Ahris

Berenwoon Geography
for background

Wynshern, the largest settlement in Berenwoon, overseen by Dahr Leighton, is about 3 days away by horse. Aaldershein, the provincial capitol and home to Moizhian Leth, closer to the coast, at about 5 days’ travel. A reasonable expectation a formal response to the tunnel, if any, by Dahr Leighton could come a day or two hence from where we left off, given travel times.

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The rains came, and exposed....
something unexpected

“Durston said the Scouts confirmed it – that old tree on the north side of the pass is still there, but all the earth and rock under it’s been washed away, along with some of the trail itself. He said they could see through the old roots and there’s something like a tunnel. I heard someone else say it was stone-lined, not cave rock,” explained Erich to the group gathered in the guild hall. He’d just returned from Wynshern where he’d been conducting business on behalf of the family for a few days, and had cut short his trip to bring back the latest news.

“You’re sure it’s on the road to Ablen?” asked one of the managers.

“Yes, for certain – I overheard everything they said, and how they made their way through the roots and partially into the tunnel, which looked to pass directly through the steepside along the pass – you know, that rough cliff with the lateral crack about 100 feet up? That one,” confirmed Erich.

“And what of the other side?” asked the same woman.

“After some walk through the mountain…Aa valley – never before seen,” he answered, letting the words hang in the air as he smiled, excited by the news he’d brought.

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A New Start in a Different Colony
Life among the mountains and valleys of Berenwoon

Meta
Berenwoon is where our story will begin, instead of Lineon. I threw the Lineon story at you because I knew it and had run it, and decided to give it a try to see if we even liked the system. I’d prefer to begin anew, elsewhere, with a completely new story rather than relying on content and plot developed a while ago and with a different set of players. You can keep your character, at 2nd level, and we’ll built a background around him to fit in this different place, and move in a fresh direction from there.

And if you hadn’t recognized it, Ahris is a geographic analogue for the English colonies in North America in the 1760s. Lineon would be New York leading into New England; New Orwell would be Virginia, and Berenwoon would be something like where West VA and the Appalachians west of the Carolinas.

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Paying a visit to a certain shopkeeper
"Dry Goods" or "bads"?

Meta
The trip to Indoschan is easy, takes only a few days by the main road, and goes without incident – unless you’d like there to be an incident. You three will arrive in town without any fanfare and can go about planning and conducting your visit to the “Indoschan Emporium” as you wish. You make the decisions and the plan and implement it, and give me an idea how you think it’d go down.

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Defeating the Iron Fist
Choices ahead

Upon returning to Renlen, the Sentinels refreshed their horses and themselves, and met with Yuli to share what they’d experienced and learned. The elf was her usual quirky, jovial self and Morgren and Ezra’s use of magic surprised and impressed her greatly. As the conversation wound down, she brought it up again – it was normal for her to circle back to things that had been discussed and seemingly put to rest, although this sometimes lent a scattered feel the flow of her conversation.

“I’ve been watching and following this…emergence…for a few years. The schor is all around us, of course, as always, but now it is coming within reach in ways that should not be possible – not according to the Fatheyreen, at least. And yet, it is so. Which means that either the teaching of the Lothay are incorrect for a lack of knowledge; dishonest for a desire to keep this secret; or perhaps something fundamental has changed, which would seem more like a lack of knowledge,” she says, becoming more distracted as she spoke. This was a trait she often displayed, seemingly losing track of the people around her as she spoke in more depth, with her words turning from a conversation to an inner monologue, spoken aloud.

“I think it is the latter,” she began again, this time clearly addressing the men around her. “The elves are old and know a great deal, but not everything, and things change. The land is breathing new life into the world, and it seems that with this the ways we know are being redefined. I believe that this is so, and I am hardly anyone who’s knowledge and power are noteworthy,” she says as she makes a sign with her fingers in the air and around them dance wisps of light, the makings of a tiny spell.

Looking at Ezra she states firmly, “and the Scheef will come. They will not allow the younger races to flaunt their laws,” she then paused.

“And they will not tolerate any who threaten to destabilize their reality.”

