Oct 26, 2015

The Governors Twenty

From the Diary of Myla called Halfelven.

Well, they did it.

I am not sure how with all the odds against them, but there is no doubt they succeeded. My ward, Toland, tells me that they are off the island, the Southrun assassins were stymied and the girl and her brother are safely out of the governor's clutches. That is success by anyone's standards.

So it seems I have misapprehended their abilities. If I ever see them again I will be sure to tell them that they impressed me today. Free City is a dangerous place. I know that well. I have lived three lifetimes here, it seems, and I am never sure I will have tomorrow. So how these mainlanders always muddle through is beyond me.

Let me begin at the beginning. I have the whole story now from everyone involved. I know the details even the heroes don't.

The story begins with a girl of Westrun, anxious to run from her petty existence on the streets of the city of Balduren. She goes to the wharf of that town, like any child seeking adventure might, and runs into the arms of the first person she meets with a wink and a smile and the promise of a better life. Unfortunately for her, those arms belong to Ergin the Whip, a slaver of some reputation. She is quickly trundled off into the hold of a ship and taken to Free City, ironically the city of greatest bondage for young women in all Erenth.

Once in Free City she becomes one of the Governors Twenty, a bevy of hand-picked women assigned to his exclusive brothel, catering to his personal desires and those of his richest customers. She might have been lost to that life forever, where it not for the pluck of a younger brother. He comes across that handful of adventurers who are motivated enough by a sad tale and promise of riches to actually try to emancipate her from her assigned fate.

Unfortunately for her would be rescuers, they are pursued by assassins of Southrun, the so-called Crimson Scimitars, who mean to kill them for one sleight or another. They sought my help of course, but ran afoul of my darling protector, Toland -- who I admit is overly suspicious for my sake.

Nevertheless, without my help, they managed to secret the girl and her brother away from the Governors compound. They did so even after learning that the brother had none of the riches he claimed to and finding that he and his sister were common cast offs in that city. These they paid to have returned to Balduren, and put them in the hands of the Protectors, who operate an orphanage thereabouts.

By some manner of luck they escaped both the Crimson Scimitars and the Hue and Cry of every headhunter, mercenary, and ne'erdowell on the salty streets of Free. I don't expect them to return, but if they ever do, I mean to buy them a drink.

Jun 27, 2015

NPC Characters

Belloq, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Han Solo, Star Wars
Tom Hagen, The Godfather
Little Bill Daggett, Unforgiven
Jean Lundegaard, Fargo
Titus Pollo, Rome
Goffery, Game of Thrones
Vizini, The Princess Bride
Retired Gunny, Jack Reacher
Javier, Les Miserables

Nov 13, 2013

Briefly: Wanted Dead or Alive

A Notice to All Sell Swords and Bounty Hunters and the Decent Peoples of Bolden,
Be you warned that our streets are plagued by vile and uncivilized foreigners,
who are both thieves and murderers of honest tradesmen, and eaters of horses.

Upon this Thewsday last, in the very middle of the day,
a day which shall live on in infamy,
with wanton cruelty and brazen intent, and in the eyes of several witnesses,
the crown jewels of His Grace,
King Halinard,
a prize of the common people of the Kingdom of Bolden and the source of all their pride,
obtained for their benefit and with their love and labors, did while they were under the faithful stewardship of,
Wallace the Just,
fall victim to common thievery with multiple murders attending that crime.

These same eyewitnesses name three savage Eastrun Bandits, a man and his two vile consorts. One of which matches the description of an infamous kidnapper known to lure unspoilt maids into a life of ill repute.
This vile deed, undertaken when said jewels were being sent out for cleaning, occured in the full sight of young children and woman and ladies of some bearing. Additionally, these cutthroats were heard uttering imprecations to their strange gods and dedicating this task into those unholy names. Moreover they were heard to say that they were not respecters of Westrun society, nor had they any regard for the several guilds including most especially the Food Rationers and Storesmans Guild.
In light of these acts, be it known by all that the Kingdom of Bolden authorizes the sum of 10,000 Crowns for the live capture or dead rendition of the male ringleader, and 4,000 Crowns for each of his molls. All three subjects are known to dress in finer clothes. Both females dress scantily over armor and one is described as unbathed.

Nov 9, 2013

Briefly: One Satyrday in Bolden

Hendy entered the study and cleared his throat.

The boss decided not to look up, but from the corner of his eye he could see the idiot bouncing on his heels. The damn fool had something to say and would stammer like an idiot for ten minutes before getting his thoughts and/or courage up. The boss decided he didn't feel like waiting to put him out of his misery.

"What is it?"

The simpleton said, "Sir, Gaenor is dead."

"Who?" The boss barely remembered his employees names. Most of them, like this one, were a pain.

"The baker, sir."

The boss looked up and saw that Hendy had turned pale. My, but he was really scared. Good. The boss prided himself on running a tight operation. It was important for his people to know fear. Fear of consequences. Fear of him.

Still not looking up. "I see."

