Tag: D&D

Knights of Lyria – Ranks

There are two types of ranks and several special titles which fall outside of these two categories. The first category is that of common ranks, which are used for unknighted members of the Knights of Lyria. They cover aspiring knights and men at arms. The latter are paid to be in the service of the knights, and are exempt from any of the vows that the knights take when they are inducted in the order (poverty, no family, etc.) It is simply a paying job.

Common Ranks

Squire

Every aspiring knight, no matter their background, starts off as a squire. They are responsible for a lot of menial tasks in service of the rest of the knights.

Armsman

The armsman are the auxiliary troops that stand in service of the knights. They are either permanent soldiers with no ambition for knighthood, or simply in it for the coin (as knights are to hold no wealth and are to tithe all their earnings to the order), squires who were never accepted as knights, but felt a calling to stay, or conscripts from the lands held by the orders.

Sergeant

This is an armsman who has showed themselves to be naturally gifted leaders. They take leadership of up to eight armsmen.

Sergeant Major

These are veteran armsman who have risen past the rank of sergeant and have proven themselves to be steadfast, reliable and skilled soldiers. They are paid very well by the orders and next to knights they are considered the backbone of their fighting force.

Knight Ranks

Knight

The bulk of the knighted forces. They have been knighted and they are part of an order. This is the lowest, knighted rank.

Knight Lieutenant

The knight lieutenant is no higher in rank than an ordinary knight, but gets special tasks and privileges. This could be temporary, while escorting nobility or a diplomat, or more permanently when overseeing the construction of a new windmill or granary.

Knight Commander

A knight commander oversees up to eight knights and dispenses orders. Also becomes responsible for their actions.

Master Commander

The master commander is, like the knight lieutenant, usually a temporary title, bestowed upon a knight commander for the duration of a special mission. It grants them the ability to do what is necessary in order to complete their task, like commandeering possessions with the promise of reimbursement, conscripting armsmen, committing troops to a theatre, etc. It is considered a very special rank and is very carefully granted due to the wide implications of their actions.

Knight Captain 

The knight captain oversees up to eight knight commanders, for a total of seventy-two knights. These knights are organised in a chapter, with their own heraldry. The knight captain is also referred to as the “prior”, if they are a follower of Paladine, or as “chapter master.”

Knight Grand Officer

This is the person who oversees an entire order and all its chapters. They are legendary knights and their names are known in most of the twelve kingdoms. They are the heart and soul of their order and embody everything the order stands for. They are also responsible for writing the statutes, bylaws and the directives for the order. The knight grand officer is also referred to as the “grand prior”, if they are a follower of Paladine, or as “grand master.”

Special Titles

Knight Primarch

During the time of conjunction, a knight primarch is chosen from the grand officers of the three orders. They represent all three of the orders to the outside world and determines the direction of all three orders. There hasn’t been a knight primarch in countless generations. The most famous primarch was Ser William Garamond, the first king of Lyria.

Knight Seneschal

The seneschal is second in command to the knight grand officer and is in charge when the head of the order is indisposed. Other duties include liaising with other orders and overseeing recruitment.

Knight Secretary

Both the knight grand officer as well as the knight seneschal are aided by a knight secretary. These are often veteran knights who are being groomed for positions of high command. They act as bodyguards, councillor and advisors and help in the day to day planning of their charge’s duties.

Knight Chronicler

The chronicler is in charge of records. This is a very broad host of duties, ranging from being the order’s historian, accountant and record keeper. This task is usually kept by a veteran knight with a penchant for letters and numbers.

Heraldry Officer

Lyrian knights take heraldry very seriously as a means of recognition, comradery and pride. Each order keeps track of their own heraldry, the heraldry for each of their chapters and making sure that it’s clear and consistent. Once heraldry is approved, it is also sent to the heraldry officers of the other orders and to the royal palace in kingsport. 

Standard Bearer

Before each engagement, a knight is honoured by being allowed to carry the order or chapter’s standard into battle. These are usually junior knights and it is a covetted position carrying a lot of prestige.

Knight Errant

The “errant” adjective to the title of knight simply means that the knight is not attached to one of the three orders. There can be several reasons for that, most commonly they were honourably or dishonourably discharged from their order. Leaving an order doesn’t mean you lose your title as a knight. Once knighted, you remain knighted, but you become a Knight Errant until such a time you join a new or different order of knights.

A Descent Into Darkness

Second Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

The adventurers found themselves on the bank of the underground pond that served as the source of the well on the Sheridan estate in Lynnecombe, Northshire. They take in the size of the space, find a small, wooden boat moored to a stalagmite at the water’s edge, with some stone-working tools on the bottom of it. Having only one direction to head in, they set off into the tunnel which holds the dried up aqueduct. The group had two hooded lanterns to guide them, so James, gifted with the elven sight that he inherited from his mother, decided to scout ahead of the rest of the group, outside of the range of the light.

