The PCs attended the tournament victors’ ceremony and that evening had their Harvestfest feast with Baroness Strath and her court. There was a huge announcement made at the feast, revealing that the Baroness intended to declare independence from the Duke of Rallas. This caused quite the stir, and the gossip will spread like wildfire throughout the region.
“ Baroness Deirdre Strath sits in a rather ornate throne made of silverwood plated in gold along the frame for the joust and the award ceremony and looks like a sylvan princess made of ice. She looks almost mystical, sitting in the throne with her silver hair stylized into a horn and a rich green, exotic dress with silver embroidery and lace.”
“She is flanked by two knights throughout the award ceremony, the ruggedly handsome Sir Liam Bellamy II and icily regal Sir Morgan Chase in their shined plate armor, their coats of arms prominently on display on their shields, which lay at their feet.”
“Following the joust, the awards ceremony begins. Sir Malkar, an older knight wearing plate and with thick, gray whiskers that make him resemble a walrus, leads the baroness to the ranks of participants from the archery and axe tossing. A herald announces the Archery winner as Firas, a young, Bron barbarian with a quiet, confident demeanor, gaunt build, long blonde hair with two braids, and blue eyes. He has tattoos on his arms and wears furs and leathers. And has a fur wrapped hornbow on his back. He receives 20 gold crowns and an ornate longbow made of Faldorian oak. Sir Malkar presents him with the gifts and the Baroness says something softly to him. He bows stiffly. The runners up are also announced, a militiaman named Sergeant Jarol, and a Vyshani mercenary named Varturo. Each receive 5 gold crowns.”
“The Axe Tossing winner is Sheriff Bors, a tall, broad shouldered, balding, man with stubble, a crooked nose, and squinty green eyes. He wears an old set of chainmail and has an axe on his back. He receives 10 gold crowns and a matched pair of hand axes with light colored ashwood hafts and darksteel blades dipped in silver. He also bows stiffly after the young Baroness says something to him. The runners up are Talon and an older, one-eyed Bron barbarian named Husk. Each receive 5 gold crowns.”
“Also in attendance with her is Warden Alana, wearing ornate plate—though now covered in dirt—with a scarlet cloak and proud, golden plume on her helm, which lays in her lap, allowing her blonde hair to spill out over her pauldrons, though she shows a sheen of sweat from her joust moments ago. Another, more mysterious lady wears a crimson dress and black cloak, her red hair shining In the sunlight. She is outlandish in appearance, with topaz colored eyes and several golden loops in her ears and a golden stud in her nose. She carries a staff that looks like a freshly cut tree branch with green leaves.” (Talar)
“Next, the participants of the melee are gathered and the winner announced.” After Grimbull approaches and describes his character. “Bors yells out with a big grin, ‘next time, I’ll have my place back dwarf!’ Dakara cheers louder than anyone. The grand prize is 50 gold crowns and a greataxe once wielded by Origond the Ogre, a member of the Chosen who died fighting against Astoria. The greataxe’s haft is blackoak and the handle is wrapped in white winter wolf hide. Sir Malkar greets you and then the young baroness, still looking like a a lady made of ice with her pale skin and violet eyes, comes before you. _ ‘Grimbull, let your prowess now become a legend in this land. You are now my champion while the gods look upon you with favor.’_ She actually kisses you lightly on the cheek and gives the shadow of a smile. Also announced are runners up Sheriff Bors and a knight in dark armor and black cloak and shield named Sir Talmond. They each receive 10 gold crowns.”
“Other notables in the Baroness’ entourage are Sir Malkar, High Priestess Valya, who is older than the other ladies but still attractive in a stylish white gown , silver cloak, and a golden symbol of Suprias around her neck. There were also 3 Redcloak officers present. Two look to be young captains ( Captains Penrose and Rowan), but the third is older and looks to be a knight, with gold-plated pauldrons and belt, fiery red cloak, and a red plume on his helm. He is tall, broad-shouldered, gallant, and has brown eyes shining with wisdom, long light brown hair, and is clean shaven.” ( Commander Jaydin Valmort).
“Sitting near the Baroness’s entourage are other attendees of note. The daughter of Baron Logaire, Lady Lavarra Logaire, is absolutely beautiful, with raven black hair worn up in an intricate braid, a black gown, and blue shawl. Her face is somewhat foxy, with clever eyes that miss almost nothing. She wears a golden necklace with a star sapphire. Two other young ladies sit in attendance with her, as well as their guards. Lord Elidh sits near Valya, his haggard, old face showing his age, despite being clean shaven and having thinning gray hair.”
