Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Unexpected Plot Twist: The Return Of Peter Entwhistle...

Captain Dexter Hammerhand
It is now early July, about three weeks since the "stand-off at Fort Bright" was resolved and the threat to Bendwyn was lifted.

Kirchin and Harry had been at the fort, having answered the summons of Captain Hammerhand, while Marigold had returned home to prepare her parents for the worst - or possible evacuation (as Kirchin had suggested).

Imogen had run away, leaving her father heart-broken, and Davian had locked himself away in his forge, trying to get his business up-and-running again.

Before heading to the fort, Kirchin and Marigold had discussed their hopes that the orcs would soon fall back on their old ways, turn on each other and their shaky alliance would collapse, but neither was wholly convinced that this would necessarily happen any time soon.

"Humans, eh?" Harry had scoffed, earning himself twin glares from both Captain Dexter Hammerhand and Kirchin, but before anyone could speak again a thunderous sound rent the air as a bright light lit the sky.

The trio made for one of the watch towers and Kirchin soon wished he had possession of Davian's "spyglass" to get a better view of what was occurring on the far side of the Bright.

It appeared the orcish hordes had pulled back from the river bank and later he would learn that the light and sound show signaled the arrival of the mighty sorcerer Revoreesh along with Bendwyn's own wizard, Peter Entwhistle.

Some time passed, then a flock of black birds arose from the midst of the orc horde and headed north (this, Peter would explain, was a traveling spell of Revoreesh's own devising).

Harry, Hammerhand and Kirchin were all equally puzzled as to what was going on until it became clear that the orcs were breaking camp and heading back into Tanander.

Peter Entwhistle was left on the bank of The Bright River for the ferryman to collect and transport back to civilization.

Entwhistle was grinning from ear-to-ear when he was met on the nearside of the river by Harry, Hammerhand and Kirchin, as if he had negotaited the peace treaty himself.

He hadn't, he quickly revealed. Revoreesh had struck a deal with King Hoknath that Bendwyn would pay 100 silver dollars a month - for a year - to Hoknath as blood money for the orcs slain by "whoever". In return the orcs would continue to respect the boundary agreed at the end of The Thousand Year War.

On the first of each month, the $100 would be handed to Aberswyth The Merchant, who would meet a representative of the town at the ferry crossing, and he would deliver the money to Hoknath.

However, if a payment was missed, the orcs would return and extract the money in blood and flesh from the inhabitants of Fort Bright and Bendwyn.


Later, in the warmth of The Golden Axe, Peter explained that he had been attending the annual Wizards Conclave at The Tower of Revoreesh, which lies in the foothills of the Gargoyle Mountains.

The Yellow King
As well as studying the Marvelous Golden Automaton of Omohundro - a mechanical man capable of playing chess and musical instruments (Harry wasn't sure if he was impressed or annoyed by this idea) - the small gathering of wizards had pored over the prophecies of Ja'rodidymus that suggested The Yellow King would be "rising" soon.

The Yellow King, Peter explained, was believed to be a dark avatar of Sateb (the god of the afterlife who judges a soul's worthiness), that ancient, near-forgotten, legends said was imprisoned in a shadow of Purgatory called Croatoa.

The legends stated that the impossibly strong magical forces restraining The Yellow King prevented him from setting foot on Cidri, and so Entwhistle wasn't particularly bothered by the prophecies of his return... except for one detail.

A single quatrain in Ja'rodidymus's text spoke of a "conjoined maiden, hag and mother creating a vessel" that would carry The Yellow King from the shores of Croatoa to the realm of men.
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