Valeska visits the Orc Shaman in custody.
There was a fire demon in the old prison, we've taken care of it. This area will be secured and the citzens will thrive.
Broker a peace with your tribe and they can thrive, as well with you as leader. She does not wait for an answer, letting him sleep on it.
Faun was kind of hoping to hear more of what Edgrin had to say; but if that is all he was going to give...
Faun and Ornmeil'lon will go out to sleep near the edge of the woods. When the sky shows hints of an impending dawn, Faunlara's eyes open, and she meditates until sunrise.
She finds a nearby bush with 2d4 ⇒ (2, 4) = 6 berries on it, and she cast Goodberry. They plump up a bit and look as delicious as that ancient forbidden fruit.
With a satisfied look on her face, she drops the berries into the pouch on her hip and she begins heading back towards the Outward Inn. As she approaches town, her face becomes impassive and impossible to read.
Create Water, Detect Magic, Guidance, Light
Aspect of the Falcon x1
Climbing Beanstalk x1
Sickening Entanglement x1
Burst of Nettles x1
"You bested some of my tribe's best warriors," he grumbles in Orcish. "It would be an insult to their honor if you could not best a lone demon."
He pauses, clearing away a gurgling of phlegm in his throat.
"Still you chatter about peace? You would have me as hound on a leash, braying for peace? As soon as my kin see me and know my failure, they will put me to death. And not a noble warrior's death. It will be slow. Painful. Loud."
In the quickly deserted square before the inn, Edgrin cautiously approaches you.
"Thank you again for saving me, m'lady," he stammers. His eyes fearfully linger upon dark stains in the gravel and dust where his former friend was put down, but he struggles to pull his eyes back to you.
"I am the son of a shepherd, not some adventurer or lofty noble. I never would've imagined I'd deserve such a curse upon my heart," he sighs, his eyes straying again. "I'll turn myself towards more wholesome pursuits. I won't throw away my life on callow trifles."
The cock crows in Ravengro, ushering in a clear morning. Not a mote of fog or even a wisp of gray cloud discolors the breaking day.
The only bleakness comes when word reaches your ear, brought by wagging tongues around the Outward Inn or Laughing Demon, that Alain was buried in secret overnight, attended only by his family and Father Grimburrow. His grave goes unmarked for fear that superstitious locals might defile his resting place.
There is little time to worry about this matter, however, for the town is abuzz over a new, peerless visitor. A rider upon a richly caparisoned horse approaches from the east. As she draws closer, you see that her livery is a faded purple, bearing the emblem of a black tower cradled by twisted antlers and surrounded by crimson stars.
kn nobility: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
The royal crest of Ustalav. They likely bear official tidings from the court of Prince Aduard Ordranti III.
She must be exhausted.
Valeska moves to approach the herald, hailing them.
Greetings, traveler and welcome to Ravengro! Come, arriving at dawn you must be tired. I'll arrange for refreshments... Did you ride alone, then?
She looks behind the rider for others and seems genuinely concerned.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
I wasn't sure what to call the griffon, but I think I'm gonna take a page from geralt's book and keep Valere for him. Like the name, and its humorous, at least to me.
Kain spends the very early morning finishing the final touches on a new saddle for Valere Silverwing, his griffon and giving it a test run. He notes that the saddle's design and his weight combine with Valere's still younger physique keep the griffon from performing the movement necessary for practical aerial combat and attempting to have him fly in battles would likely only hinder them both and his wings would prove something to get used to further. He makes sure his Stallion is well fed on his retirement day however. He adds the old heraldry of his homes order to it as well. I had put this away, leave the past in the past and all that. but.. it just feels right. After all, Valere here is the newest recruit heh. he chuckles from his own thoughts.
know. nobility: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Upon seeing the rider, Kain urges Valere forward, the banner of his old home's order of knights flying in the breeze. Kain gives a small salute
Good morning, I am glad you are well after your journey. I am eager to hear what news you bring us.
The royal herald registers shades of surprise as the party approaches, alongside the Ravengro residents. She is visibly pleased to receive an unexpectedly warm, polite greeting in such an out of the way, rural corner of Ustalav. However, this shifts to plain surprise when Kain marches out his young griffon. Silverwing's presence guarantees the cavalier has an unobstructed path forward, as the Ravengro folk are no more used to the sight of a griffon than the herald.
