The two old crones had been squawking at each other for nearly an hour while in line to get into the court being held at Castle Teraknian. From what the guards could gather, the one with the mole had cut in line and the other’s grandson had called her a ‘batty old bitch’, and nearly came to blows with the first’s grandson. Even with each noble family of Sasserine holding a separate court within the castle it was still tedious and time consuming. For nearly the last 6 months, the Harbor District court was led by an appointed ward due to the absence of it’s now dishonored former Harbormaster, Captain Jack Christ. He had disappeared shortly after declaring Kajn and Arcadian wanted fugitives… shortly after, clumsy raids by pirate-esque bandits began on the road between Sasserine and Cauldron. When the ships donated to the cause by the Sunrise and Shadowshore District returned unscathed, they told of the ambush set by Jack, his betrayal and alliance with the Crimson Fleet. He was as wanted as those who had raised arms against him, a noble of Sasserine (at the time).
Once inside, the guards sent the crones to separate courts on opposite ends of the main hall. The one with the mole was headed to the Noble Court, and the other one to the Champion Court. On the way to the court, the one with the mole began to pull the underwear from her asscrack… it was extremely annoying, but Kajn was dedicated to his disguise, clad head to toe in standard women’s wear like an old lady. It was working though, he was nearly in front of a noble with his offer: he knew the location of the rebellion hero The Arrow, and was willing to deliver him. Now he just needed to contact the city officials in Cauldron and make “preparations.”
At the other end of the hall, the other old woman suddenly had a deeper voice, clearly recognizable as Jack Christ. “Fuckin old hag” he said of the “old woman” with the mole.
“Calm yourself” responded his “grandson”, actually his quartermaster playing the role. “Soon enough we will trade Lord Mayor Severen Navalant for a full pardon and a stocked ship. Once they agree, we will inform them that the ones behind the Arrow and the rebellion are the same wanted criminals they’ve sought for the last 6 months: Kajn and Arcadian.”
Six months had passed since the fall of Farshore. Due to the increased “pirate attacks” including the treachery Jack Christ had perpetrated, civilized nations have declared war on pirates. There was already a push from the nations of the Sword Coast, and now the elite of Sasserine see a chance to diminish the “lessers” of the city and push towards “legitimacy”. Rumors abound as the city requested a significant “grant” from Waterdeep to battle the increasing piracy, and a treasure galleon said to be carrying untold millions has left port in Waterdeep headed to Sasserine. Only a handful of legendary pirate captains remain, among them the Dread Pirate Morrison, Dread Pirate Blackbeard, Admiral Vanthus Vanderboren, and the Crimson fleet too.
Kajn & Arcadian are wanted men for attacking a noble, even a short lived one like Jack Christ. They fled to Cauldron and settled with some remnants of a guild Kajn left behind many years ago. Based out of an old abandoned circus tent setup inside of an even more abandoned warehouse, Kajn sent his rogues performing in the empty streets and robbing the already overtaxed peasants. Nobles were too hard to rob, they only walked the streets with armed guards, often orc mercenaries; but not too hard to kill. .. often they met violent deaths, the only sign left behind a single arrow with green fletchings in the badly burnt and sometimes unrecognizable bodies. Soon, this mysterious assassin of the corrupt became known as The Arrow, an inspiring figure for the rebellion.
The pirate himself, Jack Christ is now just as wanted for his treachery in Farshore and the more recent bandit raids between Sasserine and Cauldron. He removed his men from the Lotus Dragons Guildhall on the first day, and claimed the Mountain Door level of the Forge of Fury. The tax riots exacerbated by some dwarven brothers erupted into full on rebellion, and the lord mayor of Cauldron was on his way to Sasserine to plead for soldiers when he was kidnapped for ransom by Jack’s bandits.
Errondar the Barbarian joined Jack’s raiders.
Rochefogne took his windfall of gold and combined with his magic erected a tower in a number of weeks. Awed by the appearance of the tower, a nearby tribe of humanoids began to worship him and pay homage.
