Kingmaker - As the Ravens Gather

Arodus 4710

The warm summer month of Erastus brings wonderful weather and bolsters the mood and productivity of the city and territory of Meeroever.

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Rova 4710

The warm sultry weather of Arodus changed into the windy and perfect weather of Rova as trees began to change and rains swept the Kamelands. During the Harvest Festival to Erastil on the autumnal equinox hosted by the new Temple of the Stag a large number of freefolk from throughout the Greenbelt surprised the new leaders of Meereover by bowing knee to Baron Yorick and vowing vassalage to him.

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Lamashan 4710
Events: As the colder weather started to creep in and the leaves began to fall the Kamelands began to become rainier and foggier as the Narlmarch Forest shed its great amass of color and became bare. Hunters and trappers left their summer haunts and moved to their cabins or left the wilds to winter in boarding houses and inns across the Greenbelt. The barony of Meereover grew and so did its problems. Those that had come to the wild began to see it disappear under roads and farmsteads, villages and merchants were the order of the day. Baron Yorick began to find that ruling was far more complex than he had imagined as hunter and farmer began to come to argue and fight over one issue and another. Meereover was prosperous with a new gold mine discovered but its stability shaken by a new government laying its roots. More trouble still, as the nights began to grow cold and the first frost touched the windows of Stag Castle there came to the Baron and his compatriots rumors from far south of troll sightings beyond the Tuskwater south. Unfortunately, embroiled as they were with kingdom building they could do little but make note of it.
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Neth 4710

The Greenbelt isn’t so green anymore. Frost during the night is commonplace and flurries of snow drift down from the Lake of Mists and Veils in Brevoy heralding the coming snows. The Tuskwater steams in the dawn as its depths churn readying for winter. Baron Yorick struggles to maintain control of Meereover as its claims stretch farther north so in order to get a grip on his rulership the baron forgoes building this month. The first heavy snows pile on the Greenbelt’s lands late Neth as the new settlers’ gossip over hot cider and crackling fires about their new lord and whether Meereover will become another here-today-gone-tomorrow fiefdom common in the River Kingdoms. It’s not unsettling to the people here, not yet at least. They simply shrug and drink remembering that in the River Kingdoms one can only rely on oneself.

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Kuthona 4710

Freezing wind and drifts of snow harried the citizen’s of the new kingdom. The settlers huddled around Oleg’s Trading Post in their wagons and tents were heartened when the workers from Meereover appeared from the south bring the road to Oleg’s. Hard work surveying and helping the workers allowed those frozen folk to move into their own homes in what was officially declared the town of Olegton (by Oleg) by Baron Yorick’s proclamation. Down along the Thorn River that growled from chunks of crashing ice tumbling along it the farms that had battled iron thorns and persistent insects found themselves terrorized once again by bandits. Shipments of supplies and resources going to Olegton disappeared and Baron Yorick’s control of the situation proved inadequate this month. The year ended, as the citizens of Oleg gathered in the post and sang and danced about the bonfire and ate the communal feast celebrating the Yuletide farmers along the Thorn River huddled for warmth against the cold. Their wood and food stores stolen or low and their safety jeopardized.

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Abadius 4711

The new year began with the Thorn River still being plagued by banditry that was so pervasive it dominated the road from Olegton to Kressle’s Crossing. Rumors suggested that Happs Bydon might be responsible given his hate for Brother Zero and the baron’s confidant Markoa. The fears of the Stag Lord’s return were whispered all along the Thorn and even up into Olegton. The baron still wasn’t able to contain the problem but had a stronger hand with the kingdom as a whole. Many thought that it was the only thing that kept Meereover from going bankrupt from the bandit’s losses. Still, even with supplies and capital being seriously waylaid Olegton completed a new stable of fine horses. In the spring Oleg insists that the paddocks would stretch to the horizon and supply the coming caravans with the finest horses in the River Kingdoms. Still yet amazing was the news that the kobolds of the Shrike River had come to some agreement with the baron and allowed a road to be blazed through the snow buried hills and for homesteaders to settle and farm. They even revealed mushroom farms in some of the hidden caves that they started to harvest for Meereover’s consumption. The citizen began to think that the Rivers Freedom of You Have What You Hold seemed to suggest that the bandits might just become the new lords of this latest River Kingdom failure.
Some thoughts from the Leadership
Councilor Oleg Leveton – Folks are becomin’ worried Yorick. The word is grim on these bandits and many are startin’ to see you not lastin’ the winter. The Sootscales as allies?! They’re kobolds! They an’ their kind were raiding these lands for years afore you came. Can you trust ‘em?
Otherwise me town’s doing well. People are happy and even given the weather there’s a visitor or two from Rostland and Brevoy. I’ve never seen that. Svetlana sends her love to you all and says that when the weather’s good you should visit Olegton and see what we’ve built.

