The Verden Realms

GAME TIME! (March 17, 2012)

Short update here, but we did a good bit! We went to the wedding of our Uncle Matthew and his snuggly-wuggly, Lady Morlaine (Lord of Winter). It went off splendidly, followed by Harrowhowl (the underground city we rolled past last game that was mobilizing by giant gate) EXPLODING, causing an earthquake, the death of a few Winter Court scouts sent to examine the abandoned city, and a lot of worry for the newlyweds. :(

With that we jumped an airship for home, as our cargo (the souls of Viori and his knights, plus a few newly identified others such as primordial Deva/Aveds and Ashua, Father of Hobgoblins!) would not go through portals. En route, we get asked if we we would mind picking up an emergency passenger going our way. My adventurer sense kicks off, so I say sure (for a 20% cut, as we had rented the WHOLE boat!). After a few minutes, Sev realizes the plain half-elf we see is in fact The ex-Bramble Queen! She has something that she needs to get to Caroline ASAP, and as it is so important that she is willing to risk blowing cover, who are we to deny?

We get home, FINALLY! The gang figure out that my wifey Mel is preggers (YAY!) as is Caroline (YAY!). That makes people happy! We decide to try Fess’s supposed design for freeing a soul-bottled person, AKA smacking it with one of the artifact weapons keyed to their soul. She wanted us to use hers first, so we do. After some confusion, we find her, reformed, young, and healthy in the keep (with an ASTONISHED Caroline)! So, score another high-powered redhead for our side!

Now we are deciding the next step. In theory, we can get about seven of Viori’s knights, INCLUDING Viori, reanimated in the same way we did Fess. But should we? How will that upset the balance of power? Things are starting to ramp up and get a bit outta hand, especially as we find out what Sulfura (ex-Bramble Queen) had for Caroline… Sulfy had killed a deva toting a skull with an engraved Snake godmark on the inside. Using it, you can detect and track godmarked people within 200 or so yards, including filtering by deity AND type of godmark! BTW, doing that we learn that sense we left, Allison somehow gained a TRUE GODMARK?!?! She ain’t tellin’, and I ain’t askin’; if she wants my advice/insight/rambling, she knows where I am! That thar is about as personal of information as you can get!

What to DO, what to DO?!?

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Another quick update (Feb. 25, 2012)

Well, the good news is that the yaduah that Haven slapped us through took us exactly where we thought it would. The BAD news is that the place we went to is the main road in the Underfoot, used primarily by Formori ARMIES, and that we would have to sneak through the capital city of the Formori (Harrowhowl) to get to a safe exit point in any allowable time frame.

Well, at least we were hard to find. A combination of magic made us all but untrackable magically, and we had been transmuted to look like drow/helvani for this trip. Our disguises were holding, except for ONE rather important detail (I’ll come back to that).

We ID’d our swag (evil artifact sword, CHECK. bloodthirsty assassin-based possessed ioun stone? CHECK!), and kept moving as best we could. At the first main fork in the road, we hit one of our real weak points; sounds of people getting wailed on by bullies. Team Waffle (Victor and Felix) stealthed up to look, and lo and behold, a formori lord (huge), six formori guards (large), four drow (scouts), and two undead drow (scary) holding six slaves. Listening in, they were waiting to sell the slaves to a large goblinoid caravan we passed a few hours earlier.

LE SIGH. LOGICALLY, with a bag full of DESTINY over my shoulder, we should have just left them. That was the smart, responsible thing to do. What we were carrying was more important than slaves. BUT

…we have to be able to sleep at night with our decisions. After a brief attempt at negotiations, we jumped them. We lucked out that the large-sized guards were minions, but still had to play it smart. Mid-fight, we popped the female wizard-type (Jennifer Morgan’s guest star, Brie) out of her bonds, and the fight got way easier.

After the fight, we got a good distance away, and teleport circled to get them home, but kept Brie with us. She had lost everything during the upheavals in the fey court, and sensed a good deal when she saw one. We got her geared up, and her ability to actually SPEAK DROW (the one language we DIDN’T have in the party!), enabled us to sneak around Harrowhowl (three whole Formori ARMIES massed around a stargate-sized teleport circle! And when they ‘tested’ the connection, a primordial yuan-ti was on teh other side!) and make it to the area controlled by Shawn’s character Von’ro’s mom, our ally Lady Morlaine, Ruler of the Winter Court.

Step one done. Next: a couple weeks for Morlaine’s wedding to our Uncle Matthew, then the physical journey to get the BACKPACK OF SOULS back to safety!

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A Quick Update (Feb. 10, 2012)

Its been awhile, and some amazing stuff has happened. But what we are doing right now with the “Royal Pains” group, hands down, is the most ridiculously hazardous and critically important thing we have ever done.

