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Nation Building Lordling (Vizierdrake)

Sub Genres
Horror, Realistic, Supernatural, Zombies

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
For a fair amont of seconds I think to myself before sighing
"Alright. I don't want to risk unnecessary lives, but we might be too short on time. Let's send a messenger to Aussux with a letter to send to the King, and one or two to Tuwold and Stromwood."

"As for eggs and milk"
I say turning to Crannic "And by that I take it you are talking about those extracted from living animals, I don't think they are dangerous. That goes without saying that if took from undead creatures, if it even is possible to do so, such products are forbidden."
Before standing right up
"Are these orders clear enough for you sirs ? If so we better hurry while we're still in control. I want the requested patrol ready in the courtyard in less than an hour, and the other detachments already down at work."
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Your household knights nod, and if there is nothing else to be said, they bow and set off to organize your servants to accomplish your intent.

Several swift steeds are fetched from the stables, and three riders, Welton, Baxter and Clement are drawn from the ranks of your retainers (2 heavy footmen,1 heavy archer). Though they nominally fight on foot, they know how to ride if need be. They are ready to depart now.

Captain Nyren has gathered over twenty men in the courtyard. He has separated them into a few groups, the largest one for performing inspections on the Charondale residences, and the smaller one for checking the livestock of all the farmsteads. Sir Nyren inquires if the men will be moving to perform these duties in the other villages in your domain, or if your individual vassals will be contacted to do it themselves.
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
Once father Heyjah is finished redacting the messages adressed to the neighboring lordships and to the Crown, Meleagan comes assign them in person to the appointed messengers ready for departure. To Baxter and Clement, the archer, he hands the letters respectively meant for Stromwood and Tuwold.
"You two will take the path to the West, in the direction of Tuwold's castle. Clement, you will deliver your message to his lordship of Tuwold and come back to give us his answer. While you Baxter will continue down to the South until Stromwood castle with your message, then like your comrad return me his word."
He then turns to Welton, entrusting him with the letters for Aussux and the capital.
"You Welton will join the great road to Aussux, East of the lake. This message is for Aussux' authorities, but this one is directly adressed to the King. At the city, unlike us, they more than likely have birds to contact the capital. After delivering the first message I want you to convince them to let us use them for this urgent correspondence. They should be reluctant to refuse if you argue that doing so would be obstructing informations of matter for the kingdom and His majesty. Though if it isn't enough tell them we will send payment for the service."

After their instructions has been enunciated to the group in charge of taking inventory in the lordship's possessions in the perspective of a siege state, the order of starting their mission is given.
Meawhile, Meleagan calls father Heyjah to the courtyard. The lordling and his clergyman cross the door to face the soldiers commissioned for the investigation. After a brief and concise introduction, Meleagan asks Heyjah to present the proves, signs, clues, and other hints of necromantic practices to look for. After making sure the footmen understood clearly the ins and outs of their quite unusual task, the de-facto lord of Charondale finishes the speech by emphasizing on the fact that they must be careful to not alarm the populace beyond measure, that no coercion shall be enacted without proves, and any unnecessary use of violence will be punished.
Finally, he tells sir Nyren to send two of the men who heard the speech, one to Nostron the other to Pelwick, to contact Charondale's vassals in order for them to perform the same investigations and stocktakes.

Once the machine has started working, the heir of the Vizierdrake house gets back inside the keep with a deep sigh, spreading a hand through his mid-length dark hair, and ascends the stairway leading to the living areas of the castle.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Baxter and Clement nod, teeth gritted. These were dark times to be riding the roads alone, but they seem determined to fulfill the missions asked of them. You are their lord's noble heir, not a man to be disappointed...

Welton has the more detailed of the tasks, so he listens closely to your instructions, nodding every now and then to let you know that he is following. "Yes, milord," he replies. "The king will hear," the man assures you.

Father Heyjah tells the men to be on the lookout for excessive furnishings or equipment for alchemy or herbalism. Large amounts of glassware that could be used for potions, strange ingredients like preserved animal parts in jars, and smells akin to rot, embalming fluid or cadaver juice. He briefly goes over several symbols associated with ancient necromantic military orders and cults, though he makes a point to state that it would be highly unlikely to find overt indications of necromantic or heretical practices. He stops himself from going on any tangents and simply regaling the men, making sure they only know what they need know.

Your retainers begin their investigations, and men are dispatched to the vassal holdings. The messengers depart after making the last of their preparations.


