HÂRN

Happened in the previous episodes...

I'm just starting to play this game which is proving to be more interesting than I thought it would be, if that can be said about one pre-game and one game session. My character is a squire, called Tempus Bartyne.
Henrik's part of the long introduction to Harn is over...he did it out of duty. Bral and Tempus helped. It was but a simple task of solving a quarrel. The riddle was successfully solved.
Bral's job was similar, but he did it because he was asked to. In this Henrik and Tempus helped him. He had to find a matching pair of a clasp (in secrecy, without telling anyone) for a friend. Running around Kaldor was not that much fun, I tell you...particularly when you're wounded. But the would-be marriage which this fooling around was to save was saved, thanks to Bral's ingenuity.
Now is Tempus's turn, which he does because he was ordered to!;) He is to kill a man, an enemy of the Bartyne family. Bral and Henrik help him. It is not that simple. No doubt there are larger things looming in the background.
Cynan, the man mentioned above, wasn't killed, but Tempus recovered the things he was to recover, anyway. He has a quite a collection of scars because of the duel with Cynan (first blood). Bral is getting them, too, but not for the same reasons...
On a pilgrimage, accompanied by Ars Lesa, a squire who is more or less Tempus' responsibility to teach. Therefore the travel is filled with lots of discussions about various subjects. Bral's repentance requires further study. He'll have no secrets from Tempus!;)
The trip was illuminating, if nothing else. For once Tempus would admit that the Church is onto something (in his thoughts, not openly...). Naturally the Church is right in any case, thing or matter, if you ask Tempus...he hasn't a heretical bone in his body, no sir!;)
Trying to help Henrik to solve a murder mystery. Even with the help of Bral and Ars this matter went to hell. Henrik has a moral hangover of some sort because of this - refuses to even drink ale!
Tempus is to take the tithe to his family's Lord, the Earl of Qualdris (who is MIA) and swear the oath of fealty for his family. Accompanied by Bral and Henrik. Money was received and stolen in Tashal. After recovering from the robbery Tempus with the help of the abovementioned friends tries to recover that money - the whole thing seems to be a losing proposition. Next character sheet!;)
Money recovered - 2/3 of it - 1/3 secured as a loan. Somebody had got that money from the fellow who stole it in the first place and promised to deliver us 2/3 if we but kill the original thief's three comrades. After long discussions about how to go about this Bral had a moral fit because we did kill those three according to instructions to recover that money. Their horses were sold/are pawns for the rest of the "missing" money. It took us a month to get to this point...mainly because of Bral's objections...let it never be said that Tempus is not considerate!;) To Tempus the cause would have been just with or without the kind of incentive mentioned above. His first two kills...life felt a bit surreal after that. But anyway...the tithe was delivered, the oath was made and the Earl suddenly turned up. We would like to hear where he has been and what has he done. That is a story for another session. For some reason I think that the GM felt like he was sitting on hot coals or otherwise desperate for the last three sessions of the game!;)

The three of us have been knighted and we got a job. So far we have had it relatively easy...no disastrous moves have been made by us that we know of!;) Escorting three members of the Miner's Guild into and out of the Taelda territory went rather easily, although Baron of Nenda may not be pleased with the results. But we are not telling - no doubt somebody does. Hopefully this somebody is not a certain squire who was under Tempus' tutelage (damage control due to a very loose tongued miner apprentice).
The Chelebin Tournament is on, and we are there, too (we being Bral, Tempus, our boss (Sir Coreth of Lothlar), our boss's boss (Earl of Vemion), and lots of other related personages). Being a showcase of chivalry, we have pissed off just one other household. No doubt everything will be resolved peacefully. Man, that Earl's daughter is really something!:)
The Tournament is over...and we ended up with various degrees of injuries. Bral won two of his jousts plus a helm as a ransom and due to his injuries in the third duel missed the rest of the fun. Tempus, likewise, won two of his duels and lost the third - and ended up in a field hospital due to his injuries from which he took about a month to recover. The rest of our gang lost the fight with the aforementioned household.