Drawing upon well-studied but ill-practiced decorum, the herald fumbles in her saddlebag and fishes forth a scroll. She assumed a rigid posture to command authority and speaks to the assembled crowd.
"People of Ravengro and Canterwall, I bear a message from Caliphas."
She unfurls the scroll and reads in a commanding voice.
"Be it so known that the County of Canterwall in its present form shall henceforth be split in two. The lands north of Lake Lias and the Vistear River shall be recognized as the County of Tamrivena, succeeding the laws of the old county and remaining under the stewardship of its Paltinate council.
The lands south of this border, extending west to Castle Andachi, shall retain the name of Canterwall but otherwise shall constitute a new county to be placed under the lordship of one chosen by, but not from among, the governing council of Ravengro - thus acknowledged as the seat of this new county. This new lord shall owe fealty to the rightful monarch of the Immortal Principality of Ustalav and strive to protect the land under their aegis against all depredations mundane, magical, and foul.
"Thus is decreed by the divine will of Prince Aduard Ordranti III, so witnessed by the principality council, overseen by Royal Advisor Diauden, upon this 23rd day of Pharast, in the year of Absalom Reckoning 4720."
Even if they do not understand all the nuances and implications, the message is plain enough to elicit gasps and murmurs from the crowd.
"That is a very nice horse carrying you. And a sturdy one it must be, bringing you out here." Shontar says, while gently petting the horse.
Shontar and Chao listen carefully and try to understand the message in its very formal language.
Not knowing enough about the political situation of this area, Shontar tilts his head to the person (insert random Ravengro inhabitant) next to him and whispers. "So what does that mean for you guys, exactly? Is that good or bad news?"
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Kain raises an eyebrow.
I don't think that is quite what was expected,though fairly close, more or less. As for the new lord, likely a very difficult position for the one chosen to it, and likely one of many expectations.
Kain waits for the thoughts of others, particularly the members on the council, but when none come forth readily he say
That is quite the proclamation, I do not particularly envy the one chosen to the position, as many a difficult task lay ahead for them. Also, excuse my asking, as I am not familiar with all of the rules and implications of court but... what does that mean for the existing council after their choice? Would that by up to the new lord to decide? Would they remain as a council to the lord, or would they be more or less retired? .
He turns to glance towards the council members.
Reaching Ravengro proper with Ornmeil'lon behind her just as the unknown rider dismounts her horse, she listens with silent intensity.
She says nothing, as she wasn't exactly familiar with many of the humans political jargon.
The shepherd at Shontar's shoulder nods his head in approval, leaning upon his crook.
"It means we'll finally have a right lord looking after us again," he drawls, chewing upon a sprig. "Someone who'll actually take action, instead of sitting off in the city while orcs run rampant."
The four council members are united in their surprise, but their faces wear differing shades of surprise. Hearthmount, the senior council member, strokes his broad chin thoughtfully as though a keen idea occurs to him.
Straelock, a woman born and raised in Ravengro, stands with arms crossed, unperturbed by the news. She leans over and asks her fellow councilwoman, Faravan, for clarification since she does not quite grasp all the complications of this proclamation.
Faravan shakes her head, clearly dismayed by the news. You don't hear what she says to Straelock, but her face makes it clear that she doesn't approve.
Lastly, Councilman Muricar sidles over to the herald and asks to review the documents. However, you quickly notice that he seems more interested in inspecting the herald, comely despite being trailworn, more than any missives she carries.
The council members withdraw to the town hall to discuss these pressing matters before convening the rest of Ravengro to hear their decision.
The herald dismounts her barded steed, her face still registering a bit of confusion.
"I must admit, I was not expecting to be greeted so cordially," she replies to Valeska. "I've been told that people outside the cities are particularly superstitious and cold towards outsiders. Furthermore, out here in the Palatinates, I was simply hoping they would not greet me, as a representative of the prince's court, with spears and pitchforks."
The herald excuses herself for a moment to consult a local about feed and grooming for her horse, leading the animal by reins of high quality leather. She then returns to speak with you, finding more comfort among your party than the locals.
"My understanding is that a group of heroes have recently made waves around here," the herald explains to Faun. "The prince likely has them in mind as lords and ladies for this new county. Giving the council the illusion of choice will make the edict appear less heavy-handed and make them more amenable to the transition."
I suppose as much as the central and higher governmental body feels incompetence in distant states, the locals may feel marginalized.
