Baron Hochstib and the Silver Gryphons

Let us start this with a preface in the form of a song.

The Mandis Crystal

Crystal bright and mana's murk
Sorcerer and wizard's curse
The Crab's beloved shining jewel
To turn our town into his tool.

Innocent seems crystalline
We know not from what mine
To tear the mana from the lands
And rip our tools from our hands.

Magic users do look out
The crystal comes on wagon stout
To hobble defenses and make us break
Our Landing for the Crab to take.

Warrior stand firm against the dread
Crack the crystal for our dead
Baron's army to defeat
Victory ours when we do meet.

By Errick Dyfedd

RECORDED by: Lady Brynnah
CHRONICLED by: Lord Relkur

Arwen says, "Now, allow me to introduce to you Lord Errick Dyfedd, the Scribe for the Silver Gryphon's."

You see Lord Errick Dyfedd the Human.
He appears to be in his 50's, has long, braided dark brown hair, grey eyes, and fair skin.
He has a regal gryphon tattoo on his arm.
He is in good shape.
He is holding a hand-bound scribe's journal in his left hand.
He is wearing a heavy roa'ter skin satchel, a gold ring, a griffin crested helm, a black tower shield, a ruby amulet, a whetstone case, a shiny silver knight pin, some tanned leather half-gloves, a deep green silk tabard bearing the Rising Swan of Vornavis worked in opalescent thread and bordered with gold, a golden cloak clasp of an intricate knot surrounding a lockpick, some forest green brigandine, a blood-red hunting cloak, some polished black leather boots, a ruby band, a dark red woolen greatkilt, a black enameled bracer with a silver gryphon set in a ruby circle, a silver V'Tull symbol, and a silver ruby-eyed skull clasp.

Errick says, "Good evening to ye all and thank ye for coming"

Errick says, "Now let's get right into it shall we? And get all those questions for afters"

Errick indicates his scribe's journal with a smile.

Errick says, "Please before I begin, let me thank GM Mikos, the writer of the history of Jantalar, without which the political situation would be a lot muddier--since it would have to rely on my faulty memory."

Errick says, "The Baron of Jantalar is an ambitious baron from the south and east who in the past few years has been engaging in a systematic plan of expansion. He began with the small barony of Talador, a mostly dwarven area, and took over the mines there. He was able to quell the magic users in this area according to the history books, by using a group of witch-hunting mercenaries."

Errick says, "His next target, the barony of Mestanir, was too busy with magic to take this way, so the Baron began his non-human policies in order to woo the Empress's favor as she had a source of the mana disrupting Mandis Crystals, and he hoped to get a hold of one."

Errick says, "Apparently he did get one, for reports of his previous use of a crystal have come to us from the merchant Girvahk who reports that the scene was horrific and he spent much of the time hiding in a hole hoping to avoid discovery. Also if you look at the map of the world, you can see that the Baron's eyes are now turned to Vornavis, and that is beyond Mestanir."

Errick says, "But a measure of the Baron's atrocities comes to us from Talador. People who did not agree with the Baron's non-human policies were sent to the mines in Talador, where food was scarce, and the water supplies consisted of whatever seeped into the mines."

Errick says, ""Once the Baron discovered that many of his own guards were giving the miners food, water and healing herbs, he gathered all those of his guard with non-human sympathies for duty at the mines. His agents caused a riot inside the mine itself, and when his guards went down to quell the uprising, he ordered the mine sealed up, ridding himself of a large problem."

Errick says, "His spin on it was that the dwarves ambushed the soldiers, causing the cave-in themselves, choosing suicide because of their great hatred for humans--and so it was a good thing they were destroyed."

Errick says, "Many people knew better, including the founder of the Order of the Silver Gryphon, Sir Maldon Wellesborne who's own son was trapped down in the mine along with the other soldiers. Grieving, Maldon came here to us to warn us of the eventual invasion of the Baron, and to help us stop him. A very few dwarves escaped from the mine and they too told the real story of what happened at Talador."

