The War Room Debrief the next day
After the battle those whom had not already left were asked to attend a debrief in the command war room of Sebastian Traft the following morning. Those whom would attend would be Riff, Benjan, Yharloc, the Grave knight, the Dawn knight, the Raven knight, Teyrn and Maric Bronzebeard, Kitch, Oswald Furyshield, Adivion Adrissant, Ostarian, Falkon, Don Blanco and his tag team partner, Ecthelion Talamar, Unit 1, Doctor Slanimirc and his sister Cassandra, High commander Sebastian Traft and Embreth Daramid whom arrived late to the battle.
Sebastian Traft began to speak. “As of nou wir victorious. Yit aye believe’en thare is still work to be done. This Vrood is still loose. Lass Kendra is missen. En ma gut tells me this was just the begin‘en. Masel hate to be ask’en this, but we need to hunt down Vrood en make him pay for the lives lost hare. Do the rest of ye hae anythen to say on what to do nou”. Trafts awkward Kellid dialect (Scottish) was usually difficult to understand.
Oswald was the first to answer. “I kinnae speak for all me clan, But ye can bet most of em will be returning to the mountains to continue mining. Especially noo that the passes through the hungry mountains are free from the deid”. Many others in the room agreed with the dwarves words. It would be along time before the cultists would attempt a similar tactic with how soundly they had been defeated.
Adivion cleared his throat. “I think it is in our best interest to break the army. It was not raised with the mark of nobles with those nations involved. You can be sure there will be hell to pay in the courts for our actions. There is already bickering amongst the nobles from the different royal houses. War has been talked about more then once on royal tongues. Despite this, I believe we did the right thing in opposing this undead army. I also believe that it would be foolish to continue after Vrood, without considering the impact our actions have already had. The nobles that stand here before you in this very room will all have to answer for there actions when they return home. We should not add murder amongst them. Especially without sufficient evidence against Vrood. As Ostarian has made clear, Vrood for at least a time was respected as a practitioner of the arcane arts. Without evidence all we have is hearsay. Only damning allegations with facts as substantiations, will prove his guilt”.
“Nuff said” Riff replied. “What of the lady Kendra. She is missing eh. Vrood is a criminal and managed to escaped us. I do not agree with us simply packing up eh, and letting him be”.
Benjan walked over and patted Riff on the head “Let him rot in whatever back water town he ends up in”.
“And if that was to be Ravensgro eh, once more” Riff quickly replied, drawing the curtain closed on the mans words.
Judge Embreth Daramid made her presence known by interrupting several private conversations around the room. ‘It is clear in the eyes of the law, those that fought in this battle could be considered a mercenaries force whom seeks to overthrow many of the noble houses or nations. To avoid the persecution of those involved here and to quell any fears the nobles have about the armies intentions, it should be for at least momentarily be shelved, until they are needed again”.
Yhaloc puffs up his chest. ‘It is about time the nobles in this land learn how they are suppose to behave. We have an army here to make em listen. There is no harm with asking for them to offer the folk here some coin for preventing an uprising of undead”.
Embreth turns to the bear of a man. “You advocate more war. Your words are treasonous”.
Yharloc sharply replies. “Well what do these men ere have to say for what they risked. A few extra coppers to there name. They deserve more. They are the ones willing to protect the land with there very life. Not hide behind a law book of words. I did not see ye on the battlefield when me friends were getting slaughtered”.
The room for a while went eerily silent.
“Regardless, we need to search Felgrau for answers eh. We should be grabbing our bunny huggers and heading there. Not wasting time here deciding what eh is best to do next”. Riff continued.
“And the men. Ye can’t discard them like cards. Ye heard the wrinkled harlot hag spout her words. Too long words written in a book the common folk don’t understand dictate their daily lives. Ye laws only benefit the nobles. Nobles who hide in their castles, while good folk die protecting the land. We have a chance to make them listen. If we stood against the dead there ain’t nothing these men can’t fight. I say we march and make the nobles listen”.
