EnTitleD to die for
- 1 Summary
- 2 Scribe Notes
- 2.1 1st Frost
- 2.2 2nd Frost
- 2.3 3rd Frost
- 2.4 11th Frost
- 2.5 26th Frost
- 2.6 27th Frost
- 2.7 1st Snow
- 2.8 2nd Snow
- 2.9 3rd Snow
- 2.10 4th Snow
- 2.11 5th Snow
- 2.12 6th Snow
- 2.13 7th Snow
- 2.14 8th Snow
- 2.15 9th Snow
- 2.16 10th Snow
- 2.17 15th Snow
- 2.18 16th Snow
- 2.19 17th Snow - The Debutantes' Ball
- 2.20 18th Snow
- 2.21 19th Snow
- 2.22 20th Snow
- 2.23 21st Snow - Wulfsnacht
- 2.24 22nd Snow
- 2.25 23rd Snow
- 2.26 24th Snow - the Twilight Beauty in the Snow
- 2.27 25th Snow
- 2.28 26th Snow
- 2.29 27th Snow
- 2.30 28th Snow
- 2.31 29th Snow
- 2.32 30th Snow
- 2.33 1st Ice
- 2.34 2nd Ice
- 2.35 Post-adventure
- 3 Legends of Vapour
- 4 Reference Information
- 5 Party Organisation
- 6 Loot
- 7 Calendar
GM: Chris C
Season: Winter 810
Night: Tuesday night - starting 15th June 2010.
Location: Royal Oak
- Vapour (Victor), Fighter air mage - played by Neil. The Best looking bodyguard money can buy!
- Tari, an elven earth mage - played by Michelle
- Cher, a suarime binder - played by Sean English
- Aurora, an air mage - played by Keith
- Ben, a non mage - played by Ian
- Ibrihim (aka Adam of Swansbog), a Desert mage, played by Andrew Withy
- Party Roles
- Party Leader - Ibrihim
- Military Scientist - Vapour
- Scribe - Aurora. And anyone else who wishes to help her.
- Please Note: I provide a 30% bonus for good scribe notes to encourage the completion of good scribe notes so whomever wants that bonus should step up and be scribe. Scribe notes should go up weekly (prior to the next session starting) on the wiki (or emailed to the group) so that you don’t spend time reviewing what you thought you’d done/discussed last week/previously. Time spent rehashing/go over what has already been done, decided or said is wasted time and doesn't enable role-playing, fun and enjoyment - GM: Chris.
- The party is hired to protect a princess of Artzdorf and Flugelheim as she travels to Konigburg via a number of stops mandated by social, political, diplomatic and personal obligations. She must get to Königburg for a very important social event being the Royal Debutante Ball starting on the Winter Solstice - 17th of Snow 810 . The princess will be travelling quickly with a very small group of maids, servants, officials and guards but feels a guild party might be needed to ensure her safety.
Once at Konigburg the Princess may choose to invoke the option of having the party accompany her to the event (which she will be attending along with many other eligible females) being held at the castle. The event promises to be 'lively' and a hotbed of intrigue with so much at stake
- Pay (Each)
- Cash - 10,000sp for the escort role and another 10,000sp for the princess surviving the significant event in Königburg
- Salvage where appropriate is the party’s reward - the princess may take 10% as her share of the spoils
Lord Conrad De Soze needs escorts for HRH Princess Mary Jacqueline Elizabeth Apfelherd (Princess Mary) who is travelling to a diplomatic function, (re a debutante ball - ref SGT67) We will be travelling through Aladar, Aquila and Bowcourt and ending up at Konigburg, the capital of Aquila. The plan is to pick her up just south of Flugelheim, and travel by boat on the 27th, landing somewhere in Aladar on the 29th. From there, probably the less we know where we are going, the better. Accompanying the princess will be three ladies-in-waiting, three guards, two servants, and George.
I met my fellow adventurers. Ibrihim is an air mage, although he called himself a 'Desert mage' and said he was a Prince from a lost kingdom in the deserts of Arabie. He also dealt in carpets. Flying carpets he said although it needed his variant of the flying spell to work.
Cher is a Suarime Binder. Vapour is ... well Vapour, nuff said, while Ben is a shapeshifter tiger non-mage. The final member of the party, Tari, was not well and was off with the healers getting better. She's an Earth Mage warrior. Good. Three in the front line. I can just stay in the back and shoot things. Still, the amount of Cold Iron in the room was making me a tad uncomfortable.
Vapour became the Military Scientist, Ibrihim, the party leader, and myself as the scribe. The Air Mage Triumvirate someone said.
Anyway, it looks like I may have to insinuate myself as one of the ladies-in-waiting in order to stay close to our principle, the Princess. The three are Lady Jane Rochfort, Lady Katarina Swynford and Lady Anya Vyrubova. Lady Jane is a red head with a temper - and not from Caledonia. Katarina is a convent daughter of a knight while Anya is very close to the Princess and is her confidant. Of the three, we could probably replace Jane, maybe with the aid of an illusion so as not to arouse suspicion. Probably be her cousin or something. I just hope the other two don't resent this. Anyway, if I get a chance, I better nip back to Asheth and get some tips from Lady Teeanna's ladies in waiting about proper behaviour, duties and expectations.
The three guards are Captain Athos Zarla and the sister pair of Lieutenants Nina & Alena Willhelms. Capt Athos is one of the 'get in front and smite them' types while the two ladies leap around the battlefield and smack the enemy from unexpected directions - agility fighters as Ibrihim called them.
We were given an advance of 15,000 silver pennies so I used some of that to get a Greater Enchantment (two areas, resistances and spells) from Dalran. Cost me 4000sp but well worth it. I was also given a crystal that would invoke the required illusion. I would need to be with the person for at least six hours then crush the crystal. I would then look like that person until the next High Holiday. I would also have access to some of her memories - if I understood what the person said properly.
Ibrihim provided some rather nice carpets for us to fly on (except Cher who had her own method) and we prepared to set off ... into the rain ... again. I spent much of last season flying in the rain. *Sigh*. However, before we left we were intercepted by a guild courtier who insisted on designing new royal outfits for us. He was horrified when I said I had one that I hardly ever wore and was seven years old - so last season he said. Seems to be okay in Asheth. Anyway some sketches were done and we were told to deliver them to Sebastian the tailor.
Finally, we took off on the carpets at dusk for what was going to be a very long flight to Conrad's estate. He was coming with us on Ben's carpet - and it rained all the way. At one point I must have though I was cloud flying again as I nodded off - a habit of mine of the cloud, of taking a short nap and allowing it to drift. Not a good idea on the carpet, as it went into a power dive and the next thing I remember was being behind Ibrihim on his carpet while Vapour was retrieving mine. See Vapour’s tale. They were then high-fiving themselves in mid air. That settles it - I want pixie wings, or a pixie transformation. I'm fairly sure they can sleep while flying - might run into stuff though - like trees and rocks.
2am, crossed the Brandenburg coast - well as much as we could see of it through the cloud and finally landed in a field. More resist colds, recasting the flight spells on the carpets, and we were off again, heading west.
Five to ten that morning (Seagate Time), landed near a large town. When I asked the guards who came out to meet us, they told us this was Soulport, our target for the day. Whew! They recommended the Golden Grape Inn so that's where we went, booking out the entire top floor and crashing for the rest of the day.
That night, more carpeting.
1 am in the morning, five hours after take off, this bunch of bedraggled and wet adventurers found Conrad's estate. We got rooms and food and slept on towards nine in the morning (local time) when we were woken up for breakfast.
"I can travel through Earth, but I haven't learnt it to a great depth" - Tari
We then spent the next several days learning languages with the help of the servents and a magic item. I concentrated on Riechspiel and Lalange and, at the end, was able to speak the basics with a reasonable level of confidence.
Lord Conrad also explained the political situation in the Western Kingdoms. As I understood it, there are actually two regents: Ulric's mother Dulcenia the Marquessa of Bowcourt, and his half brother Herzog. Of course, each has their own set of supporters pushing their claim and coming up with all sorts of claims supporting their choice. Ulric is due to inherit in a year or two (exactly when is under dispute) but if he doesn't reach his majority and get confirmed as ruler, then Herzog would be the defacto ruler. Ulric is now 17 and the debutante ball was organised by both regents. It's not just the ball either, as there's a whole series of events so there is going to be a lot of people there. Ulric is definately keen on the idea of meeting eligible nobles and princesses as that would help cement his claim on the throne. Of course there are several princesses who are really keen on being Queen, along with the first daughters of Dukes, Counts, etc, who are also being sent. Duchess Meredith of Ranke can be regarded as more suspicious than most, being associated with the evil that is Sanctuary. Also the Western Marches seem to be rather aggressive in their foreign policy.
