Hawkes Bay Kingmaker

Champions

So I have been doing a lot of looking and watching and drinking. Unable to take part in any of the events due to them involving skills either not becoming of my status or that I have not tried before. Myself and Oret managed to feret out a couple of cheats in a couple of events. We did very well and ended up champions of the games.

The Pitax King is obviously a very materialistic person and likes to display his lavish art works, etc. He has a menagerie of animals that should either be roaming free or destroyed for be abominations to nature. However I held my tongue on the matter.

At the victory Banquet we have just been accused of killing one of the Pitax champions. Lerian does not appear to be with us. This could get interesting….

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In which plans...apparently ALL of them...come together

The day prior to the Rushlight Tournament led to some interesting times.

The first stop in our little excursion led us towards the art exhibition. Overhearing a discussion between Ashularae and another group of visitors did little to impart any real knowledge, so we made our way through the gallery. Not being a lover of art in any form, it was difficult to find something to hold my attention (I would not have gone at all had there not been a fairly insistent nudge from what must have been Iomedae).

Wandering aimlessly through the paintings I stumbled across a picture that looked strikingly like young Io, shortly after I found him in the village all those years ago. A quick discussion with Ashularae informed us that the King had lost a young son many years ago, and the timing seems strangely co-incidental. I requested an immediate audience with the King.

In the mean time, we had a look around the menagerie. While stocked full of beasts of renown and mystique, I found the display somewhat garish. They really should either be free, or destroyed if they are causing trouble. To parade them around like a trophy felt as though it diminished all involved.

I was also able to send a message via bird to Andromeda regarding what I had tentatively found out about Io.

The audience was granted and it took all of my diplomatic powers to have what appeared to be an extremely painful discussion with the King. The loss of his son still seemed to upset him greatly, even after all these years. The discussion ended on a somewhat threaten note with the King vowing to have Io returned to him. Perhaps the offer of information in good faith was not my wisest course at this time.

The day done, it was time to rest for the first day of the tournament. Imajica was first in all respects. His discipline (archery) was first, he was the first to shoot (and in combination with elven skill with a bow, some magic, and a little luck) and also able to finish in first place. Elklund immediately on the leaderboard.

Learion was second, partaking in the lumber chopping discipline and his tactics and sheer strength, combined with some of the better tactics netted him first place as well! Elklund was the current clear leader.

The boasting was next, and while I’m not one prone to boasting, I do have the most skill and experience in oratory, so it was deemed best for me to step up. Sadly, a middling performance left us in third place and therefore no points were garnered, but Elklund was still in the lead.

Last was the jousting, but in this, we had nobody capable. This really left a hail mary attempt, which was me, on a horse, with a lance. Suffice to say, it went badly and I have renewed respect for those who are skilled in this discipline. While I finished last, the unexpected victory over the previous years champion from Pitax left us with the most points and we were deemed the champions! In our first ever appearance!

A feast was held and our prize was presented. Drinking followed and at some point in the night, Learion disappeared and before he came back, a great cry came up from the Kings guard, claiming a competitor had been killed.

Of course, we all leaped to our feet, intending to rush to the aid, but the cries turned against us. WE were being blamed. With guards, heavily armed and armoured, approaching us from all sides, Learion missing, the situation has become dire…

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Dad ?
Lerian the Lumberjack

We decide to go and investigate the area and find out what we can about this King and the City known as Pitax on our free day.

The pally and I head off to the Art gallery and have a look. There are a lot of paintings of the Kings Family stretching way way back way way too far. It seams like something is very wrong here.

One painting catches the eye of Roche as it does seam to look like a very young Io standing next to the King.

Something is up with this place no one can tell me about before this guy became King and if they do its i guess it was his father and his fathers father. Nothing solid to go on yet.

We then head off to the menagerie (is for guests only) to have a look at the wonderful beasts there.

I did overhear a rumor about a very strange snakelike being that is said to have been paraded through the city by the king and is said to be held around his personal quarters, but that is only a rumor.

The pally goes off to tell the king about Io and see what comes of that ( lest just say it was an intense talk ).

