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"Second Son of a Second Son" - An Aquerra Story Hour (*finally* Updated 04/19)


Moderator Emeritus
Here we go again, kids!

Some of you may have followed by "Out of the Frying Pan" Aquerra story hour, and others may have wanted to, but were daunted by the length - so here we have a brand new Aquerra story hour that you can get in on right from the beginning and many ways this will likely be a lot more indicative of what Aquerra campaigns are like than the last one was . . .

The player characters are:

You can click on the names above to see their page on the Aquerra wiki. As the players create/update their pages, I will add links to their names as well. Throughout this story hour you will see various names, places and terms linked - these will be to pages on the wiki. I will continue to use footnotes to describe mechanical details of events in the game, but will use direct links to give expository info. As usual, you won't need to read any of this stuff to enjoy the story, it will just be there for those who are interested.

Click Here to download the "Second Son of a Second Son" Campaign Guide PDF, which I gave out to the players before we had the stat draft to determine the characters' ability scores.

It laid out the basic guidelines for character creation for the campaign, an overview of the politics of the area (as everyone would be playing young petty nobles), and touched on some of the new house rules we would be using like influence and reputation (which were adapted from the "A Game of Thrones" d20 game.

As the game begins everyone is second level, but has 0 XP (meaning they will be at 2nd level longer).

For a different view on the events of the this campaign, check out: Bleys' Journal and/or The Prayers of Timotheus Smith

For an index of updates to this story hour check out the Second Son of a Second Son - Story Hour page on the aquerra wiki

One last thing: Since the story hour and the campaign will be pretty much in step with each other, while I am happy to entertain question or even speculation - I would appreciate that if people recognize elements of NPCs from. . . let's say a current Dungeon Adventure path (;)) that they stay mum about it. . . Thanks!
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Moderator Emeritus

Anulem, the 14th of Sek – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

“How long are we going to wait? You heard his cry…” Laarus said to the others. The priest of Ra’s horse snorted and stepped back and forth. He patted its neck to calm it, the scales of his armor clinking as he leaned forward. His fine tight-fighting travel clothes were soaked with mud, rain and perspiration; several drops of which rolled down his prominent hawk-like nose.

It was mid-afternoon and they were on horseback before the crumbling front wall of a flooded ruined keep. The swamp was humid, and the steely clouds threatened rain.

“We cannot just charge in there…” Timotheus said.

“Charging in there is exactly what we should do,” Laarus replied overly loud. The lizardman atop the gatehouse tower broke off his conversation with Markos to call a warning into the keep that the adventurers might be charging in.

“We plan to do no such thing,” Markos called up to the guard. He then looked to his companions, worry in his blue eyes. “Right?” It was clear he was uncomfortable on a horse. Markos was a small man with a thin frame. Like the rest of his companions he was splattered with mud and muck, and the crags in his sun-baked skin were filled with dirt.

“Would someone care to go for a ride?” Bleys the Aubergine asked, turning his horse towards the north. He wore a deep purple cloak in a style that suggested the more traditional watch-mage robes that he eschewed. It was held on by three golden chain broaches and was laid over a bright crimson shirt. He had long black hair.

“I do not believe this is the time for that…” Victoria began. She lost much of her womanly shape in her scale mail, and bore a spear so long, she could rest the butt on the ground while she was still astride her horse. Her dark hair was shorter than that of Bleys, and she had a simple beauty that was washed away by the shadow of the nose-guard of her basinet.

“We may be forbidden to enter the keep, but thought we might get a better look at its dimensions by riding around it,” Bleys replied quietly.

The chatter was broken by another agonizing cry from within the keep. Laarus Raymer of Ra did not hesitate, and drawing his flail he spurred his horse. But Bleys reached out and grabbed the reins of the priest’s horse.

“Be not a fool! They are prepared for a charge! At the very least let us go around,” the watch-mage said.

“Then go around!” Laarus replied sternly. Bleys could see a blue-black vein pulsing under the too pale skin of the priest’s head and let go. Laarus charged in, calling on Ra to bless their coming battle. Victoria and her mount charged right in after him.

Past the gatehouse, the inner keep was a mess of broken walls. Pools of stagnant water collected on the uneven ground, and seeped out where stone had sunken into the loam. There was a stone building lacking a roof in the center of what was once a great courtyard, but the wall that once stood behind it was now piles of rocks in a great pool of green water being fed by countless little streams from all directions.

Victoria reared up at a thickly woven straw mat over fifteen feet to a side laying in the middle of the courtyard, not far from the broken wall that led into the roofless building. Two lizardfolk, wearing long smocks of cured brown leather stood at each side of the ten-foot gap, hissing and brandishing machetes. They were dark green and mottled with brown, and had low thick crests on their heads.

Laarus charged on and as the thatched mat gave way beneath his horse’s front hooves it reared up and whinnied in dismay. The animal kicked it forelegs and spun itself frantically, while Laarus held on desperately, trying to retain control. At least he had not ridden into the pit that the mat, now askew, had obscured.

“Going around will give them a chance to kill Sir Quintus! Charge!” Markos said as he spurred his horse to follow the others. Timotheus was right behind him, yelling, “Sir Quintus! Shout as loud as you can so we know where you are!” Valerius went with them.

