Prelude to Finkle-Con 4:
After coming to power in Mapleton, the Gallows Boys did not sit quietly by. They were men of action, verve, gumption, and other manly adjectives. Here is a description of what our (anti-?) heroes did between the events of Finkle-Con 3 and 4. (Author’s Note: I have taken a few liberties with these stories and if the actual players disagree or wish to comment with the what I have presented here, feel free to comment below.)
Daewoo, lord of Mapleton, had received a note shortly after his investiture as lord from his father. His father, Major Colonel Aleksand Daewoo, was requesting to see him at a supply depot which he was currently supervising. Daewoo set out shortly after putting the Steward in charge of the manor in his stead. His father had heard of his exploits and wished to congratulate him. His deeds were being recorded and would, one day, be used to champion his cause of obtaining a fabled Commission from the Inexorable Council of War. His father suggested that further conquest and the sending of tribute back to War Machine would be a good indication of his continued commitment to the Unconquered People (aka War Machiners). As a token of his continued affection, his father presented to him a grand suit of armour which had been in his family for two generations. It was constructed of the exceptionally dense and absorbing material adamantine. It also carried with it an enchantment which would allow it to appear as nothing but a simple set of clothing if the bearer wished it. Daewoo stayed with his father for about a week until setting off once again back to his manor. Not wanting to attract bandits, he disguised himself as a sell-sword and was able to earn passage with a travelling merchant into the Scarlet Tyrannies. Using the assumed name of Ahnold the Bandit-hunter, he was able to protect the merchant caravan from raiders and once he found their hideout, dispatched the remaining bandits. Taking the bandit leader’s head, he thrust it on a spike and carried it over a sign which read ‘Bandits, ye be warned.’ discouraging further attacks. The final trek of the journey included hiking cross-country to find an unwatched path back into the Confederation without being taken as a spy or scout. Luckily, luck was with Daewoo and he returned back from his trek enriched and elevated.
Daelin the Magus:
Daelin was in a unique position in Mapleton, not having obtained the rank of Captain, as his fellow elf Relwin had done, he was a man who was both near the lord of mapleton without having any direct responsibilities. He understood the so-called optics of the situation and realized he may be approached to influence or perhaps spy on Daewoo and Relwin. After Relwin and Gorin left on their trip, Daelin was approached by Lord Oakbrook (the manor to the south of Mapleton) in somewhat subtler language, the lord proposed Daelin would send him periodic updates of the actions of Lord Daewoo in exchange for monetary compensation equal to the value of the information. Daelin understood the potential for gain here and readily agreed. Although one would never regard Daelin as charitable towards others, he certainly has a streak of loyalty for Daewoo (one might even call it brotherly concern) and informed him of Oakbrook’s overtures. The two hatched a plan.
Daelin informed Lord Oakbrook that Mapleton was solidifying its position and that the keep whose construction had begun at the close of Finkle-Con 3 was being hurriedly completed. He further informed him that the militia was drilling and he believed Daewoo was readying an attack on a neighbouring manor. Oakbrook was shocked and gave Daelin a sizeable purse of gold in exchange for the informaiton. Daelin suggested this was not good enough and proceeded to convince Oakbrook that if he wanted him to convince Daewoo too look north (towards Pineton Manor) rather than south (towards Oakbrook) he would require a nice house in Oakbrook where he could entertain some of his elven relations. Oakbrook realized that although his militia could probably resist Daewoo, the price would be high. The house Daelin requested, unfortunately, was occupied by one of the richest families in Oakbrook, the Argensmiths. This family had lived in the home for several generations, was popular, had really nice kids and had a silver smithy in the market circle in town.
The Lord Oakbrook had been jealous of these and saw a way to spurn an enemy while satisfying an ally and staving off conflict. Lord Oakbrook seized the house as his own personal guest home. Daelin sent for his cousin, Faelthin, to meet him in Oakbrook and earn some coin. The elf set out at once, along with a dozen of his closest friends and relatives. Daelin set about creating a giant ass of himself and would throw the lord lavish parties which always turned rowdy due to the astounding amounts drank by the partiers. During the revelry, however, a fire was set and began to burn down the whole building. Faelthin left the next day with the elven retinue and Daelin made sure that before they left they were seen in the tavern appalled at what they called “the unbridled drunken rage” Lord Oakbrook had gotten into and how he had cursed the name of Argensmith as he threw hot coals onto the fire. In fact, it was said that the elves, who are a passive and moderate people had each time recoiled from the behaviour of the lord and thought it strange the people had selected him to rule over their manor. This story by these otherwise supposedly neutral strangers enraged the Argensmiths and their allies who had been growing resentful of Lord Oakbrook began to talk of perhaps doing away with the ruler.