I know nothing about waves, but when faced with a difficult situation, one must endeavor to rise to the occasion. This decree seems a balance of sorts.
All the torches and pitchforks must have been used against the Orc war party and undead, fresh out.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Kain nods before responding. I can see why the prince would want to endear himself to someone with the reputation of a hero. It is nice to have powerful allies. Though It does seem a risk. The council could very well place a relative in the position of power if they desired, and if these heroes are more opportunists than heroes it could bode ill. Though, I suppose the latter is more than a little unlikely. And you are not entirely wrong in your worries. The people here are more superstitious than many, and quite wary of strangers. Though I believe that once they see the good intentions of folk, and what they can provide for the town. They become much more accepting. Not the most empathetic of qualities, but a practical one. Ond do you think about all of this? On a personal level, if you have any thoughts on it.
"Oh?" the herald quietly exclaims, caught off guard by the question. "It may seem peculiar, given my station, but I usually keep my own head out of courtly intrigues, lest it then wind up in a noose or upon the headsman's block."
She looks around and remembers her present distance from court, putting her somewhat more at ease.
"You see," she continues, still hushing her voice, as though dreaded ears might still hear from the capital, "the situation between the prince and his sister-in-law grows more tense. Rumors fly that the Countess Caliphvaso may soon hatch a long gestating scheme to put her nephew on the throne. Thus, the prince may be eager to secure vigorous allies for a coming power struggle."
"We've been here - what - less than a week? Rumors must fly if word has traveled that quickly. And we're being entrusted with leadership? Authority? I smell desperation in these decisions."
"I won't argue, ma'am," the herald replies to Faun, idly digging her booted foot into the gravel. "Direct action from the prince is rare these days, and to see it happen so quickly is all the rarer. He must see this as a necessary change."
The herald pauses with a quizzical look upon her face.
"Say...would you all happen to be those heroes I heard about?" she asks innocently, her mind connecting the dots.
I can't remember if I made it clear, but the party has been in Ravengro for about two weeks at this point. That's the turnaround time I calculate for a letter to reach Caliphas, the prince to put together his decree, and the herald to return to Ravengro with the news.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Kain gives a small grin before shaking his head.
Possibly, though I wouldn't refer to myself as such. I am unworthy of that title in more ways than one. That said, I, and the others, were in town when the orc raid happened. We aided the folk here in the defense of their lives, and looked into rumors regarding harrowstone. Hardly worth the title of hero in my opinion all other things aside. More like ones duty.
Shontar thought a little and was about to say something stupid about him being an elf, which is already kinda noble and about him coming from a prestigious merchant family, but he restrained himself.
"Hero is strong word, but probably someone would call us such." In a whisper he added to Chao. "Especially the way I shot that one orc with my crossbow. That must have impressed one or two..."
You pass some time at the Outward Inn with the herald, who eventually introduces herself as Adellia Taval. You avail yourselves of Miss Vai's hospitality and learn about the curious political and social scene in Caliphas, the Ustalavic capital.
Councilman Muricar appears at the door of the inn. He steps inside, offers a wink to Miss Vai - although the innkeeper replies with a guarded scowl - and helps himself to a seat alongside the party, placing himself between Valeska and Adellia the herald.
"I excused myself from the emergency council meeting to 'relieve myself,' but I thought I would provide an update on our deliberations, seeing as they involve you quite intimately," he explains. "As you may have guessed, and as the prince seems to desire, you - my dear friends - are the chief candidates for the lordship of our new county. In particular, my peers and I lean towards Sir Kain and Miss Talanova.
"My old friend Vashian and I," he continues, referring to Councilman Hearthmount, "support your ascendance, and even Miss Straelock has warmed up to the idea. Only our sweet, cosmopolitan Miss Faravan harbors reservation. Primarily, she dreads watching the choking bureaucracy and political impotence of the capital creeping into our corner of Ustalav."
Muricar further suggests that maintaining a ruling council to supplement the lordship of Canterwall would better ease the transition from Palatinate rule back to autocratic. As you continue to speak with him, though, it becomes clear that he and Councilman Hearthmount are both vying for positions on said council.
Time to decide leadership roles.