It was also decided that we should be travelling under assumed names so that there could be plausable deniability. So, I became Dawn of Highpoint, accompanied by Viktor of Littlebrook (Vapour), Adam of Swansbog (Ibrihim), Benjamin of Shalewood (Ben), Tari of Southbridge and Lady Cher of Maltheim. Cher wasn't initially keen but I think she was liking the sound of "Lady Cher". The titles may even come with manors, which left me wondering just what the heck would I do with one. Maybe Lord Dramus can use it.
We did discover that the route would take us to Operahausen (a small sea port, not even one of the 33 most Important Towns of Aladar), and north across the mountains to Vallière in Bowcourt. The other fascinating thing we were told that the Princess has attended the Southhaven Academy for Girls and majored in siege warfare. She's sounding more interesting by the minute.
Lady Jane turned up on this day and, as per instructions, I had to spend six hours alone with her to obtain as much information as I could. It turned into a rather long interview and she really could talk - mostly about herself. I was beginning to wonder if the problem was going to be getting her to stop. However, I was able to steer the conversation, at times, onto the Princess, and what I needed to know to pull this off.
At the end of the six hours I crushed the crystal I had been given. At that moment, Lady Jane passed out. I was rather concerned about that the magic had killed her or something so I called for help. Fortunately she had only fainted. As I did, I passed the mirror and noticed I looked the spitting image of Lady Jane ... and it was a transformation, not an illusion. I was now five nine, willowy, with red hair, green eyes, and .. um .. rather larger in the chest department. Using my longbow could get painful as Ibrihim pointed out. It also seemed to me I had suddenly gained a lot of Lady Jane's memories, like they were in a seperate closet. I just hope hers and mine don't get mixed up.
Anyway the days went on as we prepared. Ibrihim was wanting Resist Colds every day and I was needing them as well.
We finally headed off to the Naval Yards and entered the nearby inn, the End of the Last Hope. The place was full of military types and, as we entered, they all went for their weapons - all sixty of them. Fortunately Lord Conrad got them to stand down. Turned out they were all Royal Guardsmen.
As we relaxed that evening, Arnold, a sailor, came up to us and asked whether we were mages and could we please kill all the evil mages in Sanctuary, the ones that caused the Great Storm in 809. I think he left satisfied, even though we were rather vague.
The ship, The Artz Shark, a naval caraval, arrived about breakfast, and the princess was due around nine, to catch the morning outgoing tide. Nine cases of luggage turned up at the appointed time, but no princess. She, and her entourage, finally arrived at 10am and, nearly an hour later, we finally set out to sea, under the command of Captain Alexandersson. The princess was put in the Captain's cabin while us ladies in waitings were in officer's quarters.
Finally reached land, much to my relief. Even now I'm still nervous about travelling on sea. There looked to be a storm brewing up out at sea that could be following us to land. Landed at the docks at 6am.
The plan was for the entourage to go to George’s great uncle, Baron Giles de Runcy, the Baron of Oprausen, when the carriages and horses arrived. I was making sure my short bow was on someone’s horse where I could get it if I needed it. My longbow had already been unstrung and packed with the rest of the luggage. Meanwhile, Ibrihim had flown off in an attempt to divert the oncoming storm.
Horses were obtained for the rest of the party. Unfortunately the one the Ben was assigned suddenly dropped dead. Unexpected and sudden heart attack Tari explained it as. Both the guard captain and the stable master were rather surprised at this as they were sure that the horse was hale and hearty but … I guess anything is possible.
Once everything was finally sorted out, we headed off to the manor and arrived in the Great Hall. There, we were told that one of the others going to the Ball was Analise Schaefer, the daughter of the Count of Grobbety. She is reputed to be a spoiled child and probably not much competition for the Princess. We were to go to Marasei, 18 miles to the west, then take a boat and secure passage over the Keraptis Mountains to the north. Also, the princess and us ladies in waiting were being swarmed by courtiers, which was making me rather uncomfortable.
We were halfway up the river by lunchtime and Ibrihim decided to hold an exercise to see how well we would react in an emergency. All we had to do was to get the princess to a blanket where Ben was. What he didn’t tell us was that he was going to whip up a windstorm to make things more difficult causing us to fall down repeatedly. I tried to calm the winds thinking it may have been natural but it didn’t work. So I was rather annoyed with him. Also I really need to rank my minor magics talent as it took me a while to get all the mud and dirt off the princess and the ladies in waiting.
A bit later on, we rode into a mining town on the banks of a small lake and transferred onto a flat barge, 80’ long and 20ft wide. A tent had been placed on the deck. Ten miles further up we entered a large lake surrounded by steep cliffs. A tower could be seen on the northern side. This proved to be part of Fort Baklava, our destination for that night. We could see a track going up the side of the cliff behind the tower.
Entered the Great Hall and Princess Mary produced papers with Arztorf and Flugelheim seals on it. Some of us noticed the name ‘Silvercrest’ on it. These were presented to the Constable of Fort Baklava, Sir Gregor Vidamour.
We were told that getting over the mountains was a trip of sixty to seventy miles over a pass that was somewhere between 15 and 16 thousand feet high although it was only thirty miles as the falcon flies. However, as we were to discover, that was not the way we were going to go.
Instead, we headed down a tunnel It opened up into a 400ft round chamber inside the cliff looking down into the lake. We could see leading off from it, a series of lochs, with barges, one of which we got on to. Basically we travelled through a tunnel that had been cut though the mountains six years ago by the dwarves. There was a dwarven clan living in the mountains that had built this and one of them, Morden, was piloting the barge. It took us the entire night to get to Xantenburg on the other side.
The morning saw us approaching Xantenburg. The Princess was expected here and she presented as a gift, to the Baron, Baron Albrecht Von Gothe, a small mechanical clock. At least that was what we thought it was when it was brought out. However it then expanded into a large grandfather clock, I could just see the servants complaining about getting that up the narrow spiral stairs.
Ten am, we boarded the river boat and headed out. For some really obscure reason, Vapour decided to get mostly naked, much to Tari’s annoyance.
That afternoon we arrived at a large town, Gerebraun. The first inn that was investigated was the Golden Grain Inn but it was quickly discovered that Lady Analise Schaefer's (the Count of Grobbety's daughter) party was already here. So we took up occupancy at the nearby Baron’s Arms. The idea was to travel incognito and we ended up taking up all the third floor and half the second. Imbrium also bought a wide brimmed hat. While the rest of us settled in for the night, Ben and Ibrihim checked out the other inn. They discovered that Analise had five ladies-in-waiting as opposed to Princess Mary’s three. Ben was being chatted up by one of them, Charlotte, and discovered that they were going up the Dretsky Pass to Norberrety. However, as it turned out, we were going a different way, towards Valliere, so providing company and protection was out of the question.
The next day, as we prepared to set off, we discovered it had been snowing. We also wondered if the storm front was moving deliberately in our direction. Certainly Vapour believed it would get worse if we stayed put. Also there were large chunks of ice floating down the river. It looked like glacial breakoff to me, but Tari examined the ice and discovered that it was magical with the nature being 'Backfire'. Was a wiccan control weather spell that went wrong around the first. It was of demonic power as well and was cast somewhere around Jitomar. Was there a demonic or a Greater Summoner cult in that area? Enquiries were made and it was discovered that we could get barges to Mailland but it would cost double if the weather stayed bad. So Ibrihim flew up to push it sideways. Meanwhile we quickly loaded up the barge.
Headed on down the river. Around 9am, Vapour took off to go looking for Ibrihim, and nearly had a mid air collision with him in the clouds. 3pm and we passed the last of the forest, entering into plains and farmlands.
Suddenly we came across a commotion on the nearby road. A wagon had lost a wheel and had dropped on top of two men as they were trying to fix it. Others were screaming and a stain of red was spreading over the snow. So Cher and Vapour lifted the cart up while Ben and Tari got the men, Heinrich and Lyon, out and provided healing. Meanwhile, Cher fixed the wheel. One of the children was sent off to the nearby abbey to get assistance and soon, three monks arrived.
They were from Ichcolm Abbey, said to be the resting place of Queen Mary, the last wife of King Sigismund. It was decided to take the two men there for advanced healing, which we did. Just before we left, Vapour obtained three flasks of water from their sacred font. Nature of Magic was refreshment (2 were magical).
Four pm, passed a village, four thirty went past a copse of trees. One of the trees had a body hanging from it. It was very recent. So Tari and Vapour went to investigate. From what they could tell, the victim had been slept before being killed. Also, Tari told us that her crystal had been glowing that indicated that we were being scried upon. A note was also attached to the body which read:
Blackbird is searching for their prey and this birdie watched this road. There will be more birdies the further directly north you go and we will hunt these impertinent birdies on our behalf. The fair lady Mary was one of the preys looked for and she should beware of strangers offering assistance. See if any know of Blackbird - Signed <Shades of Southside>
Ibrihim talked to the winds and was told that a being dressed in white had flown in from the south, hung a sack from a tree, spun around and headed off to the north. The entity had black shadows and looked like Ben. Also the entity was black and had pointed ears.
