The Bargath Quandry

Chapter 1 Scene 5 The King is What?!?!?!?

The meetings were over and the next morning had dawned. The closing ceremony was just beginning in the amphitheater when the sounds of horns and of some men fighting with swords was heard. The theater emptied but the Regents with the leaders of the industrialization movement and Kai Cuez (Forester) stayed behind to access the situation.

On the horizon many ships were coming to the island and some had already made landfall. They all proudly displayed the banner of King Ergon “The Splendid” Bargath. The horns were brass in nature and were blowing the traditional “Lay down your arms” call. The sounds of battle were not in the air, just the sounds of some rabble not responding correctly. The Regents ordered that their horns should blow the same message so as to not incite a riot with all of the middle and upper nobility being killed in the middle of no where. The wooden horns of the West could be heard as could the hollowed mountain ram’s horns of the North. Everyone was calling for peace.

At this point Varin Ravenswood asked Thorin “Icy Heart” Barenhess and Kaimen Kaiden if it would be appropriate for him with Collin Fairweather as an honor guard could parlay with the men from the king. They agreed and Kai Cuez (Forester) asked if he could serve the West as Varin was serving the North. It was agreed and the small band went out flying the banners of the North and West and also a white flag.

They were greeted by none other than High Lord Helmian who was the one that hand wrote the “or else” message on the Bargathian Degree. Someone in the North or West or both had sent a raven to Bargath to inform him of this meeting and Bargath has responded in turn. It was now up to Varin and Kai to prevent this from being an all out war, and if possible to prevent them all from being carted off in chains.

The meeting was held and after some fast talking High Lord Helmian wished to speak with this group and the Regents in Thorin’s tent. That meeting went well as the letter was given to High Lord Helmian to show that they were still obedient but had a request of the King that could be granted or denied. Varin went to great lengths to show that it is the Regent’s job to manage any complaints from the High Born and it is the High Born’s job to do the same with the Low Born. Since this degree was unprecedented the Regents thought it wise to just have a meeting instead of letting rumor and fear take over people.

High Lord Helmian was ready to leave with just the Regents accompanying him back to the capital on their own ships and with their own men to talk to the King about this letter, when Kai Cuez (Forester) mentioned that he had something to bring up that the High Lord Helmian didn’t know about. Kai was escorted outside with one of Helmian’s advisers to get his story.

At this point Collin Fairweather knew that he had to give his side of the industrialization story or he and Varin and others would be visiting the capital in chains. He told Helmian the plan and functionally all of it. Then Kai was brought back in and his story wasn’t as full as Collin’s story. Kai had left out some key figures and in so doing became less trustworthy in Helmian’s eyes. He then asked that Collin and Varin join their regents in their own ships with their own servants to see Bargath in the capital, but Helmian wanted them to meet with the minister of finance first and gain support from the remaining advisers before approaching King Bargath on this issue. Varin got the feeling that Helmian did’t approve of many of the King’s decisions.

After arriving in the capital a strange man asked to speak to Collin and Varin. His name is Securis Querk and he revealed that he knew much of Collin’s and Varin’s lives. He also showed them the original piece of paper they pulled off of the Sergeant’s body. Collin tried to deny he knew what it said or the language it was in but Securis stated he knew about their conversation with Thorin and even quoted part of it. That meeting was in secret with just the three of them they thought.

Securis then stated that it was he that gave the Sergeant that letter and wrote out something in the common tongue and there was no mistaking that he had written the cryptic note either. The note stated “Strike now! He is weak.”

Securis revealed the plan was for the Sergeant to move 200 – 300 people into the tip of the North and once settled they would allow 12 stout warriors to move by boat to a river outlet where they would then travel by boat with the Sergeant’s men up stream so they could arrive in the capital and kill the King and his son. But Varin and Collin screwed that up but he was willing to give them a second chance because their industrialization idea had money making merit. Securis was a Westerner who took his money from being a mercenary and bought a modest tavern in the capital – years later he has turned that tavern into 16 taverns each specializing in something different: Food, sex, entertainment, etc.

After talking to Varin alone he granted three favors: 1) An open window 6 stories above the floor leading into the Kings chamber, 2) No one in the chamber in 3 nights time, and 3) A small vial of poison that smelled awful but works quickly.