I've added links for the kingdom building rules and a rulership tracker at the top of the page.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Kain's eyebrow raises as his name is stated to be in the discussion and calmly holds his hands up towards the councilman. I appreciate the kind gesture Sir Muricar, but I am not... he pauses for a few seconds trying to remember the proper title baron material, nor worthy of it in my own opinion. I pray you take into account what is best for the towns future above all. He pauses for a moment.
that said, I concur that a council would be wise to keep. People who know more about the locale, and have a better understanding of customs and norms. People to delegate to.
Shontar's eyes widened at the mention of their basically random party becoming the new rulers of the area.
"Well, I mean, we understand that you would want us to do the the job. But this is quite a heavy burden as well. You're putting your trust in complete strangers here. Good Kain here is truly an impressive figure, and I understand your faith in him, but have you seen the man eat? If he he were the ruler of anything, he wouldn't leave anything left for his people." At the end he laughs out loud about his own joke and clapps the knight on the back.
After a theatrical pause, he continued
"Oh, Kain. And you need to make Chao your advisor. He will never they say anything to contradict you!" He continues to laugh very loud.
"Hmm, well, this is all very interesting. My companion and I have been...aimless for a time. I think he longs for us to venture beyond the Bright Veil, but... no matter. Ravengro has presented a somewhat nice change of pace. To stay here long-term and serve these people, I'd need some sort of position that allows me help develop and protect the farmlands and overall agricultural stability of the county. And although I'm no acolyte, the spiritual wellness of these people could use some tending to. I wouldn't disagree with trying to meet the people's religious needs..albeit in an unconventional way."
Vying for Marshal or High Priest. As Marshal, Faun would work with the people to make their lands work along side of, instead of against, the surrounding forests and environments, as well as ensure laws are enforced. As a High Priest, Faunlara would establish a "new living temple", made of natural resources, perhaps even living trees. The inside would be made to look like the inside of a giant tree. And while it would appear to be mostly along the lines of the Green Faith, it would be truly "nondenominational", but would house shrines for most of the prominent Good deities.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
I vote for faun to be high priestess. I've never seen a druid fill that roll and that idea greatly interests me. I'm fine with ruler or general as a player. Kain would be hesitant to take ruler. If pressed, he probably would, but only really if pressed.
Kain looks to shontar. a good meal is important to staying healthy. I figure the more you eat, the better the result. he grins for a bit before frowning.
but an advisor is meant to contradict the king, especially if the king is wrong. Or, at least to act as a secondary opinion. As for you Faun, I feel someone of your orientation would make not only a great agricultural innovator, but a caring soul for those who need one. Better than I or any of the others could, if they forgive my brazenness in speaking for them. As evident in our outlooks regarding the orcs. You curbed my anger, and reminded me that violence is not always the best course of action. Even if it is the easiest or quickest solution. And in your gentle approach to Lenora. You would make a great guide for the people. Of that I do not doubt. he turns to the others.
Regarding shontar and chao.
I believe, chao would make a very good advisor. He listens, and observes things many miss. And he seems to have a knack for self reflection. Something many today lack. While you my friend, would make quite the orator. Your wit and quick tongue truly would make handling dealings with other counties, the common folk and even the prince should the need arise as simple as riding a horse. To top it all off, you are a remarkable shot as well.
He turns to Valeska. Valeska here has perhaps the coolest head among us. Even in times of tribulation she thinks clearly of the future. Where I had attributed the orc raid to their nature, she sought out information on it. She sought to try and understand, to get to the bottom of it. To pursue a possible peace where I would likely never have, and still doubt possible, yet she tries. She is intelligent, Inquisitive, driven, gentle yet feirce when it is required. he stops for a moment blushing very slightly before coughing and continuing. Though I have not known them long, they each have left an impression on me. Even you. Shontar. he gives a joking grin to Shontar at his own joke. with people like them to help as a council, I doubt there needs to be any real worry. Despite the circumstances of the prince's proclamatiom. He smiles to Muricar
As for me. I am but a soldier with a big stick, and a remarkable friend. he says scratching Valere's head. One that is perhaps still too impulsive for his own good. I am neither fit not deserving to be made a... ruler, of a town, much less a county. If indeed your debate is between me and Valeska, I believe you should choose her. After a few seconds he speaks again Though, if you are truly at an impasse, perhaps allow the villagers a vote in the matter? It affects them all as well does it not?