Night passed and the only incursion in our watch area was a herd of foraging pigs.
It was decided to continue on. Vapour and I flew ahead, and it was really good to get in the air again. We passed over Sabrina's barony of Midgard. There were some horses in the field below that revealed themselves as Pegasi as we flew overhead and a large black one became visible - this had to be Ajax. The way ahead seemed clear so we headed back.
Midday, arrived in Mailland and headed up to the Schneider mansion. They're third cousins to the Princess. Two twin boys were presented to her, who were new additions to the family since her last visit. Presents, toys, etc were presented. It was decided to stay here the evening.
The plan had been hatched to use the barge as a decoy, while sending luggage and the servants on it, while we stayed a day then flew the entire party on to catch up. However, when we went to take off, it was discovered that there were footprints by the window and it was feared that our plans had already been leaked. So we changed our plans and flew off immediately. Katarina was the only one who couldn't fly so Cher gave her a lift. By about 4pm, we caught up to the boat. That evening we pulled up to the bank for the night.
The morning saw use resumed our travel down the Kaltberg River towards Bowcourt. Two that afternoon we reached the intersection with the Baratary River and soon reached Valliere. It looked like a well built clean and cultured Bowcourtian town.
The plan was to stay only one night then continue on overland. However, that could be complicated since the Princess wanted to shop, mainly helped by the reputation that this town had the best shopping in the Western Kingdom (presumably rating high on the Isil Eth scale). I should check that out myself sometime, if I could afford it.
We landed in the shadow of whitewashed walls with guards on them and were directed to Dock 4. Appropriate fees were paid to the customs officers (a shilling each and two for Cher - the customs officer had to get a new book) and all our large weapons were pacebonded by a wax seal. There were other boats in the harbour including a large 45ft black river boat with an eye motif on it. The sail had the symbol of 3 red lions rampant on a gold background. None of us had a clue on who's heraldry that was.
Many inns were recommended to us and amongst them were the grand sounding 'Red Dragon' and 'The Black Griffon'. After some deliberation we decided on the Black Griffon as it was slightly closer. Once we were settled in, a select few of us, consisting of the princess, Tari, Vapour, myself, and Alina went shopping. Ibrihim followed along behind in the shadows checking for anyone following us.
The princess wanted shoes and we finally ended up in a rather exclusive place (Francoise's Follies) in the appropriately called Cobbler's Lane. Hat shops are in Milliner's Lane and I presume the other shops are on other appropriately named streets. I was looking for something practical but this place was more for style and looks than anything. Mind you, some of them had potential as improvised weapons and there was a pair of pixie boots, made of what looked like leaves, that I had my eye on but they were much more expensive than I could afford.
Tari wanted travelling cloaks so, on to the cloak shop we went to get cloaks for everyone. As we were going there, a tail was observed. Ibriham was considering what to do about it when that group walked right into the shop we were in. Their leader, who was a regal looking lady, greeted Mary by name. It turned out this was Duchess Meredith and her escort, some of which were mysterious looking dark clad individuals. She invited Mary and the rest of us to dinner at the inn they were staying it, the Red Dragon. Phew - it could have been really awkward if we had gone there. Tari DA'd the Duchess and it turned out she didn't do magic.
We got our cloaks and headed back to the inn. There, we heard stories of dead and mutilated bodies floating down the river as well as the story of a group of Sanctuary mages who were walking to the ruins of Novalar from Sanctuary. The group, who had started walking at the start of Winter, consisted of two mages and 2 dozen apprentices, and they were on a field trip as part of graduating from Apprentices to Journeymen. We also heard that the black boat was named The Gotheic which belonged to 'a Lady from Ranke' (whom we presume to be Duchess Meredith) and that they were going to continue up river tomorrow.
We had seen many old buildings in town, heard of the elven influence here and I had already seen an old building that was of elven architecture. However we were told of the Cathedral that was at least 600 years old and the resting place of one of the last ancient queens. Then there was the Grove of Peace and Life where the elves and fae would come to contemplate and I definitely wanted to visit there.
Just then, there was a scream from upstairs. Ben, Vapour and I went upstairs to see what it was. What we found was a badly injured Symone and two black clad bodies. Vapour thought he saw someone running away so he went after him (or her) by leaping out of the window into the air. I went down to discretely fetch Tari and inform Captain Athos what had happened (without causing a panic) while Ben administered healing to Symone, and I then returned upstairs to assist. Vapour, meanwhile, had lost sight of his possible quarry and had returned. When we got there he was in the process of checking the bodies, discovering 6 daggers, one of which was magical (nature of magic - sharpness) and all of which were poisoned. He also found some mysterious packets of powders which we presumed were more poisons. I was also speculating to myself that, either Symone had been very lucky to take them out, or she had talents we didn't know about. Maybe a secret plant among the servents.
I tried on one of the assassin's outfits after Cher fixed the hole in it and it fitted my form perfectly as everyone in the room attested to. I might just keep it! Anyway, I stayed on guard in the shadows while the others disposed of the bodies via minimalising their presence and then taking the little statues for a walk along the riverside boardwalk. It turned out that 2 very damaged and cut up bodies were thrown into the great river that night, more food for the fishes (my my, they must be big and hungry fishies!). Tari's magical impenetrable chain was then used to seal the room that we were in (we being myself, the princess, Tari, the injured servant Symone and Lady Katarina) and then watches were set. Night passed with no incidents.
There was a brief encounter with some Gabrielite Monks this morning, otherwise known among us as the Gabrielite
Inquisition. We did discover that they were from the Order of the Sanctity of Knowledge in Mordeaux and were travelling to Konigberg, presumably something to do with the Succession. Anyway, I let slip that I had got my maps from Seagate and it was also said that we were guarding a wealthy carpet merchant. This led to a lecture from Ibrihim about keeping our cover stories straight. I think he was slightly annoyed at ending up possibly having to teach a bunch of monks the intricacies of carpet weaving next summer. The head inquisitor monk was a gentleman by the name of Sir Moritz Jaygendorf.
While we were being quizzed by the Inquisition, Cher and Tari went upstairs to employ Cher's past seeing crystal to review last nights attack. They came to the conclusion that Symone had no unexpected skills but had some dagger training, probably in self defense, and had been incredibly lucky. Meanwhile Ibrihim went over to the Red Dragon and spoke to one of the Duchess's security detachment, Francis. He said they had also discovered the odd dead body as well and may also be receiving aid from the same people we were. It was decided that we should share information about threats to each other's principals and he received a couple of sticks, one for location and the other, a half black half red rod, as a last ditch defence.
We finally headed off towards Hydeveld, on route to Lencre. There was only a light snowfall but Cher put Ice Traversal on the horses so we made really good time. Hydeveld came within view just after lunch so a list of lunch requests was made up and passed over to Cher who was sent off ahead to fill the order. It cost her two shillings and the only request that couldn't be filled was the pineapples. I was very surprised, but pleased that strawberries were available. So we ate on the hoof.
We continued on through the forest and finally reached Lencre, late that afternoon. The plan was to stay with Princess Mary's Great Aunt Isabelle so we headed up to Beauchamp Manor. On the way, Princess Mary told us she wanted to obtain Black Mandrake root. I wasn't sure what it was used for but this was the root that was shaped like a man and screamed when it was extracted, killing anyone who heard it. I also soon discovered that special puppies were bred to get it out and it was a very tiny scream which meant we only needed to be a few hundred elven yards away. Only the puppies needed to die, much to Tari's distress. I was wondering what would happen if deaf puppies were employed.
Anyway we were led into the yard. Vapour started talking to one of the servants, Simon, and ended up being invited to go sculling on the lake at 4am the next morning, meanwhile we were finding out about the local forest. It used to be called the Forest of Tranquility and was a very very old forest. There were stories of elves and maybe fae wandering in it, people had gone missing and it was said that it had a dark heart. Maybe there was even a lost civilisation in there somewhere. Hm ... Something for another Guild party to check out sometime? If there is, I think I'd want to go.
The conversation went on during dinner. Partway through, I suddenly noticed one of the other ladies in waiting, Lady Katarina, was missing. I asked Anya who said that she was going for a walk. Some of the rest of the party had also noticed this and a search as instigated. I was getting worried that she had been kidnapped and was being held hostage. However, tracks were discovered going to the barn and, when Tari went to investigate, she heard giggling then a partially clad Lady Katarina fell out of the loft and landed on the ground breaking a leg with a rather concerned young lad (Xavier, Son of Gustav Beauchamp - the master of the house) peered down - it turns out that the young man was her intended.
Lady Katarina was taken upstairs and left in Ben's care for healing. Meanwhile it was discovered that today's ride had opened up Symone's wound, she had been bleeding badly but she hadn't even said anything so she was left in Tari's care.
