Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #54: Mellandria's Escape from Emron

34 DuoDec 1072 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
It took two days of bed rest, but Mellandria, the former Baronial scribe, finally regained consciousness.  She retold her last few months to "Baron" Felix: working on the Maless Manor, searching for Count Zabty, and ultimately the disastrous journey to Emron.  The last thing she remembered was being transformed into an Ogre and then a huge explosion.

When she awoke, she was back to her normal human female self. Someone had tended to her wounds and hid her amongst the hedgerows. Gathering her senses, a piece of paper fell out from the tucks of her cloak.  It read:

Dearest Mellandria,

I had hoped you would awake before I was forced to leave, but that was not to be.  Witch-Hunters in the employ of the Emron Princes are looking for me.  I've been labelled a heretical cleric and will be hunted down and killed, if they had their way.  I'm on my way to the safety of Ispatlia.  Once there, I hope to attract more followers to whatever crazy cause we are?  Usurping the Dread Lord?  Waiting out the apocalypse?  

I am sorry for the the loss of Echelon, Dimitri, and I fear, Talis.  They were outrageous characters, fine companions, and good friends.

You are safe in the magistocracy, in fact, you may thrive, but head north and you will eventually reach Eding.  

The password for Felix is: "I am not a fucking Spider-Person."  

I know that's a bit cruder than your civilized sensibilities, but we needed something simple, direct, but not too obvious.  

I shall see you again, one day, my dear.

Mellandria took the provisions and gold Velandro had left for her and travelled north, through the high hills of the Principality of Krondhar. Once she reached the Principality of Bergdhoven, she ran low and funs and food.  She spent a few weeks working as a scribe, for one of the local barons. Unlike the backwater of Eding, or even the university setting of Hydincall, Bergdhoven was a mage's paradise.  Lower-powered spells were freely traded, some even given away.  Over a paid Emron holiday, she finally acquired the spell Find Familiar and summoned a small brown owl, Horatio.
She was able to not only resupply, but purchase a horse, Chaser, and soon she ventured into the uninhabited lowlands between Masgoth and Crosedes.  With the help of Horatio's scouting, she only had to brave the elements, and not any large encounters with beasts or humanoids.

Felix filled her in on the escalating Cult of Goodness and Light, the rumors of "Mad Norm's" battle prowess, and his concern that preventing the apocalypse from happening might not happen, no matter what coincidental oil paintings say.

Mellandria asked for a few days to gather her wits, heal her body, and she would take up the mantle of secret protector of Eding.  Echelon would have wanted that, no matter how many times this village seemed to screw him over.

20 TriDec 1072 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
After a few weeks of rest, Mellandria began helping Babette and Zoe around the manor, taking long hikes with Kane, and remembering that Echelon's deranged mentor, Mohammad, still lived in a broom closet on the second floor.  Word was secretly left to the captain of the Baronial Militia(and ally of the Chateau), Torm Touchberry, of Mellandria's survival, but she was already assumed dead by the king, with a secret bounty on her head if she appeared anyway alive.

In the morning, Mellandria finished up some of Felix's paperwork before heading downstairs for breakfast, when she heard a frantic rapping at the door.

It was Ariel the Bard, an ex-adventurer of questionable morality, who had left the safety of the Chateau in return for a steady gig playing at the Blue Wizard Inn, and an unusual relationship with the Inn's co-owner, Faytette.

Ariel was frantic.  "A bloodied halfling arrived this morning from Elmshire, looking for the Baron's help.  Orcs have descended the halfling village and they desperately need help.  Torm told me to tell you that the village and Baron have no troops to spare this early in the season.  If the Chateau could assemble a rescue party, it would be a great service for the *air quotes* shadow government against the King*, whatever that is.   If need be, I can help you as well."

Mellandria was concerned.  In a few moments, she assembled every competent adventurer left on the estate that wasn't essential, or were raising young children.
  • Herself, a scholarly magic-user who tried to avoid conflict.
  • Sterling Riverbend, a huge quarter-ogre with a disposition slimier than his skin.  He had just gotten back from visiting his family in Omsjik.  
  • Kane, a eastern mystic with elemental control of water.  He had discarded the adventuring life, but upon learning of the trouble in Elmshire, he dug out his old plate mail, gave Mohammad a hug, and was the first one ready to go.
  • Ariel the Bard, a redhead with a song in her heart, and an eye for the ladies.  Mellandria had travelled with her frequently while conducting Baron Echelon's business, but she never remembered the bard actually fighting.  
This was not going to be the relief party the halflings were hoping for:  

3 TriDec 1072  Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes *Short Flashback*
Dinner was finally ready, so Kane was already ascending the stairs with a tray of soup and bread for his dear friend Mohammad.  The legless guru was normally mediating in closet, trying to commune with his god, but sometimes he was coherent enough for conversation on eastern philosophy ... or his images of the "New King" arriving as the Cult of Light had predicted.  Today was both parts of the latter.

"Hello, Master Mohammad, Zoe may have finally perfected the sweet potato soup."

"Eh?  Oh, Kane, it's you.  Put the tray down next to my door and come closer."

"Sure Master, what is of the matter?"  

"Do you LIKE serving me my meals, tending to my needs when I'm entranced?  Subject to my fits of yelling and screaming, none of which are deserved."

The monk stepped back.     

"Master Mohammad, I gladly help and protect you, not only as a duty as a friend of such valued ally as yourself, but as a close personal favor asked of me by Mister Wolfsblood.  He may no longer be here, I adhere to the pact as if he were beside me right now."

"You believe all that crap you said, Kane?  Listen here.  I can draw down the fires of heaven, hell and numerous other planes of existence just by asking Tshang Kai Ching.  I can do it at a moment's notice, and I damn well protect this estate and the residents therein no matter what.  Do not worry about me, my friend, worry about what few friends you have left. Worry about the prophecies and help your friends ensure that the prophecies reward the forces of good.  I will be fine.   It's time to be a hero, again, no matter what the sacrifice."  

The monk bowed, went downstairs into a supply closet, grabbed a jar of polish from the closet, and a loaf of bread from the kitchen, to return to his room.  There, he pulled out the suit of plate mail he hadn't really worn since returning from Talislanta, over a year ago.

And there, he began polishing his armor, adjusting odd links, and preparing for the inevitable.

GM Notes:  We begin the post-Echelon storylines with a story to set up... Echelon's player's new character.... Reader beware!

Next: #55: Ozark of Seigeshire

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