"You're a wise man, too, Kain. Don't underestimate yourself too much. But I would indeed vote to put Valeska in charge. For all the reasons you mentioned. But foremost, I believe, you need to continue doing your job of training the militia, which could eventually grow into an actual army. There will be more threats coming, I fear...
And for myself, didI tell you that I was actually on a diplomatic mission before I arrived here? My father had sent me to make Reade deals. The fact that I left them early, because I heard of the festival here, should tell you, how much I cared about this duty. "
Valeska had remained silent, considering all that was said.
I can swear loyalty to a just prince and pledge to protect and strengthen the people and the land. It would be an honor, if Prince, People and Peers would have me.
This land will thrive.
"Very good, very good." Muricar offers an exaggerated bow, and he attempts to kiss Valeska's hand, if his new liege lady allows.
"Now I must away. I will ensure that the rest of the meeting goes to our favor," he says with a wink before departing the inn.
Within an hour, the council's private, emergency meeting has concluded, and they have assembled the townsfolk before the tottering town hall. You see even more people crowding the square than during the ill-fated Burning Festival, attesting to the importance of the business at hand.
The council's decision is announced straight away, and the residents of Ravengro are introduced to the newly elevated Countess Valeska Talanova of Canterwall.
Most of the crowd offers subdued applause. A number of them express more enthusiasm, letting cheers and hooting rise up to show their approval.
A few, though, remain quiet and shake their heads in disapproval.
Shontar watches the announcement from the second row behind Valeska and the council. With a keen eye he tries to judge the crowd's reaction. It's hard to tell, if the majority is in favor. Change can be difficult for some. He decides to take action and pick up the role of friend-to-the-people.
With his clapping hands high above his head, he moves in front of the council and keeps clepping for another few seconds. Then he sits down on the edge of the stage signaling he wants to be close to the townsfolk.
With a loud voice he speaks. "No reason to be afraid! We're not gonna change anything for now. We're only here to help you rebuild what's been lost and add what's needed. And, of course, we're not gonna replace your last council.
They will be in charge of all the important things that you put them in. Good Mirta Straelock here, for example. She'll keep an eye on your money, as she always has done so well. And even better. Your taxes don't go to the stupid prince anymore, they stay here with her, and we, and you, decide what to do with them!
Councilman Muricar is a well-travelled and well-connected man, as I understand. That's why he'll keep doing exactly that and negotiate our freedom and our rights with our neighbours. How does that sound?
Your good lady Shanda Faravan will officially be Ravengro's magister and historian. She's a wise woman, I think, you all trust her.
And last but not least, probably most important. Our beloved big guy, Vashian Hearthmount here. You know, he's always been a soldier by heart and politics wasn't really his deal. Together with our very own dragon rider Kain, they will protect our new independence and its borders. So don't be shy, if they suddenly knock on your door, asking for some new recruits!
He pauses a while to let that sink in and hope for some more approval.
Than he stands up and shouts even louder "So the first thing we need to do, is finish that festival of yours. Am I right?
Faun shot a look towards to elf. Hmm, he opened his mouth without spewing idiocy and bile...mostly. I'd hoped to establish some sort of new festival and leave their superstitious fiery tirades behind. All in good time, I suppose.
Faunlara stands silent, regal yet casual, with very muddy boots. She tries to keep an eye out for the Pharasma priest.
|Arden Kain Brandt|
Faun easily spots the bald pate and bushy white eyebrows of Father Grimburrow among the crowd. His wizened face seems perpetually drawn into a scowl, making it hard to discern the true emotion behind his sagging cheeks and whiskered chin. He is accompanied by a small handful of his acolytes, those who are not attending to outlying homesteads on the surrounding moors, and their faces read with more approval of the transition.
Shontar's impromptu oratory, despite his relative lack of formal training, likewise meets with approval. The locals seem to react with amusement and entertainment more than inspiration, but the response is positive nonetheless.
When the chance arrives, Father Grimburrow approaches the party - now the leaders of Ravengro and the surrounding county.
"Your talk of festivals..." he starts before pausing to work up some saliva to better grease the words from his own mouth. In the process, the old man gives the affect of a cow chewing upon its cud. "I want to talk to you about festivals. I don't mind that Burning Festival, but I don't want it to overtake the Day of Bones no more. It one be until another year, but next Pharast, you'd best make sure that the holiday gets its proper due.
