Kingmaker_Boise

Journal of James Peyton - Day 288

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.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 280

At last! We have come to Erastus. A celebration of virtuous life, I look forward to Archer’s Day. It’s only two days away and already the preparations in Boargia are being made. Svetlana has seen to decorating the grounds for the competition. Oleg has seen to putting together the prize money. And already people have been filled the inn and are setting up tents around the city.

But not all is on the up-and-up. It seems that brothel has opened near the inn. I suppose such things are inevitable, but as Boargia is my ancient demesne I do not want this establishment to corrupt the morals of the people here. I’m sure Old Deadeye would not forgive a monarch that freely allowed families to be broken and bastards born right under his very nose. So I have seen fit to issue this decree

James Peyton, by the grace of Erastil, lord of Tuskany, to all those in Boargia, greeting. Know that, having regard to Erastil, and the establishment and protection of virtuous families, We do hereby establish and ordain

That all those within and immediately around Boargia, upon the roads and the commons, or witnessable therefrom, are expected to comport themselves in a decent and chaste manner, on pain of one week’s imprisonment and fine of ten silver pieces.

Furthermore, We hereby instruct and order the constabulary to execute this decree as judiciously as they are able.

Signed in Our hand on this, the First of Erastus, 4712 Absalom Reckoning.


This is the River Kingdoms, I do not wish to butt my authority into what happens in private bed chambers, but I cannot allow prostitutes and whores to gallivant about the city dressed indecently.

As the number of those that call Boargia their homes grows into the thousands, I think it was fitting to move the officers of Ser Akiros’s watch out of the Redoubt and into their own office. The people need a place to go for their day-to-day constabulary needs. The Watch needs to be accessible to the people when the Redoubt is closed. Hopefully, this will advance the cause of justice in the land.

Switching from domestic to foreign affairs, the delegation from Chelliax is imminent. And doubtless, others have taken notice of the newest realm in the River Kingdoms. Though I feel I could adequately defend myself given the need, I believe it would be good to show those who may have hostile intent, or those who are still deciding what their intent towards us will be, a strong deterrent in the form of a dynastic order of protectors. And though I am unwed and without issue, that will likely not be true in the future. And they will need protection. So I think it is fitting that I create The Most Noble Order of the White Hart. They shall be dedicated to my personal protection and to the protection of my House. I’ve had my scribe whip up the following

WANTED

Strong, intelligent, and agile men and women with demonstrable martial, magical, or otherwise supreme and extraordinary skill. If you believe that you are exceptional, apply at the castle, Erastil’s Redoubt, in Boargia, Tuskany. Low-born commoner or high-born noble, native riverfolk and those from lands beyond, all are welcomed to apply!

I think it gets the message across. He should have plenty of time to get enough copies posted around the city and distributed throughout the realm just in time for the festivities.

And one final note. Oleg informs me that we have reached a level of sustainability. We no longer require food imports to sustain the populace. I pray that Erastil, though he is not usually found among cities and organized governments such as ours, recognizes that we strive to bring civilization to a formerly wild land while still maintaining a virtuous lifestyle.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 191

Already we come upon the month of Gozran. Half a year I have spent on the throne. In some sense, I should be proud of my accomplishments, and the accomplishments of my friends and advisors. But in, what feels like a great sense, it’s as if I have accomplished so little.

Food is still scarce, the trust of the people is illusive, and the love of our allies, the Lebedan’s, is distant. But still, the gods do show their mercy from time to time. I suppose I should count my blessings; this month a group of craftsman have come to Boargia. They are not the traditional type of craftsman that one would think of, for they work with clockwork creations. Still, they seem to want to ply their craft here, and from what I understand, their creations are quite valuable. Being as they seem to be peaceful and not troublesome, we will welcome them with open arms as the newest residents of Boargia.

And still yet more strangeness finds its way to Tuskany. Two secretive men have come to town. Well, atleast they initially seemed to be men, but upon Ser Akiros’s investigation one looks to be half-elf, and the other is some foreign creature with four arms. They were both presented before the throne, and it seems the elf plies trade as a carpenter. The beast on the other hand seems built for war. Furthermore, it seems that elf holds some power over the beast, as if the beast is his servant.