It was during this commotion that Daelin entered the room. His appearance at first angered the Argensmiths who rightly saw him as the catalyst which had brought so much misery into their lives. Faelthin quickly brought Daelin up to speed on what had transpired. Appearing struck with remorse and injury, Daelin mounted the bar and began to speak to the crowd about how since he had come to live among the humans, he had come to see the nobility in many of them and that when properly led by a far-seeing leader how their capacity for greatness was… well pretty great. He also promised that he would send for builders from Mapleton and personally construct another home for the Argensmiths, from whose plight he had so ‘unwittingly’ benefitted. This speech quickly allowed the Argensmith faction to come around to his line of thinking. Daelin left the tavern and went to speak to the lord. He told him that the house’s loss was very sad and that he hoped he wouldn’t have to seek another one in Pineton Manor. Understanding he was being extorted but without any recourse. If he killed Daelin, Daewoo would certainly attack him and with the Argensmiths already angered, it was likely a sizeable portion of the militia would refuse his call, he agreed and demanded another Argensmith faction home. Oakbrook was furious but when he heard about construction crews heading towards Oakbrook from Mapleton and widening the roads along their way, he assumed this was a provocation and a prelude to an army equipped with one or two siege engines. He agreed and Daelin suggested the crews be allowed to finish their journey and to rebuild the house which had burned down. In the mean time, he would live in a new house. The construction and his living all being paid for by Oakbrook in exchange for Daelin’s continued support in encouraging Daewoo to look northward for his expansionary endeavours.
The construction crew arrived (along with several militia to protect them as well as several kegs of beer sent by the Steward as a show of friendship) and proceeded to construct an enormous home on the ashes of the previous Argensmith Estate. The town greeted the construction workers, as well as the beer, with open arms and Daelin began spending lavishly of festivals and parades he was even invited to join in meetings of the town elders who advised the Lord Oakbrook. Daelin finally was in a position where his power was solidified. He suggested a new lord be appointed by the elders. A lord who would be able to form an alliance with Mapleton and ensure stability and peace between the two manors. The elders quickly acceded to this request and…surprise, surprise, appointed Daelin as the lord. Lord Oakbrook was outraged and rallied the militia to kill Daelin and drive out the Argensmiths once and for all. He was not expecting the construction crew and militia to be more than prepared and militia raised by the Argensmiths combined with Mapleton troops and hidden elven magi quickly destroyed the militia and executed the lord. Daelin was installed as the new Lord Oakbrook and donated his former home back to the Argensmiths and took his personal residence in the Lord’s keep. It was as if fate had intervened and played a card which allowed him to possess both a keep and to develop a sudden skill in diplomacy. This skill would serve him well in adventures to come…
Gorin the Cleric and Relwin the Fighter/Rogue:
After the events of FinkleCon 3, Payssa, goddess of peace and sleeping children saw the darkness in Gorin’s soul. Gorin had committed a vile atrocity and sacrilege in hopes of raising the ire of the people of Mapleton and causing the hue and cry to be raised against the bandits. Now as we saw these were not bandits at all but disguised Scarlet Soldiers. The goddess placed upon him a powerful enchantment his mind was opened to peace and quiet refection of the beauty the world posseses and the obligations the thinking creatures have to one another to not harm or destroy each other.
The God of War, Gorin’s patron, saw his soul no longer receptive to the tenants of Strength through Struggle and Gorin’s spells were not replenished. Relwin, seeing that their field medic was no longer able to fulfil his duties, set off with him to Ft. Riverport to seek the intervention of one of the War God’s high priests. Along the way, Relwin and Gorin became wanted fugtives and later prisoners after Relwin disgraced a man who later was revealed to be a Magnate’s son. This man tortured the two but they were able to escape thanks to the roguish talents of Relwin. They burned down the palace and disguised themselves the rest of the way to Riverport. They were fortunate that they had never named themselves and so when the hue and cry went out for a human and elf travelling together on the road, they were able to evade detection through the simple means of Relwin disguising himself. At Riverport, the high priest met with them and told them that the Peace Curse would be lifted if they would deliver a message to a commander of a blue dragon army in Mid-Victus. It was here that Relwin and Gorin parted ways.
Relwin went north to the famed capital of the Mage State Confederation Archopolis. There he commissioned some exquisitely expensive pieces of equipment and then returned back to Mapleton. Gorin was able to book passage on a smuggler’s boat as a half-way capable healer and sell-sword and so didn’t have to actually pay for his voyage. Halfway to the Azure Despots, the smugglers lowered flag of the mage states (Eight White Rhombuses arranged to approximate an eight-sided star on a field per bend sinister, red and blue) and put up the colours of the Despots (Three Golden Dragon Claws on a Blue Field) it sailed into Port Triumph without so much as a hail from the patrol boats. Gorin immediately made his way to the citadel and explaining he had a message for the commander was escorted in to the commander’s private office. As the message left the hand of Gorin a great weight seemed to settle back onto his shoulders. The commander examined the message and said to Gorin, ‘Your dedication to the cause is commendable’. As these words were spoken, Gorin felt as the War God breathed into him an new urgency for conflict and an ability to command those around him. He left immediately and finding the smuggler still loading up new contraband for the return trip commanded him to set sail immediately. The smuggler looked around askance seeing who it was who would dare speak to him this way but upon seeing the demanding glare and confident demeanour of this man whom he had thought a somewhat useless passenger changed his mind and commanded his men to weigh anchor and get underway. The men looked at him questioningly but when he drew his whip and cut the cheek of one of his crew, they set about their tasks without question. Gorin’s return trip to Mapleton was uneventful, though he did manage to gain a few followers who were intrigued by his description of the tenants of the War God.
And so after a year’s scheming, adventuring, atoning, and travelling. The party found themselves in the partially constructed Great Hall of Mapleton Keep enjoying a rich meal…