Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Story So Far VI

7th day, Silvangate the 28th, 1845

The adventurers made their way back out of the dungeon with their hard won treasures and the bones of the elf maiden Casruil. Upon reaching the surface they found that a good deal of time had passed while they were underground and it was already approaching evening. They decided to at least walk back to the road and camp there and it was dark by the time they were finally able to rest.

1st day, Greenheart the 1st, 1845

The next day was the beginning of a new month, the second month of summer in Eleth known as Greenheart. The party awoke to a clear cool morning and Fionnula prayed for healing spells and used them on her fellows that were still wounded from their ordeal. They then set off for Wychton and were there in a couple of short hours.

They noticed as they approached the town that there was a group of gray tents erected outside the city gates near the Arcas River. They could see a cluster of soldiers and horses mulling about the tents. There was a heraldic standard set above the largest tent depicting a red peryton on black. Martijn immediately recognized this as the symbol of the knights of the Order of the Peryton. (Note: more information on this can be found on the main Malavon page under Knightly Orders of Malavon & Elnarra.) The party felt that this was a bad sign but continued on their way into town and to the inn.

Garam the innkeeper of The Wyvern’s Watch was happy to see them when they strode into the common room of the inn. He told them he wanted to hear all about their adventure but it would have to wait till the evening, as he was busy with customers. He requested that they join him for dinner and that they would be able to meet Tharivol, an elven adventurer and friend of Garam, who was staying at the inn. This was the elf that Garam told Martijn about and it was his feywine that they recovered from the clutches of the hobgoblins. They also met Tursan (who looked a lot better as his black eye was healing) in the inn and Martijn’s warhorse was safe and well cared for in the stable. So our heroes got rooms and spent the day resting, checking out the shops, and visiting the temple. Svarnos and Lono also decided to experiment with the enchanted black leather armor that they recovered from the dungeon crypt. Lono hid down a dark alleyway and Svarnos went in to try to find him. He was eventually found but the armor seemed to blur the edges of his form a little aiding him in his attempt to hide. They decided that it would be best if the thief kept the magic armor, as he would get the most use out of it.

Later that evening they were conducted to Garam’s private dining room and there they met Tharivol. Tharivol was a gracious elf with long silver hair clad in a fine suit of mithral elven chainmail and bearing a longsword at his side. He was obviously a veteran adventurer and they found out that he was once a member of Garam’s adventuring party many years ago.

While eating a sumptuous meal and drinking some of Garam’s finest ale and wines they regaled the innkeeper and the elf with the tale of their adventure. Recognizing that the Tharivol was an experienced adventurer they decided to ask him about some of the items that they found in the dungeon. Tharivol gave them his appraisals of the gems and jewelry that they found and he also cast the spell Detect Magic on the magic items. He said he thought that the mace that Fionnula was using was a “ghost touch” weapon, meaning that it existed in the ethereal plane as well as in the material. This weapon would be very effective against incorporeal spirits. The silver ring that had the word “shield” written in the arcane tongue on the inside of the band was not difficult for the elf to figure out. He suspected it was the command word that would activate the magic of the ring for whoever wore it. Gjord put on the ring and said, “shield”. A circular plane of shimmering force appeared along his arm just as if he were holding a shield! His hand was free as he did not need to hold the force shield and it was weightless as well. A character wielding this could use a two-handed weapon yet still gain the protection of the shield. Tharivol also said that a spell caster would be able to use this item as well without hindering the somatic gestures of his spell. It was decided that Galifynakus would benefit the most from this as he wielded a two- handed greatsword so they let the barbarian put the ring on. The black wavy-bladed dagger was obviously magic but Tharivol could not tell if it had any other hidden properties. Svarnos stuck it in his belt.

Tharivol told the party a story about the last stand against the forces of the Shadow Dragon one hundred years ago. Apparently the elf was present at the battle of Miragar when the knights of Elnarra rode up from the south and came to the aid of the beleaguered city. He also told how it was not just they who saved the day. The Shadow Dragon came from the north appearing like a cloud of mist and shifting shadows. Deep within this swirling mass could vaguely be seen the form of a huge serpentine creature. Everywhere on the battlefield that the dragon went the defenders were defeated, whether by the dragon’s breath or just his mere presence the elf could not tell. Then he saw the Archmage of Vegraine (that he met once when he visited the Wizard’s Isle long ago) on a high tower surveying the struggle. The mage then performed a feat of incredible magic and courage. He suddenly jumped from the tower and transformed himself into a colossal silver dragon that dove down from the tower straight into the darkness of the Shadow Dragon! The ensuing battle could not be seen but the enemy began to flee. The orcs, goblins, trolls, and gnolls that made up the bulk of his army were then driven from the field by the defenders of Miragar and the Elnarran knights. The dragon fled to Malavon Keep and has been dormant ever since.

