Session One Hundred and Sixty-Nine - September 17, 2022

Wherein the ongoing story of the FtF campaign may be found ...

Session One Hundred and Sixty-Nine - September 17, 2022

Postby Matt » Thu Oct 20, 2022 8:10 pm

Agrazhar 2, 733

Lord Ewen tapped a quill against this cheek, thinking over orders to be given in the wake of his being made Earl. Kolorn and Baseta should be taken in hand immediately. Sir Baris would be made Constable of Ternua, and Sir Daxton Synarth recommended for Deputy Sheriff of Meselyneshire.

Sir Goreg, his former squire, entered the chamber, looking somewhat the worse for wear.

“Sir Goreg, I trust that your first evening as a knighted man was well and truly celebrated.”

“Yes, milord. I drank my fill. Sir Baris and Lord Prehil saw to that.”

Ewen put down the quill. “It appears, Sir Goreg, that matters in Meselyneshire are drawing to a close. As you heard in yesterday’s council, from the Queen herself, I shall be turning my attentions to consolidating my new found fortune. You, having completed with great aplomb your obligations as squire, and knighted yesterday, now find yourself in a position to do as you please. I would say, as you consider your options, that I value your contributions at my side at every turn. If you were to choose to remain attached to my endeavors, I would consider it a signal contribution to my cause.”

“Milord, it would be an honor to continue in your service.”

“Outstanding. I am sure there will be opportunities and great fortune ahead for us all. I will be pleased to see you in the midst of it all.”

Goreg knelt before Ewen, placing his hand between his liege’s. “I, Goreg Corvodomos, pledge to be your liege man of life and limb.”

“I, Ewen, Earl of Vemion, do accept your homage, and pledge to be a good lord to you.”

Goreg rose.

“And there shall never be a dull moment,” Ewen added with a grin.

“I look forward to it all, milord. Come what may.

Sir Haldavis, too, was unencumbered as the Viking campaign ended. Surveying his options, he, too decided to pledge fealty to Lord Ewen. To support his new knights, the Earl settled stipends upon them of 288d a month for Haldavis and 240d for Goreg. That would have to do until they could acquire land.

That settled, Ewen turned once again to his responsibilities. The Queen had granted him a private purse of £20 as a reward for his service, and another purse of £20 to be distributed among those who fought under his command. Ewen decided to take 10 of his private pounds and add them to the men’s reward—taking care they knew the source of the bonus. The troops of both Ternua and Meselyneshire totaled 280 men. £30 among them came to 24d each. Widows and orphans would receive the rewards of the fallen. That left an extra 1.5d, which was given to captains of companies.

Sir Haldavis suggested an additional item: a ribbon, to give honor and mark veteran status. A spool of red ribbon was located, and bits cut off to make the decoration.

Departing his new lord’s presence, Sir Haldavis sought out Cekiya. He was both disturbed and intrigued by what he had witnessed the previous night in pit.

“Peepers!” she greeted him.

Haldavis was taken aback, but managed to reply “I’ll call you ‘Wolfsbane.’”

The little adder seemed well with that.

“I inquire after your health,” said Haldavis. “You’ve suffered an injury, and often after two or three days, injuries become most serious.”

“And what do you need my help for?

“May I inspect the wound?”

“Touching BAD. You can look. “

“Oh honey, bad touch is the very best kind of touch.” Haldavis took out a dagger. “May I?”

“You may.”

Holding the blade upside down, hilt out, he lifted her sleeve to view the wound. It looked to be healing.

“You must look for fever and pain, redness and swelling. It appears to be healing and not infected, which I am glad to see.”

“More to do?”

The field dressing on the wound on the wound wasn’t the best. Cekiya must have bandaged it herself. Haldavis suspected no one else would ever be allowed to do so.

“You fight in a way that is strange to me,” he said. “I count on the skill and loyalty of the men next to me to save me in battle, while you fight alone. That is the most dangerous way. One fell blow, and you might be lost.”