"Also!" he adds with a soft stamp of his foot, requiring great effort on his part "Come harvest time, it'd be best to see the Procession of Unforgotten Souls observed properly again. It's been far too long of a, er, um...gap," he declares, momentarily forgetting the word.
The priest is clearly taking this opportunity to push for the formal observation of Pharasmin holidays.
Mirta Straelock, the earthy councilwoman and your newly appointed treasurer, also approaches with a suggestion.
"This is just an idea on my part, but it may not be wise to revisit the Burning Festival so soon," she offers, casting a few looks across the crowd milling around the square. "Folks're still recovering from the horror of the raid and the fires that were set. They may not want a reminder so soon. Perhaps another celebration? Like a founding festival?"
"Yes, a founding festival of sorts is what I was thinking would be best. We could set up a committee to work out the details, but I think it should be held soon - before the month's end - if possible. Now, Father Grimburrow, I am actually committed to ridding Ravengro, and this new county of Canterwall, of such a destructive....celebration... based upon dark memories and unfading superstitions. Tell me, are any other faiths prominent among the people here? Erastil, or perhaps followers of the green faith? I seek to be inclusive... and also to be your friend."
She added that last part in hopes of easing any unrest in the venerable priest's mind. She did not want to be his enemy, nor his subordinate.
"Ours was the only proper religious building for many leagues," Grimburrow scowls, bitter about the orc raiders' treatment of the temple. "The only other faith I seen practiced hereabouts has been Desna, especially when the Varisians come through town or, more rarely, settle down. Often folks'll take worship of the Great Dreamer as a sign that someone descends from Kellid stock, and that ain't always received pleasantly.
"I suppose you might find the odd duck paying homage to Old Deadeye or the old ways, but they usually keep to themselves out on the moors or among the woods and don't come to town too often. As you might guess, folks're right suspicious of them, too."
The conversation with the gray priest is interrupted as Zokar the tavenkeeper sidles up and injects himself into the discussion.
"Now, I think the Burning Festival was a right good way to show death and all its spooks that we aren't afraid," he insists with a smile. Then, with a shrug, he concedes, "Of course, if you want something with more levity, more palatable to newcomers, you could always throw a shindig to celebrate Old River."
Zokar punctuates this suggestion by pointing his thick, knotted finger towards the brown dog lazing beneath the gazebo steps at the heart of the town square.
"For going on a decade now, we've all been taking care of Old River. I daresay he's the only resident in town who's universally trusted. He even keeps an eye out for the little ones. Why, just last year he pulled my boy, Pevrin, to shore when he fell in the river."
Valeska actively watches and listens. Allowing the others to speak, and the councilman to professionally kiss her hand. Her gaze communicates that she will tolerate no tresspass.
Everyone should be heard, all being peers and servants of the people.
My thoughs would be to prioritize the safety and health of the people and land. Supporting the people's livelihoods in the form of jobs and businesses. And, thirdly that Ravengro and the county's readiness should we be called upon to serve.
In short, Health, Wealth and Communal Pride - but not arrogance.
She pauses, letting her words settle.
The raod will not be easy and I can see some worry about the outcome. But, we can only address the concerns being communicated.
So, please... speak up. Let's all be heard!
There is an agonizingly long silence after Valeska addresses the crowd, finally punctuated by a lone crow's caw.
The nervous Ravengro folk all reflexively turn in the direction of the black bird's call, finding it perched atop one of the posting polls. As though it feels the many eyes upon it, the crow takes flight. However, as it sails above the town square, a hitherto unseen hawk swoops in and seizes the crow in its talons. The next, shrill caw is cut off by the raptor's deadly strike.
Surprisingly, this natural display elicits guarded smiles and sighs of relief from the crowd.
On the other hand, hawks are considered good luck, as their keen senses can alert humans to the presence of evil.
Thus, the locals presumably interpret this spectacle as a good omen regarding the start of Countess Talanova's reign alongside the party.
The crowd disperses as they return to their homes and labors. However, Adellia the herald approaches Valeska. She pauses to offer a bow before rifling through her satchel and producing a few other documents and letters.
"As the newly appointed Countess of Canterwall, these are addressed to you," she explains. "They detail additional information regarding your powers and obligations. There is also a charter decree that will require your signature; I will take that back with me to Caliphas to be officiated and archived.
"I also have a letter from the prince himself," she adds, her voice assuming a hint of reverence. She offers Valeska a sealed letter bearing a wax seal emblazoned with the same heraldry as her attire.
