Baron Yorick Ravenswing sat at the Council table trying to enjoy the general quiet and peace of the room. As of late his Ravenwing Hall had been a difficult place to be. He couldn’t count the hours of meetings, reports and rulings that he’d had to make in the wake of the actions of the Gyronnan Cult.
Akiros, Katilyne and Topper had started a witch hunt across Narlmarch looking for any members of the Hag’s cult. In every village and homestead they visited they had brought fear to the locals. In the brutal oppression of a heat wave the Warden’s company had begun to line the Zebulon Pike with hangman’s trees bearing grim fruit. After Akiros had almost attacked Hamish in Hard-by Yorick was forced to send Lizvetta, Regik and Slade to accompany them in an effort to ensure things didn’t get out of hand. Akiros alone was terrifying in his rage but Katilyne herself was equally as ruthless; even Topper was behaving differently. Corbin had started helping his friend investigate the cult but Korrah’s presence had brought Topper to blows with the General’s wife. Corbin, being a Gorumite, hadn’t seen any issue with the conflict nor had his Khellid-born wife but Yorick was determined not to let the whole tragedy become a political mess. People were already scared and the Council was not very cohesive at the moment. Half were off engaged in an inquisition or trying to bring legitimacy to its proceedings, Corbin had taken his wife to train the militia, the Beldame had slipped back to her hut for any number of reasons and Svetlana was by all accounts too sick with her pregnancy to be of much help with Oleg staying with her. Yorick didn’t know where Markoa was but the few reports he’d had from Zhang suggested that she was having issue of her own and Markoa was with her. It all left the leadership a bit fractured.
The rumors of the evidence regarding the Cult of Gyronna discovered by the Warden’s inquest were unnerving enough for Slade’s Company who had all seen some terrifying things in their time but for the smallfolk of Narlmarch it was producing fear and suspicion not seen since the Company of Masks had terrorized the countryside.
Yorick himself was disquieted at hearing the testimony from Brother Gormot, the Pharasman mortician, who revealed a pattern of strange infant deaths, poisonings and switching newborns for corpses long dead but magically preserved. As concerned as that left him the ravens had left him even more disturbed for they began to stare at him and follow him in his dreams. Dark wings and sinister whispers were becoming more common and while they had only appeared in half-remembered dreams as of late there had been moments when the natural expression of his sorcery had moved, whispered and even encroached upon him in his waking hours becoming something faintly more real and more evil. And then there were the faeries themselves. There were more, everywhere. Mostly lights, simple energies, perhaps even low ranking entities but there were more. Just last week a pixie had flown into the hall and announced his presence in Yorick’s demesne referring to him as Marquis. Yorick hadn’t even noticed the incorrect title until the creature had left but further thought left questions in his mind.
Now Yorick was presented with a further complicating if strange problem. The self-styled mayor of Rickety Bridge, Yorthath Cannablytock, stood proudly nearby dressed in an outfit so clashing and bright that Yorick immediately felt a headache forming. He was surrounded by two Narlmarch guard that were stationed in Rickety, four strange giant chickens with long tail feathers marked by an eye at the ends and a wretched shivering sweating bearded man in chains. At first the gnome in his blue and mustard suit, orange and yellow slicked back hair and a orange handlebar mustache large enough to the largest of humans that stuck out a good eight inches from the face had so captured Yorick’s attention that he hadn’t noticed the birds and men at all. Then a few moments of Cannablytock’s pleasant inviting demeanor left Yorick fully appreciating the impromptu visit. That is until the first garish chicken let out a bone jarring cry like a woman’s scream. That is when he noticed the wretched man dumped at his feet. It took Yorick more than a few minutes to recognize Turigar the Orc Hammerer as he lay shivering and delirious clutching a small wooden box to his chest.
Yorthath had talked and talked of finding the man skulking around his inn in Rickety Bridge, of his thefts to buy drugs from passing merchants, of Yorthath’s men and villagers cornering the crazed fellow and bringing him here to Meereover for Yorick to try. The gnome hadn’t even kept the Orc Hammerer’s belongings, what few there were, and further explained that trying to remove the small box was a dangerous task as the once fierce warrior became wildly violent should one try.
Yorick couldn’t miss the implied suggestions of royal appreciation for the self-styled mayor of Rickety Bridge even with the gnome’s eye numbing clothes and the startling loud screeches of his peacocks (Cannablytock had explained what they were) but soon Yorick had just wanted it to be over and done with and Yorthath had left with the somewhat vapid guards and those damnable birds. Turigar had only responded to the gnome’s leaving much less to anything or anyone else with a groan that Yorick couldn’t decided was disappointment or relief before he too was taken to a cell.
It was curious to Yorick that the Followers of the Purifying Flame had been missing for month and suddenly two had were in the dungeons. The elf Evithyan who had turned himself over to Jhod at the Temple of the Elk earlier in the month and now Turigar dragged before him by Yorthath in the most obtuse meeting he’d witnessed.
Unfortunately Yorick didn’t have time to ponder it further or even to take a breath. One of the kobold messengers scampered in and groveled before him to deliver a message.
Oleg reported that Svetlana had died from childbirth the day before leaving Oleg alone with a newborn daughter.
Yorick slumped into his ruling seat and the shadows above shuffled and whispered unintelligible thoughts leaving the Baron feeling that he wanted Lizvetta’s presence here in the empty hall instead of the dark sinister of birds above.