“I rely on no one but me.”

“I must deliver you to combat, I see now, not shield you. This is also true for Miss Arva. I hope that you may understand my intentions here. Perhaps I should reassure you also that what I observed the other night, I will reveal to no one, but Ewen.”

“I know you’d never say anything, because if you did, you’d be there, too. I think perhaps you would like to come more often ... on the 30th.”

“I confess I have never encountered worship of the dark gods. We don’t have those in Chybisa.” Haldavis thought Ewen would be shocked to learn these goings-on.

“He’s the only god I know, he and his family. This is the only family I’ve ever known.”

“I never ask a man to explain his choice.

“Ok. So still come with me on the 30th.”

“If that is what you request, I will certainly do that.”

“I can educate you.”

“I am getting quite an education in this company, I can assure you.”

“And my wound—can you make it go away faster?”

“I don’t have any salves. I just wanted to make sure if you needed help, you could get it. May I ask one question?”


“Aeomund—did he know?

“Aeomund know what?”

“Of your nature, and of your service?”

“My service is to the Raven. I don’t know what he knew. I didn’t really ask. The only person I care about is Ewen. My true service is to him.”

“Aeomund is a self-righteous twat waffle. He manages to accepts many moral precepts that he does not preach.”

“Perhaps I shouldn’t call you Peepers. Perhaps I should call you Badger.”

Haldavis was confused. “Please let me know if I am overstepping any boundaries.”

Cekiya moved to within dagger range. “Are you now with the group? Nothing in all my powers will let anything happen to the Raven.”

“Now I understand your attachment here.”

“You will never cross us.”

Haldavis was now sweating. “Yes, mistress.”

“You’re looking pale. You should sit down.”

Sir Haldavis continued to sweat.

Arva was deep in composition was she was approached by Sir Eres, constable of Baseta.”

“Greetings Arva. I understand the Queen has made a new Earl of Vemion.”

“She has.”

“I would greatly like to see him, if you know where he is.”

“At the moment he is out of the castle, reviewing the situation. I shall pass it on when he returns.”

“I’d appreciate that.”

“Of course,” said Arva, and returned to her work.

Many great magnates of the kingdom walked the halls of Caer Olokand at that time: Lords Ewen, Orsin, and Prehil, the Bishop of Nurez, the Constable of Heru, the Baron of Yeged. It was time for the victory feast, time to commemorate the crushing of the Vikings.
The early evening saw something of a cocktail hour, as guests gathered in the Great Hall long before the arrival of the Queen. Ale and wine flowed freely. Tidbits, such as bacon wrapped in more bacon, were served. Various nobles jockeyed for seats, trying to get as close as possible to the head table. None of the ladies in waiting were yet present—they would enter with their mistress. On a small stage, the Baron of Yeged was assembling his minstrels.

Sir Haldavis had some folks with whom he wanted to chat. When he and Goreg had visited Baseta keep, there had been two knights performing the lowly duty of gate guard. He wanted to know why, and intended to ask the two, Sir Coper Asdeff and Sir Nashel Kwendern. Finally he spotted the men, and approached them, ales in hand.

“Glad to see you! I bring you ale, so what we might toast to life! Another campaign, and we’re still here.”

“Of course, good sir knight! A mug of ale with you!” Haldavis could tell they didn’t recognize him.

“I am Sir Haldavis, a knight of Lord Vemion’s service. I recall coming to Baseta and seeing you on guard duty. It struck me as curious.”

“That is so,” replied Sir Nashel. “But milord Baron felt the garrison at Baseta was somewhat lax. It fell to us. He couldn’t have the minstrels on guard duty, could he?”

“So they must be the only quality soldiers in his employ. Surely the constable must have had foot soldiers.”

“The Baron thought they were lax.”

“If I understand correctly, the Baron of Yeged owes service to Lord Neph?”

