The Rise of Felskein [Completed]

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 20, Part 8

<Note: Yea Eights, the short posts work much better. Amazing how 3-5 one page write-ups are easier than 1 three page write-up... Unfortunately, right before this session my laptop died and took all the different types Iron Sky constructs I'd painstakingly created out with it, so I had to use some "old familiars." A couple sessions from this one though...>

The three robed constructs were dispatched with quick efficiency.

As they fell, Suniel engulfed the lowest one in a ball of flame so the two above it fell through no more than a cloud of burning cloth and rapidly-dissolving metal.

Harold put six arrows into another before it even reached the ground and a seventh and eighth caused it to detonate just as it dropped eight of the smaller constructs from fifty feet up. Half of them exploded as they hit the ground.

The others were dispatched with similar efficiency and when the last one exploded, a few slivers of metal in Kormak from standing too close to the first one he dismantled were all the harm anyone suffered.

Harold turned to Suniel, troubled, as he put his bow back in its quiver. Kormak knelt in the scorched field, examining the disintegrating remnants of their attackers.

“What were they doing here?” Harold said. “I thought we might have left them in Northmand.”

“Remember the Landspear? That new mural showed those gem-eyes all over the place. The dragons probably couldn't get all of them,” Suniel said, frowning. “And that other gem-eye before that, the one that was so excited to find Felskein...”

“So, what'cha talkin' about?” Kormak said, strolling up to them nonchalantly. “Is it time for lunch? The weather sure is a bit nippy, eh? And I say, did anyone notice that ravening band of killer machines that fell out of the sky just tried to murder us?”

“We've run into them before, back in Northmand,” Suniel said. “Remember that metal orb we took from the top of the Landspear?”

“Who's this we, buddy?” Kormak said. “If I remember correctly, you were the one carrying it, or your constructs anyway.”

“Well, this seems to be definitive evidence that that orb was shielding Felskein from Iron Sky – whatever that really is – and now they've found it in force,” Suniel said. “There's nothing even really around here for them to be interested in - at least nothing that I can see - so we might assume this was just a random scouting party. There might be more like it touching down all over Felskein.”

They were silent for a moment.

“Well, nothing to do about that now,” Harold said, walking back towards the road. “But we can still follow those Silver Knights.”

“You're still worried about the Ashen Tower after what I just said?” Suniel said, staring at Harold in disbelief.

Harold raised his hands and shrugged. “Like I said, what are we going to do about it. We don't even know what Iron Sky is or what it wants, aside from those necklaces. I do know what the Ashen Tower is about though, and you know even better than me. Let's go.”

***

“They're making camp just around that big hill,” Suniel said, suddenly re-appearing before Harold and Kormak. “It looks like they set up an ambush in case we kept following them.”

“Should we take them on tonight then, while they sleep?” Harold said.

Suniel thought about it, then shook his head. “No, I want to try to talk to them one more time. They wouldn't be making camp out here in the middle of no-where if they didn't have quite a bit to go yet, so I say we get a good night's rest ourselves. After I talk to them that is.”

"Whatever," Harold said, shaking his head as he laid down his bedroll.

“Good luck,” Kormak said.

The elf began scrambling up the nearest hill. A few minutes later, Kormak thought he heard some shouting as he was writing another report. Sure enough, not ten minutes after that Suniel limped into their small makeshift camp with a grim look on his face.

“They refuse to listen to reason. Tomorrow, we'll follow them for a ways, then slip ahead and set up an ambush. Those crates aren't getting to wherever Thessalock wants them.”
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Note: Sanzuo is jumping in while I'm out with some stories from Kezzek back in Northmand.
 
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Sanzuo

First Post
orcbypierrick.png

"Orc" by Pierrick

It was a hot summer afternoon in Northmand and Lieutenant Ulrik was very unhappy. Yesterday he had been told he was denied his annual pay raise, the paperwork from the Barge Incident was never-ending and now there was an unwashed junkie lying on the ground in his stifling office. The half-orc Greywarden who brought him in said that he was a “victim” of Agony, and that he was to be charged with “possession and use of illegal substances,” whatever that meant. Ulrik was pretty sure there was no such law here in Northmand and that the Greywarden, like others of his kind typically did, was just making stuff up.

“What should we do with 'im, lieutenant?” Asked the guardsman as he backed away from the slowly pooling vomit on the floor.