Doulph received the deed to the Sailor’s Grave from a fleeing Jack, and polished up the place, removing it’s ominous sign and returned to calling it the Plucked Parrot Inn.
The city of Sasserine found a gem in Ser Eein Rogarvia, the Ruby Knight of Shadowshore. Upon hearing the call to arms for experienced warriors, he took the name of the district in which he was drinking himself to death, fetched his greatsword Honey Black and his matching armor from a dusty old chest, and wandered to the arena in the Champion District. He walked out with the command of hundreds of men, having never spoken a word.
Ser Eein’s combat prowess was unmatched by any other in Sasserine. No matter the men or beasts put against him, he cut them down; with a single blow more often than not. At only six foot tall with thick fullplate and an oversized greatsword, he fought like giant but moved like a mountaincat. His legend preceded him and soon bards flocked to him, spreading his tale. The common folk took to calling him The Mountain That Rides, for he appeared even more sizable on horseback. He marched his troops out of Sasserine the very same day he took his command, setting off a day ahead of Ser Lawrence the Starry Knight, who was leading the other host of men-at-arms. They were on the road for less than an hour when a messenger boldly approached the knight.
“I have a message” he said inarticulately. “It’s from the Harbormaster, Captain Jack Christ.”
“He is Harbormaster no more. Nor a captain of any ship I know,” Eein said as sharply as he stared. “What business does a turncloak have with me?”
“… ‘Master’… Jack has received a pardon from the ”/wikis/dawn-council" class=“wiki-page-link”> nags runnin’ Sasserine. He’s returning the good Lord Mayor he captured, and plannin’ on keepin’ this good streak goin’. He knows the names of the rebel leaders."
“The one they call The Arrow is the same fugitive sought for attacking nobles – Arcadian. His accomplice is his partner in crime, Kajn.”
“It should come as no surprise. An unjust rebellion is like honey to such flies. Is that all?”
The messenger traveled with them for another hour, telling Eein all that Jack knew of his former allies.
Before dusk, an official messenger was seen coming down the road from Sasserine. Skilled at what they do, he quickly caught up with the marching men, and their leader.
“It seems I am popular today,” Eein quipped.
“More and more every day,” a nearby singer said. He wore fine blue silks, a goatee tied into a single braid and dyed to match his blue hair, and blue leather boots (whether they came from a creature with a blue hide or were dyed blue, it cannot be said). “Your legend grows like the number of men you feed to the crows.” He smirked, entertained by his little rhyme.
“Ser!” the messenger gasped, trying to catch his breath. He had run a few miles, and could go farther still if needed. “Important news…” he gasped again.
“…From Sasserine,” Eein knew. “Hand me the parchment.” The message was simple enough: One of the rebels, one known as Kajn, was willing to give up the inspiring face of the movement – The Arrow. He had left detailed instructions where to find him in two days time… in a tower overlooking the podium where the new Lord Mayor of Cauldron, Lord Vhalantru, would be giving a speech welcoming Eein and his reinforcements. “I will be in attendance,” he told the messenger. “Return to ”/wikis/sasserine" class=“wiki-page-link”> Sasserine and let them know I will be there to ambush the rebels." They made camp rather uneventfully at nightall.
In the repurposed circus tent that served as their base, Kajn and Arcadian were arguing. Arcadian was in favor of backing the rebellion as he ahd been all along. He was angered and disappointed to learn Kajn was not only not helping the rebellion, but actively harassing the citizens he was protecting.
“Prove your allegiance” Arcadian said, hinting at his mistrust of Kajn. “Help me smash the incoming army in a single blow. Lend me some men for my cause. Our cause.”
“Not my cause,” Kajn said coldly. Chased around every corner, he was finally settling in only to find that city crumbling around him. It seemed everywhere he went, he left cities in ruin. He was tired and angry himself. “I’m spent. I’m done. I will not sacrifice my men anymore.”