“That is true. “

“And the constable is in service to Lord Vemion.”

“That is true as well. But we serve the Baron, we protect him.”

“Surely you have to do what he says. Why was Neph coming to the aid of Vemion’s holdings?”

“Well, ultimately we were going to Setrew. But Lord Neph wanted to go to Baseta first to get the lay of the land.”

“Had the constable assembled boats to cross the river?”

“I don’t know. I assume the Earl thought there were boats.”

“I was struck by the lax atmosphere in the keep, even festive. It struck me as out of character in a time of war.”

“I will say we ate well. The constable keeps a very fine table.”

“Is that his preeminent concern?”

“That, and his mistress!”

“What I take from what you’re saying is that the constable doesn’t put military affairs very high.”

“I’d agree.”

“What of his loyalties?”

“Couldn’t say about that.”

“And Neph surely will play a large part in deciding what happens in the future of the kingdom.”

“I suppose. All we know is that we were routed by the Vikings, and Neph went one way, and we went the others. The minstrels tagged along as usual.”

“I supposed that if we need song to record these events, we may call on the Baron. But not on Neph or the Constable.” Haldavis took a large swig of ale. “I shall attempt to enjoy this evening as much as I can. Glad we could speak.”

“And with you!”

“I hope I may see you beside me, and not across from me, in the events to transpire.”

“A fine thought!”

Haldavis sought out his liege, and passed along the substance of the conversation.

Trumpets blared, cheers arose, and Her Grace the Queen of Kaldor entered the Great Hall, her ladies in waiting in tow. Ewen sought out one among their number—the Countess Thilisa, his lady wife.

Ewen raised the idea of sacking Eres.

“With whom would you replace him?” she asked.

“With Sir Baris. Given the need for a military presence in Baseta, what with the political threat from Gardiren, Baris and his surprisingly capable new wife may play a crucial role, with Gatanis Nildar for logistical support. What say you, milady Countess?”

Thilisa looked across the room to Sir Baris, who was attempting to balance two full mugs of ale on his head. “Well, my impression is that Lady Erane can keep things in check.”

“I think it’s a far superior solution to keeping Sir Eres in his present role.”

“It will very likely increase revenue from the fief. From my understanding, Sir Eres entertains far too well.”

“Lady wife, are you pleased with Gatanis Nildar’s performance as steward?”

“He’s an officious little pervert!” Thilisa snapped.

“Is he good at what he does?”

“I said he was officious.”

“Can we trust him to assist Sir Baris in standing up the situation at Baseta, and spare him from Ternua?”

“No! Ternua is by far the more important fief. Until such time as gain control of Minarsas, it will be our principle source of income.”

So the decision was made. Sir Baris and Lady Erane would go to Baseta, without benefit of Gatanis Nildar.

Lord Ewen found Sir Eres in the milling crowd. Next to him stood a young woman, possibly his daughter. Ewen noted that nearby stood a knight he did not recognize looking at the pair with what could only be described as a look of utter contempt.

“Sir Eres?” Ewen said.

The man bowed. “I am at your disposal, milord.”

“I like a man who comes to the point directly.”

Eres immediately picks up on Ewen’s tone.” “Milord, I can explain ...”

“I see no need to put you in that position. I am well aware you find yourself in a unique and surprising position, in relation to the Queen’s declaration.”

“Yes, indeed. I stand ready to serve the Earl of Vemion.”

“Sir Eres, you will understand, given the circumstances, it would be imprudent of me to continue, in the position you now hold, one who has held loyalty in the past to a man who is now a traitor. I bear you no ill will. I find that I have no option, than to put in the role of constable someone in whose trust I repose completely. Sir Baris Tyrestal will accompany you in safety back to Baseta, that you might collect your belongings.”

At that moment, Lord Ewen began to work his eldritch wyrd, that he might ascertain the truth of anything Sir Eres said.