Bleys looked to Telémahkos. The son of Briareus had not made a move to follow the others. He met the watch-mage’s glance and nervously pulled at some loose blond strands sticking out from his old-fashioned helmet. He wore a chain shirt and leather greaves, and had a white tunic with the coat of arms of House Briareus on it. He grabbed at the lance in the leather holster on the side of his light warhorse.

“Shall we go around?” Bleys the Aubergine asked his companion, gesturing over to the north side of the keep. Telémahkos nodded, so the watch-mage turned his horse and led the way carefully through one of the broader streams and around the crumbling outer tower.

The lizardman atop the gatehouse tower let out a violent set of barks and hisses towards the stone building. He had moved over to look into the ruined keep and saw Timotheus come bursting into the courtyard, while Markos hung back near the gatehouse.

“Chok’tem! It is not too late to reveal Sir Quintus! We can still parley and no blood need be shed!” Markos called.

“They have me in here!” came a strained voice from the stone building. “They have me in here! Just don’t kill them!”

Approach,” Victoria said to the lizardman atop the tower, divine authority in her voice. The lizardman climbed over the crumbling wall and hanging there for a moment jumped, landing painfully on one leg that collapsed beneath his weight.

Timotheus rode right up to the entrance to the building (avoiding the thatched straw cover on the ground) and could see the corner of some kind of wooden cage, but an uneven brick wall obscured most of it. There was a narrow stream running into a pool collecting in one corner of the structure and a rotting wooden door acted as a kind of footbridge.

The lizardman on the right grabbed at Tim, and as the tall man shifted in his saddle to avoid being grappled, his horse was spooked and reared. Timotheus landed on his hands and knees, spinning at the last minute to avoid hurting himself. The horse snorted and turned, taking off for the center of the courtyard again. Markos moved his horse over and grabbed the creature’s reins to calm it and keep it from riding off into a bog. “Chok’tem, it is not too late! Bring him forth!”

“You have broken your word!” came the lizardman’s voice in his breathy broken Common. He was inside the stone building, beside the wooden cage. “Why should we believe? Retreat now! Leave! And then no bloodshed!”
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Moderator Emeritus
Gold Roger said:
That's quite a start, I'm eager for more.

Well, I have the first three sessions written up, and we play the fourth session a week from today. I hope to keep caught up in writing them.

I plan to update about twice a week until the updates are caught up with real time, and then we'll see how often they come from there (probably three times every two weeks).

Gold Roger said:
By the way, will the RBDM board return at some point or have you given up on it?

The RBDM club has been moved from my old boards because of all the tech issues we kept having. Unfortunately, its new location means we cannot have public areas of the board. . . well, kind of. . .


Moderator Emeritus
Session #1: “A Party at Sluetelot” (part 1 of 3) (1)

As the drunken haze that was mistaken for a corona of glory about the sigils of their Houses faded away with morning, word came of the great disaster in the City of the Spices. All the people of Thricia were united in their horror and sympathy at the event, and it seemed a poor time for these minor houses to announce the creation of their adventuring charter, and their quest for riches and notoriety…. But not one of the Houses wanted to be the first to suggest delaying or canceling the agreement, but what was to be an event worthy of a great banquet and ostentatious party became humbler and humbler, and fewer people could be expected to take part for fear of appearing disrespectful.

Most people see what is now being called “the God-king’s Cold Revenge” as an ill-omen of a bad time coming, but in her great speech from the steps of the High Temple of Isis, the Margrave said that Thricia was to go on as it always had. So when she heard of the charter, she openly encouraged it in court and declared she would be sending “the young sons and daughters of Thricia a gift to aid them”. As Lord Paullion Tenbrook V was present at court when this was announced, he felt the need to send a gift as well, and the small, but tasteful banquet in honor of the charter’s official signing will be held in private suites in the inn locally known as ‘Death & Taxes’ in the town of Sluetelot on the 9th of Sek, also known as Anhur’s Day of Honors.

The mid-spring warmth of Ra’s Glory, washed over the town of Sluetelot in golden waves, distorting the distant glare of the Captured Sea to the west. Markos Ackers was saddened to step off the sloop, as it reminded him of what might have been a happier times – Happy then, but not always happy to think of now. Of average height and very slender build, he flicked his cloak off and immediately a servant took it from him.

“The page will bring your horse to the stables,” his father said as he returned from the Harbormaster’s office. “Stabling has been arranged for everyone in the charter.” Jansen turned to the tall young man with the reddish-blond hair, and bright red cassock. The cassock was woven with golden threads that held tiny gems in place in an intricate brocade about the shoulders and chest. He had sharp features and hazel eyes. About his neck was a golden solar disk emblazoned with an ankh. “Laarus, perhaps if you need a horse as well, you can inquire about purchasing or borrowing one there later.”

The young priest nodded to his uncle, and then the three began to walk into town. Markos and Laarus looked up at the great walls and towers of Havesting with awe. They could see tiny figures scrambling around siege engines, and atop the balustrade of a great sea wall that reached out into the harbor to reach the shrine of Tefnut, and divide the port into two large areas. Everywhere was the cry of men and gulls, and the cracking of the wind and the creaking of ships. In his forties and well-traveled due to his working for House Raymer’s nascent mercantile business, Jansen Ackers was less impressed. He had brown curly hair worn to the shoulders, in Thrician style. If he and his son had the same complexion, it was only because Markos was weathered a soft-brown by his years at sea, making his yellow hair seem even brighter.

