Title: Arrival of the Duke
Date: Early Trilan, 1332 Avard
Synopsis: The Ducal Court arrives from Fasra, and the city of Chasadan has to put up with an extra thousand people for a week.
Evening of the 5th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Father Andrel brought together all of the Guard in the city and informed them that the Crisis of Faith applied to them, as well. The pogrom against Meridian Explorations and the Ducal Mage's assets was illegal, unfaithful, and counter to the teachings of Yatindar. It was obvious to most that Yatindar had seen fit to bestow Saint Karl's blessing upon Captain Aeron, working in ME's defense. Father Andrel, therefore, suspended judgements and punishments against the members of the Guard loyal to the pogrom and Father Albrem, Yatindar rest his soul.
Random passers by, as well as the more faithful members of the Guard, would simply kneel before Aeron, asking for his blessing. It was getting so Aeron couldn't move through the streets very quickly or efficiently. His coin was worthless, and word was spreading of Saint Karl's blessing.
On top of the miracle of Saint Karl's blessing, the conversion of the town drunk, Stinky, was also being treated as a miracle. Jakab “Stinky” Horvath had been a year shy of his vestments before the stress of being a priest sent him into a drunken spiral. Jakab's several nights in jail with the orcs, and then the miracle of Saint Karl performed before him, apparently changed Stinky overnight. Captain Aeron took Jakab on as his apprentice, preparing the way for Jakab to return to the vestments of Yatindar.
On the evening of the 5th of Trilan, dust was spotted on the horizon north of the city. The ducal train was enormous, including the 100 members of the Guard that had gone north with the elite of Chasadan that were returning. The duke himself had a personal guard of 50 paladins, along with another force of hundreds of the duchy's general Guard. In addition, each of the duchy's barons was along, each of them with their personal forces. There were also the wagoneers, food handlers, stockmen, assessors, scribes, and other members of the procession, bringing the total number of travelers up to close to a thousand men and women.
Hershel was at the vanguard with the duke and Colonel-Cardinal Kalia and the various barons of the duchy. As Ducal Mage, his story had been told by the Guard of Chasadan and Father Kalia, brother to the Colonel-Cardinal.
Coming in a different gate were Hearne and Roswyn, whom had returned from their visit to Lok Magius and arrived in Fasra about the same time as the Ducal Court was leaving for Chasadan. Hearne had obtained several scrolls from the druid at Lok Magius, and learned much of how to deal with people and nature in enclosed spaces. Roswyn had a chance to sell some of her wares and learn a few new techniques, as well as peruse the library.
In the meantime, Hershel told Aeron that the duke's personal guard would be housed in the Meridian Manse, and Aeron quickly began preparations with Ryviik's help. The local farm-hold with which Meridian Explorations had a deal was able to supply most of the request, and several cattle, chickens, and wagon-loads of stored grain were purchased. Greff and the orcs managed to round up plenty of ale, as well. The orcs gave many within the parade a look of incredulity, but the stories surrounding Meridian Explorations were already spreading among the ducal court.
Later that evening, Hershel gathered all of his Merdian Explorations crew in the Ducal Mage's tower, where it was a tight fit. The orcs sat on the spiralling stairs along the outside of the room, and watched as Hershel unrolled several scrolls.
The duke had cleared all the arrest warrants for ME, but had asceded to Father Kalia's point that there was a conflict of interests for the Ducal Mage to run Meridian Explorations. So, on paper, at least, William would take over Meridian Explorations, with Ryviik as General Manager. Hershel would still call the shots, unofficially, of course, but his duties as a Ducal Mage would demand more of his time. The Guard for both Chasadan and the duchy would watch over him much more carefully, and members of the duchy's Guard would rotate in to help keep trouble from brewing in Chasadan. Members of the duke's personal guard would also rotate in and out to oversee the safety of the Ducal Mage.
In the meantime, the company was to deal with the court being in Chasadan, and assist how they may. Aeron wanted to commission a mural in the jail for Saint Karl's blessings. Corrin volunteered to do a magic show – probably with lots of disappearing coins. Hearne offered to lead a hunt for the court. Roswyn had several commissions, most notably against trolls.
The Ducal Court had heard from several traveling knights that trolls were on the rise in the Janis Plains that spring. Trolls were an infestation that moved from place to place. They had been a pain in the Rakoran Forests just the year prior, though most of the infestations had been wiped out. They had apparently migrated or moved to the Janis Plains, where they would have to be dealt with.
The tales of Hershel's persecution, and the persecution of Meridian Explorations, had spurred the duke and his legal team to write a letter of writ for the company. The details were still being worked out, but Hershel told the assembled company that, essentially, the letter of writ would allow them steer clear of local legal trouble throughout the duchy, provided that Count Torak or the Colonel-Cardinal kept an eye on them when the duke could not. In other words, Merdian Explorations had gotten the official seal of approval from the duke himself, an arch-prelate of Yatindar in his own right.
Hershel pulled Arkhan, Corrin, Greff, and Aeron aside and warned them that the barons might have grudges against them. Only the sons of the barons of River Crown and Palatus had survived their illicit attempts at banditry, and many of the barons had lost honor in the duchy because of what their sons had done. Hershel warned of potential personal grudges against the four ME people that had fought and killed the bandits.
Evening of the 5th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Our session was cut a bit short when Bo was able to visit; Bo, whom has been in China and whom we hadn't seen for too many moons. I appreciate Dave giving in to our wish to visit with Bo after only an hour or so of playing. That hour of playing was interesting, though. It never occurred to me that the company could act as entertainers, so to speak, and give the duke's visitors a royal show. It was a little confusing, though, to have all the members of ME in one place at one time.
All characters have 27,250, and are 11th-level. Level up!
So long, heroic tier! Paragon here I come!