Valania: The Throne of Flame

Silver and Parchment, Sword and Bow

The sound of a quill scribbling against paper filled the air, a scratchy, familiar noise that seemed to suit the dim chamber quite well. The pale moon and starlight, pouring in through the room’s sole window, proved too weak to provide adequate light; as such a few candles, strategically placed along the ledges that ran around the walls, had been lit, their flickering flames giving off just enough light to see by.

Matthias crouched over Lord Selwen’s… Over his desk, his head bent low and his bared arm stained with ink. It was far easier to clean his skin then to clean his clothes, after all. The lad’s eyes, struggling against the exhaustion that weighed them down, blearily stared at the rows of numbers and figures etched onto the parchment, scanning the countless digits for any signs of an error or miscalculation.

“Heh…” The young man sighed as he dropped his quill back into a half-full inkwell, not noticing the pitch black drops that flew through the air. It seemed that even if he took a day off to enjoy the hunt, the kingdom’s finances had no such luxury; business would happen whether or not he was here to keep track of it. And at the rate things were going…

“Nope. Nuh-uh. Don’t go there.”

Groaning, Matthias pushed himself to his feet, his arms stretching up towards the ceiling and his joints cracking audibly. “Going to go mad if I keep this up…”

Though the corridors were almost as dark as his workplace, the torches hung every few yards provided more than enough illumination for the lad to make his way through the castle. It only took him a couple minutes to navigate back to his bedchamber, and, besides a few sentries, his walk was entirely devoid of human contact.

Ignoring the soft snores that wafted from beneath Auric’s door, Matthias slunk over to his wardrobe. Though his limbs were dull and tired, he managed to undress himself without too much trouble, and soon he was sitting on the edge of his bed. His nightgown, though it could probably stand a washing, was comfortable enough, and the young man lay back, closing his eyes and willing oblivion to sweep over him.

It didn’t.

‘Out of sight, out of mind’, apparently didn’t apply when your work involved keeping a kingdom from spiraling into debt. And with Bryce’s betrayal, and war looming on the horizon, things only looked like they were going to get worse. Matthias snorted as he rolled over, unable to slow his racing thoughts. Bryce, Ygraine, the North, the South… Why was it all crashing together like this?

When he had first come to White Lake, Matthias had been convinced that he could solve any problem with words and half-truths. Now he knew better. Leon’s plan, though it appalled him, was a necessary measure; it was the only way they could hope to preserve whatever fragile facsimile of peace they currently possessed. Still, killing a man, even one as twisted as Bryce? It struck him as dirty, depraved.

“Stop being such an idiot,” he muttered into his pillow. They had to do this. It was as simple as that. And he would need to do his part; the financial situation was only going to get worse if Valania broke into all out war.

But, if he was going to keep up with the likes of Auric, Leon, and Analiese, then he’d need to do something about his skills. He needed… He needed to be stronger. Simple as that.

But that could wait until tomorrow. For now, sleep.

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The Story Thus Far
Recapping

The story began on the road to Whitelake, with the party travelling in a merchant caravan. After the bridge across the Amberwine River went out, the caravan was forced to take a detour through the town of Culain’s Crossing, which had been devastated by the Shadowplague. There, the party fought off a pack of ghouls and narrowly escaped the clutches of an Ankou.

One week later, the party arrived in the city of Whitelake, just in time to attend the tournament and the wedding of the Crown Prince Carlon and Lady Ellesender Fell of the Wilderland. Analiese was unhorsed in the first round of jousting, but managed third place in the melee. Athis, with the help of Leon and Karolov Ghent, disguised himself as a noble and entered the melee, where he placed second, despite Analiese’s attempt to expose him.

After the tourney, the wedding of the Crown Prince and Lady Fell ended in tragedy, as Prince Carlon was poisoned by Lady Ilendrel Moore, the King’s Consort. Lady Moore was quickly exposed thanks to Leon’s serendipitous investigation, and revealed to be part of a greater conspiracy against the crown, organized by the mysterious figure called “Your Lordship”.