Sir Eres collected himself. He was obviously determined to save his dignity, the last thing remaining to him. “I see there is no moving you, milord. Fortune’s wheel turns.”

“That’s one way to look at it, Sir Eres.”

“If you will forgive me, milord, I think I shall depart. I have lost my appetite.”

He walked away with the girl on his arm, whispering to each other. Ewen noticed the other knight, the one who had been watching the pair, go after them, and catch up when they were almost at the exit.

Arva sidled close enough to eavesdrop.

“It’s time for you to come home!” the contemptuous knight said.

“I will not!” the girl yelled. “I will stay with him!”

The contemptuous knight started to reply, but Sir Eres cut him off. “She’s made her decision, Sorrel. You can stay if you want.”

They march off. Sorrel watches them leave.

Arva approaches him. “A pretty girl. Bad choice in men.”

“I couldn’t agree more.”

Arva introduced herself, to which the new knight replied. “I am Sir Sorrel Margant, Lord of Gentes Manor.”

“She is your sister?”

“She is. And if you’re asking if I’m married, I’m not.”

Arva chose to deflect the flirting. “What will Eres do know?”

“Well, he’s not coming to Gentes, I’ll tell you that.”

“Do you think he will head to Vemion or move to Tashal?"

“Probably Tashal.”

“So it will be easy to retrieve your sister if she comes to her senses.”

“She can come home anytime she wants.”

“Lord Ewen approves of fighting men. Eres is weak. What does she see in him?”

“A father figure? I don’t know.”

“How will the knights of Baseta feel about his being relieved of his position? How will they regard their new Earl?”

“A quarter of them are dead. As for their feelings toward their Earl, I can’t remember the last time Lord Vemion made an appearance in these parts.”

“Their opinions don’t matter much in any case.”

“I suspect the knights of Baseta will be concerned with rebuilding their lands.”

“In time of peace, did Eres perform his duties as constable well?”

Sorrel made a face.

“And what of your own lands?”

It turns out that Gentes manor was one of the few in the area not ravaged by the Vikings. The pair continue in comfortable conversation.

The feast commences, and all eat and drink to their content. Afterwards comes music and dancing. Late that evening, Haldavis hunts down Lady Falagra, that he might give her the necklace. The Lady seems very pleased to receive it.

“I think a lady likes to think of a man doing the fighting as much a man doing the fighting likes to think of a lady back home,” she says with a smile.

“I apologize for being caught off guard in our last encounter. I confess, these matters of social arrangement are uncomfortable for me. But perhaps there might be patterns of a different sort than I am used to. Can I count on your as someone who might alert me to questions of courtly etiquette?”

“Oh. Well, I suppose. Of course.”

“Then I am most pleased.”

“For example, when one gives a gift to a lady, it is awfully nice if a poem accompanies it.”

“You zero in on my weakness.”

“That will be Lesson One.”

“Perhaps you might convey this message to the Queen. She asked me to find out about the Viking leadership. You may tell her that Red is dead, while Eilus still defiles us. If a poet you seek, I can commend you to Sir Reklan Pulgarty.”

“I shall convey this to the Queen. And I have heard of Sir Reklan. I shall indeed look him up.”

“Last I heard, he winters in Tashal.”

“What a coincidence. So do I.”

“Sir Reklan is a vassal of your lord, is he not?”

“I understood his family held from the Dariunes.”

“No, the Pulgarties hold from Ternua.”

“My, what a small world.”

Lady Falagra left quite confused.

Agrazhar 3, 733

The rain lashed down, mixing the castle bailey into a fine mixture of mud and pigshit. Despite the weather, Sir Baris and Lady Erane, Sir Eres in tow, departed for their new home of Baseta.

Having feasted, the court began to disperse. The Queen announced that she would remain in Caer Olokand at least until mid-month.

For the first time in many months, Ewen turned his mind to his finances. The numbers would be changing soon, in many ways. With so much of Kaldor’s arable out of commission, grain prices will rise sharply. He will benefit. The feudal dues on the new Vemionshire lands have been remitted for a year, but that remittance is on the understanding that Ewen will help pay for a war. That will get expensive.

