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Nation Building Lordling (Vizierdrake)

Sub Genres
Horror, Realistic, Supernatural, Zombies

Swarx

The Freechoicer
LORDLING

  • You are Meleagan Vizierdrake, Castellan of Castle Charondale, son of the decrepit Lord Leogan, and regent of his domains.

    You preside over Charondale Village as its master (de-facto), though most day-to-day business is done by the bailiff, your servant Alvor. The villages of Nostron and Pelwick are managed by your vassals, the knights Sir Eatton and Sir Camlore, respectively. These men too have bailiffs doing most of the management of these villages, while they are engaged in knightly pursuits such as hunting, training, and attending your court. The villages under your domain mostly provide crops, leather, salted fish, and occasionally heads of cattle as taxes, in addition to coin rents. There are tanneries in Charondale Village that are obligated produce a number of sets of leather armor, though they must be paid to surrender more than what they owe. In Charondale Village, there are also several inns where travelers sometimes stop in to visit, including men for hire.

    You are mostly directly responsible for the administration of Castle Charondale, a small stone castle with several outlying buildings. Most of the male servants double as your personal soldiers; your retinue is comprised of 50 men, including all its commanders. Many lordlings in Midduch have few retained men under their command, but since it has been less than a year after Guy Edban's peasant rebellion in Serbeck Barony, many lords still have a decent amount of men on hand. Your footmen carry shields and hand weapons (such as a short sword, axe, or mace) by default, though spears are kept in the armory. You also have 14 bowmen. Both types of men generally wear boiled leather armor from the tanneries in Charondale, though your best troops wear mail underneath.


    The recent days have been gloomy. It seems like hysteria has swept the realm, and that the natural order is fragmenting at the seams. The sunlight hours of the past few days have been reduced, and the clouds overhead have grown dark and menacing. Not only that, but people across your lordship, peasant and gentleman alike, report being stricken with an odd melancholy.

    The reeve of Charondale approaches you in your hall, a sinewy man in pale blue linens. People didn't really think of ever approaching Lord Leogan with their problems, at this point, the mantle was firmly on your shoulders in all but name. "Your Castellancy," he says, bowing. "Something is amiss in Charondale village. The people have found something... it's, well... we don't know how to explain it, exactly. There doesn't seem to be any danger, but one of the farm beasts down there will not die," he explains. "I swear by Paragon it's true. So does the bailiff, your Castellancy."




 
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Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
I slightly raise an eyebrow
"The way you're talking about it doesn't sound like a metaphor." I say intrigued. "Where is it now ? If It's sick it has to be isolated from the livestock and the farmers."
I rub my short bearded chin thoughtfully "I'd ask for a more precise description, but I might as well see it in person."
I start walking next to the reeve arms crossed in my back under the cloak "Until we know what this is all about, let's not let rumors spread. It has been a fertile field for superstitions to blow up lately. I want the person in charge of this beast to bring it out of the village, we'll question them and inspect the cow far from prying eyes."
"Oh and go find father Heyjah, he might have a word to say about this"

Grumbling "I hope it's not another of these popular antics."


Orders :
  • Gather two guards and father Heyjah to go check on the mysterious farm beast
  • Order the concerned peasant to come with the beast outside of the village, not too far from the castle
  • Chardondale's reeve have to prevent rumors and agitation from spreading : watch the population, reassure them if they get agitated
 
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
The reeve shivers. He's a grizzled, suspicious, though well-to-do serf with a thick gray beard. He tries to make it seem like he is not outright correcting you when you say 'cow'. "It's one of the hogs from the farm, my liege. They hung it up by its hing legs, outside the smokehouse," he says. "Well, I'll try to keep word of it spreading... but a great many folk have seen it. It's a bit of a spectacle down there," he explains. He departs after receiving your command.

Father Heyjah joins you. He is a clean-shaven but gray-haired cleric, nodding respectfully to you. "Good morning, my lord," he says. He doesn't bother with the moniker of 'castellan'. Not out of disrespect for your father, however. He's described him as the lord 'in title' and yourself as the lord 'in spirit'.