After speaking to Collin he promised that he could get Collin in makeup to appear to be someone else, a guard uniform and 30 min alone with the prince. Collin would then make the child appear to be sleeping to be found later and Securis promised Collin a way out of the walled area and to safety with a side gate that would be unlocked.

Securis also stated that Lord Helmian was thrown in jail for bringing Varin and Collin to the capital by the King and that the Lord of Finance had been killed for favorably pitching their idea to the King. With that knowledge Collin was able to verify through the Western Regent that indeed both had gone missing the day after Collin and Varin had met with them. Also the next morning both Varin and Collin received a special invite to see the King. This would be a meeting the morning after Varin had asked for an open window.

The next several days Varin was sick in bed with only one visitor on the third day who delivered a small package for Varin alone. Varin was seen very very sick and infirm but didn’t want a doctor.

Kaimen Kaiden advised Collin to flee the king but to knock him out on the way out so that he would be killed as well.

The night before their meeting with the King everyone’s plan went off without a hitch and the next morning Collin and Varin were met with the ringing of every bell in the city. High Lord Helmian was seen on a balcony announcing that the King and Prince were found dead and that all Regents were summoned to the capital at once. Helmian looked very sickly and thin in the appearance. Varin was still sick in bed when the news reached him and Collin was with Kaimen Kaiden.

The King is dead, long live the ….. Wait who will be King now?

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Chapter 1 Scene 3 - The Meeting Part 2

The meeting was then split into guilds to discuss the appropriate questions and Collin Fairweather’s father ran the show with the Foresting Guild. This upset the leader of the Guild, Kai Cuez (Forester), and dropped his status thereafter in the guild and in his seating in the amphitheater.

The Miner Guild’s discussion was led by Silvus Elinus (Miner) who was already a supporter of the industrialization idea and led the conversation about what to do with Bargath’s Degree in that direction.

When everyone was brought back together the next day the choice was clear: the black rock would be viewed as open rebellion with the hope that Bargath couldn’t fight a war on two fronts and maybe three if the Southern’s would join the cause, or the white rock would be to be loyal and obedient as the gods have decreed a king so a king would be followed.

Then a third choice was presented – the grey rock, but it wasn’t defined and it was asked if anyone had a third path. Collin Fairweather was such a man. He stated that a middle ground could be given between the two. State that we were obedient subjects but that this degree would have implications politically throughout the realm and to allow those that would want the opportunity to have a chance of their daughter winning the hand of the king to try and face any consequences from those actions but if a noble house chose to not do this then let them face no consequences from the crown.

The vote was cast and tallied and the grey rock won and so that was the decision by the Northern and Western Regents. They crafted a letter which stated the above and sent it by raven to Ergon “The Splendid” Bargath and all of those in the Northern and Western Realms.

The matter of the industrialization meeting followed after the vote and while the votes were still being counted. The meeting went well but neither Varin nor Collin did a good job in expressing their thoughts and Collin’s father and Silvus Elinus (Miner) took over the speech and explanation. There were about 10% of the crowd that viewed this action as traitorous, including Kai Cuez (Forester) and they left angrily once the meeting was over.

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Chapter 1: Scene 3 The Meeting Part 1

Thorin “Icy Heart” Barenhess and Kaimen Kaiden the Lord Regents of the North and West have called a meeting to talk about the letter from Ergon “The Splendid” Bargath.

The meeting took place off of an island off of the coast of the Western Lands. It was a traditional meeting place and considered neutral long long ago. Very few people lived on the island but there was a town that was setup near an amphitheater just for this purpose.

Varin Ravenswood had some issues sailing as his fear of open water took over but he managed to hide it from all but his trusted advisers and some of the crew that serve in his house.

Collin Fairweather came from his family home in the West where he went to discuss business with his father. During this time he had an epiphany about how politics and people work and also found a sense of purpose, something he was looking for his whole life and was happy to realize that it was found in the same place he started his life.

Once everyone was assembled there was jostling in the stands for a place of honor and Varin Ravenswood wasn’t happy with his station but resolved to change it.

The meeting was about whether or not the North with the West would go into open rebellion (black rock) or be obedient and send their daughters (white rock).

