Their bones would not hold apart against the waters, Kip. Jhod explained, using the large map on the central table of the meeting room to make his next counterargument. As for assaulting Swordhaven; that would still require them to cross the Shrike. The report we have is that they are marching west, fast, directly along the trade road. Perhaps they make for Cathrach-Crann. But we have people in towns and villages in our lands that also need our protection. Holding them at the bridge prevents them from ever truly entering our duchy.
A point well made Akiros; but that only leaves Vierkirche, which is well protected by Red Eye's pack. The mercenaries will want a headquarters either in Swordhaven or in Northgreen; the latter allows them easy access to one of the largest conflicts in Avistan (the northern Inner Sea region continent). I am sure Mayor Ilya can afford the time to keep them in line.
The Swordlords set Kardas up as an independent nation, not as their vassals and their contact with us has been in decline for quite some time. While Casimir's desire to negotiate with them is commendable, is it necessary? And will it only subject us to further demands from powers greater than ourselves?
Jhod paused in an effort to let his counsel sink in.
The Swordlord Council might take such an agreement as we will make with the Surtovans as a grave offence. Casimir, I would be ready to defend yourself in at least one duel if you do this.
A few moments after the hammer hit him and everything went black, Kalev awoke to Jhod Kavken and Akiros standing over him. Positive energy rushed through him as his shoulders re-located themselves with a painful crack and his bruises diminished. Akiros looked almost guilty as he offered the Marshall his hand.
Fenna's ability to speak with animals is not unlike a spell granted to me by our nation's patron- Erastil. However, an Owlbear is not an animal, although it is often mistaken as such. It has animal-like intelligence, but its origins are clearly not a natural thing. Owl-beaks and feathers on a bear's powerful physique- clearly the damn things were dreamt up by some sadistic Thassilonian wizard.
I was bearing a letter from Maegar Varn. He bade me speak of a direct trade road between us rather than the north road via Northgreen. He wished me to be his ambassador and live semi-permanently in Swordhaven. He wished to extend his sympathy for the attack on Swordhaven.
Jhod's hands released Lord Sirian's head, his arms shaking and his face pale from the powerful necromantic energies he had channelled.
I know your waiting on me for Jhod's Speak with Dead, but bear in mind your not waiting for a large update from me other than that at this point. Your back in your capital, what's your next move? Plan, discuss, be proactive please :).
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
The same evening you returned to Swordhaven, you eventually found yourselves stood in a small chamber of the castle, the magically preserved body of Lord Sirian laid out before you on a stone table. The door was locked and Jhod had spent almost ten minutes softly chanting the necromantic ritual required of him.
He is now knelt before Lord Sirian, clutching his wooden holy symbol with one hand and the second resting upon the corpse as he channelled his deity's power into it. His voice shakes from the harrowing power of the necromantic ritual as he intones-
It is done. Be warned- unless this man's soul was aligned in a similar manner to my own, he may resist your questions or tell you lies. The dead are also often vague or cryptic in their answers
Jhod also took the time to inform you as he began casting the spell, that you would not be able to ask if he wished to be raised, as the soul can only answer questions about what it knew in life.
You have a few minutes and five questions he reminded the Guardians as he maintained the tenuous connection to the afterlife.
Lets role-play out the questions if you don't mind.
It is done then. Perhaps if it will hasten their arrival Ricter, you'd consider making use of a Sending spell to quicken the message; assuming we find the scroll in question.
As for this talk of Kesten having an innate right to be raised as a member of the Statkari... are we sure that this is a precedent we want to establish? Are we becoming, or are we already, a meritocracy? The decision we make will become a precedent and eventually a Law. Though I have concerns, I believe that henceforth every member of the Statkari needs to record in writing what he wants done in the event of his or her demise. In this instance... I believe Kesten should be raised and Kundal reincarnated. Kesten has a family and children who must be considered in our decision, whereas Kundal has no such ties and is already somewhat accustomed to a form other than his own...
I firmly believe that if held in check by a firm agreement, the Hellknights can be valuable allies. I've said it before; i've seen Galt and its a cesspit of humanity, Statkari. No real sense of community, man turning upon fellow man at the drop of a hat. Bringing order to that land is a cause I could support.
Jhods eyes take on a sad quality.
I saw too many young men of our new nation die on the walls and far too many of Red Eyes pack. With all the warnings that have been levelled our way, we can't continue to rely purely on the strength of the Guardians- not if they are to continue claiming these lands.
Aiming to be a little less verbose now as Jacobs almost done with his round 2 submission and it won't be long before Fenna can post more again.
Meanwhile, at the battle of Kardasholme...