The next morning, the interrogation of Lady Moore was interrupted when a wraith entered her cell and attempted to kill her. The party managed to rescue Lady Ilendrel from the wraith, but she was killed by a guard-turned-assassin. After a brief interrogation, the guard revealed that he had been hired by the King’s Keeper of the Coin, Teleros Selwyn. Upon rushing to the Coin Keeper’s office, the party discovered that Teleros had been killed by the same wraith that attempted to kill Lady Ilendrel.

The party then turned its attention to Lord Hayden Bryce, The King’s Chief Advisor and High Lord of the Isle of Tarinsel, who had been communicating heavily with Lord Selwyn. Although Lord Bryce had plausible deniability concerning the conspiracy, the combination of his communication with Lord Selwyn and the presence of his mysterious advisor, Ygraine Cairn, still left him a suspicious figure.

Over the course of the next week, the king became increasingly unstable, to the point of only accepting audiences with Lord Bryce. Leon continued his surveillance of Lord Bryce and Lady Cairn, eventually intercepting a message to Lady Cairn, written in Nornish Runes. The court wizard, Marram Alrammar, translated the letter, revealing that Lady Cairn was a servant of the dark goddess Nevhel, and was intentionally driving Lord Bryce against the Crown.

Meanwhile, on the way back from a meeting with the city’s Glazier’s Guild, Matthias and Auric were nearly assaulted by a group of hired thugs. Auric managed to lead Matthias to safety and captured one of the thugs, who revealed the identity of their leader and his favored tavern. Later, Auric, Athis, and Leon went to the tavern and, thanks to Leon’s ingenuity and Athis’ iron liver, managed to kidnap the leader of the thugs, who revealed that they were hired by a man matching the description of Lord Hayden Bryce.

The next day, the party received word that the King’s Grand Marshall, Lord Percival Alcor, had arrived in the city. Upon arriving at the castle, Lord Alcor, along with the wizard Marram, was arrested by an increasingly unstable king, who produced letters found in Percival’s belongings that claimed that he and Marram were at the center of the conspiracy against the crown. The king ordered that they be executed at dawn.

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Lord Percival's Letter

Wizard,

You have more than proven yourself by removing the liabilities incurred by the late unpleasantness. This said, our work must continue. Remove the young prince through whatever means you deem necessary.

Tread carefully, I fear that our position is perilously near exposure.

Your Lordship

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Ygraine's Letter

Sister Skifandir,

Your work in the South pleases the Iron Crown. The lion and griffin will devour each other as the land rots from within. The last winter will come.

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Bryce's Letter

My Lord King,

You have my most sincere condolences concerning the tragic death of the Crown Prince. This said, it would be folly to allow grief to dull our reason. Whoever is responsible for the conspiracy against us seeks to undermine the power of the realm. Now more than ever we require a strong leader and a clear line of succession. My daughter Cassafin and Prince Harolt have been betrothed for nearly three years now, and are now of an age to marry. I propose we advance the marriage plans between our children, for the good of the realm.

Your Faithful Servant,
Lord Hayden Bryce

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Sleepless Night

From the diary of Matthias Swyft:

Sleep seems to have abandoned me tonight. Even with the wine dulling my senses, my thoughts refuse to settle, a thousand different ideas and emotions melding into a single mass of discomfort and worry.

I had known that the capital would be different. I had expected backstabbing cutthroats, liars, blackmailers, and thieves. I had prepared myself to encounter, and deal with, all of it. But this…

Murder. Coldblooded murder, of the Crown Prince no less! Something of this scale is far beyond anything I had thought of; blackmail and threats I could handle, not a bloody execution!


A few unintelligible lines; something was written and then furiously scribbled out. The writing resumes a few lines below, in a much straighter hand.