Valeska gratiously accepts the letters.
An honor, certainly... She makes a point of bowing deference to the messenger of the court.
Would you mind joining us inside the inn? It will require some review by u all before I sign anything.
Valeska mostions for the group and herald to come along as she enteres the in asking for a private table and refreshments.
Adellia eagerly accepts the invitation, finding the confines of the inn more pleasant than the dreary town square. She also seems keen to escape the roving eyes of Councilman Muricar, your soon-to-be diplomat.
Miss Vai sets you up with a table and drinks in the surprisingly cozy barroom of the Outward Inn's cellar. The innkeeper's face reads with excitement to be hosting her new countess, almost on the level of personal friendship.
"She's right to be excited," the herald says about Miss Vai, whilst also requesting a weak ale from her. "It's quicker to ride through Soddentimbers than get anything through Caliphas' mire of bureaucracy. The fact that the prince managed to make such a momentous change so quickly and with seemingly no opposition has the capital abuzz. Everyone at court's gossiping about generations of favors being called in, deals being made, and of course the usual rumors about pacts with fell powers."
To the new Lord or Lady of Canterwall,
I will not mince words. I entreat you to not waste this opportunity afforded to you at great personal cost. Our land does not readily embrace change. Thus, I have expended almost the entirety of the political sway accrued over my three decades of rule to effect this change.
The Palatinates have proven ineffectual at securing our western borders against the orcs. Furthermore, the Council in Tamrivena have long used their control over the breadbasket of our land to resist any call for reformation. No longer.
I have dispatched a caravan of supplies and laborers who will arrive in the wake of this message. A stipend of funds will be forthcoming, as well. Use these wisely as you establish your governance over the reformed county. Your obligation to the crown will be light, paid primarily in the form of grain and other foodstuffs. As you find success building up Canterwall, we shall expect greater support, both financial and political, to the crown that provides such largesse.
Prince Aduard Ordranti III,
Sovereign of the Immortal Principality of Ustalav
Shontar peeked at the letter from behind Valeska and had his own thoughts about what to do with the incoming funds.
"You know guys, this inn is all nice and such, but it would be of much better use as an, you know, INN, instead of a meeting place. I noticed the town hall was hit pretty hard, but we should be able to rebuild it quickly with some supplies and laborers."
"Although not nearly as hardscrabble as other towns I've ridden through," Adellia says, "This place offers many opportunities for improvement. I imagine that showing any initiative at all will endear you to the locals, especially those who were dissatisfied with the inaction of the Palatinates.
"Just don't make the mistake that has ensnared many nobles and overextend your resources - especially not on frivolities.
"Oh! That reminds me. You should expect to receive messengers from nobles whose families were displaced by the formation of the Palatinates. As you can imagine, such notables were none to happy to have their power and influence stripped away. They may seek to court your favor and reestablish themselves under your rule. They may bring additional wealth with them, but so too will they bring their intrigues."
In due time, Adellia the herald saddles her caparisoned horse again and bids farewell to the countess and her coterie. She takes to the trail and travels eastward.
Some days later, the slower moving caravan of workers and materials dispatched by the prince arrives. The influx of yet new outsiders leaves many of the Ravengro folk uneasy, and they do not consort with the new arrivals when they walk the square or patronize the inn or tavern.
Nevertheless, the sleepy malaise that once haunted Ravengro has been unmistakably shaken off like a sodden cloak. In its place is a nervous energy, rising from a people frightfully curious to see what will soon become of their town.
We will begin the first kingdom turn now. For expediency, I will handle the rolls and documentation, at least for now.
The month of Gozran is marked by a constant stream of carts and laborers marching along the old road south to the ruins of Harrowstone. The sounds of hammers and saws hangs upon the spring air. Despite their unease regarding the visiting workers from the capital, many local laborers and craftsmen arrive to earn a wage by aiding the monumental project and hasten its progress.
The fact that resources and workers are also dispatched to renovate and sure up the neighboring farmsteads also earns the newly minted countess and her council support that is increasingly open rather than begrudging.
The sudden influx of capital also seems to transform Ravengro. Workers, local and itinerant alike, spend their wages freely, and business is soon booming in Ravengro. Thus, when the first month's rents and taxes are due, they are paid in full and with minimal grumbling.