We are currently in possession of a large bag full of soul jars. We stole them from the enemies that have been manipulating history to play their sick game, and thus are some of the most powerful players in known reality. These people, when angered in the past, have destroyed entire SPECIES of sentinents, and we just took a few of their most prized trophies.

Among the stolen soul jars (and our actual targets) are the souls of Viori and every one of his Knights (save Mord). Which leads me to believe the other ones we have are also probably prisoners as well.

To escape, we had to use Haven’s new-found ability to open yaduahs to jump into the dark area of the Fae realm (The Underfoot). Ya know, the place where the Fomorians hold sway.

So, to clarify, we pissed off the biggest power players in existence by stealing the souls of the greatest heroes of our valley, escaping to an area we have no maps of or friends in but a whole race of evil giants and their minions who absolutely, positively HATE our family. Seriously, our our Dad/Uncle is one of their most hated enemies of the past, and our uncle, Matthew and Shawn’s character’s mom, Morlaine, just beat them like eggs at the Summer (now Winter) Isle.

That is how you do it!

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The Adventures of the Valley
--Tales of Taur'on

Currently – there are two different games running in the Verden Realms.

The Main Game has five players, all princes and princesses of the Kingdom of Taur’on
The Second Game has only one main player, a retired adventurer that runs a tavern in the small village of ShadowHall, which sits at the corner of Dwyndon, Taur’on and Kaydia.

The Game sessions listed below are all Taur’on games = you can start the first one here! → Game Session #1

Session 18 through the Current will have to be patched, as the usual DM and Victor notes were note kept as closely. The Adventures in ShadowHall have yet to be entered as well, but will hopefully be updated in the next few weeks.

At that time – a Chart will be placed here with links to the two separate games – and the logs for each adventure.

I hope those reading enjoy!!

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Game Sessions #15
---

(DM perspective)

So, little Gnarl is clean – the family has grown, and everyone is rather worried about this gnawing fear in their gut that things are gonna go bad soon. Smart, aren’t they?

Queen Caroline is kinda looking for an excuse to get out of the castle. She is, after all, a fifteen year old girl that honestly needs a bit of adventure every now and again ;) The opportunity presents itself – the Mayor of Mallad has informed her that the hobgoblins (Yep, those same hobbies that the crew met many episodes ago) have entered Mallad and gotten into a horrid row with a group of Byton Traders. A rather political mess has ensued. The Byton Merchant requested either the Queen or the Mayor of Orn (an elven woman that was once the leader of one of the army branches, and rather good at the political smoothing of things) be the individual that hears their disagreement.

Caroline tries not to giggle herself into happy – an excuse to leave home! She talks to the crew, and asks them if she’s nutters – they, also being happy teens, are totally up for this little trip! So the whole family heads to Mallad. Grandpa and Salkana included. And girlfriends and wives. They leave the Gnarl behind, however. He’s practicing with his new instructors and it might be a bit odd to have him around this early.

The first night is a good old Taur’onian hoot-a-nanny. Dancing, singing, more dancing. The crew convince Captain Thornwood (who they’ve all decided is a good enough guy for their sister) to ask the Queen to dance… since everyone is avoiding such for fear of insulting her. He gives them his best wicked grin, and takes Caroline for a twirl. The line then forms to the left. Everyone has a blast. Even more so when a fireworks cart explodes on the edge of the square. Scares everyone silly… but, it was probably just an accident. Right?

Caroline handles the hobgoby matter in court the next day – basically a “He insulted me, I punched him, then I got my ass stomped” type disagreement. (although there is a bit of a moment where big brother interrupts his queen, forgetting she’s more than his little sister – and she gets girly ticked at him – but hey, that’s siblings for ya). However, one thing is odd – the two men that attacked each other – one human, one hobgoblin – are both very ill from a fall flu. Like, sick as hell. In fact, the other hobgoblins seem to be under the weather, and other members of the Byton travelers are also sick. Questions are asked – seems the whole population of the jail is ill. Odd, that.

Questions are asked… The jail is next to the “hospital” – which is full of people sick with a fall flu. They aren’t getting better, a few have died. Stranger still, the hospital staff is fine and don’t seem to be contracting this illness. Darn weird, yeah? Is this a flu? Or is this a disease? Huh, damnit….

The Lady of Orn and Caroline sit down to discuss the problem… oH, and did I mention that the Lady of Orn’s son is Captain Thornwood? Poor Caroline, the guy you have a slight crush on just happens to be the son of one of your mayors.. ah well, so is the life of a queen. The crew, they are in “Investigation mode” hardcore. With a bit of work, they discover that every single person in the jail and the hospital – is infected with a rather virulent disease. Even more interesting, none of them have it….. until they leave the group for a few minutes. Upon returning, one shows signs (through magical means) of being infected… however, in just a few minutes – something has cured them. What the devil?