Elfsbane. I shudder to think of what twisted mind came across such a potent poison. A substance capable of destroying a man’s body in mere SECONDS is not something needed by any healer or scholar. It certainly was lucky that Leon stumbled across the rest of Lady Moore’s collection; it would be dreadful if more of the substance was to find its way into the castle. Still, the castle guards will hopefully prove to be competent. Things should be taken care of.

On a less morbid note, I suppose I should send a raven back to the Copperknoll. Lynn will no doubt want to hear tales of White Lake and the tourny, and father and Cael will of course be interested in…


The entry rambles on for a bit longer, listing out a few simple tasks. It is concluded a few paragraphs later, dated, and signed Matthias Swyft, Coinkeeper’s Scribe.

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Additional Letters

My Dear Deadly Flower,

We must redouble our efforts to maintain the utmost secrecy. Our shareholder reports that several of our lesser players have turned up missing. He suspects that Lord Korvus has begun to catch our scent. While servants and guards remain eminently replaceable, the same cannot be said of us. Our shareholder has been informed of his shortcomings, in the event that they continue, your craft may be required.

Our mutual friend claims that the signs are not yet right for our action. We must continue to bide our time.

Your Lordship

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Ilendrel's Letter

My Dear Deadly Flower,

Our mutual friend assures me that the portents have aligned and now is an auspicious time to put our plan into motion. I refuse to see our kingdom ruled and debased by the Wilderland savages. You must put an end to the union of Fell and Verolingius. Poison the King’s thoughts. Or his son. The Fell girl as well, if you wish it.

Lord Allerov also bears no love for the East, and he is hardly renowned for his subtlety. He’ll be sure to bring his own subtle blade to this affair. Pin our doings on either his pawn or his bastard brat.

Your Lordship

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Analiese and Walden

Session 1/19/13 – Bryce sentences Percival Alcor and Marram Alrammar to execution at dawn. The team breaks them out of prison.

In her study, Analiese examines a full sized poster of a wyvern.

Wyvern anatomysmall

ANNETTE. (reviewing a map with young teenage Analiese) Our archers have got the wyvern pinned down in the valley. Her right wing is crushed, so there’s no way she’ll be able to fly away, not out in the open where she’d be shot down immediately. She’s going to try and escape through this canyon. See, there’s a natural stone bridge here that will give her cover.
ANALIESE. Are we going to collapse it?
ANNETTE. You bet.

(Annette and Analiese have set up dynamite on key pressure points of the stone bridge.)

ANNETTE. The instance you see the wyvern, set off your charges and run away.
ANALIESE. What about you?
ANNETTE. I’m the bait. Don’t fuck up. (jumps down into the canyon)
ANALIESE. (deep breath) Okay.

(Silence)

WYVERN. (swoops in for the kill) GAAAAAAAAWWWWWKKKK!!!!!!!

(Analiese lights the dynamite and sprints away. She hears an explosion and crashing boulders)

(Silence)

WYVERN. GRAA-AAA-AWW-K…

(Silence)

ANNETTE. (climbs up the canyon) How’s it feel to kill your first wyvern?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Session 4 – The investigation begins!

Analiese and Walden are sitting on the grass in a secluded place on the edge of the castle grounds. Walden is hunched over a large stone, using it as a makeshift desk. He taps his quill on the rock, brow furrowed.

WALDEN. What was the name of the King’s youngest son?
ANALIESE. Harold.
WALDEN. (writes the name down) I think that’s it. Everyone alive with a connection to the Prince.
ANALIESE. You mean, everyone we can think of. (She runs her finger down the list) We can cross the Ghents off.
WALDEN. We can’t trust anyone.
ANALIESE. Cross them off.
WALDEN. Wait. Let’s just start at the beginning.
ANALIESE. Fine.
WALDEN. We want to ask ourselves, ‘Who wants the Prince dead? And who hates the Wilderland enough to commit treason against the royal family?’
ANALIESE. (unfolds a copy of Ilendrel’s letter) It’s not House Fell or House Verolingius. Not Lord Allerov. Not Korvus.
WALDEN. Good, that narrows our search a bit. (crosses out names)

Allerov Ghent
Iselt Ghent
Karolov Ghent
Garth Korvus
Hayden Bryce
King Arnolt IV Verolingius
Marram Alrammar
Percival Alcor
Tristain Alcor
Ygraine Cairn

ANALIESE. (snatches the paper from Walden and scratches out the Ghents) Stop messing around.

