Falconbridge

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens

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Brandos’ eyes flickered open to the clatter of horse hooves on the cobbles of Namaran’s central square. A cloud of flies lifted from his face in a buzz of annoyance as he shifted in the heavy chains and squinted in the direction of the noise. The rider, approaching from the west, was lit from behind by the setting sun, his features lost in silhouette.

The chains dug deep into the monk’s flesh as he twisted to ease the ache in his back. The worn marble statue at the centre of the long dry fountain was a cruel mistress. Brandos had been chained to her for so long that he had lost count of the days.

At first he had laughed at the irony of it all. The stone woman represented a freed slave from the Lucidian revolt, her breasts bared, a sword held high, the shackles on her wrists hanging broken and useless. When the Baron’s men first pinioned the monks hands between heavy blocks of wood and lashed him to the statue, he could not help but find it amusing. Any such mirth had long since left him…

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Brandos’ eyes flickered open to the clatter of horse hooves on the cobbles of Namaran’s central square. A cloud of flies lifted from his face in a buzz of annoyance as he shifted in the heavy chains and squinted in the direction of the noise. The rider, approaching from the west, was lit from behind by the setting sun, his features lost in silhouette.

The chains dug deep into the monk’s flesh as he twisted to ease the ache in his back. The worn marble statue at the centre of the long dry fountain was a cruel mistress. Brandos had been chained to her for so long that he had lost count of the days.

At first he had laughed at the irony of it all. The stone woman represented a freed slave from the Lucidian revolt, her breasts bared, a sword held high, the shackles on her wrists hanging broken and useless. When the Baron’s men first pinioned the monks hands between heavy blocks of wood and lashed him to the statue, he could not help but find it amusing. Any such mirth had long since left him.

The intense sun of the day and the bitter chill off of the lake at night had taken their toll. Brandos’ body was a blistered mess and his skin was flaking and sickly. Water. The thought of it consumed him. His cracked and bloody lips had nearly forgotten what it felt like to be moistened and his swollen tongue ached for the pure, clean taste.

The monk slumped back against the statue as what strength he had deserted him. For what must be the thousandth time he wondered how things had gone so wrong.

The village was a living hell. At night the screams of the dying could be heard echoing through abandoned streets. In the day, the meek inhabitants issued forth to take the toll of the night’s horrors. It was always the same. Crushed and mutilated bodies were carried from their homes to be deposited in the church. From the smell that sometimes wafted from the stately stone building Brandos guessed that many of them were still there, unburied and uncared for.

As for the village’s lord, little enough had been seen of him. He never left his windowless tower and from his vantage point Brandos heard whispers that he too may have become a victim of The Tormented Ones. Others said that Lord Farling had slipped away to Ran Adin or else to Lycos to flee to the Northern Kingdoms.

There were other rumors as well. Some claimed that the monks of Saint Brisbee had been taken into custody by the mercenaries encamped at Old Fort. They had refused to give up the location of their hidden treasures and now their corpses were swing from a gibbet by the stone bridge.

It had also been said that the dwarven miners had come under near constant attacks in the deep. Brandos listened intently while one man who had recently visited the mines told a fellow villager that a group of heroes from Ran Adin had mounted an expedition into the depths, but they disappeared and had not been heard from since.

Brandos knew that he would cry, if there had been tears to spill.

The sound of hooves once more drew his attention. The rider was before him now, looking down on the captive monk from his shadowed heights. He leaned forward and as he did so the sun was blotted out and his features came into sharp focus. The dark, piercing eyes, the narrow face and thin, drooping hair were too familiar to Brandos. It was the mocking smile that he detested most, however.

Bishop Tarduk was dressed in a black doublet with golden buttons, a thick black belt and warm woolen leggings. His skinny hands were covered in rings and at his belt hung a cruel-looking six-headed whip made of tiny, barbed links of chain.

He said not a word but looked over Brandos’ piteous condition for a long while. As he turned his horse his rasping laughter echoed across the empty courtyard and as the sun began to descend behind the western hills he galloped for the city gates…

…”I said GET OUT OF THE CHURCH, SIR!”