Errick says, "Since that time, plans were made by the Gryphons about how to defeat the Baron, which I obviously cannot go into just yet, but part of these plans included the assistance of one of those dwarves who'd escaped from Talador, a merchant Korm. Korm was subsequently taken prisoner in Jantalar, and it was up to us to rescue him before he was killed."

Errick says, "He was held down in the foulest dungeon you could imagine, and as we snuck down through the sewers to get there--having been assisted by the Queen of Thieves Talenni of Jantalar--we came upon a huge fearsome creature. He was half-ogre, half-centaur and he guarded the path into the dungeon."

Errick says, "Lord Waldo2 tried to knock the creature out of our way, but his defenses were astonishingly good, and he simply got annoyed. Lord Cemb then offered to challenge the creature--that if he won, then the creature would let us pass unmolested."

Errick says, "The creature, Gurbah, was impressed with this offer, and he fought Cemb but unfortunately Cemb was dead rather shortly. The magic of the place was not very reliable, as the Mandis Crystal was nearby at the time, or so we thought, and so we feared Cemb was dead for good, but luckily for us we were able to find a good spot nearby to raise him, and Lady Gilwen brought him back to life with the assistance of Lady Allwra the empath."

Errick says, "Lord Welan then offered to fight the creature to buy our safe passage. Impressed that we had not swarmed him in the previous fight, Gurbah agreed, but unfortunately the fight didn't last too much longer, although Lord Welan was able to bonk Gurbah on the head, which pained him greatly."

Errick says, "Once this fight was done, and still we didn't swarm down upon Gurbah, he decided he would allow us to pass. Lady Allwra then offered to heal his pains, and so grateful was he for this, that he joined us for a bit."

Errick says, "We continued down into the bowels of the dungeon then, the screams of the various victims of malevolence filling our ears, the smells of rot and fear and pain filling our noses, until we came to Korm's door. Gurbah was nervous by now for he realized our intentions could probably get him into trouble with his employer, but we ignored his protests and opened the cell door."

Errick says, "Laying on the floor of the cell was Korm, dead from all the signs. He was shackled, and one arm was missing, he was burned badly, and his beard had been pulled out. The finicky magic was present here, though and Lady Allwra and Lady Gilwen brought our friend back to life."

Errick says, "Korm is a dwarf ye ken..."

Errick says, "tis hardly a worse thing than to have yer beard pulled out"

Errick says, "But his torture had left him weak, and in little shape for the walk back out. We did our best equipping him with armor and arms to keep him safe through the bugs, and then with Gurbah still following us, we made our way back up through the smelly tunnels."

Errick says, "Talenni was waiting for us in the gully where the sewers led, and she was most glad to see Korm alive again. She helped us with rings to escape, and we invited Gurbah to accompany us, but he declined. Korm kept one of the shackles of the Baron's dungeon on his wrist, and if you look at him today, should you ever see him practicing his skills, you will see it's still there."

Errick says, "We thought that perhaps that was the last we'd ever see of Gurbah, he was after all a non-human in the Baron's employ and when it was learned of his part in our plan, he'd most likely be killed. Fortunately, Gurbah escaped Jantalar and has recently found employment with the Baron of Vornavis, Malwind. He came to us not too long ago, bringing a message that Malwind was to visit us."

Errick smiles.

Errick says, "Now the Baron has turned his eyes to Vornavis, and has blockaded the port city of Solhaven. To this end, the Baron of Vornavis has allied himself with us, building an overland route to his Barony from our Landing, turning Jantalar's eyes upon us."

Errick says, "If the Baron of Jantalar can take Wehnimer's Landing, something he feels is perfectly doable, since we are small and without any real political claims (something we're also working on), then his blockade of Vornavis will ultimately succeed and his expansion, slavery and policy of anti-non- human will continue unabated. To this end, he has been amassing an army to send against us, but has found that the pass he must cross to get here is rather often clogged with snow all year round."

Prata says, "When you say 'here' you mean the Landing, of course."

Errick says, "Aye Landing"

Errick nods.