Lets trace it… the crew realizes the jail and hospital have one thing the rest of town doesn’t – they have their own separate well….. which… holy Raven’s wing….doesn’t have gypsy flowers on it. They start testing. Sure enough, the well with the Gypsy Roses is HEALING people of the disease… That is when they all also remember that Caroline has a gypsy rose that she wears all the time – Roland the Unicorn and their Deva Teacher Steven made it into a pendant for her she always wears… and it is healing anyone around Caroline. Constantly.

Wow. Those Gypsies know their shit!

Speaking of Gypsies, one suddenly shows up – out of the damn thin air it seems. He politely requests a meeting with just Caroline, Adale of Mordova and Tori of Wrathmourn. The three ladies enter the room. The crew is outside, talking a mile a minute – they need to figure out how many of their own country’s wells are not protected and move flowers there immeidately – hell, these things were growing around temples and on the river in Thorn – They just have to encourage everyone to drink the water from clean wells constantly. Seems the disease has about five days of dormancy – they you fall ill, and die in about four days to two weeks – depending on how well you fight. Mallad has lost a handful of people, they’ll have to move fast to shut down the borders to prevent the disease from moving further into the country. Holy crap… plague. Damn you DM! evil giggle

The door opens, Adale hugs Conner and tells him goodbye – she must leave, and walk out, she does. Tori runs to Aldric and tells him she won’t leave him. Her brother will understand. What the hell?

Caroline walks out, shakes hands with the gypsy who heads on out the door. She explains that the gypsy has told her and the other girls a few things – some of which they cannot share with anyone outside of the country unless they are willing to give their first born child up to the gypsies.
Conner is insistent about why Adale is leaving. WHY?!?
Caroline looks at Conner and says, “Because only a Taur’onian can be healed by the flowers of Taur’on. If she stays, she dies.” They all look to Tori, she smiles and says she will stay here. She considers them her family, too. This is her home, now. She has sworn fealty to Caroline.
Conner signs and accepts his girl is leaving. But hell, does the rest of the crew EVER accept such? Hell no. They go and tell Adale’s bodyguard – the stern elder soldier, Lennox (who they have all realized is a total badass, and also seems to have some magic item on him that is rather powerful). Maybe he can convince her to stay? He can deliver the information that Adale needs to give her brother?
That is when Caroline says, “No – we can’t tell. That is one of the agreements with the Gypsies. I cannot tell ANY other leader what I know about the flowers. It is theirs to learn on their own. They live or die by their own hands – not mine.”

Damn Gypsies.

But Lennox is told that Adale is leaving – he goes into her room to discuss the matter with her. A verbal fight breaks out, which most folks are kind enough not to eavesdrop in on. Lennox kicks open the door, informs Caroline he will be leaving in Adale’s place – she is to stay. Adale starts to argue with him again and he says, “As your FATHER, I order you to stay. You are no good to your brother and king at home. Here, here you are safe. Do as I tell you for ONCE in your damn life, Adale.”

She’s stunned. He just outted himself. The rest of the crew is staring dumbstruck. Father? But her father was murdered years ago! Wasn’t… he? Oh hell. Guess not. Grandpa smiles at him, “Well, I’ll be damned – thought that was you, Marcus. I’ll take care of your girl, you go help your son.” Grandpa Vardis and the though-murdered-once-king of Mordova shake hands. Lennox/Marcus stares at Conner, and says, “You are worth her, boy. Pray you stay that way.”

Well, ain’t this been “way to much interesting info” day??!

Conner hugs his girl – he’s gonna get to keep her. But, it is a hefty price she must pay. She cries, and swears fealty as a Tauronian citizen.

And the family goes into all out “what the hell do we do to contain this” discussion again… only to be interrupted by an explosion. Cause I don’t let them rest, folks. Hell no ;)

Seems something just tried to blow up the protected well. Gremlins. The town starts saving their roses, while folks start hunting invisible sabotaging gremlins. Damn, DM. Bad enough you give us an airborn death virus – but GREMLINS destroying the only thing that can save us? Yep. Suck it ;)
The crew heads home to Thorn, making plans and trying to figure out what they can do to save those that are guests in their kingdom (the Hobgoblins are given free passage out of the valley, with an invitation to come back when they are well) – Byton and Kaydian travelers are encouraged to return home. Either that or swear fealty to Caroline…. well, that or die.

That particular game ends there – with me telling the crew they’ll get a nice email from me detailing how bad the plague affects the rest of the valley kingdoms.