The jubilation of the men at the arrival of the wolves and their outright cheer as they almost killed Nagrundi had given way to grim despair as the troll leader brutally scattered the brave creatures and appeared to kill Red Eyes, Kardas' oldest ally in the forest. Little was said, but Kesten could see what they were thinking.
How can we hope to face such a foe?
Hargulka was moving back over to join his horde in assaulting the walls; a horde that still bore scorches and wounds but had clearly done a great deal of regenerating while Kesten ordered the men to recuperate.
It was at this low point in the mens morale that Jhod Kavken made his way up one of the flights of stairs and up onto the walls; and the stench he and the black-scaled Kobold accompanying him made sure they were given a wide berth to reach Kesten.
Don't ask. Please. Jhod said sullenly at Kesten's enquiring eyebrow, noting that his fine vestments were covered in filth and excrement.
Bring me the wounded; I still have some energy left before I am spent. Once i've done what I can for them... Hand me a longbow.
No change in strategy. Jhod Kavken heals 1HP of damage but is now out of channels.
Hargulka stowed his morningstar and began the climb up the walls alongside his troops, still hurt from the large worg's efforts in defeating him but confident in his regenerative powers. The beast had been tougher than most animals he had faced up against, but no match for a veteran fighter like himself. Hargulka decided there was little he needed to say to encourage his giants.
They were getting hungry.
Hargulka's strategy changed to Reckless.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26 Offence Check VS Kardas Militia
2 damage inflicted.
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14 Offence Check VS Kardas Militia
0 damage inflicted.
1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17 Offence check VS Hargulka
6 damage inflicted.
Kesten had realised that his men were more than capable of holding off the majority of the trolls. Although strong, they were clumsy and easy to dislodge from the walls; the militia's greater numbers and two hours of endlessly learning the best ways to defend against the tireless giants meant they were able to defend themselves against the assault with a great degree of success- particularly now that Jhod's keen eye with a bow was on their side; the High Priest proving that spending most of his time in the past few years preaching and administrating hadn't dulled his hunter's instincts.
The monstrously powerful Hargulka was a different matter altogether. The deadly troll had managed to get a foothold on the walls and had wreaked havoc among his lines; a few dozen men had been killed single handedly by the beast and although longspears and his and Kundal's best efforts were keeping him at bay after some initial heavy losses they had failed to dislodge him from the walls. Hargulka had paid for every inch of ground he had gained with his foul blood and there were several visible, unhealed wounds on his flesh; but Kesten surmised that the damn troll's heart (or whatever the foul giant had in its place) must be producing more to replace it. The blood of Kardas' fallen, spilt over the flagstones of the ramparts, could not be replaced so easily.
Kip Bendybrook wrote:
I would argue they are not 'free' people, by any means Kip. The bloody, soul-trapping guillotines they call the 'Final Blades' are something I have witnessed myself, and the clamour and roar of the mob as innocent people are slain and their souls trapped at the whim of a crowd is to this date, one of the things in my travels that truly haunts me the most. Galt is a sick country, so sick that to heal the community one would have to conquer it first and begin anew; at least the chaotic kingdoms of the River Kingdoms do have some sense of stability or consistency in their rule, thanks perhaps to the River Freedoms.
Some of the Statkari look like they have more to say once Ricter has left.
The following includes some Take 10 Sense Motive.
Your initial words are met with approval from the Statkari, in particular Jhod who tells you about the assassination attempt upon his life in detail. You notice he places a great deal of emphasis on the Fey-Blooded halfling sorceror who was recently made a Guardian after potentially saving Jhod's life- striking a blow against Grigori's plans and shattering a cult of Gyronna in the process. He is clearly trying to endear the sorceror to you by pointing out his strides against mutual enemies, so as to dampen your distaste of all things Fey. You are given permission and encouragement to pursue Grigori and this cult if you are so inclined by Vaysh, but Karina seems a little uncomfortable at the prospect of an interview (although she consents). You are asked to use non-lethal means if violence becomes necessary, but may use any means to take down Grigori himself.
Vaysh seems unconvinced by your warnings of the Fey but she smiles and replies diplomatically-
Perhaps we will learn much from each other, Hellknight. Let us talk no more of politics for now and get to know each other a little better. Here, try this wild boar- the forests of the Narlmarches are famous for it.
The important RP element of the dinner is over- your welcome to continue conversing with the Statkari or enquire more about them. I can hand-waive the rest of the evening if you wish or you can declre your actions after dinner finishes. It will be 10PM.
Ricter Vorsk wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
Your compliments are generally met with smiles and enthusiasm, and you feel your attempts to be charming have met with moderate success; you certainly seem to have made a good initial impression; the kobold Sootscales seems to have taken a great shine to you in particular. You don't feel like you've won any ground with Vaysh or Jhod though.
