Noblesse Oblige

Letter Home

The start of the time jump

13th of Sarenith, 4710

Dear Mother,

I spent about a week with Father; mostly contemplating the changes that have affected my life this year. I am amazed with this place. Not just the beauty of the forest and the life force that surrounds me here, but in the ancient struggle between man and beast.

After a few hours of visiting, Akiros left with Tamarie, Kaylee, and Sir Thierry.

Akiros is an interesting fellow. I’d call him one of the recovering bandits that Sir Thierry has given a second chance, but he’s not one of Sir Thierry’s bondsmen like the others. Instead he’s taken his life in his own hands, claiming he owes us nothing because he helped us defeat his previous master — the stag lord. If that implies he’s arrogant, I’d not try to dissuade you. But despite that, he’s ruggedly handsome and quite charismatic. I admire his honesty. He doesn’t apologize for his previous actions and seems interested in seeing the Trading post grow. I don’t know if he thinks our idea of creating a settlement and a trade route through the region to be truly inspired or barmy. Personally, there are days I can’t decide that myself.

The rest of our merry band of Rostlandirs went straight back to Oleg’s trading post. There were letters to write and decisions to make. My week was far more sedate, but it was time I desperately needed. After weeks of exploring, learning so much about this place, I needed time to make sense of it all—and the temple where Father’s been living is, perhaps, the best place for such contemplation.

When Sir Thierry, Kaylee, and Kesten Garess came to get me, I went back to the Trading post with them. It was good to see everyone again. Father stayed behind to continue his work in the temple. He is happy, I think. I know he misses you, and I’ve included his letter in the next post which will go out with the next patrol.

Which is leaving now.

I’ll write again soon.

- Xene

End of Sareneth, 4710

Dearest Mother,

After much debate we settled on a location and a name for our new settlement. I don’t remember all the different names we went through. Oleg makes very good ale, and I’m quite certain the ale didn’t help us make up our mind. As a group, we wanted a name that related to the stag and the location. We named the settlement Hartfell. Tamarie and the young master have already reviewed the first batch of agreements from the noble houses during my absence. Unfortunately, they did not find the agreements beneficial towards the settlement, in most cases quite the contrary.
Shortly after I returned to the Trading post, guests began to arrive.

Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius Rostlandir lined up some meetings with some local businessmen. Fortunately for us, Tamarie has a keen mind for the details and as she went over each proposed agreement, she was able to discern the benefits and the drawbacks of each while still keeping our goals in mind.

With the Free city of Restov and the Aldori Swordlords already acting as our backers, Tamarie contacted a small list of houses and churches who might be willing to further fund our settlement. Sir Thierry and Tamarie left for Restov to deal with the meetings.

The young master’s first meeting was with Headmistress Jamandi Aldori was in her office at the dueling school. The Headmistress was mostly interested in Tamari’s newly drafted maps of the Stolen Lands while sipping a glass of wine. The young master told us later that the Swordlord hopes to see Mivon as a “sister city” to Restov. She will dra the disaffected and disenfranchised out of surrounding lands to help populate the new settlements they are founding. She suggests a general from her membership who will train and lead a defensive force for the new settlement.

The Headmistress did not appreciate the young master’s intention to approach some of Brevoy’s noble families for backing. She doesn’t trust the nobility. She warned that, knowing the distrust that Rostlandirs have for Isian nobles, that she along with the Lord Mayor may have difficulty in drumming up popular support for the Rostlandir’s domain should we gain noble backing.

The Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius of Restov finally meets with Sir Thierry in person in his office, along with an entourage of clerks; some of whom Thierry recognizes from his past dealings with the city’s administration. Ioseph listens intently to Sir Thierry’s proposal, interrupting frequently to ask for clarifications and to enquire about the baronet’s specific plans in regard to completing the southern road. Frankly, he’s a very astute man and many of his questions are, unfortunately, not easy to answer this early in the endeavour. His interest clearly lies in establishing a secure trade route into the River Kingdoms as quickly as possible; seeing it as a golden opportunity to enrich Restov and its environs.

It would appear that the Lord Mayor has been in contact with the Aldori when he brings up the issue of approaching noble families for patronage. Being the leader of the Free City, the Lord Mayor appears to be in agreement with the Swordlords in his preference to keep the nobility out of this endeavour, if possible. He suggests that there are some local merchants houses and guilds that the Rostlandir may wish to consider as alternative patrons instead of the nobility. The Lord Mayor would be pleased to contact them and arrange meetings if Thierry is willing. He’s of the opinion that doing so could only engender further goodwill between the Rostlandir and the people of the Free City.