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Beyond the Western Frontier
and into the distant past

Meta
I’m not going to recount the trip west, nor even the interactions with the Grik’arty, since you were all there and beyond what was accomplished there wasn’t much to that portion of the night. Spending the night in the room/tomb is another thing, and that’s what’s detailed below.


The circular room was clearly a natural cave that was improved with mortar, chisel, and block. Some of the walls are natural stone, smoothed out, and some are finely-fitted block. All of it was covered in a type of plaster and painted, long ago. The scene, after you study it more, is clear: a hero, with a powerful black horse, defeated monsters, led victorious armies, and seemed to enjoy the love of a people, and then he took a knee before a skeletal dragon and then led more armies of conquest, seemingly against the people he once protected – and the scenes seem to portray this transition in a positive light.

The ceiling also bears a scene, along with a circular path on the ground, running like a concentric loop a few feet wide, touching the walls and coming toward the center of the room. The moldered cushion sits on the only break in this floor mural. The floor mural depicts people and places that look similar to those in the early wall scenes – the ones where he was the hero of the people – but in these scenes they look conniving and devious, and the ‘hero,’ is in some of these floor scenes dressed in the garb from the early wall scenes and in some in the black, post-dragon armor. All the floor scenes have the hero with the people doing things behind his back, sometimes literally.

The ceiling scene depicts a massive battle in which it seems the skeletal dragon is destroyed, but its shade escapes. The hero escapes, too, and yet there the land seems barren, and the colors in that final part of the painting are considerably more dull than in the rest of the room. The dragon’s shade is nowhere; the hero is gone; and the land looks empty and bleak.

In all the murals there are some figures using black-steel weapons, like those that you’ve found.

You spend the night in there, with your horses, pondering what all this might mean.


Meta 2
I’d posted the text below as a player secret for Thom, assuming that he’d share it to everyone. I did not think that one, he only has a phone on which to do this, making it challenging for the amount of text; and two, that he’d have a busy week early-on. Thus, I’ve pasted it below. You’d all learn this from Morgren when everyone wakes up.

Boran Thruvayne, dragonslayer and hero of Vorhus (pronounced “VOR-hus,” with the h- pronounced…it seems that the Grik’arty’s label of the blade was a bastardization of the original, passed down through the centuries and modified to fit their language) achieved many great victories on behalf of his people. Rising from the ranks of a humble soldier to a general he defended the city-state and basically gave of himself his whole life – and near the end of that life realized he’d been used and duped by those people he protected. The line tied to this scene on the walls is “nobody wants him; they just turn their heads.” Offered power and potential immortality by the skeletal dragon “K’rdzrkch’ra the Ever-Fury,” Boran opened his eyes to the truth of the world and his life and, imbued with the vitality of youth and support of the dragon, turned back on the people who once used him. Formerly known for using his ‘iron fist,’ (the images show him punching some things with great force, as well as using a flaming sword), he was reborn as the Iron Fist.

The people of Vorus struck back and a great set of battles was fought, ending in the terrible destruction of the dragon’s physical form, and the severing of Boran’s source of power. Boran had himself sealed into this tomb where he could wait until worthy followers released him, and he could lead them to find the Blood Stone and return the dragon to this world to complete what they started.

There’s also something, on the floor and ceiling murals that depicts the people as working together to bring forth…something…that blew away the dragon and left the land bleak and empty. It would seem that Boran’s story indicates that he wants to reverse that.

Based on all of this, it seems like this is a tomb for Boran and the headquarters of his movement-to-be. There are a few images of warriors who fight alongside him, wearing those pig helmets. Additionally, it seems that the Iron Fist will lead his new followers to the Blood Stone personally, and then restore the dragon, then take over the world. In that order.

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Breakfast at the Sky Peaks Tea Room
courtesy of Yuli Threshrael, proprietor

The following takes place on the morning of the second back in Renlen – you returned on a Tuesday evening; the events at the smith and information gathering about real estate and the sale/trade/turn-in of items took place on Wednesday; and so this breakfast meeting is on Thursday.