Sluetelot was a big town, and growing still. It was a collection of white and blue houses, many with tin roofs, but some had roofs of blue slate. A white stone wall surrounded what locals called Old Town, and where the town had grown beyond the wall, was called “New Sluetelot”. They had to walk through the harbor fortress itself, where Jansen’s credentials, and the respect given a priest of Ra got them through the lines of the many visitors waiting to be allowed into the town very quickly.

They were reminded of the peace knot law ordinance in effect in Sluetelot, but no one bothered to check their weapons. The main thoroughfare out of the fortress led right to the middle of town, where the Death & Taxes Inn and the luncheon in honor of the signing of Charter of Schiereiland would take place.

“Father, I am still confused as to why this is such a small affair,” Markos asked Jansen. “I mean, after the tragedy of the City of the Spices, would not a great party in honor of this charter raise morale? Especially, if one believes that it shall really be for the benefit of the people of Thricia, that is…”

“Well, that Margrave gave her blessing… What more can be asked for?” Laarus interjected.

“A great banquet might have been nice,” Jansen replied. “But I think it is better to come in quietly and later be noticed, than to be announced only to disappoint.”

Laarus nodded in agreement.

“I just hope we can use this charter as an opportunity to actually help people, and not just some political ploy,” Markos said.

“The margrave has ever stood to defend the people against the tyranny of Thricia’s nobles,” Jansen smiled with his obvious sarcasm. He opened his fine vest, and undid a button of his silk shirt, as the walk in the sun was beginning to make him sweat. “If she has given her approval, it is because she believes it will be helpful to Thricia in some way.”

“Yes, I am sure she has her reasons, even if they are not readily apparent,” Markos replied, as they came into view of the inn.

Death & Taxes was situated at the corner to the entrance to what was called “the Great Meeting Well Plaza”, or sometimes “central Market”, as nearly everyday merchants hawked their wears all about the great marble lipped well in the plaza’s center. The inn was a two-story building, with ivy growing up one side and over most of the sloped roof. There was a garden in front with wooden benches that faced the overgrown and unkempt yard of a cottage across the way.

Laarus made out the spire of a temple of Isis across the plaza as they came around the inn to enter its common room. Within the dim interior, they found the proprietor hastily directing others to clean, as he wiped the bar himself. It seemed the place had been quite lively the night before, and though it was afternoon, the aftermath was still being taken care of.

The obsequious innkeeper, Barton Digits, greeted them effusively, and led them up to the second floor where the entrances to two suites across the narrow lacquer-paneled hall from each other were open. A hand-painted sign next to the door on the left had an arrow pointing towards it. It said, “Schiereiland Charter Luncheon”.

Bleys Winter was prompt as he always was. Seventeen stone and four inches over six feet, he cut an impressive figure in his dark purple watch-mage’s robes filigreed in silver, which he in an unusual style, more like a travel cloak than robes. The collar of a crimson shirt stuck out from beneath his studded leather armor. Bleys had long dark locks; dark eyes and was clean-shaven. He nodded to his father’s words, but his eyes were following the woman who had greeted them upon arrival to the posh suite. She was Euleria Finch, and now she was greeting three newcomers Bleys did not recognize. Bleys’ father, Callum Winter, stood no less straight for being nearly four inches shorter than his son. He looked much like Bleys, but with twenty years on his face.

“Welcome. You do us honor,” Euleria said to Markos, Laarus and Jansen as they walked in. She was tall for a woman, with freckled olive skin, and a build like an awkward teenage boy. She wore trousers, a shirt and vest much as a man might, if this were not Thricia, where robes and even kilts are the habit. Her short dark hair did not do much to feminize her, but she had wide and welcoming smile, and looked each noble in the eye with respectful acknowledgement. She explained that not all the other guests and signers of the charter had arrived yet, and directed them to the opulent spread of food on one table. Beside it on another smaller table, amid plates and bowls, was a small cask of ale, and several bottles of wine. A wench was present to serve the food, and was perplexed by Markos’ attempt to serve himself and the apology that followed it.

There were other guests already present and arriving. A tall man of significant girth eating from a plate filled with cheese, fruit and bread, and slurping wine from a glass he was resting on a small end table. He had long curly locks, and a round youthful face with very red cheeks. He wore a floppy burgundy beret, and a lyre resting on a chair nearby. He appeared to be in his forties. An obvious Librarian of Thoth walked in, perhaps in his late twenties. He dragged his left leg a bit, and had a portion of his head shaved to reveal where an old black scar told of near fatal wound. He nodded awkwardly to Euleria Finch and sat in a corner to write in a journal he carried, along with a wooden folder tied with ribbons and holding scrolls of some kind.


“It’s always so damn hot!” Agamemnon Briareus swore. He dabbed at beads of sweat on his balding head with a kerchief, and cursed again, as he flicked at the heavy brocaded woolen coat he wore. “Ra’s damned Tenbrooks and their damn weather! No wonder they are always at each others throats down here. It is too hot for men or beasts!” He was burly man of no great height, but his width gave anyone walking past him pause. Though his hairline was receding, the middle-aged man has long locks of blond hair and rugged good looks.

“I am sure the people of Sluetelot are used to the climate,” Timotheus replied. Agamemnon glared at his nephew, and Telémakhos risked a surreptitious look of warning to his cousin, being more aware of his father’s ill-tempers. Timotheus smiled broadly, uncaring. He wore a blue kilt, a brown leather vest, and a white tunic with blue piping. Copper gleamed on his left wrist in the form of the stylized broken manacle of Nephthys. His reddish-blond hair cut short and his square jaw was clean-shaven, keeping him youthful despite his soldier’s gait and tall broad frame. He wore a saber at his side.