An hour into their journey up the aqueduct James stumbled upon the body which turned out to be that of one of the Sheridan house guards. The man turned out still to be alive but on death’s door, afflicted by a strange disease causing purple swelling on his neck as well as pus-filled blisters around his mouth, eyes and nostrils. Dark brown and red stains covered parts of the man’s clothing. When it became clear that the man would not be saved, Astrid suggested offering him a merciful death. Emma decided to do the deed, taking Astrid’s dagger and after a short prayer to Sedna, slipped the dagger into the man’s heart, just below the third rib.

The blood that seeped from the wound was dark, thick and viscous. Luca was fascinated by the blood and was assisted by James in harvesting some of the blood and storing it in a flask of oil, after having discarded the oil.

Immediately after putting the man to rest, Luca suggested burning the body. A discussion arose on what would happen when burning the body. The smoke build-up and the light, it was deemed, would attract too much attention, so the body was taken out of the aqueduct so that it wouldn’t spoil the water supply if the adventurers were able to restore the flow. They would have to take care of the body on the way back.

Continuing further into the aqueduct’s tunnel for another fraction of an hour the adventurers started hearing the sounds of water. Quickly afterwards they came upon the reason for the aqueduct having dried up; a partial collapse of the tunnel behind which the water had been pooling. After some investigation, it seemed that something with sharp claws had burrowed its way into the tunnel from the south. The water which had been pooling on the other side of the rubble had now been pouring into the new tunnel.

Several  more stone-working tools were found around the rubble, presumably left behind by the dwarven engineers sent into the aqueduct to resolve the blockage. Among the tools were three ceramic jugs sealed off by wax. Shaking the jugs it seemed to be filled with sand. Luca opened one of the jugs and was confronted with fine, yellow, oily powder which had a distinct smell of rotten eggs. He resealed the jug and left it with the rest of the tools. Emma found a rope among the tools and used it to create an easy way to scale the rubble. She also took a hammer and chisel.

After scaling the rubble and emerging on the other side, the adventurers decided not to continue down the tunnel of the aqueduct, instead turning south into the newly created tunnel. It didn’t take long before stumbling upon another one of the missing guards, this one dead, expired from more than a dozen stab-wounds, most of which seemed to have been made by crude, jagged weapons. Upon more careful inspection bite marks could be found. Luca noticed that the marks seemed to have been left by an animal, like an oversized rodent.

A short time later the newly created tunnel ended as it emerged into an high vaulted tunnel system. The masonry seemed ancient and covered with greenish, bio-luminescent moss. There was something familiar about the tunnel to both James who was reminded of the waterways underneath Kingsport. Emma later thought of the Sacred Baths of Sedna in Kingsport, whose masonry also held strong similarities to the tunnel the adventurers now stood in.

Emrys took it upon himself to flip a coin and let Lady Tymora decide which direction to take. Left. Luca suggested that if they were going left, they would have to keep going left at each junction. James once again took point, and Emma marked each corner with the hammer and chisel that she took from the blockage in the aqueduct.

James’ keen ears finally picked up some noise that he identified as rodents up ahead. What the adventurers found was a mischief of rats who had been feasting on what looked like a body. Once the rats noticed the adventurers they quickly flooded towards them in a frenzy. Emrys collected several pinches of multi-coloured sand in his hand, blew it in the direction of the rats and a burst of multi-coloured lights shot forth and washed over the rats, leaving many of them momentarily stunned.

Luca’s quarterstaff emitted several dark purple beams of dangerous energy, killing several rats. While Emma and Emrys combined their talents to create an illusion of large hound dog to scare the rats off, James used another flask of oil in the middle of the mischief and threw down a lantern to ignite the vermin. The rats that survived seemed to recoil from the fire in fear and departed the scene in a scurry.

The body was that of a dwarf, bald of head and bearded by a dark, anvil beard. His hands appeared bound behind his back, with leather straps that had cut deeply into his skin. There was no clear reason for his death, with the exception of the carnage the mischief of rats had left behind on his body.

A little further down the tunnel the adventurers once again were alerted to the sounds of movement. Emma and Astrid decided to head up front while James took up the rear, with Luca and Emrys being protected from both ends. The tunnel emerged into a large chamber, vaulted by two rows of support pillars. The chamber was large enough for the opposite end to be shrouded in darkness.

From that darkness emerged the dark shapes of several bipedal rat-creatures, clothed in ragged clothing of leather and hide. They carried jagged looking shortswords and daggers. Their fur was mottled brown, grey and black and their eyes glowed with an intense and menacing hatred. Behind the blade wielding rat-men followed a white, albino rat-man, wearing dirty grey robes and carrying a large, wicked looking scythe

There was no doubt in the minds of the adventurers; these creatures would not parlay, so the fight was on. Astrid charged forward, spear in hand, while Emrys brought forth an illusionary image of one of the Sheridan house guards. James drew his bow and fired an arrow in the direction of the albino, but missed. Luca brought forth the same dark purple bolts of angry energy which he had hurled from the tip of his quarterstaff before.