Cher, meanwhile, had been divinating the two sticks. One, when broken, acted as an emergency beacon, transmitting a magical signal of it's location over long distance for the next two hours. Presumably there were detectors to pick it up to bring help. The black and red rod had three functions symbolised with truesilver etched runes. It had slight sentience and could either summon a devil or a seriph, produce three solar flares in the nearby area, or open a portal for immediate evacuation. Basically, for summoning assistance, causing destruction or for an expeditious retreat. It was a one use item.
The night passed without further incident with Lady Katarina having her bones knit by Ben through the night.
Vapour was observed coming back in with Simon and his friend after an early morning row on the lake. I bet his shoulders are sore, especially his pectorials. Or would they? After all .. this is Vapour. He's fit and well buffed. That is why he was voted the Air College's Man of the Year for at least two years running.
Anyway, we spent the day going around six different herbalists. The powders we got were identified by Shocer the herbalist and we were told that they were rather lethal. Some of the people who would stoop to using such stuff could be Phillipe Gasteryn of Ranke or Theodore Durehole of Eltrandore. Discussions of various attribute enhancement potions were discussed and I was tempted to purchase some rose perfume although it was rather expensive. I finally settled on a pint of lavender oil for 100sp.
That night, we went black mandrake hunting. Mandrake had to be harvested in a period of a week around the full moon as close to midnight as possible and a silver sickle had to be employed to remove the root from the plant, as soon as possible, once it had been extracted. Reeber Howvlar was our guide and an expert mandrake hunter. He had brought eight puppies with him. On the way out into the woods we spied a collection of red and black mushrooms which looked interesting but I suspected that they were deadly poisonous.
Finally we spotted three small yellow flowers which Reeber informed us was mandrake. A puppy was tied to each plant and we retreated nearly two hundred elven yards away. Reeber threw some meat at the puppies to attract their attention and, as they moved forward, they pulled the plant out and dropped dead. We headed in and the roots were removed from the rest of the plant with the sickles. Reeber claimed one mandrake root for himself which left us with two.
On the way back, Vapour expressed an interest in the red and black mushrooms I had seen. I wasn't able to find the same spot but we were able to find another patch where Vapour harvested some.
It was getting close to three am by the time we got back to the manor. For some reason Vapour did not go rowing this morning.
I'm not sure exactly how it happened but, after the mandrake hunt, Ibrihim had acquired one of the puppies. Tari wanted to call it Leo claiming that was the puppies real name, short for Leonatius Rex, and that the puppy was a reincarnated Ellenic hero that had failed his quest. According to Ibrihim that made it a Hindi Ellenic puppy. They finally compromised on the name Rex.
The plan was to start preparations to leave by seven thirty, much to Princess Mary's annoyance. I was up at dawn, attempting to purify but failed. After dealing with the princess's needs, I went down to the kitchen and obtained apples and sugar cubes for the horses. The weather was nasty and cold with 45mph winds but we were assured it would be calmer within the forest.
Princess Mary was still looking a bit unhappy as we got ready and I think some of Lady Jane's legendary temper was starting to affect me as I was getting rather fed up with Ibrihim and Vapour's hurry up and get things done attitude. We got on our horses, then Princess Mary suddenly hopped off again and dashed back inside claiming she had forgotten something. Something didn't seem right so I followed. Turned out she wasn't well and was being sick. So I rushed off to get Tari. She discovered that she had picked up an allergic reaction to a fungus she had brushed against last night. Fortunately Nina had a flask of something that helped and she was soon feeling much better. It was mid morning by the time we set off.
I had been having misgivings and had suggested that we have outriders ahead of us to check for trouble such as fallen trees that had been blown over. However, the suggestion was not taken up. And sure enough, after we got into the forest it was looking like I may have been too paranoid as it was reasonably pleasent riding through the forest. The trees reduced the wind to near zero and even the cold was bearable. However, after a while a fallen tree was spotted across the path, and it hadn't fallen down naturally.
Just then our party was surrounded by a bunch of bandits, 24 by my count, most of which had bows. "Drop weapons and valuables and get off your horses" the leader commanded as he stood on the tree. There was no sign of any illusions or glameurs on any of them and some of them were wearing what appeared to be vegetable necklaces. Ben sent his horse galloping up and over the fallen tree and discovered five more, one of which looked rather different, more like a mage than a fighter.
A hail of arrows flew at us from both sides, one of which hit the princess. I moved to try and block that angle of fire while preparing a knockout gas spell. Meanwhile Cher disintegrated part of the fallen tree, including the bit the bandit leader was standing on.
The rest of the party surged forward towards the gap. My knockout gas spell failed badly then all around us, the winds picked up to near gale force. It turned into a case of 'they get knocked down, then they get up again ...' I was barely able to hang on to my horse as I prepared another spell. Meanwhile Vapour, Ben, and the guard captain charged forward to engage the bandit leader and the mage while those bandits, who were able to fire, continued to do so. George and the other two servants were basically knocked senseless. Cher made the gap in the tree larger and the rest of our force pressed on, the others crowding around Princess Mary.
I managed to get a Barrier of Wind spell up around me with the intention to use that and me as an arrow shield. However, the Windstorm then knocked me off my horse. The mage, who was obviously a Wiccan, dropped Hellfire on the front group and Ben was discovering many of the bandits were wearing wolfsbane, which was as poisonous to him as Cold Iron is to me. So he was getting into serious trouble. Meanwhile Vapour and the guard captain dropped their opponents. Arrows were still hitting our group including the Princess and the other ladies in waiting - and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Tari had caught a few in Hands of Earth before she got knocked down so she managed to swing onto the back of Ibrihim's horse and they charged into battle as well. She smacked the mage .. hard and he fell down. She then smelt sulphur around him.
The tide of battle was turning against the bandits, with their leaders in serious trouble and the winds being more than an inconvienience to their archers so they decided that retreat was the best option. Some of them decided to fire and an arrow whizzed over my head. Meanwhile Tari was hacking her way through the bandits along with the two guard lieutenants. The mage, who had evil red glowing eyes, got his head lopped off. Vapour managed to save Ben from dying while those that needed to, took healing potions.
The battle didn't last long after that. Most of the bandits were either dead or fled although we had three prisoners. The body of the mage had somehow vanished. Footprints of a three foot high creature had dragged the headless body away and poofed out through a demonic portal. Had to be his imp familiar. Unfortunately, on our side, Simone had died. Cher preserved the body for later resurrection. I removed the six wolfsbane necklaces and Cher also itemised them. We also obtained 600sp, 10 ten point healing potions. The mage had a necklace, a circlet, two earrings, a belt and four amulets. Ibrihim bagged the head.
The rest of the trip that day was uneventful but the mood was somber and we mostly travelled in silence. Finally we reached an inn called the Woodland Rest. Many of us were still battlescarred and blood splattered so we must have looked quite a sight when we came in. Our three prisoners were put under guard in the back room. Tari was on guard and our prisoners were rather subdued, especially after Ibrihim told them to behave or he'd unleash the elf ... and she was hungry. I later arranged a steak for Tari.
At two that afternoon, the local sheriff arrived. We told him what had happened and he took our prisoners away. We also got a 150sp bounty. He arranged an armed escort to Vannes for us.
Vannes turned out to be a town on a riverbank with lots of large chateaus. We were finally recommended to the Baron's Rest and, when we arrived and made our request, we ended up with the entire inn. Maybe making it appear we were Annilese's party. Certainly Princess Mary was enjoying her role.
Sold the horses and flew off to Innesburg. The weather was perfect, with clear blue skies and no wind. We stayed there until the 14th.
Flew off towards Konigburg and landed three miles from it. We could look down on the city in the distance and my impression was a network of canals and bridges with an island in the middle.
The plan was to freshen up as best we can, obtain a coach and horses, and arrive at our destination in style. I was planning to enhance the princess and the ladies in waiting, (including me), with disguise illusions, but it went disasterously wrong. I succeeded on the princess but the second attempt went horribly wrong and I backfired myself mute for the next twenty one hours. I had to resort to passing notes and improvised sign language. Of course my fellow adventurers thought this was highly amusing and I was tempted to flip them the bird a few times. I think I was sulking all the way down to Konigburg. Definately putting that spell on the 'get better at it' list.
Konigburg was huge and looked a lot bigger than Seagate. We were escorted to Konigburg Castle and were met at the gates by the guards. Basically we had to turn over all our weapons that were bigger than daggers and maingauches. They were placed in rune protected chests. Simone's body was also handed over so that the Palace Healers could deal with her. Also we discovered that our luggage were at the Embassy so arrangements were made to get it brought over.
Finally we were given a list of what not to do. Flying over the castle walls would set off the alarms. Use of indiscriminate magics would also cause an alarm as would the summoning of demonic or undead entities. However, loud parties are okay.