He idly remembers that the King of Azadmere instructed him to send the occasional letter on current events to his steward. There certainly is a lot to report. In a spirit of procrastination from real work, Lord Ewen gets a fresh sheet of parchment and begins to write.

Elsewhere in the castle, Sir Goreg is also writing. A long-anticipated letter, nonetheless melancholy for all that.

Dear Papa,

I am very well. As you may have heard, we have defeated the Viking horde in the north. As a result of my part in this campaign, Her Grace the Queen has seen fit to dub me into the order of Knighthood. I begged Her Grace to dub me under the name Corvodomos. Please do not take this as a sign of disrespect. I do not want to cause any trouble for you. This was a way of repaying Lord Ewen for his generosity in taking me in. I assume it will come as welcome news to Lady Edna. I will have more resources now, and can look after mother, so you don’t have to worry about her. Thank you for bringing me to Lord Ewen. I have done my best and hope you are proud of me.

Your Son, 


Goreg folds the letter up and seals it. Tuppence will send it to its destination. With it will go a time in his life, a time now gone. He looks forward to the future, but waits for a moment in the past.

The prisoners are dispatched to Tashal, for execution in the forest. The Earl of Vemion is tasked with their transport.

Agrazhar 4, 733

Amidst the usual Kaldoric downpour, Lord Ewen’s command prepares for the journey back to Tashal.

Agrazhar 5, 733

The rain continues, but lets up over the course of the day. Sir Bereden and his longbowmen depart Olokand for Heru, taking leave of the Earl with hearty thanks for all the fun.

Ten of the Viking prisoners will be escorted by Lord Ewen to Tashal, destined for gibbets in the woods.

Agrazhar 10, 733

Lord Ewen, his men, and his prisoners, arrived at the capital, under a glorious sun. Those knights continuing to his southerly domains were placed under the authority of Ternua. The Thardan lads would stay with their lord.

Now came a moment Lord Ewen had long awaited.

“Sir Karnas?”

“Yes, milord.”

“Go to Caldeth House and raise my banner there.”

So possession was taken. Ewen spotted the steward of Lady Cheselyne nearby, watching the proceedings.

“You may tell Lady Cheselyne that the new Earl of Vemion has moved in.”

Replied the steward, “I shall alert her ladyship that a new lord has arrived.”

Agrazhar 11, 733

There will be no pork products this morning, on pain of death. In their place, the Earl of Vemion enjoyed eggs, roast capon, and fruit compote.

Sir Karnas came by. The staff at the former Caldeth House was putting on a work slowdown, but pease porridge was on the menu.

“Milord,” said Sir Karnas, “what is to be done with the prisoners?”

“They need to be put in gibbets. This must occur under the purview of the castle.”

“My thoughts precisely, milord.”

“I’m not sure who would have authority over the matter. In Tharda, it would be the Lord Chancellor.”

“That would Tarkin Hirnen, milord.”

“Yes, we’ve met. I should pay a visit to the castle.”

“Should I parade the miscreants through the city?”

“I would be inclined to parade them through the city. Let the people see the sign of our victory. But I should apprise the Lord Chancellor first.”

Ewen repaired to Caer Elend and was admitted to see the seneschal.

“Good morning. I am here to see the Lord Chancellor.”

“Is this a confidential meeting, milord?”

“I should think so.”

“Then I will conduct you to the Small Chamber.”

There a small tray of refreshments was brought in. Seeing pork sausages upon it, Ewen worked his way around them.

Sir Tarkin entered the room. “Is the war won, then?”

“I bring great tidings. The Vikings are most definitely defeated.”

“How outstanding! We had a messenger come by and say something to that effect, but seeing you in Tashal proves it.”

“I come to apprise you of some changes.”

“I await the surprises.”