So, with two purposes in mind I ordered Ser Akiros to duel the beast. The first and more outwardly obvious purpose was to assess the threat the creature posed to the people of Boargia, for it seemed the elf intended to stay here. The second, less outwardly obvious purpose was that I knew Akiros was spoiling for a fight. He was trying to reform, and come back into the folds of the sacred brotherhood, but his anger was still present. We had been leaving him cooped up in Boargia whenever we saw fit to go on an expedition. So I knew it would be good to let him release his built-up anger.

The duel began and was over quite quickly. The beast was fierce and swift. Ser Akiros took many cuts from the four short-swords the beast wielded in its four hands. But to his credit, he kept his rage in check and dealt back some cuts of his own. After only seconds of fighting I called the duel off. Akiros had taken quite a beating, and I would not see him knocked out of commission by the beast of some stranger.

Having a true assessment of the beast’s martial skill, I welcomed the elf and his creature to Boargia. He and his beast had to stay close within the reach of the Redoubt, I would not send them to live in rural Tuskany. Plus, I knew the inn keeper would keep them in check in the event they turned violent.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 130

It is now the fourth month of my reign. We still endeavor to finish construction of the road from Boargia to Oleg’s trading post. And the food shortage is still a problem, but we seem to be making headway.

We’ve just gotten back to Redoubt after carrying out what I most fervently hope is the final action we will have to carry regarding the Stag Lord. Earlier in our travels we came upon a bereft crossing haunted by a victim of the Stag Lord’s viciousness. To him, we bequeathed the Stag Lord’s lifeless body. It was rotting, and smelled incredibly foul, but the undead ferryman accepted it all the same. Hopefully the having of it will give him final rest, and rid us of the burden of the Stag Lord once and for all.

But that was not the only errand which we completed. There was also the matter of the kobolds in the silver mine. While they had been relatively complacent in our presence they still resorted to banditry of those not so heavily armed. To purpose, we brought the kobold that Caimbuel had taken under his care, affectionately called “Big K”. The chieftain and shaman of the kobold tribe seemed to be the root of the problem, and they were quickly dispatched, along with those that took up arms to defend them. Before leaving, I made known in clear and certain terms, in the dragon tongue they speak, that we were the rightful rulers of this land, and that Big K would serve as our vassal.

But alas, when it rains it pours, and in our absence Boargia was visited upon by a murder. Such crimes cannot go unanswered, so I dispatched my High Captains, Ser Akiros and Dame Tyberia, to investigate the matter and detain a suspect. As providence would have it, a new visitor had come to town, he was secretive and unaccounted for during the time the victim had gone missing.

He struggled but only for awhile when he was arrested and brought to the Redoubt. He explained his troubles: he was a werewolf, stricken with a blood-thirst he could not control. For better or ill I took pity on him, and we immediately set about looking for wolfs-bane to cure his affliction.

The cure was administered and his disease banished from him, but the damage he had wrought would not so easily be erased. I summoned the victim’s kin to the Redoubt, showed them the one who killed him, and explained the situation. I put the question to them: would they suffer his presence in Boargia? They would not, but seeing that the man had a good heart, I banished him from Boargia but not from the realm, and assigned him to the service of the Wardens under Dame Tyberia.

I guess I should prepare myself to hear of more misfortunes. I must endeavor to not grow callous to the plight of the common folk.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 125

It is the third month of the existence of our new realm. Settlers continue to stream into the capital, which Deridian has suggested we name Boargia. As this is the month of Abadius, signalling a new year we decided to hold a yuletide festival.

We purchased blankets from Restov and food from the outlying farms in our realm. The Chamber of Ministers and myself distributed these goods throughout our burgeoning realm. It was good to see the people in such good spirits, ready to take on the challenges and triumphs that are sure to come with the new year. I think we shall continue this tradition each month of Abadius.

In Boargia, we have constructed an inn. A somewhat surly dwarfs-man, who seems to be some sort of military veteran has taken to running it. And now hundreds have taken to call Boargia home. In the shadows of the Redoubt many set about fishing, lumber-jacking, hunting and trapping. Hopefully with the inn more will come to visit, and hopefully stay.

However this growth has come at a cost. The lands do not seem willing to support so many people on hunting, trapping, and fishing alone. We are having to import food from Brevoy, and this is slowly dwindling the realm’s meager treasury. Somewhat paradoxically, the growth of Boargia must be supported with yet more growth of the rural parts of the realm and the establishment of farms.