Grand Diplomat Kesten Garess – Well Baron Yorick I haven’t had much to do but I warn you this. When winter ends and the word of the exploits that The Brother’s Heroes have done here and your barony’s mere existance will give the River Kingdoms to the south and southwest reason to spy and meddle in your affairs. Pitax and Mivon especially. I know little of them ‘cepting that Mivon was settled by disgruntled Rostlander Aldori Swordlords who fled the Conquerer’s forces and Pitax…well, Pitax was always a bandit’s haven and even with Lord Irovetti’s control I wager the scum have just burrowed deeper. I hope you’ve plans to deal with them and be strong enough to quell their thoughts of scooping up the Greenbelt for their own. Talk to Corbin, I hear in the halls that he’s picking fights with the servants, he’s so eager to battle.

High Priest Jhod Kavken of Erastil – It was hard coming here from the temple. The forest is pretty snowed over and the bandits tried to waylay me but Deadeye taught them a valuable lesson about the weakness of Erastil’s acolytes.
Yorick, my friend, the communities in your realm need your strength to stabilize them. The Stag Lord has faith in you, Baron. I am sure of it. Pray to Erastil and I am sure that as you cleansed His house He will cleanse yours.

Grand Magister of the Deeper Mysteries Topper Red – That’s my title. Like it? What? No no, my students are learning lots of lessons. No, not ALL of them are ladies! Really Yorick! I AM taking this seriously! I have a student who has a lot of skill at dancing; she used to work at one of the places in Pitax that used to love. Her Swans That Weep for Their Lovers is breathtaking. Hmmm? Awwwww, COME ON my lord, nudity is absolutely necessity!

Warden Akiros Ismort – Red you’re an idiot.
Baron, the castle guards are close to my expectations and Meereover has continuous patrols. If you wish you could let me go after those bandits. Pardon my saying so milord but if it were me I wouldn’t have let this fiasco get this far much less let this popinjay play magus.
Sorry Baron. I misspeak. I assure you that Meereover is secure and you are safe.

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Calistril 4711

The cold biting winds slipped fast and unheeded through the emptiness of Numeria’s barren landscape. Snow from the ground danced with it for a pace but the wind took no lovers to the dance and soon dropped the snow upon the ice. It met the Narlmarches and spiraled above and over the thick forest. Bare limbs and evergreens found their tops teased and tossed like hoodless hair before the wind moved on and descended with a fury upon the Kamelands. The wind bit and tore at the cloaks and coats of the bandits as they fought their way to the edge of the forest. Sprays of blood thickened in the air to freeze upon whatever it touched as the screams of soldier and brigand alike were ripped from blue lips and silenced by the wind. Heedless of the wind Corbin of Gorum plowed through the drifts and dead grinning and shouting with lust for the battle. Men on both sides hacked with numb hands and pressed on with feet bearing black toes either desperate to reach the thick boughs of the forest or to end this before the forest was reached. Markoa’s arrows enraged the wind, flying and striking true regardless of the wind’s rage. Many were torn from their path but enough found blood enough for the wind and Happs Bydon to curse the marksman. Looking on from a stand of fir the bandit leader swore quietly and twisted his reins in a fury. His archers useless and that Gorumite’s inhuman visage delighting in the battle had turned his ambush against him. One of his scouts had just reported that the traitor Ismort was leading a small mounted force in a rear attack. Bydon had no choice. He sent word by mouth to retreat and turned his horse and fled into the forest. He’s lost too many to do anything more this winter. Plowing through the snow leaving the wind to her feast of screams and the snow to turn red Bydon rode for Numeria. He had enough of Meereover’s wealth to recruit in the spring and return to avenge himself and Kressel and claim a kingdom.
In late Calistril, regardless of the cold and ice a curious delegation arrived at Meereover bundled in so many layers of fur that outlying farmers and patrols that came alongside to follow thought them dwarves. Imagine the surprise of the new nobility and commoners of Meereover when the thick covers dropped with a heavy thud and thirty members of the Sootscale tribe of kobolds stood as bravely as they could behind their Chief. Castle guards moved to lower their spears while crowds within the audience chamber muttered indignation at the mere idea of such creatures being present or tended to ladies of gentle bearing needing support and air. The Chief suddenly strode forward flanked by two other kobolds of obvious importance causing blades to fly from scabbards and shouts of anger and concern to drown out the screams of the less bold. In the face of spears, swords, and quarrels the Chief strode to the Baron’s chair his feathers and totems fluttering as he moved. Yorick’s hand rose to still his guards and the defiant Chief looked up at Yorick with a calm and pride that was not evident in the ranks of kobolds behind him and lay a scrimshawed bear skull, painted and decorated with feather and fur, at his feet kneeling as he did so. Stunned silence filled the room as the Chief said, in obviously much practiced clipped Common,
“Sootscale come to Ze’oYo’ikLand to swear obey and aid. Sootscale serve and made strong.”
“SO BE IT!” he shouted in Draconic.
“SO BE IT!” shouted all the kobolds in the room as they placed crystals and ore upon the ground of the audience hall.
Then with a bow the Chief turned and accepted his coverings from the Shaman and FirstScout as the rest of the band covered and made its way out of Castle Stag. It was minutes before the audience could speak and seemingly minutes for the news to travel to Olegton. Yorick sat back silent as people talked around him feeling that maybe he had finally gotten a hold of being a leader.
“…no, no Tany, I agree this would make a very interesting interpretive dance. I already have a rhyming scheme in mind for the poem. Let’s go to my chamber and practice some of your positions for the dance…”,Yorick heard Topper saying as he passed.
There was still work to be done however.

