It was time for some hardcore research into just what the hell was going on with the weather. Alanea, archaeologist and bookworm extraordinaire secluded herself in the various libraries (making good use of her Research feat, as well as her Lore Master ability from Bard) to learn all she could about unique weather related phenomena.
What she discovered…was disturbing…but the evidence fit the current situation so it was at least worth entertaining as a hypothesis. On occasion, various pocket dimensions or ‘demi-planes’ pop into existence…sometime they pop off of an existing plane like a budding mushroom or a stream of water leaving a river and eventually forming into an isolated pond. These demi-planes occasionally float across the cosmos and as with the other known planes sometimes become coterminous with Eberron, bleeding over their effects onto them. With Alanea’s research into the Planes, Arcana and Geography concluded that this effect was currently two fold.
A demi-plane of Ice and a demi-plane of Shadow were converging on the kingdom of Val’drik from two separate directions, effectively ‘sandwiching’ the kingdom in between them in a manner similar to shifting tectonic plates…
Boudreaux spoke up at this moment – “You mean, the same kind of event that creates volcanos is occuring on a planar level? That sounds safe.”
Demi-planes can in fact be ‘popped’ or have their planar essence bled off much in the same way a blister or cyst, but it would need to be done procedurally and with care – the most opportune time being at the peak of the demi-plane’s proximity to Eberron.
With some careful research Alanea was able to narrow down the time when the two demi-planes would be closest…in about two and a half weeks from now. Right during the second year anniversary celebration for the founding of the kingdom, when Basilia Baxton and the House Phiarlan Shadow Circus would be in town. Creating a small planar/geographic timing device to narrow down when planar activity would be at its peak, Alanea was satisfied she could at least have an alarm go off when it was time.
Knowing that shit would be going down in the next few weeks, while they still had the time the council organized their work ahead of the carnival… (aka it was time for the last Kingdom Turn of the Year).
Year 2 Turn 12
Hexes Claimed (Kingdom Size 48 now)
1. Hex where the party discovered Pax.
2. NE of Sootscale lair.
3. East of the Khyber Shard Mine
2. Sawmill – Hex with Tyg-Titter-Tut and Perlivash’s home
3. Sawmill – Troll Lair
1. House Lyrandar Air Station – City Value +1,000gp, Economy +2, Stability +2, Unrest -1
Event: The Carnival of Shadows
In addition to the arrival of the Shadow Carnival, representatives of House Lyrandar and House Cannith were also making a return to Val’drik. House Lyrandar, with Roberta Catherine Evered d’Lyrandar making her second debut at the kingdom was in charge of spearheading the construction of the Lyrandar Airship Tower.
House Cannith was showing off a host of new logging machines at the event, confident the new technologies would be a great economic opportunity for the lumberjack community of Tatzlford and beyond.
And with that short amount of time, the Carnival was in full swing. The sun had barely risen before Sidney felt a tug-tug on his arm. Bleary eyes opened to see a fully dressed wide eyed Delia d’Cannith with an expectant look on her face.
“Alright alright daddy’s up, we’re going to the carnival…” “YAY!”
Entertainers and vendors were out in force amongst the streets. Painted elves in bright outfits walked the streets on covered stilts handing out fliers and candies, jugglers, fortune tellers, and all other manner of carny folk were filling the air with a festive atmosphere despite the cold.
Part of the river on the northeastern part of town had been frozen over during the night, with a section of it being inspected and fenced off to allow people to ice skate safely. Priding themselves on all forms of entertainment, House Phiarlan also had a traveling Burlesque show within a well closed off tent – Lucius having to occasionally shoo curious children from getting too close.
Korin supplied free booze from his brewery which Phiarlan graciously accepted and kept the spirits high and flowing. Not only was the gruff dwarf the most populer member of the council at the local eatery (despite his ruthless reputation for economics and forcing people to dig holes as corporal punishment) but after trying his hand at the strength of test at “The Titan’s Wheel” he nearly broke the machine with his incredible strength!
Sidney and Delia participated alongside Dox and Lucius in the Sack Race. The more coordinated (and adult) members of the council made quick work of the rest of the competition while Delia clenched her small fist in a reaffirming pose as she looked to her father “The important thing is you tried your best!”