The party also asked Garam and Tharivol if they knew anything about the gray tents outside the town but they could not tell them anything. A barmaid came in and said that a Wychton man-at-arms was outside and that he wished to speak to the adventurers. He was allowed in and he gave them a message that the Lord Mayor Evaloix Arandire requested their company for a dinner party the following night. The mayor of Wychton had invited them to tell their story yet again as he considered them heroes for making the north road safe again. Gjord laughed out loud and said that he could get used to have free dinners every night. The guard also told them that it would be a formal dress dinner. The party looked at each other realizing that they had nothing even resembling formal clothing except for Svarnos’ mantle. Svarnos decided to try to see what he could do about this problem. He persuaded the guard to ask the Lord Mayor if he could maybe accommodate them with some clothes for the dinner. The guard said he would do what he could and that a coach would pick them up from the inn the following evening, he then departed. So then, as it was getting late and the elf Tharivol had to leave in the morning they all said goodnight and went to bed.

2nd day, Greenheart the 2nd, 1845

In the morning in the common room they saw Tharivol off and before the elf left he gave Lono a great gift – a bottle of feywine! He said that he thought it was a pity that a fellow with such a high amount of elvish blood never sampled the stuff. He said to share it with his friends as it was really a gift to all of them but to be sure to drink it when they had some leisure time on their hands as the feywine is known to have some strange effects on those that are not true elves.

Tharivol then left the village for the Silverwood.A little while later the Wychton guard returned and told Svarnos that if they wished the party could be outfitted for the dinner at Gerta’s Fine Silks compliments of the Lord Mayor. They thanked the guard, tipped him, and told him they would definitely take advantage of that.

Martijn decided that he would ride up to the gray tents to discover what they were all about and meet whoever might be there. He went without the others except Tursan who was acting as his squire. There he met a courteous if cold reception. The soldiers seemed nervous about him and called for the three knights that were their superiors. Three men emerged from the main tent and introduced themselves after Martijn announced himself. They were knights of Moondown Keep of the Order of the Peryton. The leader called himself Kassos and he had a shaved head and a long mustache. The other two were Pramon, a stout man with cropped brown hair, and Aval a man with long dirty blonde hair and a thin hawkish look about him. They were all dressed in black armors and surcoats with the symbol of the red peryton on them. Kassos said that they were just visiting the city and that they would be moving on soon. They would give no other information but they did invite Martijn to join them in their tent for some refreshments. Martijn did not want to get that chummy with them so he bid them farewell and he took his leave. He did take note that there were eleven men including the three knights and two that did not seem to be soldiers, as they were not dressed as the others and they wore dark traveling cloaks. There were 11 horses, three of which were warhorses. He told of what happened when he returned to the inn.

In the afternoon Gerta decked out the party in their new fine clothes. Gerta is a plump fussy woman that is very aware of the fashions of the courts of Malavon. Martijn felt quite at home in his new clothes and Fionnula looked like a noblewoman. Svarnos could have been a court magician and Gjord just looked like he would rather have been anywhere else. Lono cut a dashing figure in his new attire but poor Galifynakus could not have been more out of his element. He accessorized his new look with his ratty mauve scarf. Even though they could not wear their armor they all girded themselves with their weapons. They asked Garam if they could stow the rest of their gear at the inn temporarily and Garam put it in a locked cellar that he kept some of his valuables in.

In the evening the carriage came rolling up to the inn and took them to the Lord Mayor’s manor. The manor is set on a small hill on the east side of the village overlooking the houses below. There is a large well-kept lawn and garden leading up to the house. The manor house itself is a two story stone structure of gray bricks with a large entrance guarded by solid oak doors, the windows are narrow on the main floor but there are balconies on the second level. The roof is of blue slate and there are many chimneys.

The party was conducted to a large dining room with a minstrel band playing chamber music in one corner. The Lord Mayor Evaloix Arandire turned out to be a short portly fellow with a pointy black beard and grey-black hair wearing a fur-trimmed jacket of blue silk over his clothes. He greeted the party warmly and announced them to his other guests a gathering of many of the merchants of Wychton. He then introduced them to his daughter Monnene. Monnene is a stunningly beautiful young woman that is slender of build with lustrous gold hair and pale skin. She wore a white dress of simple design. She also seemed to be achingly shy, as she could not even make eye contact with anyone but her father. Nevertheless she greeted the adventurers politely and thanked them for the service they had done for the village of Wychton. The party sat down and was having a fine time telling their tale to a new audience and enjoying another great meal. However, before the meal began, Fionnula cast Detect Poison upon the food that was served (under the guise of saying grace), as she did not completely trust their host.

It was then that the dining hall doors opened to admit three men. It was the three knights from Moondown Keep and the atmosphere in the room changed immediately. Monnene seemed to tense up in her seat and ball her hands into fists in her lap. The Lord Mayor seemed a little flustered at first but recovered quickly and introduced them to the other dinner guests. The knights took their seats and they stared at the adventurers indignantly, especially Martijn. The eyes of Kassos kept ever flicking towards Monnene and she kept her eyes on her plate. As the dinner progressed Kassos began to throw questions at Martijn that seemed to have an underlying sense of being both a little probing and insulting at the same time. Gjord, who tired quickly of this dance of words and preferred straight dwarf-style speech, asked the knights just what they were getting at. The knights spoke to the dwarf rudely and said that they were not interested in speaking to him. The conversation ended with an icy chill between the two sides of the table and Kassos glaring at the dwarf.

