9th Kuthona “Oathday”, of the year 4711
Tavern: The Hoist, Roderick’s Cove
I did not wake until 9.30, having slept late. Morden was experiencing a significant reluctance to rise, so I went down to the bathing rooms to wash, and returned with breakfast. I have forsaken my usual armour this morning for plain clothes, which I have altered with the magical cuffs into Shelyn’s dress which Ellesar gave me. I dislike being unprepared for battle in any circumstances, but I thought that turning up fully armed to court could be misconstrued as an aggressive intention. I did, however, sling my Earthbreaker, Shelyn’s Gift on my back. I will need it later today.
Morden slinked off after breakfast, and I am taking advantage of this time to plan what I will say and do in court today.
First is the matter of my manner of rule. It has not been possible to understand what the previous system of rule was, mainly because Baronet Thornbridge has been so vague about his own time in power. Having considered the options, I have decided to opt for constitutional rule – no man or woman should be above the law, and nor should it be different for different people. In addition to this, I will continue to press my agenda to end slavery, and add an edict which abolishes the right for one sentient being to own another. Again, following the work I have already been pursuing within the community here in Roderick’s Cove, I plan to announce an edict of Alms-law, that the poorest and most in need should get a ration of food from the city, as long as the city can support it.
Naturally, our state religion will be the worship of the glorious goddess Shelyn, though in light of my own allegiance and origins, I have chosen that we will also worship the Divine Builder, Torag, as a national deity. Given the lack of necessary infrastructure within Roderick’s Cove, the Divine Builder could definitely be a strategic holy patron.
In addition to our state religion, I have declared other deities who we will openly support – Abadar, for our cities and Erastil for our farmers; Iomidae, Sarenrae and Irori for their goodness and enlightenment, and Apsu – God of all good dragons – to honour my own parents.
On the other hand, if we are to turn away evil from our realm I feel it necessary that we take steps to ban the worship of some of the most reprehensible evil deities. To allow their representation on our land would be a dishonour which would soil all the good work we hope to achieve. We must make our light so bright that the shadows flee in fear. Those deities I will name include Rovagug – the Rough Beast, Droskar – the dark and cheating smith, and Lamashtu – the most fiendish Mother of Monsters.
In addition to these edicts, I must appoint a counsel, and I have honours to bestow. Elyron, if he agrees, I will reconfirm as Seneschal since he seems to be the only one who knows how the city functions financially, and I think that Zao should be honoured with a knighthood for all his work with the guard, for which I will name him Captain. In addition, Derek and Morden must be on the counsel – I never hear better advice than from them; I will name Derek as treasurer, since he has proven himself so adept with my own businesses, and Morden as court diplomat. According to tradition I cannot offer any titles to Arietta at all, since she holds a noble rank above mine. However, I plan to offer her the position of court tactician and I hope she accepts – her knowledge and experience would be a major boon for us all and, if she is in the system, I can leave her in charge whilst I am away. I also must name a court Cleric, to take charge of religious and educational matters in the community. Though Father Ovirus is more experienced as a cleric, naming Father Thorton has obvious advantages both because he is highly educated (a matter I wish to push in this community) , and also because he owes allegiance to Shelyn, the state religion. For now we have no lands to give and no titles, but that does not trouble me too much – I wish to get to know the nobles better before I begin doling out power. From them, I merely wish to hear oaths of fealty.
I believe I will fly early to the cathedral and pray before today’s court session – may the love of Shelyn give me strength.
- [Here begins session 18.]
Court was an extraordinary affair – after thanking those present for the trust they were bestowing upon me, I said my piece and blessed those I had appointed in my counsel with Shelyn’s holy light. I confess, as with my choice of venue, my actions were political, intended to display the power with which Shelyn has blessed me. As I finished my speeches, my eye was drawn up to the windows above me by a strange movement – a bright, colourful songbird flew circles in the sunlight, before disappearing I do not know where – a sign, a blessing from Shelyn herself. I confess myself moved and thrilled – I have heard her voice twice, once through the dying body of Edwin and once sundering the sky on Roderick’s Cove, but every sign from her, every glimpse of her wondrous being, is a gift which sustains and renews my faith and my purpose. I felt my confidence grow, knowing that she approved what I am doing here.
The noble quartet – Asimus, Aileyn, Mesma and Guyron – all appeared in their finery, though none could match Guyron for the sheer volume of lace and ruffles, nor for the elegance of his bowing and courting – I finally recognised his accent and manner as being from Absalom – Escadar, to be precise.