The day winds down. Your staff are paid their daily allowance by Father Heyjah, around 72 silvers for the (garrisoned) soldiers and household servants. Working with your steward, he also keeps track of the food stores, and with a daily ale allowance of 1 quart, around 15 gallons of ale are consumed among all the men and servants. You, your family, and your officers drank around 2 gallons of sweet wine today.

--

The next day, you rise in the morning and are delivered reports on the village inspections. The patrols yielded no suspects aside from a local herbalist who was later cleared of any suspicion.

You are expected to receive word from Clement soon, and Baxter possibly tomorrow.

Welton returns sooner than expected. "Milord," he bows. "I was ferried across the lake, and rode for Aussux with great haste. But I was stopped on the great road by the servants of Lord Woodend, when I reached the village of Crosswoods. They had blocked the road with palisades, and had stationed spearmen and crossbowmen all around. I spoke with a knight from Lord Woodend's household, and he informed me that Aussux was in turmoil, and that I would be dead if I ventured further into the cursed hinterlands around the city," he informs you. "Crosswoods had already been attacked several times by roving gangs of undead, and Calfar had been overrun."
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
Meleagan has the greatest difficulty to keep his impassive face when the early messenger informs him of the situation in the south. The lordling, and more than likely most of those who learned about the crisis, already imagined this scenario, and dearly hoped it wouldn't happen. At least not so soon... After all, not farther than yesterday, the undead creatures weren't showing any sign of aggressivity. Meleagan frowns thoughtfully. He could perform some more tests on the pig they kept in the gaols. He spreads a hand over his forehead, gaze lost in nothing for a bit before looking right at Welton.
"At least now we know this thing isn't only localized around Charondale. It's no good news but we need as much information as possible, sad as much as happy ones. Good job Welton. Please go look for sirs Nyren and Crannic, they are summoned for urgent strategy meeting. If you find them tel them about what happened on the road. I'll be in the meeting hall in a few instants."


Meleagan then heads towards the dungeon, and asks the guard to come with him. He waits for the said guard to open the door with his key and follows him down in the depths of the keep's prison.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Things are definitely tamer in the rural domains, however, the curse seems to have brought deadly havoc to the urbanities of Calmayn. Welton nods solemnly, but is appreciative of the praise despite his mission being cut short. He sets off to find your advisors, the knights Sir Crannic and Sir Nyren.

You descend the stone steps to the castle dungeon. The guardsman on duty brings you down, where the undead pig remains behind the iron bars. As it has been deprived of one of its legs, it is mostly dormant, less excited than it had been when it was hanging upside-down and prodded at by peasants. It breathes, though the sounds it utters sound hoarse and unnatural, and at least a few flies have found their way to the beast. Black bile seems to dribble from its snout, but its wounds do not bleed.


"Quite the sight, that thing," the guardsman murmurs with a shake of his head. He makes the sign of Paragon's 'E' across his chest.
 
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Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
Meleagan absentmindedly nods at the guardsman's comment. The sight, as the latter said, wasn't very appetizing. But to the ought-to-be lord of Charondale, the best way to defend against fear was through knowledge. And that they lacked regarding the evil curse that fell upon the country. Maybe the world. Snorting, a hand under his cloak, with the other he quickly gestured at the man with him and the bars.

"Open the cell."

He saw the rather apprehensive eyes of the gaols keeper, but didn't add any more word to his command. After the guard turned his keys inside the cell's lock, and pushed its door open with a metallic creaking, Meleagan took a step inside. His cold gaze observed the cursed carcass. He then stepped aside and glanced at the keeper.

"Slice it open, from the throat to the crotch. I want to see the insides." If the guard waited too long, the lordling would with an annoyed grunt take whatever cutting tool he had from his hands to get his owns dirty.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
The guardsman frowns, but produces his dagger from its sheath after processing the order for a second. "Alright, let's see." He musters his courage and approaches the ghoulish pig, quickly planting his knee on the beast's neck, doing his best to keep it pinned with his iron shanks. He slices the ballock dagger across the monster's underside as it snorts and jerks, drawing forth a spillage of darkened guts and congealed blood that looks as black as the abyss. You see a few maggots squirming in the beast, though they move very slowly... some of the maggots are, in fact, already dead.

The stench is overpowering, and the gaoler grimaces, trying to steel himself against the vileness of it all. However, despite the notes of putrefaction, it doesn't smell like any 'rot' you've smelled before. It has a unique scent... oddly similar to embalming juice. You may have memories of Father Justus and Wertlin Argor making preparations for the funeral of one of your minor relatives in the past.


