Songs of Light and Shadow

553 ME, Summer begins
Turn 1, round 1, week 1

After a brutal two years the Gorgon has been pushed back into the Crown, but the cost has been high. Regents from across Anuire have fallen, replaced by a new crop of inexperienced heirs. Meanwhile strange forces in Aduria, long silent, begin to move. Across both sides of the Straits of Ariele, dark forces are on the move, stretching out to test the mettle of untried heroes…

News and rumors for the first week of Haelynir (June):

  • Guilder Shade of Endier has invited nobles and heroes far and wide to a most magnificent tourney to be held at the Free City next month!
  • The new Queen of Aerenwe has granted all her Captains letters of mark, granting them privateering rights against any pirates they may find in the Gulfof Coeranys.
  • Cocerned over the usurpation of the throne in Osoered, both Aerenwe and Elinie have declared the rightful heir, William Moergen, has safe passage through their realms.
  • The usurper Duke Jason Raenache has ordered assets of suspected rebels seized, and known rebels are to be nailed to trees as a warning.
  • Shamus Alam, Duke of Alamie, has ordered assets of convicted heretics and witches to be seized by the state; he continues to blacken his armor in mourning for his father’s death at the hands of the Gorgon.
  • The Black Baroness of Roesone has announced plans to go on Progress, touring her provinces and meeting with her subjects.
  • Cariele, recently seized by the usurper warlord Drago, has set his troops to sacking local temples and businesses. The Northern Reformed Church of Saramie has declared this an outrage, and has placed a 20,000 gp bounty on his head (dead or alive). The Stonecrown Costers have upped the anté, offering 40,000 gp for his capture and an end to his tyrany.
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News for week two

Events continue to filter in…

  • Past the northern border of Anuire, the far-off kingdom of Sjordvik has increased summer tolls on travelers passing across the river or through the Wall (the great wooden wall that protects Stjordvik’s west and northern boarder).
  • Duke Tangaroa Tuornen has upset the Western Imperial Temple of Haelyn with his flagrant favoritism of the Militant Order of Curaecan.
  • Taeghas is putting on a Summer Fair that has become the toast of the western coast kingdoms.
  • Medoere’s southern Coast has been devastated by recent flooding.
  • Across the Strates of Aerele, rumors have been coming from the Adurian kingdom of Ornasis that their Warlord, Darius Bladesworn, has been allowing (or perhaps even encouraging) his mixed armies of Orogs, Gnolls and men to raid travelers and merchants passing through his domain.
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News for week three...
War in the South!

The new Count of Ilien, Raesene Angondlier, has launched a surprise attack on neighboring Medoere. The reasons why are unclear, though rumors hint it may be due to his concerns that their new Theocrat, Moonie the first, is believed to be mad. Could the Wizard of Ilien be behind the recent flooding of Medoere’s southern coast as well, or is he simply being opportunistic? What ever the reason, this fortels a likely end to the longstanding alliance between Ilien, Roesone & Medoere that has kept the Diemed and Ghoere so long at bay.

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Baroness of Roesone and Loyal Defender of All her Subjects
Edict of Religious Tolerance

As decreed by,
Baroness Talia Morgana Roesone,
Protector and Defender of Roesone

Loyal Subjects:

While I am a Defender of the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn. My God is a Just and Lawful God. If any Roesone citizen feels they have been targeted and/or treated as guilty BECAUSE they attend a different temple or hold loyalty to a different God, they will be assured safe passage along the roads and rivers to My capital of Proudglaive to address their grievance.

My soldiers are ordered to defend all Roesone citizens from ALL SEEN physical threats even from Temples and Retainers for I know the leaders of my Barony would never fear the light of society on their behavior for I have faith that their guardianship of my lands and intentions that guide their hearts are above public reproach.

I see not worshipers, or sectarians, but Loyal Subjects of Roesone. And my God is honored in my unflinching defense of the Law and the continued Protection of the persons and property of my Beloved Subjects.

As decreed by,

Baroness Tatiana Banaloff,

Protector and Defender of Roesone

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Series of Roesone's Tournaments to determineThe Baroness Entourage to the Great Tournament
Display your strength at Arms

All practitioners of the Martial Arts,

In Month next
Is invited, as well as those who just enjoy a good bout, to attend skirmishes and field campaigns in Ghoried, and the Spider River county line between Duerlin and Caercas, and the Spider River and the county line between Duerlin and Abbatour: The end games will be hosted in Proudglaive.

Along with the tournament there will be FESTIVALS

WITH:
Games and performance for the kids,
Merchants for the adults
and Theatre and Music for Families and people just not interested in the Fighting.

Prizes and possible glory to the Contestants
and Raffles and inevitable entertainment for the spectators.

All Roesone subjects all encouraged to come and celebrate the strength and unity that has Created the peaceful haven that is Our Lands.

Proudglaive and the Baroness will host the Final Individual Bout by those who have distinguished themselves in the skirmishes and field campaigns held outside the Capital.

The Baroness decrees there must be a popular “People’s Champion” determined by, respect held in the community, as well as, their abilities in battle, shall sent from each local tournament as well. These will serve as citizen contacts of the Baroness with the Local Militia.