“Turn our blades on the people who run the nations. We will have a war worse then which has befallen here today. It will be the war without rivals once more. A classes war which will only result in more blood being spilled”. Embreth could barel contain her anger.
Pockets of squabbling broke out. Embreth seemed shocked by Yharlocs words. Riff went about and tapped each of the heroes on the shoulder, motioning for them to join her in a side room to escape the internal strife.
“I don’t care what that lot says eh. Ya need to go after lady Kendra and make sure she’s safe. She was spotted heading for Felgrau. I have some horses for ya waiting should ya go after Kendra. This alliance is only holding together by threads. We can‘t loose Kendra like eh we did Elmore and Cassielt. She is the main reason we are here in the first place. If it eh, were‘nt for her fathers death and working out what he Whispering Way were up to, none of s would be ere. Maybe you can learn more of this Vrood from there”.
“Lower ya weapons” comes a command from Traft. “This is not the time for more blood to be spill’en”. Tension and tempers continue to flare in the room. Oblivious to Trafts words it appears the room split into five. Those loyal to Adivion, those loyal to the Palantinites, those persuaded by Yharlocs words, the heroes and those like Riff besotted by the sudden hostility.
The construct stands defiantly in the middle, weaponless and awaiting a response.
Ecthelion detects evil at Yharloc, nay.. at all the power ppl in the room
After being seated the Doctor manages to see things once more clear again. “You speak the truth Yharloc. Indeed I am a noble, does that frighten you………. By my examination of your actions I have concluded to a decision that you suffer a rare form of anxiety disorder called Plutophobia. In common terms it means you fear the rich. I wonder if the cause of this is from a traumatic experience you suffered when you were a young child in which has embroider this hatred against Nobles. Clearly your mind has been entrapped by this disorder as you cannot see the sufficed evidence that the Nobles of Ustalav are on the same side as you. Why would Lepistatd march 400 horsemen through the accursed Shudderwood to partake in the battle if the council of Lepistatd did not care. You say let the people decide how this realm is run, bah! Look how well this army is by not having a structured law system. People getting executed without the process of proving innocence, others do as they please by deserting the battlefield. Even this bickering is unworthy of a proper army. Do not tell me a nation can be run like this.”
Ecthelion had fallen into a silence after the mention of his sister. ‘Saera! My beloved Saera!’ he thought. What could be done about Vrood without bringing harm to his sibling? He had vowed to pursue Vrood, and bring him to justice… but his Saera! The moment passed and his attention came back to the hostility of the room. Vrood was of no consequence at the immediate time. The matter of the army needed to be quelled. Stepping in front of Embreth before she sticks Adivion. “You are forgetting yourself Lady Daramid. Put away your weapon. Striking at Adivion would not be lawful, though I do find your rashness to be quite telling, that you would put your oaths to this ‘secret’ order over those you gave to the courtroom. I will remember this in the future.” “Yharloc, the Doctor is right.. your words make little sense.. running a nation is not merely like running around in the Shudderwood after wolves, and the people would not follow you when they hear that I stand on the otherside of the battlefield.”
Ecthelion’s smirked to himself ‘yes.. antagonize them so that their emotions rise, and then sift through those emotions to see if any secrets have also risen.’
Embreth sheaths her sword. “You will pay for your words here today Adivion. I will see to it”. She leaves the War room. You can hear Embreth say the following. “Fetch the horses, we are leaving”.
Adivion moves to Ecthelion. “Please you must protect me. You must protect lady Kendra. They will come after what I value the most. I am no longer safe to be around. I am leaving for a place I know is safe. I will contact you when I can. Please forgive my words”. Adivion leaves the tent.
“Ba… Spout your nonsensical words elsewhere. I will crush the nobles like bugs. You won’t listen, but you will”. Yharloc tips over a chair and exits.