At Death & Taxes, Barton Digits’ voice quavered with fear in the presence of Agamemnon Briarius. He led the three nobles to the suite and Euleria Finch immediately came over from where she spoke to corpulent man with the lyre to introduce herself.

“Ra’s damn it,” Agamemnon swore under his breath. “Who invited the gimp?” Telémakhos looked up and saw his lame older brother closing his book and standing, walking over with his ever-present difficulty to greet them. Telie felt the red flash of guilt on his face that he always felt when around his brother, since the time of the accident that left him so afflicted. He adjusted his pristine white toga, with its red sash and gold chain, and patted at the perfect golden curls that framed his almost girlish face, looking down uncomfortably as he shook his brother Nikephorus’ hand. Agamemnon barely grunted his greeting, but Timotheus greeted his cousin with genuine warmth, asking after his health. As Telémakhos’ looked up his eyesight trailed to notice a woman standing near the back of the suite. She was nearly as tall as Telie, who was no giant among men, and had long dark hair, alabaster skin, large blue eyes and an ample bosom. She had a beauty that would be hard to forget, and while Telémakhos knew her to be Lavinia Vanderboren, he was having a harder time remembering if they had ever shared a liaison. She was the daughter of sometime business associates of his family, but if he recalled correctly, her parents had both died only a few months before.

Euleria explained what the agenda for the luncheon was, and how they were waiting for the arrival of one more of the charter’s prospective members. Timotheus upset the serving wench by serving himself, and Sir Agamemnon immediately ordered the girl to hand him a flagon of wine. Telémakhos considered approaching the woman in the back of the fine suite, but there were more arrivals.

A short glabrous priest of Ra arrived in a maroon cassock with a broad golden torc about his neck. He was Dracius of Ra, a former mentor of the young priest Laarus Raymer, and he went over to greet one of his favorite students. A man of undeterminable age came in, he was certainly among the oldest in the room, but his face still seemed young despite his pug nose and droopy eyes; Blond was growing in at the roots of his long dyed black hair. He wore a woolen green kilt and a white shirt of lighter fabric, with a golden vest. A man, perhaps in his late thirties, of medium build and with the short dark hair, curled beard and olive complexion of a Herman-Lander entered. He wore brown woolen trousers, and light navy blue coat over a cream colored shirt. A middle-aged woman, most of her youthful beauty gone to replaced by a distinguished visage that was no less attractive, walked into the suite. She wore the long black traditional habit of a priestess of Isis with its silver colored front and collar. Among her long dark brown locks were thin braids ending in bright beads. About her neck was a silver holy symbol; an ankh resting in the curve of crescent moon. She was Leisel of Isis.

Soon after, a young woman dressed in scale mail and carrying a spear arrived. She was tall, with short dark hair, and dark eyes. She wore a holy symbol of silver in the shape of a small stylized spear about her neck. It had an ankh etched on it. She was accompanied by a man who had a similar serious countenance, but his dark hair was thinning and he was much older. He too wore armor, and had the obvious stature of a knight. This was confirmed when Euleria welcomed him as Sir Lionel Ostrander, and shook his daughter, Victoria’s hand as well.

So finally, everyone was there. Euleria coughed to get everyone’s attention and called the would-be signers up to the front of the room. She began to speak.

“We are honored on this day to take part in and witness the signing of the historical adventuring charter by the young sons and daughters of Thricia, for their own benefit, that of their houses, and that of the people of Thricia. In honor of this charter, the Margrave has sent a gift. She has hired me and paid in advance for a year of my services as steward for the group. Whatever is needed, whatever logistics… I shall do my best to acquire, achieve and serve. I will book passage, inquire for lodging, arrange interviews and grant whatever aid in planning and execution you may need of me. And when you are abroad on explorations and quests, I shall look after your interests more locally. When the year is over, you may review my efforts and decide at that time whether you would like to keep me on in a role as steward, and pay my usual salary.”

She paused and smiled, and looked at Victoria, Telémakhos, Timotheus, Markos, Bleys and Laarus in turn.

“In addition, other Houses have sent generous gifts,” she continued. “House Tenbrook have paid that this and the suite across the hall be at your service for seven months. This includes meals and drink served here. However, anything purchased in the common room downstairs must be paid for as normal. From House Barhyte, notable and honorable liege of both House Ostrander and House Briareus, you have free stabling and care of your horses for an equal time while here in Sluetelot. House Curen, the liege of House Raymer, has arranged discounted prices for courses and training at the University of Thricia in Moon City, if it is availed of within three years.”

There was polite applause, and Telémakhos raised his mug to the man with the dyed hair and droopy eyes. He recognized him as Joezyn Barhyte, uncle of the head of that house, and an influential man in mercantile industry.

Nikephorus stepped forwards slowly and pulled from his folder two long sheaves of parchment. Upon them in a clear and elegant hand were the words of the charter. Euleria took them from the priest with a bow, and laid one copy on a table, and held up the other. As no one volunteered to read it aloud when she asked, she did the honors.