Allerov Ghent
Iselt Ghent
Karolov Ghent

Garth Korvus
Hayden Bryce
King Arnolt IV Verolingius
Marram Alrammar
Percival Alcor
Tristain Alcor
Ygraine Cairn

WALDEN. But…
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Session 3 – The crown prince is murdered on his wedding day by the king’s consort. Analiese aggressively takes charge of the investigation.

It is the middle of the night at a room in the castle. Walden is fast asleep. Analiese sits on her bed, brow furrowed

ANALIESE. (staring at Walden) What am I going to do with you?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(A few months ago)

Annette (about 25 year old), Analiese (21), and Anton (21) are practicing mounted combat in their courtyard. Walden is having trouble controlling his horse, who is neighing in protest. Annette is trying to teach him a fencing move done from mount. Analiese is practicing jumping. She and her horse leap over a low fence and her siblings disappear from sight.

(From out of sight)
ANNETTE. Grab the reins and handle him like a man!
ANTON. I-I can’t do it!
ANNETTE. You’re pathetic and this is an utter waste of my time.
ANTON. She’s going to throw me! Help!—
ANNETTE. I am sick of you being so useless!
ANALIESE. (to herself) Dummy, your horse is male.

(Anton screams. Something snaps. Silence.)

ANALIESE. Fuck! (gallops back to her siblings)

(Her brother is on the ground, not moving. Annette kneels over him, her face close to his chest.)

ANNETTE. (muttering something)
ANALIESE. Is he alive?
ANNETTE. (shakes head)
(Analiese rushes over to her twin brother’s body, but is stopped by Annette)
ANNETTE. No. There’s nothing you can do for him now. Go get mother and father.

(Analiese bolts for the house and soon after, returns with a crowd of concerned people. Among them are Lord and Lady Bruhin.)

ANNETTE. Stay away! (sobbing) I s-should have-
LADY BRUHIN. (wails) My baby boy!
LORD BRUHIN. What happened here?
ANNETTE. (whimpering) Anton was thrown from his horse. (she hugged the body close, not letting anyone get close) Dear brother, what have I done?
ANALIESE. Anton…
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Session 2 – Analiese calls out Athis for fighting in the tournament and sustains severe injuries.

In a room at the inn (where many knights from the Dragonspine are staying), Walden is fixing a loose bandage on Analiese.

WALDEN. Why didn’t you just surrender? He gave you the chance!
ANALIESE. That commoner had no right to be fighting in a tournament for knights.
WALDEN. Who cares?! You had nothing to gain by continuing the fight. So stupid! It’s like you were asking him to kill you! (starts tearing up) You could have died…
ANALIESE. (Sighs) Listen, Anton. I’m not looking to throw myself on the stake if that’s what you think. The adrenaline just got to my head.
WALDEN. I can tell when you’re lying.
(Analiese looks off to the side and says nothing)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Session 1 – The party saves their caravan after the bridge collapses.

Walden Bruhin : He’s fragile and unable to defend himself. Or rather, unwilling! DROP AND GIVE ME 50!
Leon Vergif : I heard gossips that he contracted a venereal disease. Strange to not see the playboy in him now. Best to steer clear.
Auric Vaganson : A commoner who doesn’t want to get involved in nobles’ affairs. The same to you.
Athis Riswor : We talked fighting and tactics. He knows some.
Matthias Swyft : Fancy man with a pedigree. A reminder that we’re heading to a civilized city. We talked about the tournament.
Porfir Mac Sutton : Has traveled extensively. I enjoy listening to his stories, although some of them seem far-fetched. Like the ones where he buries peasants. And cares.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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