The Ties that Bind

An Eastern Threat

Dear Diary,

I’m afraid I might be getting in a little over my head. What was supposed to be a short business trip has quickly turned into something much darker. Once we arrived back at Godstone we saw strange banners flying alongside our Braye banners, white with a red circle. Unfortunately I wasn’t at the castle for long, I was approached by a mage sent by the college and told that I needed to go to Drakenholm to speak with Ryia Drago. So I quickly set off to meet with “The Iron Lady”.

I was able to get some more information on this strange new religion whilst on the boat ride to Drakenholm. I spoke with a man who told me that the flag I’d seen at Godstone was a symbol of the Great Lord, and that those at Godstone are in the Great Lord’s good graces. I’m concerned that all this has happened while we were absent, I’m not comfortable with this “Great Lord’s” so-called magic. I was also told that the Great Lord bestows the magic on those that worship him, I should be careful around his worshippers from now on, their magic is difficult to detect and in a hostile situation that could be extremely dangerous.

Once I finally reached Drakenholm I was insulted at the gates by the guards, certainly not the first time this has happened, and unfortunately I doubt it will be the last. I was eventually welcomed inside by one of the Empress’ Voices and shown to my room. The next morning, at the crack of dawn, I met with the Empress in her throne room, full of fire and naked men lining the walkway. I will be honest in saying that I was intimidated, and unfortunately she could smell it on me. She wanted to know whether we had made a pact with Galimond and when I didn’t give her a clear answer she threatened war and mocked both me and House Braye. I was not about to insult an Empress in her own throne room, but I made it clear that we in the north won’t be pushed aside as easily as she suspects.

Afterwards I was taken to the library to see if I could find any useful information. The Iron Lady’s throne room may be an eyesore, but her library is magnificent. I found a few pieces of useful information, but just as the closing bell was ringing I spotted 5 ancient tomes. I tried to grab one to take back to my room, with the intention of bringing it back in the morning, but my not-so-nimble fingers made me drop it just as a librarian spotted me. I told him that I was accidentally dropped it whilst trying to put it away and I made my way out of the library.

As I left, I ran into a strange man with a scarred face, wearing a dark black cloak. He told me to follow him, and soon I found myself in the basement of a tavern in town. I sat in this dark room for 7 days, completely asleep. I won’t disclose what happened whilst I was dreaming, but don’t think I will ever be able to forget it. I then made my way out of the city and back to Godstone, the scarred man told me that the Empress had wanted me gone and seemed to be very keen on finding me.

While marching north in Galimond I happened to spot a large number of Gregor soldiers heading north-east. I knew I had to warn the castle, so I ran along as quickly as I could. The next day I came across 30 Templars being led by Ansbak. He offered to escort me back to Godstone, as a woman travelling alone and armies openly moving about, I didn’t want to be caught by any enemies before I could warn Lord Braye at Godstone about The Iron Lady and the Gregor soldiers. I realize now that this was a grave mistake, but at the time, time was of the essence, and I secretly hoped that Lord Aiden and the others had talked some sense into Lord Braye about this new religion.

Once I finally reached Godstone I was confused by the sight of 4 thousand bloodied elves and roughly 2 thousand soldiers of House Burig standing side by side with our Braye soldiers. And unfortunately, the flag of the One God blowing in the wind.

Sincerely,

Andrea Taihorne

View
The Mad Lord

It seems every turn we take there is some plot or subterfuge working against my family. It is not so much a sense of anger I feel towards such events, but rather one of wearied frustration. I am left utterly aghast that as we now approach my home after months away, the banner of that wretched beggar god hangs proud upon the parapets of the Godstone. This devilry, that has either infiltrated my home or corrupted my father, can not and will not be allowed to remain and find safe haven in Braye lands. How this came to be I am unsure, but it is with certainty that I intend to find out.

It at least provides me with some relief that our diplomatic excursion into Galimond may in fact bare fruit. Princess Laina, the wife and apparent master of Prince Nathaniel of Galimond, appeared intrigued at any rate of the possibility of an alliance between Galimond and Valksbourg. As a show of goodwill, Princess Laina promised Valksbourg the use of some five thousand mercenaries, though it will take some time for them to be assembled. Additionally she provided us with intelligence that a Valksbourg lord of some importance had been apprehended by Andorrian troops in Eastern Valksbourg and was in transit to an Andorrian prison. We decided this could not simply be ignored and made our leave, feeling we had already achieved all we could in Galimond and that this lord must be rescued. With some two hundred mercenaries Yb’Sel was able to acquire we set north with all haste. After several days of pursuit we came upon the Andorrian mice and confronted them. Following some attempts made to learn of the identity of the prisoner, we were left with no choice but to attack. Our onslaught came swiftly and the mercenaries performed admirably. The Andorrian foes were driven back and forced to surrender. It was not one but in fact two prisoners we found among the Andorrian baggage train. The first was indeed a Valksbourg lord, Jans Avondale, Castellan of the Avondale lands and member of Gregor Avondale’s regency council. The second, interestingly enough, was Gregor Beckinsale, an Andorrian. He claims to have sympathy for our cause, hence his incarceration, but I cannot find it in myself to trust any Andorrian in times such as these and will, until shown otherwise, assume him a potential interloper and spy. It was with this we parted ways with the mercenaries, ordering them some small tasks to complete until their contract with Yb’Sel expires, and headed to the Godstone where I now find myself.