The Schiereiland Adventuring Charter

We, the undersigned, as duly designated representatives of our most noble Houses, do join ourselves in solidarity of arms and fraternity of spirit in service of the common good. In doing so, we knowingly and with sober intent assume the duties of Noble Adventurers under the auspices of the Crown of Thricia, with all rights and responsibilities legally appertaining thereunto. We do solemnly swear in the names of the gods, our most noble Houses, and Her Majesty, the Margrave Katherine Pepper, to adhere to the following principles:
  1. To obey the laws and uphold the values of the Crown of Thricia;
  2. To place the interests of the Crown, as embodied in our most noble Houses, above all personal interests;
  3. To battle the enemies of the Crown and of the people wheresoever we may encounter them;
  4. To hold true to one another in the face of peril;
  5. To bring glory without loss of integrity to ourselves and our Houses;
  6. To behave in public with such decorum as befits nobles of Thricia;
  7. To grant all members of our company an equal voice in determining our path and number, irrespective of wealth or status, except where outlined differently in this document;
  8. To follow the wisdom of our people and culture and always have among our number a representative of the Academy of Wizardry as a full and equal member;
  9. To divide all spoils by a number equal to the number of members of our company plus one, with the extra share being divided by the founding Houses of this charter, Ostrander, Briareus and Raymer. Additional payments to these Houses are otherwise left to agreements reached with their members to be paid out of their personal share;
We call upon Isis to guard us from harm, Ra to light our way, Anhur to guide our blades, Fallon to show us compassion, and Nephthys to grant us courage. May Thoth bear witness to this document, and may He inscribe our names in his Book of Truth.

Signed this day, the 9th of Sek, in the year 637 M.Y.,


She placed the copy she read from on the table, and Nikephorus of Thoth placed a small bottle of ink and a quill beside it. Laarus of Ra did not hesitate and was the first to sign both copies, with Bleys the Aubergine right behind him. Victoria of Anhur signed next, but Timotheus looked at the paper again before signing, and though Telémakhos signed right off, the observant might have noticed the slight quiver of his hands. Markos Ackers seemed to be in no rush, and everyone else had signed and stepped away from the table when he came over and signed both copies with a quiet sigh.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Charter of Schiereiland!” Euleria Finch gestured broadly to the six young nobles, and this time the applause was more enthusiastic. Glasses and mugs were raised and toasts were given to honor them.

to be continued. . .

(1) The first session of the “Second Son of a Second Son” campaign was played on Sunday, January 21, 2007.
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Moderator Emeritus
I wanted to make another quick note about a way the format of this story hour will differ from "Out of the Frying Pan":

In the past I avoided spoilers - what I mean is, that in my previous story hour if something happened that was a secret to most of the PCs, I did not refer to it in the story until was actually revealed.

For example, while I would describe Jana and Markle occasionally talking privately, it was not until it was revealed that he was enlisting her aid in the attempt to rob the royal treasury did it become clear what those discussions were about.

In the "Second Son of a Second Son" story hour, I plan to make use of the SBLOCK tag to hide away those kinds of scenes so that readers and players can avoid seeing info they might not want to know yet.

So for example, it would look like this:

[sblock]This is the secret scene.[/sblock]

I am doing this because since I plan to be closer to caught up all the time, things revealed in the re-telling may end up effecting the game inadvertantly. However, when it comes to things that I am ABSOLUTELY sure would ruin the fun if one of more players found out ahead of time, I will write around it altogether.

Expect the next installment of Session #1 on Thursday night.


First Post

Yo yo yo. Nice start. As you can see I have a new username to go with the campaign. I am using the obscure gmail account to represent.

Anyway, I am loving things so far. I think these guys are sure to be at least as dysfunctional as your last group.


Moderator Emeritus
Session #1: “A Party at Sluetelot (part 2 of 3)

The young nobles all shook hands in greeting and recalled times they had met before, as some of them had here and there at balls, festivals, tournaments, weddings and funerals. Bleys withdrew to talk to his father once more, and Markos sat back down to nurse some ale, and listen in. The other four stood around the table with all the food and began to talk avidly of possible plans.

“Does anyone know of anything that needs doing?” Victoria Ostrander asked. She seemed as comfortable among men as any of them.

“Well, hobgoblins have often harassed the roads in the eastern foothills of Westen-scherp Muur,” Timotheus said, pouring himself more wine. He tasted it and his eyes went wide. “Wow. This is good wine… Anyway, while they are always beaten back, no one has ever taken the time to hunt them down and wipe them out…”

Bleys the Aubergine was listening in as well, as he stepped over to re-join his father, however, the bearded Herman-lander pulled him aside.

“A moment of your time, young master Winter?” the man asked.


“Allow me to introduce myself,” the man said, as he led Bleys towards another small table where he poured them both drinks. Bleys demurred. “I am Cavalind Rattlendale, of the Verdun Rattlendales, and I rejoiced of having heard of this signing and having the opportunity to be here, as I have come to Thricia to recruit adventuring bands such as yours.”

“For what purpose?” Bleys asked.

“As you know, the Kingdom of Herman Land has been embroiled in a long and horrible war against the traitorous Black Islands Barony, and most of our fighting resources are pointed in that direction, and most of our adventurers are either already involved, or have fled for other parts of the world to escape conscription and make their fortunes free of taxation…”

“What does this all have to do with us and with Thricia?” Bleys asked curtly.