“I don't give a rat's ass!” Said Ulrik. “I don't want him smelling up the cells. Just toss him into a cesspool or something, and fetch me a page. I want a letter sent to Lord Kellin, immediately.”
 

Sanzuo

First Post
tavernbrawlbyvelinov.png

"Tavern Brawl" by velinov

This is the place!” The boy said to his enormous client. The half-orc growled as he appraised the front of the establishment.

The tavern was typical of its kind, a filthy, barely-lit dive full of like-minded scumbags looking to make a handful of coin any way they could, whether it be theft, murder or something worse. The wooden slats that made up the walls of the place were warped and stained a multitude of different variations of the color brown. There were vagrants lying around unconscious or dead in their own filth and the smell was like a decade old vintage of bad beer mixed with blood, vomit and feces... and that was just on the outside.

Inside was very much the same, only louder.

The stranger was a large, imposing brute; an ugly, darkly-dressed half-orc armed to the teeth and drooling slightly from the side of his partially-paralyzed face. He fit right in.

Lurtz was tending bar, which meant that he took people's money for grog and stood at the ready with a cudgel in case someone got smart with him. He watched as the half-orc stranger walked up to his bar, laid a gauntleted arm on the counter and gave Lurtz a deadpan look. Lurtz noticed that one side of the stranger's face was pale and looked like it was trying to melt off of his skull. He was probably a mercenary, and if mercs weren't fighting then they were looking to spend coin, lots of coin.

Lurtz gave him his best smile.

“What'll it be, brother? Let me guess, I'm guessing you just got back from the Ragged Hills, looking to spend some hard-earned coin, yes?”

Kezzek said nothing.

“Well, I got some of the good stuff locked away downstairs. I'll bring up a cask, yes?”

Kezzek said nothing.

Lurtz blinked once or twice. He was getting uncomfortable and twitchy.

“Women is it? Well I've got a one or two of the prettiest, mostly-disease-free human wenches just waitin' for a big stud like you to come along, yes? I'll even throw them in with the drinks at a discount.”

Kezzek said nothing, he merely pulled a small glass vial out of one of his pouches with his other hand and placed it on the counter. It was small, looked like it would hold less than an ounce, and must have been previously sealed with wax.

“Ah!” Lurtz gave Kezzek a knowing nod. “Looking for a refill, yes? That's some fancy stuff you got there. Not cheap at all, but I'm guessing that doesn't bother you, does it? Looking to stock up for a trip, yes? Long way to the Freeholds, brother. How many will you be needing?”

“Did you just confess to the sale and distribution of dangerous, illegal alchemical substances?” Kezzek said at last. “I'm obligated to inform you that the last statement you just made is admissible as a confession.”

“Huh?” Lurtz said, his smile turning quizzical.

“Your supplier, I want to know who he is. You are permitted to bargain for your sentence. My judgment will depend on how well you cooperate with my investigation.” Kezzek said.

“I'm permitted...” Lurtz sputtered and spat. “What in the nine hells are you talking about? This is my place, half-breed. I'm 'permitted' to do whatever the bloody hell I want. No, you may not know who my supplier is! I suppose you want a cut in on my profits, yes? Looking for some protection money, yes? Well, bugger off!”

The half-orc shifted his cloak so that Lurtz could see his left arm. The gauntlet that he wore was plated with thick black scales of some kind and covered his entire arm and a bit of his torso. Runes were lightly embossed on the surface of it. He leaned further forward towards Lurtz.

“I don't suppose you know what a Graywarden is, either?” Kezzek growled through clenched jaws. “I was once told by my mentor of a time back when we were respected and feared by lawbreakers like yourself. Of course, this was before you scum had these lovely fortress-cities to hide in from the real horrors of the wilderness while you just sit on your thrones of corruption and greed. Back in those days the mention of a single one of us to a group of bandits was enough to get them scared enough to call for backup. Yet, here you stand with that vacant, angry look in your face; defiant, ignorant, unknowing of the lawlessness and chaos that you contribute to. You make me ill.”

“Oh? Sorry about that.” Lurtz snorted.

In fact, Lurtz had called for backup moments earlier. He kept on staff several employees meant to appear like regular patrons. He paid them with beer. When trouble this large came around, they were on call to “diffuse” any messy situations that might arise should Lurtz give them a specific signal.

That was the signal that Lurtz gave just now.

