Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 64

In Leupthia, negotiations about the surrender of Usdar and the governor has started as the city is being besieged by Acidus and his forces. Horacio prepares his reclaimation of the wizard house Lacerta and secures a good income by confiscating weapons and armor from surrendered legionnaires and having captain Scaurus trade them to the pantorians to the north. Charon and Thriatos meanwhile embarks on a quest to find the illusive Book of Unlife - a legendary text on necromancy - of which they learn a copy was in the hands of a coven of necromancers working for consul Quadrata in Usdar and another might have been held by the city's Temple. It appears the city must fall before they can continue their line of inquiry any further.

After two weeks the three mages learn a proposal has been made in which the governor and his advisors, accompanied by the remaining legionnaires, should be allowed to leave unmolested for Sarinia in return for handing over the city of Usdar. They are invited to a meeting to discuss the proposal alongside Acidus, Celena dux of Neddam, spymaster Jonius and lieutenant Tyras. While a governor in exile may always remain a threat the council sees greater dangers in refusing the proposal as this could cause further unrest among the governor's loyalists. The seneschals suggest their servant Mergus could infiltrate the governor's entourage and remain close to him to stop him should he ever consider returning. Also, they are quite keen to capture lord Jorian to question about the events at the estate which almost lead to their death by execution but without any real claims for doing so the rest of the council is unwilling to risk the governor refusing their response. Thus the matter is settled and a positive response is sent back to Usdar.

A few days prior to the official signing of a peace treaty the senechals are visited by Pater accompanied by Silus, the seneschal of consul Callissios. Silus reveals he has obtained evidence that lord Jorian had staged the murder at the estate to frame the seneschals from scrying in the past. Pater claims that this might be reason enough to capture Jorian but suggests thay wait until the treaty is signed to avoid any political reprecussions.

The signing of the treaty is made in front of the gates of Usdar with two armies watching each other. Acidus and governor Rubaros accompanied by a few aides meet in an open tent and signs the document for all to see. As the treaty forces both Rubaros and grandmaster Marcia to renounce their posts Acidus now claims the title of governor while Horacio might style himself grandmaster. When Rubaros' army prepares to leave lieutenant Tyras arrives to arrest lord Jorian for plotting against Acidus and his companions. Unwilling to risk their safe passage Jorian recieve no support from his allies and are taken away to the dungeons of Neddam with the three seneschals watching from a distance, content.

With the city made safe Horacio, Charon and Thriatos return to Usdar where they make themselves at home. Horacio immediately makes himself a leading figure in the city by lending mercenaries to the city guard and keeping himself informed of events in the city while lettling in as the grandmaster of Lacerta. Charon and Thriatos are given generous quarters in the building and after Horacio has assured the members of the house no harm will come to them for supporting the governor as long as they stay loyal to him thing starts to settle back to normal. With Horacio getting stuck in administrative work Charon and Thriatos resume their search for the Book of Unlife but finds the city's templars have left with the governor along with their possessions. Searching the wizard house they do find notes from the house's necromancers suggesting a secret chamber. Unable to find it they ask Horacio for help and, having been part of the group of necromancers he can tell where it is, but not how to open it. Charon and Thriatos quickly begin to research the door's wardings to unlock it.
While it takes them the better part of the day they finally succeed and find dark stairs leading down. They hurry down to explore before anyone discovers their success and come across an old laboratory. Charon believes a shape is lurking in the darkness and to their great surprise consul Quadrata turns around and welcomes them to her circle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 63

In the city of Lao-Din the remains of the undead horde is already falling appart without their leader and Gamaral ensures those who are still standing return to Zhengdi, ending the invasion. Returning to the city the undead and the seneschals meet with grandmaster Kanadir who is very distraught by the number of mages killed in the fighting but grateful that the castle wasn't taken by the undead. No one thinks this to be a good time to tell him of Karachen's return so they simply say their good byes and head back towards Sunn.

A marginally more friendly reception greets them there: the general concensus is they all did what was expected of them - no more, no less. Thus everything returns to business as usuall, although with a slightly uneasy feeling in the air.