And the answer is? BAD. Long and short of it is, the South seems to be okay. Probably because they are a bunch of elf and halfling hippies that like flowers ;) The largest city in the valley? That wonderful town they were in less than a year ago? Glanmour? Yeah, half the population is dying of the plague. Entire villages are wiped off the earth. Citizens of one nation are fleeing to another – after all, if you see your neighbor is well, maybe the disease isn’t there, right? Poor souls don’t realize that the thing saving their people, little flowers growing on a well – won’t help them one bit. Rumors flood in – every country is having horrid issues… well, cept Taur’on and Proud Pony (Halflings love them some flowers, yo). They realize this don’t look good – after all – no two countries are as tight as they are with Proud Pony. Shit, people are gonna think they started this crap… not good.

And then, as they all sit about the dinner table on the 23rd of the Coyote – Captain Thornwood comes crashing through the doors. He’s covered in slime and gore, and he grins as Queen Caroline. “My Queen, what could possibly be worse than a plague upon your people?” Caroline blinks, “Uh, Victor’s chocolate ham-bread recipe?” Thornwood grins, “Try Zombies.”

Yep, Zombies. You died from the plague? On the 23rd of the Coyote you stood back up and did the zombie shuffle!

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Game Session #14
--But I NEED my LICE!

(DM description)

Okay, now where was I in game? Right, Caroline the Fourth is crowned, Mom leaves to save her twin sister from the torture at the hands of demon-spawn… that’s about right.

Well, as tradition dictates, the Queen must request and receive (yes, you read that right, request) a vow of allegiance from the elected mayors of the larger cities/villages in her kingdom. In truth, this is a show of respect – The Queen respects the elected, and they acknowledge she is their sovereign and the work for her. This has historically been done by the Queen herself, she travels to each city – but, there have been instances where the Queen was unable to travel – and the Queen’s eldest brother or sister will travel in her place.

Caroline figures this is 1. A great vacation for Victor and his new bride, 2. Will let Mel see the kingdom she’s about to call home and 3. If Haven goes, it will get her mind off her kidnaped mom. So – she asks them to traipse off. Prior to game start – I sat down with Victor and Haven, and they played out picking Rose Guard to defend them on the trip. I gave them the run down on how each visit played out (basically, "Hi mayor! Swear? Cool! PARTY! Onward to the next). However, when they reached Stokesfield (which is a farming city, also housing the majority of the training grounds for the standing army) – a Captain wearing designation of the Road (the scouts and road protectors) rushes up to Haven, and with a wicked grin, orders her to do a mission – she is a soldier in her Queen’s army, coorrrrect?! Haven salutes and say “You bet!” Captain Hadrian Thornwood (who I describe as a rather grinning and handsome fellow) explains a small farming area south of here had some issues – he sent three men down there and they haven’t come back – “And you, with your connections Lieutenant, should be able to go see what adventure might be lurking, yes?”
Oooooh! Adventure! Haven is all for this, as is Victor. A colonel enters, orders the dashing Captain to exit please – and explains that Princess Haven should just disregard Captain Thornwood – he’s panicing over nothing. Haven quickly realizes this officer isn’t treating her like a soldier, but a princess – and honestly, she liked the soldier better. They send a quick note to their family to say “Hey – adventure?” And Felix, Aldric and Conner get sis to spend the gold for them a quick teleport to Stokesfield.

(I thought I’d say that all the major cities in Taur’on have a set of teleport circles set up. They are HIGHLY guarded, and aren’t cheap to use. But, they are the royal family – and who wants to wait the weeks it would take to ride it, heh?)

The crew sets south, realizing they are heading strait for an old tower that was held by an adventuring crew. Their leader, known as Stormcrow, was actually a male family member of theirs who adventured under the nickname to keep his royal name outta trouble. Neat!

They arrive, and find – GNOLLS?!?!? Holy snot! After two very bloody fights, they realize they have run out of healing surges (I was hitting like a champ.. it was bad for them) and they go to rest it off in what they hope is safe place. Fortunately, they bar the doors – so when the suckers start getting broke down a few hours later – they flee to another part of the underground – strait into a crypt… with its own guardian spirit. As the Gnoll leader chases them in – they realize the gnolls can’t enter. It is protected against those “not Taur’on” – be that citizen or actually of the blood? Who knows. But then again, the Gnolls are just gonna wait them out – and they didn’t exactly bring enough food and water to last that long in here. This is bad. The Gnoll leader speaks minotaur – which so does Conner – and Conner attempts to make parlay with them… however, the Gnoll’s second, clearly a necromancer, doesn’t seem to be having any of it. Haven insults her, she starts ranting about something (probably a “I want that human bitches’ head on a stick”) and the Gnoll Leader says “Seems you have as hard of a time controlling your bitch as I do controlling mine.” He and Conner laugh over their predicament – and the Gnoll Leader grins – “Why don’t we help ourselves? We’ll let our bitches fight this out!”