Going to OOC & Bold your quoted text as quotes don't work within spoilers.
"The power of the order of the chain is confined entirely to Cheliax. Our mission is to uphold the social order, but that is a fairly simple task in modern Cheliax. My master, Lictor Uro Adom, has turned his gaze east to the chaos of the river kingdoms and, especially, Galt. I hail from Galt so he sent me here to try to foster an alliance with any pockets of law here. Kardas is the ideal candidate.
I will not mince my words: the ultimate goal of my order is to use Kardas as a staging point to restore order in Galtan cities. We do not seek your aid in such ventures, merely the oppertunity to build barrackses and purchase supplies without being hindered by ignorant local authorities. In return, you will be able to call upon the not-inconsiderable might of the hellknights to protect you land and enforce it's laws. What's more, you will be protected from Galtan reprisals by the bulk of the river kingdoms. We will build our forces here, but marshal them in the territories of one of the disposessed Galtan nobles that wait on this side of the baorder. Their territories, though, cannot supoport our attempts to build an invasion force.
That is a long, long way down the line however. For the time being my purpose in Kardas is a personal one. I have only just attained the rank of Hellknight. I hope to be instrumental in the Lictor's plan, but first I must prove my mettle against the vile fey creatures that haunt this land. Even if you do not wish to ally with the hellknights, you would have my gratitude if you were to allow me to lend my might to aiding the Guardians in bringing the southern regions under the control of Swordhaven."
Your careful explanation and straightforward honesty do much to bring the favor of the Statkari on you. Vaysh says, smiling at you for the first time. The situation in Galt is a terrible one; and I fear that Brevoy may end up in the same kind of state if this coming war goes badly or extends too long. Much of what you say has merit and Kardas could potentially be very interested in such an alliance.
Vaysh's beautiful face hardens a little. One thing you said did alarm me a little though, Hellknight. We have met few vile fey in our time here; most of the Fey we have met are kind and generous. We have had some disagreements from time to time, but they respect our power and our compassion and are willing to fall in line to our rules when it comes to matters that concern our kingdom. We mostly live and let live. But- we have had reports of Fey with more nefarious purposes in the uncharted sections of the forest to the west- and even a hostile chromatic dragon. I will prevail upon my husband to allow you to join his expedition when he eventually explores it but i beseech you; please do not harm any Fey allied with Kardas. If you want our respect and friendship, a powerful warrior like yourself could also potentially assist us with our Troll troubles.
"The Baron himself sounds like a fine statesman and, though I have little experience in such matters, I'm sure his offer of trade between your two kingdoms can only be a good thing. On the other hand he sees fit to have Gorum as the deity of choice of his nation. Gorum's creed is one of war for war's sake, sending men to the slaughter with hollow talk of glory. You are all educated, though - I'm sure you see the dangers of having Gorumites waiting on your boarders. Perhaps they are under the Barons control, however. Perhaps, though, he uses the creed to improve the effectiveness of his army without letting it's chaotic ideology interfer with his decision making. I hear Gorum cults are a fine tool for motivating rank and file troopers."
Akiros nods approvingly at your words and several other Statkari 'mmm' in agreement. The Warden says- A well reasoned argument. This had not occured to us, I admit. Thankyou. Sootscales, please try to ascertain Varn's own religious beliefs and extent of his military forces with your agents at your next opportunity.
"You say it was barded? Then it is clearly a weapon deployed by one of your enemies. Perhaps the Guardians will uncover clues as to who made use of such a beast when they clear out it's lair. Do you suppose they've reached it by now? Perhaps I could join them if I rode with all possible haste, if they travel slowly and map their surroundings as you say. This doesn't sound like a trivial fight, even for warriors as mighty as they."
When I last heard from Malthir, they were close to its lair he believed. Your offer is kind but you would arrive too late to influence now I think. Vaysh answers. Jhod seems to be thinking more about what you said initially about it being a weapon. He speaks, slowly and carefully crafting his words with purpose.
I know more of the Order of the Chain than the rest of the Statkari I would imagine; I have travelled and lived in Cheliax for a time. Perhaps your unique abilities to sniff out chaos cold assist Kardas and allow the Order of the Chain to apprehend a famous revolutionary in the process. This would be a mutually beneficial arrangement that could also help to convince the other Statkari and the nation of a possibility of an alliance between us.