The Lord Mayor further reiterates that Restov has a long tradition of favouring its own bevy of minor noble families, such as the Mareschal, ahead of Brevoy’s six great noble families. To that end, he’s prepared to use the city’s charter to offer Sir Thierry the title of Baron and to have the Rostlandir’s domain made into a barony loosely beholden to the Free City; an association he believes would further reassure locals merchants and encourage them to invest in the domain. To that end the Lord Mayor proposes appointing a candidate of his choosing to the position of Grand Diplomat for the Domain.

High Priest Ezvanki Keegh of Restov is pleased to welcome Sir Thierry’s upon his return. Their discussion is cordial and relatively lighthearted. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s quite willing to do what he can to help Sir Thierry. Admitting that the church of Erastil may not have the monetary means of other faiths, he seems confident that he can inspire many hard-working, good-hearted and devout members of the faith to undertake a pilgrimage to your fledgling domain.

Seeing as how the Rostlandir are devout Erastillians themselves, there seems little which the two men can’t agree upon. Amongst the High Priest’s informal requests are that Thierry lead his domain righteously with a fair set of laws, that he appoint a member of the faith as either Counsellor or High Priest (preferably both) and that a place of worship to Erastil be established within a reasonable delay.

High Priest Ezvanki Keegh graciously introduces Sir Thierry to Restov’s resident priest of Abadar; a middle aged-man named Banker Emet Nyos. He listens to Thierry’s plans and in turn pens a letter to his superior; the Archbanker Inemosa Lebeda of New Stetven. The Archbanker’s reply indicates that she’s interested in the fledgling domain and authorizes her subordinate to investigate the Rostlandir’s plans more closely; possibly by visiting the site itself.

Following a lengthy period of investigation by the banker, he delivers his mistress’ formal offer along with some quid pro quos for the Master of the First Vault’s church. Firstly, they want the domain to have a codified set of laws. To that end the church graciously offers some of its clerks to help draft and ratify a code legal for the domain; based largely on the one already in use throughout Brevoy. Secondly, they want your support to erect a shrine of Abadar within the domain’s first year with a stipulation that the shrine will be expanded into a temple proper within the domain’s first five years along with an official charter allowing the church to conduct banking practices freely on its holy ground. Thirdly, to help ensure the prosperity and future growth of the domain, the church wishes to have one of its clergy appointed to the position of domain Treasurer.

After making initial contact via correspondence, the Rostlandir eventually begin to meet with intermediaries or representatives of the noble houses they’ve chosen.

A prospector named Oslas Garess first arrives at Oleg’s Trading Post with a mandate to survey the Rostlandir’s proposed mine site. He initially seems put off by Kesten’s presence at the Trading Post. Following his survey, he leaves for a time only to return with an initial offer from his patriarch, Lord Howlan Garess.

The house’s offer is straightforward; the family is prepared to offer up resources and labourers with the majority being earmarked for the development of a mine, though the mine will not offer the Rostlandir’s a profit for 1 month out of three for the first five years following its construction due to the house claiming its share of the profits.
 Lord Howlan has one further stipulation; Kesten Garess is to never hold a rulership position within the Rostlandir’s domain.
The House Lodovka representative is a man named Lloden who visit the Tuskwater location to assess its viability as a port. He himself issues his family’s offer after a few weeks of measuring the depth of the lakeshore along with that of the Shrike River at various points. The family will provide engineers, materials and labourers to the fledgling domain with the majority being earmarked for the construction of a pier, though the pier will not offer its economy bonus 1 month out of three for the first five years following its construction due to special tax exemptions for the house’s ships and merchants.

House Medvyed doesn’t send a representative to the Stolen Lands initially; presenting its offer by way of a letter penned by its patriarch Lord Gurev Medvyed. The house offers resources in exchange for chartered pasture/farmland in your domain equivalent to 80,000 acres which, being the house’s property will not profit the settlement.