Some time later, you head down to the outskirts of the village with two retainers and your cleric in tow. The peasants have picked up the wooden bloodletting stand and carried it to a more convenient location at your behest. Still tied upside-down, is a writhing hog with dried blood all along its throat and belly. It no longer bleeds, its eyes are like black marble, and it makes a series of horrifying gurgly squeals. Along with the two serf butchers, a young smallholder has a short sword pointed at the thing from a safe distance. "He been like that fer hours, m'lord."
 
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Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
I stare at the monstrous pig not knowing what to think. One thing was clear, the beast wasn't normal. I take two steps closer, though keeping a safe distance. However I am willing to rationalize the situation as much as possible. Even if that creature was indeed scary, it was still supposed to be a pig, not a bear. I observe its wounds. "It looks like it's already been emptied it of its blood." I say crossing the hog's blackened gaze.
I turn my head back to the peasants "No one noticed something with the animals lately ? Or with this one in particular ? What has it been fed with ?"
I also adress the cleric "What do you think father ?"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
The black-eyed pig-thing continues to writhe, snort, and croak.

The two butchers glance at each other.
"They all seemed fine... He got the same feed as all them other hogs, m'lord," one of the men tells you seriously. "Them other hogs are all good and fine, and thissun' only got this way after we cut his throat."

Father Heyjah seems greatly perturbed. "There is no corporal ailment that makes any sense for this to happen. This hog should be dead," he explains. He seems to pause, as if measuring his words carefully as to not frighten anybody. "The affliction... appears to be undeath," he says.

"Undeath, father?" one of your guards asks.

"The condition has been recorded, but has not been witnessed in this realm for a great many years. It's an act of necromancy."

The smallholder's eyes widen. He swivels his sword arm. "These two did it, then?"

"Calm! No, child,"
the cleric says. "It was already cursed, otherwise they would not have killed it in plain sight," he sighs. "Now, my lord," he says, turning to face you. "I can honestly tell you, I do not know why this has happened. There is something amiss. There should have been some sort of spell, or abyssal chant, or unholy essence..." He pauses, and looks up at the slowly swirling dark clouds in the sky. "Unless this is all a bad omen." His eyes shift to the abomination.

"Well, can we kill it? Proper, I mean?" the peasant swordsman asked, now looking at you.
 
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Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
I rarely heard about necromancy, but the concept isn't unknown to me. If I recall well, this dark art tracks back to when, according to traditions, magic was still a fact in the world. The eventuality of witnessing it now in the present instant, was like seeing a ghost from the past. It was both disturbing and fascinating.
"I guess the idea is there won't be any proper death for this one."

I gesture to one of the guard "Cut him a limb. Careful though"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Your two soldiers glance at each other. One of them, who normally serves as one of the keep's cooks when he isn't in maille, draws his single-edged falchion. He lifts it up, and swings it down, severing one of the hog's front legs. The beast grunts especially loudly, but does not engage in any incessant squealing that pigs are known for. The limb flops onto the ground. The blood seems blacker and thicker than usual, but there is no rotting or maggots yet, probably because the beast has been dead a short time. The wound does little to faze the creature, as it continues to move and squirm much like it had already been doing.

"By Paragon," one of the serfs mutters. Father Heyjah takes a step back, looking a but queasy. He fails to maintain his composure, and retches slightly.

Your man flicks the blood off of his sword. "Go again, sar?"
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
"Hmm..." I rub my chin resting my elbow on my other arm, eyeing at the fallen limb and the injury dripping its dark visquosity. I keep my gave on the sectionned leg to see if it produces any move, if it's still... well, "alive", or at least not inert.
I look back at the butchers and the smallholder "If you three have nothing more to say you may go back to your activities."
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
The leg, it seems, has been rendered inanimate after being severed from the rest of the creature's body. Blackish blood continues to spill into the spring grass.

The three peasants continue to stare at the monstrous pig-thing for another few moments, before nodding at your words and quickly setting off, returning to their village. The hog might have been worth a decent amount of silver, but it's clear to the butchers that they won't be getting anything out of it at this point. "Paragon protect us," one of them remarks.

