Kingmaker Reborn - Session 1

Adeline Châteaufoy hated being here.

The meeting room, known as the Crown Board Room, that the halfling matriarch found herself in was perhaps too opulent for her tastes, but she could appreciate the artistry in the architecture. No, it was the company she was currently with that turned her stomach.

Adeline was seated near the end of the long oval table where each Lord-Executor of the Lurindor territories, including herself, was seated. Her seating was not unexpected. As the leader of the territory that held out the longest from submitting to a unified Lurindor rule (on multiple occasions in Lurindor's long history), it was natural that she was ostracized as she was. Only the tenacity of her clan and the beleaguered halflings of Valderêve allowed the Rochefort territory a seat on Lurindor's Executive Cabinet.

Directly seated across from Adeline was Angrid Harkûr, the dwarven matriarch of Dol Harkûr and leader of the Harkûr Trade Guild. The dwarven city's desire for minimal interaction with the rest of Lurindor and absolute stance on neutrality landed her almost in the same position as Adeline. Although the two agreed on many things, Adeline could not rely on the dwarves as true allies. She knew, and understood, that Angrid would not hesitate to side against her if it meant the continued prosperity of Dol Harkûr.

Seated to her left was Giovanni Biancardi. Adeline actually did not mind Giovanni. Although still another human overlord over her people in the territory of Foycomté, Giovanni was known to actually embrace halfling lifestyle of simple prosperity. However, although he treats the halflings under his rule better than the others, Adeline had no doubt the man was just a profit-driven as the others.

Across from him was Bianca Dinovio of Santo Venito. From what Adeline could discern from her policies, it appeared that Bianca cared for the prosperity of the people living in her demesne just as much she cared for the prosperity of her own house. A nice sentiment if true, but halflings still did not get the same opportunities as others. Adeline suspected it was just a policy that happy customers are buying customers.

Now Enzio Montari, there was the scum that was the poster boy of everything Adeline stood against: a manipulative bastard that openly abuses her fellow halflings in Valdargent, running them practically as slaves in the silver mines, all in the name of profit. He was an enemy for sure.

Maria Sotillini of Mariporta was also a potential enemy. The old woman was tough and uncompromising. She was a true patriot and supporter of the current system. And she had the strongest fighting force in Lurindor at her beck and call.

Adeline knew that Dario Teredoro of Ferrocittà was greedy and ambitious. There had been many rumours of him managing to twist deals and contracts into unfairly favouring himself. Still, perhaps that greed may be of service to her, if she was careful.

Meanwhile, there was Cyrano Varano who controlled the demesne of Blébonté. Adeline knew that the man considered himself a true aristocrat, claiming relations to one of Lurindor's past noble families. While not cruel to his subjects, he had a reputation of being incredibly vain and self-centered, considering the mostly halfling population of Blébonté as his own personal subjects.

And then there was Florenza Regalia. Unlike the others, she controlled no territory. Instead, she was the chief executor of the Trade Regulation Authority, the closest thing that Lurindor has to law and order. As much as the vaunted TRA claims that it is completely neutral, it was no secret that the organization played the game of corporate politics just as much as the others.

Finally, there was the man who Adeline would considered as her primary foe: Niccolo Sovrani. He was not a man to be underestimated. After he had somehow engineered a flawless takeover of the remaining Amiatti assets, Sovrani had become the most powerful man in Lurindor.

And at the head of the table was an empty seat of the Crown-Executor of Lurindor. Once held by Vittoria Amiatti, Sovrani had the good graces to resist sitting there himself, at least until the legal issues to his claiming control of Lurindor were settled.

"The board had gone over your proposal, Lady Adeline," Sovrani declared. "It's certainly very ambitious, and equally interesting. Are you sure these are the terms you wish to agree with? "

"Indeed," Varano drawled. "As I understand it, Rochefort will be footing the entire bill, while the rest of us reap the profits."

"Rochefort will be satisfied with those terms," Adeline replied smoothly.

"What's the catch here, Châteaufoy?" Teredoro asked pointedly. "No one in Lurindor is that generous, not even you."

"No catch, Lord Teredoro. The profits may not be apparent nor immediate, but if the endeavour is successful, the benefits to Rochefort will certainly outweigh the costs. All we desire is complete non-interference from Lurindor in how the endeavour is managed."

"You're up to something, aren't you, Rochefort?" Sotillini accused, glaring at Adeline.