Errick says, "Secondly, there are rumors from Jantalar that he entered into a deal with some Luukosian priests, and the souls of some of his army were removed to save on the need for supplies. But apparently when they got too close to the Baron's Mandis Crystal, the soldiers and the crystal were irreparably damaged, gaining us yet more time."

Errick says, "Which we're most grateful for I assure ye"

Errick says, "We have in the past had some spying activity both ways. We have had two assassination attempts from clearly Jantalarian sources. But at the present time things are rather quiet."

Errick says, "maybe even too quiet. But know this. When the Baron begins his march to us, there's no way that he'll be able to hide that large an army nor to hide the presence of a second crystal. We'll at least have warning if it is to be our doom."

Errick says, "So that's the story of the Baron..."

Errick bows.

Errick says, "if ye have questions, I'd be more than glad to answer 'em as I can"

Errick asks, "Prata?"

Prata says, "Errick, I'm unclear about why Korm was kidnaped. Or troll-napped, rather"

Prata asks, "Dwarfnapped?"

Prata says, "Stolen...why Korm was stolen"

Errick says, "Well now he was trying to get something that was not in a good place"

Errick coughs.

Errick says, "And the Baron got hold of him"

Errick says, "He'd been around after the mine..."

Errick says, "Brinn would like to field this one"

Errick says, "since it was before my time with the Gryphons"

Brinn says, "Korm was a refugee from Talador, and knew the story of what really had happened there. Soe, he was a threat to the Baron, though a minor one. In addition, he was aiding the Order of the Silver Gryphon to propare for the upcoming conflict."

Prata says, "I see...thanks Brinn"

Brinn says, "welcome."

Arwen says, "Lord Errick, Lord Brinn...."

Errick asks, "Arwen?"

Arwen asks, "might one of you be able to tell us of the Gryphon's connection to all this?"

Brinn says, "I can, if you like, Errick."

Brinn says, "Ok, I'll answer this one."

Brinn says, "Errick told you of Dir Maldon, whose son was lost in Talador."

Brinn says, "Maldon came to the Landing to help us against Hochstib."

Brinn says, "He came to train us, firstly, and to give us a political means to make a claim against Malwind in the courts of the empire."

Brinn says, "In order to make this claim, we needed a class of nobility. Since we are a frontier town, and have no nobility of birth, Knoghthood was all he could assist us to set up in time to help out."

Brinn says, "So, Maldon began to train us in the ways of knighthood, so that when the Baron came, he could not claim the Landing as simply Wilds."

Brinn says, "I think I made a slip of the tongue."

Brinn says, "I said Malwind when I meant Hochstib."

Brinn says, "So, Maldon came to town, approached Berr."

Brinn says, "Berr gathered a number of us together to hear him out."

Brinn says, "Among us were Berr, Metaboculos, Jakester, Pip, Heinrich, Geoff, and myself."

Brinn says, "We established the Order that you know of today."

Brinn says, "Maldon is still with us."

Brinn says, "he is a knight of the Empire, and is under Hochstib. However, he aids us."

Brinn sits down.

Prata says, "That sounds contradictory"

Brinn says, "Yes, it is."

Brinn says, "The only thing that puzzles me is that Hochstib hasn't diavowed him yet. Though he has sent assassins."

Fasco asks, "was Gurbah da' gryphons first contact with the Barony of Vornavis?"

Errick says, "No we've talked to Malwind a few times in the past"

Errick says, "Gurbah was just a pleasant surprise."

Arwen asks, "How many comprise the Gryphons now? Or is that kept quiet intentionally?"

Errick says, "there are about 30 regular members"

Arwen asks, "I understand that some were recently knighted?"

Errick says, "Aye indeed, Lord Brinn, and Lady Wanton here among them"

Prata asks, "Brinn...I'm familiar with one of the assassination attempts Errick mentioned, but could you tell us about them both?"

Errick says, "and Lord Hyoko and Lord Waldo2."

Errick says, "Malwind came here and had a little ceremony not too long ago"

Willowbreak asks, "I thought all the gryphon's were knights?"

Metadi says, "As well as Errick being made Baron Malwind's Herald."

