The Founding of Arcadia
After the destruction of the Stag Lord and his bandit minions, and the pacification of the evil menace lurking below the ruined town of Kingsholm, a portion of the Stolen Lands are once again ready to be reclaimed from the wilderness… although for how long remains to be seen. Kingdoms have a way of coming and going in this area of the world.
The Swordlords of Brevoy, in recognition for Knallhart’s heroic accomplishments in making this part of the world safe again for civilization and trade, apportioned a good deal of treasure and resources, along with a writ granting ownership of these lands to the new lord and ruler, Autarch Supreme, His Most Elequont and Munificent Majesty Adramelech Astoroth, and a Council of His choosing.
He began by tapping some of the finest heroic minds in the land, including the members of the badass adventuring party, as well as local talent like the infamous Oleg Leveton, the enigmatic Lars Sterich, and even employing the notorious halfling trader Kaydon Bale.
Legend has it that Autarch Astoroth recieved the idea for his realm in a divine dream sent by one of the gods, most speculation surrounding Callistria and Nethys. Another tale has it that Knallhart conspired deep into the night while awaiting an imminent bandit attack, and many a cup were drained whilst laws and ideals were set down. Whatever the case, when the leaders came together, the realm of Arcadia was truly born.
Aspen in the Fall
Aspen successfully trains a set of a half-dozen battle mounts for the party (they have riding horse stats but do not shy away from battle).
He then heads into the forest and communes with the friendly fey dwelling therein. They are unhappy with the new incursions into the forest but the druid mollifies their fears. Most of the fey refuse to discuss Nyrissa, expressing surprise and terror at the mention of her name. Those few who do speak, such as Perlivash and Tyg Titter-tut, explain Nyrissa has been bound to the Stolen Lands for ages. She often acts through intermediaries and dreams. Most who fulfill her will have no idea they are doing so.
The fey who are willing to speak of her are either unable or unwilling to say more.
In his downtime, Astoroth talks with travelers, the sage, the cleric of Erastil if he’s in town, and especially our General and Lars and the halfling, trying to get a feel for the surrounding kingdoms, learning the names and cities and whatever stereotypes or cultural abnormalities the nations and peoples subscribe to. Just get familiar with things (Knowledge Nobility taken as a skill).
More actively, he visits with whatever populations of fey or interested humanoids that Marshall Aspen comes across, up to and including packs of wolves and the like, provided Aspen can act as a go-between. Give them a quick run-down of who we are, what we’re doing, and how not to get killed by us, basically our code of rules, but presented in a respectful and most of all logical manner. Astoroth is interested in learning more about them, their culture and beliefs, and welcome them to participate in the grand experiment of Arcadia, but don’t expect them to join. He is very clear about the changes that will be coming, but tries to mollify this by pointing out the lack of “bad” humans (bandits) and that we take care of whatever evil lurks in the heart of the wilderness, preying on both man and fey.
And almost every day, he takes a stroll through town, Syzygy at his side, talking to folks and especially children, trying to get them acclimated to the badass looking monster, bristling with taloned arms and chitinous plating. Occasionally dripping acid. If Syzygy agrees, which of course he will with his love of showing off, I’ll invite people to ask him to do tricks… ASK, never command. Astoroth’s companion likes the social niceties to be observed. But it will cut anything put before it, leap about… nothing degrading, just things that let it show off its moves.
While Saalus works on establishing the new embassy in Restov he surreptitiously observes the book bindery. It has been burned to the ground. Locals say the fire started in the middle of the night but, thankfully, nearby buildings were spared.
The Oraculum is as present as ever in Restov, though none make direct contact with Saalus. Most citizens of Restov are deeply suspicious of the Oraculum, but there has been no allegations of direct harm. They have given generously to the most powerful families in the cities and have thus curried favor and protection.
Saalus learns nothing more of value from the headmaster except that Dralt’s former pupil has not shown at the academy, presumably because he joined the Oraculum. (Sorry—at work so I don’t have names either.) Saalus keeps his eyes peeled but does not see the student anywhere in the city. Then again, it’s a big place so nothing is sure.