We were about to step through the gatehouse when the guards barred our way with crossed halberds. I was then told to drop the illusion and resume my true form. I was looking rather embarrised especially since I couldn't explain why I had one on but I did what I was told. As I did, I heard a faint scream in my mind which appeared to fade into the the distance as Lady Jane's memories etc went away. It made me feel rather bad actually and I was hoping I had learnt enough in order to continue to perform my role. Also I was feeling rather lightheaded and momentarily dizzy and disorientated. However, the guards were satisfied after that and let us through.
Beyond that, in the courtyard, we noticed a person in wizard robes carrying a staff. Presumably a Namer. We were escorted to a building called the Kings Palace and the path took us through the palace gardens. They looked very nice and I was looking forward to spending a lot of time among the flowers.
In the entrance of the building we passed a bank of mirrors which showed us surrounded by multicolours. So that's what an aura looks like. More guards observing of course. The rooms we were shown to were on the third floor and was a suite consisting of one large room and six rooms off to the side, three to each side. A total of sixteen people could be accomodated. Once I knew which room Princess Mary was going to be in, I went in and checked it over to make sure there weren't any hidden surprises.
It turned out we were one of the last groups to arrive. We were also told there was a hair incident. There was a rumour going around that Lady Emma Grosscot had the wrong mixture applied to her hair turning it a bright orange. I guess she's going to be wearing a wig for the duration until it grows out.
Lunch arrived soon after and the table was nearly groaning with the amount of food - more like enough for a six course banquet than a casual lunch. Lots of meat dishes but fortunately there were plenty of fruit and vegetables to keep me satisfied. Vapour was looking horrified at the amount of food and was going on about doing a lot of exercise. Mwanwhile I was hording some fresh fruit and vegetables for later.
Not long after the mammoth lunch arrived so did our luggage, as well as the courtier gowns etc that we had been measured up for before we left Seagate. I went to try mine on so I could see what it looked like. Mine was mainly sky blue with a white, cloudlike trim. Sparkles of what I presumed was to represent fairy dust was interspersed throughout the material to make it glittery. It was definately made by a mastercraftsperson and was designed to enhance my physical attributes. Maybe I should add a personal glameur to make me less noticable. It must have been worth about 3000sp.
Along with the luggage was a note for the princess. It bore the news that the barge had been attacked by bandits and three of the servants had died.
After baths etc, we headed out to enjoy the gardens where we encountered Dutchess Meredith and a few of her entourage. I was trying to remain in the background so questions wouldn't be asked like 'where did that strange elf come from'? A conversation ensured that resulted in both groups combining shopping expeditions tomorrow morning. She also mentioned that one of her men had reported seeing a black dragon flying overhead at night. It had been concluded that, whoever it was, had probably been drinking beforehand. They're located on the first floor, southwest corner.
Also encountered in the gardens was the party of Lady Josephine Firebranch of Bowcourt. Along with her was her Great Aunt and another lady, Selena as well as her fiance. Josephine is a 5'5" redhead and Selena is a 5'3" blonde. All three of them had something fae like about them and Vapour was getting some very odd looks.
That evening was the feast in the mess hall. I was keeping an eye open with my fae sight and was noticing a lot of illusions about. I was beginning to wonder if a representative from one of the Fae Courts was about as an observer.
Finally retired for the evening.
That morning, a note arrived for Princess Mary requesting her presense at the garden rotundra. From the wording, we deduced they it meant as soon as possible and it was from the Marquessa of Bowcourt, Dulcenia. So we headed down there. There we found the lady and her ladies in waiting either reading or doing needlework. We stayed at a discrete distance while Princess Mary and the Marquessa conversed.
The meeting was brief which left us plenty of time to get ready for our shopping expedition. This ended up taking most of the day as we went from shop to shop. I was hoping to find something that was more fae like I could wear on Asheth but no such luck. Maybe I'm going to have to commission a tailor.
When we got back, we encountered an altercation in the courtyard. The Herzog was attempting to get the guards to arrest a wizard who we recognised as Kern. He had been banished from the Western Kingdom and could only return if the King had summoned him, which had occured in this case. The Herzog had to stand down and stalked off in a foul mood. Kern was here serving in his role as one of the Royal Wizardry Squadron. We stopped to chat for a bit but soon headed off as he was on duty. I speculated for a while seeing if I could get time to interview him for the 'Who Is ..." column in the Seagate Times but soon concluded that there just wouldn't be much of an opportunity.
Not much else happened for the rest of the day (mainly because the shopping consumed all day, and most of our will to live - Adam).
17th Snow - The Debutantes' Ball
(the day of the ball) Early in the morning, Kern arrived with the items we had previously acquired and that he had arranged to be valued and identified. One of them was a Luck item that had been made from a Leprechaun, whom I was starting to feel sorry for. It definately wasn't lucky for the Leprechaun.
Most of the day was basically spent getting ready for the ball. Alena came in wearing a shimmering blue off the shoulder gown and Nina later turned up in a matching green one. Looking at those two, it would be hard to know that they were experienced warriors. Maybe I should talk to their tailor. Ibrihim decided to use his actual background as an Arabie Prince who had lost his kingdom. Should give him an advantage if any diplomatic situation arises. Certainly George was warning us about using weapons so, if anything happened, we would have to rely on our wits. We also discovered that other Guild members were making an appearance, such as Sabrina and Lady Teanna. Finally, after helping the Princess get ready I changed into my new ballgown, forsaking the use of any fae glamours as I didn't want to stand out too much.
Finally reached the Grand Ballroom. There must have been 800 people in here and we had to wait in line to be announced. Since 'Dawn' had been the name I was using while I had been under a disguise illusion, I reverted back to Aurora. King Ulric was sitting at the front and all the princesses and other notable ladies were being presented to him. I think there were 120 of them. Ben ended up dancing with Sabrina and there were quite a few courtiers interested in Ibrihim. Vapour was hanging around with other courtiers near the mirrors while the rest of us just drifted about. I was planning on keeping Cher company a bit but it soon became apparent that my dance card was rapidly filling up. So was Cher's. As I mingled, (including formal greetings to Lady Teanna) and danced around the ballroom, I was making notes on who Ulric ended up dancing with. Must have been around 25 ladies including Princess Mary, Duchess Meredithis and Sabrina. Vapour also discovered that some of his future in-laws were here and it was becoming rapidly apparent that wedding plans were in the making for the very near future.
Anyway the dancing etc went on until nearly 4 in the morning. No major incidents to report. I barely remember getting to my bed and falling on it in sheer exhaustion and promptly going to sleep. I do remember Princess Mary removing her shoes and and throwing them forcefully away, so relieved to get them off. The heels embedded themselves in the nearby wall.
Midday was the ladies tea party followed by the museum tour. Later on that day there was horse racing for the gentlemen. Tari was rather annoyed that the racing was gentlemen only as she much preferred that to a tea party. Also King Ulric had left little gifts for everyone - Yuletide chocolate covered fruit in my case. Yum!
Speaking of chocolate and sweetmeats, there had been a pile of them at the ball last night. I had put a few in my pockets for later, and indeed had eaten a few but, for some reason, Vapour hadn't slept all night and was still a bit hyperactive, as if he had too much of Grizelda's special restoratives. Turned out he had eaten a lot of those sweetmeats last night and there was something really strong in them. A lot of people were feeling a bit under the weather from the drinks last night (I had deliberately not had much, just sticking to the juices, as I didn't want to be the cause of another diplomatic incident) but, as if this had been planned for, the cathedral bells had been muted for the day.
Ten that morning was when I woke up, about the time the servants arrived with food but Princess Mary was still asleep. It had been reported by those on watch that, during the night, there had been whispered calls for various people to come out and presumably engage in more private after ball activities. Even my name was being called for which had me rather worried. Maybe I should find out who they were so I knew who to avoid for the rest of our stay. I definately didn't want to be the cause of any future diplomatic incidents.
Everyone was awake by lunchtime and us ladies went to the teaparty. King Ulric was there and we were mentally making notes of who he was following up on. It seemed that he meaningfully conversed with only 18 (see Selection 1 in the Reference Information section below) of the ladies he had danced with last night before leaving, including Meredithis, Mary and Analise. It was beginning to look like a game of elimination with the last one standing taking the crown.
After the tea party was the museum tour. I found it rather interesting but I noticed there were a lot of nobles missing. There was nothing officially planned for the evening but Princess Mary attended a reunion dinner for some fellow 'Southhaven Academy for Girls' graduates of the Class of the Vixen (Summer 807 to Spring 807) and came back in high spirits . Meanwhile Vapour finally passed out. I also noticed that the pile of those sweetmeats I had left on the table were gone.
(1st day of Chaos)
There was a hunt scheduled for that day but we decided to skip that. Instead Tari and I went for a walk in the woods.
There were more intimate parties that evening but Princess Mary was invited to a dinner with King Ulric among with 9 other ladies. She was allowed to take a lady in waiting with her and she chose Lady Anya to accompany her.