The largest of the three that had covertly made their way behind Kezzek swung his truncheon straight at the Greywarden's head. With a sharp crack the club connected with enough force to splinter it. Kezzek pitched forward onto the bar and went limp.

“Wut a idiot!” The attacker laughed as he tossed his now-useless weapon aside.

“Shut up.” Lurtz sneered as he wiped spilled grog off of his apron. “Take him outside and slit his throat.

“Yes, boss.”

Yet, it seemed Lurtz and his thugs had underestimated the Greywarden's orcish resilience. Kezzek recovered from the blow in that instant. When the big one moved Kezzek's arm over his shoulder for easy carrying, Kezzek, without looking, grabbed a handful of the big one's hair with one hand and, with the other, punched him in the throat.

The big one went down with his tongue sticking out and his eyes bulging. The other two jumped on Kezzek. The Greywarden overpowered the two smaller men, sending one over his shoulder into a table full of patrons playing cards and head-butting the other, breaking his nose and sending him to the floor.

By now, Lurtz had recovered from his surprise and reached for his trusty cudgel. When he stood up from behind his cover, the half-orc was ready. Kezzek resisted bellowing out an orcish war cry and swung his massive arm, connecting with the side of Lurtz's face with his gauntleted fist. Lurtz spat blood and teeth and went reeling to the floor behind the bar.

Lurtz came to a few moments later face down. With one good eye he saw some kind of milky humor dripping off his face onto the floor and realized with horror that the half-orc's blow had burst his other eye.

Kezzek reached over, picked Lurtz up by his jerkin and slammed him down on the counter. By now the entire tavern was in an uproar. Many patrons were brawling amongst themselves and others were looting what they could and running out into the street.

“Lawlessness and chaos! What about you?” Lurtz sobbed. “Look what you've done. My business is ruined!”

“I think you fail to see the bigger picture.” Kezzek said as he loomed over Lurtz. The Greywarden's knuckles popped as he slowly made a fist.

“Your supplier...”
 

Sanzuo

First Post
renaissanceballroombyma.png

"Renaissance Ballroom" by maxetor mer

A melodious performance played by nine brightly dressed minstrels rang through the ballroom. Piping hot, meaty hors d'oeuvres were brought fresh out of the kitchen on silver plates. The guests, lavishly dressed patricians, merchants, and débutantes from all over the city, laughed, danced and enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The word on everyone's lips was the horrible fate that befell the barge a week earlier. Subjects avoided by the aristocrats so soon after such a tragedy were becoming less candid and spoken in excited tittering voices to one another.

“I have heard the high priest has been resurrected.” One guest said to another. “Is it not a shame? The church can afford to bring back the dead while the others have to suffer the loss of their loved ones. The city should provide a service or something.”

“Oh please.” The other guest said. “Those that cannot afford a simple resurrection are clearly better off being dead, dear. Plus, it is clear the the church knows who deserves a resurrection and who does not. The dead ones clearly did not have enough faith.”

And so on.

What was on Jakob Kellin's mind, however were several other unrelated things. First was the letter from Lieutenant Ulrik that a Greywarden was going to come looking for him, the second was a report that Lurtz had been beaten to within an inch of his life and thrown in prison. The third thing on his mind was the report that never came about how his crew of highly reputable hitmen that he had hired had fared. He had a feeling that one didn't work out either. Nevertheless, Jakob was more than prepared should the worst come to pass. He had thrown this ball at the spur of the moment to give himself as much publicity as possible.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sudden crash of one of the ballroom doors being violently flung open. There were several gasps and a shatter of a dropped wine goblet.

Right on cue. Jakob Kellin thought.

“No, no, no, no, no!”

Lord Kellin's reeve waved his arms wildly as he walked toward Kezzek Stone in a near panic.

“You can't come in that way! I don't care what your emergency is, you guards are suppose to go through the proper procedure!”

Kezzek nearly shoved the poor reeve to the ground shoving passed him.

“I'm not a guard, and I'm here for Jakob Kellin.” Kezzek said.

“That's Lord Kellin!” Another man angerly shouted.

A voice rose calmly over the others.

“Now, now. Everyone stop shouting.” Lord Kellin emerged from the crowd, walking towards Kezzek. “This man is a Greywarden, and he is a guest of honor.”

That seemed to throw the Greywarden off. Lord Kellin was a tall man, taller than even the half-orc, though nowhere near his bulk. He took advantage of his height to leer down at the Greywarden.