Jonas has joined us. Let us see if he is a man worthy of being a knight.:) Bral's cousin of a priest got himself killed. This led Bral to a rampage which ended in a small village and most of its inhabitants going up in smoke with a little help from a small party of knights and clergy (they were heretics or pagans - anyway, they killed Bral's cousin and they got that coming to them). At least that is what he tells us. Naughty boy, that Bral.:)

The King is dead. We three were sent by the Earl's daughter to assassinate the message deliverer of the news (one of King's Guards) who was sent by the Chancellor to Tashal. This we did - although in hind sight the kill was unnecessary, since the message was the only thing that mattered (a letter). The Chancellor himself died in an assassination on the way to Tashal. The current situation is that there is no heir apparent named, but there's no lack of pretenders to the throne. You can guess where we go from here...if you don't, I have two words for you: civil war. Bral was "assigned" to some clerical duties. That's what you get when you write proclamations.:)

We have been assigned to a mission of intelligence gathering of sorts...for about one year we are to travel around Kaldor and find out about as much as we can about as much as we can. Preferably without raising any suspicions. Our boss (Earl of Vemion) has provided us with lots of stuff. So off we go in some awful weather - it is winter, after all.
Our first target was a mine. Naturally all that we figured out will be reported. We had our first chance to test our cover story of wandering mercenaries/fighters/wrestlers there. Due to bad weather we spent some time there before heading for Nubeth (whose Baron had a quite an interest in the mine). There we had opportunities to further test our cover, not to mention gather intelligence. We are spending some days there before heading for our as of yet undetermined next target. Wrestling earned us quite some money as well as street credibility. Oh, yes...some forms of diversions can be quite pleasant. The things we must do to avoid being eavesdropped while exchanging information with our local contacts! For some reason this contact (a stable boy) was miffed with Tempus after this - his girl friend was not (he really should have been alone like he told us...this would not have happened otherwise). Jonas entertained people with sleight of hand tricks and found out some information which until then we weren't privy to, in addition to wrestling. Our engineer - Nilosh - did his job...scouting, talking with our contact, and wrestling. Tempus made sweet love, and wrestled, too. We all do our part in this hard line of work.

Checking out Byce after dropping off Jason's servant in Qualdris. Off to visit some locals with the Byce manor lord when we happened upon a corpse, which was then delivered to Torret and eventually to Qualdris. We got in with the corpse, and later secured our way to Kobing with the same corpse - who happened to be a nephew of Baron of Kobe. Oh, well. On a more positive note Jason's servant happened to hit his head on some blunt instrument and while (probably) unconscious hanged himself far away from any reasonable place for him to be at that time and in that weather. Still, what Nilosh did wrong with a certain servant of female persuasion remains a puzzling mystery probably for all ages thanks to untimely disturbances.

Spring comes along at a pace, and we enter Kobing. We do what we think we can do to find out various thing about various activities concerning various individuals by various different methods. Nilosh probably accidentally found out the local sport club (aka brothel), Jason did something with his tricks, and Tempus chatted away with the other inn keeper. The session came to end with a wrestling match which is sure to harden our body, if not our spirits...the aftermath of this introduced us to an accountant who accidentally lost some piece of paper to Tempus. Next episode: we are on our way to...some other place.

We managed to worm our way back to Byce, just in time for the end of spring festival and general decandence after recovering from beatings in Kobing for four days. There our first report was made and while awaiting further instructions we practiced our sword play acting. We even managed to get as far as Hutop before we found out how we were tracked and who our tracker was (what he looked like - not who he is). A minor feint and we don't have to worry about him for a day, at least. Back to Hutop for some more intelligence gathering.

Spending a few days in Hutop resulted in a few things: we managed to get back our tag-along and Jason managed to mess his things up enough to get to know the local bad boys in the local sheriff's eyes - although that reputation seems to be limited to his entourage, only. So we have contacts of sorts here, now.
The next place where we didn't spend all that much time loitering around was the very same place where the King died. No spies here, not much to deduce. Off to more hospitable areas.

We managed to help an ungrateful person to get rid of spies on our way to Ternua. And almost get our favourite discreet follower (i.e. another spy) trapped. Well, his movements are hindered for a while, anyway. We heard some rumours about Kobing. Now that Ternua is more or less checked out, we head for Tashal in a roundabout way. Probably.

Tashal was a place of headache, especially after we had the misfortune to meet Henrik again, not to mention our so-called voluntary help in an affair of his. It involved - to nobody's surprise - a female, a marriage, and an inconvenience. It was resolved in Kath part of Harn, southwest of Tashal (the Salt Route) resulting in a cost of few lives and wounds. The couple took off to somewhere, and we took off to Tashal.

Anyway, up North. Bidow-Gardiren-Yeged-Olokand. Move along, nothing to see.

Bidow Keep yielded some tidbits as to the doings of some mercenaries (?) and the Earl of Neph. Having a cousin in your debt may prove to be useful in the future. There were some things transferred here and there, these things belonged to the usual category of weaponries and supplies - destination unknown. Well, we'll find out or not. Baseta calls.

