Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.


Preparing for the Moot

1st Day, 1st Ride, 9th Month, 1374th Year

After talking to Creighton about the work we'd have to do first thing in the morning, I retired back to my room in the keep. I looked out of the window of my room and heard the quiet whispers coming from the settlers' camp to the north. I reckoned the camp was no more than a mile away and that gave me an idea. I spoke to Blackwing and asked her to keep an eye on Ser Fosco's tent, easily recognised by his flag flying proudly above it. With an angry flutter of feathers that magnificent bird took off.

What little remained of the evening I spent studying my spells. I am ambitious and eager to fly by Blackwing's side. I've followed the lineage from Mage Hand to Feather Fall, to Levitate and I hope that if I study hard enough I will be able to attain flight that gives me a greater degree of mobility and control.

2nd Day, 1st Ride, 9th Month, 1374th Year

Early in the morning I met with Creighton in the study. He had brought the required ledgers for us to come up with several economic scenarios from which Quentyn could choose. We worked while we broke our fast. It turns out Creighton kept meticulous records of all production over the last few years. Considering Lord Marbrand's varied investments in local businesses, we had a lot of material to work with. I did most of the mathematics and risk assessments and came up with four likely scenarios.

By the time I was supposed to meet Quentyn and Brother David in Glister proper, I had decided to send Blackwing to deliver my apologies. I felt my talents would best server Quentyn if I would take the extra time to finish the work so that he would be well prepared to face the Glisterians at the moot.

At noon Quentyn and Brother David arrived back at the keep for lunch. I had been so busy with work that I had failed to notice a bird had arrived with a message from Lord Balta, the Western Warden of Vaasa. Apparently he had sent a scouting party to clear the High Pass and claim the keep there, but hadn't heard from them in over a ride. He inquired if they had been spotted in or around Glister.

Quentyn's concern was that if Lord Balta would take the keep at the High Pass it would mean that Quentyn couldn't. Not without ousting Lord Balta's men and setting off a territorial dispute with a neighbouring lord. One that Quentyn likely wasn't able to win. He felt he should claim the keep before Lord Balta did. Another item on his ever-growing list of matters of import.

Yesterday, Widukind and Jago brought another small keep to Quentyn's attention. One that was in the foothills of the Galena Mountains to the south east, towards Hulburg. According to the two trackers there is a lot of Lizardmen activity in the area, which means a rather significant detour for any caravans coming from that direction.

Two keeps, one to the north east, the other to the south west. Securing both of them would improve trade relations, and securing the one to the north east would also win a territorial dispute before it starts. Hopefully we'll resolve the matter of the settlers at the moot with enough support that we will be able to focus on the keeps.

Creighton was happy to go over the numbers of the different scenarios and give them a good polish. After hearing Jago mention that the High Pass keep was said to be haunted, I decided to do some quick research in the Marbrand library. The more information we'd have, the easier it was to prioritise the taking of High Pass keep and the recovery of Lord Balta's scouts. Meanwhile, Quentyn and Brother David decided to visit the Widow. Her support at the moot, as with Wulfric's, would be crucial.

After a short while I had found references to several keeps in the High Pass region. It was quite possible they all referred to the same structure, just mentioned under a different name due to changing allegiances or rulership. It was clear that whatever was there was meant to guard the High Pass, and perhaps even the Low Pass.

Since the High Pass lays on the south-western border of Vaasa it was controlled by the Witch King during his brutal and unholy reign. It's not unlikely that it was the seat of some very evil people, and perhaps even one of the Witch King's undead minions. This could explain the keeps superstitious reputation. At least, I hope it's superstition.

When Quentyn and Brother David returned they told me of the meeting with the Widow. Judging the mood of the two men, I got the sense that the meeting was less fruitful than they had hoped. The way they spoke, the doubt in Quentyn's voice, his choice of words...