Kardas has two enemies of note. The first is an orator turned miscreant named Grigori who seeks to spread chaos in Kardas. He has attempted to turn the people against us and he used enchantment magic to compel my assistant Karina and use her in an assassination plot against me. We do not know his agenda but he leaves chaos in his wake wherever we find him- and he apparently has ties to another enemy of ours; those responsible for my attempted murder- the cult of Gyronna. We believe he is still operating in the city somewhere.
These bitter she-witches have made it clear they oppose Kardas and all it stands for. Perhaps apprehending Grigori will lead us to them, I do not know. They are dangerous in their own right and the River Kingdoms have been the seat of their power for hundreds of years.
Malthir Al Dagon wrote:
I... I am shocked, Malthir. She must have had to drain my blood as I slept... I cannot believe that she would sink to such depravity. I believe Grigori must have here under powerful enchantment magic for such a thing to have come to pass. I... I must reflect on this. Fenna, could you see what else you can find out about her fate and motivation when you get a chance?
Placing a hand on Kip's shoulder, the older priest says sternly.
I am in your debt, Kip. You are one of us now, that much is certain. I will find a way to repay you, I feel I must honour the risk you and Sootscales took.
Your liberal attitudes are very well, but have you heard of the town of Heibarr? Until a few hundred years ago, it was one of the most propperous and greatest communities in the River Kingdoms. The worshippers of Gyronna managed to inspire civil war into the town, and soon every inhabitant within the town was dead or had fled. The towns ruins remain haunted, forever doomed to live out the carnage of the war over and over, never being released. Priestesses of Gyronna now make pilgrimages to the place, to pay homage to the death and carnage sown there. I will defer to your wisdom Malthir; you haven't led us wrong before. But a Cult of Gyronna is a dangerous thing to leave untended to. I believe with all my heart that it should be stamped out as soon as possible.
My Baron, I must advise against such soft measures. Gyronna is an accursed deity of the River Kingdoms, and an evil influence upon our community. Cults of Gyronna must be stamped out as quickly as possible, for they are an ancient poison of these lands... Jhod says, clearly worried at Fenna and Malthir's words.
I'll see what I can do then Malthir. It shall be as you command, in the name of both Erastil and Iomedae. May this fledgeling nation bask in their glory and grace.
By the time this event kicks in, you haven't had time to craft anything- BUT, you have had time to level. Note for accounting purposes, reincarnating Tig will cost a single BP. Without further ado...
A week after the council meeting, rumours begin to grow to prominence in Swordhaven, to the point where the citizens bring their worries to Fenna, led by the flirtatious maiden Lily Teskerton. Apparently, a secretive cult to the hag-goddess Gyronna has taken root in the city. As a goddess of hatred, extortion and spite, it is rightfully seen as a threat to the primarily Erastil-worshipping community. Cults of Gyronna are feared by rulers throughout the River Kingdoms, as tales abound of communities tearing each other apart and at each others throats under their nefarious and sublte influence.
You have gained one point of unrest from the rumours thus far...
Those attracted to Gyronna's cults are often adulterous wives, embittered prostitutes and spurned lovers...
Previous Check Passed + DC15 Knowledge Local or DC15 Diplomacy Check to Gather Information:
There are about two dozen women in the city who comfortably fit this profile.
Malthir Al Dagon wrote:
The idea has its merits Casimir, but Jhod, Fenna, what do you think the family would say to our idea? They would still be effectively loosing their son?
They have already lost him... But the idea has merit. Allowing those who have fallen to continue to serve Kardas if they wish is good for the community. Now, Tig is too young to serve, his body too small. But reincarnate will create him a new body in the prime of life- given a year's intense training, we could have him ready to serve Kardas.
I have met Kip on several occasions, and can attest to his good nature. By all means however, have Sootscales look into his background. Our kobold friend here has began to put on weight again and would appreciate the hard work... Jhod says, finishing on a stern note and fixing the overweight Sootscales with a glare that encompasses the large second helping of breakfast the kobold is putting away. Sootscales responds with a grin.
*True Thread Resurrection*
Sorry for the wait guys, you all rock. Lets get this moving again.
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Malthir, you ensure Jhod will receive the gold at a later date, as he insists on treating you right away. The ritual takes ten minutes of complex and elaborate spellcasting, and Jhod hesitates several times to pray to Erastil for guidance. Soft blue light slowly envelops Jhod's hand, and in the glowing light you see whispers of movement; a lone hunter stalking a deer in the Narlmarches, a stag headed man chasing resolutely after a great white stag, and your own city of Swordhaven; a fine community after Erastil's own heart. Jhod lays his hand upon the blackness clinging to your flesh, and it disappates harmlessly. A little drained, Jhod staggers back, before inspecting the wound and nodding in satisfaction.