Cavalind looked around hoping perhaps someone else might join them and listen to his pitch, but seeing this was not to happen, he plunged back into it with the watch-mage. “There are a lot of matters left unattended. Things that the throne relies on adventurers to keep in control… Like goblin populations, and the discovery of ancient tombs that might pose a danger to the populace… Things of that nature…”

“Yes, but that has nothing to do with Thricia, and thus nothing to do with us,” Bleys said.

“But… but… of course, it has to do with Thricia,” Cavalind was flustered. “You can make your fortunes, while you reinforce the bonds of friendship between our two nations… And your charter and noble backing would probably get you breaks on taxes on whatever booty you do discover… Rumors abound, like…”

Bleys raised his hand and repeated. “This is not in our interest. This is not in the interest of Thricia.”

Cavalind closed his mouth and nodded. Wringing his hands, he spoke again after a long pause. “I am sorry… I must be talking to the wrong person…”

“Yes, you must be…” Bleys said, and turning saw his father was now talking with Sir Lionel. He moved to join them, noting that Markos Ackers had now joined the others, but Telémakhos had moved away and was talking with the portly Joezyn Barhyte.

“Thank you for the generous gift of the stabling,” Telémakhos said to one of the elders of his liege’s house.

“Bah! Don’t thank me, thank my nephew the Lord,” Joezyn replied amiably. The older man held a large tankard, from which he took a healthy swig. “I’m just glad to see some of our youth getting out there and trying to do something, instead of resting on their laurels and living off of daddy’s coin.” He laughed heartily, and clapped Telie on the shoulder. “Have you all talked about what you might do?”

“This is the first time we are all together at the same time,” Telémakhos replied. “So we have not had an opportunity. Do you have any suggestions?”

“Well, now that you mention it, there are the ‘King Stones’,” Joezyn said. “Have you heard of them?”

Telémakhos shook his head.

“Old old barbarian chieftains who declared themselves kings in the time after Sorlorn’s Realm, before the Time of the Six Kingdoms, or right at its beginning,” the older man explained. “They entombed themselves like the kings of old, worshiping their beast gods, or whatever heretical views they had on the gods of Ra… What have you… This is down in the Disputed Territories, in areas still held by their nomadic descendants, but they are all fighting… All the barbarian tribes of the southern Spice & Thread Islands joining together in great hordes and attacking settlements of the Kingdom of the Red God of the West. No one knows why, but they are doing it, and in the meantime, the King Stones will be more accessible…”

“Tomb-raiding?” Telie asked and smiled nervously.

“Not really,” Joezyn smiled back warmly and winked. “No, not at all. These burrows have long ago been defiled, and are home to various critters… Kobolds and the like… And anyway, it is not like those savages were ever buried with the rites of Anubis. There would be no sacrilege.”

Timotheus stepped over to join them, as Joezyn went on to explain that exploration of the Disputed Territories was needed to help prepare for a push to retake this land for Thricia.

“We would certainly be interested,” Timotheus said.

“And if you can give me some assurances of your intentions to go there, I can arrange for a rough map of the stones themselves,” Joezyn offered. “They are built into the side of a great crescent-shaped hill.”

The conversation with the others had meandered from topic to topic. It had been talk of hunting hobgoblins that had shooed Telémakhos from the conversation, but this was followed with talk of perhaps electing a leader, at which point Victoria immediately nominated Laarus of Ra. But then Timotheus had brought up the subject of a name for the group.

“Is that really an important topic of discussion at this moment?” Victoria Ostrander said, after a few ridiculous possibilities were suggested.

“No, what matters is choosing what we are going to do with this mandate to help the people of Thricia,” Markos said. “If we are to make our fortunes, so be it… But let it be in the service of those who need help most.” The scrawny tanned young man gestured with his cup as he spoke, splashing wine. It was then that Timotheus joined his cousin and Joezyn.

“Of course,” Laarus agreed, and Victoria nodded her head.

“Bleys! Join us,” Laarus called to the Academy alumnus when he saw him standing by himself. “Tell us. Does the Margrave have a purpose for us to serve?”

“Purpose?” Bleys looked surprised.

“You are her representative in this charter are you not?” the priest of Ra asked.

“No… At least… I do not think so,” Bleys paused. He looked into the distance as if thinking over a problem, and then looked to the priest again. “I am here as a representative of the Academy of Wizardry, and as such I am here to represent and defend the interests of the people…”

Telémahkos excused himself from Joezyn Barhyte and his cousin, and walked over to where the beautiful Lavinia Vanderboren was chatting with the Herman-lander noble.

“Miss Vanderboren,” Telie greeted with a bow, taking her hand and kissing it gently. He held on to it an extra half a moment, as he looked at her, and then turned to the gentleman.

“Telémakhos Briareus,” Calavind said. “I am honored to meet you and to have the opportunity to be present at such a historic occasion. It is my understanding that there has been no adventuring charter of this kind in Thricia in many many years…”

Telémakhos nodded.

“Well, opportunities abound in the Kingdom of Herman Land,” Cavalind Rattlendale went into his schpiel.

When the Herman-lander finally excused himself to get another drink, encouraging Telémahkos to seek him out in Herman Land if he was interested in the offer, the other charter members were calling him over to the table again. Bleys the Aubergine, however, left the group making directly for the corpulent bard, Darbold the Gay. He had been introduced as a member of the watch-mage’s council, and was having the wench fix his fifth plate of food. Joezyn Barhyte was talking with Agamemnon Briareus.

“What is ‘aubergine’ anyway?” Timotheus asked Markos.