Also there were side meetings to discuss the idea of the North and West maintaining their quotas of raw goods but increase production for the purpose of manufacturing their own goods with this as well. The East was the center of industry in Astaria and all raw goods would go there for manufacturing into tables, chairs, bows, cloth, steel, swords, etc. There were some lesser craftsmen in other areas but the vast majority of goods came out of the East and at much more expense then the raw goods left the other areas of the country.

Varin and Collin along with others in nobility stood with them and started spreading the word about a meeting after the main meeting to discuss the economic situation.

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Chapter 1: Scene 2 - The Proposal

Varin and Collin started getting Varin’s house in order:

  • Ravens were sent to his lieges to swear fealty to Varin
  • Ravens arrived from Ergon “The Splendid” Bargath with a letter for all unmarried women. The letter can be found
    .
  • Varin’s counsel met to discuss where his two sisters were and who they were betrothed to. Both of them are involved in Bargath’s proposal, but one is betrothed to the minor noble that insulted Varin.
  • Varin and Collin met with Silvus Elinus (Miner) to discuss strengthening the economic stance of the North and the West. A plan was discussed to meet with Kaimen Kaiden and Kai Cuez (Forester) to try to bring industrialization so that the raw goods that are produced in the North and the West are not manufactured in the East and sold back to the other areas for more money. The East and Bargath work hand in hand to bleed the other areas dry, but the South has a ton of slaves so they don’t feel it as much.
  • Collin came up with a symbol that married the evergreen tree of the West with the sword of the North. These will be distributed while gathering support.
  • Silvus Elinus (Miner) stated that Thorin “Icy Heart” Barenhess and Kaimen Kaiden will be meeting soon to discuss this letter and that would be the time to gather support.
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Chapter 1: Scene 1 - The Beginning

Varin and Collin are introduced to Thorin “Icy Heart” Barenhess where he debriefs them after their encounter with the barbarian army. He reveals that the Sargent was of noble blood and wonders why he would betray the North. He also tells Varin and Collin that the note they found on Sarge’s body means “Get Ready! He is weak!” The question of who is weak could be Bargath, Thorin, somebody they don’t know. The possibilities seemed to endless to contemplate. Thorin offered Collin a favor for helping the North, a favor within reason.

Varin and Collin left the northern city of Barenhold together and went to the Ravenwood’s holdings together. Varin toured around his families lands and the lands of the minor nobility sworn to his house. There he found out from a minor noble that Varin was removed from being an heir by his father, Silvanus Carbonis. The noble seemed to relish in this knowledge that Varin didn’t have.

About three days before finally heading back to the Ravenwood’s keep a messenger appeared in Varin’s camp asking for Varin. The messenger revealed that his father died in his sleep, most likely a heart attack and to come back with him at once. Varin and Collin with their hired help (recently released Northern Veterans of the Army) rushed to the keep.

Once there Varin was welcomed by the advisers of his father and grandfather, but was snubbed by the advisors of just his father. One of them mocked Varin asking why he was here since he had no right to the keep and holdings. Varin killed the man where he stood. Collin and Varin fought the remaining advisers and with some help from the older advisers paid guards dispatched all but one of the new advisers. Varin showed mercy and kicked the two step children (a boy and a girl) out into the February Northern Winter with the last remaining new adviser with enough food to make it half way to the next town.

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Introduction:
Scene 4 - The Mystery

After the scouting of the cave system Colin decided to go back to warn the town of the amount of barbarians in the caves. He left Owen and his crew there to continue spying down a path that was found where there might be a possible staging site for the rest of the barbarians as it didn’t appear that all of them were in the cave systems.

Colin got back to the town after evading a barbarian scout party coming back up the main path to the caves. Once back the town determined that the barbarians might attack at twilight that very day and it was about noon when Colin got back. He quickly got some food and ran back to his men to see what they were able to learn.

Did they find out how many barbarians are at the other site?
Did they find the other site?
Did they have an opportunity to take a hostage and get even more information?

Colin came back to find the site where he saw them and he found signs of a fight, and the hand of one of his men and the body of Big Bart. Bart was run through the throat with a spear. Colin steadied his nerves and impulses and went to spy on the caves. There he saw Owen being flayed alive and screaming. He saw none of his men and assumed they were being held in the cave system.