"I bet this happens in Witchmarch," your cook-soldier murmurs. "What if they did this?" The men of Witchmarch, a region of East Duchy, are known for supposedly having ancient ties to Galdic-era necromancy, with many rumors circulating that their nobility is still involved in occult practices. Particularly, keeping court 'sorcerors' and travelling across the border waters to the forsaken Riplands... There, they are said to hunt fiendish beasts (which have been long exterminated from the mainland) for both sport and alchemical ingredients.
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
"Surely, they were so affraid of a hick town in the middle of nowhere that they casted a curse on it. They must fear the legendary might of Charondale's soldiers." I sigh "Quit saying stupidities and take that thing, I want it to be studied under every angles. But try being discreet for once"
I look back at Heyjah
"You are sure this is not a disease ?"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Your retainer blushes as you chastise him, and he quickly rushes to one side of the bloodletting stand, before picking it up with the other guard. They begin to haul it back towards the direction of the keep, the hog still squirming and foaming. One of your guards looks over his shoulder. "Where do you want him in particular, m'lord?"

"It has the potential to be worse than any plague,"
Father Heyjah informs you.
"Obviously, I only know how such unwholesome powers work in theory. It could be a plague of sorts... or it could be something greater, if our weather has anything to do with this. We can only hope that with staunch prayer and firm commitment to Paragon, that this will begin to pass." He lowers his head to murmur a few curse-repelling words.
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
"Well, in the unlikely eventuality of prayers not being sufficient we'd rather clarify all this to prepare ourselves."
I adress the guards "Put it in the gaols. A corpse shouldn't be able to enjoy comfort, and I'd prefer it to be isolated."
I then start walking back to the Castle with father Heyjah.

"I'd like to hear more about the theory of necromancy, father"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Your men nod quickly, going to haul off the dead pig to the castle's jail. It's hard to be discreet about the ordeal, though.

Father Heyjah is happy to regale you with information. "Necromancy is only one of the dark arts. There were once other magicks that profaned Paragon, but they were destroyed in the imperial era, when His worship became commonplace. Necromancy had been forbidden even before those days, however. Both are quite unholy, but the necromancer is far more secretive than the mage, which is the why the latter are extinct and necromancy is not," he says. "The dead rise when a dark spell is cast upon a particular corpse, or rarely, a place. You see... for the former to take place, the corpse must be... well, a corpse. That hog had hung in public for some time before it reanimated, as if it had already been cursed. There are no records of such a thing happening before, though my library of course is not very extensive."
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
I frown, starting to really get worried as the event seems to turn from a natural curiosity to the sign of a terrible threat "If we follow the track of necromancy, would it be possible, like you said, that the dark spell has been casted on a place rather than on the corpse ? That Charondale has been... cursed ?"
 
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
"It is possible, of course," Father Heyjah replies grimly. "But I don't know why Charondale would be of any interest to a necromancer. We must also remember that complex necromancy is no simple feet; ancient Withmarch fancied themselves as 'Lords of Death' despite the fact they could only raise a few rattlebones skeletons." The old man looks up at the sky. "This eerie weather... it extends beyond our domains, my lord. What if this recent gloom has something to do with it?"
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
"If it really is the case, I don't really see what we could do about it. Even the King cannot command the sun. And we would be left waiting for Paragon's mercy... Which means : no change of plans. While we wait for His celestial grace, we terrestrials will try to sort this out by ourselves."

Heyjah and I are ascending the mound on which the castle is built, getting to its gates.
"I hope you maintained some academic relations, because I want erudites of the kingdom to learn about what happened. For a mere scientific objective this record is decisive, but the risk of a real threat makes it even more important. Any scholars knowledgeable in a domain linked to our case are invited to study it in person with, of course, remuneration if their intervention is relevant. I'd also like your humble library to be fully explored father Heyjah, just in case."
I hesitate for a few seconds before continuing.
"And let's send a letter to the Crown. Probably no one there will read it, but who knows. And if some things get out of hand somehow... well, they won't be able to say we didn't warn them."