The damage to your soul has been repaired, Malthir. Perhaps a drink by a warm fire with me now? We have much to discuss with the wedding plans and the cathedral...
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26 Knowledge: Religion on Jhod's behalf.
Jhod is confident that a scroll of restoration will rid Malthir of the evil energy within his body, but to use it he will have to use a sprinkling of diamond dust that he held back for this purpose, as well as the cost of the scroll itself. The diamond dust represents purity of body and soul. The whole ritual will cost Malthir 1,700 gold pieces...
What has befallen him? I do keep a stash of scrolls spare for emergencies, but I will need reimbursement. The spellcasting I will not charge for, as always.
He is stirring up the people, attempting to turn them against us. He spoke to hundreds yesterday, and he said he planned to speak again this evening by the monument of Edric the Valiant. The murmurings of dissent are not good for the community, nor is outright critiscism of the leadership... He has been calling for the Guardians of the Greenbelt to stand down from their leadership positions and admit their incompetence.
I have been seeing to the people's needs in Fenna's abscence. In particular, a pair of distraught parents continually petition our aid. Their son Tyg Tannersen has a hobby of collecting pets from the riverbanks of the Tuskwater- a habit they have done their best as authority figures to stop. However, he snuck away to do it again a few days ago- and never returned. His parents beg for you to look for him in your travels while they prepare themselves for an expedition with some volunteer hunters- they plan to start looking themselves within a couple of weeks.
Jhod Kavken has performed his duties stoically, balancing the faith of Erastil with the tenets of Iomedae and ensuring both faiths are well represented in Kardas, as well as ensuring that foul religions such as Lamashtu and Zon-Kuthon do not spring up in Kardas. He does report that the worship of Gyronna the Hag is still happening in secret, although hes doing his best to quell it. Jhod is yearning to build a grand cathedral at the site of his temple, and urges the Guardians to finish expanding there as soon as possible.
Feels a bit like dragons den :D.
At Jhod's suggestion (who seems keen on Erastil-worshipping Loy), the couple are called forward once more to clarify what kind of investment they are after. Eventually, it is ascertained that they would like a 5BP investment.
Obviously 5BP is a player term, but what they are asking for is equivalent.
I propose the name Edrion, in honor of our fallen comrade.
A murmur of agreement ripples across the council, particularily from Sootscales and Mikmek.
Assuming Fenna and co. don't have an issue with that name the NPC's are definitely agreeable.
As discussion turns to the site of the capital city, Jhod raises his hand to make a counter-point.
Malthir makes some excellent points in favour of the Stag Lord's fort site being used as a capital. I would also like to point out that our temple is almost finished in the forest- and with a significant contribution of resources from what we start with, we could even upgrade it to a cathedral; a mighty structure devoted to both Erastil and Iomedae, and a sign of their partnership in their lands.
Malthirs points are correct- its an ideally centralised location that will give a +2 bonus on Economy, Loyalty and Stability as well as providing a half-price castle site. Jhod's proposed site at the temple of the elk will include a Temple for free, or for the difference in cost between a temple and cathedral, will grant you a cathedral; a top tier building.
Putting a post from Oleg up in a moment.
The council meeting takes place at Oleg's. The trading post is closed for the evening as Svetlana and Vaysh serve a delicious stew. Water has been provided, but at Jhod's suggestion no alcohol has been provided. Kesten Garess, Kressle, Jhod Kavken, Akiros, Red Eyes, Oleg, Sootscales (and Ambassador Mikmek), and of course Vaysh and Svetlana themselves. Red Eyes has been served a serving large enough for ten men, and eats greedily as Jhod calls the group to attention.
Also in attendance is the half-brother of Yelena, a wizard chosen to represent Orlovsky and Restov's interests in the kingdom. So far, he has sat quietly, studying each of you in turn. Yelena returned back to the Orlovsky estate, her charge Edric having perished.
Introductions are made, niceties are exchanged, and trepidatious strokes of Red-Eyes are risked. Jhod eventually clears his throat, rising to his feet.
Restov's pioneers, citizens and building materials are soon to arrive within the week from our generous sponsors- the Swordlords of Restov and their main ally, House Orlovsky. It is my understanding that although the Swordlords may continue to provide incentive to rid these lands of peril, we are to be an autonomous kingdom and officially will have no ties to them- not an uncommon thing here in the River Kingdoms. The first order of business will be to settle on a name for the kingdom, and then decide where the capital (which we shall also have to name)- the heart of the aforementioned kingdom- will reside. I shall begin the process by making a simple suggestion. I propose we name the kingdom Bryskov.
I have a bit of time before my next lecture so i'll post Jhod's reply to Malthir.