We also noticed that, during our perambulations, there always seemed to be the same five ladies on cleanup duty, especially if blood was involved. All of them looked similar being around 5'6" with long dark hair and dark eyes. They could be associated with Lady Elsbeth Celene Nadasdy as it was rumoured that she was looking for virgin blood to extend her lifespan. There must have been something in my expression when that piece of datum was revealed as the rest of the party started giving me some very strange looks and Ben said something about not worrying as it was easy fixed.
One of the five was identified as Lady Zarin de Crowvyn who was one of a set of triplets along with Lady Renee de Crowvyn and Lady Zoya de Crowvyn - known collectively as the Three Crows. We heard said that the Three Crows of Blood were part of a cabal known as the Ladies of Sigismund and the rumoured leader was Lady Simone Beauchamp aka Lady Redwater.
(2nd day of Chaos)
A present for King Ulric was supposed to have turned up this morning but something had gone wrong. According to George's message stick, they were stuck in the Drosky Mountains. George had a stick that would help locate them so we headed out, got our weapons back, kitted up, and flew off on carpets following the stick, which Ibrihim was holding. We could see a storm over the mountains as we approached.
As we burst out of the cloud layer, we could see a building below us boarded by a steep hill on one side, a wall in front and the rest being a wall of fire. Looks like an oil filled pit had been made and set alight. It looked like it was going to burn out in a few minutes so we figured that there wasn't much time to scout things out. Ibrihim had determined that the guards escorting the present were holed up inside so the plan was to get in and do an immediate evac as quickly as possible. I am so going to have to get used to carpets as I smacked into the wall while landing. It was then we realised the place was surrounded by undead, mostly zombies and skeletons, but there was also a spectre floating nearby and a vampire at the back. Two bodies, both clad in chainmail, were dead. One had bled out but the other looked like he had been drained.
Vapour called out who we were and who had sent us and the guards inside (three of them) let us in. It was a bit of a mad rush through the door. Ben was trying to fight off the spectre and was getting drained but, once he got inside, the door was slammed shut and bolted. The plan was to get our carpets down, grab a guard or the chest, destroy the side wall and take off. The plan started to dissolve as Tari and Ibrihim were temporary dominated by the vampire and tried to attack Vapour and one of the guards. Also I discovered I had a problem. The guard near me, that I was supposed to get away, weighed, including equipment, a bit more than I could take on the carpet. At least his chainmail didn't seem to be made of cold iron. Cher saw my plight and tossed me a magical egg. I used it to render the guard weightless, rolled out the carpet on the floor, and prepared for immediate liftoff as soon as a launch window appeared. I found I had a few seconds to wait so I trigged my Quickness ring, in the hope it would help get the others out as fast as possible as the spectre had got inside. The other two guards were laying into it with flaming swords while trying to hold off Ibrihim.
Tari, fortunately, had managed to overcome the dominance and tunnelled the wall out at the same time Cher disintegrated a portion of it. This required a steep ninety degree turn to fly out, which I wasn't confident about, but I had to give it a go. So I did, taking off executing the turn and out through the hole. Unfortunately I clipped the edge on the way out, smacking my hip. I had to grit my teeth against the pain as we wobbled into the air then turned and went at full throttle up in the rough direction of Konigburg. Hopefully the rest of the party weren't going to be too far behind me. I also realised I had broken my hip - again - and whatever landing I made, I wasn't going to be walking away from.
The flight back was uneventful with the guard hanging on. A healing potion helped a bit but I was still in agony. I had to bear it and concentrate on getting back. Landing at the castle or the cathedral was out of the question as we had already been warned about flying over the walls so I finally decided to cast featherfalls and bail off the carpet just outside the main gate. The landing was still painful though but the guard I had brought back was able to explain to the town guard what had happened. The last thing I remembered before sinking into blissful unconsciousness was the healer tending to me.
Meanwhile, back at the Drosky mountains, the spectre had been blasted into oblivion by the guards and Cher had taken off with the heavy chest (160lb) containing the present. Ibrihim was knocked out and the rest scrambled onto carpets. The two remaining guards triggered shadow wings and everyone evaced.
While I was making my way to Konigburg, the rest of the party was chasing after Cher, thanks to George's locate stick, as she was way off course. She was also being chased by a flock of vampire bats who were catching up. So were the party but rather slowly. So Cher spun around and headed in their direction, ending up being swarmed by bats, two of which were able to latch on and start sucking. Cher went unconscious and let go of the chest as she went into freefall. Tari grabbed Cher while Ben grabbed the chest. Meanwhile everyone else was smacking into bats. A featherfall was cast on Cher.
Finally they were dealt to and the party, looking rather battered, headed towards Konigburg. Upon arrival, they were checked over, the chest magically security scanned, and they discovered I was tucked up in bed in our quarters with the guard I had brought back, standing guard protectively over me. It was going to take at least five days before I was healed up but Tari believed if they tag teamed healers around the clock, they could get me up in two. My hip had been slathered in a foul smelling poultrice and someone had found my negligee armour and put me in it. Tari finally threw the boys out of the room and got to work as I slept.
The chest was supposed to contain a special crown and it was carefully checked to make sure it hadn't been tampered with and fortunately all the seals and wrappings were intact. A force of 20, including 10 hobbits wearing tricorned hats (presumably the Tricorne Hobbits of the King's Rapiers) headed out to deal with the undead and see about recovering the 2 fallen Royal Guards of Artzdorf & Flugelheim.
That evening Mary and Anya were invited to spend a quiet evening of discourse with the Marquessa along with the other prospective ladies discussing something to do with needlepoint and sewing, but the topics were later confirmed as also including politics, trade, social policy, military utility, manners, morals, geneaology, love and recipes. The rest of the night passed without incident although the story of our rescue was going all around the court, making us minor celebrities. Lady Mary and Anya didn't return until 3am from their quiet evening and seemed very tired.
21st Snow - Wulfsnacht
(3rd day of Chaos)
Her Highness Princess Mary and retinue had a belated start to the day. In the late morning an invitation arrived, addressed not to Her Highness, but to Ibrihim. More accurately, it was a summons to attend the Lord Protector Werner De Hassel forthwith. Ibrihim, along with Tari (for her rapier wit and intimidating glare) and Cher (for her blunt practicality and surreality), went to "Sigismund's Dayroom", where they met with Lady Katarina De Hassel, a no-nonsense lady who claimed that Ibrihim was her bastard grandchild, via her son Pytor. Not wishing to disagree, nor wishing to throw away his claim to the crown of the lost Kingdom of Khalid, Ibrihim played the 'shocked and surprised' card thoroughly, and fled back to the room. Once safely ensconced, Tari checked that he actually did come from the "lotsa-sand place" (presumably a literal translation from the Elvish for Arabie).
By 3pm the entourage was up and prepping for the Feast of Ulric, and after-parties. The Feast of Ulric was strictly formal attire, but it was held in the great Courtyard, the food was rustic-hunting-lodge served from trestle tables, and a great deal of the food was raw meat. Cher and a couple of the more eccentric ladies of the court started in on the raw meat, while everyone else nibbled until dusk. The guards opened the castle gates, and un poured several hundred wolves and wolf-kin. The majority were 2-3 foot high, great grey and red beasts from the nearby mountains. However, a disturbing number were between the size of a pony and a warhorse - they could have been Dire Wolves, Shapeshifters, Enchanted Beasts, Animal-Growthed pets, or even Hellhounds. Tari, our only animal person and DA, just fed them all meat from her bare hands without bothering to DA.
Finally, a Giant Wolf, nine foot at the shoulder, and weighing close to two ton, loped in. Apart from the out-of-towners, no one flinched, so this was all part of the show. Shortly, this colossal beast rearerd up, shimmered, and turned into King Ulric, a gleeful teenager. The wolves stayed around until they were sated, then turned and trotted out of town. By nine o'clock everyone was either really sleepy or feigning it. The Feast of Ulric was over, but ‘Wulfsnacht’ was just beginning. The Masked parties were on!
Ben, Victor, and the ladies in waiting (including Aurora) had received personal invitations to attend some private party, and were released from duty. Athos and George had another invite. This left Tari, Cher, Ibrihim, Nina & Alena to escort Her Highness Mary. We attended a party held by one of her old school chums. Suffice to say, the lady/gentleman ratio was critical, the rooms secluded, and the conversations tended not to involve names, or chit-chat, but more anatomical enquiries and entreaties. Around 2am, Her Highness and company moved to another party which was more active, with a higher ratio of menfolk and less inhibitions. Most of the principal ladies of the week attended at least one of these parties, or a similar event, and it seems that King Ulric, suitably disguised, did also.
Tari's greeting at an Orgy: "I don't talk a lot"
Around dawn, even Princess Mary was exhausted, and we limped home.
