Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Background: The Royal Family Of Elyntia...

King Keeg Ridend (45)
Queen Elisota The White (36)

Keeg Ridend "The Bloody" came to the throne of Elyntia in 2004 at the age of 35, succeeding his uncle, Ater III, whose death by poisoning remains a mystery.

He is a harsh, but he believes fair, taskmaster - demanding the best from his military commanders, advisers etc and not suffering fools gladly.

Keeg's credo - from his reading of the Mnoren sacred texts - is "might is right" and he maintains that as long as the army of Elyntia remains strong, he has the mandate to rule and will earn his room in Ündain when he walks the "Glorified Way After".

A truly martial family, from the dominant House Ridend, Keeg has insisted his children - the twins Castor and Mirabella and his youngest, Ysabella - all received the best combat training available.

In the closing months of The Secession Wars both Castor and Mirabella led units into battle - scoring decisive victories each time and earning the respect of their troops.

While Keeg's children have all taken to the way of the warrior, they all know that their father is constantly looking to make worthwhile matches for them, marriages that can secure important alliances for him.

Queen Elisota is rarely seen at court. Rumours of her mental instability have long circulated, even before her husband became king.

More often than not she can be found in her private garden in the grounds of the, appropriately named, White Tower which has been planted, at her orders, entirely with flowers that bear white blooms.

She believes white is the colour of royalty and her "connection" to the colour is the Mnoren gods telling her that she is their holy champion.

Unsurprisingly, there are also rumours that the king has taken a number of lovers.

Prince Castor (21)
Princess Mirabella (21)
Princess Ysabella (16)

Saturday, 18 April 2015

History: The Secession Wars (2009 - 2011)

The Secession Wars (also known as The Dukes' Rebellion and The Elyntian Civil War) was an intense 30-month conflict centred primarily around the winter capital of Elyntia, Winterhome, although smaller skirmishes spread across large swathes of Northern Elyntia.

Almost exactly 150 years after the end of The Thousand Year War, the Dukes of Kanon and Spartax in the North-West of Elyntia rose up in open rebellion against the King Keeg The Bloody.

Keeg The Bloody
Part of their grievances was the fact that orcs and goblins were still allowed to live in Elyntia; it was only the wilder, more feral clans that had been driven south of The Bright River (the minority orcs remaining in Elyntia were generally peaceful and kept themselves to themselves while the Goblin Market in Canigli is still celebrated the length and breadth of the country).

Neither foolish nor naive enough to strike directly at the capital, Kaerater, the dukes and their barons lay siege to the King's estates in Winterhome, the second city of Elyntia.

Through dark magics and remorseless assaults, throwing wave after wave of troops at Winterhome, the city was razed to the ground with its population reduced to a tenth of its original size, eeking out an existence in the ruins of the once great city.

One of the ironic things about this conflict, given the racial tension that helped spark the war, is that both sides freely used orc and goblin mercenaries in their armies.

Smaller pockets of rebellion popped up across Northern Elyntia during this time, mostly barons sensing that change might be in the air, trying to seize a slice of the pie for themselves or settle personal grudges.

Princess Mirabella riding into battle
In the closing months of the war both Prince Castor and Princess Mirabella, the 18-year-old twin children of King Keeg, led units into battle, winning both decisive victories and the respect of their troops.

Eventually, the Dukes of Kanon and Spartax were slain (rumour has it some of their barons were bribed to change allegiance back to the king) and their rebellion was crushed along with their dreams of their own independent state.

The dukes' heads were paraded through Kaerater on pikes, then left to rot over the entrance gate of Túr Hwit (The White Tower) .

The barons who had stood with the rebellious dukes were called to the capital and forced to march into the palace under the severed heads of the dukes.

There they had to bend the knee to the king and swear new oaths of fealty - with the added threat that should they entertain traitorous thoughts again, not only would they meet the same fate as the dukes, so would every member of their extended families.

The remains of Winterhome today - a barren desert of ruins

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Chapter Fourteen: I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost...

The overgrown trackway to Jerol's Manse - the "haunted house" the party are exploring...

After their mind-boggling adventure in the insanity of the Realm Of The Faerie, Kirchin, Davian and Harry were plagued by strange dreams.

Kirchin was walking the battlefields of his youth, searching for the wounded; Harry realised the man he thought was his father was in fact a cruel slavemaster running an illicit 'cobbling mill', that Harry had torched when making his escape; and Davian remembered a guard dog he had been fond of his youth that had given its life to alert his tribe of an impending orc raid.

Kirchin awoke to himself in the town's chapel, collapsed over the altar with no recollection of how he got there from his bed in the healing house!

Later that day, when the three heroes were dining at The Golden Axe, a young woman burst in and headed straight towards Kirchin.