The crops near the river valley could be declared as a lost cause due to a disease. Life won't be easy around there for some time. In addition to that there seems to be another source of problem, which manifests itself with killed stock and peasantry, plus burned households. In other words a rogue group of somebodies were rampaging around. The Baseta Constable blamed the Taelda. The Taelda blamed the Kaldorians. We (Tempus, that is) blamed Curo. Futile attempts at trying to catch the rascals at it. A few days later a letter arrived in which the Earl of Vemion said Conwan Elendsa was declared the King - except that the Earl of Neph objected to the matter with an ultimatum stating that Maldan Harabor should be declared as the King and taking the nobles present as prisoners. Hostages should be offered in order to free the nobles...which in our side would be Lady Sybil.

Hence a plan to abduct the heir apparent and his wife - who were visiting in Setrew - was executed, along with a truly crippling number of the said Baron's household members. The job was done despite some mishaps. While fleeing, the clumsy heir managed to cause some injuries, of which the most severe were to his wife. Off to Baseta, some cosmetic modifications to the couple after medical checks, and right after to the lands of the Taelda. The intent was to bargain a place to keep these hostages due to services rendered to the said Taelda village. Negotiations were successful.

After this we returned to Baseta and took off to Tashal. There was a heavy guard in Olokand examining and asking questions related to the kidnapped couple. Naturally, we knew nothing of this. Couple of days passed by before we arrived in Tashal, which looked for all intents and purposes as a city under siege. The would be Earl of Vemion and Lady Sybil greeted us after we cleaned up, received our reports. News of the kidnapped couple were greeted with enthusiasm by Altur who immediately started building castles in the clouds, to be brought down by Lady Sybil. A nocturnal negotiation with the advisors resulted in our next mission: to inform Curo and Maldan of the abduction and ask for release of the held hostages in exchange for the lives of the couple, preferably delivered without a possibility of tracing.

Bleh.

Well...we managed to do even that, with the help of an assailant who did manage to stay alive in the effort of his group to rob us. Which lead to the release of the nobles, and other problems stemming from that. Apparently one of the Earl's advisors advised him that handing us over to Curo and Maldan would be a good idea. Couple of the advisor's men were to detain us, which was foiled by Lady Sybil, leading to the four of us escaping from Tashal. We made it to the relative safety of the Earl of Osel, where Lady Sybil has a sister, by the way. So...here we sit for an undetermined amount of time.

The undetermined time ended way too soon. We ended up securing a mine, that was eventually lost, and then regained, with various amounts of bloodshed in between. A chance encounter in the surrounding areas of the mine yielded a Pagaelin woman and a boy child that were sent to Qualdris. Like that would not be action enough, there was a skirmish between the forces of Vemion and Osel. I hope the three we behind ears noble youngbloods we were saddled with learned something - one of them died at the river where the forces clashed. The skirmish was part of the mine thing mentioned above. Due to injuries received in the skirmish Tempus was transported away in a carriage heading for Qualdris after the event.

After recovering from the injuries Jason, Nilosh, and Tempus were given a different kind of mission: to join up with the Pagaelin Chieftain whose male offspring we apparently rescued (see above). With them we were to hit and run various places within the control of Vemion. Eventually we proceeded to do just that: robbing tax collectors, looting cattle, destroying a mine...all kinds of stuff that gets people really irritated. That is not to say that we made friends with all the members of the Chieftain's clan - and we did not. Eventually this fact ended up for all intents and purposes seriously harming the said clan.
During this time Tempus was coaching the Chieftain for something bigger, Jason and Nilosh made themselves popular. Jason managed to find something interesting when he was visiting a monastery that was not that far away from us, in the south east of Kaldor. It would be reported further. Also, while Jason was making his rounds in the villages nearby he managed to get us involved in a rescue mission of a lady in waiting - she was on the run and the posse looking for him warned populace not to get involved with her...she was a dangerous witch, according to them. Well, Tempus must learn to minimize his aura to nothing, some day...he attracts too much attention and is too memorable among the Vemionshire folk, at least. Anyway, we managed to get her to the safety of the Pagaelin camp. As luck would have it, the said camp came under attack the very next day by Kaldorians. The only way this would have happened is that the people who were guarding intentionally let them, and some of the guards were people with hostile intents toward us three. In the end, the four of us (Jason, Nilosh, Tempus, and the lady in waiting) managed to escape, as well as some of the clan.
In time we made it to Qualdris where the lady in waiting told the audience there the news she had found out and that had lead her to flee. This would lead to other things, among them the return of Bral, and the introduction of some new faces. It was revealed that there was a third party involved in this Kaldorian struggle, that was doing its part to maintain status quo among all parties involved - there would be no advance without a subsequent loss somewhere along the line. Nothing would change, in fact, in this power struggle. Therefore it was decided that a party would be sent out to recover the only thing that might solve the deadlock: the lost sword of Kaldorian Kings. Tempus - naturally - would lead this party. You can be sure that nobody asked his opinion about this. ;p