(4th day of Chaos)
We were up and partially recupurated well before noon (well, before noon), and ready to face a quiet afternoon's sailing on the lake. Little did we understand the noble appetite for debaunchery. From noon until 2pm we attended on Her Highness at a cucumber-sandwich and small-talk luncheon with the more staid folks, while various low-lives and degenerates headed further out onto the lake to start raucous parties on giant pleasure barges. After a post-prandial nap, some of the party (Ben, Victor, Aurora, to name no names) set off to investigate one of the more accessible barges, and the rest of us were thinking about heading back to shore, when Her Highness instead directed us to the biggest, gaudiest floating gin palace of the lot. We were grateful for Tari's strength of stone spell that she had cast to help us recover over lunch, as we undertook a gruelling multi-event tag-team series of athetic endeavours, first in the largest barge until 5pm, then another until 8, then a third until 10, and then after a 5 minute break in a rowboat, as we went to row for home, she directed us back the the first barge for another 6 hours, until 4am, upon which our strengths of stone wore off, most everything else had worn out, and most of the high nobility had lost track of all their changes of clothes and spare garments, let alone who their current partner(s) were.
We barely escaped with our lives, crawling on hands and knees past the drug-addled sex-junkies who ran the Western Kingdom. Tari said it was 'just like home'. Oh, and someone wanted me to mention the Giant who 'helped out', but I won't.
(5th day of Chaos)
The day started in the afternoon, with short walks in the public gardens by various groups of people. By 4pm, everyone who had ventured outside even briefly was back in their rooms, bathing, or getting massages and treatment from abrasions, scraps, bruising, stretched muscles, pulled tendons, lack of various vital fluids, etc.
24th Snow - the Twilight Beauty in the Snow
(6th day of Chaos)
The morning was again quiet, and the afternoon was all about preparation for the Final Night "Twilight Beauty in the Snow" Ball. The pre-ball mingling started around 5pm, and the dancing as the light grew dim. Ulric danced with all the aspirants for his hand, even those who had fallen from favour in the last six days . Around 10pm, the older nobles were getting tired, so the Marquissa and the Herzog gave long speeches to even out the tiredness across the generations. Finally, the Belle of the Ball was to be announced. This was espected to be the lady favoured by the King. However, to the surprise of many, not one but five Belles of the Ball were announced, being our own Princess Mary of Artzdorf and Flugelheim, Duchess Meredithis of Ranke, Wilhelmyna con Sartra of Eltrandor, Analise Schaefer, of County Grobbety, and Miranda Alagaad, of the Borderlay Alagaads. It appears that the political manouevering by the Marquessa and the Herzog had not yet been settled.
(7th day of Chaos)
The Grand Event being over, Princess Mary decided to depart while her health was still in good order. She used the Royal Portal network to travel to Artzdorf, and we accepted her invitation to travel with her before our tailors' bills arrived, or Adam's putative father tracked him down. Later that day we received our royal writs of ennoblement, and most of us decided to travel together to our respective holding in the north of Artzdorf. At this point, our official adventures finished.
We visited Mary's dad, the King of Artzdorf and Flugelheim. He gave us each a write of ennoblement, and we had a pleasant evening in the Palace.
King Matthew lent us a Gerald to escort us to our new holdings in Northern Artzdorf. Everyone met their soon-to-be long-suffering reeves and other staff. The holdings are: Highpoint, Lesser Maltheim, Littlebrook, Shalewood, Southbridge, and Swansbog. Victor invited us all to his wedding, which was happening 800 miles away in 3 days! We stayed the night at Swansbog. Aurora decided to sort out issues in her lands at Highpoint.
A hard day flying to Freetaun via Eltran. Around 10 hours sitting on a carpet.
A hard day flying to the beautiful and idyllic Chateau Sartoris. Around 8 hours sitting on a carpet. The chateau staff had organised a huge stag party, hoping that Victor would arrive in time for the wedding! While the ladies had a reasonably refined booze-up with Collette Beaumont, the bride-to-be, the lads got plastered. Eventually the girls decided enough was enough, and when the door guards wouldn't let them in to get drunk with the lads unless they stripped and danced on the tables, Cher disintegrated the door, and they burst into a room of confused paralytic drunken oafs. However, in the kerfuffle and arguing, Victor had been carried to the rooftops, and bundled onto a carpet.
Next thing he knew, Victor came around stripped naked (except for his boots) in the snow, chained to a post in a town square, and being harrassed by a guard claiming he was in Sanctuary and about to be sold as a pleasure slave. Several hours of Vapour alternately passing out, threatening, bribing, and grovelling for his life, dawn broke, and a boy untied his hands. Victor then strode out of town and into the sky clad only in his sheer magnificence (and boots). He could see the Chateau, and flew home just in time to get into his wedding finery, helped by his rather worried best man. Somehow, the entire wedding party had heard the tale of Victor's night by the time he returned.
Apart from the customary prank, the wedding went wonderfully. THe bride was beautful, the bridesmaids free-spirited, and the drinks plentiful.
The group, plus Collette, her sister, and her father, began the journey back to Littlebrook.
A longer day of flying.
Eventually we all reached Littlebrook safely, and the rest of us left the honeymooners to it.
Most of the party can fly, but if anyone wants a lift, or company travelling, Ibrihim / Adam of Swansbog will happily travel with people to or from Seagate just before / after Guild meetings for the next couple of seasons.
Legends of Vapour
Rescue of a Maiden
It was a dark and stormy night. Vapour was flying escort on a party high over a wind-swept ocean. The flight was long and arduous, and the party (excluding Vapour) were beginning to flag. While Vapour was rallying them to one last mighty effort, the fair elven lady Aurora Steelwind faded back out of earshot, and then fell asleep from shopping fatigue. Quick as a flash, Vapour summoned one of his lads, and then power-dived towards the rapidly descending slumbering maiden. As he dove, he cast a mighty spell to catch her in a feather-soft magical cradle, to not disturb her exhausted repose. Signalling to the following minion to collect Aurora, Vapour once more battled the raging winds, to seize the magical carpet, which was still falling out of the sky. Only one of his tremendous skill and poise could have collected the wind-tossed rag from the teeth of the gale. And with little more than a “by your leave m’lady”, he escorted Aurora back to the rest of the party, and saw them all safely to landfall.
Vapour Saves a Caravan
One afternoon Vapour was travelling down a river on a pleasure barge, guarding a beautiful princess and her ladies-in-waiting. Suddenly, cries of distress were heard from the riverbank. At a single glance, Vapour expertly assessed the crisis and devised a plan. He immediately rushed across the waves to the nearby cart track, calling for his loyal crew to follow as soon as they could. An overladen wagon had broken a wheel, trapping two unfortunate merchants underneath the corner of the precariously-tilted wagon, while small children were trapped inside, and about to be dragged into the icy flow if the wagon toppled any further. Vapour braced his mighty thews, and lifted most of the weight of the wagon, allowing the unfortunate victims to breathe, and the wagon to be levelled enough for the young children to make their way to their wailing mothers. As he casually bore a load that would have defeated three lesser men, Vapour called for his crew to row harder towards the shore. Finally they arrived, and under his direction the healers soon stabilised the wounded so that it was safe to move the wagon. No sooner had they given the signal that the patients could be moved, than Vapour, with a rippling of muscles and tensing of sinews, took the rest of the strain, and lifted the wagon clear off the trapped men. His assistants braced the wagon with pieces of wood and undertook makeshift repairs, while Vapour organised the transportation of the wounded to a nearby monastery. Then, with a nod to the awed men, and a wink for the stunned womenfolk, Vapour walked back to the barge where the princess and her ladies were draped over the gunwale admiring his commanding presence. Just another quiet afternoon on the river for Vapour.
Last Man Standing
There was a sense of joy and serenity on the day that Vapour and his party traveled through the dark forest. Suddenly, out of the trees leapt a horde - no, two hordes - of evil mages and demon bandits! The unexpected strength of Vapour’s presence caused them but a moment of hesitation, which was all Vapour needed to rally his party to battle against seemingly impossible odds. Vapour burst forth through a deadly rain of arrow fire into the heart of evildom with no consideration for his own safety, only that of the beautiful princess and other innocents in his charge. So strong was his leadership that others miraculously followed him into what must have seemed like certain death, only knowing that they would never stand alone when led by Vapour in battle. Barrage after barrage of magical death storms crumpled both friend and foe alike. The rain of carnage would have drowned the spirits of most, but not Vapour. For when the arrows and blood settled, there alone stood Vapour over the defeated enemy, his friends collapsed but still with enough strength to be cheered by the knowledge that they were now safe. "For truely this is our Victor" they cried.
