Prequel: A Harn Tale

A great Harn campaign with the esteemed Patrick Nilsson, AKA "The Dongmaster" as GM.

Prequel: A Harn Tale

Postby Matt » Mon May 02, 2016 1:54 pm

Vinarsa Manor, early spring 720Tr ...

Zaurial eyed his sharp broadsword in the light of the fireplace. It was a fine blade, perfectly balanced for his hand and arm, two weapons forged into one.The knight smiled at his own capability as he rose to open the window. It was hot in the room even with the wind howling outside and the rain hammering down as if Agrik's fists were pounding on the glass. A knock on the door caught him before he was able to get some fresh air from the night. Snorting, Zaurial sheathed his sword and went to open the heavy oak door. A nobleman with long black hair dressed in white clothes of the finest quality stood smiling in the hallway. The knight raised an eyebrow at the large gold medallion hanging flatly on the guest's torso, displaying the Durangash, black void of Morgath. "Good evening master-swordsman, what an awful weather we are having tonight. Wouldn't you agree?" The newcomer was sipping from
a what looked more like a chalice than a goblet, and a smell of putrid stench was erupting from his clothes. Zaurial sighed and shook his head slowly. This was not the way he had intended to spend the night. The newcomer was named Jerin, Black Jerin, and he was trouble.

"What do you want Jerin? And please do not waste my time by squabbling with me regarding that priest I killed. I told you, he hurt my squire..." Zaurial stared into the eye of the newcomer with a stern glow. Black Jerin simply chuckled and eased his way into the chamber. "Of course not Sir Zaurial, that is not why I am here. You of all Rethemi should know better than that, so please do not fret at me." Jerin sank down into one of the comfortable chairs near the fireplace something that Zaurial didn't approve of. The sour stench the white-clad man spread would be hard to remove and those padded stools had cost a fortune. "Then what do you want Jerin? I am not in the mood for any preaching so stop with that coaxing of yours, it irks me. And I do not like to be in that mood." Black Jerin laughed at the remark and sat down his goblet of wine on the nearby oak table. His smile lost in an instant. "Well this is what I like, forward and threatening, now I recognize the most powerful knight in the kingdom as he truly is." Jerin leaned forward and waved with a hand to invite Zaurial to take the other chair. The knight shook his head another time, preferring to stand.

"Well then Sir Zaurial, let me tell you why I have decided to visit you in this late hour." He sank back with a smile and grabbed the goblet again with long slender fingers. "I was sent for by your sister to invite you into our future plans." Black Jerin's eyes swept across the room as if looking for potential spies before continuing. "You see, we have both been impressed not only with your skills in arms, but also how your men loves to follow your lead, no matter where you decide to take them. This an unusual trait in a Rethemi, not to mention Rethemi soldiers." This got Zaurial's attention. The knight back stiffened, his face filled with pride as he spoke while eyeing the morgathian with a sudden spark of interest. "By the fiery wings of our God, yes they do." There was a moment of silence as the two eyed the emptiness of their thoughts. Jerin spoke again. "Because of this loyalty who is better to lead the troops of war when the time comes?" He raised a hand to stop the knight's protest before continuing. "I know what you are going to say Zaurial, and yes the Constable of Norienar is a great warleader and will undoubtfully lead the king's men in their rally against the northern traitor. However I am not speaking of leading the king's men..." Black Jerin leaned back and let his words slip into the knight's head.

Sir Zaurial eyed his guest through a troubled frown. True, he did not like this morgathian meddler or his sister's weakness for the man, but he was about to offer something interesting and Zaurial was certain it would lead to battle, and this was what the knight was skilled for. "What have you and my elder sibling been up to then Jerin that would possibly be of any interest to me." He tried to act as if the words of the morgathian meant little but the guest was not so easily fooled. "Hmm... I knew that this would get you attention Zaurial. Your sister wants nothing but the best for her clan and who can blame her? Your uncle is one of the greatest knights ever to have ridden a Rethemi steed, and his powers as the Primate of your God and head of a powerful clerical order. No doubt she wants to uphold his fine name and the good will of her relatives. Indeed being a woman in Rethem is hard especially one who wields so much power as she does." Sir Zaurial looked at Black Jerin disdainfully, annoyed that the morgathian always took his time to get to the point. The knight strolled to one of the exquisite windows opened it and let the cold pass into the chamber. Outside the wind was still raging on but the rain had stopped. At the gatehouse two sentries kept watch, their mails and spears glittering by the light from the brazier that they kept coming back to. The knight left the window open and sat down opposite his guest.