“Why don’t you ask them?” the half-elf shot back. He knew many of the men were actually his, disenfranchised watching Kajn harass their friends and family among the citizens. He was planning on taking the guild for his own, adding their strength to the rebellion, but now was not the time.
“very well. Whoever wants to join the elf, may.” Kajn said sarcastically. He was not surprised to see Leoak rise and offer to join him. Without a word exchanged he knew the boy would act as a spy. He was however shocked to see Yenril rise and leave with Arcadian. “How many of my other men might be disloyal?” he thought.
Jack could hear the sweet sound of the songbird echoing enjoyably through the caves before it ever flew in arrow slits that guarded the entrance. It flew swiftly through the dimly lit cavern, now adorned with the trappings of many successful raids. Imported carpets and fancy sconces brighten most rooms, and the food stores are plentiful. The bird ignores it all, flying directly toward Jack, dining at a large wooden table in his large, wooden ‘throne’, a carved wood behemoth stolen from a caravan. Fancy gold bracelets and pearl bead necklaces were hanging anywhere they could on the seat, occasionally rattling when Jack stood or otherwise moved. They were eating hot spiced goat, fresh from the mountains where they resided. There was never any shortage of ale and wine either, that Jack made sure.
He noticed a small not tied to the bird’s leg and pulled it off.
“Captain Jack Christ the Daring,” it began. "I am sending you this letter at the request of the leaders of the rebellion in Cauldron. In exchange for a full pardon from the city of Cauldron’s new government and our backing should you seek one from Sasserine, as well as the remaining weapons and armor left from the ensuing battle, We Propose that you attack Ser Eein’s forces at the Lucky Monkey from the northern mountains at midnight on the day of their arrival. We will have archers in the woods to the south and mounted troops on the road to the east. I will know when you are in position and will launch a barrage of flaming arrows at the guards on the roof, that will be your signal to storm the building, drawing his troops out. Then our mounted troops will attack as they flee from the building we will have them evenly matched and have the element of suprise on our side. Send your reply via our Sparrow. The rebellion of Cauldron thanks you in advance, Captain.
Honorably, Ser Marriston, General of the Rebel Army
P.S. I know where the outlaw Kajn is hiding.
“What’re we to do?” one of his lieutenants dining with him asked.
“I don’t need their pardon when I have my own,” Jack revealed, “So we’re gonna tell this Ser Marristan we’ll help. And send this Marristan’s letter to Ser Eein so he knows what’s waiting for him.”
Just before dusk that evening, Ser Eein arrived at the abandoned Lucky Monkey Inn. He turned his horse and faced his men to speak. Arcadian watched from the woods to the south, with many of his men, rebels who had joined the cause after being rescued from corrupt officials. Ser Marristan was leading fifty horsemen up the road form the east, and Jack waited with his raiders in the hills to the north, watching the entire thing unfold. Errondar stroked his axe anxiously. And Orion, Arcadian’s eagle, could see it all from above.
“We are to be ambushed by cowards in our sleep!” Eein shouted, loud enough for those watching to hear. Jack smirked. Arcadian scowled. “Unless the leader of the rebels, this man calling himself The Arrow, is man enough to face the ”/characters/ser-eein-ruby-knight-of-shadowshore" class=“wiki-content-link”>Ruby Knight of Shadowshore in single combat!" Eein looked towards the woods and was met with silence. Upon hearing from Jack, Eein had sent messengers to Sasserine and Cauldron alike to spread word of this coward Arcadian. He knew he would refuse to face him. As his men began going inside and fortifying the inn, Eein continued. He pulled his massive greatsword from it’s sheath with one hand, and swung it with barely the tip dragging on the ground. “I’ll start from inside this circle, and you can start from your hiding spot coward!”
Finally, a hooded figure emerged from the woods. Under his cloak he wore a fine elven chainmail bearing the sigil of a long forgotten house; A green lightning bolt and a green arrow striking the ground on a black field.