Valerie was finding it hard to join in the festivities. Perhaps it was the fact that her step-sister had returned once again…her very presence seemed to be a weight upon her shoulders, one that Roberta seemed to revel in rubbing in. Morphing into her peripheral vision was the familiar warforged hand of Bastion, offering a stick of cotton candy. “You do not seem happy to be at the carnival Valerie. Is this not a location of mirth and entertainment? You should participate in the many events going on here. It is an important part of the mortal experience.” Looking to her constant companion and bodyguard, the warforged had already become covered in many of the cute little ‘kewpie’ dolls that were being handed out as prizes. It was impossible to stop herself from smiling.
“Alright Bastion. Let’s have fun.”
The revelry went on through the day, fast approaching sunset as new fliers were being handed out with revelers shouting to passers by that an amazing firework display would set off the switch over to the evening events! It was around this time that each of the members of the ruling council heard a message in their head…
“Hello? I am trying to reach the rulers of the country of Val’drik. My name is Syntira, and your city is in grave danger…please…please meet me at the edge of the forest to the west of Waterview!”
Realizing the message was of a desperate nature, each member of the council gathered to head towards the meeting spot – with Sidney leaving Delia in the capable hands of Lissa d’Jorasco.
Grauk, the faithful ranger of Boudreaux continued to watch the roads in and out of town thus putting him out of the immediate picture.
As the leaders approached the edge of the forest the familiar sight of the hunched over Old Beldame was standing near the tree line. She called out in her signature raspy voice “You might wanna look away for this one!”
A bright almost blinding light grew from the forest as an immensely beautiful and very naked woman left the tree line. As the council looked away, hair was tastefully placed across her body as a beautiful but sad voice called out to our heroes.
“I am Syntira, Queen of the local fae court on the other side of here – back in Thelanis.” Ah, so she was from beyond the mushroom circle…interesting. “I come with a dire warning. My people have been…changed. Affected by a dark cold from the north…a rider upon a dead stag, and with a voice like cold steel he spoke whispers of vengeance and retribution against the many sawmills that plague the Narlmarches forest. At his arrival, my people changed. They no longer remember the green…they forget the woods. They have forgotten everything but hate. Now they come with the wind, led by the Cold Rider…they come to the carnival to butcher you and the rest of the mortals, and the only two that could have stood against their plans are chained by bonds of love stronger than iron.”
“You must act quickly! My kin already begin their slaughter. Your people bleed – I feel their pain as I once did the torment of the trees. Pain is evil. Tree, beast, or man, it makes no matter, and no measure of cruelty can repair what has come before. Your kin suffer for nothing but spite. Save them, and save yourselves…but take these with you, lest you offer youselves to the frozen fey as lambs to a butcher.”
The captivating woman held out her hands from which ten small flowers grew, filling up with a small amount of crystalline liquid. “Drink this and you will not fall prey to the Rider’s magic. He carries an iridescent purple flower of living ice called the Eye of Rapture, an ancient fey enchantment to cloak horror and agony in a guise of mirth and merriment. So long as this crystal remains unspoiled, your people will continue their revels as the fey cut them down. Only by frustrating the Rider’s plans can you force him to show his hand and end your people’s suffering once and for all!”
At this shocking news, the planar leyline device upon Alanea began flashing and beeping! The convergence was occuring, with all signs pointing to the south of their location…towards…Candlemere! The final piece of the puzzle had finally made itself known. Where Alanea had originally determined that their kingdom was being sandwiched by these two demi-planes, it was unknown that this demi-plane of ice was in fact pressing upon the neighboring portal to Thelanis the First World, forcing the plane of the Fae even closer than normal!
Time was of the essence. The Carnvial, or Candlemere? What will our heroes do? With only ten flowers given by Syntira there was only enough for all the members of the council…and who are these two that ‘could have stood against’ the frozen fey?
Find out in the next exciting chapter of Kingmaker: The Carnival of Tears!
From someplace close and far away at the same time, two figures wrapped in shadow peer through a mirror the size of a great entrance to a ballroom. A young voice calls out in surprise and elation at what they see. “Friends! There are friends! We have to call them! It’s been so long since we’ve had visitors!”
“Hush girl!” The larger figure’s voice snapping with authority as it held out an opened letter, sealed with a wax emblem of the First World. “Mother has finally called us after all this time…we must do as she asks. She’ll come for us. She hasn’t forgotten us. We must be an obedient daughter though musn’t we?” The smaller form whimpered, wiping tears of crimson flower petals from her eyes. “We’re a good girl. We’ll be good.”
“Still,” the larger figure mused “These ‘friends’ of yours will serve their own purpose. And look, that ugly old hag still lives after all this time. Things are going to get interesting…” A haunting laugh echoes through the vast halls of a land of twilight, pulling back to reveal a great obsidian castle covered in wriggling vines.