No one knows how the fire started, though one beggar does state he saw some people in there the night it happened. He only says they were bad people and hints they were Oraculum members without saying so directly.
Saalus efforts to spark interest in Arcadia are wildly successful despite their subtelty (Rolled 17 for a Diplomacy check—guessing this gets you into the high 20s). Arcadia will gain a one time +2 Economy bonus for Turn 6 because of this.
Saalus meets with several high-ranking officials and friends of Ioseph Sellemius, mayor of Restov, though he does not meet with the mayor himself. Most are indifferent to the Oraculum, a few are vocally supportive and a few others are suspicious of it, though none directly oppose it. All questioned consider it a small, subsect of sages who have not caused any direct harm.
Everyone is supportive of Arcadia, including those who also back the Oraculum. Everyone also goes out of there way to remind Saalus of the great favor Restov has done for the PCs’ nascent kindgom. Everyone is openly critical of House Surtova, the current ruling power in Brevoy. No one expresses concerns of outside threats, though there is some mention of the troubles Maegar Varn is having with the centaurs of the Nomen Heights.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
The small monetary boost provided by the trade route and economic boom has funneled money into the hands of the unwise. Carousing has reached new heights in Callisto and unthinking tourists have also come to visit. These newcomers show an unprecedented (at least in Arcadia) disrespect for the laws and for the women and men who seek to serve. Entrepreneurs seekeing to capitalize on the flesh trade open some of their own “discount” brothels. Standards for these houses are much lower than those allowed by the Callistria priestesses and several “servants” are beaten. One is even killed.
Ilya begins making visits. Bones are broken, drunken fools are publicly humiliated and the murderer is found and hanged.
The women who’d been involved in the illegal prostitution ring are offered menial jobs doing labor, or have the option of petitioning the brothels or any other business for employment. If they wish to become citizens of Arcadia, that is.
Letter to the Centaurs
Astoroth pens the following letter and sends it to the Nomen centaur tribe via animal messenger cast by Aspen:
Awe Inspiring Matriarch of the Noble and Brave Centaur Clans,
I deliver this message and greeting in peace, knowing full well some of the suffering your people have had inflicted upon them by humans past… and not so past. I beseech you for knowledge of a malignancy eating at the heart of the stolen lands that for all I know you alone may provide me, but I fully recognize any feelings of hesitancy or mistrust you may have, and will take no offense if you choose to stop reading. No response, after all, is a response of that is more clear than the flowery insincere language of so many nations these days. Actions speak so much more loudly that speech, and hope that you will allow us the opportunity to prove ourselves to you and your people.
As Autarch of the newly established Arcadia, I seek to reach out to those around me, the natural inhabitants of this land, to better learn how to live harmoniously with it, as well as provide whatever assistance we can with problematic situations. Recently, for example, we were forced to discipline some lumberjacks who’d invaded the glade of a nymph, and before that had to slay some dozen werewolves who’d begun killing our farmers.
There is something… Strange that I wish to ask you about. Certain… happenings. Glimpses of an evil. It is possible this is something the Centaurs are… uniquely in a position of understanding. I am fascinated by other people and cultures, and have found much to appreciate in that of the Centaurs of Nomen Heights. I especially appreciate the status of women such as yourself in society; I’ve always found it bizarre that humans don’t take more advantage of the smarter (and often harder working) half of their population, and we have helped to ensure Arcadia affords equal rights to all its citizens, regardless of race or gender. If you’d honor me with a discussion some time, I’d love for you to elaborate some of your customs to help make my own nation run more smoothly.
Again, I make these requests with the utmost respect, open heart and empty hands, but if I have provided any instance of disrespect out of my ignorance for your ancient and proud culture, I apologize.
If you read this but choose not to respond, any centaur bearing a white flag of truce will be allowed to deliver a message, all the way to the capitol if you so wish.
Autarch of Arcadia,
So far, there has been no response.