The albino raised its scythe in the direction of the illusion and snuffed it out. Astrid was being ganged up on and attacked several times. Emma called upon the powers of Lady Sedna and sent a bolt of radiant green energy towards the scythe-wielding albino, marking him for easier targeting. James made eager use of it and found a home for one of his arrows. Emrys positioned himself so that he could once again emit the burst of multi-coloured lights that stunned two of the blade wielding rat-men.

The albino decided to retreat back into the darkness and left the blade-wielders to guard its retreat. Several other blade-wielders emerged from the shadows and fell upon Astrid. James shot forth and tried to set off in pursuit, but could not catch up with the nimble rat-man. It took a few moments longer before the rest of the rat-men had been dispatched. When quiet and calm once again returned, Emma ministered to Astrid’s wounds by calling upon Sedna for healing.

In Service to a Mysterious Noble House

First Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262, Summer Solstice

James

In the early morning of what was going to be the longest day of the year, James found himself in the back of a butcher’s shop on Fleet Street in the Southside ward of Kingsport. The Daymaster had learned that the youngest son of House Sheridan was recruiting people at The Careless Wanderer for an unknown task at their Northshire estate. He wanted James to make sure he was recruited. The Steady Hand had no eyes inside the estate, and wanted James to have a look around and report back to him.

Emma

Emma awoke from a cryptic vision showing her dark halls harbouring even darker creatures, as well as an image of a mask and a bright sword crossed behind it, and the image of a minstrel carrying a knapsack and a lute. She was at the Sacred Baths of Sedna in Kingsport, where she had been staying since her arrival in the city. She spoke of the vision with Dagmaer, the devotee who ran the baths.

Emma couldn’t be sure whether it was a warning or new direction that Lady Sedna was showing her, but she decided to find out. The last image she was show was familiar to her, it was the fresco that was painted above the door of The Careless Wanderer tavern in Quayhill, so she decided to head there.

Luca

There were not many places that Hamish was welcome for a drink anymore, but The Careless Wanderer was still available to them. Luca had grown tired of the despicable mage and was hoping that his weeks of catering to his ego would pay off sooner rather than later.

Upon entering the tavern Luca’s eye fell upon a man who surely had giants blood running through his veins. The man was sitting at a table, playing a game of Demon Dice, surrounded by people who were cheering the game on. He had rose blonde hair, an athletic body covered in a well-maintained leather armour, and sporting several scars and tattoos. At his side he carried a strange weapon.

The weapon looked like a baton with an angular scythe at the end of it. At the bottom of the handle there was a metal ring to which thin, finely crafted metal wire was attached. The end of the wire held a counter weight, which was hooked back onto the ring at the end of the handle.

Luca was fascinated by the giant man and he lost interest in Hamish, who had started arguing over the price of the drinks with the elven bartender. Apparently, the man had issued a challenge; anyone who was capable beating him at the game would be eligible for a job he needed done. Anyone who was able to beat him more than once would be paid double. The pay was twenty gold crowns.

Astrid

Across from the giant man sat a northern woman, wearing a sleeveless leather jerkin showing off her muscled arms. If it wasn’t for the man sitting across from her, her physique and her distinct blue face paint would be drawing all the attention in the room.

They played once, and the outlander won. Unconcerned with gambling, she took her winnings and stepped away from the table, allowing others a shot at the game. The people around her cheered her on, and the young lord seemed to be enjoying himself tremendously, calling for everyone to fill their tankards once more from the open keg of ale that was standing next to him and congratulating the winner once again by raising their tankards in her honour.

Demon Dice

Everyone had arrived at The Careless Wanderer and had understood what was happening. It was an unusual way of recruiting people, made to see what the recruits were made of. Were they resourceful in the face of defeat? Were they greedy in the face of victory, or were they only interested in the job?

James played a few hands while eagerly drinking the free ale that was offered to anyone who played or cheered the game on. The first few games he lost, eventually resorting to some minor manipulation of the dice to ensure his victory.

While Luca was still observing the game, trying to figure out an angle on how to win without it costing him too much coin, Hamish had grown tired of arguing with the bartender deciding to leave for a tavern across town in Northside. Luca could not tear himself away from the game for he had thought he found a simple way to assure victory, without costing him too much coin in defeat.

He sat down across from the giant lord wagered a penny. The lord, amused at Luca’s ploy, played a round, which he won. Luca continued, wagering only one copper penny. The lord understood the game now and after the first roll of the dice, reraised Luca by one gold crown each time, judging that to be the amount that Luca would be ill prepared to gamble away. He turned out to be right, winning every hand until Luca resorted to cursing the young lord’s luck and beating him.

In the meantime, Emma had been observing everything that was happening in the bar. She had talked to the elven bartender after she was done with the bickering scholar and introduced herself to as Lauryn.

