A New Year Begins
Business as usual

Abadius 18
I’ve apparently gotten a good enough lock for my chambers that Ilona can’t get in to interrupt me during my meditations anymore, though I’m pretty sure I heard her trying…

We’ve continued to build up our infrastructure with more roads around the kingdom and even some farms (though they’re obviously not growing things at this time of year). The priests at the cathedral were delighted when Eran commissioned a mint for Isenfell this month and requested permission to staff it with acolytes as soon as possible. Vygon received more housing, some shops and a park. Tatzlford now has another inn, more housing and a monument. It’s been pretty quiet with the snows keeping most people indoors. So far we’ve heard nothing else from our northern neighbors, though Lily certainly hasn’t stopped collecting information from her network.

Festival of Lights
A beautiful winter

Kuthona 22
Celebrated the winter solstice last night with a gorgeous display of magical fireworks and lights strung up around the city. Someone at the academy found a way to change our magical streetlights to different colors, so they were slowly morphing through the entire spectrum all night. There was a gentle snowfall and very little wind, so everyone was able to be out celebrating with hot mulled wine and other warmed drinks. There may have even been singing, though from an excess of joy or spirits I can’t be certain. We had dozens of stations around all our cities with carved roasts, fresh breads and the finest of our fall harvest vegetables available to all. As far as I know, Ilona didn’t even play any pranks during this holiday! Perlivash spent the evening sampling all of the free food and drink. He said it would be a real shame if we were serving inferior goods and he was just trying to make sure we had good standards everywhere. His little belly is quite stuffed and he seemed quite muzzy when he waddled in last night, not even bothering to stay invisible. He’s still sleeping as I write this. It’s really quite nice to end the year on such a good note.

Winter Minutiae
Readying for Spring

Kuthona 16
We’ve claimed a bunch of land near Varnhold and added roads and farms. Tatzlford got a shiny new barracks, a mill and some needed bridges. Olegton got a trade shop and more housing. Isenfell needed a new guildhall for all of the artisans who’ve been attracted to our kingdom, and we’ve raised an army in Vygon. We’re busily drying and storing the late harvests and getting ready for winter to set in in earnest.

Winter Settles In
Betting the Spring won't be as quiet

Neth 18
We’ve spent most of the month raising our defenses. Though before I forget to mention it, last month we did put in some more improvements in Varnhold with another foundry, some walls, a couple smithies and a couple watergates. We also added another garrison to Isenfell. This month we’ve raised armies in Olegton and Varnhold; added more walls to Tatzlford; constructed an observatory in Isenfell and continued improving Varnhold with a shrine, monument, bridges and an herbalist. Fortunately, it’s been a mild winter in our lands so far, allowing us to continue building despite the season. We’re assuming the hostilities in the north will resume with the nicer weather and we’d like to be ready for that.

Restov Falls
To treachery?

Lamashan 28
Not seeing an immediate threat to our kingdom from the north, Eran set events in motion to call up the militia and start training new recruits, then we set back out into the Tors to the southeast, wanting to finish exploring that area. We left feather tokens with all our scouts and our clerics and priests in Isenfell can message us should the need arise. We’re really not expecting trouble this late in the season, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

While we were in the Tors, we got a message reporting a large army of Rovarian troops and mercenaries were marching on Restov. Our reports earlier had indicated that Restov was well-prepared for a siege, so we were rather surprised to learn by the time we got back home that it had fallen in only two days with no sign of damage. The rumor is that one of the Sword Lords turned on them and allowed the army entrance to the city. Whatever happened there, we now have an army camped on our northern border, which isn’t making Ilona happy at all. It would be stupid of them to also start a war with us before Surtova has consolidated power in Brevoy, but that doesn’t stop us from being concerned…

The Aftermath
And Brevoy stands divided

Lamashan 18
Didn’t get a chance to get back to writing my journal yesterday in the flurry of activities. We all dressed quite dashingly, having had the foresight to get fancy clothes made for the rest of our party that didn’t grow up attending noble balls. We had spent the ride up to New Steven making sure they all knew the sort of etiquette that nobles are taught from a very early age. Being raised by outsiders and halflings is all very well for adventurers, but it does leave out the finer points of behavior for being a state official…

The event sported a vast array of beautiful clothes, false smiles, a long, boring banquet, and many speeches about the dangers of the demonic incursion and how we cannot afford to stand divided at this time. All the usual political rhetoric we’d expected. I was surprised at how young Surtova was, only in his 30s, though Poul had said it’s quite well-known that it’s actually his older sister Natala who runs things through him. As expected, after this rousing call for unity, there was anything but when he announced that he would now be king rather than regent. Representatives from Houses Lebeda and Rovaria bow to the new king while those from Medvyed, Garess and Orlovsky refuse and depart the banquet. In a surprising turn of events, House Lodovka also chooses to kneel after that. A high-ranking priest of Abadar pleads for peace, but I think everyone there knew it was too late for that. We made sure that our family was being allowed to leave peacefully (and they certainly looked like they’d planned for a hasty retreat) and then we unceremoniously ditched our horses and pretty clothes for the option of a quick journey back via teleportation, leaving our ambassador to follow along at his leisure. Our servants will see to it that our fancy gear gets back home safely and they should actually be much less worthy targets without us there (assuming anyone might be planning unsavory actions against us).