“I will come straight to the point. Her Grace the Queen has seen fit to make some changes. I have been relieved of my duties as Sheriff, and Her Grace has seen fit to declare Declaen Caldeth a traitor. I am humbled to say that Her Grace has, in his place, made myself the Earl of Vemion.”

“Let me shake your hand!”

“Thank you.”

“And you are here at just the right time. I need a peer of your stature to help me plan the coronation of Her Grace the Queen.”

“I am at leisure to assist in any way I can.”

“It shouldn’t take up too much of your time, no more than six or seven hours a day.”

“I am also in possession of some prisoners that need gibbeting.”

“Executed first, or left to wither?”

“The Queen was in more of a severe mood, so it would be her pleasure to let them suffer.”

“It would be best to err on the side of severity.”

“I think so.”

“They are in your custody, are they?”

“Yes. I was thinking it would be better to parade them through the streets first.”

“Oh yes. We shall have several criers. They can announce the great victory, and whose these miscreants are.”

“In the meantime, you will understand, having been granted my present elevated status, I will be making plans to evict the previous Earl of Vemion. I shall have my work cut out for me. I shall be happy to lend any aid.”

“Perhaps your patronage is sufficient. If you knew someone who was versed in the art of patronage, and could put on a good show.”

“I have a person in my entourage who is of a theatrical bent. I will dispatch her to the castle.”

“Pray tell me her name.”

“Arva of Kerryn. She is top-notch.”

“Milord Vemion, if I may address you, I shall make preparations to parade the miscreants to be gibbeted on the morrow.”

“Excellent. They are being currently held at Caldeth House, under the supervision of Sir Karnas. I beg your pardon, but I must call on Sir Migray Hosath.”

“Of course. Would you know when the Queen is returning?”

“It is the Queen’s leisure to stay at Olokand. She should return about the middle of the month.”

“Very good.”

That in hand, Ewen headed to a different part of the castle, the chamber where the heralds’ pens scratched away. He found Sir Migray at his palatial desk, goblet in hand.

“I never forget a face. You are Lord Ternua.”

“Yes, Sir Migray, how nice. There has been a new addition to my portfolio, so I thought I would stop by.”

“That’s very kind. Usually we have to chase you people down.”

“That’s all right. I try to be efficient.”

“So you have acquired another manor?”

“No, an earldom, as it were.”

“An earldom, you say!”

“Her Grace has been making some changes. A lot has been going on.”

“But an earldom ... that’s not an everyday occurrence. When last you came, you had two complete baronial writs.”

“Your memory does you credit.”

“But an earldom? Is this a new earldom?”

“No, that would take a lot more paperwork. I know you’ll be relieved to hear it’s just a simple transfer.”

“Oh, dear. Whose the unlucky transferer?”

“That would be my father-in-law, Declaen Caldeth.”

“Always best to keep it in the family.”

“When there’s a new monarch, always best to make your obeisance.”

“So! Declaen Caldeth is the unlucky fellow. I imagine you have some paperwork?”

“I do, just as long as that borrowed belt I need to return to Lord Orsin. Given that we just finished dispatching the Viking invasion.”

“Bravo for that, by the way.”

“Didn’t have a spare belt.”

“Well, the belt is certainly ornate. I imagine you know where to go to get a new one?”

“I think I would prefer an underrated style.”

“A belt is as the jeweler makes it. This is the aforementioned paperwork?”


“Here were are. Signed, sealed, delivered. It’s official: you’re an earl. I will have one of the junior clerks make copies. One for you, one for here, and I will send one over to Sir Rohn at the College of Heralds. Since the Lord Privy Seal is with the Queen, it will take some time to get those copies to you, but never fear, you are an earl!”

In his last stop at the castle, Ewen visited the Exchequer and received his back pay as Sheriff of Meselyneshire. He then proceeded for home laden down with four pounds in coin, a prime target for Tashal’s stupidest mugger.
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