Breakfast consisted of elven flapcakes – thin, silky, and dressed with a berry compote – complemented by a light coffee, imported from Shinjan Province, homemade sausage, and goat cheese omelettes. This was certainly quality meal, far above what the three men were used to, even when they were not on the road.

Yuli Theshrael was dressed in her typical combination of a silk robe over baggy pants, and outfit that would have been utterly inappropriate given the cold weather were it not for the fact that her inn had probably the best insulation in town and boasted a double-door foyer, with one set of heavy doors leading outside and another from that foyer, which had its own fireplace! – to the interior of the inn.

The inn was separated into a few different spaces, with a large common room, a smaller dining room, the tea room, and the small library adjacent to the tea room. Breakfast was served in the tea room, an elegant space with three tables and chairs for each, where the people could meet and relax in quiet. No one else but the elf and her guests were present in the room, and the serving boy had left and closed the door after delivering the last of the meal.

The elf woman made pleasant, comfortable small talk, asking the men to tell their accounts of fighting the Wolfen, what the high mountains are like in winter, and their days spent chasing the bandit gang. The food was excellent and plentiful, and the meal and visit were going along nicely up to the point when the woman changed the direction of the conversation entirely.

“Tell me what you think of the lights on Silver Mountain,” she prompted, then took another sip of jasmine tea.

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Ezra Clay nothus of his name
Adrift in a sea of swirling consciousness

Ezra wandered the virtually empty street, staggering as the snow fell around him. But Ezra did not see snow, for as he scanned around him the landscape of structures were blazing infernoes. He trod the ground aimlessly, ground that seemed like burning coals staggering to patches that appeared less hot and the snow that fell appeared as ashes. The voice of the balrog, Ipos, was screaming in his head, spitting insults and reminding him of who was in control.

Moments earlier Dahr Morleigh was proclaiming to a crowd of citizens of Renlen, announcing that Ezra and his friends would be givien the accolade of Sentinel. As the Dahr announced “Ezra Clay”, Ezra heard different words in his head. “Ezra Clay! Ezrayas of the great House of Tannartinu, nothus, spurius, bastardus… MISCHLING! YOU ARE NO SON OF MINE!!!” Ezra saw the Dahr walking toward him with the face of his Elven Step-Father, Baron Tomas Tannartinu, the day that Tomas had figured out the horrible truth of Ezra’s birth Father. That day, Ezra’s whole body was as rigid as a piece of steel, eyes wide and fixed on the Baron. Not sure whether to break down and run away, or to scream back at him that it wasn’t his fault. At the age of eight, all Ezra could think of that moment in a closed room was that he wanted to break down the walls and run away from this bad place. As the last broach was attached, and the first huzzah sounded, Ezra walked stuntedly, hurriedly out of the gathering as the crowd swelled to gather around the heroes. He slipped between two buildings, almost an alleyway, and slid down on his butt between the buildings, staring up at the snow that had just begun to fall. He was cold, and the voice continued on his left. As he looked over, he saw the face of Baron Tomas, demonic looking, and grinning evilly. “Where will you go boy, where will you run?” Ezra put his face in his hands and whispered to himself “oh, this is not happening, this is not real, this is not happening.” but as he looked up the face was still there and quipping with more vile taunts “what are you, who are you, where are you going? You are nothing without me!” Ezra stood up, and staggered between the two buildings and burst out onto the street as the buildings seemed to begin burning. The logical side of his mind was telling him that his boots were soaked through, and he must have fallen at some point causing himself to be coated with snow and he must be so cold it felt like burning. But as he staggered down the empty street, he was not thinking logically, he was only thinking of escape. He avoided areas in the street that appeared hotter to his eyes, for he walked on burning coals, and the buildings were on fire. The demonic figure circled him as he staggered down the street “This is not happening, how can I get out, how can I be free?” The evil presence followed and cackled gleefully at Ezra, and Ezra tried to stablize himself in the firey hell, held his head up and spit in the demonic face. “I will be free!” as he walked more determinedly down the street the figure came on stronger and almost seemed to grow and the voices came on again “Nothus, spurius, bastardus, mischling, no son of mine.” Ezra stumbled and fell to his knees and put his hands to his face. As his hands fell from his face, the demonic, withered face of Baron Tomas was there “Boy, you are blind, you are too blind to see!” Ezra screamed at the old face “You cannot speak of me this way, I am good, I am worthy, I am a hero! You will pay for this, you tricked me, you tricked me into this and I will make you pay. You will NOT have my soul! YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY SOUL!” The old, withered, demonic figure of Baron Tomas cackled and looked Ezra in the eyes. Ezra could see the pits of hell swirling beneath, “Boy, let’s just be honest here, you are going to burn. Your soul is going to burn in a lake of fire” and the figure turned away as it went into fits of laughter.