“I accept” he said, launching three arrows as he began sprinting. All three missed their mark. Eein had not even flinched, and in that moment knew this was not the real Arrow.
In an instant, Eein disappeared and reappeared in front of the running archer, who lurched to a halt. Eein stood so close he could give him a peck on the lips, and he did. Before the archer could respond, he stopped breathing. Eeins sword had sliced clean through him, and no one had even seen him draw it.
A rain of fire arrows erupted from all along the woodline, and all hit their mark. The waterlogged wood of the Lucky Monkey didn’t take, though some of the arrows exploded with a cacophonous boom.
Eein disappeared and reappeared once again, this time in the woods behind one of the trees where one of the hooded figures was launching arrows. Another blindingly fast slash buried Eein’s sword in the tree, splitting the man-elf in half.
When Jack’s part of the attack came and went without a sign from him, Arcadian signaled for the rest of his men to retreat. Marristan would know to do the same when he failed to hear the sounds of mass combat. “I was not expecting him to be capable of that” Arcadian mumbled to himself as he strode through the woods. “Kajn will miss his little guild member, I’m sure. He was an expert in disguise.”
Eein entered the Lucky Monkey. “They are in retreat. Gather my messengers and send word to both cities: We have routed Arcadian, the Coward of Cauldron.”
“You have, Good Ser.” interjected the Blue Bard. Eein gave him a quizzical look. “You have routed the rebel army single-handedly… the singers will tell of this tale for ages.”
Though never defeated in combat, the losses he had suffered had humbled Eein to some extent. But the singer could be useful here. Slaying the face of the rebellion would only martyr him and embolden the enemy. Slaying the legend would turn out to be more effective. Eein slept soundly that night.
Arcadian returned to the warehouse nearly out of breath. His men poured in one after the other; they always traveled loosely when they moved as a group. Kajn arrived a few moments later, from wherever he had been.
“What are your plans?” Arcadian asked Kajn directly. His spies had mentioned the ambushing of some nobles on the morrow, but Kajn had said nothing to him yet. he said nothing now. “I know of the ambush.” Still Kajn said nothing. Arcadian drew his weapon.
“Ha!” Kajn laughed. “You pull your weapon on me in my own guildhall?”
“It may be your guildhall… but they’re my guild members.”
By now, the room had filled with nearly the entirety of both their followings. As if on cue nearly thirty men, some rogues and others rebels, drew their weapons and backed Arcadian. Half as many drew theirs and backed Kajn.
Kajn was aghast at the number of traitors in his guild.
“Help me, and we don’t have to do this” Arcadian said. “Join your forces to mine. Distract the Ruby Knight’s forces long enough for Ser Marristan’s horsemen to run them down.”
“Fine,” kajn said begrudgingly. “We have sent correspondence and drawn the leadership into one place. You take your position at the highest belltower in Cauldron, and take your pick.” he could tell from the way Arcadian and his men sheathed their swords, they were in. He smirked; finally one of his plans was coming together.
The following morning Eein’s host set off just after dawn. They would occupy the city, and then he would attend the noontime welcoming ceremony the Lord Mayor Vhlantru had planned to show their new found strength. The location was the steps of city hall, the same place that Arcadian was planning on assassinating the lord mayor, and would instead be ambushed thanks to Kajn’s betrayal. The crowds were surprisingly thick, surely as many were rebels there to verify the tales as were there to support the new lord mayor. Eein was unsure whether he should trust the information from any of the betrayers, each writhing in pain while twisting a knife in the back of the other, so he was on guard while dispersing his men. He put the majority at the base of the tower the Arrow was supposed to be, careful not to enter so as to alert the vigilante. He left the rest of his men on the other side of the town square should he have been deceived.
