The Rake

Swordlord Kesten Garess's page

14 posts. Alias of Arcmagik.


”I have no simple answer to that. Varn is not dead which means he could turn again. Likely best to exile him but that could make him a grave threat as we won't know when he could come back. He can still issue a challenge under the Sword Pact, no matter his position, just as Teyran did. I would suggest finding something far away to keep him busy there are several places in the Stolen Lands that could be used for that purpose.” Kesten offered with a spread of his hands before his face dropped into seriousness. ”Word came to me that Lady Orlovsky delivered Master Sellemius' last message to you?” He glanced about a moment before he continued, ”It was part of the plan from the beginning of passing the newly liberated Greenbelt to the expedition, but I was not sure what would happen now that Ioseph was dead.” He left the last statement hang in the air, but his expression was pained as if he had forced himself not to ask questions.

And the Lie Detector has determined... he is just a fool.

As Teyran gaze pierces into Varn to strip away and lay part of his soul to bear the aged paladin comes to a startling conclusion, the man Maegar Varn does not have a black heart, he senses no evil in the man; Swordlord Varn is just a reckless fool, but the words were already out of the elder man's mouth.

Maegar Varn instantly clenched a fist, "How dare you. You pathetic washed-up nobody speak out in a council of your betters and denounce me."

Another man, one of Varn's supporters leaps to his feet, "You have no place here. This is a Sword Council. Guards have him removed!"

Angry low-spoken words begin to pass from one man to the next among those that seem to support Varn's might.

Kesten Garess raises, "Brothers. Calm yourselves. Master Rilskel has spoken with passion, and anger. What he truly means is that might alone will not win back our home, if we go to war with the Surtova in our weakened state with the Stolen Lands at our back we will be crushed. We need smart leaders. We need leaders with conviction and a different type of strength. And forget not that even Master Varn is not trained a Swordlord, he earned his position with his own strength! Our paladin ally may not be a Swordlord, but if he issued a challenge to Varn than he has the right to become one under our own laws!"

The Swordlord bowed in return to LoTae, "I am Kesten Garess, the Exiled Blade, and Swordlord of Restov. A pity our meeting wasn't on better terms. If any of your kind is out in the Stolen Lands; they will be welcomed and can find haven here for as much as it is worth right now."

"I would feel more secure if you were with the Lady and the Sword Council. Maybe Teyran can keep the Sword Council from doing anything rash while they are coming this way. Lady Selle... Orlovsky will atleast be well protected."

"A slip of speech. I meant the Lady Orlovsky, but Lady Sellemius came out as she was a close ally in the end." Kesten nods his head to Arasmes, and frowns "The Sword Council is unlikely to let the death of Ioseph go unanswered. Civil War is certain, but the Swordlords will be at a disadvantage. The blow from Lord Orlovsky and Natala was swift. They are likely scrambling around now looking for allies and gathering their forces. Several of those loyal to Ioseph are headed this way and I am sure will want to set up a provisional government."

Kesten makes a helpless gesture towards Thad as he describes his father. His arms out wide... "Lord Orlovsky is a shrewd man, and the political gain must have been great. Also his main political adversary, the Lord Regent, is now dead too. He may have no longer needed us to oppose the Lord Regent..."

He nods to LoTae, "I won't turn down help. We are out here alone, and now we are surrounded by hostiles."

Kesten grins at Teyran, "By all means, Sir Paladin. Bandits are hassling us at every turn so putting some fear into them is both beneficial and maybe necessary. I will leave that discretion up to you. Morley has a solid idea in mind it seems, and I would suggest you consider it. I will keep things moving along here and give you a letter of command for the army supporting the refugees, and the other Swordlords so they know you speak with my voice in the Council."

As the group begins to make their way towards the Keep; Kesten drops back momentarily beside Antha. He smiles, "I am more then relieved that you survived."

Kesten begins to address the group after the moment. His voice carries concern as he speaks, "Restov is a mess. Natala Surtova has called her uncle to her side. He marches for New Stetven, but the Lord Regent is dead. His forces from New Stetven marched on Restov, and Lord Orlovsky offered a parlay. Natala granted him an audience... he betrayed the Lord Mayor to the Surtova. Ioseph is dead. The Swordlords are scambling to retake the city and many refugees have fled Restov. They are on the road being set upon by monsters and bandits... I sent half my forces for protection and to guide them here. Lady Sellemius is with them as well as several of the Sword Scions that served the Lord Mayor and his household guards that survived Lord Orlovsky's coup. They should be here in three days..."

Despite the seriousness of the situation the Swordlord grinned, "The elvish language and way of speech has always been fascinating. So elegant, well met then Lady Elf, I will have the bandits removed so we can speak freely." He waves towards the soldiers who promptly ride forward with the bandits. "I am sorry for the breach of etiquette but the news from Restov is dire."