Though much of what has transpired these past months can largely be considered a victory, I am deeply troubled by what is happening within my own home. There is something menacing about these “pilgrims” that claim they have come across the wastelands to the east preaching their new “God”. Furthermore, I remain certain that it was my foul witchloving uncle, Erik Nesvon, that was behind the leaked information to the Andorrians of our council of independence. I suppose all that remains to be said is I am left frustrated, and as warning to my enemies I say frustration breeds violent men.

- Aiden Braye, Son and Heir of Lord Bastian Braye

View
A Dark Day

War is a funny word. How can so much savagery, misery, death and glory be compressed into one simple term. I’m hardly one to talk of such things however, though I’ve witnessed battle a number of times never in my life has war been a presence. It’s strange to think that we now find ourselves on the brink of it, Valksbourg against Andorria. It is not that I am afraid, in fact quite to the contrary I find the idea rather thrilling, I have long dreamed of a free Valksbourg and a chance for glory, though I do find myself contemplating the cost. More than just the impending war has been vexing my mind as of late. My compatriots and I have found ourselves on a perilous mission south, as well as barred from my home, Godstone Castle. Following the commands of my Queen, Natalia Bannon, we journey south into the heartland of Morinar to play at cloak and dagger, something that leaves a poor taste in my mouth. We are to travel to Galimond and Kronslund to participate in back room dealings in order to shatter their alliance with the Aesmoor so that further elven allies may be free to aid Valksbourg. Though the promise of additional elven troops is pleasing, it nevertheless seems wrong and dishonorable to sabotage the Aesmoori, a people who have never crossed nor threatened Valksbourg. As such I plan to interpret my orders somewhat more freely than they were perhaps intended, I resolve to simply bring additional support to Valksbourg during my tour of the south, either via the established plan or by other means. I shall keep this decision close to heart, for my plan could potentially clash with the interests of Yb’Sel and lead to unnecessary tension.

How we found ourselves in this predicament, on a journey far from home and our country on the brink of war, is purely a cause of gross Andorrian abuse of power. The “Still-Storm” that wreaked havoc across the globe resulted in the Andorrian King, Frederick Martyn, to proclaim House Bannon, and all their vassals to double their taxes paid to the crown. This gross act of tyranny of course cannot be obeyed, and as such Lady Natalia Bannon summoned a meeting of all the prominent Lords of Valksbourg to discuss a course of action. During the deliberations I spoke vehemently in favour of war, and ultimately all dissenters were swayed. The gathering in Visograd also served to inspire patriotism and camaraderie through song poetry and excessive food and drink. During the talks and feasting I found particular camaraderie in Lady Eredith Bureg. As not to come across as lewd to any potential interloper who stumbles across these passing thoughts I shall remain brief, but Eredith proved insatiable as well as direct and forward in a manner I found most appealing. It was also during these talks that Queen Natalia in a quiet one on one meeting ordered me on the previously mentioned mission.

How I found myself barred from my own home is tied in directly to the preceding events in Visograd. A dishonorable Andorrian buggering traitor informed the King of Andorria about the proceedings and submitted a list of the most ardent supporters of independence for Valksbourg. My name was on that list. House Gregor, the Braye lands western neighbors and true blooded Andorrians through and through, were tasked with my arrest. They acted by trespassing into Braye lands and set about preparing ambushes to capture me upon my return. Guardsman Richard came to warn us of the situation, but was pursued by Jonathan Gregor and a number of troops. With the aid of my uncle we saw them off, but Richard was injured and the very idea of returning home had become a dangerous one. I have no doubt that if my father rallied all the men at his disposal we would see the Gregor’s off, but it would only serve to bring more of the Andorrian hammer upon our lands. My friends and I decided it was perhaps the most prudent option to bypass the Godstone and head directly south, towards our objective and an uncertain future. I worry for my family and people, but behind the stern walls of the Godstone they will be safe from harm, at least for a time.