The noble dealings were polite affairs, but Tamarie was able to point out serious problems with each, not to mention the potential problems of involving ourselves early in kingdom politics. Dangerous at any time, but perhaps more so because we do not yet understand the playing field.
Tamarie proposed approaching some mercantile houses to hear their offers, in part hoping to hear better offers. The offers of the Swordlords, the Lord Mayor and, of course the Erastilain clergy, and the offer from the Church of Adbar, minus the latter’s request for a churchmember to be Treasurer; as Tamarie deemed it best to keep that job for herself.

Our roles are:

  1. Sovereign — Thierry

  2. Councilor — Svetlana Leveton

  3. General — Dragonemere Aldori

  4. Marshal — Kestin Garess

  5. Diplomat — Mr Yoland Howse

  6. High Priest — Sister Xene

  7. Magister — Tamarie

  8. Executioner — Akiros

  9. Spymaster — Hoarfrost

  10. Treasurer — Oleg Leveton

  11. Warden — Kaylee

Sir Jaromil Duglosz represents an association of minor lords from Restov eager to acquire new lands for farming and the raising of livestock. He offers resources in exchange for tax exemptions with a stipulation that they be allowed to expand their holdings into adjoining territory for an equivalent amount in the future.

Guild Leader Holleb Lucjan of the Ironmongers’ Guild of Restov requests a Rostlandir escort for some guild prospectors into the Kamelands so as to evaluate any lodes in the area. If viable, the Guild is willing to establish one or more mines at their expense in exchange for an equal share of the revenues.

A well-to-do merchant and importer named Milek Haczek seems eager to exploit a new southern trade route into the River Kingdoms. Determined to get in early, he offers to go in 50/50 to build a pier for the new Tuskwater Lake settlement, sight unseen.

Since we are rather conservative about the issue of logging, the Lord Mayor ended up canceling a meeting he’d arranged with the Restov Wood & Timber consortium.

As the month draws to a close, I can’t believe we did so much. Amidst all of this there was numerous letters back and forth between Sir Thierry and the rest of us, lots of late-night discussions, and all the natural goings on at the Trading post.

Until next month.

- Xene

Erastis 4710

Dearest father.

The first colonists have arrived! And mother is among them. She’s brought her spinning wheel and headboard, so I suspect she’s hear to stay. All in all it takes 2 weeks to bring the caravan of settlers to the edge of the lake. Without a road it is very slow going, but the Oxen brought by the Erastilians are up to the task. I’ve never dealt with so many faithful at once. Morning prayers and evening benedictions are choruses of joy. I find myself blessing folk, oxen, carts, you name it – almost regularly.

The priest of Abadar arrive and bring with them their holy book. It’s a guide that should guide us through the process of creating a settlement. I think Tamarie is secretly building a new shopping list as she’s always interested when the priests and laymen of Abadar begin surveying the land to set out primary routes and general locations for most things. Tamarie is always amongst them, answering their questions. In her head she already has the full settlement laid out.

The pilgrims arrival is, unfortunately, not near as harmonious as the prayers they sung as they rolled in. They almost immediately began bickering over plots. In the end it is the Abadarian contingent that suggest we draw lots. It’s not what Sir Thierry would have originally suggested, but he agrees with it and the grumbling is quickly reduced. The land is rocky and at the end of the first day the various carts and piles of goods are all there is to show where a farmstead will soon sprout.

We have a small dedication ceremony, praising Erastil and asking his help in calming tempers, offering us good weather and bounty as reward for our labors.  We have a new home here among the borderlands.

This month people dug cellars and gathered rocks to make walls and homes. The boards from the caravans that brought them here become the roofs. The Rangers guard our borders, and had to work extra hard this month as the settlers ranged far and wide to gather thatching and deadfall. Eventually fieldstone shacks begin to sprout around the fort. The fort itself is in rough shape, but we mange to fill in most of the holes with the excess fieldstone.

My back aches from gathering stone. My voice is hoarse as every structure had to be blessed, and every family needs special words and guidance. My eyes are bleary as firelight and smoke are the only night illuminations I have. My hands are raw and my fingers sore. I have weilded hammers, stacked and chopped stone and done so many things that I’ve never had to do before.
Before I complain, I look at Kaylee. She’s ready to drop off her saddle. She rides around the borders in long patrols to watch for problems. She guides the settlers on their trips to forage in the wooded virge and beyond into the grasslands. She guides visitors down from Oleg’s and back. Her team is just a rag-tag band, but they do everything she asks of them. She’s asleep when brushing down the horses.