He leaned back in his chair. He'd just given the baker a great business opportunity -- one of his most important. In a typical display of ineptitude, the baker up and dies. The boss was beginning to question the wisdom of insulating himself from day to day operations. He liked clean hands, but they came at a certain expense. He needed quality people to stay that clean, apparently. Quality people were in short supply.

He looked at Hendy now. "Fine, give it to the tailor."

Hendy looked like he was in pain and clutched his stomach. The boss could practically hear it turning from across the room. The fool was a bundle of nerves. Hendy was not quality. Quality was people who could keep calm with things erupted around them.

"What is it?" he dmaneded, impatient.

"S-s-s-sir," Hendy stammered, "you gave Gaenor the job already. He... uh... already made the deal. He took delivery of the items... and he... uh... made the loan."

The boss rolled his eyes. He hated sentimentality from those beneath him. It was such a waste of time and it stopped them from being able to think clearly. Who cared if the baker was dead? What difference did it make. No lord would default on pawned crown jewels. When he spoke again, he spoke slowly so Hendy could keep up.

"Send a boy to His Royal Perfumery, and explain that whats his name..."

"Gaenor," the idiot interrupted.

"That Gaenor has met with an accident. Tell him that his jewels are in capable hands and that payments can be made as previously arranged, but now they will be made to the tailor."

Now the boss really did hear Hendy's stomach.  The pale idiot actually covered his mouth as if to keep from vomiting. Watching the man still squirming and searching for things to say made the boss felt a little uneasy himself.

"What is it, you damned simpering fool?"

"Sir, the items are g-g-gone."

The boss stood up suddenly and involuntarily. His heart began thudding in his ears.

"Gone where?" he roared.

"Uh... that is... no one knows, sir."

The boss felt himself shaking in anger. The fury was boiling through his veins and threatened to explode in a massive surge of profanity and violence. This deal was less than a few hours old and it had gone to gong already.

"Somebody knows, you idiot, bring his crew here and lets get to the bottom of this. We can't have those things in the wind."

"His... the crew was... they were all killed, too," Hendy sobbed.

The mewling sound only added to the fury the boss felt.

"Killed?!?!" The boss picked up the table nearest him and turned it over with a loud splintering crash. He pulled a book off the shelf nearest him and lobbed it at Hendy who was took weak or blind to duck. It careened off his skull with a deep thud. That was joined by a second and a third. A cut opened above the sobbing man's eye.

The boss roared, "You didn't say he had been killed. You said he was dead."

Hendy sank to his knees, blood streaming from his torn scalp and mixing with the tears and snot from his eyes and nose. By the smell, the lesser man had soiled himself. No matter. The boss pulled the bookshelf down next to the desk with another splintering crash, then turned and crossed the room to stare out the window and think.

If the baker and his whole crew were gone, that meant a hit. It meant that another one of the Arches was moving on him. The common people were too smart to make a move against a member of the Guild. No napper would be stupid enough to hit an Uncle in his own place. It had to be one of the Arches making a move... or else....

The boss thought for a moment and willed his thoughts to move slowly. Then he said them aloud.

"Or else the Prince himself is hanging us out to dry."

At that, Hendy sobbed again from behind him on the rug.

The boss knew what he wanted to do, but he had to take a breath and think it through. His tendency was toward immediate retribution. Extreme violence, perpetrated quickly against every available target. Crush everyone and everything... Now! But, he hadn't gotten this far loosing control and soiling himself like the idiot on his rug behind him. No, the first thing he needed was information. Good information. Complete information. He turned back to his idiot employee, still sobbing with his drawers full of shite.

"Tell me, again. This time don't leave out any details."

The boss sat down to listen, but his thoughts were still racing and Hendy would be forced to tell it again and again.

This was 10 gold bar deal. His biggest deal. That meant that his appraiser found the items valued much, much higher. That's how the business worked. If a noble defaulted on the loan extended, they knew the guild could turn the pawned collateral into cash in a hurry. That's why they only pawned things at half, it made the turnover that much easier. So there was a lot of incentive to keep up on the payments.

It worked both ways. These nobles, especially royalty, knew their things were safe. No one nossed with the Guild. No one and not even the Guild would rip off the crown. They too, had to keep their end of the bargain. And if the Guild couldn't keep those things that were pawned, safe?

The boss shook his head. There would be a storm. The King would loose his men on Guild. A lot of good thieves would die and a lot more would rot in the dungeon. Lads, Uncles, Arches... hell the Prince himself would be hung or drawn. Oh, yes, business would suffer for that kind of retribution and the crown would feel it, too. Things would be bad in Bolden and across the whole kingdom, but a king would weather that and just tax his nobles for lost revenue. The nobles would tax the commoners and tighten their leashes on the serfs. In the end, it would be inconvenient for the crown, but no king ever lost his life fighting the Guild.

So what? That wouldn't happen to the Guild. That couldn't happen. The Prince wouldn't allow it. He'd pay off the perfumed pansy just to avoid the trouble and he wouldn't eat the expense, either. His next stop would be right here. He'd come looking to collect.

