A reminder. That’s what these last few days were. A reminder that I am mortal. Let me start from the beginning…
Caimbuel had become antsy. He was told by the gnomes we rescued out West that a witch lived near to Boargia, along the Western shore of the Tuskwater. Additionally, he wanted to explore the tower and island it sat upon in the middle of the Candlemere. He seems to have designs to site a city of magical learning there.
So we set out on expedition, hiring a local lake fisherman and his vessel, we made our way to the witch’s cabin. Coming upon it, it was a modest looking thing, located in a marshy area. But to her credit the lands she had fenced in were well maintained…at least, as well as marshy land could be. A scarecrow stood watch along the path from the fence to her cabin, and a bell hung by the gate.
Caimbuel cast one of his incantations and scoured the area for magic, finding only the scarecrow and the cabin itself to be magical. The bell was apparently safe, and thus he’d wrung it. As the rest of us came up to the gate the witch was peeking from her cabin door at those that’d come calling. Caimbuel expressed his intentions to talk, and identified us as the rulers of the new “kingdom” to the North, and me as its “King”.
The witch seemed to be surprised that we’d lasted beyond a couple months and welcomed Caimbuel in. Not wishing to overwhelm a hermit, Deridian was the only other to go. The rest of us remained beyond just beyond the gate. Someone had seen fit to invite Zeraph (the half-elf beast master) and his beast along with us. I suspect Dame Tyberia, but I’m not certain. It was of no consequence I thought, in fact, it was better he was here with us rather than in Boargia.
After some time, Caimbuel and Deridian both came back, it seems the witch was friendly enough. The rumors of her child eating were untrue tales it seemed, as there was no evidence of any bodies in her cabin or on her grounds, and she did not seem to be evil to me. She left us with two things: a request for mushrooms that she uses to brew tea and a warning not to cross into her lands without first ringing the bell and seeking her leave.
Given the bounty she promised for each mushroom, one-hundred gold pieces, and Caimbuel’s desire to befriend, we travelled in the fisherman’s vessel to the South-Eastern shore of the Tuskwater. More swamp and marsh greeted us there, except it was even more inhospitable than the shore near the witch’s cabin. Caimbuel, not taking any heed, advanced first towards the mud bog the witch referred to where the mushrooms grew.
As he passed deeper into the mists of the swamp we heard the sounds of a man heaving. Caimbuel stumbled back out of the mist and fell prone to his side, polluting the ground next to him with his sick. Believing myself to be the most hardy of our expedition, I entered the thick mist next. The air was indeed, truly toxic. I stomached it, but it took effort. I made my way back and advised the rest. It seemed we would have to hold our breath. Ensuring Caimbuel would not die, we made our way in.
It wasn’t long in the sickening mist when tentacles whipped out of the gloom to strike me. Surprised by the sudden attack, I was entangled. They began to constrict, whilst the rest of the expedition made ready for battle. It was good fortune to have the beast along it would seem, for his four short-swords cut at the bindings that gripped me.
Whilst Deridian bestowed her healing magics, and the four-armed beast unleashed his onslaught, I tried to break free and keep myself in the fight. The struggle seemed without end, until I finally blacked out.
What must’ve been moments later, I heard Deridian finishing her by now familiar prayer as I began to draw back in breaths of the fetid air. The monster was slain, and we set about collecting the mushrooms for the witch. All the while I attempted to appear unphased but underneath it all, I was thinking about what would’ve happened had I died; what would happen to the realm we had worked so hard to establish? Though I have no doubts in the abilities of the Cabinet members, how would they decide who among them would accede to rulership? Would they be able to immediately take Regency? Or would the realm suffer the imbroglio of a long period of interregnum? And if the realm was to suffer interregnum, would our enemies and foreign powers seize upon the time of weakness and undo everything that we have built? To me it was clear: I had to designate who would lead in my stead.
So now here I sit. The ink on the parchment next to this, my journal tome, dries and the wax sets. I struggled with it, as I have maintained in my heart that an Erastilian realm would not be one of hereditary nobility and title. I believe each man and woman would have to work to earn any title they claim. So I have come up with what I will transcribe here for you now
James Peyton, by the grace of Erastil, lord of Tuscany, having regard to the continuity of Tuscany and safety of it’s peoples, hereby establishes and ordains the order of succession for the Sovereign Realm of Tuscany
That upon the temporary impairment causing Him to be unable to rule, or upon the capture of His person, that Dame Deridian be installed as Lady Regent of the Sovereign Realm of Tuscany. That she be granted stewardship of the throne and charged with healing or freeing James Peyton as her second priority, with her first being to uphold the Tuska Carta and the order and security of the Realm.
That upon the death, or permanent impairment causing Him to be unable to rule, or upon the capture of His person, that Dame Deridian be coronated as Margravine Regnant of the Sovereing Realm of Tuscany. That she be granted all rights, powers, and privileges of the Crown, and that she be charged with upholding the Tuska Carta and the order and security of the Realm.
Signed by Our hand, in witness of the Gods, on this, the Ninth of Erastus, 4712 Absalom Reckoning.
For now I shall leave this writ in my bureau, along with my other personal effects. I do not want it to cause any alarm. But should the time come, hopefully someone will find it.