Ilona’s already met with Seamus and Garess this morning to brief them on the new tensions up north (though I assume Garess at least already had an inkling which way the wind was blowing since his family was a major player in the events). They’ve immediately set scouts to watching the borders for any incursions. We’ll start raising an army “just in case” as soon as we’re able.

The Grand Event
Will Brevoy go up in flames?

Lamashan 17
We arrived in New Steven 4 days ago and have been kept quite busy attending all the parties that nobles host when all the other nobles are in town. Ilona, Eran and I got some quality time spent with Poul and he gave us his opinion on who’s falling where on the presumed upcoming civil war. He’s pretty sure the houses of Garess and Medvyed will be against Surtova (as is Orlovsky) while Lebeda will support Surtova for sure and Lodovka could go either way or try and remain neutral (a course of action Poul believes to be doomed to failure). He assured us again that House Orlovsky has plans for a fast removal from New Steven and defense of Skywatch. We’re hoping it doesn’t come to a direct assault, of course. We may have moved on to another stage in our lives, but none of us want to see our childhood home ruined by war.

Our little ambassador friend traveled with us all the way from Isenfell and has been quite diligent about following us to all of the parties as well. It’s quite obvious he’s been given orders to keep an eye on us. We’ve been doing nothing to occasion comment from him and it’s perfectly natural of us to spend time with a family member we’ve not seen in several years, so he can make of that what he will. For the historical record, The last Rovarian king disappeared in 4699, which was nine years ago. In all that time, no trace of anyone of his lineage has been found, not even an illegitimate offshoot.

This afternoon we’ll all be heading to the main event, where Noleski Surtova is expected to declare himself king and set off a large-scale civil war in the kingdom directly north of us. I can’t wait! I’ll do my best to write down events after the banquet (assuming we’re not also making a hasty get away), but for now I need to get ready for the party.

Stuff Starts Happening
A diplomatic invitation

Lamashan 3
Our ambassador from Brevoy requested an audience this morning, which we granted. We were unsurprised (though I like to think we dissembled pretty well) when he extended an invitation for the leadership of our kingdom to attend a “Great Event” on the 17th of this month in New Steven. As this fits the timeline laid out by our nephew in the know, we’re expecting this to be Surtova’s declaration of kingship. After the ambassador withdrew we spent a merry several hours deciding who would go, how public we’d be, how paranoid we’d be, etc. I think we’re pretty certain that no harm will come to us as foreign monarchs, though that could change if things get ugly quickly and Surtova’s supporters see only our Orlovsky heritage. Suffice it to say, we’ll pack our combat gear, even if it won’t be polite to wear it openly… We’ll head out once we’re packed in sufficient style for a state visit. Having never visited New Steven before, we’ll head there via conventional methods (horse and baggage train), though we’re not taking anything we can’t leave behind if a hasty exit is needed.

Calm Before the Storm
Just waiting for all hell to break loose in the north

Rova 17
We’ve put up a foundry and a jail in Varnhold as well as started to develop a lot of the land around their city. This month has been pretty quiet as far as crises go, though very busy getting the harvest in and stored, of course. We’re getting all the preparations finished for the Harvest Festival in a few days time.

Garess spent some time with the “blind” beggars who had showed up to smash the orb, but none of them knew anything about the rumored Thieves Guild. Jiro and Garess seem quite put out about not being able to get a lead on this.

Oh, we also had an emissary from Brevoy show up requesting that we allow him to be Noleski Surtova’s ambassador to our kingdom, which we allowed. We’ve set him up with some nice housing and he and his household and/or staff seem to be settling in nicely.

According to our nephew’s letter, we’re expecting things to go very badly next month when Surtova declares himself king. Hopefully not too badly down here, but I think relations with Brevoy will be very, very strained. I’m hoping we don’t get too much spillover down here, but I’m not holding my breath. We’ll see what happens.

Ridding the World of an Evil Artifact
Smash it with a hammer!

Arodus 30
After much consultation with Jhod, we managed to discover that the only way to destroy the evil crystal sphere which opens portals to the Abyss is to have a permanently blind individual smash it with a holy weapon. We put out a call to our populace and got a surprising number of responses, mostly beggars, most of which were not actually blind, but lured instead by the siren song of a promised monetary reward (Garess will detain them for questioning about our rumored thieves guild). Our chosen instrument of destruction though was a soldier who had committed an indiscretion and was estranged from his family. He wished the reward to be used to support them. We made sure he understood that to do this he would forever remain blind (no spell could be used on him in the future to restore his sight lest the destruction be undone, or something). I crafted a holy weapon from one of the spares we’d collected and he smashed the orb quite gloriously! And then we saw why his blindness would be permanent as his face no longer had eyes… Kinda disturbing really…. We’ve set him up with a decent house and a servant to assist him and set up funds for his family to live in comfort. All’s well that ends well.


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