The boss knew he was on the hook for the items. More than 25 gold bars... maybe as much as 30. That was a lifetime of wages for him. All of his operations in hock. All of his plans down the drain. He would be left barely heaving. No, this would amount to what he liked to call... unacceptable losses.

The boss looked at Hendy, who was still droning on in painstaking detail as the load in his breeches filled the study with the unmistakable smell of a privy-in-the-raw. The boss still wasn't listening. His anger had turned into a seething iron. He was quiet and controlled, but still white hot. He decided, then and there, to kill Hendy when the idiot finished telling it all a third time. It would be good sport, he decided, and would take the edge off this whole mess. And after Hendy was dead and in the ground, the boss would figure out what to do next. He always did. He didn't get where he was today, by not thinking clearly.

Oct 14, 2013

The Hospitality of Duke Havenar pt. 2

After the slaying of the leprechaun; Lord Budokai, Lady Mai and Lu-Chen are joined by Sir Jarvis, lately come from Wanderhalt; and a Ranger arrived to investigate the rumors of the cat on behalf of the mysterious White Robes. The group has little time for discussing their mutual interests before they hear another pedestrian coming along on the wooded path.

Oct 11, 2013

The Hospitality of Duke Havenar pt. 1

Having donated his portion of the mystery ore to King Aleyn (less what would be needed for the fashioning of a few items) Budokai purposes to leave Collonia and return to Menea and his wife. Lu Chen and Mai agree to go with him, at least as far as the Pass at Oromir.

Oct 2, 2013

Cache a Fallen Star pt. 7

A rescued Dwarf by the name of Hafgar identifies himself as a master smith and agrees to work the mysterious ore for the party in exchange for mere room and board.

Aug 23, 2013

Catching Up: The Further Travels of Ziek pt. 3

Fleeing the burning barn, Ziek and Ward made good time before the sun rose. They ate the last of their rations on the road and put in a full day’s travel, and then some.

Aug 20, 2013

Cache a Fallen Star pt. 6

The Frost Giant Shaman is somewhere in the complex. The party stands having defeated most of the Jarl's forces in combat. Two Stone Giants are captive and scores of dwarves come spilling into the courtyard from some unseen warren. The party decides to move with haste. Leaving Beleg behind to treat with his fellow Dwarves, they disregard the door through which the Shaman was seen retreating, and head into the manor from the side entrance. They immediately surprise another Frost Giant who works in the kitchen and dispatch him before he can beg for quarter.

Aug 19, 2013

Backstory: Lita

Lita grew up in a small village called Winston, on the outskirts of the Mistwood Forest. She came from an ordinary home. Her parents had a small house and garden, where they grew enough food to survive. Her father, who was rumored to be a Ranger in his youth, was a great hunter. There was always meat on the table for dinner. His name was Leonard, and his wife was Isabella.

Men Stomp Where Elves Fear to Tred

Two sell-swords, Bronn and Assaad find themselves in a public house in Rath and unemployed. Their waitress brings their latest round of drinks along with a notice from a person unknown.

Men-at-Arms Wanted
for a task most dangerous.
Rewards commensurate.

Inquire of Mr. Hobbes, 
at Penn Oyal's Inn

The Brothers Unprepared

Dunsmyr and Dinsmyr, twin brothers and half breed elves of the Mistwood are summoned to the Tower of their Wizard, the Llormaster of the Mistwood. There they find that Magister Sylvanus has taken leave of the tower and left his primus, Tuorwyn in charge. Tuorwyn has an offer for the two half-elves.

Jul 20, 2013

Briefly: Wanted Dead or Alive?

A Notice to Travelers and Bounty Hunters Alike

Attention Road Weary and Restless Souls the wood hereabout is haunted by a brigand
and a murderer of honest men.

Jul 15, 2013

Backstory: Samantha Rose

Balduren, City of the Horse Lords, is built on a narrow peninsula that juts into the Great Sea. It boasts massive walls, decorated with the graven images of the animal which is highly revered there. It is also a port city, from which many set sail to the strange Land of Southrun. It boasts tens of thousands of residents, and is the home of the Great Warrior King Belasarus and of Drawmij the Wizard.

Jul 12, 2013

Catching Up: The Further Travels of Ziek pt. 2

Finally, coming to the Lake of Mist, they made contact with Caelfa, a Great Druid, who spoke to them cryptically but truthfully. She finally revealed the history of Collonia as she knew it. For her predecessor was none other than Tersia whose writings had other details to spare. Thus armed with some hidden history, Ziek and his adept decided to journey to Peakshadow to visit the archives there. For they surmised that a true copy of the book might exist in the High King's library.

Jul 8, 2013

Bookkeeping: Lita's Life

Lita has about three years of game time to account for, since meeting the Maguiren and before picking up with characters in Umfreville. I can do that by fiat, or you can give me some idea of what you think she might have tried to accomplish during that time.