As decreed by
Baroness Talia Morgana Roesone

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News for week three, part two
War in the North!

In the name of Queen Devlin Llyrandor, we, the true people, the Sidhelien of Tuarhievel declare a just and necessary war upon the usurper Warlord Drago. To stamp out this foreign tyrant, protect our vital trade interests in the region, and aid our long-standing business partners amongst the Stonecrown Coasters, we will see to it freedom and stability is brought to the men and women of Cariele.

So say I, Llytha Damaan, Hand of the Queen.


And with that, the Elves have thrown their hat into the ring.

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News for week four
One war ends, another drags on...

The state of affairs by month’s end are as follows:

  • The armies of Medoere sacrifice themselves in a last-ditch effort against Ilien’s mercenaries. Though Ilien wins the battle, their forces are left too weak to push further into Medoeran territory.
  • The Warlord Drago has been captured. With his forces at risk of being overwhelmed by the Elvish armies of Tuarhievel, Drago had retreated to his Castle, only to find himself betrayed. Fellow Warlord Rusgor Garlmange, with a bit of help from Ebon Pete Leroy of the Blackrock Traders, managed to take him by surprise and turn him over to the Northern Reformed Church of Saramae & the Stonecrown Coasters for the bounty.
  • The new Overthane of Baruk-azhik, Gunnard Gunnarson, has announced that he is seeking a suitably “Dwarfy” Mage to take care of the magical sources of his kingdom.
  • The new regent of Taline, Saaldahaheil Verarun, in a surprising turn and to the dismay of the Northerin Imperial Temple of Haelyn, has declared her kingdom is no longer a Theocracy dedicated to one god, but is open to all. To that end she has granted land to the Oaken Grove of Aeric.
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News and rumors for Month two, week one
The war in the south continues with a third participant!

Medoere’s troubles continue as the Spider enters the fray. Though Goblin and Gnollish raiding parties have been harassing all of her neighbors this summer, none have yet come to face the Spider’s direct attentions except for the Medoeran Provence of Caerwil, where a massive force has spilled forth from the Spiderfell in a mighty swarm to face down what forces Medoere and her allies may bring to the country’s defense.

An increase in sightings of the Sea Drake off the coast of the Imperial City has many worried. The Awnsheilin has been demanding tribute from all ships heading through their port, blockading those who refuse. None yet have been harmed, as all so confronted have either payed or turned away, but many doubt the monster’s “pacifistic preference” in the face of his threats to sink them before they reach port.

Growing anticipation builds over Endier’s upcoming Tourney, rumored to be even more extravagant than Taeghas’s ongoing Summer Fair. With the creme of Anuire’s recently ennobled in attendance, the tourney will likely be seen as an opportunity by many to test their mettle and see what these young scions are truly made of.

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First night at the Tourney in Endier
A Gathering of Heroes

The champions arrive…

It was an interesting turnout for the opening feast. Nobles and heroes from Anuire and beyond made their way to the Free City with tales to tell of the challenges faced even before their arrival.

Those who arrived by ship seemed to face extra challenges. The pride of Aerenwe’s fleet arrived carrying several dignitaries of note: the Black Baroness Talia Roesone, her cousin the Horned King Caliborn, the contested Duke William Moergen of Osoerede, accompanied by the mysterious Swamp Mage Erander, and of course the Swordwraith herself. Also traveling up from the Straits of Aerele came a ship from far off Sauken, carrying a pair of mysterious black knights from Aduria, Nickoli and the Skull Knight (as well as the Skull Knight’s less mysterious brother, Luxu). Both companies had been held up by the Sea Drake’s blockade of the Imperial City; both had payed his price and been allowed passage, remarking with surprise his civility and insistence it was simply a “toll” for his protection from pirates.

The Black Rock Traders arrival from the north faced no such hassles. No, they brought their excitement with them. Flush from their treacherous victory over the Warlord Drago the Unblinking off in Caerele, Ebon Pete Leroy and his new associate Rusgor Garlmange arrived with mercenaries rich with loot looking to party.

Other lords and heroes arrived by land: the Patriarch of Elinie, Malik ibn Douta; the Hirophant of the Life and Protection of Avanalae, Lady Mehdlorie “Goldeneyes” Hansien; the mourning Duke Shaemes Alam and his declared rival Duke Tangaroa Tuornen; the slippery Baron Kason Mierelen of Brosegnae; the self-styled “Prince of Cats” Duke Israphel Diem. These " Gorgon’s Orphans, " as some like to call them, quickly banded together to make each-others acquaintances, plot, play games, argue, sing songs, proclaim their ancestral rivalries and otherwise hobnob with their peers.

Of no less interest were some of the other guests: the mysterious Knight of the Blemished Shield, the equally strange Green Knight, the Khanazi Princess Kalilah Shadam, the Adurian Knight Sir Alistar Creyrynder of Ashiera’s Oasis, Baronet Arlen Treyneir of Tireste, Baroness Keyrie Felfader of Caulnor, Lady Marya Nikosdottar of Soliette, the adventurer Bram Holdenheyrd, his ever-present companion Jerrick Skalden the Bard, and the Grand Vizier of the Royal Academy of Sorcery Boden Stormwatcher.