Having observed my lord father govern his lands, I find the contrast between him and Quentyn quite shocking. My father always appeared to be just and fair but uncompromisingly stern and steadfast. Quentyn doesn't seem to posses the conviction of his rule. David also speaks to him as if he's a common rube. Upon reflection, I probably patronise him in the way I speak to him. If even his closest advisors don't offer him his due respect, how are the townsfolk going to respond to him?

I suggested that Brother David and I take the evening to visit the camp in order to find out what kind of labourers the settlers had been before they took up arms. I had already sent out Blackwing to keep an eye out for the source of their food, and she had reported back that the settlers seemed to forage and trap small game.

When we arrived at the camp the mood had changed significantly compared to our first visit. We were welcomed and allowed to walk the camp without a problem. It seemed that Ser Fosco had made good on his promise to keep his men in line.

An amicable conversation with Gunnar revealed that there were two blacksmiths in the camp, several hunters and trappers, and that they had several novice herbalists, a few leatherworkers, tanners and cobblers. Bakers, cooks, tar makers, fletchers were also present. Most of the men came from farming stock, so they would be able to till the land and grow enough crops to become self sufficient.

We spoke with the Hammer (the official name of one serving Tempus) about the moot and he was genuinely shocked to hear that the Glisterians had a say in the decision making. That while Quentyn's opinion carried a lot of weight, that his rule was not an absolute one. The Hammer decided to share that Ser Fosco's tactic had been to undermine Quentyn as lord by purposefully causing friction between the settlers and the Glisterians. Likely, he'd never have done that if they had known just how decisions were made in the town.

We decided to talk with all the settlers but for some reason we weren't really able to get a good conversation going. Perhaps it was late or they were distrustful, but we couldn't get through to them and they wouldn't offer up too much of their background and skills. I resorted to figuring out their trades by looking at some of the tools they had laying around.

Another thing; I spoke to Gunnar to see if he could get his hands on some wine. I told him I'd be willing to pay, barter or trade. Let's hope he'll be able to find some among the settlers.

When we returned to the keep on Wizard's Hill, we found Quentyn sitting in the courtyard, by himself. He looked dejected and somewhat forlorn. We spoke about what we had discovered at the settlers' camp, and about the strategy at the moot. I suggested that Ser Fosco should come with us to retake the keep at the High Pass as a task for his new lord. Brother David wisely suggested that his right hand Matteo should take a small group to retake the keep in the south east. Split them up. See if we can form a bond with Ser Fosco.

At one point, Brother David spoke to Quentyn in a manner that didn't suit me. It was then that I noticed Harald's belt, with that intricately carved bone stag at the buckle. The stag's details had receded and faded, as if by intense use. The antlers that the stag displayed were worn down compared to when I had first seen and investigated the belt, as if by long use. I took out my scrying crystal and spoke a few arcane words of divination.

Detect Magic
Mindok pah lah.
Know all magic.

It was true, the power of the belt had severely diminished. My mind raced for an answer. At first, I thought that maybe I had overlooked the possibility that the belt's magic was finite and that with common use the power would slowly wane.

But then it occurred to me that the belt was Uthgardt in origin, created by its members to reflect their chosen totem. The totems of the Uthgardt were made to reflect their ideal. The bear was powerful. The wolf was loyal. The cat was sly. Quentyn wore the belt and it showed his ideal; the stag -- regal, commanding and proud. Quentyn's mood was fueling the belt and it was losing power as Quentyn was losing faith in his ability to command.

I immediately tried to reassure him. I referred to him as my lord, and paid him his proper dues. I assured him of my confidence in his plan and his ability to lead the people of Glister. I noticed that the power of the belt returned almost immediately. I should remember that the belt will give me a good reflection of how capable Quentyn is feeling as a lord.

One last thing of note about our conversation. Something that Quentyn had neglected to share with us is that besides this group of settlers, there were two more groups coming up from Cormyr. If they are each the size of the current group, it would mean that Glister's number would swell by eighty and one hundred. That would be more than an increase of half the original inhabitants, and something our current economy would certainly not be able to support. It was unlikely the other two groups would risk arriving in the middle of winter, so that would mean they would arrive in the spring at the earliest. We would have to start preparing for their arrival. And we would have to do it soon.