Errick looks over at Willowbreak and shakes his head.

Errick says, "Not all the members are knights..."

Kumakithpar asks, "Is Vornavis fighting Jantalar now?"

Errick says, "most of us aren't in fact."

Errick says, "Jantalar is blocking Vornavis's harbor of Solhaven"

Errick says, "with mercenaries"

Errick says, "so the overland route is quite important"

Arwen says, "There have been Krolvin Scouts sighted in the wilds surrounding the Landing in recent weeks. Is it felt there is a connection to the Baron? "

Errick says, "Well we've not heard information that they are, and while the Baron tends not to like non-humans... I wouldn't say he would not use Krolvin"

Errick says, "but we've got no information that confirms it"

Errick says, "Brinn is going to answer Prata's question now..."

Brinn says, "The assassination attempts I was referring to..."

Brinn says, "First, Hochstib sent a champion to the Holding to kill Malwind. Malwind picked a champion to fight him, and it was Wlado2."

Brinn says, "Waldo2 vanquished the Vornavian champion, but used magic in doing so, so the combat was tainted."

Brinn says, "The end result was that Maldon could continue his work, so that was good."

Brinn says, "And I meant Maldon not Malwind."

Brinn says, "I lose names in my old age."

Brinn smiles.

Errick rubs Brinn gently.

Brinn says, "The second atempt was a pure assassin named Crabban who attacked from the shadows at Deavon and Errick's wedding."

Brinn says, "He killed one of the guests, Blades, and me, but was chased off before he got to Maldon."

Prata asks, "Wasn't a note of some sort found on the assassin?"

Brinn nods.

Brinn says, "There was, but I never saw it as I was recvering from my death."

Errick says, "Aye it said he was from Jantalar, signed by the Baron"

Errick says, "with his instructions"

Brinn says, "Ah, Errick saw it."

Errick asks, "I believe Cobbeo had his hand raised?"

Brinn says, "One more thing..."

Brinn says, "Two actually...."

Brinn says, "Hochstib actually sent a census taker to town a long time ago. The census taker said he was counting our people for inclusion in the Jantalar census, since we were now claimed to be part of Jantalar."

Brinn says, "I think one person registered with him."

Brinn says, "And secondly, when the signs of the battle with Jantalar draw near, there will be no mistaking it. You will see the army hours, if not days,in advance. This will not be an orcish invasion where creatures jump from the bushes. Hochstib's armies number in the hundreds of thousands."

Brinn accepts Deavon's leather parchment.

Brinn asks, "Shall I read this note aloud?"

Brinn says, "It reads, "Craban, You are to journey to the town of Wehnimer's Landing and seek out this group calling themselves the Order of the Silver Gryphon. You are to remove as many of these individuals as possible, as they have interfered in our plans too oft{the parchment is torn here and is missing a large section, near the bottom, you can barely make out the following} ...ron Hochsti....{the rest of the letter is unreadable}."

Brinn offers Deavon a torn leather parchment.

Deavon put a torn leather parchment in her belt pouch.

Arwen says, "You know, if he wanted the Gryphon's removed, it means he in some small way fears them."

Fasco says, "oh well dat definatly not a berry nice love letter..."

Brinn says, "He resents the noble claim on the lands that hs denied his political claim. Makes him do more work with the Empress before he invades."

Brinn says, "One of our hopes is that he will underestimate the Landing, so I really hope he doesn't fear us."

Cobbeo says, "Ahh..I had a little something to add upon what Arwen mentioned about the krolvin scout"

Cobbeo says, "I've just told her this but..a friend of mine found on this scout..a crude map to him"

Cobbeo says, "On the map was a drawing of a route leading from Solhavento Wehnimers"

Cobbeo says, "Ah hem.. To Wehnimers"

Arwen says, "Odd map for a Krolvin to be carrying."

Brinn says, "It's a trade route, Arwen. An old one, apparently, that was only recently re-opened, after Jantalar began bockading Solhaven's port."

Killjar says, "First lemme say.."