An agreement is reached – Haven (who has no healing surges) will fight one-on-one with the Gnoll Necromancer. The survivor wins and stays, the losers leave. A crowd of gnolls gather, including a pup, to watch the fight. Long story short – Haven wins. Barely. As she gets rather into her victory, the gnolls pick up the body to take it away (and the little gnoll pup is crying, hugging what must be his dead mom) – Haven begins to get irate she wasn’t allowed to take anything from the corpse. Surely the necromancer had some powerful items of some sort. LOOT DAMNIT!! She yells at Conner that she should have rights to the body – Conner translates. The Gnoll Leader (whose name is Warden) tells him, what does she want? Conner Translates. Haven replies, “Her most valued possession.” Conner translates exactly back. The Gnoll grins and says, “So be it!” He barks an order – and the gnoll pup is handed to a very confused and flustered Haven.

SURPRISE HAVEN! YOUR A MOMMY! AND HE’S FURRY!

Let it just be said, as a DM? I wish I could say I planned for this to happen. That somewhere my evil little mind I had designed the perfect trap. But no. That would be a lie. But the MOMENT that came out of Haven’s mouth? Oh YEAH! PUPPY TIME!

So, now Haven has a kid – (who actually took his mom’s amulet off her body before he was deposited into Haven’s possession). Through a bit of mimic (he’s a gnoll, he sure as hell doesn’t speak their language) they realize his name is Gnarl. Yeah, this couldn’t get any more awesome.

The next two hours of play – is the family trying to figure out what the HELL to do with this pup. He isn’t stupid, but he doesn’t “get” proper behavior. He hordes food, eats everything put in front of him. As the group returns home, reports to Captain Thornwood – the Captain gets a hoot out of his “new little furry princeling” – Haven realizes that having a furry son might affect her ability to date… seriously, the King of Mordova has a furry step-son? At this point, I’m giggling with pure DM glee.

They get home, and as they introduce the little furry fellow to Aunt Blair? She passes out. Grandpa and Salkana seem stunned, but figure, what the hell. Caroline? She’s trying her best not to freak, nor to giggle herself into stupidity. They finally think to figure out what the amulet little Gnarl took from his mom does. DM rolls… and begins to laugh herself totally stupid… fate loves me It allows for the wearer to choose one humanoid race other than his own, understand their language and gives them a disguise check to “fit in” among them. Lucky little fellow, isn’t Gnarl? :) As they turn it on, and help him get it working, grandpa decides to give him a bath.

The family discusses the problem of having gnolls in the area, even if they are leaving – and Conner informed Warden if he ever wanted, he could return and join Taur’on (after all, the guy kept his word). Conner then excuses himself to go tell his pretty Mordovan girl that he has a new nephew when Victor just grins at him and says, “Who do you think grandpa was gonna get to bathe Gnarl?”

They all run downstairs – and sure enough, little Gnarl is in the tub, howling himself silly – and washing him is the princess of Mordova, looking very put out and on the point of tears. She begs him to shut up, won’t he be happy clean? Gnarl sadly says, “But you killin’ my lice! What I eat when I get hungry if they dead!? I NEED my LICE!”

Did I say this game was awesome or what? ;)

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Game Session #13
--LONG LIVE QUEEN CAROLINE!

Salkana strides to her family, informs them that dire news is heading to Taur’on. Vivian and her traveling companions have been kidnapped by dark forces (actually, the Helvani that rule a distant kingdom over the mountains – removed from any of the Viori Valley politics). The Orc is a friend of hers, and the two decided to bring the news to Queen Victoria as quickly as possible.

Victoria wastes no time, she immediately charters a Volken Airship for home. By the 20th of the Dragon, they are in Thorn – and Victoria is plotting. The Orc (who seems to be friendly with Beatrice – could this actually be the same orc from the play?) has offered to lend any aid – he is a friend of Vivian’s, after all. Victoria asks Stazia Almari if she would like to lend any aid. While Stazia says she cannot leave, Ashurta the Goblin decides to go with.

Speaking of Ashurta – strange things have occurred to this little fellow. The Hobgoblins didn’t locate him, but as they brought the final item of his holy crown closer to him, he began to change. To become… alive. In fact, he is no longer an undead at all – but a living goblin. He has avoided the Hobgoblins (who have actually reached the Eastern border of Taur’on – and are looking for Ahsurta’s old home) and figures getting completely out of the valley might lead them away.

By the 27th of the Dragon, the emmisary from the Helvani has arrived. She presents the Queen with a horrible decision – “Give us your second son, Felix and your niece, Allison – and we will return your sister and your brother-in-law to you.” They provide a Vivian’s left pinky finger, and poor Casper’s shape-shifted tail as proof they have them.