It sickens me to think that I left my family, I left the circle, I left my homeland, all in order to avoid politics. Anything to avoid politics. And now I'm in the employ of a Cormyrian lord learning how to be a lord even though he was never groomed by his family to become one. The gods are playing a cruel joke on me.


The Settlers

1st Day, 1st Ride, 9th Month, 1374th Year

It has been two years since the battle with Nar-Narg-Naroth. Much has changed on the Oldmark. The new Lord of Glister has shaped up the militia and has built a palisade along the moat, further separating the Oldmark from the Newmark. Harald has been replaced by Widukind as the paragon of the foresters and he has been working in concert with Jago to open up new and secure old trade routes.

The village has grown and its productivity has grown along with it. I've helped optimise the production of arable land by changing crop rotation cycles and fine tuning sowing and reaping times. I am loathed to take responsibility for the jump in crop yield. The herds of cattle on the Hoof have also been procreating faster and more steadily, and growing larger and healthier than before. I suspect that vanquishing the Tanar'ri has had a positive effect on Glister. And dare I say on the whole of the Thar.

I've been...reckless with my divinations, but I cannot say it's been without its rewards. If it wasn't for the current unrest in Glister I would spend much more time learning the secrets of the bloodstone, and the being that is banished inside of it.

Quentyn has made great strides in advancing himself as the Lord of Glister. He has also made great strides in advancing Glister as a trading hub along the Thar. Neighbouring fiefdoms have sent word, and a certain Lord Balta, the Western Warden of Vaasa even made the trek to Glister to make a personal appearance.

Occasionally there is word from Cormyr. A great horde of orcs has descended upon my homeland. I'm certain that the Cormyrian knights and war wizards are more than capable of defeating the horde -- it is not the first time they come reaving down from the mountains -- but I cannot help but be somewhat worried for my family. Danan especially. He should be of an age now that he'll have his own command, or leading some vanguard. I wonder if he's been anointed yet. I should write him again. Until I hear back, I shall pray to Chauntea to lend strength to him so he can defend home and hearth.

As a result of the trouble in Cormyr, and likely eager to send word back of his progress, Quentyn has send an open invitation for refugees to come and settle in Glister. His ambition is admirable. For a long while I thought that none would make the trek across all the way north to Glister. Even if you take a boat across the Sea of Fallen Stars and north into the Moonsea, like I did, the journey across the Thar from Thentia, Melvaunt or Hulburg will take weeks.

And yet, they came. A large host of sixty mercenaries, lead by a Cormyrian knight by the name of Ser Fosco. It was a ragtag band of Cormyrians, Sembians, and mongrels. Glister was ill-prepared. Quentyn was ill-prepared. I am not sure what he was expecting, but I was expecting people less armed with swords and more armed with ploughshares. They look less like settlers and more like raiders. But here they are, looking for a home.

The settlers -- yes, settlers, that's what they are and I will continue to call them that so that they, and the people from Glister, don't forget why they're there -- have settled in a large camp on the Newmark, just across the moat, in sight of the keep. It's been weeks now, and understandably they are getting restless. I don't know what is stopping them from settling properly. I guess my curiosity has gotten to the point where I will set aside my studies and venture forth. Perhaps I can help.

This day I woke up to the smell of food coming from the kitchen. When I came downstairs, I saw that Quentyn joined his two squires -- Godric and... and... Godric and the other one -- to break their fast. Mund had prepared what most people would consider a fine start of the day. Despite being here for a while, I still have trouble adjusting to the Glisterian choice of food. The Thar breeds hardier people than myself.

Luckily, I've been able to figure out what works for me. The friendly simpleton Gilbert and I have grown friendly, and he sells me eggs from his flock of ducks. Mund has started to prepare the eggs in the different ways. When I told him to be more conservative with the spices, his creations became a delight.

