Kingmaker

Nyrissa and the Jabberwock
Entry by Ilona Orlosky

We began by entering the Fable. Nyrissa is lounging on her platform. I got her monologuing about how we needed to give her Briar and go quietly into her bottle. I told her that would happen only from my cold dead hands. She decided to oblige that possiblility and the Jabberwock attacked us.
As expected she is powerful and very equal to our strength. She has the ability to employ many of our “tricks” in addition to the use of Maze on Khismia, Eran, and Riani. Breela fell early, and Jiro just fell to the Jabberwock and it was down to just me, her and the damned Jabberwock.
Then somehow, someway just before I could attack the Jabberwock, I get teleported next to Eran, Riani, and Khismia.
I hope we have not doomed ourselves.

Nyrissa is a cruel, insane, ugly being. By the grace of Shelyn, I hope to remove her ugliness from existence.

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Invasion Imminent
Not very nice neighbors

Abadius 8
Lily gave us her completed recon report on Pitax this morning. She reports a couple more armies, one made up of hill giants riding mammoths! Communication with a small town named Littleton (near Pitax) has ceased with no idea why. She is absolutely certain that their economy cannot support that level of mobilization for long and they will therefore be forced to invade in very short order. We were going to go attempt to slow down or eliminate one or more of the armies right away, but we got a message from Varnhold reporting a “winged creature” which had burned their foundry to the ground and they were requesting assistance immediately. By the time we arrived, there was nothing remaining of the foundry but debris and no creature in evidence, though many people reported seeing a strange man/vulture being which we can pretty surely assume to be a vrock. While there, Jhod got ahold of us to tell us that there were other affected cities all over.

At that point we resigned ourselves to dealing with Pitax the next day…

After visiting all of the affected cities and promising aid in rebuilding the destroyed structures (and finding there were many destructive vrock about), we headed back to our magical academy to have them check on the fey portal site. Not surprisingly, they could no longer see the site, so guess where we went next? A quick teleport plunked us down in the middle of a blizzard (not unusual in winter, but not usually so carefully contained as this one seemed to be). Jiro’s tracking skills were able to get us to the cave on top of the portal site where he then stopped us to point out ground tremors he’d felt and to inform us that his heightened senses had detected about eight foes only a short distance off. The blizzard enabled us to carefully go around them undetected (normally we’d just remove them, but we guessed, correctly, that they were just guards for whoever or whatever was the real problem down here) and found a bulette removing our stone fortifications around the cave (and a mysterious storm eye perfectly centered on the cave entrance, what an amazing coincidence, ha!).

Moving to attack the bulette, we found it wasn’t alone, but had a druid with it buffing its defenses with barkskin, making it very, very hard to hit. Jiro used sneaky ranger shenanigans to attack the druid directly instead of going through his bulette pet, forcing his to step back into the stone and stop assisting. Without his magical buffs, Jiro, Khismia and Ilona were able to remove the bulette and we also captured several of the guards we’d gone around when they came to investigate the sounds of battle. They had been hired by the druid to guard him. Originally mercenaries stationed around Restov, they told us (with prompting) that Restov is still resisting Brevoyan occupation, though not openly. They also admitted that the druid, Folan, had destroyed our garrison with a giant summoned creature. After restraining the guards, we spent a couple hours digging through the rubble of the garrison and did find a couple survivors which we healed up. They hadn’t heard anything unusual and had of course been staying inside during a blizzard, having no way to tell that it was magically generated. After Eran built a stronger barracks with stone walls we transported the survivors home and returned the bodies of the other guards to Garess to be given proper burials and notify their families.

Quite worn out from digging up the garrison, we retired to our rooms to rest and bathe before dinner. At dinner though, Eran brought with him a strange object like a cube of stone, engraved with a rune floating inside – which Lily, somehow, could tell us was the calling card of an elite extra-planar assassin from the Abyss. Her life must have been so boring before she met us…

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Deep Winter
Not a good time to prepare for war

Abadius 5
It’s been a busy week trying to get all of the work of running a kingdom out of the way so we can get back to dealing with the mounting hostilities of our neighbors…

We’ve put in a jail in Brightmoor at the mayor’s request (they were tired of sending their miscreants all the way to Tatzlford). We’ve also added more housing in Isenfell as it continues to grow, even with the tensions to the north and west. A new inn and tavern have been opened as well as a granary. We also completed a beautiful temple to Iomedae; honoring the maiden of battle seems the right thing to do in these troubled times, and improves relations with Evelyth’s Mendevian people.