The next Day the tournament begins and it starts with the archery.
Our mage Imajica starts off the day with a full 12 seconds of casting spells and then in the next 12 seconds fires off all his six arrows with only one not sticking in the mark of the far ends target, I am impressed for a mage he has done well, and so well in fact that he won that competition giving our nation 3 points.

Also we caught a cheater thanks to our observant Monk and the stern words of our pally.

The next competition was the wood chopping.
I did the best i could with the strategy that our group came up with. Thanks to the group for telling me to take off my Armour ( it did feel strange swinging an ax with no armor on )
I cleft 4 or 5 logs in twain and damaged the last, its all a blur now the heat of the competition must have got to me.
Hooray Our proud nation is victorious in another part of the tournament.
This gave us a grand total of 6 points and two other nations have 1 point each.

With two more rounds to go we were in a good spot.

The boasting was next.
Again there was cheating ( our group would never stoop so low ) and spotted again by us.
Our pally was good but not as good as two other Boasters and no points were awarded to us.
One of the Boaster got up and basically listed off all the annoying and bad things to happen to our City and said that it was all her doing.
This upset Roche and after the tournament he marched right up to the king of Pitax and demanded some sort of compensation , this did not go down to well and i am told Roche was told to leave in no uncertain terms.

Next was the Drunken Joust. Again it was our very hard to hit Pally looking very funny indeed on a horse.
Turns out that he is very easy to hit on a horse and was the first to be eliminated from the Joust.
It was down to the last two, one was Pitax and if he won Pitax would win the competition.
Luckily for us the other City won and we were Victorious.
Hopefully this shows the other nations that we are indeed here to say and deserving of their respect is a kingdom of the Bandit Nations.

At the Feast we were awarded the Magical item that was up for grabs but more importantly I saw my father at the entrance to the Feast Hall.
I immediately excused myself and went to investigate.
I did not find my father but he led me to a tree with a long sword leaning up against it.
On closer inspection I saw it had our family crest on the hilt. I picked it up and it felt slimy. I immediately placed it back down and gave it a closer look. Blood on the blade but more out of place was Blood on the handle. Fresh too.

I decided to take it back to our lodgings to inspect it further.

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LET THE GAMES BEGIN

Pitax is holding it’s annual games, in which surrounding kingdoms come together and compete for glory, and altho i’m not really into this sort of stuff it will be good for our kingdom to meet surrounding kingdoms and hopefully make some good connections.

We arrive at Pitax to a spectacular welcome and are introduced to the king of Pitax, we chat, drink and present our gift, which seems to impress the King which makes it a good start for us. We say our goodbyes to the king as he has other visitors to meet and greet. So we make our way to our lodgings checking out the other lodgings for the other visitors on the way, and prepare for the events that are being held tomorrow.

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Kingly Duties Call

Our kingdom is finally being recognised by the other Kingdoms with an invitation to the Annual Pitax tournament of Champions. So off we travel, the usual group with the addition of my lovely wife. We are meet with the King of Pitax (he is an artdork). We have a look at our lodgings and then start talking with some of the other visitors. Low and behold I find myself face to face with (insert name here). That is a real blast from the past. It was good to have a catch up and she filled us in a bit on the events to come. Sounds like I will be watching most of it and not taking any active part.
Time for bed Quintessa is calling…

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In which kings and men mingle

Pitax holds an annual tourney. Something that most of the border Kingdoms are invited to. This year is the first year in which Elklund appears to have made the following nations realise that we are, in fact, a legitimate nation, even if we are somewhat small in comparison to others.

The work I had put in over the preceding years must have helped build some form of good favour, and as such, we made our way to the tourney as a group, led by Khan, as always, our King.

Io was gifted a vision from our Goddess, iomedae herself, and such a divine message can not be ignored. He made the pilgrimage willingly, and I was proud to see him follow our Goddess and continue her good works.

This did leave a gap in our group as we decided to make the trip. Luckily, Khan’s marriage to the lovely Lady Quintessa Maray had resulted in a bond forming between her and the original members of the party, and she offered to go in Io’s stead. She was gladly welcomed by all.