She had also seen the young man she later learned was named James, had been carefully inspecting Lord Marcus’ sheathed sword when the lord had taken his tall frame to break water. The leather scabbard was etched and inlaid with platinum filigree and the handle had a braided metal handle a black stone set in the pommel. The cross-guards were twisted perfectly and also set with black precious stones.

Eventually, Emma had struck up a conversation with the dwarven brewmaster of the tavern whose name was Durham. She had ordered some seafood chowder and he had offered her a glass of Erveluce. Emma’s conversation with Durham eventually lead to lord Marcus and House Sheridan.

The Rise of House Sheridan

As it turned out, House Sheridan was one of the youngest of noble houses. In 1217 the Darkshore was terrorised by a pirate admiral by the name of Dapperfang. For months ships all along the Southernhay coast were being raided by the pirate fleet. One day the pirates had either sunk or incapacitated the royal armada who were at anchor behind the Lyrian Tooth, leaving their access to the Lyrian Gulf unopposed.

House Grey ordered their riverboats down the river Baugh and into the Lyrian Gulf at Wulferton, determined to sacrifice themselves to buy Kingsport more time to raise their defences. To everyone’s surprise they got reinforced by several dozen well-armed merchant vessels belonging to the Sheridan Trading Company, who, under the command of Benten the Purple, adviser and friend to Lord Marcus’ father, who revealed himself to be a powerful battle-mage.

Magical fire rained down on Dapperfang’s commanding vessel and as soon as the ship took on water and people started jumping overboard to escape the fire, the pirates turned their tail and head for open waters. Both House Grey, and the royal House Valois were grateful for the help that John Sheridan had provided. Both he and Benten the Purple were invited to sit on the podium at Steward Square during Dapperfang’s public execution.

In 1221, upon request of House Grey, John Sheridan was made Lord John Sheridan, of House Sheridan, first of his name, Baron of Lynnecombe and Darkhollow. Lynnecomb were the lands surrounding his estate north of Kingsport, and Darkhollow was a small bit of land in the Tiverton Glades. Benten the Purple was knighted for his valour during the Battle of Kingsport Bay and immediately swore fealty to House Sheridan.

Emma Changes the Stakes

When Emma asked Durham what the sigil of House Sheridan was he replied that it was a mask with a bright sword crossed behind it. She felt certain then that it was Lady Sedna’s will for her to join Lord Marcus’ expedition. She decided to change the stakes, and offered him a different kind of wager. She would either win the game of dice and she would be paid, or she would lose the game of dice and work for free. Lord Marcus seemed pleased with the suggestion. And promptly lost the game.

The Group was Complete

Lord Marcus seemed satisfied at those who had shown interest in working for him and had beaten him in the game of demon dice. He had made a choice of Astrid, James, Luca and Emma. He declared that it was time to eat. He had a table full of food prepared and began to eat. He told the recruits about the job.

His family’s estate in Lynnecombe, two leagues north of Kingsport, along the river Lyn, had their underground water supply interrupted. The dwarven engineers that the family used to maintain an underground aqueduct which lead from a small river to the east of the estate whom they had sent to investigate had not returned. The group of house guards they had sent in to investigate had also not returned. It was up to the adventurers to go in after them, find out what happened to the engineers and guards, and fix the water supply. They were to report to captain Hallis Mollen, head of the house guard, at the estate at noon.

The group of adventurers decided they would meet at The Careless Wanderer at the top of the seventh hour the following morning. Emma, having heard all that she needed to know decided to head back to the Sacred Baths. After she left, Lord Marcus decided it was time to settle the score with the bar, retrieve his horse and head back home. He would see the adventurers in the morning. Just as he stepped out, a young half-elf came into the tavern and Lord Marcus directed him to the remaining adventurers at the table. He introduced himself as Emrys.

Emrys

The young half-elf turned out to be a frivolous and flamboyant man with an easy smile and lighthearted attitude. He had won a game of dice against the young lord earlier that day and had returned to The Careless Wanderer in the hopes of performing some songs to entertain the guests. He had struck a deal with Lauryn and bartered some lodgings in exchange for his performance.

James was eager to learn the capabilities of the people he would be going out on the road with, and learned that Astrid had been a sailor and that Emrys was a sorcerer. Luca was an arcanist of some sort, but was reluctant to define his abilities as that of a wizard.

Luca and Emrys had a brief exchange about the types of magic that Emrys was specialised in, and Emrys claimed that he was quite versed in illusionary magic. James asked him how that could come in handy in a dangerous situation, not unlike what they might encounter in the aqueduct below the Sheridan estate, but Emrys could not give a satisfying answer. He did, however, conjure up a minor illusion of a small man who danced across the table and claimed it took great creativity and ingenuity to come up with convincing illusions.

Eventually, after some discussion on the topic of religion, it became time for Emrys’ performance, which had a rough start. Eventually the crowd warmed up to the charismatic young half-elf and the performance was judged a success. He had earned a bed in the common room that night.