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Pharast 4711

The latest heavy snows swept in from the north again leaving the Greenbelt blanketed in even more snow than could be remembered. When the storm passed the days proved sunny and not as frigid as usual. Sleighs and sleds could be seen around Olegton and Meereover being used by everyone from merchants to children. The absence of the bandits was felt be everyone lending a feeling more important than peace, trust. Baron Yorick had seen a difficult time and dealt with it handily. In Olegton a group of six young boys sledding down one of the hills outside the town stopped as they each became aware of the team of oxen pulling a large Varisian wagon through the snow. The wagon was, like those of its kind, brightly colored once but had faded and its banners and pinions were torn and tattered as they fluttered in the wind. It was not the wagon far distant from its origin that stopped the boys’ activity but the riders that sat on the seat, peered out the small window and hung out the open top half of the rear door. They were women who seemed happy at seeing Olegton at last, women who laughed and sang a bawdy song together. Women, who, the boys noted, wore very open dresses and had smiles that seemed to be only for each boy. Almost as a whole the lads cheered back and raced with their cheap plank sleds in hand to catch up with the amazing wagon and it’s even more amazing occupants.

“Come on guys let’s see if they need help unloading. Perhaps there will some sort of reward!”, cried one lad.

“Josah! You’re too young, go home!”

“No way! They’re pretty!”

The boys laughed at the young boy and ran through the snow. Their small town had just gotten more interesting they were sure even if most of them weren’t entirely sure why.
So intent were the boys that they did not see the rider many paces behind the wagon riding a massive destrier that plowed through the show. His dark cloak pulled close around his body as much for heat as to obscure his features. This new barony interested the Dragonscale Throne and its claims upon the South Rostland Road troubled the Surtovas and the man was sent to listen and inquire. He had already seen surveyors on the road leagues previous and that concerned him but he wouldn’t judge too quickly. He had months to compile a report and would make sure that it was a very complete accounting of this “Baron” Yorick and Brother Zero and his band. He would discover what the Rostlanders were up to, as the stars see all, and see his lord full informed.

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Gozran 4711

Isha Thornhill swept the threshold of her home in the side of a hill under a large holly. The halfling woman took a deep breath and look out across what would be her family’s new farm. Snow lay in large drifts where the storm a few days ago had piled it in large drifts where it could, drifts that her boys and girls were rolling themselves down. The last two days had been wonderfully warm with sun and a nice breeze from the south. Her children were becoming brown and caked with mud from the bottom of the knoll where the runoff had been churned to soup. They would not be coming in without a bath, as the stars shine, Isha thought. Her husband was with many of the men from the area cutting ice and tapping trees. Erastil be stunned but the Sooter shaman had been right and even now a group of the noxious creatures were helping the men with the understanding they would be rewarded with a portion of ice and sugar. Isha still couldn’t wrap her head around kobolds as neighbors. She hadn’t seen them much, to be sure, Balva said that they hated the cold but they were out there and their trinkets and stones were worth making winter clothes for them in exchange. Isla stopped and leaned on her broom looking out across this new homestead of her family’s. She thought of the long road she and Balva had walked. Their separate escapes from Cheliax hiding in holes and tunnels praying that the Hellknights would not find them, the caravans trapped together in crates for days with little meal or drink. If Balva hadn’t been in there with her Isha doubted that she would have survived. The years moving on foot through the River Kingdoms with the halfling children that they had taken in had gotten more desperate with each passing season. Balva had heard of this new kingdom and the offer by the Rostlanders to loan a stake to any settlers to move here. Well, there was nothing left to either of them to do but succeed; the alternative was only to seek Pharasma’s judgment. Isha sighed and glanced downward. There nestled against the frame of the door several croci buds stood surrounded by a thin crust of snow pushed aside by the blooming plant. Isha felt heartened by the sign and with the Sooter shaman’s prediction of an earlier thaw Balva had already purchased their seed. Isha breathed deep and relaxed in the cool fresh air and felt the warm sun on her face. The smell of bread caught her nose and she dashed inside to pull the ovenpot out of the fire. Isha felt hope for this new land since moving here.