A quiet trip resulted in a generous welcome to the outskirts of Pitax, where we were greeted by Nunzio Arpaia. On behalf of his King, he bade us welcome and invited us to sup and greet the leader of Pitax, none other than King Castruccio Irovetti himself.

The meeting was both pleasant and fairly short. Queen Quintessa is somewhat the scholar and bard of renown, and the entrance to King Castruccios tent was lined with works of art. She was able to hold her tongue however, as she later informed us of the obviously gaudy nature of most of the pieces, even if they were of financial value.

The sheer gleeful interest in art from the King allowed us to gift him with a work of art from our own vaults resulted in a very friendly meet and greet, along with breaking our fast. Smart thinking from Imajica there, as the gift was his idea.

Once bid good day, we were bade to explore our lodgings, and our guide was to be the lovely Ashularae, whom we had the pleasure of meeting twice before. She was very friendly yet again, but there did seem to be some tension between her and Learion which seemed to shorten her stay.

After investigating our lodgings carefully (it was prudent to check for traps, magical or otherwise and any other unwanted things), we made a slow trip around the small lake where all the visiting dignitaries were housed. Learion chose to remain behind, to bathe and wash off the dust from the road.

We did find most of the lodgings empty. Perhaps the visitors were enjoying other sights?

One lodging housed somebody familiar to Khan however. She was one of three representing another faction, but the short story seemed to involve he rescuing Khan from some daemon during his formative years.

From her we learned more of the tourney and taking our leave, we planned our participation in the events…

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In which ale may be made again

“These events follow the events in Pitax at the Rushlight Tournament – Log 2 of 2”

The isle was guarded.

A large number of Will-o-Wisps descended on Oret as he charged ahead into the ghost that was floating, menacingly, on the other side of the small bridge.

Spells started flying from all parts, but the most surprising was Imajica as he literally transformed into something else. Suddenly, his archery was potent, the arrows striking were previously, while he clearly knew how to use a bow (part of his elven heritage I understand), he was now hitting targets he would have struggled with and leaving a solid impact.

Oret focused on the ghost, but was surrounded by Will-o-Wisps. Luckily for him, Learion was able to take care of them fairly quickly. While immune to most magic, they were not impervious to large swords slicing clean through them.

I tried to take the fight to the ghost in between this. I was unfortunately unable to be particularly useful as it primarily ignored me and I had serious difficulty connecting with it. Io was able to sear it with Iomedae’s fire however, and combined with the multitude of other hits from Learion and Oret, the ghost dissipated.

A small room was found, a door cleverly hidden as a cask.

Inside was clearly the mad priest’s resting chambers, sparse as they may be. A rod and an ornate water clock were the only items of any real interest, Both indicated magic, and potentially some value, usable or financial.

Learion, however, had other ideas. Taking the water clock, he threw it violently to the ground, shattering it to pieces. From the wreckage, the water seeped together and formed a Nereid. A beautiful…and very naked…Nereid.

A spare cloak was offered to her as a way to cover herself, although she didn’t seem overly concerned. Imajica was able to tell us something of these magical creatures from another plane.

She thanked us for rescuing her, although in truth, it was Learion in a moment of possibly divine inspired clarity that was mostly responsible for her freedom. She also enquired as to a shawl. Apparently this item of clothing is magically important to her.

We had unfortunately not found such an item and suspected it had been taken back to Pitax all those years ago when the monastery was destroyed and Pitax soldiers cleaned up the mess.

Luckily, she was able to make a new shawl, but finding her original one would still be very beneficial to her. No guarantees were made, but I did promise to make an effort to search should I be in the position to do so.

Io’s quest done, as far as he and I were able to discern, the party made their way back to Shrike City.

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So she works for an art lover
To late for you.

We went in the cave below the abbey to find some dancing lights and a ghost of the mad priest.

The glowing lights were Willow Wisps… again and they posed no problem the the mad ghost did offer a challenge to our monk who struggled to hit him but in the end he fell … again ( I do wonder how he died though, from what i understand about ghosts is that they have some unfinished business and i have a feeling it is to do with Pitax)

I found a hidden compartment and a clock that was very cool it had flowing water and everything and it even talked to me.
It asked me to destroy it and as we know destroying things can be quite fun so i did.
And out popped a Niad. A very naked and beautiful Niad.