Killjar says, "Dis not meant as disrespectin as it sounds...but ahm a simple warrior"

Killjar asks, "Yas Gryphons is rather secretive aye?"

Brinn says, "We were for a time, out of necessity."

Errick says, "Much more in the past than now... we're still learning."

Killjar asks, "An yas claim knighthood aye? Or least some of yas do?"

Errick says, "Aye six of us do"

Killjar nods.

Killjar asks, "Den is it merely a title, an fer dem others ahm guessin yer tryin fer da same rights...or does yas follow a code of honor as well...a chivalric code as it were?"

Errick says, "Well now... we try to. The code we follow is posted on the outside of the Holding"

Errick says, "on a plaque."

Killjar says, "Den ahm remiss fer nay readin it yet..."

Killjar says, "But da point of all dis is..."

Killjar asks, "Does ya nay equate hidin as da same as runnin from battle? A act of cowardice?"

Errick asks, "We as a group?"

Killjar says, "As ah said, ahm nay as disrespectful as ah sounds...jus no good way tae ask."

Errick asks, "We as a group don't really have a set idea one way or another. But do ye mean to ask if being secretative was hiding?"

Killjar says, "Hmm..."

Killjar works his fingers under his winged rolaren warhelm and

Brinn asks, "May I attempt an answer, Errick?"

Brinn says, "I would say this, and excuse me if I get long winded, or just cut me off."

Brinn says, "Being closed about your dealings does not amount to hiding. Even if it did, hiding does not always amount cowardice."

Brinn says, "The policies of the Order with regard to having closed meetings and closed battle plans and strategies was more to make them more effective than to hide from any particular threat."

Brinn says, "If you are of the impression that we all, on the day we got our bracers, hid in the basement of the Holding and waited for folks to deliver us food, you are mistaken."

Brinn says, "These folks in the Order, of which I am proud to be a member, are some of the bravest folks in the lands. They stand for what we as an Order believe in, and that's why they are in the Order."

Brinn says, "But they also stand for the Landing."

Brinn says, "This is one of the things that the Order has as it's charter."

Brinn says, "And they have been instrumental in setting up a number of things that are good for the Landing (such as the Guard), and will continue to do so."

Brinn says, "We are growing, learning, improving."

Brinn says, "If we were to believe for a moment that once we achieve membership in a particular society or attain a rank or title, that we have no more to learn and no more to grow, we would then be unfit."

Brinn says, "We have made, and will continue to make, mistakes. We hope everyone can fogive those, because our intent is pure, and our actions are out of Love for this place we call our home, the Landing."

Brinn says, "That's all."

Brookwyn smiles at Brinn.

Killjar says, "Perhaps ahve jus felt dat da Gryphons as knights should be more ah understand da secrecy of battle, ahm speakin more onna personal level...but ah thankee fer yer answer"

Killjar says, "May Koar watch over yas"

Errick asks, "Kumakithpar has a question?"

Kumakithpar nods.

Kumakithpar says, "two actually"

Kumakithpar asks, " it possible for jantalar to invade our towns without going through and confrontin vornavis in it's own territory by land?"

Errick says, "Aye we're pretty sure they mean to hit us first then go down and finish up with Vornavis"

Errick says, "If ye look at the map of the whole lands, ye can see that Jantalar is slightly south and east of us"

Kumakithpar asks, "so can we expect help from them?"

Errick says, "Us Landing that is"

Errick says, "Well how much help they're going to give us hasn't been determined yet."

Kumakithpar says, "and my second question is do we know or other towns in vornavis besides solhaven if so what are they ? "

Errick says, "Vornavis itself..."

Errick says, "other than that I don't know of any towns."

Kumakithpar asks, "when we was invaded the warlords or whatever claimed to be from a town south of solhaven is that town part of vornavis and what was that name if anyone knows?"

Hyssopp says, "What about the town of of lies between Jantalar and Solhaven."

Errick says, "Aye Mestanir was a barony in itself"

Kumakithpar asks, "they are no longer?"

Errick says, "not a part of Vornavis. Jantalar recently took it over"

Hyssopp says, "And Talador lies to the north of Jantalar."