With much haste I will set myself to this endeavor, for I do not know how much longer I can stand to hear Oleg grumbling and bemoaning the loss of so much coin. Soon enough I imagine regular trade between Tuskany and Brevoy will begin. We are establishing an as yet unnamed road from Boargia to Oleg’s trading post. From their, we will have joined a major route of trade, and I would imagine it would cost us much less to send goods to and fro.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 60
Coronations and Foundations

Tuskany. That is the name we have settled on for our new sovereign realm. Surprisingly quickly we decided that I would be ruling monarch, while the other charter bearers, those that joined us in our journeys, and some of the notable people of the Stolen Lands would make up my Chamber of Ministers.

Indeed, this is a time of great moment.

We have sited the capital city of our realm along the Northern shore of the Tuskwater, not too far away from the Stag Lord’s former keep. With the backing of House Lebeda of Brevoy, we began construction of a castle. I think I shall name it Erastil’s Redoubt. Erasing the memory of the Stag Lord from the Stolen Lands, we knocked down the ruins of his keep to use as raw materials for the Redoubt.

Caimbuel, seeming to be knowledgeable in all things managed the construction of the Redoubt, whilst Deridian and Svetlana talked to the people of the Stolen Lands; informing them of the new realm and hearing of their troubles.

In the meanwhile, I set about my own work. Having read of many past royal families, I knew of the troubles that they could bring about to the common folk of the lands they tried to protect. I did not want to become known as a tyrant, but I also had to recognize that the land was still untamed, and required a strong monarch to make safe. The compromise I came up with is the Tuska Carta. I hope that it will provide some protections for the people, respect the customary river freedoms, respect the will of Erastil, but allow me enough freedom and authority to deal with problems as they arise.

Having enough of the keep constructed, as well as the beginnings of a city with the people relocating and building houses nearby, we decided to hold an official Coronation ceremony. Jhod, who was made the High Priest of the realm, performed the ceremony.

Many of our new settlers came, as well as some of the trappers and farmers that ply their trade in the area. In true Erastilian fashion the ceremony was perfunctory and not too formal. And it didn’t have to be; it’s sole purpose was to establish the authority of our new government, and that purpose was served. Caimbuel had forged the crown, a simple band of silver from the nearby mine.

It was during my coronation that I unveiled the Tuska Carta to the gathered audience. It’s reception was as warm as I could expect; these people were not used to true monarchs or formal government. And those that were familiar with such things had left for the River Kingdoms to escape such things. But I think that seeing their customary rights protected in the words helped. I’m sure that for them, the words were good enough, now what mattered was the actions that followed.

I hope in the coming months I can fulfill their hopes with just rulership.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 53

Silverhall. The seat of House Lebeda. At last, we had reached friendly territory, and were able to unburden ourselves of the Stag Lord. Had the Stag Lord been any less of a monster it might’ve troubled me thinking of what ministrations the Lebedan’s had in store for him. But my heart was hardened to his plight.

The structure of Silverhall was impressive though, to be sure. A lofty keep, high walls. The power of our allies was apparent. I spent most of my free time strolling along the walls of the keep, admiring the commanding view of the surrounding lands and looking inward to inspect the structure of the keep.

All the while the Lebedan’s showed their hospitality; our armor was shined and oiled, weapons sharpened, fine foods eaten and tasty beverages drunk. Lander Lebeda, the scion of his house, played the courteous, if distant, host. However the merry feasting soon came to a halt when Tyberia seemed to have gone missing.

We quickly formed search teams; the charter bearers took to horse to search the country side, the servants and guards searched Silverhall, and Caimbuel, perhaps not trusting our friends, surreptitiously searched Silverhall as well. After a few hours we came upon an encampment, somewhat odd looking, but we knew for sure that it was our target as we were attacked upon approach.

Our foes fought fiercely and with terrible power, summoning what must’ve been demonic powers from the hells to fight for them. But we overcame and upon searching found a gray uniform. No sign of Tyberia. Not allowing ourselves to become crestfallen we continued searching. In time, riders from Silverhall informed us that Tyberia had made her own way back to the castle.

Deridian went to speak with Tyberia about what had happened but neither said much of what had happened. And I did not really feel it my place to step in, nor did I really have time for we had an audience with Dame Sarrona, the real power of House Lebeda.