The Queen is not happy with this – she orders the creature questioned (and executed after) and then goes to speak with Caroline in private. She has made up her mind – she will go to save her sister. But a Queen cannot do such…

On the 28th of the Dragon, Victoria II abdicates the throne to her only daughter, Caroline.

Long Live Caroline IV, Queen of Taur’on.

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Game Session #12
--For Unification!

(DM description)

The Taur’on and Wrathmourn Contingents leave out of Thorn on the 4th day of the Tiger, bound for Dwyndon and Starfall. The plan is to arrive in Dwyndon for the first stage of the 200th Unification Celebration, then travel with the rest of the nobility to Starfall for the final party to be held on Unification day itself.

They pass through the city of Edge, meeting King Ivan of Reneaux and his family as well as Morgan, King of Proud Pony. These four groups ride together, as one large traveling block. Politically, this says a lot – these guys will stand together.

Caroline is actually quite the spectacle – most have never seen the teenager at all. This really is a “coming out” party for her. And Roland has demanded that he accompany – so a beautiful red-headed princess riding a unicorn is quite the sight. But, what most seem to notice is that Caroline doesn’t seem the sickly child that most said – and she isn’t. She has finally found her nitch – she’s a Ardent, another form of Aesthetic like her brother, Victor. However, aesthetic power is rare, and she’s decided to keep it hidden from the other kingdoms for now. But, she’s also discovered that they get this through blood – for Fess the Bold was an aesthetic as well, a battlemind. Caroline hopes to find out more in Starfall.

During this time, Victor has fallen rather quickly head over heals for Mel. She has tried desperately to get him into her bedroom – only to discover he has what he calls “Family Solidarity” – if his little sister has to wait till marriage, so will he. This is rather frustrating to the fae – very frustrating. Victor makes up for it by proposing – and asking if she’ll help him with a devious little plan. VERY devious! The rest of the players are left to wonder what he’s up to.

As well, everyone in the Taur’onian crew is a bit worried – Princess Vivian was to go over the mountains near Stavros with her group. But no word has been heard from them at all. While Victoria doesn’t want to admit it- it is very clear she is very worried about her sister.

The troop arrives in Dwyndon promptly – on the 15th of the Tiger. Festivities are held, parties begin – and everyone finally gets to meet these kings, queens, princes and princesses they have always heard of. The list is long – they desperately try to take notes.

Everyone is a bit on edge – for you see – the Gypsies are here as well. They have requested permission to perform two plays. One in Dwyndon, which will be a new play. One in Starfall, which will be the newest sensation, “The Death of Adaron.”

Everyone gathers for this first play- and many are stunned when they realize the subject – the Orc Siege upon WhiteHold some 19 years back. All eyes turn to Beatrice, one of the very few survivors. She sits expressionless, watching. And the story seems to be about her – everyone is entranced… for the Gypsies show a meeting between Beatrice and the son of the Orc Chief she felled. They meet at the body of the fallen orc, and discuss how unfortunate it is they can not stop this matter. The two part as friends, with the understanding they must try to kill one another in the morning. Of course, the morning brings the gypsy saviors instead… The play is a rousing success. And Beatrice stands, looks to her friend Victoria and says, “I need a drink.” The two proceed to get completely drunk that night as the children meet important folks throughout the kingdoms…

After the first stage of parties, the Valley Nobles all travel the 9 days to Starfall. They arrive in Starfall and are taken aback by the amazing structure of the city – as well as its obvious decline. The nobles are all “housed” in a tent city structure on the outskirts of town – but the parade into the city square weaves about, trying to keep the dilapidated structures from prying eyes.

The first night, the Death of Adaron is held. However, as the final movement begins (and Queen Victoria tries her best not to sob openly in front of all these people) the last song, her solo piece, has changed. The light dims, and a shadowed figure dressed as the Queen begins to play the same violin solo… however, midway through, another spotlight strikes a figure high above, playing the cello, plays accompaniment. It is Adaron – telling his love he misses her, but that he is always with her. As the song ends, a standing ovation erupts.

And on the stage, Victor takes off his wig – while Mel, standing on high, removes her costume as well. The place goes crazy.

Victor explains to his family that he and Mel have been working on this for months. He felt that his mother’s sorrow wasn’t the right way to end it. Not at all – it was important to know that his father was always there, watching over them. He suggested the change to the gypsies and they were thrilled to have him perform it with them.

His mother hugs him, and tells him his ending was perfect.