“How do you do? I am Lord Jakob Kellin. Officer Kezzek Stone of the Greywardens, I presume?” Kellin extended a hand.

“Er... yes. Yes I am.” Kezzek mumbled as he took Lord Kellin's hand. “I must to inform you that I have come to take you into custody.”

“Arrest me?” Kellin said. “Oh dear, under what charge?”

“For the sale and distribution of the highly dangerous alchemical substance known as Agony, among others.”

Kellin made an exaggerated shrug. “Why, I don't even know what that is!”

“It's a drug.” Kezzek turned and appeared to address the listening croud. “It is said to be the distilled essence of pain, made material through magic. It is generally only used by sorcerers and the very rich. Its effects are highly dangerous and even fatal. Normally in places like the Freeholds it can cost up to two hundred gold coins per dose. Yet you are making it available to the general populous for mere pennies on the gold.”

Lord Kellin quirked an eyebrow. “Mere pennies? That doesn't sound very profitable at all. Why on earth would I do that?”

“I... don't know.” Kezzek admitted. “But that hardly matters. The fact is you are doing it. I can think about 'why' later.”

“Fact? These accusations are pretty bold, Kezzek Stone. I'd like to hear what facts you actually have. If you attempt to arrest me without just cause then there may be a problem with the local authority.”

Kezzek held back his temper and explained. “I have many pieces of evidence in the form of vials commonly used to contain Agony...”

“...or any other sort of alchemical brew, like for example potions of healing you are undoubtedly carrying.” Lord Kellin finished.

“I have a suspect that I obtained...”

“...beat savagely...”

“...who confessed beforehand to selling the drug and many others. That lead me to others who's statements led me to you.”

Lord Kellin laughed and shook his head in bemusement.

“Sir Stone, let me introduce you to a friend of mine. This is Marshal Colton.” Lord Kellin gestured to the middle-aged man who had spoken up before.

Colton stepped forward.

“Greywarden, these 'facts' you have brought forward are unsettling to be sure... but this accusation that you have brought against Lord Kellin, a prestigious member of our noble society, simply will not do. You're off the handle, my friend.”

“You're protecting him?” Kezzek growled, his hackles rising.

Yes, show these people what a brute you are. Lord Kellin thought approvingly.

Marshal Colton tried a softer approach.

“Greywarden, your kind are a great boon in the uncivilized lands. We are all thankful for your long and noble history of protection. Why, even our fine nation of Northmand would probably not exist if it were not for your people back in the age of lawlessness. However, this is a civilized land. We are civilized people with our own laws and protocol. In order to bring charges against someone like Lord Kellin, one would need to be a member of our own guard and would need to be given authorization by a Marshal, like myself, and the council. You are a foreigner here. You are interfering with our system, and in that way, you are breaking the law.”

Kezzek growled as he thought for a moment.

“I was ambushed by six swordsman in an alley yesterday.”

“And did they tell you who hired them?” Marshal Colton asked.

“No... they're all dead.” Kezzek replied.

“Unfortunate.” Said Lord Kellin. “Had you used a more tactful approach from the begging perhaps you could have gotten more information instead of corpses.”

Lord Kellin's face grew dark. He spoke in a quieter tone.

“You really have nothing on me. Marshal Colton is here telling you that you have nothing. The methods that worked for you out there among the peasants don't work with nobility. If you were smart you probably would have prepared better than to just march into my home at your convenience and haul me in.
I can assure you that if you try anything tonight, you will be one who is arrested. Marshal Colton here will have you banned from any civilized city in Northmand – if you are lucky. And if you simply murder me here, well I don't think I can tell you what will happen then. Either way if you try anything at all it will undoubtedly leave a black mark on your prestigious record, am I correct?”

Kezzek said nothing.

“I thought so.” Lord Kellin sneered. “Your kind really are dumb brutes are you not? No matter how badly you try to fit into society you can't help but show your true, 'green' side. Even though the Greywardens were kind enough to accept you into their ranks the only thing you are really capable of is brawling, bullying and breaking things. You poor animal. Now get out of my sight, you are upsetting my guests.”

Kezzek said nothing. He reached into one of his pouches and pulled out two sheets of rolled up paper.

“What is that?” Lord Kellin asked.

Marshal Colton took the papers and began reading them. When he was finished he started reading them again.

“What is that?” Lord Kellin demanded in a rising voice.

