Spring, Month 4
Introduction Iamanu is a vast dragon, 14 tons and 50 feet long, with rough, charcoal-black scales and glowing green eyes. He wears a crown, rings, torcs, steel tips on his claws, an enormous ruby amulet, and similar regalia. A howdah is strapped between his wings, 10 feet by 20, within which a dozen archers, a woman in a black burqa, and two mages ride. And a shield hovers nearby, slowly circling the monster.
“It has been,” the giant beast rasps in passable Frankish, “a long, long time since I have accepted a vassal.”
Chlodomer gives a small, sickly smile, “Welcome to Galaufabonne, milord. I fear I have never hosted a dragon before …”
“Save it,” intones the dragon, “I am not here for pleasure.”
- Iamanu did not own Galaufabonne prior to now. Things change.
- Iamanu granted Galaufabonne to the Red Duke, who gave the project to Count Abiron, who passed it to a trusted knight, who was recently eaten by Iamanu for incompetence. The Red Duke and retinue are currently in bad graces.
- Aella is a former member of the Red Duke retinue; he promoted her to this project, answering directly to him. The details are up to her - he is here only to ensure good behavior on all parts.
- Chlodomer can accept Aella's rulership or not. Hint: One of these is not a real option.
Chlodomer swears fealty. Aella decides to build the road backward (starting from Galaufabonne and heading home) so that she can observe Chlodomer’s rulership style firsthand. She graciously allows Chlodomer to host her in the lavish lifestyle to which she is accustomed.
Chlodomer’s smile gets a little more sickly.
Several things happen this month!
Adventuring An expedition into the Azure Hot Springs clears out two skittering maws - who almost give the entire party a watery grave - and finds the last of the hydra treasures. Galswintha acquires an elven ring of exceptional power (protection +3).
Aella Spends Money Aella requests an interest-free loan from Chlodomer to pay her people. Then she parties like a 12th level character while they slooowly build a road southward.
Hex Management Bugbear Forest Lake - the second ugliest hex and in the bottom half in value - hits a population of 100. Ugly Hill - the ugliest hex and in the bottom third in value - hits a population of 99. They are, in fact, the runaway leaders in population.
It is a mystery with, apparently, no answer.
Total income is -2,000 gold prior to festivals. Chlodomer throws a proper, full festival anyway, and gets perilously close to the red line Galswintha drew on the wall of her accounting office.
Not much of interest happens, otherwise.
A Dream of a Highway Shadagrunde and Vulfelind lay plans for a 150-mile highway following the original dwarven markers. Galswintha nixes it until the money is in better shape.
Diplomacy There are visitors from Orléans and Atanung. Chlodomer handles it with reasonable aplomb keeping the conversation riveted on just how much money everyone stands to make by continued peaceful trade, and just how badly it will go for everyone else if Galaufabonne has to go to war again.
Since tales of what happened to the armies Atanung left strung along the trail last year have grown (and muddied) over time, this seems to satisfy everyone.
Chlodomer does have to backtrack on a statement - he talks up the highway, and, err, accidentally claims credit in front of Shadagrunde. He does backtrack on it, though, and makes sure credit is given appropriately.
Also, Vulfelind’s little secret comes out:
In Spring of last year, the party asked Vulfelind to drop the issue of the Orléans Guild Boss being a wererat, and she left Orléans for a couple weeks of vacation to get over it.
Later, after the Battle of Orléans, they learned that the Orléans Guild Boss had died. It seemed a bit odd, but the timing was wrong for Vulfelind to have been involved.
This Spring, a representative of the new Orléans Guild Boss gave Vulfelind an expensive thank-you gift for “her investment and faith in him”: a small canoe (15 ft x 3 ft) with the same properties as a carpet of flying.
The other members of the Grim Fist put two and two together, and the truth outs: Vulfelind went to Atanung for “vacation,” worked with the Atanung Guild Boss to ensure a reasonably smooth succession in Orléans, hired a small group of assassins, and loaded them up for wererat hunting. Some spying was done to make certain of the targets, and then while Vulfelind and her crew were stabbing the Bandit King to death in a tunnel, the assassins were exterminating the nest in Orléans.
This may have also helped give the Atanung Boss the idea that Orléans was ripe for the plucking, which may have trickled up to the Atanung Governor, which may have resulted in some of that recent military action, but nothing can ever truly be certain in this world, eh?
Shorter version: She didn’t so much drop the issue, as drop it on someone’s head.
OOC: And at some point, I hope to get Vulfelind to write that up from her character’s perspective :-).
Our Lady of Light Shadagrunde takes Chlodomer's monthly tithe and puts it toward a temple adjunct to the central castle ... and begins putting attention toward a congregation.
Within the month, Team Priest has just about sealed up the 20% of the population not following the religious edict. Shadagrunde doesn’t have a workshop or library yet, however, so he continues working on the temple and just maintains the congregation.
Galswintha's Research The sorceress begins her first full magical research project. She refuses to divulge details to anyone.
(OOC: Okay, okay, I know what it is.)