She had been locked away in the clock by the priest and he had taken her shall that is very very important to her and her survival.
We agree to find this shall while she starts knitting a new one if we are unsuccessful.

We ask if she could accompany us to our city where she can work in piece and maybe take up residence with our witch.

I do have many questions for he about the realm she comes from. she seams to know about the sword he mad priest was using to kill the monks and maybe what drove him crazy we will see.

All this information could have been useful a few weeks ago when we were in Pitax for the annual Bandit kingdoms tournament as we could have asked them about the mad priest and the missing shall then.

The tournament is a few days worth of fun and skill all the best of the best come from most kingdoms to show off their best and most skilled people from their little neck of the woods. Some kingdoms have not turned up must look into this.

We turned up and were taken to meet and greet the King of Pitax ( an odd choice of King – I say that knowing we too have a very odd choice of King so i know what i’m talking about – the King of the cultural center of the bandit kingdoms i expected to be carried with grace and have an aura of sophistication about him how wrong could i be.

He seams like a man out of place and with very little knowledge of ART witch stands out in the cultural center. But who am I to judge.

We break some bread with the man and offer him a gift ( picked out by our mage ) a…. lovely painting ….. not what i would have given … i would have given something very important to him, like a Great-sword but he did seam to like it and then hang it upside down, each to his own.

We then came across a old friend the teefling that i once would have taken to be my wife if she had not politely refused, but its to late for her now i am taken.
She shows us to our lodgings and then takes her leave.
I take this chance to have a lovely bath on the lake next to our bathhouse wile the other went to explore ( really i was watching our quarters to see if any people decided to enter our house wile the rest were away as it is widely known we are not accepted or liked. thankfully nothing happened).

We now must make the decisions on who will take part in the events coming up in the next few days we have archery, wood chopping, boasting, and jousting i am wanting to do the chopping something i know ill will be good at and and hopefully get the group this magic stick that is on offer for the winning kingdom.

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Meanwhile, back in Durz's Shrike City

“BY THE GREAT HORDE IN THE SKY!!”

Durz turns on Mulio, eyes wide, a furious and righteous anger forming faster than most men can take a single breath.

YOU DARE!?!”

Mulio sighs as he nods, for about the twentieth time.

“Durz, it’s ten thirty in the morning, and I’m already having to cut your tab off. Piss off and sober up before you come back again. Hell, DON’T come back again (at least for a couple of days, your money is still good) you bloody barbarian.”

For some reason, the completely justified fury that Durz intended to unleash on Mulio’s establishment seems to fade. Durz shakes his head and squints. Turning slightly, he spy’s a city constable gingerly backing away, dropping a billy club, holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender.

DID. YOU. HIT. ME. IN. THE. HEAD?!?”

Durz turns in fury on the poor sap, his anger growing, like the unrelenting tide. He blinks again. Turns again, only to see another city constable quickly backing away, but still brandishing his billy club.

“I WILL DESTROY….”

Another thud sounds nearby. Durz dimly gathers that by nearby, his brain is in fact telling him, this means his own skull. Strange how that sounds about four feet to his left currently. He staggered, the blows to the head doing less than the copious amounts of alcohol to his balance.

’FRIENDS. I THINK I HAVE NEED OF YOUR KIND SOULS. MAY I IMPOSE MYSELF UPON YOUR FINE HOSPITALITY YET AGAIN AND SLUMBER A WHILE IN ONE OF YOUR ROOMS?"

Mulio sighs.

“Thank whatever bloody God is listening…Constables, if you would be so good as to guide our good friend, friend in the loosest possible manner of course, to your cell again so he can sleep off his latest episode?”

Here ends but ONE mighty tale, among a plethora of such mighty tales, of Durz the Mighty, conqueror of all he sees, founder of Shrike City and proud member of the Horde in the Sky when his time comes due…

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In which witches witch for Iomeade

“These events follow the events in Pitax at the Rushlight Tournament – Log 1 of 2”

After two years of relative peace in our kingdom, my son, Io Brightheart came to me once fine morning.