The amount of wine in the village is still at an abysmal level. It's rare. The villagers seem to enjoy their ales and meads more and so the merchants have given up bringing it on their voyages across the Thar. I've started to drinking some light ciders, which I'm learning how to digest. If I don't overdo it, the acidity of the apples doesn't upset my stomach. Perhaps I should see about getting Jago to bring some grapevines from his trips to Hulburg. Perhaps I can start growing my own. The climate isn't suited for it, but with Chauntea's blessing anything I create will be better than ale.

While I quietly ate my breakfast at the kitchen table I started to wonder what kind of knights these two squires would become? They seem brutish, boorish and devoid of the five chivalric virtues that a knight should imbue; valour, honour, compassion, generosity and wisdom. Perhaps I shouldn't judge them too harshly. Perhaps it's simply that they don't come across as any of these things. At the Circle of Magi I had to jump through some awful hoops in order not to be judged too harshly. I ended up showing everyone wrong. I hope Godric and... thinger will show me wrong.

With Quentyn not being a knight himself, or a priest; can he even anoint new knights?

Creighton arrived and joined to break his fast. He asked Quentyn if it was wise that Wulfric dictate the terms of the moot. Apparently, Wulfric had called for a moot. Apparently, the mercena*... no, the settlers had been causing some trouble. Skirmishes, intimidation and thievery had gone up and the settlers had been involved in all instances. Quentyn decided that as lord, he should be the one to call for a moot.

Brother David arrived wearing that ghastly chain of his and heartily attacked the breakfast larders. He had come to ask about the moot as well and he was also able to confirm that the settlers were the cause of much unrest on the Oldmark.

After breakfast brother David wanted to check my constitution. I could have saved him the effort and replied with "miserable," but he seemed quite insistent. My seizure has left him worried. When the checkup was concluded I was told I was relatively good health, which was good. I was told that I shouldn't neglect the hearth during my studies. I knew what that meant. Oftentimes I am so lost in thought or study that the hearth extinguishes and the bitter cold creeps into my bones.

We spoke briefly about the settlers and the moot. He wanted us to keep the mood of the moot calm and to prevent the villagers from antagonising the settlers. They are well armed and most of them seem seasoned combat veterans. They could take over the village if they wanted to.

We all met atop the keep to look at the camp of the settlers on the Newmark. We noticed the banner of Ser Fosco; a triangle of three black arrows on a field of green. His heraldry seemed sophisticated enough that he should likely be, or have been, a landed Cormyrian knight. I did not recognise his banner, but I resigned to find out what I could. Perhaps Lord Marbrand left some books on Cormyrian heraldry behind while searching for his heir. I could send Blackwing for Cormyr to inquire, but it would likely take two rides for her to return.

We all ended up walking up to the Hoof to find Wulfric. I was reminded that when we had first arrived in Glister, Wulfric's daughter Annika had been taken by gnolls. Quentyn, brother David and Jago saved her and Wulfric was very grateful. I wondered what had soured his mood towards Quentyn, and whether we'd have to remind him about the debt he owed them.

I felt embarrassed to find that Wulfric was actually quite hospitable and friendly. He offered us some cheese that his daughter had learned how to make, and essentially confirmed what we had already suspected. He wasn't happy with the way the settlers had been behaving.

His main gripe, besides the infractions, was that the settlers simply weren't contributing to the village. They were not producing, only consuming. Not pulling their weight. He also wanted to know where we would house them. And why they seemed so disinterested in clearing land, erecting houses and plowing fields.

Even with the added productivity of the fields and the herds, could we keep up that productivity under the strain of sixty extra mouths to feed? It was a very valid question, but not one I could answer without doing some mathematics first. I decided to talk to Creighton and get to the bottom of that conundrum. How much food is produced on how much arable land? To house, feed and cloth sixty people, how much extra land needs to be tilled, how much extra cattle will it take, how much extra game needs to be hunted and how much extra fish needs to be caught? Once we know that, we know what we'll need to provide in terms of land, tools, seed and cattle.

Jago and Widukind had joined us at Wulfric's the moment they heard we were on the Hoof. When we left, we decided to pay a visit to the settler's camp and Jago decided to join us. We crossed the palisade and took the ferry across the moat and walked up to the camp.