The following weeks are less dramatic but not without adventure. The expedition sent to Sarinia returns with good news, sparking an expansion of their business. Geb travels to Lao-Din to attempt to expand their network there while the others set about recruiting lots of people to exploit this possibility. Less good news comes from Rutgar who lets them know that crimelord Dardalion seems to have both survived and returned to claim his part of the city. While Rutgar wants to muscle him out Azela offer to solve the problem if the dwarf can only supply her with the location of Dardalion.

While the criminals get to work other news arrive: due to unrest in the province of Leupthia to the south (wonder what might be happening there?) smugglers have arrived in Godara selling imperial weapons and armor. There's real profit to be made and Zantana decides to jump to it - the fact that the imperials won't be very pleased doesn't bother her at all. Amoros is, after all, quite a long way off.

Its a lucky streak when Rutgar's men finally can deliver some information on Dardalion. The name is a front used by a local nobleman whose sister has great influence in the city, so Azela prepares a stealthy approach. The following morning the man is found dead - an arrow to his head - and neither city guard nor Dardalion's thugs are any wiser as to who committed the deed. The confusion is enough for Rutgar to again secure his grip over the city's underworld.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 62: The Siege of Neddam, episode 3

With two giant towers reaching the city fighting erupts on the wall. Archers, mages and a summoned demon prevents them from advancing but meanwhile the enemy have sent their giant elementals to pound at the city gates, which are close to breaking.

With a lucky hit Thriatos shatters one of the chains holding the drawbridge for one of the towers, sending many soldiers to their deaths and preventing more from reinforcing. However, Charon gets injured by an arrow and despite the best efforts of Horacio to prevent it the gates are smashed open and soldiers charge the waiting defenders. With the battle on the walls less critical, Thriatos hurry down to help.

While Charon commands Jamal to pull out the arrow (equally brave to any feat seen in the battle, to be sure) Horacio and the soldiers still on the wall manage to push back the supporting mages gathered outside the walls, improving the chances for the defenders down below. As Thriatos reaches the battleground at the gate he finds himself to close for comfort and after attempting pyromancy under pressure he is forced to withdraw to extinguish his smoldering clothes and heal some bad burns. The battle hangs in the balance when a distant war cry is suddently heard above the sounds of battle. Horacio quickly recognize the mao battle chant and the attack against the city quickly withdrawn to form a defensive line as an army of natives pour out on the grassland from the jungles.

Having suffered considerable losses the defenders hurriedly barricade the gate while Charon, Horacio and Thriatos hurry around the city to meet up with grandmaster Acidus, who accompanies the mao army. The grandmaster explains they had been watching the battle for some time, awaiting an appropriate time to join the battle. With the legionnaires tired from the fighting his troops now have orders to keep them busy until night time at which point they will attack. Still want to be part of the action, the three mages decides to gather a small force to sneak in to the enemy camp after the fighting has started for some pillage and plunder.

As darkness falls over the combatants the chanting of the day is replaced by the sounds of battle. With the mao charge the legionnaires have only a small detachment to watch the city and the mages and their small entourage of volontary fighters manage to sneak past and into the enemy camp. Facing a few soldiers these are quickly silenced and the raiding party grab what they can and head back into the city before any reinforcements arrive.

Before the night is over the word reaches them that the battle is won. Surrounded by the numerically superior natives and with their supplies cut off the legionnaires have agreed to surrender after having failed to break the opposing lines. While the city is relieved the situation is quite tense. Many have lost relatives on both sides in the battle and the victory will certainly see a power shift from the imperials to the native population in the time to come. This is not something that troubles Acidus, who seem confident the province will soon be in his hands and without much bloodshed as his opponent is closed off inland with no good route for supplies or reinforcements. Thanking them for their efforts in the siege he grants Charon, Horacio and Thriatos a palace within the city of Neddam and place the Resources of the wizard house to their disposal. While not officially in power yet he also grants them the title of councillors in his new government and promise to give Horacio the title of grandmaster of Lacerta once the city of Usdar is in his hands.