Sleep for Some, Less for Others

Astrid had taken a bed in the same common room as Emrys, but as opposed to him, she had to pay for hers. Luca had rented a single room in the inn as well, and decided to read until deep into the night.

James returned to Fleet Street and reported back to the Daymaster, who was in the midst of butchering a hog, deftly cutting it up in usable chunks, ready for sale. He seemed pleased at the news that James was recruited by the young lord Sheridan and reminded him to keep his eyes peeled. Especially for rare and valuable books. Returning to The Silver Cross, he briefly spoke to his mother about his upcoming journey, but she seemed too preoccupied to protest much.

Second Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

Rise and Shine

Emma was woken by Dagmaer and proceeded to cleanse herself in a morning bathing ritual. Dagmaer requested Emma to pray together, which they did. She donned her scale armour, grabbed her shield, tithed a gold crown and departed for The Careless Wanderer.

One of the local street urchins that hung around The Silver Cross, Dewey, found his way into James’ attic retreat and woke him as per their agreement. He quickly gathered what he needs and headed out.

A gentle knock on the door of Luca’s room by one of the tavern staff woke him up and he collected his things and went downstairs for breakfast. He found Astrid and Emrys both already awake and at a table eating a simple meal of porridge and milk served by Ramsey, the chef, while an elderly lady who appeared to be blind was busy tidying up the common room. She remarkably manoeuvred around the room without incident despite wearing a blindfold, which betrayed her intimate familiarity with the space.

After Emma and James arrived, both Emma and Astrid headed down to Quayhill to secure passage on a barge going upriver. The rest stayed behind to finish their meals. A boatsman named Aram was more than willing to provide passage to Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn for Astrid and the group, and was very pleased to welcome Emma aboard.

A Boatride Up the River

The barge was ready to start moving when the rest of the adventurers arrived. It was manned by Aram, his daughter and son, and carried two oxen and plenty of trade goods. Aram and his son used barge-poles to push the boat upstream while his daughter used a pole to keep the barge from bumping into other traffic on the river. Outside of the Water Gate the two oxen were offloaded and secured with ropes and they started pulling the barge further upstream while Aram’s son rode on one of their backs.

Aram and his daughter kept the barge on course while Astrid and Emma made themselves useful. James decided to take a moment to get some rest and enjoy his time on the river and Luca found some shade to read from a book. Emrys spent most of his time waving at people, strumming his lute and singing songs to entertain the others.

After two hours of travelling up the river, the barge arrived at Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn, a small settlement of a dozen houses surrounded by fields and orchards. James, once disembarked, went to ask one of the townsfolk for directions to the Sheridan estate and used the opportunity to buy a dozen fresh apples. The group started heading east down a well-trodden path and James shared his apples with the others. Everyone noticed Astrid’s voracious devouring of her apple and were once again reminded that she was from a land where fruits didn’t grow as abundantly as in Lyria.

Arrival at the Forest Estate

The adventurers reached a junction and head north. After about fifteen minutes they followed the path into a forest and immediately the temperature dropped to a more pleasant level. Not too long after they crossed a beautiful stone bridge which bridged a short, steep valley created by a brook which headed east, undoubtedly flowing into the river Lyn. Across the bridge they noticed an eight foot limestone wall, covered with well maintained stucco, topped with meticulously placed red clay shingles and cast-iron, barbed spikes.

A cast-iron gate offered entrance to a terrace overlooking the brook and bridge, with well-maintained flower beds surrounding a beautiful mausoleum. The adventurers followed the wall further north, until they came upon another cast-iron gate, this time the gate lead to a luxurious, multi-terraced courtyard. There were several people about, tending to flower beds, mending benches, tending to the stables or extracting honey from several beehives.

In the middle of the courtyard, awaiting the adventurers, stood the captain of the house guard, Hallis Mollen. She was dressed in chain mail, plate pauldrons and shin guards, wearing a helmet and a dark cape. In her right hand she held a halberd and at her side she wore the same odd side-arm as Lord Marcus carried. She offered the adventurers a moment to freshen up and escorted them up a lavish staircase towards the front of the mansion.

The mansion stood at least three stories tall, with two steepled towers flanking the front entrance. Balconies lined the third floor of the mansion and large parts of the walls were covered in rich, green ivy. Luca noticed a weathered carving on the keystone above the front doorway, depicting a mask, much like the one on the Sheridan sigil.

The adventurers were lead to a side building which acted as the quarters for the servants and guards. In front of it, stood the well, complete with mason patio and wall around it. A shadoof was installed in order to make it easier to hoist large buckets of water up from the cavernous well down below.

Captain Hallis departed to announce their arrival, while servants offered the adventurers fresh mead and a place to wash up. Emma decided to take the time to talk to some of the people on the grounds. In particular to one of the gardeners who had been tending to some of the flower beds. He could share that the water had still been used for drink, washing and irrigation, without any trouble.

