Kingmaker - As the Ravens Gather

Gozran 4712

Turigar looked out the window wrapped in his own arms against a chill that did not exist. His eyes were red-rimmed and darted back and forth searching although, if the subject of his search had appeared, his eyes would not have been able to see through the blurry haze of pain from his gut and head. The Orc Hammerer looked wretched shivering at the window looking out for his friends who were long gone and not likely to save him now.

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Pharast 4712

Logane stood at the narrow counter looking out over the crowd as his hands shined his shield of their own accord. The place was a brewery with its large brass kettle and huge wooden fermenting tanks dominating the large open space. A wall of hay bales separated the works from the sales but the smell of yeast and fermentation pervaded everything. Logane and his friends were headed to the Worldwound by way of Mendev. There was important work to be done there, by Sarenrae; purification that needed to occur. That was Logane’s reason for going. That was Logane’s reason for existing which is why he didn’t join his friends in their particular kinds of escape from what was to come in the near future.

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The letter

Pushing the heavy wooden door open, Slade glared about the room. “Tyrol!”

The halfling, startled, almost tipped backward out of his chair, but managed to stop the backward tilt with a toe to the underside of the desk. Easing the chair quietly to the ground, he tried to manage a smile “Yes, milord?”

“I need writing supplies, a quill and ink, and some sealing wax.”

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Calistril 4712

“Bees?!” Svetlana Leveton looked at her husband as if he had gone mad.

“Yes bees, woman.” Oleg punctuated his statement with his soup spoon adding bits of dumpling and carrot to the argument for good measure. “They will make Olegton even more money.”

“I just don’t see how bees are going to help,” Svetlana settled into her chair and began to dip into her third bowl. “At least now I know why you had all those boxes shipped in from Silverhall. How many bees are you going to have?”

“Bunches of them to create enough to trade honey, wax and go in with Lucien for some mead.” Oleg watched as Svetlana tucked into yet another bowl of stew. How she ate so much, pregnant or not, left him dumbfounded. He stood and cleared his own bowl.

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Abadius 4712

The new year’s cold settled upon the Stolen Lands bitter and cruel. The heavy snows of the end of Kuthona made way for days of sharp freezing winds or still bitter days of impotent bright sunlight. Travel along the Zebulon Pike, the Forest Road, the “Kobold” Road and all the rough paths and roads all but disappeared. The Tuskwater froze over and a strange village of ice fishing sheds sprang up off shore.

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Kuthona 4711
Snow swirled around the legs of Topper Red as he stood in the middle of the Thorn River camp. The large drifts of snow obscured a great deal of the site but Topper recognized it regardless. It was now officially part of the barony and he was there to scout it for Yorick. He was also there because he had needed something to do. Winter meant that he saw little of Perlivash and none of Tyg-Titter-Tut and he felt very alone. Of course he could gather innumerable numbers of people around him when he wanted for whatever escapades he desired but since the incident with the Gyronnan witch he was a different man now. He knew that now, it had taken him a while and he had come close to killing himself but Perlivash had entertained him and kept him company and never really given him the opportunity to settle into the pain and horrors of what had befallen him.
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Neth 4711

Elder Hamish exited the brush line above his property and stopped to lean against a boulder. Snow and ice caked his furs and skins making him look like an emaciated bear awoken early. His old wolfhound friend Dirge stepped out next to him and lay down in the snow to escape some of the wind. Hard-by-the-Rapids looked as peaceful as it generally was to live in. Gray and white smoke rose from chimneys throughout the town to be caught in the wind and blown away. There weren’t many sounds to be heard or movement to be seen, it was too cold and the Kamelands threatened to dump more snow and turn even uglier before night fell. Hamish had been out doing some gathering before getting ready to hunker down in his cabin for a few days. He took this time to appreciate his small hamlet and thank Erastil that it remained a good village of people. They had just been informed that Meereover had officially claimed the area as its own. Their warden had ridden in with his men and made announcements like some popinjay, like he already owned the place. Hamish snorted out a sharp fog of breath at the memory that caused Dirge to look up in curiosity. That Ismort fellow had looked a bit shocked when Hamish had thrown a “poppycock” in his face and called a town meeting to discuss, pray and vote on the issue. It had been a long night of arguments and concerns but the consensus after the speeches and voting had been to join the Dukedom of Narlmarch as long as the Six River Freedoms were upheld; that no lordling would come changing things and that Erastil remained the god of Hardby. It had been a fair vote and Hamish had blessed it in the name of the Stag Lord but he also had doubts. The bigger these kingdoms and towns grew the more that the people who lived there were forgotten, the harder it was for folks to take care of their own; and that was before all the other vices entered into the picture. Right now Hardby was a good home with good folk but how soon before he wouldn’t recognize it, he thought.