After the meal was finished the guests began to get up from the table and mingle. Kassos immediately went up to the Lord Mayor and began to whisper something to him. Lono, with his sharp ears, caught a fragment of the conversation. It seemed that the knight wanted to know what the Lord Mayor’s final answer was to an offer he previously made. The mayor said that “she” was not property to be sold and it was her decision. Kassos did not seem happy with this answer and stalked away. Lono related this to the others and the adventurers were beginning to get a picture of what was going on. Svarnos approached the mayor and whispered, “Do you need our help.” The mayor glanced in astonishment at him and nodded. He then told Svarnos, clearly enough for everyone to hear, that he wanted to show him his herb garden and asked him if he would follow him outside. Svarnos went along with this ruse and had the opportunity to hear what the problem was.

Apparently, the knights of Moondown had set up camp outside the town walls one week ago. They came into the town requesting an audience with the Lord Mayor. Wary of knights from an order with an evil reputation the mayor consented as he did not want to make any adversaries and he was curious as to what they could want with him. The knight Kassos was very clear in what he wanted as soon as he met with the mayor. He wanted to take Monnene as his wife and return to Moondown with her. The mayor was shocked and said that it would be up to his daughter whom she would marry. The knight then began to offer him money and the Lord Mayor was outraged and said that his daughter was not a horse or a ream of silk that could be bought. The knight left telling the mayor that he was used to getting what he desired and that they would discuss this again. The Lord Mayor related to his daughter what occurred and she was at first as confused as he was as to who this knight was. Then she remembered two summers ago at the Festival of High Summer celebration. A knight of Malavon from Valord Castle came with his squire to the faire and they stayed at the mayor’s house, as was the custom with visiting knights. She remembered that the squire was always leering at her and following her about and she recalled that his name was Kassos. On the final day of the faire he had said that he would see her again. She said this disturbed her as she had hardly even spoken to the squire and did not see what kind of connection he thought that they had. Now the knights would not leave and they kept trying to meet with the Lord Mayor. Kassos even approached his daughter in the gardens surrounding the manor and told her that she was to marry him and go away from Wychton. The Mayor was getting ready to drive them off with his guards and let the cards fall where they may when he heard of the adventurers that had cleared the north road of the goblin menace. And he also heard that a knight of Elnarra, the legendary heroes of the southland, was with them. He regretted telling Svarnos that he had an ulterior motive for inviting them to dinner. He had a slim hope that if the knights of Moondown saw that he had powerful friends with a knight of the Order of the White Leopard with them they would leave them alone. Svarnos said that they would consider helping him but a reward would be expected. Lord Mayor Arandire said of course but told Svarnos that he is just an elected official and that much of his wealth was not really his to give away as it belonged to the town. Svarnos sighed and muttered, “Great.”

They returned to the party and Svarnos told the others what he had learned. Fionnula then stepped up to Monnene and asked the young lady if she could speak with her. Monnene was intimidated by the cleric but she consented. She told her much of what her father had told Svarnos and was greatly agitated and almost to the point of tears. When Fionnula asked what it was that she wanted Monnene said tearfully, “I just want them to go away! I don’t want any fighting or violence! I just don’t understand why they won’t leave.” The young lady also didn’t know why Kassos had returned as a knight of Moondown and not Malavon. The cleric assured her that they would help.

The cleric returned to the others and told them what Monnene had said. Gjord and Galifynakus were ready to take care of the problem right then and there but Martijn said for them to wait, as that was not how things were done. Martijn felt that he would have to challenge Kassos to make him leave or be defeated. The dwarf thought that was silly as they could just take them on now. Lono said he would just wait till they were all asleep and slit their throats. The heroes differing personalities and ideologies were causing a squabble yet again. As this was going on they saw Kassos and the other two knights approach the Lord Mayor and his daughter and it seemed they were taking their leave. Suddenly, Kassos’ hand had snaked out and grabbed Monnene’s and he kissed it and he told her that he would see her very soon. She pulled her hand back as if an adder had bitten it. Gjord, roared out, “Can’t you tell that she doesn’t want anything to do with you?” Kassos’ reacted as if he had been slapped and retorted, “Silence, stunted one!” Kassos then reached for his flail as he had come to the party armed as well. Aval and Pramon, the other two knights, halted him however and hissed, “Not here. Not now.” The three knights then stormed out of the room. The other guests, rattled by what they witnessed, began to leave. It seemed the party was over. The adventurers came up to the Lord Mayor and his daughter and confirmed that they would help. Before they left, Martijn bowed before Monnene and said that he would personally see to her dilemma. Monnene locked her gaze upon him and lifted her chin and then held out her hand, and he gently took it in his and kissed it. The comrades then went to the coach that awaited them.

On the way back to the inn Gjord continued to say that they should ambush the knights immediately. Martijn said no, he would ride to the camp in the morning and challenge Kassos to single combat. As they got out of the coach they noticed that there were many people in the street looking towards the north gate out of town some distance away. There seemed to be a flickering orange glow there. Garam was standing outside the inn and he said, “Is that a fire?”

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