At the camp we were made to wait outside the camp. Under guard. Eventually it became insulting and Quentyn resolutely shouldered his way past the guards. He and I don't have much in common, and in that moment I was jealous of his ability to command respect simply by imposing his physique and stature. It probably doesn't hurt that brother David, who is an imposing man himself, was standing to his side wearing that ugly chain and that magical cloak of furs.

Ser Fosco turned out to be a tough nut to crack. There was some back and forth between the knight and Quentyn and it became... tense. It certainly felt as if Ser Fosco was trying to squeeze every bit out of the leverage he had, even if that leverage was gained through intimidation. It became quite clear that Ser Fosco wanted to be a landed knight yet again and I wondered how realistic it was to introduce feudalism to Glister.

A deal was struck; Ser Fosco would keep his settlers in line, Quentyn would come up with a plan and present it at the moot in two days. Quentyn would bring three people, as would Ser Fosco. Quentyn decided to depart, but brother David asked Ser Fosco's permission to walk the camp and tend to the needs of the settlers. He granted permission, though I felt that permission wasn't his to grant. The Newmark was as much a part of Glister as the Oldmark, despite being outside the palisade.

While walking the camp with brother David we both came to the conclusion that most of the people in the camp came to Glister to earnestly accept Quentyn's invitation. Brother David could detect some bad apples in the batch, but most of the Cormyrians really were fleeing the war in our homeland looking for a better life.

We met a priest of Tempus by the name of Gunnar, a wintered soldier. He was open and amicable, and his voice betrayed his Damaran heritage. He wasn't sure whether he would stay. This made sense to me and confirmed to me that we had gotten the right of it; the majority of the people here came with good intentions. If they would stay and settle, Gunnar would move on to find the next battle, to find another war to serve his Lord.

When we were done we returned to Ser Fosco's tent. Brother David had asked me to distract Ser Fosco a bit so that he could say a prayer. So I asked Ser Fosco where he was from and how he came to leave. His tale was a tragic one, of a small house of some nobility, losing more and more power when the orc horde came, until all that was left was a title. It seemed Ser Fosco was here to reclaim some of the prestige he lost in the war.

On the way back to the Oldmark, brother David told me that he had divined that Ser Fosco had a deeply selfish core and I was once again reminded of the conversation I had with Quentyn and the two squires; was Ser Fosco an exemplary knight? Did he embody the five chivalric virtues of knighthood?

When we returned to the keep, we talked to Quentyn about what we had found at the camp, and the conclusions that we had drawn. I suggested that we'd refer to the land to be designated as "The Gift." It would help us in our conversations, and convey the spirit in which we were entering these negotiations. It also sounded good.

Before bed, I talked to Creighton and came up with a plan to do the mathematics about what Glister currently produced in terms of crops, cattle, fishing and game. We would need to come up with several models in which we distributed the sixty new hands in such a way as to optimally create enough goods to support the visitors and yield the most to Glister.


This is a great resource for Skyrim's dragon language:

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D&Diesel, This is Fantastic

I had no real interest in watching The Last Witch Hunter, but I might give it a chance after this fantastic D&D session! (Source: Vin Diesel, Nerdist, and Geek and Sundry’s critical role battle in D&Diesel)

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Day 7, Ride 3, Month 5, 1372 DR

Because one our shadow-cloaked assailants got away and others might have still been around, we decided to stay awake through the rest of the night. We searched the remains of the attackers and I found a necklace with a circular pendant, its outer ring purple, the rest filled by black. I felt it had a religious importance, but no matter how much I tried to recollect if I had seen the image somewhere before, I couldn't dig it up. The rest was as clueless as I was. I decided to hold on to it, which, upon further reflection now, may not have been the best idea. There is no way of knowing whether a symbol of an obviously evil and dreadful god didn't somehow hold some sway over us.