An Audience with Lord Jonathan

When captain Hallis returned, she took them into the mansion. The entrance hall was lavish. Straight ahead was a large stairway which lead to a second floor landing. The landing was adorned with an impressive stained glass window, which depicted a fight between several figures, in which a blond man struck an old crone from behind with a sword. A gruesome depiction of violence which was unexpected.

To left of the entrance hall was a formal dining room with a high ceiling and a second floor balcony, and to the left was an informal sitting room, lined with bookshelves.

The captain went up the stairs and requested the adventurers to follow. At the second floor landing they turned right and up another flight of stairs to the third floor. The landing there had a many doors, only one of which was open. The captain walked through the open doors and into a study. At the far end of the study there was a large writing desk behind which stood two remarkably tall men. One was Lord Marcus, and the other was a slightly older man, clothed in noblemen’s attire, with an silk-embroidered, green doublet, knee-high black velvet pants, white stockings and black shoes. His hair was blonde and cropped short. His gaze was stern. He was introduced as Lord Jonathan.

Luca immediately noticed a small shrine behind and to the side of the desk, which was set in an alcove. Again he saw the symbol of the mask and would eventually remark aloud, and in elven, whether House Sheridan followed an elven god, an idea immediately rebuked by Lord Jonathan.

Emma was attracted to a large painting, hanging directly to the left of the entrance, on the far opposite end of the writing desk. It had a gold-coloured, decorated frame, the corners of which were once again decorated with the symbol of the mask. The painting itself depicted a similar image as on the stained glass window, except this time the image was much more detailed. In it, she saw the same conflict, but this time, the crone appeared to be more monstrous. She had moved through an open door, and a sandy-haired man was dropping down from the top of the door, with a bright blade in his hand. On the bottom there was some script etched into the frame reading “Hag’s Bane”.

The windows of the study looked out over a balcony. The door to the balcony was open and the warm air gently blew inside. On the balcony, sitting with his back towards the door, was man sitting in a wheelchair, at least as tall as Lord Jonathan and Lord Marcus. Next to him stood an equally tall man with grey hair and a beard, dressed in a deep purple robe.

Behind the writing desk, above the fireplace, there hung a bastard sword in a scabbard.

Lord Jonathan quickly and succinctly outlined the task for which they were recruited. A team of three dwarven engineers had been sent down into the aqueduct to investigate and repair a blockage in the water supply. Later, three house guards were sent in after them to discover why they had not returned. When these guards also failed to return, Lord Marcus was sent to Kingsport to recruit some resourceful adventurers. It was up to them to go into the aqueduct, discover what happened to the engineers and guards, discover and possibly fix what was blocking the water, and defeat any threats if they could and otherwise report back their findings.

Some questions were answered regarding the aqueduct, the river that it connects to, any if anything strange had been noticed besides the blocked water supply. All information that Lord Jonathan could share, he did. Captain Hallis was instructed to provide the adventurers with any supplies that could be provided.

Lord Marcus was noticed by Emma and Luca to whisper into Lord Jonathan’s ear; “this is the Masker I told you about,” while gesturing towards James, something James failed to notice himself.

A Descent Into the Dark

They departed the study and went back outside to the servant’s quarters. There, they were given access to the armoury and supplies, like lamp oil and lanterns, were shared. While they were getting equipped some of the adventurers started speculating about House Sheridan and some of the unusual things they had witness while in the mansion. Luca noticed that Ser Benten the Purple was looking down at them from the balcony adjacent to the study. They found it prudent to keep their speculations to themselves until they were alone.

The well-entrance was used to enter the aqueduct. Some stood in the bucket and were lowered down using the shadoof, while others used a knotted rope to climb down, with varying success. Luckily, the water in the well was still of a level that no injuries were incurred during the tumble, except maybe an injury to the ego.

Sheridan Estate, Lynnecombe, Northshire

Location

The Sheridan Estate lies just outside of Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn, a small Northshire farming settlement along the western bank of the river Lyn, north of Kingsport. The five hundred acre estate is the seat of the small barony of Lynnecombe, which covers twenty-seven thousand (108 km2, the size of the municipality of Alkmaar) acres of vilages, farmland and forests. It is located a little over 2 leagues (~10km) to the north of Kingsport.

Brief History

Constructed in the late tenth century on the ruins of an elven settlement by the bastard Aelwyn, half-elven son of Lady Miranda of House Lockwood, a prominent house in the Silverpine Hills. He was given the estate and a one time fortune to set up a new life in Northshire. He died without an heir and the Lockwoods sold the estate to a small Northshire house, House Prescott. Lord Vincent Prescott settled at the estate in his later years after life long service at the royal castle as adviser to the throne. He was content to live out his life running the estate and the farms at Lynnecombe. The estate eventually passed on to his daughter Lady Gwendolyn, who passed it on to her son Lord Oliver. Lord Oliver fancied himself a business man, but gambled away all the family’s coin on failing ventures and troublesome business deals. He was eventually stripped of his noble title, lands and estate and died in exile. The estate became part of the royal trust and went up for sale in 1172, just in time for a mysterious man of incredible stature to arrive into a fortune; John Sheridan.