“I’ve had a vision from Iomedae father. She has directed me to an abandoned abbey, I think, to cleanse it of some past taint. I only saw myself in the vision, so I believe this is a test from our Goddess, for me, alone.”

He has even been the more devout of us, and is closer to Iomedae than I have ever been. When Io declares something like this, I believe him. While, like any father, I wish my son to safe, and failing that, to go along with him to help ensure said safety, I trust both him and Iomedae.

Several weeks go by, and this is nothing unusual, for I have no idea where Io’s quest has taken him.

However, Andromeda Niska, our resident witch, and lately, tentatively, friend, appears to have been keeping an eye on my son. Up till this point, she has not interfered as she believed him to be completely safe. Her latest scrying suggests that while Io is alright presently, something seems amiss, and Andromeda believes that Io could be in danger.

Her scrying has given her a location, and I immediately ready myself for travel, only to find those mighty companions, friends and powerful allies all, ready themselves to come with me. Learion, Oret Eberheart and Imajica were all in Shrike City at the time and determine to make the trip by my side. Iomedae has blessed me indeed to give me such valiant and loyal friends. It’s was with a heavy heart that we left without Khan Getafix, as he was away on some pressing business for the realm. Such are the duties of the King.

It was a long trip, but thankfully Imajica was able to teleport us almost half the required distance. From our newest stronghold, Fort Drelev, we made our way deep into territory considered to be the rule of Pitax.

An abandoned abbey was a indeed our destination, and Imajica seemed to pull historical facts of the place from seemingly nowhere. Such is his depth and breadth of learning I suppose.

Oreo was made invisible and he bravely scouted the area ahead to give us any sort of understanding of the layout above. Unfortunately he was unable to discover much, but there appeared to be a guard in the bell tower, situated off to one side of the abbey itself.

Not knowing if there was trouble or not, we made no effort to hide (Learion and myself would have struggled at that regardless) and made our way directly to the bell tower. I bade Oret to climb the side of the tower while the rest of us approach in a more orthodox manner. Opening the door, we found the room to be empty, but Oret found an area above in the broken rafters where a guard could have been situated.

From there, our only real option was to investigate the abbey. Going straight in, we were confronted by stairs up on one side, down on the other, and curtains directly in front of us. I chose the simple, direct route and made for the curtains.

This is where I found my precious son, seated serenely in front of a large flower, on top of which, was situated a jewel of some kind. I immediately went to him, but before I made more than five feet, enemy combatants emerged from all over the place, none of whom appeared to have been there before. Sorcery!

“Kill the human!”

Some form of creature was aiming an arrow directly at Learion (Imajica assured us it was a wererat, and devised us not to get bitten by it). Well, a threat to a friend is a threat to me, so I called on Iomedae and intercepted every arrow that was launched at Learion.

The fight was brutal, but surprisingly quick. Learion was able to do some significant damage to a surrounding melee combatants before he fell. Oret saved him from certain death while Imajica kept the enemy at bay best he could with magics. I simply concentrated on defence to start with and was able to call on Iomedae to heal all of us, thankfully preserving the life that Oret fought so bravely to save.

Learion had one last trick however and blasted the wererat from his perch with what can only be a divinely guided bolt from his crossbow, allowing us to make short work of the remaining ambushers.

We were able to discern that the rabble rouser, Grigori, that we temporarily captured when Shrike City was still being formed was behind the ambush. Learion has made plain his desire to end the threat to our kingdom once and for all, and I wholeheartedly agree.

The jewel Io was seated in front of was the key. It transported us to what seemed like a memory of the past where a crazed priest of Iomedae was slaughtering the peaceful monks. There seemed no way to change the memory, so we finally decided, on Oret’s suggestion, to make our way down to the monks brewery.

A long and deep tunnel was carved into the hillside, ending in a small cavern, consisting of a large body of water and a scum covered isle, with just a rickety wooden bridge adjoining them. I made my way to the isle, intent on cleaning it up, hoping this might help our cause…

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