The Guardians are made welcome in the temple. The debris on the grounds has now mostly been cleared, and work has begun on cleaning the temple front and restoring the steps leading up to it. Karina, Kressle and a few of the workers take the time to greet you fondly, asking after your travels. As the strongest in the camp, Kressle is thoroughly exhausted from the heavy lifting she is doing, but she seems to be very satisfied with her work. Karina seems to have been appointed as Jhod's personal assistant, acting as a supervisor and taking notes wherever she goes.
Restoring this temple is my divine mandate from Erastil, I can feel it. Of course you shall have my full support should you found a kingdom here- and I will serve in nany capacity you assign me- though my strengths are as a clergyman. This site could be a fine location for a city too you know...
Fenna Thistleswade wrote:
I am glad you were able to avenge them- thankyou Priestess, Guardians. Make yourself at home here, you must be exhausted from your travels. Karina is preparing an evening meal with her sister and of course you may join us.
I have lectures today and then my RL KM game so won't be able to update for some time. Probably best to assume you will be spending the night here and to assume you reach Oleg's by mid-afternoon tomorrow. As for the item's, anything with a base value of 1,200GP or more is really beyond Oleg's ability to handle- you'll have opportunities to sell items either for BP or for GP in the downtime between chapter 1 and 2- assuming you increase the base value of one of your cities high enough.
Malthir i'll respond to your private chat later too.
Fenna Thistleswade wrote:
Jhod smiles as he sees you approach, although he is clearly somewhat drained.
The work goes well. With some help from a few of the men who claim to have some skill with stone, we hope to have the temple fully restored within the next six months. For now, it is a haven for animals and for man- feel free to use the place as a stop-gap between exploring and Olegs. Thank you kindly for your offer, but we have everything in hand here. Rest yourself in this sacred place- and if any of your companions have wounds, the waters here are still charged with Old Deadeye's magic.
Malthir Al Dagon wrote:
Jhod doesn't want to accompany you, he's busy converting locals and convincing particularily devout worshippers of Erastil to join him in restoring the temple once you clear it out. Kressle is in good enough shape to head out with you.
On a purely OOC note, heading straight for the temple means you can offload Kressle and Karina sooner- this mentoring thing is more of a long-term involvement, i'd rather not have her DMPCing along with you, so using her as a guardian for the temple site is ideal.
In response to Edric and Vaysh, Jhod shakes his head sadly.
I apologise Guardians, I had no wish to sow dissent among you with my words or actions. I believe that between the two of you, Kressle will have a fine pair of mentors. Why not both of you divide the duty between you?
Any other business at Oleg's, or shall I advance the game to you guys heading out to restore this temple for Jhod?
Malthir your ceremony is well attended, particularily by Kesten's men who seem to have taken a shine to you.
Sir Edric Orlavsky wrote:
A little worse for wear from last night's festivities Edric adds little to the trial. Seeing that the masterful words of his companions left very little to elaborate on, he remains quiet during the testimonies. At Jhod's sentencing of Kressel he nods in approval, though the manner in which the priests ended the trial does cause him to wince. When a mentor for the ex-bandit is called for among the Guardians, Edric finds himself stepping forward; the Knight catches himself though and looks to his companions before speaking up.
Jhod smiles encouragingly.
Edric, you would like to shoulder this responsibility in the name of the Guardians?
Jhod nods as Casimir finishes his oratory, and although Casimir's words seemed to lack the weight of Malthir's fire or Fenna's serene insights, the crowd listen intently, sensing that the Bard's words perhapy carry the most weight with Jhod, given Kressle's actions towards him.
For a time, Jhod asks further questions of Kressle- asking if she would be willing to fight against her old master the Stag Lord, if she has given any useful information willingly to the Guardians of the Greenbelt. Once Jhod is satisfied with her answers, he falls silent for some time, as a hushed and tense anticipation fills the trading post...
I have come to my decision, provided the Guardians of the Greenbelt are willing to share some responsibility in this woman's fate. I believe that Kressle is both able and willing to redeem herself, and become a force for good in this land- under the careful tutelage of a mentor. Will one of you shoulder this burden, Guardians?
Kressle's face bursts into emotion, her impassive features breaking out into emotion as she begins to weep with joy and relief.
You may not wish to celebrate yet Kressle, for tempered with mercy we must also have punish you for your crimes. Jhod says sternly to the woman.
Firstly, although you say you bear Kressle no ill will Casimir, are you sure you do not wish to see her punished for her acts towards you? If you are sure, I lay no charge for her crimes towards you.