Hamish looked down for a while more watching the specks of folk ending their day. Homes gathering some of their wood indoors, a group of children enjoying a last sled run before dark, a few men folk leaving and travelers entering The Rapids Tavern before the snow became too heavy. The constant low roar of the rapids and the occasional cry of a far off wolf was part of the town every evening. By the time Hamish had started for his cabin by the church and the communal fields it had already begun to grow dark.

Heph Baldinssonn took a deep breath and looked around his new weaponsmithy and released a gout of condensation into the freezing air but the young man took no heed. In fact the Ulfan youth stripped bare-chested and began to prepare the forge to be lit, reciting a prayer to Gorum with every shovel of coal or pump of the bellows so that in no time steam rose from his skin before smoke even rose from the coals. By the time sweat was pouring off his face and arms while heat and a flaring glow shimmered from the forge Heph was already pounding a purified piece of steel as he prayed to Gorum. As the dawn rose the completed sharpened blade was finished with prayers etched with Heph’s best work, and stained by the popped blisters in his hands. It was razor sharp and with a final prayer to the Lord in Iron Heph stood and embedded the dagger into the frame of the new building right in the central support beam over the forge. Heph’s body was soaked with sweat that caused his unruly braided shoulder-length reddish-blonde hair to stick to his face. His hairy chest heaved as he gasped for the cold air away from the forge and by the time he had redressed, buried the live coals in ash, and locked up his new store he had recovered and for the first time since immigrating to the River Kingdoms from Mendev on his own he felt sure about his future.

The militia marched down the main street of Meereover to the gates of Castle Stag when a pleased duke and a beaming proud general stood and waited. The militia looked homespun but they functioned perfectly and Corbin could tell that Korrah was satisfied as her unit marched and handled their weapons expertly. Corbin already knew from inspecting them that they could cause some real damage. It was the effect on the people of Meereover that made Yorick happy. He could hear the applause and see more and more of the populace came out into the brisk cold air on this feebly sunny day to watch as their first armed unit showed them a hint of what they were capable of. After the minimal damage caused by the enraged owlbear had been cleaned up it had been the militia that had patrolled the area and started a visit to all the villages connected by the Zebulon Pike displaying their ability and looking for issues to help with. They had ended here in Meereover to a display that the Duke hoped would inspire a sense of safety and the General hoped that it would be the beginning of a true army worthy of the blessing of Gorum.
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Heavy on the Brow

Pushing the stupid pot back from his forehead, Duke Yorick walked quickly up the stairs. Once out of view of his subjects, he removed the crown and rubbed at his temples. Why did it have to be so uncomfortable? Slade had explained that by their nature, crowns were front-heavy, but surely some more effective design had been worked out over the centuries.

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Spy vs Spy

The svelte Tian woman sits at her desk frowning over reports from her Shadows. “This doesn’t make any sense!” she exasperatedly breathes, massaging her temples with her delicate fingers. “Grigori can’t be in both Meeroever and Tatzlford at the same time.” Sigh. “The kobolds in the radish patches can’t be threatening to secede and join the fey. And this part about rumors of The Baron and The Witch?” She lowers her head to the desk and thumps it with her fist several times. “What the fuck is going on?”

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Conspiracy

Crack! The sound of the slap was loud enough to draw Prog’s attention outside to the windows high above him. Prog chuckled and moved along the wall patrol.

“Oww! Lizvetta, what was that for?” exclaimed Yorick rubbing his reddened face.

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