"Blek." The guardsman does his best to flick the blackened fluid from his steel.
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
Meleagan winces and covers his nose as the pestilential musk fills the cell and reaches his nostrils . He can't help but look away for an instant, at least a few seconds to get somewhat accustomed to the nauseant scent. His eyes then slowly glanced up and down the opened carcass. He was expecting it to be bleeding heavily with the thick black liquid that was pouring from its veins yesterday. Instead these insides were stuffed with a gelatinous matter of the same color. It seemed the blood has kept coagulating in the corpse, without dealing much problem to the undead organism.

Aside the visual informations, there was this overwhelming smell. With this obvious yet a bit surprising similarity to the funeral ritual of embalmment. He'd have to ask father Heyjah about it... but in all likelyhood, the origin of this smell for both situations was the intent to preserve the body beyond life. Could such a substance be synthetized through natural processes or would an exterior hand be necessary to craft it ? That was a weak lead, but a lead nonetheless, that deserved reflexion.

Finally the castellan gloomly noted that the creature was still quivering and struggling despite having been nearly cut in half. Now he had the confirmation of these monsters' resistance. If time of war against them would have to come, like he was dreading, all rules of combat would be shaken.
Meleagan thought about what other things could this hog teach them... but he was only seeing one left really. And if in the future other tests would be needed, they would probably have more occasions to get new subjects. Thus he ordered with the hand that wasn't busy pinching his nose.

"Now decapitate this abomination."
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
Your stout armsman is quick to oblige. He slips the dagger back into its sheath, before his hand switches to the sword hilt on his hip. You see the flash of fine iron in the torchlight of the dungeon. The guard raises his foot, stamping his boot on the writhing creature's skull. The sword is raised into the air, gripped in both hands, before it is brought down several times on the neck of the hog.
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The soldier takes a couple swings to do it, since it isn't a proper longsword or headsman's axe, but the strokes are clean enough, landing with precision. There is a small squirt of grayish fluid and pus as the undead pig's head detaches from its body. Immediately, everything below the neck seems to tense up, before going mostly still. It's twitching a bit, but no longer truly moving.

The head is different. Though there isn't much that a head can do on its own, you can still tell the beast's eyes are darting about like a fish's, its tongue moving about as its mouth opens and closes. "By thunder," the guard murmurs, almost gasping. "He's still... there, m'lord..."
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
While Meleagan does his best to keep an impassive face, he stares with utter disgust at the scene. The lordling even has to hold back some of his stomach from spilling out past his throat during the last swings to separate the monster's head from its bust. He gulps down and blink a few times, a hand still covering the lower half of his face, and his frown hardens at the sight of the gesticulating severed head. Now, there was something as filthy as it was interesting. Though he was rather expecting this decapitation to be the quietus, this was indeed a scenario Meleagan considered.

It seems clear that the head was the seat, and maybe the source, of this curse. Like the amputation test yesterday, and the decapitation test just then shown it, any part of the body whose link to the head is nullified drops dead for real. In other words, the only thing that stays "alive" past natural death is the head. And not all of the head, Meleagan was heavily suspecting. To him it was obvious that the cause of this undeadness was located in the brain. And maybe only specific parts of the organ. Maybe a single point...

They were getting close, the castellan could feel it. At least did he hope so. Time was now up for more meticulous studies. But for that, proper material would be needed. The lordling snorted, then coughed at the nasty smell entering his lungs, before he turned back while gesturing to the gaoler, tears in the corner of his eyes.

"Put the head in a cage, or something to keep it for later. Burn down the rest of the body. And call your shift earlier, you did enough for today."

Meleagan then leaves the cell, walks up the stairway and heads to the meeting hall where sir Crannic and sir Nyren should be by now.
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
The gaoler nods appreciatively. The men like to spend time with their families, or go to the inn over in Charondale Vill whenever they aren't fulfilling servile commitments. "Thank-you, m'lord." The gaoler thinks to himself for a moment on the instruction to confine the head somehow. "I'll talk to Horace, he may have a spare bird cage," he says referring to the falconer. He bows, and starts looking around for a sack while you ascend from the dungeon.