"As for concrete actions... we can't ignore the possibility of someone in Charondale being the cause of this anomaly. We might have to send patrols investigating in the village. What could be signs of necromancy that guards could recognize in a peasant's house, father ?"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
"We could send a man to the capital, but it may be a week before we hear back from him, even if we put him on a swift horse," Father Heyjah says. "We should look to the men closest to us, such as our liege, Lord Tuwold. If we want to warn others, perhaps the Lord-Mayor of Aussux, or even neighboring barons such as Lord Stromwood," he says. "And yes, I will do all I can to learn more about ways we can better combat the dark arts afflicting us."

Father Heyjah hums for a moment when you inquire as to ways evil could be rooted out in the villages. "Strange runes and elvic texts are things we should watch for. Some necromancers rely on alchemical means, but I would not be able to distinguish it. It is not uncommon for more superstitious peasants to keep potions or use herbal treatments from apothecaries and hags. Some of these folk claim their wares as 'magic', others do not."
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
We both cross Castle Charondale's gates
"Let's start with our Lord and neighbors then, but I'd still like someone to report to the capital. If an erudite can hear about our case it'll be there. Please write a message to send there, as well as a message to Lord Tuwold, Lord Stromwood and the master of Aussux. I'll take care of finding the messengers."

Before heading searching for Sir Crannic or Sir Nyren to find suited couriers and organize the investigation in the village I add
"Fine, but this is not a 'witch' hunt, this is serious business. If you find or remember anything, such as clues of necromancian practices, find me immediately."
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Father Heyjah nods. "Of course, my lord. If I am suspicious, I will not act without your decree, of course. If you have no reservations, I will be able to lead some of the men after I am done with my ink and quill," he says, the priest wishing you farewell if you have nothing else to add. He heads off to write the letters to the aforementioned parties.

A young servant approaches you, warily holding a small fishing net. There's several fish from the lake held within it, all flopping. "My lord," he bows. "I... we saw the pig. And the fish, they've been moving for hours." Fear and awe is heavy on the young man's voice... but his eyes remained locked on the flopping, black-eyed creatures as if he is trying to comprehend some kind of nightmare.
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
I frown and remain silent for a rather long lasting moment staring at the wriggling net full of cursed fishes. Now things are getting awfully concerning. Are every creatures in the area doomed ? Are every animal that die bound to turn into undeads ? Does it affect humans ? Time might be strictly limited from now on, defensive measures have to be taken.
"Thank you kid... Stay in the castle, alright ?" I take the gross swarming fishnet as the young servant leaves.

I take a fish from the wriggling trap, holding it from its tail as it wiggles in the air hanging from my hand. I wince, let the everlasting agonizing animal fall on the ground and step on it, smashing my foot on its head. Hoping that will definately render it inanimate.
I then look for a guard to tell them to throw the fishnet in a fire in open air.

Finally, I hurry to the "throne room" of the keep, calling for Crannic and Nyren urgently.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
The boy nods, leaving you with the net and running off back to the keep.

The undead fish seems like any other fish, aside from its blackened eyes. It wiggles and squirms in your grasp, as if it had just been taken from the water. But it has been doing this for hours, with no signs of tiring.

Your boot sole crashes down upon the fish, causing it to burst into pasty, bloody slime. The flopping stops, and on your command, one of the archers leaves his post to go dispose of the vile creatures.


You return to your keep, entering the hall where the lordly table lies. A servant fetches your household knights, who enter the throne room and sit down. "Your lordship?" Sir Crannic asks. He picks at his teeth with his ballock dagger.

"Bet that's not the only time somethin' like that's been in your mouth," Sir Nyren snorts. The knights share a laugh.
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
I walk to the table and put my hands on it. I look at both of them, a concerned frown of my eyebrows over my serious gave.