Description

The five hundred acre estate is situated in a lightly wooded area of Lynnecombe. A road coming up from Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn passes along the eastern side of the estate heading to a nearby windmill to the north. From there, the road heads further north and splits off to head west.

To the south of the estate runs a small stream called Raven’s Craig Glen, which runs east toward the river Lyn. The road from Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn crosses the glen by way of a beautiful stone bridge, with high columns. It makes for a beautiful sight. Lady Gwynn was so fond of the area that they made a beautiful terrace overlooking the glen and the bridge, complete with a stone staircase leading from the road. Later, when she passed, a small mausoleum was erected at the rear of the terrace where she was laid to rest.

The limestone wall around the estate is about eight feet tall with decorative, red, clay shingles and cast iron spikes along the top. There are three iron gates which lead to a spacious courtyard, a northern, eastern and western gate.

In front of the main, northern gate there is a terrace surrounded by a flowerbed. Two paths lead around it to come up to the main entrance to the mansion.

A large tree strands in the corner between the northern and western gate, in the middle of another raised platform, the sides of which are decorated by stone masonry with curved steps leading up towards it.

The other corner, between the northern and eastern gate stands the stables, a two story building that also functions as a hayloft.

The front of the mansion, has an elaborate, stone stairway leading up to a broad landing in front of the main door. The stairway has long, flat steps leading up from the terraced rose garden, and is split in two by an aggressive looking landing, shaped like a diamond, giving the stairway the appearance of being cleft in two, like a curved v-shape.

A railing at the top of this landing which juts out over the steps like a balcony is a superb place to watch everything unfold in the courtyard, give orders to the people working in it, or a passionate speech to entertain guests.

To the right of the steps, towards the western gate, there are several beehives, standing below the landing. To the left of the steps, there are some salvaged sculptures from the original elven ruins upon which the estate is built. Among them some benches for a perfectly pleasant place to spend an afternoon reading in the sun.

Above the beehives, on the landing to the right of the mansion, there is a low-walled well. A bucket, attached to a high crane stands next to it, the counter-weight helping to pull up the water. At the far end, a servant’s building with a thatched roof.

The rest of the side of the building is closed off by a wall. The same is true on the opposite side of the mansion.

The mansion itself is an impressively tall building, standing three stories in height, plus an attic under the shingled roof. The first two stories are masoned, and the third story seems to be made of plastered brick.

Two main steepled towers jut out on either side of the main entrance, giving the entire place the appearance of fortress monastery, as was popular in the early tenth century, when the mansion was built.

Most of the facade of the mansion, including the two towers, are covered in ivy, giving it a lush, natural feel, a sense of age and gravitas. The windows are small and shuttered and there are several chimneys sticking out at different places of the roof.

The wooden double doorway is broad and tall, and looks like it has been adjusted and fitted long after the mansion was erected as it looks somewhat out of place. Upon inspection it seems like the doorways are made one size too large for the design of the rest of the mansion.

On the third floor, just below the roof, and just above the ivy, there is a railing between the two towers behind which there is a balcony.

Ground Floor

The entrance hall is lavishly decorated along each wall with brightly polished armours and displays of different weapons, interspaced with several expensive paintings. Opposite the main door there is a large stairway leading to a second floor landing. Overlooking the landing there is a large, stained-glass window depicting a battle between two groups, one of which lead by an old woman, who gets stabbed in the back by a blonde man.

To the right of the entrance there is a doorway that leads to a spacious, informal sitting room. The room is decorated along most of the walls with high bookshelves, thick carpets and comfortable chairs.

On the left side of the entrance there is a doorway leading to a large, formal reception area. It holds a long dining table that can seat twenty people, with enough space around the room for extra tables. The floor is made of polished wood, and if the room were to be cleared, it could function as a small ballroom.

Second Floor

It is unclear what the second floor holds. There are two doors on either side of the second floor landing which seem to give access to the galleries in the informal sitting room and the formal dining room.

Top Floor

The top floor landing is once again richly adorned with plush carpets. Pots of tall stemmed flowers, pussy willows and snapdragons. Paintings of different family members and friends adorn the walls. The interior seems more friendly and familial.

On the western side of the floor there is a door which leads to a spacious study, again adorned with bookshelves. Shuttered windows look out over a balcony. Directly after entering there is a heavy writing desk at the left far end of the room, standing in front of a fireplace. An impressive bastard sword, sheathed in a scabbard is hanging above the fireplace.