Ezra looked up, and realized he had wandered to the Church of Aiomeadyn, and he roughly drew himself up and staggered through the doors of the church falling unceremoniously on one of the pews. The voices seemed to be a whisper, still in the back of his mind as they berated him “Nothus, spurius, bastardus, mischling, no son of mine.”

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Heading back to Renlen with a prize
and some good news

Both farmsteds were, for the time being, clear of Wolfen, and again secured so that next-of-kin could claim them or the town would dispose of them per the law. The team of six, somewhat battered but alive and well, headed back to Renlen, reaching the town an hour or so after nightfall, with their wagon of evidence and single prisoner in tow.

Along the way Kit made surprising progress communicated with Gannsu, the young warrior. While he couldn’t quite make out how he might have been related to or otherwise connected with the pack leader he’d killed, Kit got the sense that he was more than just a member of the group. He was able to determine, with some certainty, the reason behind their foray onto this side of the mountains: territory was very important to them, and seemed to be one of the key elements of status, power, and wealth. The Wolfen was troubled by and impressed with the power the ‘bareskins’ had shown, and this put him in a curious position: to him, the bare-skinned races were, by definition, weak. But they’d been cut down by those ‘weak’ fighters, and that was confusing to him. He also seemed troubled by his pack leader’s breach of honor in calling on the others to attack while his duel with Kit was still on-going, regardless of the fact that he was losing. Gannsu was not at all happy to be a prisoner, but seemed resigned to his fate, whatever it might be.


Upon arriving in Renlen, the team was greeted by a growing crowd of locals who wanted to first know what had happened, and then see the prisoner. By the time they reached Town Hall there were upwards of 100 people crowding the group as they came to a halt and Dahr Morleigh and his adjutant came out on the steps to formally receive them. Some of the people jeered at the Wolfen, some spit at it, and others called for it to be hanged. Morleigh called on the crowd to calm down so that he could listen to the account of the team.

After hearing the account, in front of everyone and in the cold evening air, Dahr Morleigh had the team bring Gannsu into the jail, which was attached to Town Hall, shackled, and locked in one of two cells. A guard was posted in the next room. The crowd, not yet dispersed, was getting a little rowdy, with equal parts jubilation over the victory and a desire for revenge, aimed at the Wolfen prisoner. Morleigh, waiting in the constable’s office when the team came out from locking up Gannsu, directed them to go back outside. “We have another piece of business to conclude,” he stated firmly while motioning the team outside.

Dante, his adjutant, adroitly arranged the six men on the front steps of the building, and whispered to Ghut, Mutch, and Willis separately from the other three as Morleigh, wearing his formal mantle and now hat, stepped to the fore and addressed the crowd.

“Our fair village has been of late the victim of several assaults and affronts. We have lost people; we have lost coin and supplies; and we have suffered damages to our prosperity and peace,” he called out in his resonant voice. For a moment he went on to describe the loss of the mountain caravans, the months of mounting attacks by the bandit gang, and this most recent attack by the Wolfen.

“Our village, a mere two generations old, has not experienced such threats before, nor have we suffered such losses in such a short period of time. In times past, in the Old Realm, an honor and responsibility was given to those who had, by their own motivation, dedication, and acts shown that they had taken up the burden of protecting others in times of need, for no other reason than their brotherly affection toward their fellows and their desire to see justice done and decency and peace promoted.” He stopped for a moment to let the people consider his words and perhaps recall their knowledge of history before continuing.