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Reconnaissance
Know thy enemy

Kuthona 30
It’s been a busy week. We celebrated the Midwinter Festival in Isenfell for once. The Alchemist’s Guild had a fantastic display of fireworks and we must have had twenty giant bonfires burning all around the city. The weather was delightfully mild with light snow. Perlivash spent the whole evening dropping snowballs on random passerbys, but they didn’t seem to mind. Warm mead and roasts for everyone tend to put people in a good mood, despite the threat of war in the spring.

The day after that we hallowed the council chambers and put a dimensional anchor on them. If we have anyone else porting in they won’t be able to leave the same way. We also gave Lily a pretty big influx of cash to find out what she can about Pitax’s plans. Before she left, she mentioned we might want to check out a situation in Olegton. Earlier this year the mayor had left his wife of many years for a much younger woman. Normally not of interest, but she now seems to more or less be running things there.

While Khismia and Jiro headed out to talk to the residents of Olegton, the rest of us talked to the Mayor. He seemed happy and normal, just not really as interested in managing Olegton as one would expect. Jiro and Khismia reported back that while she’s been taking over, people don’t seem to mind as she is effective and attractive. We decided we should talk to his former wife who’s only comment was “Jenna is young, beautiful, and has my ex-husband wrapped around her finger.” It didn’t take much persuasion to get the Mayor to throw a state dinner in honor of our visit where we officially met his wife, who did indeed seem normal and beautiful, though definitely ambitious. However, Khismia detected a weak transmutation aura on her which caused us to question her more aggressively (without revealing the magic aura, of course). She’s quite evasive about her past, firm about tariffs and wants to move to the capital. She’s also very bitter about Brevoy as her response to a potential war was, “If they come across the border, kill them all!”

We didn’t really have anything but vague suspicions, so let it drop, intending to have Lily set people to watching her when we got home. However, that night as Jiro was settling in his room (we like to stay over a few days on state visits if we can, rather than seem rushed), he answered a light knock on the door to reveal Jenna, requesting a moment of his time. She said that it was obvious from our dinner conversation that we were not satisfied with the background story she’s told others and she’s willing to tell Jiro, but only if he doesn’t tell her husband. Jiro agreed and she removed a magIcal disguise, revealing a form disfigured, scarred and burned. Her real name was Lizbet and she’d been a whore in New Steven before she’d refused the request of a wizard client who then burned her with acid. Using her connections, she killed him and stole the ring that powers her disguise spell. She does love her husband, though she’s not really happy in Olegton as she views it as too provincial (thus the desire to move to the capital). Jiro was satisfied with her story, though not so much that we won’t have Lily keep an ear out for other developments. Bidding our hosts farewell, we headed out towards Pitax to do our own reconnaissance. After a week of boredom and wind walking, we located two armies, still in Pitax territory, though on our border; one army of around a thousand, one of five hundred. With that information, we headed back to pool our information with Lily.

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Repercussions
Malthus annoyed

Kuthona 20
After briefing Garess on our plan to not see Malthus, we made ourselves scarce. When Malthus returned, he refused to believe we were out and teleported into our council chambers uninvited. Having expected such boorish behavior, we weren’t there, but Garess and a sizable contingent of guardsmen were on hand to try and arrest him for his trespass. Realizing he wasn’t getting anywhere and wanting to avoid arrest or a direct confrontation, he teleported away again.

Once he left, we decided we really needed the ambassador’s side of the story, and wishing to avoids crying and/or dominating mental spells, we ambushed him with an anti-magic field active, making sure we weren’t visible before he was in the field. Our cautions were warranted when the ambassador told us that his brooch allowed Malthus to scry him. With our reassurance that the item would be inert while I was nearby, he was much more forthcoming. He told us that Surtova won the civil war with quite a lot of help from the mages and can’t really deny them requests, no matter how odd they may be. He doesn’t know why the magic college is so interested in that area that they’re willing to affect alliances to acquire it. He advises us to expect retribution as soon as Malthus returns to Brevoy, but did say that he quite enjoyed the dismissive way we treated Malthus. He also said that while Malthus isn’t known for restraint, this seemed a bit extreme, and perhaps the individual we’ve been dealing with may actually not be who we think it is.