To the right of the entrance, directly opposite of the desk, there is a large painting with a gold-coloured, wooden frame. It’s painted in dark colours, depicting the same scene as the stained glass window overlooking the second floor landing. This time, however, the woman is clearly depicted as a monstrous hag, stepping through a doorway. From atop the door a young, sandy-coloured man drops down with a bright sword in hand, plunging it into her back. The painter obviously chose the dark colours to highlight the brightness of the blade.

The Careless Wanderer, Inn, Quayhill, Kingsport

At the very western bottom of Quayhill, overlooking both the river as well as the House of the Raven Queen, stands The Careless Wanderer, a place where travellers, minstrels, free-thinkers and adventurers come to eat, drink and lay down their heads to rest.

The first floor of the building is built out of limestone masonry, while the top two floors is half-timbered, with dark wood impregnated with oils and light plaster. A fresco of a travelling minstrel carrying a knapsack and a lute is painted above the door with “The Careless Wanderer” written below in elegant script. The roof is slightly sloped with red clay shingles that have become popular throughout Kingsport.

Before its opening as an inn, The Careless Wanderer was a spacious merchant’s house to a large family. The house was sold and the family moved away to Tiverton. They left behind a very well maintained building that they obviously were very proud of. Throughout the different rooms in the building there are paintings and portraits of some of the original family members, giving the entirely place a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Tavern

It has a large common room with a bar, tables, chairs and benches, a small podium, and two fireplaces, one free standing one in the middle of the room, and one along the eastern outer wall. Lauryn is Aen Cannel, and runs the tavern, together with Durham, a dwarven brewmaster from Ard Thoradun. Lauryn keeps control of the room, while Durham pours the drinks.

Several large barrels of ale are set behind the bar and Durham makes it a point to be the first to tap the barrel with a spigot and have the first sample, “to make sure the ale didn’t go off”. There is a trap door which leads to a cellar behind the bar as well. The cellar is connected to a small lower pier on the river.

Kitchen

The kitchen offers food ranging from modest to luxurious, and the chef, a gruff man named Ramsey, prides himself on his creations. He makes sure that everything is made exactly right. He spends most of the morning shopping for the best ingredients in Southside. Fish, sausages, leek, tomatoes, barley, radishes, mutton, spices. He also makes sure that the tavern stocks some of the finest Beauclair wines and is very familiar with Célestes, who provides half the city with wines.

The kitchen leads out onto a tiny courtyard where Ramsey smokes his pipe while waiting for his stew to settle. This is also where the stables are housed and where he chats with his best friend, Wojciech.

Stables

It has stables at the back, with enough room for half a dozen horses. For a few pennies the horses can be stabled, fed and rubbed down. Due to a lack of stable space often the horses have to be brought all the way across Steward Square to The Bridle. The stables are run by Wojciech, a middle-aged Silesian man who arrived in Kingsport a decade ago and has been working as a handyman and stablemaster at the inn since his arrival.

Wojciech and Durham have been experimenting in the basement with several types of strong liquor made from fruits and fermented potatoes.

Lodgings

The upstairs provides a dozen beds in the common room for a silver stag a night. There are six small, single rooms with a table, chair, bed and a small closet, which can be rented for a gold crown per night. There are three luxurious rooms with ample space, a four poster double bed, lavish interior and room for at least four other people. The luxury rooms can be rented for four gold crowns a night for the room overlooking the stables, five gold crowns for the room with a modest balcony overlooking the House of the Raven Queen, or six gold crowns for the room with a spacious balcony overlooking the river.

Baths can be drawn for a small price. Cold baths are eight pennies, while heated baths are two silver stags. The tubs are set out just on the lower pier, and water is drawn from the river. This is also where clothing is cleaned, which can be done for four pennies for an entire outfit.

Ownership

The owner of The Careless Wanderer lives on the top floor and rarely comes down to sit among the visitors in the evenings. Her name is Magda, an elderly lady with grey hair tied in a neat bun. She is blind and either wear a veil or a blindfold over her eyes. She is remarkably spry for her age, but has been enjoying the solitude of the attic more and more over the last couple of years.

While she doesn’t come down in the evenings, she’s often downstairs during the day when there are fewer visitors. She maintains warm relations with the people who work for her. She has left the day to day to Lauryn but occasionally will help out tidying up. Even though she has lost her sight, she seems to have a remarkable way of navigating the tavern, even when there are people about.

Several rumour are told about how Magda lost her eyes decades before while adventuring in the Elder Foothills. The most popular of is that while she explored the ruins of an ancient elven city, she stumbled upon a basilisk and gazed into its eyes. Rather than turning to stone she gouged her own eyes out before the petrification could take hold.

Another often heard story is that when she was near death after she was shot with several arrows from an orc raiding party while being chased through the hills. Terrified that she would be found, she prayed and pleaded for her life. She promised that she would give up her adventuring days, that she would give anything to retire to the city and open a tavern and tend to the needs of others. Suddenly her vision turned dark and the only thing she could hear were the snarls and screams from the orcs who had been closing in on her. Something or someone answered her pleas and took her eyes as payment.