Secondly, I order all of Kressle's possessions to immediately become the property of Oleg Leveton, effective immediately. I charge Oleg to replace this woman's master-crafted handaxes and master-crafted chain shirt with items of standard quality and a longbow and twenty arrows so that she may ply her trade as a hunter or contribute to the success of the Guardians, as the Guardians wish. Kressle's property is funded by banditry, and I entrust Oleg to ensure that her ill-gotten gains are returned to the original owners or sold on for the benefit of this community.
In addition to this, I sentence Kressle to twenty lashes of the whip, to be carried out immediately and publicly. Oleg, as one the most injured parties in this trial you will deliver this punishment, under the supervision of Kesten Garess.
My Third Decree- I forbid Kressle to ever again enter the trading post of Oleg and his wife, unless specifically invited inside by Oleg or Svetlana. Never again shall you upset these two fine citizens of the Greenbelt and bring terror to their home.
Finally, I charge Kressle with the task of recovering the wedding ring belonging to Svetlana. Failure to procure this ring by the end of Arodus will mean that Kressle must give 50% of all her earnings to Svetlana until the value of the ring has been re-paid. The theft of a symbol of holy matrimony is among the most serious of crimes against a community.
Jhod fixes Kressle a steely glare, and the middle-aged man seems to grow in stature as he rises to his feet, towering over the ex-bandit menacingly as he finishes the trial.
Know that should you try and escape your punishment Kressle, that I shall personally hunt you down and put an arrow in your spine. A clergyman of Erastil is nothing if not a skilled hunter, and you shall be mere prey to me.
Jhod seems to calm down somewhat, and regains his composure.
That said, should you abide by the terms of this trial in all ways, you shall be welcomed with open arms as a member of the community, although whether you will be welcome in Oleg's post is entirely up to Svetlana and the man himself.
Jhod utters one final proclamation before returning to his seat, in the manner of a ritual.
In the name of Old Deadeye, I do so pronounce my judgement upon Kressle, former bandit of the Stag Lord. Let Erastil guide this wayward soul back to the light.
Fenna Thistleswade wrote:
The murmuring of the crowd of onlookers dies away as the serene priestess finishes her testimony, pondering her words.
Thankyou Fenna. So from your testimony we have gathered that Kressle appeared to want to stop further bloodshed at the river camp.
Leaning back into the large chair brought out to him by Oleg, Jhod takes a moment to mull over what has been said so far.
Kressle nearly killed Casimir in this fight, and his life was in her hands, as his lifeblood spilt out over the river. Of all of Kressle's crimes, this was likely the greatest. She spilt the blood of a brave man from Brevoy, seeking to restore a semblance of peace to this untamed land.
I ask you Casimir, what say you on this matter? If any truly have cause to wish for Kressle to be severely punished, it is yourself and Mister Leveton, and we have already heard from our dear host.
I am also eager to hear the... less embellished version of the fight against Tuskgutter and Kressle's role in tracking and fighting the creature. Edric, Vaysh, will one of you oblige me?
Malthir Al Dagon wrote:
Jhod smiles at Malthir, and allows Malthir his words. Kressle tells her tale in much the same way she told the group. Malthir's words seem to carry weight with the people gathered to watch, and some sympathy for Kressle is clearly present in the crowds.
I would hope to be able to stay in the Greenbelt, and help this place become a safer place where horrors like the attack on my sister and I could not come to pass. I would hope to be given the chance to use my axes for good.
Jhod waits for Kressle to finish before addressing the Paladin.
Thankyou, Malthir. For a Paladin to believe that this woman can step back to the light... This is a strong indication that perhaps Kressle's punishment can be lessened. For now though, my question still stands, Guardians. For my benefit and the benefit of the crowd, can you re-tell the story of your attack upon Kressle's camp?
Summarising is fine.
With everyone gathered, and any spectators having been searched for hidden weapons, the trial begins. Most of the spectators have been gathered onto the battlements, and the Guardians and Kesten's group are the only ones bearing arms, stood in the centre of the courtyard near Kressle. The tough woman stands tall and proud, despite some jeering from the crowd. Jhod swiftly silences the jeerers with a stern glare, clears his throat, and then the middle-aged man begins-
Greetings all- bless you in the name of Erastil and Iomedae. We gather here today to give the bandit leader Kressle a fair trial, before the people of this community. Oleg, you have our thanks for allowing us to use your trading post for the purpose of justice and the greater good.
First, we shall ascertain the extent of Kressle's crimes. Kressle was a leutenant of the Stag Lord, a known Bandit Lord operating in this region, and responsible for the Thorn River Camp in the forest- managing a group of roughly a dozen bandits. Kressle, is this correct.