"Now's not the time to laugh sirs. I guess from your inconsequent behavior that you haven't yet heard of what has been going on in the domain since this morning. We are still lost in the fog of mystery, but from what we have gathered so far, it seems the dark art of necromancy is at work. Creatures just won't die, they rise from death with no apparent reason. Father Heyjah is writing to our neighbors to share our experience, and will study his books where hopefully we will find some help. But actions must be taken immediately. I fear every living being of the region might be infected, and only Paragon knows what the undeads bring, though I heavily doubt they are good omens."

I pause looking down at the table. One thing must prevail, organization and order. The last thing we want is panic or chaos. The people must see their masters as strong, confident, with the situation in hands. I look up to the knights.

"First I want a messenger to send to Aussux, Stromwood and Tuwold. They'll have to deliver the messages to each of the lords starting with Aussux, and ask to the first one with birds trained to join the capital to send another letter to the Crown.
I want a patrol to search in the village for any sign of necromancian practices. Gather them in the courtyard, Heyjah or myself will brief them about the the ins and outs of the investigation. I also want a detachment with the task to check on the beasts of the domain. Separate the dead beasts from the livings, and gather them so we can burn them down. The rest of our forces have to focus on maintaining order among the population. Be ready to declare the state of siege. So we have to take inventory of foodstuff and the like, both in the castle and in the village."
 
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Swarx

The Freechoicer
Your two knights straighten up when your tone grows serious. Though they tend to joke around with each other at times, they know how to conduct themselves when matters become pressing and serious. They lean in closely, ears open for the dark tale you tell of your domains' recent, grisly happenings.

"By Paragon," Sir Crannic murmurs. "Not even death grants us respite in these dark times. We apologize for our impudence, milord."

"I think it wise to send word to the king,"
Sir Nyren says. "He would be able to rally support if needed, and I also think he would reward the lord who alerted him in time to quash such evil in his lands, before it spread. Are we sending just one messenger, or several?" he asks.

Your steward speaks up.
"I will consult with the bailiffs in each of your holdings, and we will take stock on what foodstuffs we have. This will naturally take some time, of course. I can also inform them to keep an eye out for anything you and Father Heyjah deem suspicious... of course, having your retained men on patrol would be an extra layer of vigilance. In these dark days, we can never be too careful. Should we forbade the slaughter of further beasts in the holdings?"
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
I think a few instants over the knights' comments, eyes lifted up, then look back at Nyren.
"I don't want to risk more lives than necessary, the road gets through each town one by one no need to send several messengers to different places, and if a Lord has an answer to deliver us they can send us their own messenger. Mh. Let's send two men together as a precaution, they'll take the great road to Aussux, will follow through Redwold and Stromwood then come back passing by Tuwold. Father Heyjah is working on the messages, including the one adressed to the King."

I then adress Crannic.
"Of living beasts, yes, none should be killed until further notice. But everyone is ordered to get rid of the undeads, through fire or by decapitating them. And yes add our retained men to the patrols."

I suddenly frown as a new thought passes in my mind.

"...Let's also spread the word to not drink nor use the lake's water. May it be for the beasts or the humans."

I straighten up towering the advisors sitting at the table.
"Any questions ?"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
"Hmmm..." Sir Nyren thinks. "Well, we could pay the ferryman to bring a rider or two a cross onto the Duke's Highway on the other side of the lake, and I'm sure we could reach Aussux with great haste, lordship." The knight takes a moment to rub his large, oft sniffling red nose.

Sir Crannic interjects. "Eh, it would take some time for them to circle back around to come home, at least three or four days. That's not necessarily counting the great hours that would be spent bumbling through the cities and being stopped at castle guard outposts. Possibly an extra day or so. Still, the men would be able to get the job done, as long as you think we can afford to be patient."

Crannic continues on the topic of local plague restrictions. "We can tell the commonfolk to not drink the lake water, and stick to what they draw from their wells and cisterns. It should not be a great problem... except perhaps for the animals of Charondale. Beasts will often drink from the lake, be it dog or hog. We will have to tell the people to beat them away," he says. "And yes, no beasts shall be slain... I will tell your bailiffs and vassals to enforce this in their manor courts. What of eggs and milk, however?"
 

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