The halfling woman kept her cool. "Everyone is always up to something in Lurindor," she retorted. "Question is, how can you profit from it?" She turned to Sovrani, the question more directed to him.

Niccolo smirked a little. "Despite our questions, the board is close to agreeing to your proposal. There is but one more thing you can do to get us to agree. I think you know what that is."

Adeline knew, just as she knew that despite what he said, only getting Sovrani's agreement would be necessary. She was apprehensive at the thought of it happening, but was comforted by the thought that if all went well, it would not matter.

"It is agreed then," Adeline declared. "The Executive Board will agree to the Viridian Marches project.

"And Rochefort will fully support the Sovrani claim to the Emerald Crown."

Waterday, Asmolan 1st, 108 Age of Reckoning

After several months of preparation, the Lady Adeline Châteaufoy, Lord-Executor of the city of Rochefort, gathered in the grand hall of the Châteaufoy Manor the four parties that have been selected to colonize the Viridian Marches. For one small group among them, getting to this point was no easy path. When all was said and done, only four unique individuals were given the task to form the Evergreen Expedition.

Arina Seta Onda was a young human woman with a dark reputation. Some say she was cursed with misfortune, being practically exiled from the House of Onda. The family that took her in, the Montplaisirs, all died in a terrible fire. It was said that misfortune surrounded her like a dark cloak. She leapt at the chance to be part of the expedition, no matter how dangerous it might be, perhaps to escape the awful memories that laud in Lurindor.

The male kitsune Cethin was out of place everywhere he went. Apparently from a group of wandering kitsune, the young male had apparently set off on his own for his own goals. Considering his natural penchant for tricks and deceit, it was difficult for him to join any expedition other than this one. Though the old adage of "beggars can't be choosers" seemed to apply, Cethin looked like he would fit in with the rest of the misfits that made up the Evergreen Expedition.

Third in the party was the caelephilim Davona. A paladin of Kaï-den, Davona was the youngest to have ever joined the Rochefort Guard, but when word of an expedition was being formed to pacify the Evergreen Plains of its local bandits, she immediately signed up. Apparently, she was really eager to pick a fight with bandits.

Lastly, there was the gnome calling himself Jupus Thane. He was a bit of a mystery, and kept to himself. This did him no favours when trying to join the other expeditions. That, and the smell of sewage that came off him. Still, the gnome was driven. He needed to accomplish something great and renown. Luckily, he managed to find a spot on the Evergreen expedition.

The four were an odd group. They had no support, no backers. They were on their own. They may not have known each other long, each unsure of the others' abilities, but each saw in each others' eyes the same commitment to working together to accomplish their goals.

The Lady Adeline stepped up onto a raised platform, and began to address the crowd. Despite her small stature, years of public speaking, some magically help, allows her

"Brave volunteers, dear friends, honoured dignitaries. I thank you all for answering Rochefort's call. Today marks the beginning in a new chapter of our great city and nation. For too long, our southern border has been plagued with bandits, hostile tribes, and deadly beasts. In the past, we have tried and failed to subdue the wild Viridian Marches, but I truly believe that today's endeavour will meet with everlasting success. With the authority and support of Interim Crown-Executor Niccolo Sovrani, you courageous pioneers will go forth, and bring peace and stability to the Viridian Marches. In return for your efforts, you all will have earned the right to forge your own destinies and fortunes!"

Adeline paused to let the applause and cheers die down. "Let the leader of each expedition please step up here as I announce you."

"The Crimson Falcon Company!"

The first to step forward was Captain Adrianna Falcone, leader of the Crimson Falcon Company, a renown mercenary company with decades of battle experience. Falcone herself was a tall, stern faced woman who marched up with discipline and quiet strength. She was presented with the charter to explore the westernmost region of the Marches: the Ursan Highlands. The Crimson Falcon Company was to pacify the region, most notably the Storm Bear tribes, and to establish diplomatic ties with the cities of Lorthens and Millelames of the Tassimar Reach. The Crimson Falcons were more of a small army than an adventuring group. Within the hall were only a dozen of them, yet these represented only the officers, with the hundred plus soldiers preparing outside.

"The Drelevo Trading Company!"