To begin this trial, any who have suffered at the hands of Kressle and her band of bandits please come forward and testify. You must enter the Zone of Truth I have placed here, or I will be forced to assume your testimony is unreliable- if you have only the truth to tell, then you will have nothing to fear from entering the Zone.
A few of the local hunters testify against Kressle, mostly for minor crimes of theft and extortion. The main testimony against Kressle comes from Oleg, who emotionally tells the assembled onlookers of the terror she brought to his trading post three months ago when she started demanding tribute. He tells everyone of her laughing threats to cut off his arm, and his fear at what her second-in-command Happs might do to Svetlana if he didn't co-operate. He tells of her extorting his trade goods at the point of a hatchet, and taking Svetlana's ring- which has now been lost, possibly forever.
So Kressle terrorised you and extorted your trade goods, and stole your lovely wife's wedding ring then Oleg? Serious crimes. I would like to ask the Guardians of the Greenbelt to add to her list of crimes and add their thoughts to Kressle's prosecution. As the chartered representatives of the Swordlords of Restov in this area, their words carry great weight in this trial. Will any of you step forward and speak?
Stroking his chin, Jhod pauses for a moment before posing another question.
Your group also atacked Kressle's camp. For my benefit, can one of you re-tell the story of this attack for me?
Before the evening truly starts in earnest, the group ask Jhod how he plans to handle the trial.
Presiding as the Judge over this trial, I will be calling upon several people to give their account of Kressle's crimes and the extent of them; particularily Oleg and Svetlana. In her defence, I will be asking several questions of Kressle, her sister, and the Guardians of the Greenbelt- to determine the extent of her attempts at redemption thus far, and whether they believe she will fall into her old habits if left to her own devices.
The sentence for unrepentant banditry is stated very clearly on your charter is it not? Sword and Rope... The Zone of Truth and Kressle's defence will be mostly to determine if Kressle is truly repentant; once I am confident of this, we will begin to find a fitting punishment for her.
The large crowd of people give a hearty cheer at Edric's toast. The mixture of Oleg's recent successes, the excitement of Tuskgutter's death and the promise of a tale, and the rumours of a bandit trial tomorrow have given the local hunters, trappers, loggers and refugees plenty to gossip about- and Oleg and Svetlana are incredibly busy keeping everyones tankards full. More than ever, the group are seen as local heroes, and even the strangely surly Edric is treated like family by the people here.
If Jhod is asked about this:
Jhod says a Zone of Truth is frequently used by servants of Erastil, and not just for the person on trial, but also on witnesses and the judge himself is also included in the zone. While not foolproof, especially as it can be resisted by strong-willed individuals, it is used to attempt to help eliminate blatant falsehoods and lies from the trials. It is not relied upon to the extent that a trial will totally rely on it, its seen as a level of insurance. Hes happy to conduct a trial without a Zone of Truth or contribute in any way the group feel is necessary.
I am certain of it. I was not comfortable speaking of my past to you at that point, but you will be doing me a great favour if you can deal with the beast in your travels. I would make all my spellcasting services available to you for no charge. Do not have the same misgivings about this beast that you had about the Boar; this creature is not a natural animal, and Erastil has shown me the beast is cursed.
Edric i'll have the letter in my next post, didn't want it in Jhod's- making the second post now :).
Malthir Al Dagon wrote:
Met the DC exactly ;).
Your questions are fair young warrior. I am a travelling Priest of Erastil, with all the wisdom that my many years implies. Fenna has seen me bring comfort and heal many folk at this very trading post over the past few days. I have served as a Judge many times as a Cleric of Old Deadeye; a deity that has always favoured Law and Good idealologies. I also have the advantage of having no bias in this particular issue.
Jhod seems very reluctant to speak about his own goals, but finally relents with a drawn out sigh.
I made an error a few years ago. I helped form a lynch mob against a traveller our community was convinced was a werewolf responsible for several killings... But the true killer was caught shortly afterwards- a cunning and sinister Worg. An investigation by my superiors was carried out, and I lost both my status and my divine gifts. I was spared because the traveller turned out to be a bandit spy, but I was excommunicated.
Jhod pauses, his eyes in pain at the memories.
You must understand- My home is in Galt; such activities are common and the clergy of Erastil do their best to ensure that only evildoers are lynched in their communities.
That was a few years ago. I have been seeking my redemption since, and have learnt not to make hasty judgements. I have felt a tugging towards this place for several months, along with the return of my clerical powers. Upon arriving at Oleg's I had a dream of a temple deep in the forest once dedicated to Erastil. To complete my own redemption, I must restore this temple to its former glory. I found the temple yesterday, but it is guarded by a vicious, angry bear that I could not overcome.