Mel’s grandfather and the HighLady of Winter are also in attendance. The HighLady Morralain presents Victor with a small box she was sent to deliver. Inside, is Victor’s Coin… the very token used to claim a fae to a court. She explains that it belongs to him – he may give it to who he pleases. Victor gives it to Mel with a grin… Mel’s grandfather does the same – and Mel’s appearance changes rather dramatically over the next few days. Instead of being an obvious fall fae, Mel now seems to reflect the season she is in. As she puts it -means she gets a lot larger wardrobe with her hair changing colors all the time!

That night, they also meet a new addition to their household. Their teacher, the Deva known as Steven, has been given a charge to care for – a rather scatterbrained and frighteningly shy Deva named Erendira. It seems that an elder Deva by the name of Ixtoc feels that Steven will be able to assist the poor girl – for she is a sad case among their people. She has no memory of her past self. It has made her a broken and lost creature, a pitiful site actually. Steven is rather afraid of the girl – and worried this was a bad choice – but, he does not argue with Ixtoc and takes the girl in.

The next morning, Caroline gets the crew to take her to the center park of Starfall – a circular area where statutes to Viori and all his Knights are erected. She is met by King Ivan (who is also descended from Fess the Bold) and the two actually seem to talk to Fess’ statue for a few minutes. INteresting!

The Unification Party is held on the 18th of the Dragon, a large ball in the main ballroom of King Ulrich’s palace. Aldric sees an amazing site – the ghost of the murdered king stands in the ballroom! He even speaks to Aldric, and seems to be waiting for something. He tells Aldric, he is bound there until he can finish his duty to his kingdom.

After a few political moves, a stupid fight breaking out to the side, and a bit of dancing, the party begins to wind down. That would be when the door opens… and in strides… Salkana? Their Great-Grandmother?

And an ORC?!?!?!?!

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Game Session #11
--To Home

(GM description)

The crew wakes in DeerFoot, and continues their talks with King Luther and his mother, Beatrice. The two explain they are worried some great calamity is coming, Conner’s dreams only strengthen that worry. They set out for Proud Pony’s capital, Merra – and stay only a short time. They then head for Taur’on.

They make excellent time once they hit the Eryndel… they seem to be traveling faster than normal, and feel they are under watchful eye. The kingdom guards that met them, mostly men of the Road, tell the family to not worry – they are safe. They aren’t so sure about the Wrathmourn folks wink

The night before they arrive in Taur’on, Luther stands and says he must talk to someone – he leaves into the woods, alone. No explanation and his mother and guards seem quite troubled; but he comes back, happy and unscathed with a “The matter is fine, worry not.”

The crew spends the next week or so showing Luther their city, Thorn. They discover a lot of interesting information about Luther’s family – including a rather interesting secret. Seems Charlie and Beatrice used to be an item when they were kids, even engaged! But, Beatrice arrived early to her winter visit, and caught Charlie fooling around on her. She left the court in anger, telling Charlie she never wanted to see him again. That winter was the dark winter of Beatrice’s tale, and by spring she was married to Raphael Wrathmourn. Ah, gossip! Also, they are privy to a rather solemn meeting – during Luther’s 18 birthday party, they are introduced to the true power of the Eryndel, a race of plant-like creatures that apparently also dwell in the forest that Luther protects. Very interesting!

The game session ends

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Game Session #10
--Aunt Blair Gets Serious

(told by Victor Taur’on)

Well, our time in Reneaux is gone-and-done. We started the day out with a nice little lecture from Aunt Blair; well, HAVEN got a nice lecture. Blair was an old runnin’-buddy of Phineaus Tanglestaff, and he felt it necessary to tell SOMEONE about Haven’s faux-pas in mentioning her godmark. He was kind to her and chose Blair; if he had told Haven’s mom, she mighta hunted Haven down and beat her senseless, and had she told our mom… well, Haven would have learned what being trapped in a tower felt like. Blair basically told Haven that was her one shot, and whenever something like this happens, she should ask Aldric (the anchorman) or, barring access to him, Felix (the info guy). As a penance, Haven now owes Blair some work-service; mission one was to find out if the two sisters of the King in Reneaux are lesbians! EMBARASS-O-RAMA INITIATED! And since Phineas did us a solid, he gets to see Fess’s desk. :)

Well, we meet up with Adelaide for lunch; Conner swoons, but charms. We schmooze until the desk-transfer party starts. We go in, pleasantries are exchanged, and we kick everyone not us out. Upon looking at the desk (which a masterwork of carpentry), we find a couple of secret compartments (one with cold-slate panels for storing wine and one just general storage). Other than that, I found some strange writing; when Conner used his magic decoder glasses, he got a brief glimpse before the letters started shifting; obvious magic at work. The words worked fine for Haven and Allison, tho, stating “You are not the eldest.” I verified that this was indeed Fess’s handwriting, meaning it was added after she got it from her future husband, and for unknown reasons. INTERESTING!