With that in mind, we quickly turned to attempting to locate Malthus. Finding him still in town, we ambushed him at his lodging, and while defending ourselves, discovered that he was actually a simulacrum, melting into snow upon his death. Can’t stop him from getting the word back to Surtova, so things may get interesting soon. Eran approved funding for Ilona to start mustering an army to deal with Pitax, who we believe will be the easier threat to neutralize.

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Brevoy Threatens
Why is that fey crystal so important?

Kuthona 19
Our Brevoyan ambassador requested an audience this morning, which we granted. He entered with a companion whom he seemed uncomfortable with and introduced him as Malthus from the Brevoyan College of Wizardry in New Steven. Malthus took great pains to describe the tensions with Pitax and told us that Pitax had requested an alliance with Brevoy. Getting to the heart of the matter, he told us that Brevoy would normally be inclined to accept their offer, but could be offered certain ‘inducements’ to refuse – namely, the fey crystal grove. Summoning the ambassador like a lackey, Malthus informed us we could have until tomorrow to deliberate and then they left together.

We immediately summoned Lily and gave her the run down on what had transpired and she was able to tell us that her information about Malthus was that he sits on the leadership council of the college in what’s basically an enforcer role. Not wishing to be forced into an encounter on his terms, and having no desire to cede that landmark to their College of Wizards, we decided to refuse to see him tomorrow, perhaps being out on some ‘pressing business’ or some other polite diplomatic falsehood.

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Fey Happenings
Another artifact to destroy?

Kuthona 9
Sorry about the dramatic ending to yesterday’s entry. Khismia tripped on a pack and nearly spilled our stew into the fire (as well as herself). Obviously we survived the violent reaction to Breela’s spell in the alchemy lab, though the opposing forces were not so lucky. After healing up the damage and making sure that the weapon research was definitely destroyed, we explored the rest of the above ground buildings and found nothing of interest. Returning to the gardener’s room, Jiro, who also dabbles in construction and engineering, started working on the clock to see if he could figure out how to disassemble it for transport. He did something that caused a bunch of water to spill out, which surprisingly solidified into a beautiful elven woman, presumably the ‘water nymph’ rumored to live below the abbey and the cause of the extraordinary potency of the wine once made here. I must say I hadn’t expected her to be living inside a water clock!

The neriad introduced herself as Evindra and thanked us profusely for the rescue. She’d been imprisoned by the (crazy) gardener years ago in an attempt to force her to marry him. We explained we’d fought off an angry ghost, most likely her captor. She told us that four weeks ago she’d heard some men talking to the gardener, but she refused to tell us what they were talking about, but at least we now know that he was still alive at that time. She also was devastated about a missing shawl of hers which we were unable to locate. I’m assuming it’s not just a fetching accessory to her wardrobe…

Not being able to get her to trust us so we could try and help her out, we convinced her to teleport with us to Melianse’s grove where they talked in private for awhile and eventually decided to trust us a little. She was the guardian of a sword named “Briar,” an important artifact of the First World. She vaguely mentioned that it is related in some way to Nyrissa, a powerful but twisted nymph. It’s a name we’ve encountered before and she was distressed that Nyrissa’s attention might be focused on this land. She gave us a description of “Briar” and told us not to touch it as using it would awaken it and draw Nyrissa’s attention and she could not be allowed to recover it. She entreated us to recover the sword and her shawl, taken away by Pitaxian agents, and promised that in return she would tell us all that she knew. She’ll stay with Melianse to be nearby in case we need to contact her.