“Well, well, well. Can’t say I enjoyed this. I think its time for me to move on” Benjan suggests. “Well no matter what ales yea halfling, Teyrn and I will always have yea back”. Maric gives the halfling a slap on the back. Ecthelion was just happy he was wearing his armour or the blow would have hurt. A boy comes rushing into the room.
“Raven knight sir… I mean lord. The horses and provision are ready for when you are ready to leave”. The boy gives a polite bow.
“Hahaha. Another adventure already. Well it will be good to get out of this encampment. Its begining to smell like a halflings arm pit”. Teyrn gives his brother a smack in the arm, motioning towards Ecthelion. “I am sorry Ecthelion. I meant no offense. Perhaps I should have said troll-barf, sewer rat, cave gherkin or stench kow”. Teyrn oddly smelt his own armpit and then Ecthelion, giving Ecthelion a strange look, his nose ruffled. The two dwarves gave the messenger boy an inquisitive look.
“Feldgrau” the young boy answered.
Traft adds “Git go’en. I will make sure the men recieve the sails they were promised. Nou go, no more can be said ere”.
Ecthelion your detect evil picks up no evil presences in the room before the characters leave.
The Raven Knight briskly enters the tent. “Judging by the look on Embraths face the politics went as expected. The Nobles have been fighting for 700 years, one day wont change anything. Everything is ready for our departure. What will you have us do Ecthelion?”
Ecthelions thoughts wander back to his sister… "I need to talk further with Adivion before he leaves… Please meet up with me later today. It would be a good idea to prepare to march on feldgrau
“Provisions have been sought and the horses are ready; do what you must to prepare for the journey, seek me out when you are ready to leave”.
As Ecthelion enters Adivions tent, you can see the man frantically grabbing scrolls and stuffing them into a backpack. “What do you wish from me halfling. I have given you all that I have. I have nothing more to give. If you wish my life all you need do is take it”. He holds a dagger to his throat. “I am as good as dead anyway. If you are here to kill me, you are going to have to look me in the eye and break your paladin vows killing me”.
“Relax, I haven’t come to kill you, we are still friends fighting the same battle after all. You told me of a girl named Saera, and I wish to know more on the matter before you leave. I would have you by my side if I thought I could convince you to stay there…. "
Adivion relaxes a little, taking the dagger away from his throat. “So what do you know of the Esoteric Order of the Palantine Eye?” Adivion waits for a response before he continues.
“The Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye is a secretive organization thought to be based in Ustalav, but its hands extends far further then it. The organization adherents believe that within the human vessel lies a divine spark that craves reunification with the primordial celestial motes of the upper planes. Only through an ordered life path can members ascend to higher stations, both in their mortal lifetimes and their afterlives. The order believs in a metaphorical path to enlightenment.
This path is displayed in cathedrals on 18 tiled mosaics known as Stations Above and Below, nine of which are mounted above eye-level, with the remaining nine worked into the floor. The stations above depict an everyman figure growing in power, wealth, and adornment as the mosaic sequence continues and the character follows the Order’s teachings. The nine stations below begin their sequence with this idealized, enlightened everyman straying from the true path; as the stages progress, he is stripped of powers and gifts, demonstrating the ignorance of the uninitiated, or dire warnings to those who would betray the Order. In truth, Tabris was an angel that fell from heaven. He documented his research into the abyssal realms of devils and demons in a book called the book of the dead. The book is an unholy relic. Yet the Pharasman of the realm fall victim to the dark manuscripts. Manuscripts like Cromlech Catechisms, Aldus lost Gospels and Issachar’s Mysteries of Order. such books illustrate dark rituals, ritual sacrfices and the unearthing of mummies from Orision.
The order claim they have a direct connection to Tabris by unravelling ancient old mummies, talking to them, snapping off there jaws and drinking there remains as tea. Those that drink the tea are given glimpses into the future. Such glimpse allow them to manipulate events of the future as they see fit. They unravel mysteries that Tabris himself was cast out of the heavens for, time.