I confess I wished that Nilluvian could have been there – I was having mischievous thoughts of naming him Master of Horse, though I can imagine that I would be the only one amused by that circumstance. I wonder where he is, or if he decided in the end to remain in Augustana with Princess Loreena. My final business before I left the cathedral, after having exchanged pleasantries with all who were present, was to announce our first counsel meeting for the following day. Elyron has asked about fees for the counsel members and knights, but I believe that we should address that together, once we are certain what the city can afford to pay these people for the honour of their advice.
Believing that I had done all I needed to in court, I led Derek and Morden to the edge of the cliff where the tower with the mysterious door stood. I had told them about it the night before and they were intruiged. Of course, it was only when I reached the edge of the cliff that I realised they would have no way down. Quite how others get anywhere without wings I never cease to wonder – they seem to manage perfectly well, but for myself I could not imagine life without them. I landed them down one by one (Derek had never seemed happier to be on firm land), and led them up to the mysterious door. Derek was no more able to open it than I had been, though he did observe that, with no visible hinges, it was most likely to be some sort of sliding mechanism rather than a traditional door. Morden noted that if it was magical there were no instructive runes, which is rather unusual – clearly this was a door to be opened only by a select, initiated few. We got no closer to opening it – Derek and Morden both doubt that Azial will be powerful or knowledgeable enough, and there are no other magic users in the city that I know of.
I took Derek back up to the cliff, though Morden lingered with me for a while and, after some teasing, we made love in the tower. I had never experienced such a thing in public before (well, I suppose that, given my inexperience, that is hardly a surprise) – it is extremely invigorating. When we had finished, I promised to Morden that I would show him the other tower, the central one which seems to be ‘activateable’ somehow. I bodily grabbed him and flew him over, not missing the chance to dip his toes in the water and tease him by threatening to drop him in. We arched up high and then landed directly on the roof of the central cove tower. He, like me, was at a loss as to the precise nature of the eggcup-like hollow, but he was less tentative than I, and climbed right in to enjoy the warmth permeating from the glassy surface. When this siege is over, I must search for a court Mage. There are rather too many mysteries I would like to be solved.
Morden did suggest that we might learn more about the ruins in Dic’Yien’s library. With that in mind we flew back to the Cathedral. I stopped in at the underground lake (I still think of it as Iryani’s Lake). I wanted to examine more closely what was in there, and I wondered idly if whatever activated the cove watchtower was in there. It was not, but that did not prevent me from exploring the waters and the cavern. There are stalagmites and stalactites growing there, and tool marks on the walls make it clear that the cavern has been prospected for metals and may have been artificially widened. The water there is clean and clear, and it is strange to swim upon a shore of precious metals and shiny trinkets. I dredged up a few handfuls of coins, jewellery, precious stones and other trinkets. There are also weapons and armour lying down there – I even found a disembodied axe head. Morden pulled out a gold and silver chain with a ruby pendant and hung it around my neck. Finally it was time to move on – I dried off by flying around the cavern, but I used a burst of flame to dry Morden. This means that I incinerated his underwear – how clumsy of me – but I believe he looks better without it.
At length, we headed down to the library. Derek was not in, but his ladies came to greet us. The library itself is spectacular. The books are in diverse languages – Elvish, Draconic, Dwarvish, Undercommon, Celestial, Thassilonion and even Ancient Azlanti. I could see no clear order, search though I might, in the thousands of tomes housed there. There were more surprises when I opened some of the Thassilonion texts and found that the pages seemed to be encrypted, with the letters spread oddly and scattered around the page in a bizarre manner, whilst other pages were completely blank. Morden pointed out some small codes on the top of these pages, and also on some blank pages which apparently may be diagrams or images, and told me about a decryption device, the optiron. Apparently this looks like a strange set of spectacles, fitted with different mirrors and lenses which can be swung around in various combinations to accord with the codes.
A thorough search of the library produced:
- Ink pens, inkwells and ink in rare colours
- Mapping tools
- Tools used for architechtural desgins
However no optiron has yet been found. Morden suggested that such a thing might be owned by a Lodge of the Pathfinder’s society – there is certainly one in Magnimar, though there may be one in Riddlesport too which is closer, if more dangerous.