“By the authority vested in me by our colonial leadership, under the benevolent rule of King Gudrow and the Executive Council, and the trust extended to me by Moizhian Ethrey and the provincial authority of Lineon, I hereby appoint ”/characters/kithcanen-wraithwind" class=“wiki-content-link”>Kithkanen Wraithwind, Ezra Clay, and Morgren Alaster as Sentinels of Renlen, the first to receive this honor and responsibility for our home. I have no doubt that they will bear the burden well and will continue to serve as examples of what one can do for another, and how the few can stand on behalf of the many." As the echo of his last words died, Dante produced three broaches, handing them to Dahr Morleigh one at a time as he then pinned them on each of the men and shook their hands. The broaches bore the symbol of the town, a mountain peak with a small farm at its base. The broach was the same worn by the handful of town officials, and would be taken as a symbol of some office.

The crowd, surprised, excited, and still energized by the news from the farms, erupted into applause and shouts of “Huzzah!”


Meta
The ‘office’ of Sentinel is an old one, but it’s not really an office at all. It’s an honor reserved for those who’ve demonstrated uncommon commitment and service to a town, and it’s usually only bestowed on non-Hehle as a result of some unusual acts of service. It entitles the bearer to a degree of access to local officials, although the extent to which is not formally defined, and it somewhat akin to receiving the key to the city and a military medal wrapped into one. To your knowledge there have only been a few Sentinal badges awarded in the colonies, and none in Lineon – none that you’ve heard of, at least. It’s a big social boost, and confers the benefit of access to well-placed officials and citizens, generally the ability to ask for support – material and otherwise – when needed, and have it be considered, and also puts the responsibility of being ‘on call’ when things go south.

And remember the questions from the end of the session:

  1. Will you investigate the Wolfen further?
  2. Will you do anything about the lights on Silver Mountain?
  3. What will you do about the cursed helms?
  4. How about Maerith?
  5. What else might you do regarding the crooked Dahr of Indoschan?
  6. And what about that map of the ruins (which I’ll create and post somehow)
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The Ugly Truth
"that boy is as crooked as a set of stairs"

Dahr Morleigh had accepted the private meeting with the four freelancers only because of their past contributions to the town’s safety, and their standing in the community because of them. Normally private citizens with no connections within the Hehlen would have had no chance of meeting with the Dahr – any Dahr – under such circumstances unless summoned. Unusual as this was, Morleigh had granted their request to meet, without even his personal secretary, and then listened to their account of things, asking no questions during their presentation. They’d each given statements that they all agreed they’d swear oaths over if needed, presented and explained Een’s ledger, and showed samples of armor, weapons, and other equipment used by the gang. The involvement of Dahr Ahnoffer, Indoschan’s constable, and the owner of the general store was all made explicit and supported with evidence both physical and anecdotal.

Morleigh sat, fingers steepled, brow furrowed, and closed his eyes for a few, long moments after they finished. Inhaling deeply and slowly, he looked at the four men and motioned for them to sit.

“You are accusing a Dahr – an executive member of the Hehlen – with a variety of crimes, all of which are compounded by the alleged use of the office as a cover for them,” he said with a rising tone at the end, as if to ponder it as a question.

“You are willing to take an oath and undergo legal examination, if required, as part of any investigation that may ensue, fully understanding that the nature of these accusations and the parties against which you level them could make this a public sensation, and you along with it,” he said, this time as a firm statement.

“Am I correct?” he asked clearly, stone-faced and without a hint of what he was thinking


Meta
You all know that serious accusations typically involve sworn statements and what amounts to questioning by state lawyers and investigators and the like. This might be done in a public setting or not – it depends on what the investigator wants. The Elves, however, don’t screw around when it comes to the determination of guilt and meting out of justice – to do otherwise would get in the way of maintaining order. Thus, if this goes anywhere it’s not going to be some dreadful OJ trial or whatever – they’d get to it and peel back the layers (and maybe some fingernails, too) and be done with it.

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