During one of the ceremonies one such glimpse was that of your sister Saera, tormented and tortured by a demonic amalgamation created by Vrood. In the vision, the witnessed hand (person recieving the vision) described Vrood ripping a demon and your sister momentarily from the hells. You were forced to kill her out of mercy. From the encounter you went insane. You lost contact with Sarenrae. You shouted blasphemous words to the light, and embraced the darkness. Vrood had somehow twisted you into something dark. Something repulsive. Something sinister for his amusement. Before the vision subsided, the witnessed hand saw you dead, in a dark decadent realm.
The Esoteric Order of the Palantine are an occult of debauched Pharasman worshipers. All Pharasman of the realm cannot be trusted. The Order say they pray to the heavens, but they pray to the hells. I know the four knights that represented the Pharasman on the field of battle are not members. They are not yet tainted. But the order will at some time force them join. They have ways of leveraging people. Careful whom you tell from what I have told you. They have people everywhere. Lorrimor was cast out of the order, forced to retire from the University in Ravensgro. They killed Alphon Cormarcs wife, stole his legacy and his throne. You will know when you have angered them, as your world will crumble around you. Do not trust the Pharasmans. I do not want to see harm come to you. This is why I advocate you let Vrood go. You are too important to this realm, to die in some backwater city. You are a vessle that will rekindle this country. You are somebody that will bring about a new age in Ustalav. A husk that will unite the land and bring about peace.
I am a better person for knowing you Ecthelion. I fear this is the last time we may meet, for I know the order will somehow find a way to get to me. No amount of running or hiding will save me from such a fate. Take the Journey books with you. I will aid you as best you can for as long as I can. Be careful Ecthelion. The all seeing eye of the Palatine foresees events before they happen. They will know we have spoken".
“I do not fear such divinations Adiviion. Perhaps there is some truth in them, but perhaps not… that is the problem with them you see? You never truly know if they are truths, until time catches up to them… Perhaps they are just grand illusions manifested to maneuver and manipulate a soul like mine. You said yourself that the group pressures you into moving the directions which they point. A sad world it would be if people believed such things indiscriminately…then everyone would be able to go through life, without ever knowing the truth about anything. I do wish you would at least consider staying with me. I know that you have traveled much of Golarion already. Your knowledge will be valuable and I could see that you are protected.”
“Thankyou Ecthelion. That would ease this weary mind if I join you on your quest. I know for at least the moment, I will be safer by your side. I will try not to burden you and steer clear during confrontations. I know a few basic incantations which may aid you. It has been almost five years since I last adventured so I maybe a lttle rusty. I will pack my belongings at once”. Adivion begins to pack some adventuring esesntials. “I will meet you at the gate momentarily”. Ecthelion can see his backpack full of various literature. Including nnihilistic poetry of Krait, Perry and Vhaag. As well as extrnsive tomes on the mysticism, books on historical lineages, whispering tyant, secret societis, pharasman doctrine and much more. Ecthelion had seen similar literature in Lorrimors manor during his funeral. “Just some rote triva so I don’t get bored on the road”. Adivion finishes packing his things. “Ok I believe I am ready”. Evthelion can see the aristocrat has a magic backpack to store his possessions. “From my adventuring day” Adivion says giving his backpack a tap. He then makes his way towareds the front gate.“Just br mindful of my eyesight, its not as good as it use to be”. He slips a monocle over his right eye.
At the gate Ecthelion can see the rest of his party is already set for there next adventure. Riff grabs Ecthelion by the arm. She speaks to him in a stern voice he is uncustomed to hearing from her. More of a motherly tone.. “You be careful. I heard what Adivion said eh. And I know your feelings about his words. But I want you ro be careful none the less. Be careful of bone farmers (assassins), bug hats (insane people) and the scary (undead) eh. Vrood kmows your comming and he is bound to have some sort of trap set for ya. So you be safe. I’m headed for Caliphas to rendezvous with Tarkus Finley. Hes been posting flyers all around the nation about the ork threat in Tamrivena. I am going to see if I can lend him a hand”. Riff gives Ecthelion a kiss on his cheek. “So Feldgrau is it. Well lets be off then”. Adivion spurs on.