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The Winery
May have once been a nice place

Later on Kuthona 8
After using a Greater Teleport to get to the winery we found it in extreme disrepair. We did hear a dice game nearby, but Khismia, feeling alone without her eidolon friend, started summoning him immediately without checking out the surroundings first. Not surprisingly, they heard her and came to investigate. We were forced to be more aggressive when they obviously recognized Eran (as the king of Isenfell) and yelled to run and tell “Gaetane.” I pulled Khismia and Breela, the only 2 within easy reach, into a dimension door to the back of the room in an attempt to cut off the ones trying to notify others of our presence. Eran forbade them to move, which helped on some of them, but not enough to keep others from knocking out Breela. After a quick channel, I ran out of the building following Khismia who was following a bard who’d blinked through the wall. Khismia decided that a rampaging triceratops would be just the thing to remain unnoticed, though it did take care of the bard…

With Eran forbidding movement on the rest of the guys inside the building, Jiro and Ilona were easily able to clean them up. We put out the fires Breela had caused, got her healed up and headed to a cave which had a tunnel leading up into the abbey through their well. On the way we dealt with a rotting corpse and the tunnel’s “lights,” more will o’wisps. The ghost managed to nearly kill Khismia, but Eran got to her in time with some massive curative magic and we successfully dispersed the foul spirit. Once things had calmed down, Jiro noticed a secret door through one of the casks leading to what we think was the gardener’s room containing a gorgeous water clock. Deciding to return and check out the clock later, we scouted up the well to find the abbey and a graveyard. Another dimension door spell put us at the top of the well where we found some people quite surprised to see us appear. A grand fight ensued not only with the abbey defenders, archers and guys with enlarge person spells, but a couple of shambling mounds which seemed to take exception to our presence and ambled in from the graveyard to hug the eidolon.

Once we’d emerged victorious, we headed into the abbey proper to discover an extensive alchemical set-up. We heard a voice, presumably the man in charge of the operation here tell people, presumably behind the barricade, because we didn’t see anyone, to hold us off because the “horn is nearly ready.” Assuming that that would be bad for us, Jiro and Khismia immediately moved to hack down the barricade. Ilona jumped over the barricade, and from the sounds she made landing I presume it was less than graceful! I simply dimension doored with Eran and Breela. Breela immediately started casting a spell, and unfortunately, finished it just as the alchemist yelled “No spells!” and the room exploded!

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Premptive Strike
Dealing with a problem before it becomes one

Kuthona 8
Lily brought to our attention a report from a ranger in the Pitax lands by the name of Ilamaner Melarson detailing a troubling development at an old abbey dedicated to Caiden Kailean. The abbey, Whiterose, has been abandoned this past decade or so after the abbot was murdered and the other brothers all poisoned by the gardener (or so rumor has it). They had been known for their wine, which while never fermented, was still unusually potent. The local explanation involves a water spirit named Evindra who dwells (or dwelt) below the abbey.

All that was just background though to the reason the ranger chose to contact us, and that was to inform us that there’s now been renewed activity at the abbey under the direction of Lord Irovetti of Pitax. His researchers there appear to be experimenting with a magical weapon created with the help of a master poisoner from Daggermark. The net effect is essentially a cloudkill spell that is useable by non-mages. The ranger noticed that they were testing it on local flora and fauna and wishes us to stop it. Not wanting our own troops to be facing such a devastating weapon, Eran agreed it was best we go at once, though hopefully get in and out without being recognized. I’ll write more later, I must go grab my gear.

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A Glorious Arena for Gorum
Ah, to eat with utensils again

Kuthona 5
Today marked the day that our very fancy arena to Gorum opened its doors to gladiators and mercenaries of all lands who wished to compete to earn the favor of the god of battle. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response as vastly more combatants than we expected have flocked to Isenfell in the last few weeks in anticipation of its completion and grand opening. There were even rumors of activity in the box reserved for Gorum himself! We must have successfully restored favor with Gorum as earlier today the heat faded out of every metal implement in our kingdom, allowing normal routines to be reestablished.

While not as glorious as a new arena, Tatzlford was glad to welcome more housing and a new park which I’m sure will look more impressive in the spring. We’ve also added more walls around our growing capital, as well as a pier and theater.

On a more somber note, Lily reported rumors that forces from Brevoy are massing on our northern borders and informed us that she’ll be concentrating most of her resources to get information about their deployment and composition.

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