Though for the time being the world is quiet, I can sense many tribulations in the future, both for myself and Valksbourg. I am surrounded by a feeling of anxiousness as I anticipate events to come and yearn to take action and play a role in the liberation of my people. Lately I’ve taken to composing bad poetry before rest that is clearly the product of a worried mind. Though a certain few passages are of merit, it has mostly taught me that during periods of self inflection I find myself considerably less boisterous and well lacking in any form of eccentricity. I shall leave my ramblings here for now, for the night grows dark and we have a long journey before us. As one last note I will write as a reminder to myself that I shall strive to act with honour in all things, not only for myself but for my people.

-Aiden Braye, Heir to the Braye Lands and Son of Valksbourg

View
Glory and Offense

This entire tournament affair seems to have gone quite poorly for the Braye household.

For some inexplicable reason, a knight known as the “Eagle Knight” seemed to carry some sort of personal hatred for House Braye, and has been spreading terrible lies on the route to the city, claiming an affiliation with necromancers. The absolute idiocy of the peasantry blinded them from recognising the pure absurdity of the claim, and instead, they were cold and inhospitable to our patronage. It seemed that with almost every inn we took lodgings at, there was a fight to be found, and we were even downright refused service at one of the establishments. All of this, without any sort of evidence, and even after Aiden proved himself in decisive combat. The people are man! Even Andrea feared for her life, and chose to spend the night in the company of myself and Fel’yn. It was absolutely ridiculous.

When at last we tracked down this Eagle Knight, she had nothing to say for herself. She must have been just as mad as the peasantry! Hell, I’m beginning to suspect there may be something in the water, just with how many people were bent on causing us harm without right or reason:

-The gatekeeper, who searched us without reason upon our entrance to the city, claiming it was a “random search”

-Prince Nathaniel, who was wont to side with our enemies in all situations, and detained us in his castle.

-George Gregor, who acted out against us very strongly in a needlessly public setting.

-Erik Nesvon, who decided it was most prudent to interrupt the grand ball so that he could seek “justice”.

-and James Brogwood, who attempted to frame us for the poisoning of George Gregor and Gabriel Evans.

Suffice to say, I would hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it really is beginning to seem as if there is a grand scheme against House Braye.

Regarding the tournament itself, here are the major events:

An Aesmoori won the archery; there were few Elves in attendance, so this was hardly a surprise. Aiden won second at the joust to the King of Kronslund, which was fortunate for Braye publicity after George Gregor fell off his horse and died soon after one of their tilts. Aiden and Markus placed fifth in the paired melee, which was won by Imperials; Gabriel Evans collapsed in the midst of this event.

With the competitions of the tournament at attend, there was only the grand ball to attend before our departure and return to Godstone Castle the next morning. However, as previously stated, Erik Nesvon thought it best to accuse us of all sorts of false charges, and we were kept imprisoned for two days by the prince. Finally, some sense came into his mind (likely by his wife), and he allowed us passage into Bannon lands to settle the matter in the appropriate fashion.

In the Burig court, we were again accused of wrongings without any supporting evidence whatsoever, including the two poisonings. Fortunately, the Burigs were not stupid enough to fall for such falseness, and the claims were rightfully dismissed.

When we finally were free to return to the Godstone, Fel’yn shared with e news of an approaching stylstram. It was good fortune that I managed to convince Lord Braye of a stylstram’s severity, and we spent the following weeks in strict preparation. I only wonder now when nit will choose to subside.

~the twenty-first of Warrus

View
A Questionable Wedding

Dear Lionel,

I have returned from what had to have been the oddest wedding, though most of the strange happenings were due to House Braye’s party. We were told to attend a wedding between Lady Braye’s brother, Erik Nesvon, and Emelia Gregor. We were to go in Lord Braye’s stead, and we were told to prevent the wedding from proceeding.

Along the way from Valken we were greeted by Godfrey Beckinsale and the familiar face of Robert Gallant, the man who tried to ambush us. I made sure to keep an eye on him. Whilst travelling Yb’sel received invitations to dinner every night from Emelia Gregor. I suppose Emelia Gregor wanted one last love affair before being married, but Yb’sel was not interested. At one point we ran into a group of Templars who were preparing to hang accused necromancers. Lord Aiden and I stepped in and reasoned with them, his uncle leading the Templar group certainly helped, and we took on the prisoners ourselves. They didn’t seem very capable of performing such dark magic, but one cannot joke about necromancy.

Once we reached the site of the wedding all the houses were greeted by Lord Erik Nesvon, and he announced the start of the wedding festivities, including wrestling, dancing, and poetry. Markus won first place in the wrestling competition, I participated in the dance competition, but as you know I have two left feet so I didn’t fare very well, Lord Aiden took first. And finally for poetry it was a tie between Lord Aiden and Robert Gallant, with Gallant taking the win in a duel.

