Kingmaker in Eberron

Book 2 Chapter 06 - Faith in Government

The unconscious half-orc/afflicted Big Bad Wolf was taken into custody – discreetly. Unfortunately without a proper prison or…well any official holding facilities really, the suspect was taken to the next best place – Septim Garess’ house. (This poor guy’s life, despite being the Warden, is quickly becoming a recurring joke in game. Which is hilarious.)

The rest of the council was notified to gather at Septim’s house and filled in on the situation – except for Valerie who declined to leave her home for the time being.

The rest of the evening passed uneventfully except for the night terrors that seemed to possess the unconscious man. Finally around 9 in the morning the half-orcs eyes slowly opened and began taking in the situation. Tied to a chair, in an unknown house, surrounded by guards with silver-tipped crossbow bolts pointed at him. Yeah something was up.

Korin: “I assume you know who we are.”

?: “I’d heard of you but haven’t met anyone in person…you’re the ruling council of this city?”

Korin: “The country really. Which is currently one and the same.”

Pressed for information the half-orc revealed his name was Kundal and he’d only arrived in town three nights ago. The man was a professional hunter and seeing as there was a relatively safe haven south of Stormreach now it was the perfect place to start looking for exotic animals to find in the deeper parts of Xen’drik. Sometime on his first night out in the wilderness, while on his way back to town after laying some traps he though he heard a voice calling out to him. Figuring it was either someone in trouble or one of those voice-mimicing weird animals you occasionally hear about (parrots not counting of course) he went to investigate. Something big leapt out at him in the darkness and took a bite out of his leg. Before he even had the chance to react it ran off into the forest.

Tarvis: “Do you still have this scar? To prove your case?”

Kundal motioned to his leg which revealed rapidly-healing scars covering the majority of his left leg. For a wound that big and having obtained it less than three days ago it looked like an old war wound that would have faded to time after decades. But it was still unmistakably there and whatever did this was clearly intelligent – a bite like that would normally have enough force to completely tear that leg off if it wanted to.

The other signs of lycanthropy were there, Kundal had clearly been having bad dreams the past few nights. Waking up in strange places not knowing how he got there…having a coppery taste in his mouth. Deep down he knew what was happening but hoped it wasn’t true.

(At this point Lucius/Sidney’s player turned in his Birthday Action Point in regards to the knowledge check regarding lycanthropy. This is something I like to do for my players if their birthday happens to come up during the course of the game – they get a special action point they can hold onto as long as they want and turn it in for a rules breaking moment. An extra round of actions, some extra skill points, a bonus feat, being able to declare that a single action succeeds or fails – things like that. Use it for something awesome. SO, since he turned in this action point he pieced together the puzzle)

Alanea knew that there was a possibility of curing someone of Lycanthropy, an afflicted one anyways, that involved the ingestion of the poison called Wolfsbane or receiving a Remove Disease or Heal spell cast by a powerful divine user within three days of being infected. Unfortunately, the end of that third day was…last night.

Lucius chewed a piece of grass in his mouth. Sounded bout right only there were some ol family legends passed down among House Vadalis. It was risky, but possible to cure an afflicted lycanthrope even after the three day waiting period. Harder sure, but it was worth giving it a try. You’d need a Break Enchantment as well as Wolfsbane and Heal. In addition, if the ritual was successful it would suppress the ‘disease/curse’ but not remove it completely. Kundal would need to be a vegetarian the rest of his life – the mere taste of meat could cause a surge in the wolf again. Given the options, Kundal offered to try the ritual. A life of salad was a better option than no life at all.

There was one more thing. If they were going to do this ritual, it would have to be done today. Once the moons came out at night the window of opportunity would be over and they’d have to kill Kundal.

Not only did Lucius know about this folksy home remedy for curing Lycanthropy but he thought about some of the stories and legends he was told as a young’un. House Vadalis specializes in not only rearing animals, but learning from them. Stories around the campfire say that civilization as modern folks know it wasn’t an invention of critters on Eberron at all – but rather all those folksy tales and moral analogues you hear about to keep kids from runnin off in the woods at night? Based on real legends. If this poor Kundal fella really was an afflicted Big Bad Wolf then the real one, if there is one, is probably the progenitor of the very idea of the trickster predator. A unique type of Fae that lives somewhere in the First World – Thelanis, one of the planes of existence that goes ‘round Eberron alongside the other planes of existence occasionally touching dimensional barriers.

All those old stories to teach lessons to folks…well a good possibility it had to be real in some fashion right? So if this thing is real there’s a good possibility it’s still out there.

MEANWHILE…AT THE HOME OF VALERIE d’LYRANDAR…
Valerie had been refusing to go outside since waking up in the morning. She stared at the mirror in shock for a good ten minutes before trying to go back to bed, convinced it was a bad dream. Unfortunately there were not enough snuggly pillows or warm blankets in the world to make it go away. She had to face the music. Her Dragonmark had grown overnight…becoming more powerful and creeping its way up her neck and cheek.

A knock and a letter covertly-retrieved without being seen provided the answer to one of our heroes dilemmas. The letter was addressed to Valerie (whose player had used the Plot Twist Card: Lucky Day) informing her that a benefactor had taken out a Jorasco Life Insurance Policy in her name which came with a free sign-up gift of a Scroll of Heal! If she wished to continue with her policy however it would only be the small matter of paying 500gp per month (promptly of course) to House Jorasco for its services in the unknowable future.

While Valerie had been kept up to date on the situation via messengers she hadn’t yet mustered the courage to face the outside world, so she arranged for a messenger to deliver the scroll to the group. One object down, one left to go. (Fortuitous Circumstance FTW!)