Next to be called up was Rafael Drelevo. The young man walked up with a bit of a swagger, and accepted the charter with a small smirk. The Drelevo Trading Company was to explore and pacify the Drakethorn Glades, and establish trade routes with the southern regions of Issos and Carpathos. The richly-dressed Drelevo was accompanied by a woman who was even more garishly dressed, and wearing just as much makeup. In her arms was a little dog that yipped at the most inopportuned moment. The woman made no attempt to quiet him, instead just continued to coddle him. Along with her was an older, bearded man in robes and carrying a staff. He kept to himself. In addition, they were served by a large number of servants and assistants as part of Drelevo's entourage. Arina had heard of the Drelevo Trade Company. They were a mid-tier merchant family with ties to Sovrani Syndicate. They had recently fallen on hard times, though. The former head of the company, Rafael's father, had suddenly died in an accident, and the young man had inherited a troubled entreprise. Perhaps the Viridian Marches expedition was his way of escaping his current troubles.

"The Duloup Intrepids!"

The third party to be called up was Theodore Duloup. Cheers far more boisterous than one would expect from a formal affair erupted amongst the crowd, primarily from the halflings. Duloup was a local hero after all, having garnered quite a bit of fame from leading his own adventuring company, and close relationship with the Châteaufoy family. The halfling walked up quite jovially. Whereas Adrianna Falcone looked very much like a soldier, and Rafael Drelevo was dressed in high-class traveling clothes, Theodore wore simpler, but practical clothing, with many different types of tools and weapons hanging on belts and bandoliers. His charter was to explore the easternmost region of the Marches: the Thalamech Uplands, and to pacify the Thalamech centaur tribes by any means.

Finally, the Lady Adeline called forth the Evergreen expedition. Initially unsure who should step forward, the four looked questioningly at each other before it was silently agreed that Arina would represent them. As she walked up, the other parties gave her and the group group some looks. Falcone looked at them dismissively. Rafael looked on with mocking amusement. Theodore, however, looked intrigued.

Adeline presented Arina with her group's charter. She read it out loud, saying: "Be it so known that the bearersof this charter, known as the Evergreen Company, has been charged by the Châteaufoy Trade House, acting upon the greater good and authority vested within them by the office of the Interim-Executor of the Emerald Crown, has granted the right of exploration and travel within the wilderness region known as the Evergreen Plains. Exploration should be limited to an area south of Onestrio's Trade Post down to the Greenbelt River, evetween the edges of the Draketooth Forest to the west, and the edge of the Old Arborfane Forest to the east. The carrier of this charter should also strive against banditry and other unlawful behavior to be encountered. The punishment for unrepentant banditry remains, as always, execution by sword or rope. So witnessed on this 1st day of Asmolan, 108th year of the Age of Reckoning, under watchful eye of the Lord-Executor of Rochefort and authority granted by Lord Niccolo Sovrani, current Interim-Executor of the Emerald Crown."

After Arina accepted the charter, Lady Adeline concluded the gathering by wishing everyone the best of fortunes, and may the gods watch over them all. Bells chimed, signaling the end of the gathering. Servants came out and served some refreshments before people depart. The newly-formed Evergreen Company noticed that Adrianna Falcone has already marched off with her officers.

Jupus had also left, preferring to wait outside. Davona was feeling eager to get on with the mission, and stood waiting at the doorway for the others. Arina and Cethin, however, decided to linger for a few minutes to observe the others and have a few snacks.

As they did, Drelevo approached them to pick up some of the same refreshments. "I had wondered who would be foolish enough to agree to the Evergreen expedition. If this your whole party, you might as well stay home," he commented as he did.

Arina knew that Drelevo came from a high ranking merchant house, but did not take the disaparaging comment lightly. "Thanks for the advice, asshole, but the only thing I'd ever consider taking from you is haircut tips."

Meanwhile, Cethin snuck around to stand behind Drelevo. Using his natural abilities, he quickly shifted into Drelevo's appearance. He then proceeded to silently make funny faces at Drelevo as himself. Drelevo was blissfully unaware of the entire mockery, though some onlooker had to do a double take at the spectacle.

Drelevo laughed at that. "Don't worry, I'll be done with Drakethorn soon enough to take care of your charge for you. So don't feel that your task will remain unfinished," he called after her at her departing back. Arina felt the burden of the comment. It cut deeply, but she kept silent and walking. Drelevo began to turn around to do the same, only to come face to face to Cethin, who quickly reverted to his natural humanoid fox form. Drelevo had to resist from jumping. "Hey fox, your owner is leaving," he mumbled to cover his startledness as he walked off. Cethin couldn't help but grin. He could swear that he felt his ring and patron, Tuck Tootle, laughing along.