Sir Thierry is talking to everyone. If he’s not drafting reports to the Swordlords and our backers, he’s trying to meet everyone and get to know their story. If someone is sick, he goes to see them. If they are grumpy, he listens to their story. If they are mad, he tries to mediate. He’s every where and never seems upset or tired. He’s become my inspiration.

And then there’s Tamarie. I think that string she carries to measure distance has become permanently latched onto her wrist. She has such grand plans, and the Abadarians have begun whispering about her wisdom in these thinggs. I know the rest of us sleep, but Tamarie is up almost before me and to bed long after I’m asleep.

Near the end of the month, the Lord Mayor sends more people and building supplies. They sent us the ingredients for mortar; and so all the walls and shacks must be torn down and rebuilt. It’s a slow process, done mostly in the rare moments of spare time.

And we get to meet Mr Yoland Howse again. He was one of the assayers of the old Marashal mannor; now he is our appointed Herald. He’s staying in Rostland to better organize shipments of people and goods for our settlement.

Mother and I have had very little time together. I know she intended to come and visit you, but she says you’ve been to the settlement twice already. I’m sorry I missed you both times. I am only now starting to understand what you meant a year ago (only?) when you warned me to not get lost in the minutia of the day. There is so much to do, and I know my limits can only be pushed so far before I break. I am surrounded by good people who lean together and help each other as much as we can. But there is still so much to do.

Until next month.

- Xene

Aredis, 4710

A month has passed. So much for my intentions of keeping regular logs of daily events. At least the inventory of settlers is done. I have their names, age, current location, and where they came from and what they did previously. It only took a month to get this information into a semblance of order. I must thank Tamarie again, perhaps make her some more ointment with that herb she likes? Without her my ledgers would be a true muddle. Although she swears my handwriting has gotten worse, not better with practice.

We’re still gathering our harvest of rocks. This labour doesn’t do good things to your handwriting, but the blisters I have are honestly earned.

So, what happened this month?

The Swordlord’s representative arrived. Dragonemere Aldori is our general. He’s a physically impressive man. He wears an elaborate enameled plate suit and carries Aldori dueling swords. After formally greeting Sir Thierry, and getting introduced to the rest of the presiding council (at least those of us who were present at his arrival), he set to work at once. First he called for volunteers and from the willing, he built us an impromtu militia. He focuses predominantly on archery and pike formations. I’ve been lax with archery of late, but Dragonemere’s arrival has changed all of that. It’s a familiar practice that gives me peace.

The colony is growing! Looking back I can actually see it, but day by day the growth is invisible. The list of things to do is still very long.

Another caravan comes in from the north along with Oleg. The caravan brings goods to help us survive the coming winter. There’s no way we can possibly plant and reep a harvest before the snows come, not with so many stones on the land and so few resources. The goods spur us to create temporary granaries.

Mid-month we found the Shine of Erastil with a small dedication ceremony. I ordered something special for the event: a blessed acorn. I dug a small hole where I wanted to center the shrine, and at the end of the prayers I tossed the acorn into the hole. The toss was good, and a 60’ tall oak tree sprouted from the very spot. The masses were impressed, but not nearly as much as I. I’d heard of such things, but wasn’t sure it would actually work. Now I feel silly for doubting it. The shrine is in the shadow of this great tree.

By the end of the month a sort-of regular schedule has worked itself out. Kaylee’s troup goes out on 2 to 3-day long patrols. One trip out is to protect foragers, another to collect hunters or see them safely to the wood edge. One day is dedicated to militia training, and one day to worship (and archery practice).

Rova, 4710

With Tamarie’s guidance, a boyery/fletchery is founded to the General Dragonmere’s delight. It’s also Kaylee’s birthday this month. We celebrated with a small gathering that turned into a mini-festival. Were it not for the settler’s gracious donations our stone-soup dinner would have been very poor indeed. Kaylee was pleased at the attention, and graceful in acceptance; but her daily tasks are so great I think she really just wanted to go to bed. We kept her up late with songs and games, but it was a welcome respite from our daily labours.

Kaylee brought us bad news when she returned from the following patrol. Wolf packs were sighted at the edges of our territory. The wolves howling have led to more and more travellers requesting escorts. Kaylee and her troup regularly provide, but the additional work is showing to be taxing on both them and their mounts.

