To Forge A Kingdom

Letter to the Green Council from Nikita's Crossing
(ciphered according to Lady Wren's instructions)

Lords and Ladies of the Green Council,

Salutations and felicitations. I have been asked by my comrades of the Green Heart Expeditionary Wedding Party to relay this missive of situational information and orders for immediate relay.

Firstly, the military situation in northern Varnhold is quite dire. An immense dragon turtle is in the river last seen headed west towards Fort Thorn. Your humble servant and transcriber herewith convinced it we were meager prey and not worthy of its mighty attention. Perhaps the residents of the fort can do likewise. Tribes of savage beastmen have been banded together and begun capturing and making slave to the denizens of the region. The powers-that-be (such as they are) appear completely ignorant to the problem, and grew quite alarmed when presented with proof of same. The mayor of Nikita’s Crossing fled in the night after we returned survivors and freed slavemen to his outpost. (A note to our factors in Brevoy to be on the lookout for same might not go amiss – Certain lessons should be taught to one so derelict in his duty, abandoning same, etc)

As a result of the disturbances to the population (enslavement, etc), agricultural activity in the area has dropped to near nothing. Most fields have been trampled or burned, and those that have not been maltreated no longer have agrarian personnel to manage them (to wit: farmers, etc). Our esteemed Lords and Ladies of the Green Heart Expeditionary Wedding Party are sending orders for the Green Regent et, al to increase our land’s agricultural production as much as is at all possible. Forthcoming famine in Varnhold is almost certain to occur with spreading effects into Brevoy.

Further orders have been relayed from our blessed Lords & Ladies etc etc, regarding increasing scouting and military patrols along the eastern border, roads and rivers. With the hordes of beastmen running rampant, we can no longer count on the well-meaning but ineffective Varnling folks, and we must remain vigilant to prevent such mischief from entering our lands.

For Lady Wren in particular, my royal compatriots, etc etc have asked that she and her agents double and redouble their efforts at espionage of agents from Varnhold and counter to same from their agents.

Finally, an addendum requested from our mighty companion and bearer of flame, Lady Shirin. She wishes news spread throughout the land that she has (almost nearly) single-handedly slain a fell beast – a mythic manticore. She has claimed the immense beast’s head as her trophy and is retaining it in one of the party’s magical containment bags, to the exclusion of all other contents. Upon our return, she will mount it as a trophy to serve as testimony to the might of Lady Shirin, and the wisdom of Sarenrae, whose fire guided her hand.

Until we speak again, in this life or the next,
your servant (and theirs, etc),

H. Palomino (his signature)

Excerpt from Tellens journal

I had the dream again, the terrible fire, the screaming, and that unholy noise. There doesn’t seem to be enough alcohol around to put me out deep enough to stop the dreams from coming anymore. What’s worse I can’t seem to escape either. In the past enough drink would spirit me away to new places and new adventures, but now I just wake alone in my chambers with that horrible noise ringing in my ears, the smell of burning flesh in my lungs. I may be that I am here to do Cayden’s will, or maybe this is my punishment for an unknown transgression, I will see it to the end either way.

Something evil is brewing in these lands, a putrid bile churning in its heart. The others laugh and giggle about what I tell them, tell me I’ve drank to much, they’ll learn soon enough. Even Simbala with her powerful sight seems to have been blinded by the forces at work here. I will be strong though, I must, for all of them. The day will come when I will face the true horrors this land has to give, and I will not falter. Until then I will continue to drink, to try and stop the horrible sounds in my head. The horrible bleating.

Stolen Lands - Greta - 4

It’s too much, it’s all too much. My head, it hums and throbs almost constantly now, show no weakness, SHOW NO WEAKNESS. The sparks, the fireworks, the frost, the winds that might be whispers, and I did NOT fall asleep on watch. I wish I’d been too weak to stay awake, that would have been the lesser evil. Nightmares of drowning are better than admitting to seeing things. I’ve lost control, I’m both in a whirlwind and lost at sea.

We captured a boy, maybe I’ll offer to go back to Oleg’s with him as a “guard”. I recognize his character, people will do what needs done when they think it’s the only way out. Ow, my head, owwww.

Stolen Lands - 2 - Greta

Freedom, the nasty little captured bandit spoke of freedom. I have to admit, for a moment, I almost forgot my intentions and allegiance. Never having to answer to anyone, no more orders, no more obey, ultimate freedom to do what I want, when I want. Tomorrow I’ll ask the soldier Falkragg for exercises to improve my sword work. The concentration and exertion should help me return to focus.

The Stolen Lands - The Outset

Written in Hallit

The journey began auspiciously, as it will end – when it ends. A journey with such a beginning will not be a clean one. Such things rarely are. A clean beginning leads to a clean end, such as something severed.

This is not a severance, but a long string of disconnected events … which will carry on disjointedly, until they are able to find their salient points.

Stolen Lands - 1 - Greta

First entry
This has turned out to be as intriguing as Twix had suspected. I wish she’d been here to share the experience, but perhaps I our paths will cross again and I can catch her up with these log entries.

It happened again. We were on our way to the assignment when the carriage was attacked by would be kidnappers. I was certain it was a test of my abilities so I intended to make an impression.

I executed a running long jump over a fountain. My form was still good I think, my landing was square, and it felt great to clear an obstacle again. I intended to grab the attacker by the arm, but a brisk breeze brushed my face and distracted me. The attacker fell over like a toppled statue, his expression as frozen in shock as mine! It was exhausting and the bent cap ached. Sometimes I find that if I just shake my hands the feeling goes away, but this time I shook like a dog just in from outside. Snow from my sleeve fell onto the toppled man, he didn’t even blink. It was disconcerting, but I felt a sense of satisfaction. I think they’ll find my skills useful, though I’ll need to be more aware of these winds.

The snows are retreating, I’m sad about that. I’ve developed a strange comfort in the cold.


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