By month's end, the old ruin is no longer a blight upon the southern horizon, a haunting reminder of macabre tragedy. The walls strengthened, the roofs patched, and the rooms refurnished, the mighty edifice now stands proudly as Castle Harrowstone.
Over the next month, Faunlara begins talks to completely remodel the destroyed Pharasma church into a multi-faith community center, made out of planted trees close together, yet sealed, trunks bound so tightly that there are no leaks when it rains. On the outside are symbols of various faiths, the most prominent one being Pharasma, centered above the entrance way. Slightly smaller, on one side or the other are familiar symbols of other prominent faiths: the bow & arrow symbol or Erastil, the leaf-like face of the druidic Green Faith, the butterfly of Desna, as well as the familiar rainbow bird of Shelyn.
Inside follows the same theme, with the most prominent shrine at the far end devoted to Pharasma, with simpler shrines devoted to the others placed into alcoves that run along the sides. She'll work with a local architect to design this, and of course she'll be out there with everyone else helping to build it.
(And because the options for Holiday Edicts are None, 1, 6, 12, & 24...)
Faunlara also proposes that they promise to hold 6 holidays/festivals in the calendar year.
-A Founding Festival (date unknown; this supplants the Burning Festival)
-Procession of Unforgotten Souls (nightly ritual taking place weeks before the..)
-Harvest Festival (Fall equinox)
-the other three festivals take place at the Summer/Winter Solstices and Spring Equinox
Faun is open to discuss these, but this is what she suggests to Countess Valeska
Shontar and Chao didn't take part in the restoration if Harrowstone. Shontar couldn't see the sense in constructing such a pompous structure before some more essential buildings. "But that's not for us to decide, right Chao?" He said to his traveling companion.
Shontar did bribe one of the foremen, though. He wanted to make sure, the castle had a secret entrance, accessible only to those known. An entrance out of sight for him to slip in and out of the castle.
Chao, who had never signed up for anthing, was a man of strict order after all and had a strong sense righteousness. He had suggested to visit the countries borders and check if the maps available are still up to date. He also wanted the people living in the outskirts to know that a new rulers have been put to power and new laws might be coming there way.
Shontar agreed to the journey immediately. It was of his own interest, to find out, who lived near and beyond their county's borders.
We need to know about our Orc neighbors, my understanding is that there are different tribes. Some, may be more amenable to a peace between us.
And, their activities. Are there any underlying causes that exacerbate their incursions?
Valeska seems to have changed, already.
We win the people's hearts by rebuilding the temple in some form, true... but we must balance this with defending what we have already garnered. These people are trusting us, brgudgingly or not... to protect them and help them build a better life.
We must recruit a standing force, modest as it may be to start. While we are at it, shall we erect a wall to the west?
Before serving as your warden or a councilman of Ravengro, Hearthmount was a cavalier among the Foreguard, the militia branch charged with protecting the borders of the formerly joined counties of Canterwall and Tamrivena. Thus, he is one of the better local sources of information about the "orcish threat."
"Autumn and winter are doubly harsh around here," he explains. "Not only does the weather turn against us, but that is when the orc bands begin spilling over the border and through the mountain passes. Once spring arrives, the attacks wane like the frost. I know not why, but the warbands have followed this pattern seemingly forever.
"Castle Harrowstone already promises more protection than Ravengro has felt in generations," he says, the awe and relief undisguised in his voice, "but a western stockade would be a wise construction before winter."
Muricar sidles up to offer his own insight.
"Now that we have young, energetic blood leading our county again, we might even turn our sights towards reclaiming the Bleakwall," he says with an eager glint in his eye. The suggestion evokes first surprise then agreement upon the face of his dear friend, Hearthmount.
"The counties of Vieland and Lozeri, as well as Tamrivena - both the city and our new neighboring county - have always enjoyed the relative protection of the Tusk Mountains against the orc-held lands. We, however, have the wide open Gap of Valballus upon our western border.
"The Bleakwall was an old attempt to fortify that vulnerable border. It fared...poorly. A few of the surviving towers have served as watchposts for the Foreguard, but most of the bulwarks and fortresses are broken and abandoned."
Hearthmount interjects now, trying to reassert his own knowledge and importance.
"Two strongholds in particular anchor the Bleakwall and remain in the best condition: Tower Valballus to the south, where our border meets that of Belkzen and Virlych, and Castle Andachi on the northern end of the border, west of Lake Lias."