Paracountess Zarta Dralneen

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9 posts. Alias of Mark Moreland (Franchise Manager).


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Arodus, 4714

Most loyal agent,

As I set pen to parchment, Korvosa is just fading from view in my cabin's window. The city served me well for my year of near-exile, but from peasant to prince, the population is too tied up in its Chelish origins. Already I find my thoughts clearer for having left. Of course, that's not the only reason. With a little help from friends in the Academae, I have performed most enlightening experiments with the gifts you and my other agents have sent me. Despite the school's reputation for losing students in magical accidents, it seems that there is a limit to how many bright-eyed, young conjurers can disappear before the faculty starts asking uncomfortable questions.

No matter, though. The experience has honed my skills, and your discoveries with the Pathfinder Society have provided ample information with which I have negotiated a more permanent home in Absalom. I fear the Chelish government has since cleaned out my townhouse in the Ivy District, but I understand the Grand Lodge has a space already prepared for me.

Do you remember how so many finds disappear into one of the lodge's vaults under pretenses of their being "stored for later study" or "too great a threat to Golarion?" The Decemvirate is concerned that we have acquired too many such relics without anyone spending the time to give them proper examination. They took rather kindly to my suggestion that we found a dark archive to curate and maintain these collections, and we get the unique privilege of operating it. Archival work may not seem glamorous until you remember what powerful artifacts we are handling. So long as we prove our competence, we will enjoy nearly unfettered access to this vast collection that everyone else is too afraid to handle.

Before we can settle into our new role, I want to ensure that we have the proper training to avoid any catastrophes. That means making friends with other curators who are in the business of handling dangerous objects. Can you think of any? I know I have a few in mind, and I have no interest in taking no for an answer.

Onward, brave archivist,
Zarta Dralneen

The Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign begins the Year of the Sky Key, its sixth season of Pathfinder RPG adventures. Keep the words of Zarta Dralneen in mind, and be on the lookout for opportunities to help the new Dark Archive faction succeed in its objectives. When the time comes, endeavor to participate in Pathfinder Society Scenario #6-02: The Silver Mount Collection.

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Abadius, 4714

Precious Ally,
Each of your reports brings a smile to my face as I contemplate the implications of what you have accomplished. I am also appreciative of the texts you have acquired for me; one in particular is quite the page-turner, and I'd love to share some of my favorite passages with you the next time we meet. I long to receive more of these presents from you, but I am concerned that you might draw too much attention to our actions unless you are careful to cover your tracks. Some of the greatest victories result when the enemy thinks he has won the battle only to realize later that he has lost the war. The sweetest victories are those that the enemy never knew he was fighting.
Despite my efforts to stay away from Cheliax, I maintain numerous spies in its most beloved institutions. I recently received intriguing news through an Athenaeum contact that I intend to follow up. Of course, that means I'm sending you, my dear. Snatch these ancient prizes out from under the noses of Cheliax and its allies. Anything portable you can deliver to me. Anything larger should be hidden so we may recover it later.
I've begun hearing rather delightful rumors that the Pathfinder Society thinks me a free agent worth bringing into the fold. Apparently, when—despite years of loyal service—one is betrayed by her country, she becomes eligible for recruitment. Oh, you're pouting; I can tell. Don't worry. Should I decide to entertain the Society's courting gestures, it will be on my own terms and after I have decided how we might make the most of the arrangement. The Pathfinders were so terribly endearing when they decided to rescue me, so I don't believe I could turn them down outright. Until we make a decision, keep an ear open for any more news.

Keep me in your thoughts,
Paracountess Zarta Dralneen

The Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign continues the Year of the Demon, its fifth season of Pathfinder RPG adventures. Keep the words of Zarta Dralneen in mind, and be on the lookout for opportunities to help Cheliax succeed in its objectives. When the time comes, ensure that you represent Cheliax proudly in Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–17: Fate of the Fiend and Pathfinder Society Scenario 5–23: Cairn of Shadows.

Paizo Employee

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Arodus, 4713

My Closest Confidante,

By all appearances, at last the baying dogs of Cheliax have given up the chase, thanks in large part to your efforts. No matter how safe we seem, my darling, remember that a hellhound rarely forgets the scent of its quarry, and it may be some time before we are again hailed in Cheliax rather than hounded. In the meantime we shall operate out of Korvosa, though you must excuse me for not inviting you to our fast-growing base of operations; I regret to tell you that our rather cozy meetings of the past will be more rare, for I have critical tasks abroad that I need you to handle.

If you have not heard, the abyssal quagmire called the Worldwound is bubbling over, and the demons within are sure to spill into neighboring Mendev in the coming days. I wish to send you there, but not for the reason that seems so obvious. By all appearances you must serve the greater good, the crusaders, and whatever other honeyed drivel they feed their soldiers. Only stay there long enough to learn the critical weaknesses of Mendev and the demons, for this intelligence is critical to our long-term plans.

No doubt you are giving this missive that adorably quizzical look that I so love. Think, my pet. If another crusade should break out, it will draw every do-gooder in Avistan and distract every important nation’s eyes. That will grant us the freedom to pursue our own agenda without some fool in shining armor bumbling about, ruining our plans, and loudly shouting an oath to Cayden Cailean. Once we know the weaknesses of each side, I can pull strings to ensure that the conflict lasts long enough for us to accomplish what we must. Trust that I want the crusaders to win in the end; abyssal conquest is in none of our interests.