Kesten shakes his head, "The bandits were many and organized. They came at us from the east." Kesten gestures his hand east and looks back to the group, "And we have been running into trolls too. One of them got into the horse pin before our sentries saw him. We lost most of the cavalry horses." Kesten looks grim as he says that, the look in his face says he is well aware how impossibly hard it is for a troll to sneak around.

"Trust me, you will not be eager once you hear this news." He gestures for men to retrieve Kressle and the other two bandits, "I have a couple solid building to keep them in until they can be questioned and dealt with it. As for the mystery, she does not appear to be a captive like the bandits so I assume she is a friend?"

Kesten whistles a moment, "Bring this man some water and some left over stew. Find him a place to rest as well. The rest of you..." He indicates to the group at large, "With me a moment."

Bluff (To dispel the sudden tension): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (19) - 1 = 18

Anyone that heeds Kesten:

"Can't say that I trust the man but I can tell you that he is skilled. I can't guarantee your safety if a fight breaks out. I urge you to heed my suggestion and let him rest for a bit, but keep an eye on him if he tries to leave then you can follow him. I will be instructing my men to let him leave if he attempts too because I don't need them dying. If he is a bandit from the area then he already knows the state of this keep and we will not be able to make improvements any quicker. If I was you I wouldn't continue your questioning as if this was an interrogation as that is likely to make even the most trustworthy people defensive and hostile."

"What happened here?" Kesten pushes through the crowd. He takes a look at the man, and looks about at the gathering crowd. "Back to work on the walls." He makes sure the soldiers are away before turning back to the group and the man. He places a hand on the top of his sword pommel without thought as he gestures for group to continue their questioning.

Kesten attempts to hold back a chuckle, but the grin on his face is just as telling. "Damn good stew." He turned his attention to Antha, "Misadventures, you? I can't imagine, or I could imagine. I bet one of them could involve a young boy trying to impress and following you up a tree he had no right to be in." He does not keep back the chuckle as he takes another scoop of stew with bread and eats it. "Foolish boy probably broke his arm and then his father carted him off to never allow the boy to return to your estate again, much to his dismay."

Kesten pauses for a moment while he finishes the last of his stew before setting the bowl to the side. "This is a better conversation to have now then while you are bleeding out there."

"I will post sentries so we have some advanced warning if bandits try to crawl up on us. I doubt the camp will have a force adequate to present a threat to the army but if we spend to much time fighting everything in the Stolen Lands then we will have fewer resources when the time comes to take the field against the Stag Lord."

"This expedition was aimed to restore the gateway into the Stolen Lands. The answer is yes, Grendolynn. I did not overlook the need for skilled labor to restore this place; soldiers can't do everything."

Kesten shrugged, ”If you recall you were hired because I can't go stomping around in the Stolen Lands without justification. That is why the Lord Mayor brought you into the expedition as freelance explorers. The challenge is a kindness for the man I knew. I am willing to let him preserve his honor and die a sword scion instead of a lowly bandit. The man is a criminal, just one that I feel responsible for. If you bring him to justice then you will be rewarded by Restov, but I am asking you to do him this kindness instead of stringing him up in a tree and I will reward you from my own estate if you will allow me to redeem his honor.”

Sense Motive DC 15:

Falgrim was likely a friend of Kesten's at some point during their training which is why he feels responsible for the man.


Camp is set within the dilapidated walls of the border keep by lunch time when the smell of the stew that Oleg has rationed for the men can be smelt around the keep. Kesten has invited you to eat lunch with him so he can talk some business with you before you can leave for the Stolen Lands. The soldiers have constructed a small table which has a bowl of stew for everyone and several loafs of bread.

"Eat." Kesten gestures to the bowls as he takes up his own. "I have asked you here on a matter that is personal to me. Most of you may not know but I only recently became a Swordlord when I challenged and defeated my predecessor. Everything became mine with his death as laid out in the Sword Pact, but his apprentice refused to comply. This would not be a problem normally, a breach of etiquette within the Sword Pact, but the man could have challenged me when he felt ready. This is our way of life, except the man fled Restov. I did not worry about him as I figured he had family outside of the city that he would stay with while he honed his skills."

Kesten for a moment appeared to be somber as he speaks as opposed to the usually grinning Swordlord. It appears that he was disappointed by himself or the man...

"I was wrong. It appears that was not the case. I saw the man among the bandits during the raid on the wedding. His name is Falgrim Sneeg, and I would like you to bring him back here alive if you manage to cross him so that I may give him the chance to die a Sword Scion and not a strain on our honor. You will be rewarded handsomely, but if he refused to cooperate and you are forced to kill him then I will understand. You will still be rewarded, but I can't promise that they will be as great."

Kesten grabs a large scroll case and sets it on the table. "A portrait that his Master had commissioned of him that I cut from the frame and brought with me. You should be able to recognize him from it."