Sitting upon his conjured mount Ostarian feels his body tense seeing that Advion is riding with the group, and too close to Ecthelion by far. Muttering a quiet oath that Advion will feed the earth if he betrays the half-knight while his oath of protection is upheld. Focusing his enchanted eyesight upon Advion the faint glow of an aura is seen around him to be read by Ostarian. Ostarian always wants to know who is travelling by his side, in particular if they are undead or arcane spellcasters.
Packing up there gear the heroes gathered what they could for the trek to Feldgrau. The Pharasmans had happily departed with some horse for the heroes for there valiant effort. The journey would only take them about a day. It was quite the surprise for the heroes, to see an entourage waiting for them as they left the fort. Traft had dubbded the fort ‘Sentinels Keep’, with the Pharasmans promising to keep a permenant presence there to forever monitor the situation of the Furrows. This was to ensure the main land of Ardeal was safeguarded from further undead threats.
Waiting at the gate was the friends the heroes had befriended. Benjan, Riff, Oswald, Teyrn and Maric – whom undoubtedly find a way to track or follow the adventurers, the Grave and Dawn Knight, Allarus from Sarenrae, El Chico Muerte, Sebastian Traft, Yharloc, Cassandra and Slanimirc from the Strange Crusade, Tobias the leprechaun, Race and several other notable heroes. Cheers of praise hail from the now parade to the gate. The Pharasman knights gave honorary salutes with there weapons. The leprechauns created illusionary figments of the sky raining petals. The Carnivarle started up there horns and flutes. The dwarven clans dropped to one knee in respect. The peasants sent wolf whistles and cheers, many hoisting a freshly opened ale into the morning air. It was a unaccustomed for the heroesrecieve such a farewell. Even Adivion looked quite shocked at the spectacle.
As they arrived at the gstehouse they could see Sebastian Traft holding a ceremonial sword. As the heroes got closer he smashed it on a nearby wall. Giving each of the honorary troop a shard of the broken sword he says “A mamento for ye to remember even a tyrant will fall. Together we can nou unify the land”. Departing the gates the heroes could hear final claps, praises of a safe journey and prayers of good fortune to Desna as they rode south for the gray horizon and waste, that was the Furrows and Felgrau.
The construct stares at the crowd a moment as his companions ride off in a maelstrom of dust and cloven hooves. It does not understand their joy. It stares on in wonderment for just a moment.
It can hear a strange voice within its mechanical mind, something akin to a memory…
“The people will never cheer for you. They will never cry your name. They will not weep for your demise. They will never know you, or what you have done for them. And you must never know them, for they are mortal, and fallible. You are not. You must never learn their ways.”
The construct shakes its head, as if to dismiss the anomolous programming.
“Your companions are exemplary amongst their kind. Champions of the living. They will bring about the change I desire. They will lead you through the path that you must follow. But know, my child, that mortals are fallible. They will attempt to deceive you. But you must be strong, and I have shown you the way.”
The construct turns away from the crowd and begins to run after its companions.
“I have encumbered you with the burden of decision that few of your kind possess. Your existence is your own, First of Many. Protect your companions, learn from them and guide them, and perhaps we shall meet again someday. Good luck, my child.”
The construct runs mechanically onwards after its companions, towards the future.
More meat for the grinder and no way to sneak upon Vrood with this fawning rabble. Floating petals and horns. Really? Looking upon the happy faces and dodging those that try and praise him directly Ostarian rides his horse apart from the main rabble to keep from going insane with the simple folk assembled in this party. It was much quieter in the tomb study halls of the guild, nothing prepared me for the madness of celebrating survival based on someone elses skills. Their lives mean nothing to me and when the stone crumbles only two here will get my oathsworn help, the rest can perish and feed the earth.