“It is a writ. It is signed by Marshal Spartus – and the Council! It says Kezzek Stone has lawful permission to conduct an investigation into the Agony 'ring.'”

Damn. Ulrik! He got to him. Lord Kellin thought.

“What is the other one?”

Marshal Colton look up palely at Kezzek and swallowed hard.

“It is a warrant for the arrest of you and me, signed by the Council...” He said. “and permission to use deadly force if we resist.”

No! Lord Kellin looked incredulously at the Greywarden.

Kezzek said nothing.

___________________

The End!
 

Crazy Eights

Explorer
I just wanted to say, thanks for jumping in here during the lull, Sanzuo. Getting a story specifically for Kezzek was awesome. Now if we could only get that kind of treatment for the others, too....;)

Edit: Also, I forgot to mention it before, but I really like the art you included at the start of each post. I like it even more that you gave us a link for each one.
 
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Sanzuo

First Post
I just wanted to say, thanks for jumping in here during the lull, Sanzuo. Getting a story specifically for Kezzek was awesome. Now if we could only get that kind of treatment for the others, too....;)

Edit: Also, I forgot to mention it before, but I really like the art you included at the start of each post. I like it even more that you gave us a link for each one.

I'm really glad you liked it! So as a bonus I will include a .pdf of the Greywardens affiliation (from the 3.5 phb2) that I created specifically for this character.

Also, yes I'm aware that the Greywardens sounds an awful lot like the Grey Wardens from bioware's new game Dragon Age. I assure you that Iron Sky came up with his original idea for the Greywardens years and years ago.
 

Attachments

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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 20, Part 9


Knight-Sergeant Trayson was nervous. They hadn't seen that elven wizard since the night before, but he had proven he could turn invisible so not seeing him didn't mean anything. Mages had always unsettled him, even the Silver Wizard that was accompanying him. That much raw power in any one man's hands...

The Captain told him not to worry, that one of them had probably got him with that last volley of arrows they had fired, but Trayson wasn't so sure.

“Keep an eye on those hills, Jothan,” he said, turning around in his saddle as he rode. “Keep your crossbow ready, I think we haven't seen the last of that wizard.”

“You're just paranoid Sarge,” Jothan said. “It's just being rearguard, I know it keys me up some times.”

“No, seriously Jothan, the Captain didn't take that wizard seriously enough,” he said. He glanced up the column where the Captain and the Silver Wizard were holding a hushed discussion near the wagon. “Who knows what he's capable of.”

“Well, if he's as powerful as you seem to think, why hasn't he just killed us all already?” Jothan made a dramatic hand motion. “He'll do what, just wave his hand and-”

The column ahead of them detonated in two nearly-simultaneous balls of fire, the force of the blasts throwing Jothan and Trayson off their horses. Trayson rose to his hands and knees and looked around in a daze. A dwarf was straddling Rochan and was denting his armor with his fists. The only other Knight still ahorse was slumped over the saddle, half-a-dozen arrows punched through his armor.

Trayson staggered to his feet and grabbed Jathon's arm, dragging him towards some brush. Behind them, the wagon had disintegrated and unnatural purple smoke was swirling about the area. Trayson pulled Jothan's helmet off and checked his vitals. Jothan was alive, but barely.

He looked back up and saw horror. The still-burning bodies of his comrades and even their horses were rising with terrible moans. The dwarf stood up and glanced at the rising dead almost casually. He made a hand motion towards the hills then sauntered towards the walking dead. Hindered by their armor and barding, the dead knights and their mounts shambled awkwardly towards him. He ran around them, keeping just out of their reach. They bunched up, tripping and falling over each other in their mindless attempts to get to him. Any that started to wonder off were almost instantly taken down by a rapid-fire volley of arrows.

Then, the dwarf suddenly sprinted away and another twin-blast enveloped the undead horde. When the smoke cleared again, they all lay still, smoking and smoldering.

Trayson had seen more than enough. He hefted Jothan onto his shoulders and, crouched low behind the brush, slipped into the hills.

Screw the contract, he thought. There's nothing that's worth trying to fight that.

***

“Well, that went well,” Kormak said, nudging the still burning body of a horse with his foot. “Those were some pretty impressive fireworks.”

Suniel shook his head, his expression grim. “I finally managed to piece those spells back together. I hoped I'd never have to use them.”

“I hope you never use them on me,” Kormak said. “There's not much left of these guys.”