“Deep purple, like eggplant,” Markos replied.

“Heh. Bleys the Eggplant,” Tim chuckled. “I’d love to know why his classmates give him that one…” (1)

“I am happy to see you here,” Telémahkos said to Lavinia, still at the rear of the suite. The woman looked down demurely and smiled.

“I do not mean to bother you on this important day,” she said. “But I must admit I come here to seek your help…”

“How can I be of service?” Telémahkos had somehow perfected an expression of equal parts concern and whimsy.

“I would rather we talk in private,” she replied.

“Funny, I prefer a more private meeting as well,” Telie winked.

“Telie! Come over. We have things to discuss,” Timotheus called to his cousin again, and this time Telémahkos walked over, but not before gently kissing Lavinia’s hand again.

“I just finished telling the others about what Joezyn told us about ‘the Kingstones’,” Timotheus said as Telie finally joined them. “What did that Herman-lander have to say?”

Telémahkos explained about the opportunities in the Kingdom of Herman Land, but it was generally agreed that the group wanted to remain in Thricia, at least for now.

“Is there not something we can do to help the people displaced by the great tragedy in the City of the Spices?” Markos asked.

“That seems like an honorable goal,” Victoria replied. “I would support such an action.”

“There are already many people giving better aid there than we can give,” Timotheus said. “We are not carpenters or engineers. I do not think we could do much but get in the way.”

“But are not many people displaced?” Markos asked. “Might not crime and chaos breed in such a situation…?”

“Neither are we police,” Timotheus replied.


“Has there been any progress in determining what really happened to the local watch-mage?” Bleys asked Darbold. (2)

The bard’s head drooped, and his smiling visage melted. “None more that I know of…”

“So there has been an investigation into it,” Bleys continued.

“Leisel of Isis took charge of the body, if that is what you mean…”

“It is not what I mean,” Bleys replied. “I mean, have the exact means of the murder and those responsible been determined?”

“Leisel said there was nothing more to figure out, and that is enough for me,” Darbold the Gay replied. “When it first happened, rumors abounded that Weirspierogen folk were responsible, and it took quite a bit of effort to keep the locals from piling into sloops to make their way across the bay and burn down Weispierogen in revenge…”

Bleys rubbed his chin and nodded, and spied a look over at Leisel of Isis, where she had walked over to talk to the rest of the group. “And where did they get this idea?”

“Who knows how rumors are started?” Darbold said. “It is no secret that the towns of Drie-Hoek Bay have often feuded. Barakis’ death was as good a reason as any to take up old enmities again.”

“And you knew him well?”

“Very. We are old drinking and adventuring companions,” Darbold explained. “And when he was appointed watch-mage of Sluetelot he asked me to be on the town council, along with Leisel, though she is no longer a member…”

“She isn’t?”

“She resigned a few weeks before Barakis’ death,” Darbold replied.


“Church responsibilities, I guess… Well, that and she and Barakis often quarreled about his carousing and drunkenness. She did not think he was serving as a very good example for young Master Floris Tenbrook.”

“Who?” Bleys asked.

“Another member of the watch-mage’s council,” Darbold said. “A young noble, not unlike this lot you have cast your fortune with today… After I married my lovely flower, and became a father, well… I was not as readily available for Barakis’ nightly sorties into inebriation. Young Floris took my place, I guess…”

“Where is the late watch-mage’s house?” Bleys asked, never pausing for pleasantries.

“It has already been checked for anything that might have enlightened us to what happened to him,” Darbold replied.

“That is not what I asked,” Bleys said.

Darbold the Gay made a face that expressed anything but gaiety, clearly annoyed with the young watch-mage interrogating him. “His house is right across the way there,” he said. “Often when the night ended here at Death & Taxes because the town-watch would complain of the noise, the party went over to his house and yard, as no one dared tell him to keep it down on his own property…”

“Very well… Thank you,” Bleys nodded and walked away. Liesel of Isis had left, as had Joezyn Barhyte. Agamemnon Briareus was making to leave, and was drawing his son out into the hall, as Timotheus waved from the doorway, saying he would be back soon. Markos was leaving with him, interrupting Laarus conversation with Jansen Ackers to tell him so.

“In here…” Agamemnon pushed Telémahkos roughly into the open suite across the narrow wood-paneled hall and followed closely with the heavy intimidating footfalls of an ever-angry father.

“Okay. I am leaving…” While he ostensibly drew his son into the opposite suite for privacy, Sir Agamemnon’s voice was overly loud, and those gathered at the doorway to the other suite could clearly hear his harsh words. “You are on your own now, so don’t f*cking embarrass me or the family.”

“Yes, sir…” Telémahkos replied meekly, his usual grin and bravado melting away.

“I would rather that you came back to me in a box like your brothers than to have your cowardice be the f*cking gossip of the year… Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir…”

“And if you do die, acquit yourself with some damn dignity,” Agamemnon added. “Try to be f*cking useful for once, even if it is in your death…”

“I won’t disappoint you,” Telémahkos said.

“Yeah, well… We’ll see,” Agamemnon’s voice grew a bit softer in volume, but did not lose its aggressive edge. “There is still time and opportunity for you to earn all the things you think you are entitled too just because you are the fruit of my loins, and if not… Well, the twins are still young…”

The burly father slapped his son hard on the shoulder with his ham of a hand. “And take care of your bastard cousin…” With that, he left. Telémahkos took a moment to straighten his toga and smooth his hair and take a deep breath before heading back to the party, but Lavinia Vanderboren intercepted him in the hall, and he drew her back into the other suite.