Black Jerin who in spite his shallow clothing didn't seem to be bothered by the cold. Zaurial had of late begun to wonder if the Morgathian lived at all. His thoughts was shattered as Jerin continued. "Your uncle is powerful and we have great respect of him in Golotha and no doubt most of the Agrikans in the kingdom has as well. Yet, he is obligated to obey the king at his every whim since, in spite his power, has sworn alliegance to his majesty Chafin III. Such loyalty..." Zaurial's jaw strained as he pressed it together. Their uncle had selected his elder sister as the heir to the Vinarsa estates as well as all of their family's wealth and influence. The knight knew why. His sister was much like their late mother, the woman who had made sure the clan had prospered. Not their father who in spite his many victories in the past never was a politician nor very popular with their uncle, Klyrdes Bysidril, the current clanleader.
Zaurial had only been a squire when his father had died but unlike what many had thought, the knight had accepted his faith and let his sister take her rightful place as the heir of the Bysidril clan. It had proved to be the right choice. Zaurial was a warrior and felt best when he was on the road with sharp steel in his hand and fearful foes with their backs against him. But what did Jerin want? And why come here in the middle of the night?

As if reading the mind of Sir Zaurial Jerin continued with his plans. "Your uncle has agreed to support our goal and will undoubtedly provide us with soldiers when the time comes. It would be perhaps more pragmatic if I let your sister tell you the rest..." Jerin's voice trailed off as he eyed the powerful knight before him. Zaurial was intrigued but not so easy to impress. "No Jerin you will tell me here and now what you two have been up to. I am laconic and I would appreciate if your curtailed you tale as soon as possible. It is making me bored." This was a white lie and if the morgathian bought it he didn't show. Black Jerin rose from the chair and walked over to the open window, his long raven black hair fluttering in the wind. He stood there for a few moments letting his gaze relax on the manor yard below. After a while he turned around and walked over to the fireplace, his pale skin reflected by the flames. His pose made the skin crawl on Zaurial. How could his sister ever find council with this man? Or his uncle? The knight was about to remind the Morgathian about his tardiness when Jerin spoke again. This time his voice had an edge that Zaurial had never heard before. "Your uncle and sister wants to expand your clan's holdings. It is that simple. However you will never get anywhere by sitting idle or riding at the back of the king's guard, no matter how good of a knight you are, or Agrikan for that matter."

Black Jerin left the fireplace for the door but stopped before he opened it. "I will tell you Sir Zaurial before we go to your sister's chambers." He waited for the knight to rise, which he did with a groan. "The king will not be able to subdue the badger earl with his current numbers there is no denying that. What I am offering your clan is invaluable and your sister knows it." Zaurial eyed Jerin suspiciously, which made the morgathian chuckle. "To make a long story short, when the king moves against the rebel in the north, and move against him he will, we will make sure we are there to grab the pieces he can not take himself. One of the two oak trees in the north will fall, maybe even both, and of such one will be free to make a sturdy table..." The knight was puzzled by this riddle but was too intrigued to let a small annoyance bother him. He waved to Jerin to continue. "In short the king will need someone strong enough to guard the fiefs in the north, someone who has the skills to subdue the rebels that might be left lingering. In return we will provide him with the information he needs, and as a reward he will offer your clan something that your uncle always craved... A barony of your own..." Zaurial was awed but still questionable. "That is great news indeed Jerin but one can but help wondering what it will gain you and your folks." To this the morgathian smiled, opened the door, and left room beckoning the knight to follow into the darkness beyond. Whatever Jerin was after he would know soon enough ...
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