A Vampire's End
Vapour was in Konigsberg Castle advising on matters of royal security, when he heard that some royal messengers were in trouble in the mountains. As quick as thought, he rounded up his trainees and flew off towards the perilous alpine pass. Upon spotting a pillar of smoke in the distance, Vapour formed a cunning plan. The team dropped out of the storm clouds at close range, penetrating the ring of besieging mages and greater undead before they had time to react. While his trainees cowered behind the partial cover of a flaming trench of oil, Vapour convinced the trapped messengers to open the barracaded waystation, and let the rescuers in. If it weren't for Ibrihim dawdling on the roof, then falling under the sway of the vampire lord, the plan would have worked perfectly. Realising that speed and organisation was more important than cold steel, Vapour directed his team: Aurora and Cher were assigned to carry messengers and their package, Ben held off the Spectre, while Vapour rallied the messengers to face the enemy. Tari had also been bespelled by the vampire, but when she went to strike Vapour, his sheer magnificence shattered the enchantment, and Tari was freed to magically breach the back of the waystation, away from the worst concentration of undead. Aurora and Cher then took off with their packages. As Vapour stepped forward to confront the Spectre over the collapsed body of Ben, it shrieked in horror and dissolved under his steely gaze. Ibrihim was still under the control of the vampire, but a single blow was sufficient to quell him. A quick rally and a spot of dutch courage got Ben to his feet again, and Ben, Tari and Vapour transported their downed companion and the last two messengers out of the building just as the horde of zombies finished crossing the flaming trench and making their way around the building.
Vapour decided that defeating the vampire there and then could endanger the messenger he was protecting, so he switched to an alternate plan; it was a simple matter of luring the vampire to come after a deliberately isolated Cher in bat form, entrap his cloud of bats in a powerful magical storm, and destroy the relatively weak and disoriented bats in Vapour's natural element as the part closed in from all directions. He even got to implement another Rescue of a Maiden(TM) as Cher plummeted unconscious through the cloud of bats with Tari hanging on by one hand, and Ibrihim falling without a mode of flying directly above them. Not for nothing is Vapour the Air-Mage Man-of-the-Year for a record seventh consecutive time.
Royal_Debutante_Ball_of_810 Survivours Scorecard
- Selection 1 - This appeared to be the list of King Ulric's favoured attendees after the Ball on the 17th.
- Duchess Meredithis, the Duchess of Ranke
- Princess Mary, daughter of the King of Artzdorf & Flugelheim
- Wilhelmyna con Sartra of Eltrandor
- Morwena of Drakenburg
- Lady Joséphine Firebrass of Bowcourt
- Breana Volar, the daughter of the Duke Otto Volar of Volari
- Syrena of Cauldersfield, daughter of Herkym Sozet the ruler of Cauldersfield
- Chastity Freyze, the god daughter of the Archbishop of Mordeaux
- Analise Schaefer, daughter of the Count of Grobbety
- Coralie von Hochburg, daughter of Herzog Albrecht the Altgraf of Hochburg
- Miranda Alagaad , daughter of the head of the Borderlay Alagaad family
- Elise Manglesdorff , the granddaughter of the Viscount of Baltheim
- Carolyne von Habsburg, niece of the Viscount of Droskyn
- Narcisa von Habsburg, niece of the Viscount of Droskyn
- Jacqui Rothschild, niece of the Viscount of Reskyan - of the Bowcourt Rothschilds.
- Karyn Rothschild, niece of the Viscount of Reskyan - of the Bowcourt Rothschilds.
- Aemilia Rothschild, daughter of the Viscount of Reskyan - of the Aladarian Rothschilds
- Estelle Falkenhayn, granddaughter of the Viscount of Westmarch
- Selection 2 - This appeared to be the list of King Ulric's favoured attendees after the Tea Party and Museum Tour on the 18th and Hunt on the 19th.
- Duchess Meredithis, the Duchess of Ranke
- Princess Mary, daughter of the King of Artzdorf & Flugelheim
- Wilhelmyna con Sartra of Eltrandor
- Breana Volar, the daughter of the Duke Otto Volar of Volari
- Syrena of Cauldersfield, daughter of Herkym Sozet the ruler of Cauldersfield
- Analise Schaefer, daughter of the Count of Grobbety
- Miranda Alagaad, daughter of the head of the Borderlay Alagaad family
- Elise Manglesdorff, the granddaughter of the Viscount of Baltheim
- Carolyne von Habsburg, niece of the Viscount of Droskyn
- Jacqui Rothschild, niece of the Viscount of Reskyan - of the Bowcourt Rothschilds.
- Selection 3 - This is the list of the ladies most favoured by the regents and Ulric and these ladies were announced as the 'Belle's of the Ball' on the 25th of Snow 810WK.
- Duchess Meredithis, the Duchess of Ranke
- Princess Mary, daughter of the King of Artzdorf & Flugelheim
- Wilhelmyna con Sartra of Eltrandor
- Analise Schaefer, daughter of the Count of Grobbety
- Miranda Alagaad, daughter of the head of the Borderlay Alagaad family
There was some bias exhibited by the regents in relation to these ladies where the Marquessa seemed to favour Wilhelmyna and Miranda, while Albrecht seemed to favour the others - and Ulric appeared very happy to see more of each of these ladies as they are most comely, attractive, intelligent, may have large dowries as well as political connections and significant other assets.
- The main languages of the Western Kingdom are Folksprach, Reichspiel and Lalange with Reichspiel and Lalange being spoken in court and upper class settings exclusively (unless in intimate circumstances) as is proper. While well-ranked knowledge of 'common' is widespread it is after all <snooty voice> 'common' so anyone gentrified (classy, stylish, well-heeled etc) will have other languages ranked like Reichspiel and Lalange.
- Travelling Party
- Princess Mary Jacqueline Elizabeth Apfelherd of Artzdorf and Flugelheim
- Lord Conrad de Soze (briefing official) of A&F
- Lord George de Runcy (liason) of A&F
- Lady Katarina Swynford
- Lady Jane Rochfort
- Anya Vyrubova
- Lady Dawn Highpoint
- Guards: Captain Athos Zarla, Lt's Nina and Alena Willhelms.
- Servants (down trodden but capable and loyal lackies): Victoria, Symone, Cher
- 'Opposition' Greater Nobles
- King Ulric
- Herzog Albrecht of Aquila
- Dulcenia, Marquessa of Bowcourt
- Baroness Sabine of Midgard
Specific Locations or Places
- Ichcolm Abbey
The languages of Aladar and Aquila are: Folksprach for the commoners, and Reichspiel for the nobles. The language of Bowcourt is Lalange. Many merchants and nobles will also speak Common, but we can’t rely on it 100%. We have 3.5 weeks of training in Flugelheim, and this time will count double due to an item that Lord Conrad will borrow.
Everyone went shopping in Seagate for stuff of the party. Please list what you got us, and how much it cost the party:
- Ibrihim: 6 flying carpets. 1,200sp
- Vapour and Ben: how many healing/restorative potions? Cost?
- Aurora: ?
- Cher and Tari: Food/supplies?
Your carpet weighs 12 lb (9 lb for the elven women). If you don’t carry it, Ibrihim can’t make you fly. Ibrihim is carrying 2 spare carpets for Princess Mary and Lord George.
Vapour to complete. 3 can see in the dark. Ben or Cher want midnight, Aurora not.
Preliminary assignments of primary duties in a fight or situation:
- Everyone – Princess Mary
- Aurora – ladies-in-waiting
- Ben – enemy positions and offence co-ord
- Cher – servants
- Ibrihim – Lord George, politics and spies
- Tari – horses, supplies
- Vapour – guards and defence co-ord
|Armour||Armour of Earth||Tari||+XAP, +X%||?||?||Y||?||?||?||Y|
|Vision||Enchant Mortal (R6)||Aurora||?||7 hrs||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N|
|Misc||Resist Cold (R6)||Aurora||?||7 hrs||N||N||N||N||Y||Y|
|Misc||Vapour Breathing (R6+)||???||?||7 hrs||?||?||?||?||?||Y|
|Misc||Carpet Flying||???||?||5 hrs||?||?||N||?||?||Y|
|Winter: Frost (7)|
|Samhain||1||Guild Meeting Leave at Dusk||2||Fly. Sleep. Fly.||3||Arrive A&F. Train.||4||5||6|
|21||22||23||24||25||26||End training||27||Boat from Flugelheim|
|Winter: Snow (8)|
|1||Land at Oprausen||2||Arrive at Xantenburg||3||Depart Gerebraun||4||Arrive at Mailland|
|5||Mailland > Barge||6||Get to Valliere||7||8||9||10||11|
|12||13||14||15||Solstice - Deadline for arrival at Königburg||16||17||The Regent’s Winter Debutante Ball and start of Festival week||18||Yuletide - Tea Party, Museum and Horse Racing|
|19||Days of Chaos - Royal Hunt||20||2nd DoC - Royal Guards Review - Conflict with a Vampire||21||3rd DoC - The Feast of Ulric – ‘Wulfsnacht’ + Orgy 1||22||4th DoC - Boating around Konigburg + Orgy 2A||23||5th DoC - Orgy 2B + Garden Walks||24||6th DoC - The Final Night Ball – Twilight Beauty in the Snow||25||7th DoC - Departure to Artzdorf via portal|
|26||8th DoC||27||9th DoC||28||10th DoC||29||11th DoC||30||Twelfth Night|