As well as these confusing, coded books, I also made a brief search for any tomes which may aid me in my upcoming endeavours. I have located Dwarven-language books about open field tactics (mass army combat) and about the construction of siege engines, and also a fascinating book in draconic – a survey of the magics of the Thassilonion ruins, which may prove very useful regarding the history and function of both the Roderick’s Cove infrastructure, and other sites of Thassilonion heritage nearby. Finally, and perhaps most useful of all, I discovered a language book, teaching Ancient Azlanti from the mother language of Draconic. This will give me access to a great deal more information in the libraries both up in the cathedral and down in the forge.
Morden and I were drawing to a close with our searching as Derek came back into his apartment. We excused ourselves, not wanting to intrude on Derek’s privacy, and went back up to the surface by the elevator. We stood in front of the inn for a few moments and enjoyed the evening air, and then tried to check in briefly with Nilluvian. He is still not back from Augustana. I know that a celestial unicorn can look after himself, and that he is not my responsibility, but he is my friend and I am slightly worried that something has happened to him. Morden accepted my invitation to dine with me at the Thickwood estate and, after having packed up my things from the inn and returned the key for my room, we walked through the town together companionably, holding hands. Thoren, I am pleased to note, is as jovial and informal as ever – perhaps, having known my master Ellesar as he did, he cannot take my authority to heart as much as others, and I must say I am grateful for it.
The interior of the North wing was much as the rest of the Thickwood estate – heavy, practical to the extreme, and of excellent quality. Collin, the butler in charge of the wing, came running as soon as we entered the building, and we ordered dinner to be ready in an hour. In the mean time, we laid my things up in the master bedroom on the second floor and took the opportunity to explore a little. An undercroft in the basement houses the utility rooms and servants quarters. The ground floor holds a large dining room and a sitting room with some bookshelf space. The first floor holds three small, utilitarian bedrooms and a common area, whilst the second is laid out with a master bedroom and adjoining bathroom, which has a fantastic library area with a map table suitable for planning and counsel meetings. The third floor is the crenelated room, ideal for arial landings. I think I shall enjoy living here a great deal.
Supper came as promised, with aperitifs and wine served by a young girl called Naiya, who seems very modest and decorous (that word again), followed by sumptuous partridges filled with plums. Over dinner I spoke with Morden about his time in the area. He has been in Roderick’s Cove for around 6 years, before which he travelled extensively through the region. We also discussed how we might go about clearing the subterranean lake of its treasures – it occurred to me that we might use buckets with holes in the bottom to speed the process, and Morden agreed that it was a good idea.
After a leisurely dinner, we retired upstairs and settled by the fire for a while. I read a great deal from the “Magics of the Thassilonion ruins” and discovered a number of curious things. The author was a dwarf adventurer, surely now long dead, who went around Varisia about 400 years ago; the book contains accounts of what he found at different Thassilonion locations of interest. I searched first for any mention of Roderick’s Cove – after scanning through much of the text I came across a reference to a fortification on the cove South of Riddleport. At that point, it was nothing more than overgrown fortifications, an entrance to a dungeon from which, according to local livestock herders, no one ever came up. Reading this, one wonders if even then Dic’Yien had established himself in the Forge, or if some other nefarious presence rested there. The Cathedral was purportedly haunted, and the author notes that it was probably repurposed after the fall of the empire for a different religion, though which he did not say. The guard towers in the cove were mentioned to be in perfect condition, though there are no details of the specific fittings. Finally, I made a significant discovery through reading this book – the walls of the city are apparently fortified with some sort of metallic plating within them which, though no details were given, exudes the aura of transmutation magic. I must ask Azial to research this further – I plan to know every detail I can about what we have inherited from the Thassilonions.
Further curious about the area, I read on to the entry regarding Riddleport. The original Thassilonion structure there includes a huge stone arch which spans across the port – it is considered
that the Thassilonion Lord who inhabited the original site may have used this as a way to see into the future, though I know not if Riddlesport has discovered this use for it yet. There is also a natural source of Carboxyte gas at the bottom of the ruins; although highly toxic (exposure to it can be
lethal) and extremely flammable, this gas is valuable, as it is necessary in the smelting of adamantium. Derek has told me that our own forge does not have the capability to smelt the adamantium we have been uncovering, and so knowing this nearby carboxyte source is very valuable to us.
Though the book was fascinating, Morden eventually found a more immediate use of my attention, and at length we went up to bed. He is currently sleeping next to me, and I must say it is wonderfully companionable. I enjoy his company, respect him immensely, and crave the chemistry we share. Though for his part I cannot speak, since he is in all thinks so secretive and closed, I believe myself to be very much in love with him, and I can only hope that Shelyn approves of our union.