MEANWHILE…BACK AT SEPTIM’S HOUSE…
Tarvis double checked his records (being the spymaster) correlated them with Korin and learned that there was in fact a (after realizing that single items worth less than 2000gp could be found within their kingdom) scroll of Break Enchantment available! …At the Shrine of the Silver Flame! Awkward.

So Tarvis moseyed on over sure that the speaking power of money would provide these religious folks with all the convincing they would need to hand over their scroll no questions asked. After being politely escorted into a meeting room by some of the flame faithful, Tarvis was met by Mirasandra ir’Thavar the local leader of the faith and paladin.

Mirasandra politely informed one of the founders of the nation that while indeed they did have a scroll of Break Enchantment in their possession, it was a gift penned by one of the Cardinals of the Silver Flame as a gesture of good luck to their pilgrimage to Xen’drik . Without being given an adequate reason they could not part with it.

Tarvis, unwilling to reveal their “L” problem simply offered to purchase the scroll for a hefty sum of money. He was then escorted from the premises.

Finally Valerie wrapped her face up in a heavy scarf on top of her usual high collars after repeated visits from messengers requesting her presence with the rest of the council and braved the outside – only after being serenaded by a barbershop quartet in a last ditch effort by a harried messenger who was told by Korin to “bring her here. Find a way. Make her feel pretty. Buy her flowers. Do something dammit!” to do his job.

A bouquet of flowers and four acapella singers seemed to make things better, and really what couldn’t be made better by adding those? Apologizing for her absence she revealed her expanded Dragonmark to the rest of the party…but that was something they would decide on later. In the meantime the Silver Flame were nice folks if perceived as a little Lycanthrope Stabby based on their past Crusade against Lycanthropy that was officially ordained by the Church…but that was hundreds of years ago at this point. The fact they carried so much silver even today though seemed worrisome.

Next was Dox’s turn to visit the Silver Flame, apologizing for Tarvis’ behavior. They unfortunately could still not reveal why they needed the scroll but that it was to save a life. Mirasandra seemed to believe Dox’s earnest plea and would provide the scroll free of charge – with the understanding that you would owe us one. At the very least this would imply giving the go-ahead for an official church of the Flame after the celebration of the second Founding Day, perhaps even having the government pay for ¾ of the building rather than the initial half. Dox…was unsure of giving the go ahead on that kind of arrangement…excused herself to confer with others in the council but promised she would return with an answer.

After much debating about how to approach the situation, Sidney spoke up as the voice of reason – it was time to fill the Flamers in on the situation and as a matter of public health request the scroll of Break Enchantment for the good of the people of the country.

Not having any kind of official meeting space yet, and Septim refusing to have both Silver Flamers and a dangerous (albeit tied up) psycho big bad wolf werewolf thing in his house at the same time, the council cleared out one of the Tavern/Inns in town (they are the leaders of the country after all, the innkeeper handed them the keys to the building and disappeared for a few hours) and held a meeting there. They sent a messenger to the church – informing them that the Ruling Council of Valdrik was issuing an official Summons for someone who could speak for the Silver Flame faithful. A ballsy move.

Within the hour Mirasandra and a small retinue of three younger acolytes arrived at the Inn, introduced themselves politely and took a seat at the table. The council came clean, they had someone was an afflicted lycanthrope kind of thing…and they had a chance to save him, but they would need the scroll. Mirasandra’s reaction was not to immediately begin a city-wide hunt to track down the afflicted. She acknowledged that there was a crusade, but it was over.

Was this man going to be a danger to himself or others in the future? Were there proper means of keeping tabs on this person? While it can be considered somewhat harsh the paladin mentioned that placing a Geas on the unnamed afflicted – while not a perfect means of preventing a ‘relapse’ would help to keep him on the straight and narrow path of a vegetarian diet. She also recommended bi-weekly or monthly sessions of counseling to address both the spiritual and psychological state of the afflicted with a member of the church. This would also act as a means of keeping tabs on him while at the same time helping him on the road to recovery.

The council agreed, if they were going to the effort to save this man then they would accept the responsibility of keeping him within the country. After all if he ran off and turned wolf again that guilt would fall on them. As for the current relations they had with the church…the country of Valdrik by no means intended to establish the Silver Flame as the dominant religion…however given the help they were receiving from the Church in this matter they would unofficially guarantee to help build a Church for them shortly after the new year.

Negotiations were finished. Mirasandra even offered to allow the council to use their consecrated area within their shrine to help with the ritual. Anonymity was still guaranteed for the afflicted (although there would be members of the church that would know what had happened, Mirasandra vouched for their silence on the matter.) and with all of the proper items in place Kundal managed to survive the ordeal and did not turn into a ravening beast under the moonlight. Thankful for keeping his life and somewhat burdened by the guilt of having killed two innocents the hunter offered up his magical Greataxe and Armor to help with any payments to the church or the families.

The afflicted was saved, but the real culprit was out there somewhere. According to Kundal, he was attacked a little over 12 miles west of here – in the Narlmarches forest.

Next Time On Kingmaker – Time to round up a posse and go hunting The Big Bad Wolf!

(As a finishing note on this session I just want to note how proud I am of my players. The major question I had as a GM going into this situation was “How far are they willing to go to save one person? “ and as it turns out? Pretty far. They dealt with both political and religious questions and the delicate balancing act of maintaining the safety of their citizens while also respecting their rights. The negotiations with the Silver Flame at the tavern/inn were tense but handled very well – despite Korin’s angry banker outbursts and both parties I believe came out of it more at ease than when it had started. It was the exact kind of ethical questions I was aiming for in Kingmaker.)

XP Gained!
1500xp Each for resolving issues with the Silver Flame as well as saving Kundal!

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