Meanwhile, the wolves are getting bolder. Sir Thierry is all for riding out and dealing with them directly. I think the months of dealing with people and their problems has had its own toll on the young master. He’s anxious for some direct action. Sometimes I forget that his calm and patient demeanor can sometimes be paper thin; he always seems so patient and good natured that others around him also relax and return his smiles.

So we ride out. It’s the first time in three months that the Rostlandir’s have ridden out together on a task. We head west trying to track the wolves. When we get to the forest edge, we find lots of track, but they are dancing in and out of the woods, criss-crossing each other. And they’re days old.

At dusk, we hear the wolves howling to the south. We ride back towards the noise and Sir Thierry sounds his horn. Along the way, Kaylee spots tracks of some very large wolves heading inland. We find nothing more to track and so make camp to wait and see what comes.

Hours later we hear a horn from Hartfell. It takes a few hours to ride back, even with light from Tamarie’s magic and Erastil’s grace. The outbuildings have been abandonded and everyone is in the old fort. Archers are on the walls and small fires are burning throughout the settlement.

The next morning we learn that a fair number of goats, chickens, and 2 large oxen were killed. It takes a lot of work to slaughter and smoke what we can of the meat; still the animals are wasted and we will really miss the oxen in the coming months. The stories we hear from the settlers is that there were 7-8 large wolves that terrorized the settlers and the livestock. They were the first to arrive and the first to leave.

We don’t think the timing of the attack were any kind of coincidence. Just as the wolves harried us before we founded the settlement, they are continuing their raids of terror. We put our heads together and it is Oleg who suggests we put a bounty on the wolves rather than trying to ride out and deal with a foe that can obviously out-tactic us due to their mobility, stealth, and numbers. We shall see how it goes.

Lamashan, 4710

This month we built the Abedarian shrine. They had a nice ceremony. The half-dozen or so laymen and dedicated priests are very helpful within the settlement. It’s nice to see them have a place to worship.

Akiros is appointed our Executionner (although we prefer calling him our enforcer). And the wolf-harrying continues.

There’s a brilliant display of meteors one night. The display is grand enough that even the wolves stop their howling to watch. The settlers see it as a good omen.
The bounty on the wolves is starting to work. Four wolf-heads are brought in, and they are considerably larger than the average wolf from this area. With the reduction of the wolf-howling, the settlers seem to calm down a bit. I’m sure it has to do with being able to sleep the night through.

This month we celebrated the young master’s birthday. I’m sure he forgot (either that or he was able to ignore the work involved in preparing his birthday meal). Even Elder Jhod, Oleg and Svetlana visited for the night. It was good to see everyone. Bokkan arrived a bit late and seemed rather startled that there was a place at the table for him too.

After the celebration, Sir Thierry went out to spend a few days with the Sootscales. It seems they adopted some kobolds from Tartook’s old tribe. These green-scales seem to be acclimatizing well.

Hoarfrost now has a purple scale shirt and a black feather headband. I’m not going to speculate where the purple scales came from but Tartook was a purple scale. And his familiar was a raven.
We add teh 2-river ford to our settlement and the foundation is laid for a winery. I swear, the mere promise of future alcohol seems to settle the men.

Cythona, 4710

Svetlana arrives and stays for the month. Her baby is born on the 18th; a healthy little girl. I become the god mother and the young master happily accepts being the god father. Her name is Tatania Xene Leveton. I’m still embarrassed by the honor her beaming parents have done me.

Near the end of the year Kesten comes to me to ask for my hand in marriage. We’ve not had much time to talk, and I fear I upset him by not saying yes. It takes a solid week of trying, but eventually I am able to convince him of my desire to marry him; and my worries. He hems and haws and agrees to try and wait a year. We agree to marry in the summer of 4712. I can only pray my kiss was good enough to show him how much he means to me. I simply must spend more time with him.
People are going a bit stir-crazy. One of the settlers comes up with the founding story of Heartfell, and sings it to us all.

Abadius, 4711

The brewery is finished and it is a quiet month.

I spend a fair bit of time with Kesten. He knows I’m trying to apologize; but he’s not the most talkative of men. My mother is all sympathies. Kaylee thinks I’m being cute. I don’t know if I can abide either opinion, frankly. 

Tamarie is touching up her maps, overseeing the books, planing events for future months and preparing lists of goods required to see her plans to fruition. My days are still filled with visits, helping others, and lots of prayer interspersed with labors. I don’t see the young master much; he’s always rushing from place to place.


Aubrey_ ketherian

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