Suddenly, Brandos, you are standing in the hallway of the churches’ living quarters, the slender, balding Father Griel before you, his face red with rage, the veins of his forehead throbbing in the candle light.

Your knees go weak for a moment and you fear that you may collapse. Confusion grips you. Griel blinks and looks at you warily, “Are you drunk, Sir?. Lord Farling will hear of this! Now begone or you will not believe the trouble that shall befall you.”

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens
 













While Ssibliss sleeps fitfully on the roof of a nearby house, Kasper and Sir Tristan descend the outer staircase of the Tower of Akkad having received no answer at the stout iron-banded door.

The two-dozen monks of Saint Brisbee are sitting in a circle on the cobbled square just south of the central fountain. They are singing from a prayerbook held by their leader, Abbot Hewin. Despite the late hour (approximately 11 o’clock) there are small pockets of locals milling about, curiously watching the assembled monks.

What do you do?

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens
 

Ssibliss continues sleeping unless the noise gets too loud. he’s well used to the noise of human cities.

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens
 

Brandos shakes his head trying to wrap his mind around what he’s just experienced. Stumbling over the reality of the situation, he stumbles also over his words. “Apologies, father,” he stammers, bowing, “I am weary from my travels and parched to the point of delusion, apparently,” before turning from the priest and making for the door, attempting to shake the vision from his mind as he stumbles back into the courtyard, troubled, yet thrilled with his assured contact with his Lord.

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens
 













Brandos, you stumble down the hall and through the narrow door of the living quarters, leaving the bewildered Father Griel behind you. In the main chapel you pause for a moment between the orderly rows of pews and look down the length of the centre aisle to the stone alter at the end. A white cloth is laid across it and a large leather-bound tome sits atop that. The room is only lit by the dozen or so candles that flicker at the base of the alter. The far wall is covered in a fresco depicting a man, wreathed in flames, holding a golden orb.

Before the alter are a pair of trestle tables, each with a body laid upon it, covered in a white sheet with the golden sun of Pelor stitched upon it.

From the courtyard beyond you can hear the sonorous sounds of the monks as they sing another of their devotional psalms.


In the central square Kaspar and Sir Tristan have reached the bottom of the outer stairs of Akkad’s Tower. The abbot of the monks continues to lead his brothers in song. They are well practiced in their singing, flowing from one psalm to the next without any pause.

“Perhaps we should return to the Inn,” Sir Tristan says, indicating the welcoming glow that emanates from its first story windows.

Before you can reply a commotion draws your attention to the western edge of the village square. Four riders in mail and bearing swords, spears and longswords have reigned their mounts before the doors of the Lucky Penny tavern.

Three of the men have black surcoats with a pair of wolf heads on the chests and are laughing drunkenly. The fourth man is a mountain on legs. He is tall and heavily muscled, with broad shoulders and wild dark hair and beard. He wears a chain shirt and a mantle of furs but his arms and legs remain bare. An impossibly big maul hangs on a sling over his shoulder. The horse that he rode up on is a massive black courser that paws the ground and snorts as he dismounts.

The large man and his companions eye the monks in the square with contempt. He hawks a noisy gob of spit on the ground and bellows something in their direction in what sounds like Thentic. His companions guffaw and the four of them stagger towards the doors of the tavern.


Ssibliss, the commotion awakens you as well. You are perched on the flat roof of a building directly opposite the street from the tavern.

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens
 

Kaspar mentions to Tristan that we should get a look at the Baker’s Daughter so that perhaps Brandos can get more information…secretly steaming mad that he is unable to do the same…his prayers to boccob tonight might be a bit demanding instead of reverant.

He then puts an arm on his (Trisatn’s) elbow and mentions that we might find some info from the soldiers but lets not exact any revenge just yet…no killing.

So Kaspar basically wants to gather the party all together.

Do I recognise any of the Iron Wolves from the palace?

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens
 













You do not recognize any of the Iron Wolves. They are all definitely northmen, however. What is Ssibliss doing? Kaspar and Sir Tristan are heading towards the entrance to the church and the soldiers are heading inside the tavern.

Chapter 3: The Plot Thickens
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