A fly in the soup attracts spiders, and cats…

As everyone settles in for a long night of revelry, their mysterious masked host Guilder Shade takes many private meetings. His is not the only ear bent as many other regents circulate, mixing business with pleasure. None are louder or more insistent than Duke Alam’s outspoken hostility of Tuornen and their regent, grasping at any excuse for a fight. Far more peaceful were the discussions around the Black Baroness’s “babies,” a small horde of cats, and their surprising affection for Duke Israphel (hinting that, just as old alliances in the south fail, new ones are in the offing). William Moergen and his associate Erander did their best to make friends who could aid in their ongoing fight against the Usurper Jason Raenich, while Luxu sung songs to entertain the company.

The good mood was somewhat dampened when several threats about killing cats were made if they kept getting underfoot in the kitchen. The felines were getting the blame for a host of mishaps relating to the hogs being overdone, or underdone (though the Green Knight seemed happy with the fare). The blame was not so easily shifted onto the cats when people began complaining about the ale tasting of piss, or the cakes having been baked with salt but no sugar. Prompt investigation by Guilder Shade’s internal security caught several recent hires who’d been bribed to muck with the food preparation, but the source of the plot has yet to be caught.

The quality of the feast was fast forgot in the face of another hazard though, when many of the guests grew concerned over the number of spiders lurking about (some of particularly alarming size). The growing upset bemused the Green Knight, who finally removed his helm to reveal himself as a great hairy Goblin and the Spider’s Emissary. Laughing, he gave them word from his master: “My lord reminds you of the massacre even now going on in Caeril. He demands 10 gold bars from our host, and gives similar recommendations of tribute to his guests, lest the Spider turns his eye in their direction and seeks to visit them next.” Bravado became the answer of the day, as many agreed the Spider’s demands were far too much. The Green Knight merely grinned at their haughty refusals. In any event, he agreed he would still see them on the tourney field the following day…

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Day two at the Tourney in Endier
A gathering of heroes

Crossing Blades

This day’s grand entertainment was the Fencing Match, and it’s contestants pursued it with gusto while the rest watched with amusement or concern, taking especial note of the Gorgon’s Orphans and the Adurian Knights. Newly arrived, Govenor Calbir Lamier (who some call “the Imp”), made his rounds to make up for lost time.

The preliminary rounds swept past quickly. By midday only slightly more than a dozen heroes remained:

  • Alistar Creyryndier proved a brutal opponent (who re sharpened his sword to leave scars on his foes). His bout with Caliborn was swift.
  • Arlien defeated the Swordwraith, despite her vaulted “Wraith’s dance” (though some say he won only by a Judge’s laps of judgement).
  • Nikolai startled everyone (not the least of which his opponent Keyrie) with his exceptionally pronounced codpiece, which despite appearances did seem to distract (or embarrass) his foe enough to allow him to seize a victory.
  • Talia faced a rather shy Knight of the Blemished Shield. Both fought gently, clearly pulling their punches. The Knight would prove to gentle, and lost.
  • The Skull Knight paired off against the Vos warrior princess, and found himself hammered by her dull blade re-sharpened. He seemed enamored with her bloodthirstyness, proposing marriage at the hight of the fight. She emasculated him with a nasty blow and left him crawling in his own blood, the worst injury anyone has yet suffered during the tourney.
  • A friendly fight between Ebon Pete Leroy and William Moergen still left the Guildmaster flat on his back with a concussion. But with medics on had he recovered quickly, and Moergen applauded his spirited fighting.

As the pool thinned, the victors gathered for another go:

  • Alistar managed to defeat Arlien, though the Baronett fell into a fit of swearing, insisting the Adurian Knight had somehow cheated.
  • Nikolai’s skill (or luck) allowed his defeat over the Black Baroness, though some whisper she too fell victim to the hypnotic power of his oversized codpiece.
  • Marya crushed Moergen, to the surprise of few. She next faced, and finally lost, to Braem’s masterful swordsmanship.
  • Nikolai found the mystic power of his codpiece had no effect on his fellow Knight from the south, who took him down with his own re-sharpened steel (though he would not take more than scars to remember the fight).

The final bout between Alistar and Braem’s would show that his little tricks and violent ways were nothing in the face of seasoned skill, adroit footwork and unshakable will. Braem masterfully won the day, winning the title of “Master of the Blade”.

Will the real Guilder Shade please stand up?

As the day’s festivities came to a close, most were surprised when Guilder Shade (whom they had perceived as having been their host all day) arrived at the head of a small war band. Throwing ahead of him a sack of goblin heads, he announced as to how he was sorry for the deception, but he had been off in Caerwil fighting the Soider and his forces. While the Spider had won the day, he had taken his fair share of his General’s heads. “Hahaha,” laughed the Green Knight, “we shall see how your bravado holds if my master chooses here to vacation next…”

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