Macendamandel 30, Year 887 (New Imperial Calendar)

We came in sight of Lord Grace the Younger’s small keep to the south before midday.  We observed from a distance for a while, Dario and Delian – claiming keen elfen vision – confirmed that the “guards” did appear to be orcs and tribesmen from the moors. 

“A bit far from home aren’t they?  It’s hard to believe that Grace the Younger has them openly manning the place like that.  Here’s my initial theory – he had a falling out of some kind with his uncle and the uncle withdrew all his troops from the Younger’s command.  Leaving him to make due with these dregs.  I wonder how he got them under his thumb though.  Well let’s head down there.”

Erist and company halted me in my tracks – they didn’t think it was such a good idea because we didn’t know what we’re dealing with.

“Right, that’s why we need to go down there and find out what we are dealing with.  We’re not going to learn anything from here.  I can con my way past some orcs as easy as falling off a log.  My grandma fell off a log once up in Castereal – they used to have a log riding contested you see and she was about to be caught in the bedchambers of the bishop so she jumped out the window and . . .”

“Ela it’s too dangerous.”

“There you go interrupting me again , that’s unspeakable rude Erist.  Now I’m not going to tell you the rest of the story.  But I might because it’s a pretty great story.  Anyway, it’s probably best if you lot stay here anyway – I’ll infiltrate the keep and get the lay of the land, if I’m not back by tomorrow morning storm the castle with your magic and your god-powers and the smiting and rescue me.”

They were reluctant to agree but since they didn’t have any better suggestions they didn’t have a lot of choices.  As I made my way to the large double doors that serve at the entrance to the keep I used my cap to disguise myself with the dress of a moderately successful merchant and prepared to smooth-talk my way past the two hulking orcish guards.

“You here for gamble?” one of them croaked gutturally.

“I am.”

And with that they opened the doors for me.  Gods damn Ela you’ve done it again! 

I’ve never actually been in a proper keep – you know a military installation – I’ve just been in the ornamental keeps in the middle of the country where it’s safe.  The real deal is much more crowded – I felt somewhat claustrophobic.  I was also reminded that we’re not that far from the Vieland boarder and there is a war on and all.

For a moment it seemed that I was going to be allowed to just wander the grounds unescorted but I was approached by a thin woman with long black hair – she had the posture of a woman who’s no stranger to a smack and immediately apologized for not being aware of my arrival.  I assured her it was no trouble at all.  She led me further into the keep.

“You are expected to compete twice a day, once at noon and again at eight in the grand hall, which lies east of the courtyard.  A magical chime sounds on each hour, and can be heard throughout the entire keep, so you should have no trouble keeping track of time. If you are not at the tournament at the scheduled time, I shall fetch you. But please don’t make me.  This shall be your chamber during your stay. You are free to explore the grounds, although there are some areas that are off limits.  If you have any questions as to where you are allowed, feel free to ask the guards. I don’t need to tell you that you are expected to be on your best behavior during your stay. Lord Grace is not generally a patient man, and it is rare and quite generous of him to open his home to strangers.”

“Lord Grace the Younger you mean?”

She went pale as a ghost and quickly scurried away ratlike.  I guess the younger Lord Grace doesn’t like being reminded of that fact.  Noble types can be so touchy.  The room was the nicest one I’ve had in a good long while – it paled in comparison to my suites back in Duke Eaglevan’s court but as they say any port in a storm, any bottle of wine while in port.  I knew I should do some snooping around but after laying down to feel a real bed for once I feel asleep almost immediately.   

____________________________________________________________

Funds: 7312 gold

XP: 22,944

Inventory: Peasant outfit, wooden box, Signet ring, Ring of Many Garments, thieves’ tools, land deed, Bag of Tricks (rust), gold ring, Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Disguise kit (6 uses), Domiel family ring, walking stick, aquamarine, masterwork playing cards , +2 Studded Leather Armor, +2 Light Steel Shield, +1 Keen Shortspear, hematite armbands (2), mithril hair clasps (3), Sir Humperdinck memoir, Mazzmus’ Wand (unidentified), Brooch of Shielding, Potion of Invisibility (3), Oil of Animate Dead, Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (2), spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, platinum necklace, Pouch of Magic Stones, flask of acid (2), alchemist’s fire (2), giant wasp venom (10), oil of taggit (2), alchemist’s kit, formula book

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler , Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee

Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)

Teams – Labors, Brute Squad (Robbers and two teams of Soldiers)

Graltontown Buildings – Mill 

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