“Last, the winner of the joust is announced, and rides forth from the lists to receive his prize—Dane of Astoria.” Dane dismounts, Sir Malkar smiles and slaps him on the back for being the first to unseat the Warden. ‘It took an Astorian to dismount our lady of steel!’ Dane graciously replied it was only luck. Sir Malkar leaves him with a purse of 500 gold crowns! The young Baroness of Strath smiles, showing a little warmth, and personally places a medallion around his neck, a golden chain with the Strath seal. ’Let this badge of office proclaim your place as one of the greatest of knights! Deirdre says this loud enough for most to hear her for the first time. She then kisses Dane on the cheek. The runners up are Warden Alana and surprisingly a young squire named Sable, with unruly black hair and mischievous green eyes.”
Downtime Before the Feast
After this ceremony, there is time to return to the Azure Drake or go elsewhere until sunset. Savina went to the inn to drink and gamble. Dane headed to the armorsmith. Grimbull and Dakara went shopping.
Talon walked the market and found a thief first marking Grimbull to pickpocket before wisely changing his mind. The thief then followed Dane, then settled on a merchant who had drank too much. Talon bought two ales and intercepted the thief, offering him a drink and chatting amicably about the tournament. Talon observed two men in dark armor and cloaks watching him from an alleyway, but the veteran rogue did not give any indications he had spotted them.
Lore asked Dane if he had need of him and then hung out with Lady Lavarra Logaire at an afternoon tea at a small park beside the temple. With her were her two ladies-in-waiting, Lady Sovena Hawk and Lady Aurelia Ren.
Grimbull bought Dakara a glass globe with a miniature owl carving inside. She said no one had ever given her such a gift. Earlier she had used magic to convince a vendor to give her a meat pie. Grimbull paid for it and warned her not to do that anymore, since he had coin.
Dane returned to the inn and found a gift from Alana in his room, two gowns somewhat fitted for Savina and Dakara. He gave them to them, with Talon suggesting Savina would look beautiful in hers and Dane agreeing that she would look ravishing. Savina decided to give it a try.
The Harvestfest Feast
Savina looked radiant in her dark gown. Her gloves ran to her elbows and covered most of her tattoos, though she still wore a brass stud in her nose and some loops in her ears.
The feast was held at the castle, in both Great Halls. Dane, Grimbull, Nicholae, and Sir Johen were at the main table whereas the others were pushed to a nearby table with Captains Penrose and Rowan, Talar, the three ladies from Logaire, and Sheriff Bors.
Prior to their arrival into the great hall, the Baroness’ stewardess, Kilanna, intercepted Dane and asked if he could accompany her for a few minutes. He took her to the third floor to Deirdre’s private study. Deirdre was inside, looking almost otherworldly in a midnight blue gown shimmering with multicolored sequins and a tiara interwoven into her silver hair. She had two glasses of wine waiting, and two plush chairs before a lit fireplace. She asked Dane to join her.
Deirdre asked Dane if he enjoyed his stay, missed his home, and if he trusted Lord Murray, Nicholae, and Alana. He replied that he was enjoying himself, he did not miss home because the world offered adventure, and that he thought Lord Murray was extremely loyal to Deirdre’s…station. He also replied that Alana was loyal to her but he did not fully trust Nicholae because he had a hidden agenda. Deirdre seemed in a reflective mood, but she shrug it aside and asked Dane to accompany her to the feast.
Also at the main table were the Baroness, Alana, Lord Elidh, Sir Johen (representing Lord Murray), Valya, Sir Malkra, Sir Morgan Chase, and Sir Liam Bellamy II.
There were several courses of meals, musicians, and a pair of jugglers.
Halfway through the feast, Sir Liam Bellamy II stood and made a speech. He praised Strath for its diversity and measure of its people. He berated the Duke for overtaxing his people and sending sons and husbands to die in the north in a war with no cause. He said this should not be Strath’s fate and called upon its people to follow Deirdre. He claimed Deirdre has the leadership to look after Strath and its people, and not the Duke. He claimed now was the time to make Deirdre a queen. He swore his service to her, as did a couple of the other younger knights.
The room was stunned, and perhaps even Deirdre was taken off balance, though if that was the case she hid it well. She thanked everyone for their support and asked for the blessing of spirits and gods upon her people.
It took a little while, but the tension eventually left the room and people went back to feasting and drinking. Lady Lavanna perhaps took the news worst of all. Her father is the ruler of a neighboring barony.