It was Dayl, a barmaid at The Merry Riot in Dundraville, one of the women the group had rescued from the ogre a month or so earlier.

She explained that one of the sons of Bothwell, the landlord and her emploer, had disappeared and she feared that the ogre had returned.

Kirchin, Davian and Harry agreed to come and help in the search, alerting Holly, Peter Entwhistle and Marigold that they were going.

And soon the six-strong party were on the way to Dundraville.

By the time they got there, Bothwell's other son had admitted that he had 'double dared' his older brother to visit the haunted house in the hills beyond the Skulltop Hillock (where the ogre's lair had been).

The house had once belonged to a famous adventurer, Jerol Of Jirrey, but had fallen into disrepair after he died 40 years ago and no-one had been brave enough to venture there since as - as well as the ogre - they all believed it was haunted.

Guided to the bottom of the trail by the frightened villagers, by the time Cobblethwaite's Companions reached the house it was pitch dark, but they managed to find a trail through the overgrown grass between the manse and its curtain wall.

They followed the trail round to the back of the house, coming to a broken window where a small spot of blood was seen - the boy, Kennet, had cut himself on the glass getting in, making his trail inside easier to follow.

Cautiously they made their through a number of derelict rooms, following Kennet's trail, and calling out to him. Searching one room, a parlor of sorts, Davian found a 6" glass sphere, with a smokey interior, that he immediately wrapped up and put in his backpack.

In the manor house's tower, the group found a collection of old maps, some of which they thought might be worth something, so they pocketed those, but were generally pretty single-minded in their desire to track down the missing child.

A staircase in the tower led into the basement, and there the group found their first clues that Kennet wasn't the only creature in this building - there were a mixture of non-human (possibly monstrous) footprints before the trail disappeared completely.

In a wine cellar, Marigold siphoned off some mead-like substance from one vat labelled "Joy Juice" with the idea that she would study it later and then the party came into a looted armoury, where their attention was drawn to three precious stones embedded in the wall, with a cryptic verse underneath.

Cracking the code, they pressed the stones in the correct order. There was a click and the outline of a concealed door appeared.

To be continued...

  • Davian (Kevin)
  • Harry (Simon)
  • Holly (Erica)
  • Kirchin (Pete)
  • Marigold (Clare)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Prologue To Chapter Fourteen...

Cobblethwaite's Companions (l to r): Charles The Mule, Davian Battlebeard, Kirchin, Harry Cobblethwaite,
Peter Enwhistle (back), Marigold Weaver, Holly (foreground) and Kahl.

Davian wiped the sweat from his brow. He was tired, but satisfied. During the recent cross-river tension with the orcs, the populace of Bendwyn had suddenly decided they needed swords, lots of swords.

But now the matter was resolved and he wanted a pint of Berkclay Bros. stout in The Golden Axe.

As he made his way there, he noticed a throng of townsfolk around the Great Tree and recognised a voice addressing them he hadn't heard in a while.

It was Marius. The Miser, folks called him, although not to his disfigured face. As he drew neared, Davian could make out the hunched, cloaked figure of Marius, flanked by his two servants (or were they slaves?).

He was telling the assembled crowd that after much thought he had decided to shoulder the burden of paying the orc king the monthly blood money that had been agreed.

Davian scowled, his short-lived good mood was at an end. He spat on the road, muttered something about "kowtowing to those no-good green skins" and sped up his pace towards his first pint of the day.

A naturally suspicious character, Davian was sure the usually reclusive Marius had an ulterior motive to his uncharacteristic generosity, but at the moment all the dwarf wanted was a drink.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

What Lies Beneath...

These pictures show the underground workings beneath The Temple Of Healing at the time when Kirchin and his adventuring company, Cobblethwaite's Companions, cleared out the foul necromancer who had set up shop there.

Since then, the villagers of Bendwyn have bandied together to help remove any items of "treasure", as well as all the corpses (who received proper Mnoren burials, officiated by Father Caleb), leaving the rooms and furniture for Kirchin to re-purpose for his re-opened healing centre.

This is where Kirchin and his apprentice Kahl live and part-time nurse Holly comes to work.

Monday, 6 April 2015

A Fixer-Upper...

The Chronicles Of Cidri began with the arrival of the healer Kirchin (and his young apprentice Kahl) in Bendwyn, seeking to reclaim and reopen the temple of healing on the outskirts of the small town.

Here is an artist's impression of the state of the derelict house of healing at that time; you can just make out the old town crypt beneath the temple's floor.

A series of rooms had been constructed off the crypt by a necronmancer who had taken over the temple for his own nefarious ends, and now Kirchin has re-purposed them as accomodation for himself, and his apprentice, as well as additional workspace.
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