She thanked us for bringing the Stag Lord to her. When showed the gray uniform, she looked somewhat aghast, identifying the thing to be the uniform of the Gray Gardeners of Galt. Not much else was said about the matter, except that we had her thanks for bringing it discretely to her attention. At the end, she promised her support.

The day ended with the arrival of Brevoy’s king, Noleski Surtova. A ceremony was held, and for fulfilling the terms of our charter, he officially ceded Brevoy’s claim on the Stolen Lands. We were to be made sovereign.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 50
Chaos in Restov

With our prisoner secured, having left Akiros to defend the Stag Lord’s former keep, we set out for Restov. The Stag Lord proved unruly to the very end. And now he was chained and kept unconscious in the back of our cart. Perhaps if we would’ve allowed him periods of consciousness he would’ve attempted parlay. Perhaps he would’ve plead for mercy and admit to his wrongdoings. But, in those few moments when he had awoken while I was his watch his eyes said everything. They roiled with the anger and hate of a violent soul. To me, he was stained and soiled by his years of banditry and viciousness; he was beyond redemption. It did not trouble my conscience to send him back into his slumber with a gauntleted fist.

After a few days of this travel, with only but a few minor problems along the way, we made our way into the city of Restov. Our destination was the office of the Lord Mayer. After we had met with the Lebedan delegation a few weeks ago at Oleg’s, it was clear they had some particular need of the Stag Lord…alive. Sensing the sensitivity of the situation, we attempted to keep our cargo hidden, and took to the back entrance of the city hall. And from thence, we went to talk to the Lord Mayor.

But as I’ve said before, that city is full of men with unsavory and unclean character. Untrustworthy. And they had apparently sniffed out our purpose and set upon us. With fire and sword, they attempted to kill us. Presumably to take the Stag Lord for their own, to present to the dark master they served. But we prevailed, extracting the mayor, the Stag Lord, and ourselves from the inferno of the burning offices we quickly left the city, heading West.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 46

The caves were dark. They seemed small and close. A roughly square room lead off to three prongs. We knew the Stag Lord’s father was down here somewhere, but we did not know how cunning and treacherous he would be.

Various beasts appeared and swarmed us. I searched, trying to sense the evil of him, but I could not detect him. We fought and killed the beasts he must’ve conjured. And eventually, he finally made his appearance; stepping out from the earthen wall, as if it were made of water, he appeared. His magic reminded in some ways of Tyberia’s. But his was twisted, dark. And now that I could see him, I sensed the evil within him.

Throughout the fight he said nothing. Grim determination upon his face, he attempted to defeat us, to kill us. But we overwhelmed him. Unfortunately for him, unlike his son, his life would not be spared.

We returned to the surface.

Deciding not to stay here much longer, we prepared to set out, back to Oleg’s and eventually, Restov. We took our spoils of battle, including weapons, horses, furs, a cart, and some miscellaneous other trinkets. We chained the Stag Lord, still bound in the manacles, down to the cart—unless he had help from others, he would not be freed—and we spent one last night in the fortress formerly belonging to the Stag Lord.

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Journal of James Peyton - Day 45
Attack on the Stag Lord's Fortress!

The fortress was within sight. The party was assembled—Neudvin, Tyberia, Caimbuel, Deridian, myself, and even the kobold—we made our final preparations, decided upon our strategy, and we waited.

The sun had set, behind the forests in the West, and the time of our attack had come. Saddled horses met their riders, and we set down the meandering road to the fortress. Our plan was simple, Caimbuel would enter the fortress, open the gate, and the rest of us would rush in to greet the bandits with steel and arrowheads. But even the simplest of plans could be foiled.

We were close, nearly there, when dead hands burst forth from the earth beneath us. Zombies, the living dead. We should have known the Stag Lord was not so foolish as to leave his fortress so readily assailable. A trap we had sprung, but Caimbuel, without delay, took action. Disappearing into the darkness, he ran to the fortress.

After being taken by surprise, we rallied. Swords in hand, Neudvin and I began delivering them to a final rest. But it was Deridian who proved invaluable in dealing with these soulless distractions. Waves of warmth spread through the ether, healing and comforting to us, devastating to the zombies. Yet as we destroyed them, they continued to rise from the earth. Luckily, Caimbuel pulled through.

