The Game of Princes

Part Four of THE FALL OF GEOFF as told by Rhys of the Ash to Morwenna the Fair
Edited by Thomas Kelly

Some saviors lost their zeal and showed a tyrant’s face beneath a guise of friend – CY 587-588

The rangers of Gyruff and the surviving Longbowmen of Gyruff maintained a fierce border war on the edge of the giant-occupied lands. They made no headway, but their vigilance prevented the giants from raiding deeply into the liberated lands. Little thanks did they receive from the March.

At Richfest, the Marshal of the Gran March forces in Hochoch declared the city and its surrounding lands a “protectorate” until Gyruff could be restored. The declaration changed little in actual governance. March soldiers and the Knights of the Dispatch had governed the town through martial law since the liberation, but the nobles of Gyruff in Hochoch decried this turn of events, as they had no say in the new government. They sent angry letters sent to Withington and the Court of Gyruff in Exile.

In the spring of CY 588, the Marshal of the Gran March ordered the construction of wooden forts along the border of the liberated lands. The Gyri saw it as Gran March entrenching its position rather than working to free Gyruff. The Marshal used soldiers to suppress riots among the residents of Lean-to Town and Hutville outside of Hochoch.

The Marchers managed to upset the elves too when they began logging the Dim Forest and the Oytwood for the construction of their border forts and roads. The grey elves of the Oytwood sent a terse message to the Marshal. They warned the Marshal that they had a long memory. They remembered the Marshal’s ancestors. If the Marshal did not put a stop to the timbering, they would stop it for him. Incensed, the Marshal called their bluff. It was not a bluff at all. The grey elves closed their borders and laid deadly traps for the woodcutters. If the traps did not kill the trespassers, the elves themselves hunted and killed anyone they considered invaders.

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Ghosts of Velstar Keep

The Hateful Wars: Chapter Thirty-Three

Thomas Kelly

The guards posted in the lookout towers atop Mount Abharclamh sighted signal fires. “The hosts muster again!” they told the Undermountain Queen. “Our western watch has lit the signals!”

“What woodness? I must see their movements,” Kristryd insisted. “I would know their numbers and see their disposition.”

“Their wardings blind my spells,” Bagbag protested.

Kristryd and her true-headed friend had only recently returned to Gilmorack to settle affairs, administer matters of the kingdom, and silence the false rumors spread by Kristryd’s adversary. Dame Thresstone’s mysterious disappearance raised questions. Many murmured about Kristryd behind her back and named her a witch. By use of the silver-framed mirror, Kristryd heard what things they spoke of her. Those who murmured against the queen, she removed from position. Some she banished without explanation. So the dwarves of Gilmorack learned to fear and dread her all the more.

Then came this fresh trouble with the host of Urgush, and it puzzled her much. “Does he mean to flee these mountains or merely to raid Gran March?” She rolled out her maps and parchments on the stone tables of the Hall of Scrolls and mused over the possibilities. “Let Yolande hate me as she will,” Kristryd resolved. “I will summon Emolasmairim.” That same day, the queen ascended to the lookout tower atop the slopes of snow-covered Abharclamh. From that great height, her eyes could see Veluna. She fancied she saw even the southernmost peaks of the Yatils. Far to the southwest, smoke yet rose from the signal posts near the Haunt of Haradaragh. She filled her lungs with the cold mountain air, put the horn of Celene to her lips, and sounded a blast. The note rang clear and true and echoed back to her from distant peaks. The effort made her head swim, so thin the air at that height. She sat down by the watchfire and waited. The sun dipped low in the west. Icy mountain winds whipped up the mountain snow. Celene showed not her face that night; Luna offered only a waning sliver of her crescent. The dwarves stationed in the lookout post did their best to make their queen comfortable in their eyrie. They heated water for her and offered her their rations. Darkness fell over Oerth. Kristryd wrapped herself in furs and drew herself closer to the warmth of the fire.

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CAT AND MOUSE

THE LIBERATION OF GEOFF

CAT AND MOUSE (Campaign Notes-SPOILERS)

Based on Living Greyhawk module GEO1-02, by Brian Lamprecht

Young Geoffite rangers in love, Ansgar and Brin, visit Hochoch’s “shambles” to replenish their supplies. A pickpocket brushes up against Brin and makes off through the crowd before she can even put eyes on the rascal. Reaching for her purse, she finds it’s still at her belt, but in her pocket, she discovers a mysterious note that says, “Your assistance is needed most quickly on a matter of the utmost secrecy. Meet tonight. eight bells at the cemetery. To leave town you should be preparing. Ask the groundsman for Claudious Faeronicus. For country’s sake don’t dishonor us.”

The note is signed by “The Cat.”

Puzzled by the message, Ansgar and Brin make their way back to the Two Tents where they find Boots awaiting them with the dog. “Look what I found in my pocket!” the young ranger declares, producing an identical note. Brin seeks some advice from their grey-elf companion Gundoriel. No, he received no note. No, he has never heard of “The Cat.” Yes, he agrees to accompany the rangers to the cemetery.

