Kingmaker

On this day, 1 Desnus 4710, we have founded the first city of our fledgling country, Lakefort, on the site of the former base of the Stag Lord. From henceforth, on this day each year shall be celebrated the anniversary of our founding. It is a good location for a city: by the lake and with easy access to the rivers, and with plenty of fertile farmland around. And it is an auspicious day for our country’s birth; the first warm months of Spring, the season of new beginnings.

The first group of settlers are just coming in, as I write these words, a long line of carriages stretching across the path back to Brevoy. They come for myriad reasons, but at heart I think they are here for the same reasons I am here: to leave behind their old life so they may find a better one in the Greenbelt. They have come a long way, these men and women. It is many leagues to Brevoy. Perhaps it is better so. We have come here to found a new kingdom, not a mere barony that Brevoy may snap up at a moments’ leisure. Whatever be the intentions of those who gave us our charters.

It has been a strange time, these past few weeks. This wilderness is so unfamiliar to a child of the city like me. And we were sent here to tame it. And tame it we have, or at least the northern half, the part we were originally chartered to keep.

The last stage of exploration began with us mapping the Shrike river. There we found an undead spirit who called himself Nettles, who demanded we slay the Stag Lord, lest he haunt us eternally. We assured him we would but, like many of the restless dead, he was most unreasonable. The time given to us was much to small, and it lent a certain urgency to our quest.

As we made our way further into unexplored territory, we found a great Sycamore, surrounded my mite tracks. We had finally found the nest of the little vermin. Cleansing it, however, was an arduous task indeed. It was a great system of tunnels, under the earth, and navigating them was difficult for many of us. Their leader seemed to be using kobold blood and flesh to create explosive alchemical concoctions which were used on us liberally and with glee. We barely managed to succeed at defeating him and freeing a kobold prisoner. Deep in that tunnel I caught a glimpse of a strange tentacled creature, but we wisely decided to leave rather than fight it. The Kobold insisted we return to their camp as soon as possible, and return their ‘god’, a strange winged statue.

The chief of the kobolds told us that their tribe had a new shaman, who apparently used great magic to summon their god, and had taken control over the tribe, we agreed to rid them of him if they would agree to peace between us. The gnome, thankfully, acquiesced to this. Truthfully, I had been worried that he would have been harder to persuade. Venrick is a good man gnome, but his hatred of kobolds borders on the extreme.

After fighting the shaman, however, I believe we have learned the reason why. The shaman’s summon was of course not a god, but an eidolon like our diminutive friend’s. More worryingly, it was disturbingly similar in form. Venrick believes that the shaman was not a kobold at all (and I am inclined to agree, given that kobolds of a purple coloration are nowhere found to my knowledge), but a member of his family, cursed by a great Fey queen. I must admit, the story sounds ridiculous when written plainly like that. But I believe him. Fey have been known to do stranger things, and if Venrick believed kobolds to have been responsible for his kin’s death prior to this, it would explain his opinion of them.

We succeeded in driving the shaman away, though he yet lives, and agreed to a treaty of non-aggression with the kobolds. It was wise to not make them our enemies. I think we shall have enemies aplenty soon enough.

When we returned to Oleg’s, we discovered a message for us. The swordlords of Rostland, troubled by increased bandit activity, offered us a reward for the Stag Lord’s head. They also issued us a new charter, fully doubling the lands assigned to us. Fortunately we had learned the location of the bandit fortress from the kobold we rescued. We rode at last to confront this bandit king, and rid the land of his menace once and for all.

What we found was a fortress. An imposing wooden palisade on a lake that seemed impossible for us to breach. Clearly a frontal assault was out of the question. We spent some time discussing ways to get it. It was the tiefling who suggested that we pretend to be envoys of a great crime lord from Brevoy.

I must make a confession here. I had been mistrustful of our sorcerer for some time. It had not been because of his demonic heritage. After all, I of all people have no right to judge another by the contents of his blood. But the mark on his horse, and the knowledge he displayed of New Stetven’s underworld, soured me to him. His plan only made me more suspicious,, but it was the best one we had.

Sadly it did not work. A man from Nisroch, who called himself Dovan, agreed to let us in, but only if we brought the head of the cleric of Desna. Obviously this was out of the question.Derrick is a good companion who has humored my strange requests many times, and I would never raise a hand against him. I write this here as I wish to make it very clear that I was only jesting when I suggested we cut his head of. Truly.

In order to keep up the pretense, however, we set north as though we were making for Oleg’s. In the night we were visited by another of the Stag Lord’s follower’s, indeed his second in command, who called himself Akiros. Yet strangely, he seemed to me a man of integrity, and most unsuited to his current employ. I have learned, over the years I have practiced my… profession, to read a man’s character. It seems to me he was once a devout and upright follower of Erastil (from the pendant he wears around his neck), but time has changed him greatly. Still, he followed the Stag Lord not out of loyalty, but because he saw him as the only stabilizing influence in such a wild land.

He demanded to know our true reasons for being there. Much to my astonishment, the sorcerer not only told him the truth, but confessed things even the rest of us had not known: His past as a bandit, and how he got his hands on a charter. My mistrust in him, it seems, was ill founded.

That, and a good word in from Woody, convinced him to trust us. He let us into the fortress, and after a great battle we slew the Stag Lord. Not only that, but Akiros agreed to aid us in the future. So we have not one but two former bandit helping to rule our little kingdom. Such irony! Yet strangely, I find I do not worry. Perhaps it is a reminder: that I of all people also do not have the right to judge another by the contents of his past.

In the bowels of the fortress, I learned what it takes, to make a man like the Stag Lord. It is a memory I shall keep with me, distasteful as it may be. I shall say no more here.

And so we founded our kingdom at the site of our victory. We have divided the administrative duties among ourselves: the sorcerer handles magical affairs, while Derrick is in charge of keeping the lands safe. Akiros has agreed to help keep the peace, while Oleg helps handle our treasury. Sam shall patrol the wilderness, while Lyras is now our high priest. At his insistence, we have begun construction on a tavern. I must confess myself pleased. I have sorely felt it lack, unable to ply my craft or pay homage to my god.

Perlivash is now our councilor, and TygTuggerTut is our Spymaster. Surprisingly, it is Venrick who has been at the forefront of our efforts. While we make decisions as a group, he seems a most adept administrator. As for myself, I am now “Grand Diplomat”, though that term has little meaning. Humph. I had thought to leave New Stetven to get away from politics.

But then that had always been a foolish notion. Where there are people, after all, there is politics. Even here, far from the capital of Brevoy and the Dragonscale throne.

Such a motley crew! It is almost a farce, a miniature kingdom led by a council of bandits, gnomes, tieflings and fairies. But one day, the nobles of Brevoy shall have to treat with us – with me – as an equal. I swear it. I must admit, the thought of the consternation on their faces when that day comes is not unpleasant.

Yet at that I cannot help but wonder: what does our dear ‘Regent’ of the Dragonscale Throne think of these tiny kingdoms being formed out here in the Stolen Lands? Is he content to just let them be, as he considers the subtle threat they pose beneath him? I cannot believe that. Noleski is no fool, and one underestimates House Surtova only at their peril. I know that better than most. I fear we shall have many dangers attending us until that day comes…

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