarcophagus.

"That spot is reserved for the Blood-Brand, the ancestral sword of the Kings of Prythax and Emperors of the Known World.  It was passed down from generation to generation, but whoever wields the sword makes a claim to the throne of the Feraso, and all nations shall bow to him. It was lost during the Barbarian Invasion, but the ancient texts say that the appearance of the black sword with red glowing runes etched on the blade will mark the arrival of the God of Goodness and Light.  He will need it to fight the evil that will prevent his coming."

13 NonDec 1071 Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The duo arrived without fanfare and sought out "Baron" Felix.  They were relieved to find out the harvest was successful and everyone was well (and no one else was a spider-person.  They were checking frequently.)

Still no sign of Ashe, Rolf, or Norm. Babette's children were strong, although everyone noticed the very olive complexion and pointed ears... like an elf.

"Or a Sarista, like their father."  Babette would interject.

Besides Royal and Baronial taxes going up... again, the Barony of Eding was much quieter that it had been the year prior.   Lady Iris and Jenny had kept a watchful eye over the safety and education of young Baron Timmy, and a stern rebuke to the Royal Cavalry and administrators from Hydincall who tried to bully their way into the Baronial Manor.

Velandro spent a few days reuniting with his faithful kobold follower, Dag, but informed the estate that he was leaving for Rowand City in search of County Zabty.  He swapped his horse for a new one in the barn and off he went, through the swirling snow.

Dag had been given orders, and outside of folding his little Akana-emblazoned kobold tunics a little neater, he told no one of his mission for Velandro.

Talis stayed incognito at the Chateau constantly trying woo the new housekeeper, Zoe, with varied success, and only making a few quiet runs to the Blue Wizard Inn.  The locals all confirmed Felix's analysis.   He also found Ariel the Bard, who was living with Fayette, one of the owners of the Blue Wizard.

5 DecDec 1071, On the road back to Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
Finally, Talis determined his month of "research" totaling no work, better food, and a warm bed was over and he headed back to his Manor to pick up Mellandria and Echelon and proceed to Rowand City.

DM Notes: Following the lone hunch by the guy who raises pigeons and talks to wolves, our "dead" heroes begin researching one of the people they rescued from the clutches of the Spider-People. Hydincall could net them better information, but it was not worth the risk of discovery. Rowand City, capital of the modern County of Rowand (and burial place of Emperor Rowand II)

Yet another encounter with the Cult of Light, reassures the group that they aren't completely evil. Possibly misguided, but not entirely evil.  Hey, High Priest Jakob dislikes the Dread Lord.  That must account for something.  

And a second reference to the Blood-Brand.  If only someone had a map (or painting) to point out the location of the Sword of Emperors.

Next #49:  When in Rowand, Hit a Gnome

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