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Battle for Hochoch

Being Part Three of “The Fall of Geoff” as told by Rhys of the Ash to Morwenna the Fair
Edited by Thomas Kelly

The ram’s horns heralded battles anew, and we carved a foothold in our homeland – CY 586

In the spring of CY 586, more freed captives arrived at the new villages in northern Keoland. Thanks to the assistance of several wizards, the rangers had remarkable success in distracting the giants and their allies long enough to liberate captives. So successful were the raids that the giants began putting leg irons on the captives or maiming them so that they could not walk. These measures reduced the number of slaves the rangers could liberate. It’s hard to make an escape when dragging twenty pounds of iron.

Disagreements continued between the grey elves of Oytwood and the wood elves of Dim Forest over where to place their scant forces now that the high king had forsaken them. The grey elves complained that, since the humans assisted in the Dim Forest, the wood elves should succor Oytwood. The wood elves, however, refused to reduce their forces for the sake of sending aid to the Oytwood. Length of years apparently grants the elves no greater wisdom than men, for they quarrel as much as we short-lived humans.

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Refugees of Geoff

Being Part Two of “The Fall of Geoff” as told by Rhys of the Ash to Morwenna the Fair
Edited by Thomas Kelly

Homeless and hopeless, we waited through the Winter of Wanting – CY 584

Never was Needfest more aptly named. The surviving Gyri counted our dead and our wounded. Our nation had become little more than landless vagrants. Some few escaped with their belongings, but most had little more than the clothes on their backs. With Duke Owen grievously injured and the army shattered, our people would have utterly despaired if not for the surviving heroes Gyruff and the handful of lords – Lady Blackblade and Lord Lea among them.

The Gran March allowed us to spend the winter on their western borders. Commandant Magnus Vrianian and many churches brought food and clothing to us, but the Gyri refugees numbered many thousands, and there was never enough food. The nights were long and the cold as the hunger pains were sharp.

With the coming of spring came renewed activity. Duke Owen went into seclusion in Shilobeth in the Gran March. Chancellor Galimar Withington acted as regent in the Court of Gyruff in Exile on behalf of the absent Grand Duke.

A change had befallen Lady Blackblade over the winter. She had been a paladin before the invasion, but now she took a vow of humility and left the warrior path. She refused even to to wear a dagger. She turned her skills to diplomacy and lobbied Keoland and the Gran March for money, troops, and food to help the landless Gyri.

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THE FALL OF GEOFF

As told by Rhys of the Ash to Morwenna the Fair
Edited by Thomas Kelly

I won’t begin this tale with “once upon a time” because I know exactly when it starts. At the celebration of Brewfest, two thousand, seven hundred, and thirty-three years after the Stone Pillars were raised (what other people call Flan Tracking)—that is, the Common Year 583. That’s the year the giants came down.

I did not attend the duke’s celebration. I was nowhere near his palace. I was in Preston at the time, but I heard the tale. In the middle of the festivities, the Green Man appeared, proclaimed that a winter would fall over the land for half a score years, then promptly disappeared. For you outlanders, the Green Man is not but the land of Gyruff itself. He shows himself from time to time—so say our legends and myths.

Peace faded with the summer season, and the mountains heavy with inhuman evil – CY 583

Not many days later, word arrived of a large force of giants, ogres, and orcs mustering in the mountains. A group of heroes brought back detailed plans of an impending invasion from giant lands, but who could believe it? We’ve lived with the giants for neighbors many a century–longer than mortals might reckon. Giants raid and pillage. Every few years they wander out of the mountains and sack a village or farm. But they don’t organize, and they certainly don’t form armies. True, we heard the tales about the incident in Sterich, and raids into Keoland too, when the Hill, the Frosts, and the Fire banded together under some dark elf treachery. But those things had transpired more than a decade past in neighboring lands, not in Gyruff. All those responsible had been put to the sword by heroes sent from Keoland. Indeed, the tales say that the heroes pursued the plot to the very depths of Oerth and unto the city of the Drow Elves. We believed that put an end to the matter, and we had little cause for alarm.

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Troll War in the Pale

By Keos (Joe Streeper) and Brattan of Holdworthy

I knew it was coming. The crops were failing in the north. The air had a bitter bite not felt for ages. The geese had Ieft earlier than ever before—just before Brewfest, making their way toward the gentler lands of Sunndi, or so they say. I took the early flight of geese as an omen upon the holy land. And now it has come to pass: The Troll Winter.

Call me Keos. In my youth I traveled far and wide across the Flanaess to lands most strange. It seems a long time ago that I set sail upon the Icy Sea finding port from Jotsplat to the Barren Wastes, where ice blankets the lands in a white embrace. Now that my hair too has turned with the seasons, I am no longer a young adventurer. I can only dream of those long days beneath the arctic sun. Now I make my home here in Wintershiven, and I am content to live out my days among my family and my books. And when an audience is indulgent, I can pursue my other pastime: telling stories of adventure and bravery. Come and pull up a chair near the fire and let me share just such as story with you today. Continue reading “Troll War in the Pale”