The gate to the fortress opened a little; not enough to ride through, but we squeezed inward. Leaving the zombies that had greeted us outside the fortress, we sealed the gate and immediately set lines. To my surprise, we had taken the bandits by…surprise. Unorganized, dysfunctional, their early attempts to repel us were feeble. But soon they nearly overwhelmed us.

What the bandits lacked in organization and discipline, they made up for in sheer numbers and raw strength. While most were weak, some hit hard. The ring of steel on steel sounded throughout the fortress as their weapons clapped against our full-plate. But when they managed to find the weakness in my armor, the effect was devastating. Countless blows and cuts I suffered throughout the battle. But Erastil was with me, and Deridian proved an invaluable ally. When I fell—and many times indeed did I fall—I felt the wounds suddenly close as Deridian’s healing, or my own, saved me.

But let me not get ahead of myself; early in the battle I called out for Ox. Kressel, one of the Stag Lord’s first lieutenants we encountered (and executed) told of him. A man that was arguably stronger than the Stag Lord himself, that served at the Stag Lord’s right hand. I called for him, challenged him to come face me. And he did.

A massive beast of a man, his only weapon a large club. He did not come at our line from the front. Instead, he came at our flank, but I turned and met him there. He was strong, but slow. He fought without thought. Swings, wide and wild. It was not long before I vanquished him; with one swing, I blew past his club, knocking it aside, and severed his head from his body. The finality of his death pleased me, this man was beyond redemption.

Retaking my place on the battle line next to Neudvin, I saw the unthinkable; a cage, off to the right, was opened, and from within came an owlbear. At first I wondered, “how had they tamed and trained such a beast?” But my question was answered as the owlbear beat aside the bandits that were stacked before our battle line. It wasn’t long till we met the creature. Its reach was long, but Neudvin and I got close in. Using our swords, and with the help of the others, we brought the creature down.

At this point in the battle, I remember thinking that we must be nearly done. Few bandits were left, perhaps the Stag Lord was among the already dead? And then I felt it; a lancing pain in my shoulder, followed by a deep burn. The fletching on the arrow looked expertly done, by I could not see the bow that fired it. Two more pierced my plate, then Tyberia, using her magic, conjured up a thick fog.

Having not nearly enough time to treat the wounds I had suffered, I rejoined Neudvin on the line. Another had made his presense, a man in armor. He fought with a strange mix of brutality and care, against Neudvin and I in the fog. But we did not focus on him for long, as the guest of honor finally arrived.

Wearing a helm made of the skull of a stag, the man who must’ve been the Stag Lord appeared before us in the fog. Lacking any coverings or apparent armor, his craggy body was allowed to display it’s strength. The bow hanging on his back, it must have been the source of those three painful arrows, I had thought to myself. Ignoring the armored other, Neudvin and I focused on the Stag Lord. With all our might we were bound to bring him down.

Erastil and all the gods were with us in the battle, for it seemed that my sword would not miss nor waiver. Not only that, but the armored man, whom I had assumed to be one of the Stag Lord’s lieutenants, turned on his captain. The betrayal an obvious surprise to the Stag Lord.

A succession of cuts, stabs, swipes, and arrow piercings brought the Stag Lord to brink of consciousness, and I pushed him over the edge. I quickly checked to see that he was alive, still breathing, I didn’t want to kill the Stag Lord (not yet anyway). I ordered the other man, the Stag Lord’s betrayer, to drop his weapons, I was to place him under arrest. He seemed confused, and resisted at first, but he soon became exhausted and compliant.

I spared no time shackling the Stag Lord with all three of the manacles I had in my possession. Keeping a careful watch on them both, I surveyed what I could. The rest of the party seemed just as victorious, and just as battered and beaten, as Neudvin and I had been.

As the dust began to settle, the armored man identified himself as Akiros. He presented an Erastillian holy symbol. He told his story: his fall from grace, his search for atonement, the opportunity to get close to the Stag Lord, and eventually bring him to justice. With caution, we welcomed Akiros to join us.

There was one other thing Akiros mentioned: the Stag Lord’s father. He lived beneath the fortress, in a small cave system. Dangerous and brutal, like father like son. It was rumored that the Stag Lord’s father beat and maimed the child, till he was old enough to overthrow him. Would he end up being more dangerous than his son? We left that as a question to be answered the next day.

We secured the fortress, secured our prisoner, and took some much needed rest.

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