Ah, but what are our interests? I am researching several untapped sources of power—rather dark power—that will give us an edge in the days to come. The Chelish traditions of bargaining, deal-making, and binding have not been forgotten, and if we acquire enough arcane and planar might, Cheliax will certainly receive us again with open arms. Should you encounter other sources of magic that might give your allies pause, I leave it to your discretion as to whether we should add it to our arsenal or spurn it as too dangerous.
In the meantime, learn what you can about the crusaders’ foibles and their fortifications’ flaws. Our plans cannot come to fruition without that.

Longing for your company,
Paracountess Zarta Dralneen

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This thread is delightful. Please continue!

Paizo Employee

My Trusted Ally,

I cannot tarry long in writing to you, for I am hunted, not in the wild as a fox hounded by dogs, but as a mouse who has been watched by a silent cat for far too long. I am no longer safe, and it is clear to me now that my enemies are more powerful than I ever could have guessed. I must go into hiding for some time, both to remain a step ahead of those who would do me harm, and to rebuild damaged political relationships. If you do not hear from me in the coming months, I apologize. My affection for you and my gratitude for all you’ve done for me has not diminished; it is merely eclipsed by a nuisance I hope to soon eliminate.

In my absence, while we will long for each other’s caresses, you must remain true to our ideals, even if the corruption of House of Thrune taints the nation we have both sworn to serve. Whether we do so as official ambassadors of Cheliax or on our own, we can spread order to the corners of the world, and in doing so improve our own comfort and position. Maintain your focus on Korvosa, for I see much in common with that exiled city that so longs to be one again with Mother Cheliax. Do not abandon your efforts to increase that city’s standing in Varisia over Magnimar—where I hear that freedom-loving fool Colson Maldris is hard at work planting Andoran’s claws in the fledgling city-state.

Worry not about me, Pathfinder. I am very good at taking care of myself. One doesn’t get to my position without being able to handle these sorts of situations. Nevertheless, keeping speaking well of me, and inform me immediately if you discover who may be out to get me. You and I want the same thing—no, not that—we want to establish order, no matter the cost. That we must do so in spite of and on the suffering of those who wish to do me harm will only make the victory over their treachery all the more gratifying.

To the establishment of order,
Paracountess Zarta Dralneen

Paizo Employee

My Most Intimate Friend,

While we have shared much in the past, what I must share with you now is not something that comes easily for me. Discretion is of the utmost importance, but you have always been discreet in the past, both in matters trivial and dire, and I know I can trust you now.

All is not well in the Chelish embassy, or rather, all is not well with me, here. In recent months, I have suspected that I am no longer in the good graces of the most illustrious and exemplary Thrice-Damned House of Thrune. There has been no direct indication of this from Her Infernal Majestrix or those close to her, but many of my political connections in Egorian and throughout the empire have soured; some now openly behave rudely to me, and in public no less! My very reputation is on the line—if not much, much more.

You know as well as I how hard I’ve worked to increase Cheliax’s influence, and your renown as my close associate is a testament to our success, yet it’s as if someone in Egorian were specifically out to get me. Surely you understand that an enemy among those with the queen’s ear could cause me significant annoyance, not to mention severely limit my usefulness to the Pathfinder Society. If I am to continue assisting the Decemvirate in conducting business within Cheliax’s borders—which has always been nothing but a pleasure—I need my political connections.

As you travel the world doing what it is you do for fun, be on the lookout for potential enemies who may use you to get to me, or worse, attempt to sabotage our collective efforts by disrupting your work. And should you find the opportunity to improve my reputation, clear my name of slander, or otherwise show House Thrune that I and those Pathfinder agents loyal to me are effective and valuable resources to the empire, by all means, exploit those opportunities for all they’re worth! I believe many chances to do so will present themselves as you and the Society shift your glance north to Varisia, where the city of Korvosa could use our help in establishing itself as the true center of power in the burgeoning nation.

You know I always repay favors, and if you assist me in repairing whatever damage has been done to my name in Egorian, your compensation will be beyond your wildest imaginings.

For the glory of House Thrune,
Paracountess Zarta Dralneen

Paizo Employee

Wraith235 wrote:
Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
So I've got a question (one which probably most of the players in PFS probably never even think of): Why is he a Pathfinder? or more specifically, Why would the Pathfinders have accepted a "thoroughly and completely insane" person into their ranks?
Paracountess wanted some new entertainment ?

I scoff at the very suggestion that I would ever sully myself with such half-breed filth. And furthermore, I have no say in who the Ten select as their lackeys...I only get to decide who will serve me from within their ranks.

Paizo Employee

baron arem heshvaun wrote:

Got mine.

Along with a short missive from the Paracountess:
** spoiler omitted **

You put words in my mouth as though I weren't watching you. Your attempts at humor fall upon deaf ears, however. Perhaps you should state only the truth instead of using me as a mouthpiece for your own delusions.

Paizo Employee

Dragnmoon wrote:

*Paracountess Zarta Dralneen having party after a very successful year addressing Cheliax members*

Thanks you all very much for helping us reach our goals this year, as a thank you, you will find an envelope under your chair with your reward. Please feel free to read them now.

While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, impersonations are neither flattering nor sincere. You will receive but one warning from me in this regard.