“I am really sorry to disturb you on this day…” She began, obviously brimming with emotion.

“It is no disturbance. I am happy to see you again,” Telémahkos smiled wide.

“I know that the past is the past,” Lavinia said. “And whatever we might have shared was a one time thing. I am not so naive as to think it means more than it did… But… I don’t know who else to turn to.”

She looked down and folded her arms across her chest, looking as if she might cry. Telémahkos scoured his mind for a memory of a night with such a buxom beauty, but could recall nothing. But that did not mean it had not happened. Telie had long ago lost track of the number of his liaisons.

“Ah, but there is no reason it must remain that way,” he placed a hand gently on her shoulder and she looked up. “Now tell me, what is the problem?”

“As you know, my parents died not long ago…” Lavinia began.

“Of course, you are so upset! My condolences, of course, and my apologies for not having been able to make the funeral…”

“It is quite alright,” Lavinia replied, sniffing back a tear. “I loved my parents, but I fear they never outgrew that adventurous spirit that first led them to established the Vanderboren Mercantile Nexus, and it led to their death. They worked hard and overcame many obstacles to try to fulfill their dream of establishing stable trade routes to the Hellish Isles using the Neergaardian Fort Thunder as a base, but… Well… that is beside the point. They are gone, and now I find myself to be sole owner of our family business.”

“It must be quite a weight on your shoulders,” Telémahkos said, putting his other hand on her other shoulder, and risking a half-step closer to her.

“Well…” She looked down again. “I would gladly share the responsibilities and rewards with my younger brother Vanthus, but I fear he may have inherited too much of our parents’ adventurous spirit.”

“Is he in trouble?”

“No… Yes… Not yet… Oh, I don’t know… He just started hanging out with the wrong crowd, using the business to visit shady people,” she said. “He seems to think it is the only way to get ahead is to get your hands dirty, but… He is in over his head. I know him, he… he is delicate… he could get hurt, or caught and hanged! And for what? I think it is the grief over our parents that drives him to do these things…”

“And what exactly is he doing?” Telémahkos asked, his interest now piqued.

“Helping smugglers,” Lavinia answered. “At first he tried to use the business’ resources, but I caught him and would not allow it to happen, and now… Now he aims to go and work for them directly, and he said something that really scared me…” She moved in close to Telie pressing her bosom to his chest and looking right into his eyes, and her voice became a ragged whisper. “He said, something about a plot to attack on the naval fleet of House Wetherwax. I think the men he was helping are planning some kind of extreme means of getting their good through, if they cannot hide it among legitimate goods.”

“Where is your brother now?” Telémahkos asked.

“Last I know, he left for Tribunisport from Azure five days ago,” Lavinia responded. “So, he should be there by now. Do you think…? Do you think you might bring this band of young nobles to my aid? If you foil the pirate plot and save my brother, none need ever know of his involvement, and I would be so very very grateful.” She looked down and away and pulled free. “And of course, so would the Vanderboren Mercantile Nexus.”

Telémahkos grabbed her hand and kissed it. “I shall do what I can to help him, and if that means steering this group to Tribunisport to look into a pirate plot, then so be it!” He pulled her close to him and stole a kiss. “And to help you… As always, you can count on my discretion.” They kissed again.

When Telémahkos came back into the first suite, everyone was gone but Euleria Finch, Darbold the Gay and the serving wench. As he asked for more wine, Bleys came back into the suite and walked straight towards Darbold.

“Sir, I went to look at the former watch-mage’s house, and upon the door there was a sign to see you for all inquires,” Bleys said, as Darbold looked up from his sixth plate of food.


“Do you have the key?” Bleys asked.

“Yes,” Darbold balance his plate in one hand, and gestured to a key on cord about his neck

“May I please borrow it?”

“Are you here from the Academy to officially investigate this matter?” Darbold asked, he put down his plate and straightened up to his full height, still about five inches shorter than Bleys.

“No, but if it is the matter of a watch-mage it concerns me enough to investigate,” Bleys replied.

“The Academy already sent someone to investigate,” Darbold said, smiling again. “I am not sure if he done, but he is not in town, so who knows where things stand…”

“And who is this person?”

“Abberd the Argent,” Darbold the Gay winked.

“Oh… Um, very well then,” Bleys bowed his head slightly. “I am sorry to have bothered you.” The young-watch-mage walked back out the suite and Telémahkos followed. He went out into the inn’s garden, where Laarus waited.

“Nevermind, brother Laarus,” Bleys said. “There is no need to enter the house. The matter has already been investigated by someone I trust implicitly.”

to be continued. . .


(1) At the Academy of Wizardry, it is your fellow graduating classmates that choose your honorary color name.

(2) Darbold the Gay is a member of the watch-mage’s council and was introduced to the other guests as such by Euleria.
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Tony Vargas

Maybe other fans of Out of the Frying Pan have figured this out for themselves, but I'm still a little confused: Exactly who is playing whom this time around compared to last time? And, who's new?


First Post
Tony Vargas said:
Maybe other fans of Out of the Frying Pan have figured this out for themselves, but I'm still a little confused: Exactly who is playing whom this time around compared to last time? And, who's new?
As a player, I'd be entertained by your guesses. :D

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