Davona joined the two. "If you're both done fooling around, we should be leaving," she said sternly. "I cannot stress how important it is that we leave the city."

Arina looked at her oddly. "Is something the matter? Someone after after you?"

Davona looked around shiftedly. "I don't want my problems to be your problems, but short answer: yes."

As the party was about to leave the hall, Theodore walked up to them. "I saw your little talk with Drelevo there, and it was quite amusing," he said with a friendly smile. "Ignore that spoiled brat. Sale gosse was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I have to commend you all for your bravery. In general, the Evergreen has few riches and too many problems for almost anyone to profit from. I imagine that's why you four have this opportunity, no one else wanted it."

"Well, to be honest, we all just met up recently," Arina said. "It feels like we were all put together at the last moment."

"I don't doubt it, but do believe that this is an opportunity for you. Tell you what, in hopes of starting a good relationship with our two parties, and because I remember how hard it was when I first started out, how about you talk to my quartermaster outside. I'll arrange for him to give you two potions of cure light wounds each. Do you have horses? I'll give you a horse each, fully saddled."

The party was taken aback at the generosity. Their colourful past made them suspicious. "You are too kind, sir," Davona said. "But I must ask why are you being so generous?"

"Well, like I said, you remind me of when I first started out. I know how hard it is, and I hope this gesture of good will will be remembered."

"Do you want something in exchange?" Arina asked.

"Well, if all goes well, we'll be neighbours, and I'd rather have you as an ally than that fop with curly hair," Theodore chuckled. The answer seemed to satisfy the group, and Theodore seemed sincere. They thanked him, and they said their farewells.

The Evergreen Expedition reunited outside the manor. After meeting with the Duloup quartermaster, Theodore proved himself true to his word. Each of the party members received two potions of cure light wounds, and a fully saddled horse. They then set off to Onestrio's Trading Post.

The trip to the trading post took them a day and a half. It was the late afternoon by the time the party arrived at Onestrio's Trading Post. They were greeted at the gates by a tough, middle-aged man. "It's about time you arrived," he bellowed as he led them inside the trade post. "It's about time Rochefort sent you guards down!"

The party looked at each other in confusion. "Um, guards? I think there must be some confusion," Arina said. "We're not guards."

"I was a guard," Davona piped in.

The man stopped in his tracks, and whirled around to the party, confusion on his face as well. "You're not the guards? But I sent in the request days ago! Just what are you doing here, then?"

"We're here on an expedition to explore the region," Davona told him, presenting him their charter.

The man took it, and read it. "Oh gods blast them all!" he shouted, throwing his hands in the air. "I ask for guards, and they send explorers?! What are they thinking?!" He tossed the charter back at them, and stormed off.

"Geez, calm down, buddy," Cethin mumbled.

A middle-aged woman approached them. "Please, lords and ladies, forgive my husband's demeanour," she said. "It is not you he is upset with. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Sabina Lucelli, and that was my husband Onestrio. We are the proprietors of this outpost, and it has been a trying time for us all."

"What seems to be the problem?" Arina asked.

Sabina explained to the Company that years ago, a powerful man known only as the Stag Lord rose to power, and beat all the bandits of the Evergreen Plains into serving under him. Although the bandits left them alone for a while, six months ago, Stag Lord bandits came to the trading post to take their goods and money. Since then, they have always arrived during the first week of each month.

The party debated among themselves on how to proceed. Davona was eager to stop these bandits. They agreed that stopping these bandits when the come for their next take would be the best course of action. Sabina sighed in relief. She told them that if they are successful, she'd be happy to have them use the trading posts services for free.

The party sought out Onestrio for more information. He tells them that the first two months, the bandits numbered about a dozen, led by a vicious woman by the name of Ravenna. Starting four months ago, the bandit group reduced to eight, and only Ravenna's second, a rough man named Vico, led them. Onestrio suspects that since they offered no threat and were easy pickings, the bandits have gotten lax, as only six bandits started showing up two months ago.

The trading post would serve as an excellent base to rest and resupply as they explore the region. They began planning an ambush for when the bandits next arrive.