At noon exactly, Lord Mayor Vhalantru appeared from the City Hall, flanked by a few of the cities nobles, and the Ruby Knight himself. The mayor began his speech, exaggerating the already amazing claims about Eein, and then put a large medal medallion embedded with a ruby around the hero’s neck. When he returned to finish speaking, he was met in the chest with an arrow, it’s fletchings green.
As if on cue, several more arrows from separate locations met several of the members of Cauldron’s nobility. in the same moment, a nearby horse cart exploded, killing the horse and many of peasants in the crowd. Screams of terror erupted moments later.
Across the city, at Cauldron’s West Gate, a small circus caravan was leaving. They had only three carriages, painted in dark, muted colors save for the occasional bright trim. One was for the circus tent and supplies, one for various other needs and goods, and another carried the leader of the circus, a mysterious ringleader who hid his face and kept to himself when not performing. At the sound of the explosion, the gate guards had responded and so there was no one to stop their passage. The road to Sasserine would be more dangerous than the gates of Cauldron.
Arcadian dashed down the steps of the tower, and peered out a window a few floors lower. He could see the troops swarming at the base as they begin up the steps. Betrayed. He was good with his arrows; the only way they knew his position was if they were told. he leapt from a window.
Eein was already moving toward the tower, and saw the cloaked figure leap to the rooftops. He began chase immediately, moving shockingly fast in his ornate full plate, his newly awarded medal clanking softly against his armor. Somehow, he was gaining on the fugitive.
Arcadian was nearing the end of the rooftops near an alley. He could see a riderless horse below, certainly one of the guards who was chasing him. He didn’t see Ser Marristan, and he was glad. The old knight had been commanded to make a full retreat should anything seem awry, and he would be the last man out only after making sure everyone else was.
Eein saw Arcadian jump and land accurately on a horse, spurring it forward, so he took his own unoccupied ride. By the time they reached Cauldron’s North Gate, he was nearly upon him. Two guards who had held their position lowered their spears to prepare for the charge of the vigilante, but dropped their spears when struck by his arrows.
Both men on horseback dashed through the gate before a third guard could lower the portcullis. Kicking up dust, Eein’s horse was now within biting distance of Arcadian. On the road ahead, Ser Marristan was following his men out of town, but turned back when he saw Arcadian in trouble. Eein leapt form his horse, landing awkwardly on the back of Arcadian’s. The elf drew his scimitar, but Eein drew his greatsword still faster and with one hand slashed the legs off the horse, sending them both tumbling into a cloud of dust.
Arcadian was on his feet moments before Eein, and Ser Marristan was there to pull him onto his steed. Just as quickly, Eein dash forward closing the distance and with another massive swing cleaved both hind legs off the beast, sending Arcadian and Ser Maristan flying into the dusty road. He walked forward intently.
Ser Marristan rose, drawing his longblade. It was finely made and even carried a reputation, Shatterspike they called it. It had sundered the prize weapon of many a knight in it’s heyday. Arcadian fired three arrows, one sailing past Eein, one bouncing off his formidable plate, but one finding it’s mark. the point pierced his plate with an unnatural cacophonous boom, shocking and singing metal and flesh alike. Eein did little more than grimace and counter Ser Marristan’s blow in reaction.
Eein parried one of Marristan’s blows and countered with his own, but the old man was good and dodged it. They traded only for a little while, two knights in full plate clashing while Arcadian sprinted for the treeline. Eein enjoyed the skilled opponent, but would be generous to call him a threat. The combat would end when Eein decided it would.
Ser Marristan was determined to destroy this legendary sword carried by the Ruby Knight, and he swung violently at it. So violently in fact that he stumbled, leaving an opening for his opponent. The last thing Arcadian saw as he was scooped up by one of Marristan’s horseman was Eein not hesitating to bury his sword in Ser Marristan. The blade entered near the shoulder that was exposed with the bumbled attack, and ended buried in the old knight’s tassets. Eein’s silk laced medal clanked softly to a rest against his armor. Later when the took the rebel leader’s head, they would learn he was split in two inside his armor by the blow.