So...off we go. There are two things taking place at the same time here: one is Bral's seeking out support for his philosophical approach to the common Kaldorian religious beliefs, and another is looking for clues to the sword mentioned above. The former is more or less a cover story for searching for the sword, as far as Tempus is concerned. Our first stop on this journey is a nunnery, where one of the members of the said place had a dream of sorts, which would be later revealed to concern iron and the near-by iron mine. Much to Tempus' chagrin and Bral's amusement there was a treasure trove of iron hidden in an abandoned house within the nunnery's lands. It was to head to some undisclosed place by some third party (identity currently unknown), but we managed to intercept and claim the iron before this happened. The discovery was reported to the local authorities who would later negotiate a settlement satisfying the concerned authorities.

The next step would take us to the remote places of Kaldorian east. There was a monastery that Bral was to visit, and that appeared to be under some sort of a curse. There was much bloodshed, among them Aeruas getting punctured by an arrow meant for Bral, most likely. We probably did not provide nothing but some sort of moral comfort with our weaponry during this stay, and we can not be sure that the case was eventually solved...but there seemed to be a closure of some kind for this affair. It had something to do with the ruins in a cave deep in the forest. Snake statues and whatnot. Ancient practices of forbidden beliefs and that kind of stuff.

Visiting a sword chapter house. This place provides some clues to the sword we seek: and image in the window and the story of a relative of one of the persons who had the keys to the treasure chamber where the sword was held before it disappeared. And another opportunity for Bral to seek support. We would end up searching for something that was lost in a wagon to a Pagaelin ambush...the wagon and other stuff carried in itself were not that important. What was hidden in the wagon, however, was. We managed to find out the location, visit the place to a hail of stones thrown at us from above cliffs, extract what was needed, and escape. There is a lone Pagaelin tied to a tree there somewhere...could be still there.

Another week, another dwelling place of religious people. Some of us have been in the neighbourhood before, though.
This time we are asked to find a relic that was lost in a very wet and swampy place called "Who in their right mind would go there, and what for?". Well, we do and all because Bral needs the support of this place in his epic battle against another faction. We manage to buy a boat from one person who would be willing to even take us where we intended to go. Meh. Anyway, running around wetlands, trying to find something somewhere, stumbling upon something somewhere and taking it along with us while decidedly unfriendly locals try to prevent it along with the help of the local aquatic life forms. Bleh. We brought whatever we took along the way to the monastery, in the end. Apparently, what the people there wanted us to find we did find, though it was not what we thought it would be, originally. No more adventures in swamplands, please!

The latest monastery place to visit results in a closed room mystery and Bral being attacked. Eventually the mystery is solved while Bral is recovering from his wounds enough to travel. It gives him time to chat with the local important people to support his cause. The culprits were two persons and the final clue was found in the nearby town and money lenders there. The story they told was interesting in itself, though the reasons were rather mundane. They were taken off to wait for sentencing.

It is time for Bral to talk to the Bishop...all the other travels in monasteries and the like were in preparation to this, getting more influence to help the Bishop make up his mind. The Bishop offered the both parties (Bral and his opponent) a task: tell what was happening with a certain person who was having some vivid dreams. While this was taking place, Jason discovered that the other party (Bral's opponents - the Brotherhood of Divine Light) had assigned an assassin to take care of Bral - and subsequently, probably Aeruas, as well.
The Brotherhood's representative explained the dreams as something that will affect the whole belief system negatively unless people adopt their way of thinking. Bral explained the dreams as the person's uncertainty over his future. All in all the Bishop seems to be more inclined to see things Bral's way, although he did not close doors to the Brotherhood's way of thinking, either. After this, quickly leaving the Bishop's place and heading to Qualdris. On the way we met the assassin with a bunch of hires who were dispatched apart from one of the hires. He was taken along with us to the local authorities.

Back to the sword business. Another volunteer mission for Qualdris, this time taking us to Thay, with an occasional skirmish along the way. The time there yielded some interesting tidbits concerning various things, that in turn resulted us traveling to Cherafir for further study of the said tidbits, among other things.
Not enough money to travel further, so asked Qualdris to provide some more money...this will take time. And in that time Jason and Gath — who were serving as bouncers in a local pub — got into trouble with some shady organisation with an affinity for black cats. Rescue mission, launch!

Rescue mission consisted mainly of us doing what we were already doing to pass time, with the exception of information gathering, some rough handling of informants, and the like. Eventually, Aeruas got some funeral business, and we all got some of our own when Jason and Gath turned up with the latter being considerably less healthier than the former. The business Aeruas was conducting yielded some money and Gath's would be funeral will consume some.

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