During this time Lord Aiden met with his uncle to talk about cancelling the wedding, and he told us that the talk went well, but I had a feeling that his uncle planned to go through with the wedding. As for Yb’sel and Amelia, things ended very abruptly between them, I suppose Emelia Gregor is not used to being rejected. But the night before the wedding, Markus and I believed that Lord Aiden and Yb’sel were up to something, we saw them sneaking out and saw them enter Robert Gallant’s room, but we weren’t able to figure out what.

On the day of the wedding the hall was suddenly swarmed by monstrous beings, skeletons and the walking dead. We managed to fend them off but in the fight they made off with Amelia Gregor. We tracked them to a barbarian crypt, and we entered quietly through the back, as the crypt was swarming with the undead. When we finally found Amelia Gregor she was being used as a human sacrifice by a necromancer, Lord Aiden and Markus quickly stormed in and we fought his undead minions, whilst I set the necromancer on fire, and Yb’sel dealt the killing blow with one of her arrows. After the fight we noticed that the necromancer was in possession of a bag of Andorrian coins, and a spell book which was given to me.

Once we had rescued her the wedding went on as planned in the evening a few days later, Robert Gallant at one point professed his love for Emelia and begged her not to marry Erik Nesvon, but she quickly rejected him. Then Markus opposed the marriage and fought a duel of honor with Robert Gallant, as Markus accused Amelia Gregor of being tainted by black magic, but Gallant came out the winner and the wedding came and went.

Whilst travelling back, Lord Aiden tracked down his uncle in the Templars and met with him about the potential taint of black magic Amelia Gregor might have, his uncle agreed to look into it, which means that our mission to Lord Braye may not be a failure in the end.
It was been a harrowing time for the entirety of our group. When I saw the necromancer with Amelia Gregor in the crypt, I was tempted to watch to see what he was chanting, but I couldn’t let an innocent girl get slaughtered for black magic. Perhaps I can still investigate this black magic in case we encounter it again, I still have the necromancer’s spellbook in my possession.

Sincerely,
Andrea Taihorne

View
Welcome to the North!

We arrived on the northern shores of the northern continent on the first day of Talvus. House Braye welcomed us warmly, though I am afraid my time spent at the castle has totalled less than half a day. Far from expectations, it would seem as if military tensions are quite high; I know not of any concrete details, but am beginning to question the quantity and quality of the house’s friends. So far, there is reason to be suspicious of House Gregor, as we caught them staging an ambush on the travelling party en route to the castle from the port. This turned out to be only a display of power, but I feel that any entity which feels the need to display power is either expecting to make trouble, or meet it. I will attempt to find out more. If there is in fact a war brewing, I would like to be able to offer them military support on our behalf.

The following is a detailing of the events of this past month:
On the night of our arrival, our supper was interrupted by news that the Andorrians had spotted barbarians headed northward toward Andorria. Lord Bastion Braye decided that in order to meet the Andorrian call to arms, he would send 120 infantry and personal guard to the rally point. The Magister Andrea Tainhorne and myself were to accompany them, hence my absence from the castle. Although highly unconventional, I could not pass up the opportunity to influence our relationship with House Braye in good Tordynaari fashion. However, seeing as my time has been largely spent with the Heir Aiden Braye instead of his lord father, my efforts have been directed at establishing good relations on that end instead. Thus, when we spied that the Braye hamlet Valkyn was under attack, we rushed to the people’s aid instead of maintaining our course to the rally point. Despite being severely outnumbered by barbarians, we managed to scare them off from the hamlet, and spent several hours assisting in the restoration of the hamlet.

An unfortunate piece of news here: it was discovered that the barbarians had been paid 100 Andorrian crowns to attack this hamlet. Although the captain of the guard was quick to assume House Gregor was responsible, I did my best to convince the Heir Aiden Braye not to jump to such simple conclusions. Our delay, coupled with poor weather, resulted in a later than ideal arrival at the rally point. However, we managed to reach the command tent before strategies were settled, which was fortunate seeing as the Andorrians wished to place us at the front lines while they sat comfortably afar from danger, until the Heir Aiden Braye convinced them to share in the responsibility of battle.

The battle itself proceeded in fairly straightforward fashion. Flanking the barbarians, both Braye and Gregor men fought well, though it needs to be said that it would appear that Braye was the better in this situation, and suffered few casualties. The Heir Aiden Braye took serious wounds, but the Magister Andrea Taihorne has seen to him and believes he will make a full recovery.

We are currently returning to Braye castle, though I feel the events of Valkyn have not yet passed the Heir Aiden Braye’s mind. I believe it would be unwise of him to pursue the fleeing barbarians with an army of tired and wounded men, but if he settles him mind on the decision, I will again support him to fain his favour and demonstrate Ishild’s ferocity.

Yb’sél Val’yn of Fyr’yn

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.