Your two household knights are waiting for you in the meeting hall, and goblets with wine have been set out by one of the servants. "Your lordship," Crannic greets. They both look rather solemn and serious, their faces much different than they were when you first saw them this morning. Both men look to you for guidance.
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
Meleagan closes the door of the meeting room behind him, a somber gaze on the table. To it he walks, and silently sit at its end, before, once he cleared his throat, speaking up looking at his household knights.
"Sirs, I take it you are aware of what is happening in Aussux and its surroundings. It already looks like we don't have much time left. We'll have to do without the King's support. I am still hoping we can contact Tuwold and Stromwood before it is too late, but even if we do, we have to be ready to rely only on ourselves. If the deads start attacking everywhere, they might want to take care of themselves before anything else. And how to blame them after all..."
The lordling spreads a hand in his hair sighing, gaze looking blankly at nothing in particular.
"Are we done inventorying the domain's foodstuff yet ? An idea of how long Charondale, Nostron and Pelwick could survive under siege ?"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
The men nod when they are asked if they are aware of the grim situation. Word must have spread quickly. "Well," Crannic begins. "We are still sowing the spring crops. If we declare a state of siege and halt work in the fields, I believe it might be... a week or so, until the villagers run out of food and will have to start slaughtering their extra livestock. The poorest serfs will run out of provisions sooner, obviously." He takes a sip of wine. "As for the castle, we have around ten days of foodstuffs for the household servants and staff, perhaps more if we ration it carefully."

Sir Nyren purses his lips. "This won't be good if it disrupts the summer harvest. Maybe we should have lookouts; it's easy to see for quite a ways. Tell the peasants to shout alarms if need be, give them drills on what to do, where to go."
 

Dracodemus

Eternal New Member
"That'd be the least we could do. I fear we might have to upset the habits more."
Meleagan looks at Nyren thoughtfully for a moment then resumes to the both of them
"We don't know how long this crisis will last, but caution is appropriate. It could last for months, years maybe, even more..." Maybe this is the dawn of a new world... "...anyway, we have to think on the long term."
The castellan's fingers were dancing on the stone of the table as he was more thinking out loud than giving orders so far.

"One thing is sure, I want all graves and cemetaries near the castle or the habitations to be either emptied and their corpses burnt down, or guarded until we can do so.

Let's establish a perimeter of safety around the domain, lookouts will patrol all around it days and nights. Indeed we must avoid disturbing the summer harvest as much as possible, the crop fields need to be guarded, at least when people are working in them. We still need guards to watch over the population though. We can reduce the castle's garrisson if needed.
To everyone, it is asked to immediately warn the guard at first sigh of any undead creature. Let the guards fight the undeads, and they shall always attack in number superiority. Though let everyone know that to kill an undead, the head needs to be either severed or obliterated, and that fire might also be a solution."
Meleagan glances at the goblets of wine, and to Crannic who was about to take a sip from his.
"I also want food to be rationed already, in the castle and in the villages to the feasible extent. No special treatment in such times, unless maybe cases of sickness or particular vulnerability."
He nods at sir Crannic and once again adress both men
"Do you think we can, including Charondale village and castle, plus Nostron and Pelwick, be self-sufficient in matter of food production and other basic needs ? And how much people can the castle shelter in case of an attack ?"
 

Swarx

The Freechoicer
"My lord," Sir Crannic begins. "We will be met with opposition from the peasantry if we disturb those that are already buried. There's a few unmarked graves belonging to, well... paupers, and the like, but most of these families have lived here for generations. There may be an uproar."

Sir Nyren nods. "Aye. With all due respect, I may have to object to this as well. My parents are buried at the crypt in Charondale, your castellancy." The poor were often buried in the ground, wrapped in a blanket. The wealthy, on the other hand, preferred to confined to underground crypts upon death, along with several gifts. It was a common way the church raised money.


"Since every man, be he freeman or serf, will be wanting to harvest crops rather than stand around as a lookout, we may have to inform the bailiffs to set up rotating shifts," your steward points out. "We could spare a handful of men for each village, so that there are proper soldiers on standby in case things get dicey. The local knight or his bailiff could command them." Scratching his stubble, Sir Crannic continues. "As for the rationing, well, we can do so easily in our own castle. But this will likely be a simple suggestion to the villagers..."


When you ask if the villages could sustain themselves, he pauses for a moment. "If the harvest isn't interrupted... yes," he simply replies. "As for sheltering people in the castle... I ordered a check on our buttery, and there's roughly ten days' worth of fltered in the castleood in storage. Slaughtering the cattle your family owns, including oxen, could feed us for another fifty days if need be. Orson says have plenty of salt," he says, referring to the butler.

Most castles had larger stockpiles of food than this, some being able to feed large garrisons for years. However, large stockpiles such as this are actually quite rare in Midduch these days, as it is not a border duchy. Threats to castles were few and far between... at least until recently.
"There's just over threescore people living the castle right now, and we can all be fed for two months... maybe three, with rationing. We shelter sixty guests in here, it becomes a month and a half, and so on. It will become crowded quickly due to the lack of space for many guests, however."
 

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