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Desnus 4711

Olegton flourished and was again busy with spring swarms of caravans and biting insects. Olegton was filled with traders and guards making deals and enjoying the tents filled with makeshift taverns. Outdoor firepits roasted a variety of meats and onions and potatoes left over from the winter cellars. By the end of the month wagons from the south rolled in with spring crops and livestock ready for market. Along the main street of the town wagons, oxen, horses and livestock slurped through the mud while people walked along wide planks laid out along the sides of the street for people. Women wearing very flimsy dresses hung out of The Elf’s Bedroom smiling, laughing, calling down to or trading provocative innuendo with men who passed along the street.

Hawkers, tinkers, town guard, Numerian tribesmen, Rostlanders, mercenaries, Issians, pickpockets; the streets were filled with color and noise and smells that threatened to overwhelm the visitor but the winner of that contest was the smell of horses that drifted from the stables to the north. Oleg himself could be seen riding the corrals looking over the stock and making deals with merchants regarding shoeing and feeding. The Grand Magister Topper Red sitting amongst a large group of partiers weaving tales of his fellow lords and their exploits in the Greenbelt or presenting his apprentice, a young pretty man with a fiddle that could slip a contractual loophole past Asmodeus.

Let us race down the Zebulon Pike. Farms scattered near to the road and small local taverns slipped by. Hamlets with names like Spider Hollow, Rickety Bridge and Kressel’s Crossing whisked by with numerous farms, ranches and small businesses. Travelers can be seen at many points along the road going about their business or enjoying warm days after a very hard winter. Meereover guards, skittish kobolds pulling carts, the odd tinker with his noisy wagon, local human farmers moving from farm to farm, halfling settlers in hoods from more remote farms, perhaps a group of gnomish explorers headed to more remote locations or, if one was lucky, a dwarf or elf from who knows where seeking lost places from their races’ histories.

If one takes the path from Rickety Bridge into the Narlmarch Forest the brave and prepared will find their hours of travel coming upon the Skunk River that leads them to a small town at a crossing in the usually deep river. Stands of felled trees and the sight of a mill pond greet you as you come upon tents and a lumber mill. The mill is new with a river stone foundation and fresh wood timbers. Its waterwheel creaks slightly louder than the saws inside cutting seasoned wood into planks. Men move all about at work lining proposed roads with stones, hitching oxen teams to drag logs, rolling lumber from wagons from the forest, some talking with an energetic man at a rough table issuing orders, laughing, and often pitching to help with the work. Loy Resbin seems to be a man respected and liked by everyone in the village. His wife, Latricia, can be seen being just as much a leader and a surrogate mother to boot. Scolding the men, baking and preparing a lunch, listening to their stories, writing letters for the many who cannot read or write; she brings heart to this forest village. Together the couple was creating a village in the depths of the woods. Why earlier in the month a group of Gozran worshippers approached the group and offered to join their very small hamlet with Tatzlford in order to guide the lumberjacks in more acceptable forestry. Loy felt sure that this was going to be a successful partnership with Baron Ravenwing.

But enough of Tatzlford, let us again work our way out of the forest to Meereover, the capitol of the Nameless Kingdom, as many called it. The city was growing slowly but with the Tuskwater now ice free the locals were out in their carrocks and small boats catching crabs and fish to eat. Gulls circled the water’s edge but avoided the city given the large numbers of ravens that had arrived with the spring. The baron had sought to buy ravens to free within the city but with the spring the black birds and their calls and guano arrived on their own and settled in. The most gathered about the Tower of Ravens on Castle Stag on its nooks and crannies and perches rendering the tower rarely quiet. In the city could be heard the criers and minstrels proclaiming the laws and good news of the Nameless Kingdom promoting positive regard among the smallfolk. Especially well regarded was the news that a festival would be given and the gossip was furious as excited nobles and commoners alike wondered what it would be. It was truly spring in more than just in the season but also in the hearts of the people and it seemed as though the Nameless Kingdom and Baron Yorick Ravenwing was destined for greatness.

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