Colin left the cave system as he realized that he couldn’t kill Owen with his ability with a bow. He ran back as fast and as carefully as he could to the town and helped prepare for war. The town took comfort in the fact that the Red Claw tribe grows bored easy with torture and would most likely kill Owen before coming to kill them.

That night at twilight they came and over the next three days they harassed the town hourly but because of the preparation done before hand they were able to hold until the barbarians were routed by the Northern Mounted Army.

After the killing was over Collin and Varin were going through the bodies and helping with the mercy killings and stacking the bodies for burning they found the Sargent. After finding the Sargent from the tower they looked and found the others from his elite team all of them were dead but dead from wounds from the Northern Army and all of them were found with barbarians. It was concluded that they were traitors and their bodies were searched.

The Sargent had a note written in Old Northern Astarian that no one there could read.

ειναι αδυναμους ετοιμαστείτε!

The Northern Army then offered to escort Colin and Varin back to the North to speak to Thorin “Icy Heart” Barenhess about what they saw.

End of Introduction.

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Introduction:
Scene 3 - The Old Man

Collin Fairweather ordered his men to move forward to the town somewhat impulsively in the middle of the night. Varin was depressed after the apparent deaths of the sailors and elite team given the fire they woke up to and it took some coaxing to get him moving.

They arrived at the town which is surrounded by a wooden palisade with some farming inside of the walled town. There is a well near the middle of the town – this place has been under siege before. The captains quarters at the center of town.

The group was invited in after answering some questions about their pasts to verify they were who they said they were. They were able to convince the captain, an old man riddled with arthritis who is a veteran of many northern incursions, that there are about 700 barbarians that have come down. He stated that they are probably staging their forces in the cave structures just north of the town (about 8 miles as the crow flies).

The captain had one of his men Owen “Red Claw” Robinswood escort Collin and his men to some place to sleep while the rest of the town got ready to move the women and children to the nearby Garrison for protection. Varin and the old man spoke to each other in private before he two went to bed.

In the afternoon the old man’s wife woke everyone up and offered them food and water. It was decided that the best course of action was to send a scouting party up to the caves to determine what the town was dealing with. It was also decided to send some of the younger men with the women and children as they haven’t seen any real combat yet but could hold their own against a small raiding party.

Collin and his crew (Varin stayed behind) went north to scout and they saw that there were about 400 – 500 people living in the cave systems to the north. The issue is they saw women and children with the barbarians. The Red Claw barbarian tribe seems to be moving their entire tribe into the North. Collin wondered what are they running from to risk moving everyone into a hostile territory?

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Introduction:
Scene 2 - Holdout

The Sargent opens the door and asks Collin and Varin to stay out here with the civilians while they go in and verify everything is clear.

After about 6 min the Sargent comes back states that it is all clear. He then asked Collin and Varin to come into the fortress with him.

The fortress is more of a 30 foot in diameter stone tower that has three levels with a roof access. The stone steps start right to the right of the door forcing those that are fighting their way upstairs to have their sword hand toward the wall. That stairway goes all the way to the roof access. The first floor is a dinning area, the second is a bunk room and the third is the captain’s quarters plus food prep area with a fireplace. The roof access allows for a watch to look for danger and with mirrors or fire communication to other fortresses along the line that separates Astaria from the Northern Wastes.

It was determined to that the fortress has been vacant for 3 – 4 weeks but the group investigated the place to determine that the fortress was overrun around 24 – 27 days ago. Varin found a set of books for inventorying the goods that come in from trade and the army. Varin also found a second book that showed that the Captain of the fortress was selling off supplies to “E” on a regular basis for money. The offense for this is a public hanging but the Sargent stated that the Captain would need a head in order to hang him.

Varin also found a tuft of animal fur that Collin was able to identify as belonging to at least one – maybe two – large (mastiff size) wolves. The Sargent confirmed that those types of beasts are common among many barbarian tribes and are used for hunting animals and for war.

A tactical meeting was called and Collin was able to persuade the Captain of the ship to convince his people to come inside. The passengers from the ship refused to go inside despite Collin urging them to come in. The Captain then started getting his crew cleaning the fortress while he was welcomed up to the tactical meeting.