“At least those gems won't be getting to whoever it is that wanted them,” Harold said, returning to his bow to his quiver as he approached. “That's all that matters.”

“Maybe not,” Suniel said. “Let's head a bit further up the road and see if we can't find who they were delivering them to. I didn't want to have to kill these people, but as long as I had to do this, I'd like to find who was ultimately responsible.”

“On that, at least, we agree,” Harold said, glancing up the road. “There's no time to wait then.”

“Once we bury these people you mean,” Suniel said, casting a cold glance at Harold.

“Burying them will take too much...” Harold met Suniel's gaze and glanced at the bodies. “Yes, once we bury them, of course.”
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 21, Part 1


Kezzek stopped and glanced at the line of horseman blocking the road back into Port. Bluish spiderweb tattoos were clearly visible on their necks. He slowly reached towards his quor'rel.

One rider's mount stepped forward and pawed at the ground. “Hold your weapon Greywarden, we bear no grudge against you,” the man said.

“No? I seem to remember bringing forty or so of your men to justice.”

The man shrugged. “Small price to pay for what we're going to get out of it. Bragas wants to see you.”

“Bragas?” Kezzek said. He lowered his hand to his side, but was still tense.

“Bragas Webdyn. He has need of the impartial services of a noble Greywarden.”

“Hmm.” Kezzek growled and squinted at the Webdyns. “Very well.”

The riders parted and brought forth a mount from behind them. He mounted up and they rode.

They rode throughout the night and near dawn, as they passed through some craggy hills, they found a patch in the road that was blackened and scorched, bits of burnt flesh, seared bones, and smoldering wood scattered all about. He had a sneaking suspicion about what happened and the fate of those Silver Knights.

He pulled out his journal and jotted some notes as he rode. His companions seemed a bit more unsettled about it. They said nothing, but the rest of the ride they cast frequent worried glances at the hills, as if expecting some fire-belching dragon or demon to leap out.

Kezzek was too tired to care much. It had been almost two days since he'd last slept so a few hours later when they reached their destination, he was half-asleep in the saddle.

A scattering of white tents were pitched at the base of a tall cliff. Nearby, atop a hill were the ruins of a small castle that looked to have burned down long ago. A wide, gaping cave opened into the base of the cliff and odd rectangular boxes were stacked nearly to the ceiling on both sides of the cave. He had a good guess about what was in those boxes, but he had a harder time trying to guess how many there were. Hundreds? Thousands?

A tall man with the blue Webdyn tattoos on both sides of his neck, face, and down his arms walked out from a massive pavilion tent, a man in full plate and another cowled figure in thick purple robes following him.

“Hail noble Greywarden,” the man said. “I am Bragas Webdyn and I have a proposal for you. Would you like to step inside?”

Kezzek dismounted with a grunt and squinted at the early morning sunlight. “I've barely slept in the last two days and just rode hard for a whole night. Give me your proposal and I'll consider it.”

Bragas grinned. “Direct and to the point. I like that about Greywardens. Very well, I will speak directly.”

He turned and looked at the ruins. “Look at that. That should be the flag of the Freeholds. We've been fighting each other for hundreds of years, bickering and quarreling and blood-feuding. I tire of it.”

“So you won't wipe out the Thornspills?” Kezzek said.

Bragas looked back at him, as though surprised. “No, of course we will wipe them out, but only because that is the first step in my larger goal. The Freeholds have never been unified, though many have tried. I think I am the man and now is the time.”

Kezzek almost mentioned the Ashen Tower's crystals, but held his tongue. “So what do you want from me?”

“Ahah, no nonsense. I like you Greywarden,” Bragas said, turning and looking towards the morning sun, then out at the hills that descended down into the Freeholds. “For the Freeholds to become a true Kingdom, they need a strong King. That I can do. But what the Freeholds needs just as much is a single order of lawbringers, someone to keep the unruly Freeholds from each other's throats. You've seen how our Hold-laws function...”

“Let me see if I understand you correctly,” Kezzek said. “You want me to head up a policing force for the Freeholds, unified under you?”

“Precisely.”

Kezzek rubbed his head. “I'll have to think about it. Is there a place where I could rest and think on this?”

“Of course!” Bragas said. He gestured grandly towards the pavilion. “Use my tent. Feel free to use any refreshments you find in there. I look forward to hearing your decision when you awake.”
 
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