The next day, Cethin had his fox familiar scout the surrounding area. It was not long before it noticed a half-dozen riders on horseback heading towards the trading post. The fox rushed back to Cethin, and alerted him of their incoming visitors.

The Evergreen Company moved into position. Arina ducked into a cart set up in the middle of the market yard. Cethin and Jupus set themselves up on the rampart surrounding the trading post. Davona placed herself near the gates, ready to close it and bar it with a wooden beam. As discussed, Onestrio would be in the middle of the market yard, pretending to work on the cart's wheel, hammering away to mask any sounds the party would make. When the bandits arrive, he would lead them deeper into the trading post. Sabina would stay safe in their home.

Six men rode through the open gates of the trading post at a casual pace. They were obviously very relaxed, chatting and joking among themselves. They did not notice the hiding Evergreen Company at all. Coming to a stop, they dismounted from their horses. A rough-looking man with a goatee, wearing a distinctive green cloakstrode ahead of them.

"Onestrio! Time for our usual business!" Vico called out. Onestrio stood up, and glared at the man, but Vico only smirked. "Come on, now. Don't make that face! Just show us the goods, and we don't have to play."

Vico's men chuckled. Onestrio grumbled, but led them to the storehouse. Two of the bandits sat down at the nearby long table, while the rest followed Vico to help carry the goods. Onestrio opened the door to the storehouse and stepped a few feet back.

"Speaking of play, where's that pretty little wife of yours? We could a little pick-me-up before we head back!" Vico remarked as he headed into the storehouse. His men laughed at that. Onestrio was furious and nervous, but stayed calm.

That was when the party attacked.

Davona rushed to the gates, and slammed them shut, dropping the wooden across them. Lying prone on the ramparts, Cethin shot his crossbow at one of the bandits sitting at the tables, delivering a direct hit. Arina stood up in the cart, and stabbed at one of the bandits standing right next to it. As soon as the attack began, Onestrio ran to his house and locked the door behind him.

"We're under attack?!" one of the bandits cried out in surprise.

"What's going on out here?!" Vico bellowed, stomping out of the storehouse. However, as soon as he stepped out, Jupus made his attack. From the ramparts, the gnome fired a trip arrow at the leader. The arrow split upon impact, wrapped around Vico's feet, causing him to fall.

Now the battle was in full swing. The bandits recovered from their surprise, and unslung their longbows, while Vico struggled to free himself from the trip arrow.

After securing the gates, Davona equipped her shield and drew her sword, and charged at the bandits. However, the bandits saw her and fired their bows first. Davona's armor protected from much of the damage, but one arrow slipped through her armor's gaps into her shoulder, badly crippling it. The paladin fought through the intense pain, and continued her attack, cutting through the scrambling bandits.

Arina leapt out of the cart to engage the bandits in melee.

Davona was struck by another painful blow as another deeply pierced her other shoulder. She could feel herself fading, but sheer determination kept her on her feet, still in the fight.

While Cethin hopped down into the yard, Jupus leapt from the rampart onto the roof of the stables. From there, he tried sniping Vico, but the bandit leader's armor absorbed all of the damage from the gnome's small arrows.

The bandits scrambled around the trading post yard, firing their longbows at their attackers. However, with blood streaming down from her splint mail, Davona charged at the bandits, slashing and harrying them. One by one, bandits were cut down. One of them panicked, and tried to flee, but took a crossbow bolt in the back by Cethin.

Vico tried to rally his remaining bandits, and managed to inflict grievous wounds to Jupus. However, the Evergreen party was relentless. They closed in onto Vico, and cut him down.

When the dust settled, all of the bandits were on the ground, unconscious and bleeding out. "So, we're all good now, right?" Davona gasped. She was wobbly on her feet, and her lower half of her body was drenched with her own blood. "Great, I'm just going to fall unconscious now." And the paladin collapsed to the ground.

"I don't know about you folk, but I feel great!" Cethin quipped, walking around the cart from where he took cover. The kitsune was untouched.

Jupus shook his head as he gingerly climbed down from the stable's roof. He held back any smart remark as he accepted Cethin's healing magic. He then proceeded to stabilize the bandits. He almost lost the last one, fumbling around with the man's wounds. Fortunately, the bandit managed to stabilize on his own. "Er, yeah, I totally did that," Jupus said, his hands drenched with the man's blood.

After putting all the unconscious bandits in one spot, the party tended to their wounds, and debated what to do with them.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License