It was decided that the Sargent would stay behind with the civilians to hold the fortress while Collin, his men and Varin went to the nearest town (20 miles to the south) to get help. It was also determined that there may be as many as 700 barbarians lying in wait and if the group that was killed earlier that day at the beach head doesn’t show up will that prompt the barbarian war party to attack the town faster? The decision was made to get supplies and move out with the last four hours of daylight.

Collin, Varin and crew left the civilians and elite crew behind and started toward the town but not on the main path lest they get ambushed by the barbarian scouting parties. About two hours later they came across 7 barbarians and engaged them in battle quickly dispatching them.

They then traveled two more hours uneventfully and went to sleep. During the second watch they were awakened by Big Bart (one of Collin’s men) as he pointed out the lights in the distance. The first thing they saw was the lights of the tavern from the wooden walled town they are heading to but then he pointed for them to look back north. The entire fortress they just left was engulfed in flames. Varin stated that there was no way a 40 man barbarian group could do that to the fortress as Sarge had two good archers and two good melee fighters and should have been able to hold that fortress, even if they didn’t have a chance to build more defenses, for days. Something bad had to have happened.

~ τέλος

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Introduction:
Scene 1 - The Bloody Fortress

Collin found himself at sea returning home from mercenary service in A’Shen when the plague that drove him from service took the captain and experienced crew. Left with mere boys at the ready Collin befriended the new “captain” a green boy of 17 with maybe three sea voyages under his belt and told his men (friends from his platoon that also came back home from A’Shen) to start running the ship while giving appearances that the captain was still in charge. Collin expertly used his tact to become second mate which did a lot for the crew and other passengers. None of that was helpful in the end as a storm blew them way off course and finally abandoned the boat in the waters of the Barbarian North just as a platoon of barbarians were coming down the beach at them. He and his men stood between the green crew of boys and other passengers to hold off the barbarians from killing the innocent people of Astaria.

Varin has just finished his time among one of the barbarian tribes in the north and was extracted at the appointed time by the Regent of the North by an elite team. This team is run by someone who is only known as The Sargent or Sargent. None of this team have every used the names of each other – preferring only to refer to each by title. After pulling Varin out of the barbarian tribe that he spent years with he was brought to a clearing and there was a teenager that Varin knew as a boy and saw just yesterday in the village. He was bound and gagged and the Sargent told Varin that sometimes these arrangements leave the Northern Astarians too sentimental and have turned against their motherland. Varin without hesitation killed the teen he has known for over 5 years. The Sargent and elite crew were happy with this decision and they proceeded to take Varin the long way out of the barbarian countryside as they needed to check on some of the forts on the Astarian / Barbarian Border. The first fort they came to was missing some of the forward scouts and one was found about a mile away and he was ripped apart by something animalistic. They buttoned down the fortress and posted guards – Varin saw a large falcon like bird and shot it but didn’t kill it after the falcon had killed one of the guards.

The next morning the elite group with Varin went to the coast to the last fortress on the western coast near one of the roads back to the Northern Astarian reaches. Once they arrived they saw a ship and a crew abandoning that ship to the beach head. They looked north of the beach head and saw that there were barbarians descending on the crew but the crew was unaware. The elite group with Varin ran up to support the ship crew from the barbarians and they all successfully drove them off.

After the battle they went back to the fortress but the innocent people from the ship refused to go in. The door to the fortress was opened up and the walls were covered in blood and bits of what one would assume is human, but it is hard to tell.

~ Τέλος

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History
Basic History

Introduction

The Bargathian family has ruled the Kingdom of Astar for almost a 1000 years, but centuries ago one of the Bargath family ruled that they needed to keep the blood line pure. This has led (like it always does) to close family incest and now the Bargathian family is on its last leg. The prince is malformed and mentally deficient. King Ergon “The Splendid” Bargath has made a rash degree as there are no more females in the Bargath line. He has ordered all unmarried noble women to the capital so he can choose a bride and honor that noble house with having a Bargathian child.

This campaign will be more focused on political intrigue in a high fantasy setting. The players will need to figure out what factions are at play, what the factions want to do and then of course which factions they will support and which they will work to hinder. No political action goes without consequences and there are no second chances.

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