We covered up the traces of our camp but left the fire burning in the hopes it would distract any other, would-be assailants. We made another, fireless camp several hundred yards down the road and we tried to get some rest. When the sun started to come up, I prepared breakfast while the others inspected the body of the assailant we had taken with us. Of all of them, this one was the least mutilated after battle, although his forehead was caved in by my hammer, it was clear he was just a normal human, albeit with a strange, ashen grey skin. He was wearing clothing that seemed not of this time. Old, ancient even, and ceremoniously pompous-looking. The only real armour he wore was an archaic looking breastplate that Ebon decided to take along with him, probably because it looked expensive. Ebon also lifted a small purse off the man, which held strange coins made from various metals.

When the sun was at its zenith we no longer held the Spiderhaunt Woods to our rightand we moved into the southern tip of the Desertmouth Mountains. I went off trail and found a stream of fresh water for our horses to take some rest.

At the end of the afternoon we reached the top of the mountains from where our view offered us the ability to start plotting our next course. We decided to give the horses some more rest after the arduous climb and found a good, sheltered place with a good vantage point up as well as down the road. I took the first few hours of watch while the others slept. The wind picked up and howled through the valleys. Akadi was with us that evening. The night went by without incident.


Day 8, Ride 3, Month 5, 1372 DR

The following day was windy and chilly. Without too much ceremony we broke up camp and continued travel. I remarked that Akadi would be with us that day and Abel responded with ignorance and derision. He shall have to make his way through life without the gods.

The landscape changed when we reached lower ground. We had to make our way through small canyons and crevices. I've been very lucky in finding fresh water for us and the horses, and for that I gave thanks that day.

At a certain point my companions pointed off in the distance toward an onrushing sandstorm. I remarked that this what you get when denying the existence of Akadi, and Abel continued his blasphemy. As if in my element, I quickly found shelter for us. I covered Stygos in several of my blankets and tried to keep him calm.

Ebon's horse panicked and ran out into the storm. Two hours later, when we had ridden out the storm, the first out of Abel's mouth was a snide, blasphemous comment. Remarkably, Ebon's horse was still alive, but barely. It took hours getting Ebon's horse up and walking again. We moved slowly, but we moved.

Hours later, we came upon a city -- the city from my vision! The darkness I had seen was there, too, writhing and moving constantly. It was a horrifying image, even more so than in my vision.

Ebon and Thorim spotted a group of people close to the city. It was likely they had seen us as well, but we thought it prudent to make camp and investigate the following day. The fear was that the people would be hostile to us. The watch remained uneventful and we awoke without incident the following morning.


Day 9, Ride 3, Month 5, 1372 DR

During breakfast Ebon revealed he had spied on the camp outside Tilverton and counted less than a dozen campfires. Abel started diguising himself quite convincingly with Ebon's help. I asked what the likelihood was that he would be recognised and he said he didn't think it likely. He also thought it unlikely there would be any repercussions for us if he would be recognised, something which Thorim clearly didn't believe. He also revealed that Abel Silver wasn't his real name. Something I hadn't ever considered before.

We carefully headed towards the city and spotted Cormyrian banners. Ebon decided to scout ahead and spotted between thirty to fourty people, mostly soldiers but also sages and wizards. The darkness in the city was deep and eerie.

We were met by a group of purple dragons, which is what Cormyrian knights call themselves, apparently. They asked our business and ended up escorting us to their commander when we told them we were investigating the happenings on order of Lord Morn of Daggerdale. Their commander turned out to be a woman by the name of Caladnei. She was very serious and none too happy with our presence or our attitudes. Well, mostly my attitude. She rubbed me the wrong way, so instinctively started mouthing off, something I regret doing now.

She and hers had been there for a ride and had sent several excursions into the city, only to have the troops return mad and gibbering. She claimed no form of magic was capable of working close to the city, and when I tried the simplest of prayers, Abaddon never responded!

The discussion didn't prove to be too fruitful but we gave the items we lifted from the ashen men that attacked us. I asked after Heron but nobody knew about him or had spotted someon resembling his description. Ebon managed to swap his horse out with another while Abel and I put our ear to the ground, but unfortunately we both came up empty.

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