Well, we hit the desk party, Conner schmoozes with Adelaide (who only has eyes for him), Uncle Charlie fakes being drunk (GREAT practice, and needed to keep up his rep for now), and Haven and Aldric discern that the twin sisters of King Ivan are either straight or VERY good at acting. I wonder why two pretty, smart, and talented noblewomen haven’t married yet? INTERESTING

The following day is Lover’s Day; in Reneaux that means a outdoor Masquerade festival! We get some masks, with Haven getting an EXQUISITE mask of blue ribbons in the mail that day from an unknown admirer (ROFLCOPTER!). We head out to chill at the party; Adelaide hangs on Conner’s arm dressed as a Mordovian soldier, complete with sword and armor. And, lo and behold, up walks a GALLANT gentleman (fashionably late, as usual), dress in matching blue to Haven, and in crocodile-skin boots. Sebastian, here in Fess, damn near half the Valley away from home. MY DAY IS AWESOME! The two dance a bit, and Haven is WAY less disturbed this time; she allows herself to just enjoy the company and attention, FINALLY!

SLAP! Out of nowhere, a lady walks up to Adelaide, slaps the crap out of her, and challenges her to a duel! Since Adelaide is carrying a sword (costume or no), she is required to duel for herself. The challenger chooses one of her guards as a proxy, and Sebastian gives her his armor and sword. The guy she faces off against apologizes to her under his breath, and they start fighting. He’s got MAD skills (around level 8), but a miracle roll by me (dropped a 20, the only roll that would do), notices something in Adelaide’s form; she’s VERY carefully masking footwork that seems like Swordmage forms!

Adelaide, thus hamstrung, loses the fight (to first blood). She’s ok with it, saying that now she should go sleep with the chick’s husband, since she was already punished for it. When Aldric heals her up, he gauges her at about 5th level. Sebastian mentions to the Lady challenger that she WILL be remembered; her political career is is about to be interesting and brief! We all go to the side, and I (incapable as I am at keeping it secret that I know for later blackmail) tell her that my relative expertise in this particular subject (being trained by a Master Swordmage for most of my life), has outed her skills.

She’s kinda bummed that someone could tell, but glad it was us; we’re not likely to use it against her. She’s been trying to train herself; all the people she could get to train her are either security risks or won’t train her because she Mordovan. Understandable, but lamentable; until she proves herself otherwise, she’s OK in my book for being a buddy to Allison while she was away from home. Besides, if Conner gets his way, he’s a-gonna MARRY dat girl! Of note, he KNOWS she’s probably gonna break his heart; but finds the risk acceptable. :)

Well, as we are leaving the next day, we break for the evening. I spend the night copying a 5th circle swordmage form from the writings of Salkana; it could help her, and seemed the right thing to do. I give it to Conner for him to give to her; wingman protocol, yo! She’s thrilled, and Mel offers to look into getting her an eladrin swordmage tutor. She’s super-relieved that we’re so amicable to helping, if not a bit weirded out that we, nobles from a reputed “goody-two-shoes” kingdom, seem perfectly willing to help her, the “Beautiful Pit Viper of Mordova” with no expectation of recompense, just because she needed the assist. Some folks just can’t understand heroes. Allison, Charlie, Gwen and Mel (who wants to meet my family at home, preferably on her own so they can meet her as she is, and without being talked-up by the rest of us) board the lightning rail with the desk and their 30 Taur’on guards. They roll out, we head to the stables and mount up. HORSEBACK, HO!

None of us are used to this, and it SUCKS! It rains for several straight days, and after we hit a town and figure out when/where we could catch up to King Luther, we hit the road again. After getting jumped by a couple of ankhegs (which I ain’t fought since 2nd ed!) and almost losing Haven and Conner, we meet with Luther and his big, heavy-cav retinue. As we travel along, we get near the town of Dear Foot… and Conner flips out; VISION TIME!

In his vision, he sees Deer Foot burning, and citizens running from the fire being arrowed-down by assembled ProudPony troops as they near the border. This simply is NOT ProudPony kinda stuff; so Felix figures that plague is the logical call; either that or total war against Reneaux. Conner decides to tell Luther about his prophetic visions; if we can’t trust him, we’re in deep crap anywho. Luther agrees with the plague call, going so far as to relate plague to Conner’s previous vision in/of Glanmor’s abandonment. When we mention the tarot cards, FOR NO DAMN REASON, a card flips out onto the table; The Tower. SHEESH, OMINOUS MUCH!

Well, we’re in Deer Foot now. We’ll see what we can do; the scale of these things waffles between intensely personal or trivial matters and OMG THE VALLEY IS DOOMED! No pressure!

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