Errick says, "And Jantalar recently took that over as well"

Kumakithpar says, "thanks that's it .. so when we gonna invade jantalar? just kidding"

Errick says, "never I hope! it's stinky there"

You ask, "I thought the warlords were from Breganda?"

(Brynnah looks puzzled.)

You say, "I have no idea where that is, though..."

Metadi says, "I noticed a few of ye folks paling when ye heard how large Baron Hochstib's armies are."

Kumakithpar says, "ahh I think that's what they said to"

Kumakithpar asks, "where's that?"

Metadi asks, "Their number is frightening, no?"

Metadi says, "Now, let me point something out."

Metadi says, "They're fighting against strange opponents, on strange terrain."

You say, "Who knows how good their morale is."

Metadi says, "We're fighting on familiar terrain, against strange opponents, under strange conditions."

Metadi says, "For we will not be able to use magic."

Metadi says, "We will not be able to use it at all."

Metadi asks, "Now consider, how many of you actually go out and fight without any spells whatsoever?"

You say, "If the crystal can be destroyed--and...we know that those crystals are fragile..."

Metadi says, "I know I certaintly don't, and I can't remember ever doing so."

You say, "Their morale may well break, like the crystal did"

Metadi says, "That's my point."

Metadi says, "This will be fighting like we've never seen before."

Metadi says, "Our old standards won't be very useful in gauging how this fight shall run."

Metadi says, "We've faced hundreds of thousands of critters in invasions."

Metadi says, "But to the best of my knowledge, we've never faced them without magic as our ally."

Metadi says, "So this time shall be different."

Killjar says, "We will needs a good blade in hand an a better friend at our backs..."

Metadi says, "Thank ye Errick. The floor is your's."

Morgannia says, "Bring along your friendly empath, too"

You say, "A good supply of herbs"

Metadi says, "Empaths won't be able to heal Morgania.."

Arwen says, "Umm...bring along your herbs."

In the grey knapsack you see some wolifrew lichen, a bolmara potion, some sovyn clove, some calamia fruit, a brostheras potion, some acantha leaf tea, some acantha leaf tea, a tin ring, a hazy potion, a garland of sovyn cloves, a bur-clover potion, some woth flower, a old scroll, an ancient scroll, a charred scroll, some torban leaf, a wingstem potion, some acantha leaf tea, some ambrominas leaf, some acantha leaf, some calamia fruit, some basal moss, some ephlox moss, some aloeas stem and some pothinir grass.

Morgannia says, "I can always transfer, just not heal myself with magic"

Ekasha asks, "If you don't think this is too forward, where is the Holding?"

Errick says, "it's out near the pumas if ye know the area"

Ekasha asks, "And how might we get to join the grphons?"

Ekasha says, "Um, Gryphons."

Errick says, "well currently to join the Gryphons a member has to pick ye to be his or her apprentice"

Errick says, "and ye got to be a warrior."

Ekasha says, "Ah. thankyou."

Moonspire asks, "is there any indication as to when the Baron might advance?"

Errick says, "At this point in time? Not a clue."

Moonspire nods to Errick.

Errick says, "Next week, next month, next year"

Errick says, "When he's darn ready I suppose"

Errick chuckles.

Errick says, "Lots of people are sorry it's not now"

Errick says, "but I'm personally glad. If it was now we'd probably all die"

Errick shudders.

Errick says, "Aye well this is politics..."

Errick asks, "nothing goes fast there, aye?"

Brinn says, "I just wanted to say...before we close..."

Brinn says, "Most of us would gladly talk about the Order and what we do and mean. You can approach us in town if you see us."

Brinn says, "You can recognize us full members by the Bracers."

Brinn taps a black enameled bracer with a silver gryphon set in a ruby circle.

Brinn says, "We still have closed meetings because...."

Brinn says, "Well, I run the meetings, and it's bad enough trying to keep order with 25 people. Try with 250? Not me brother."

Brinn says, "So, while we have to do that for clear administrative reasons, really not much of what we do is secretive."

Brinn says, "I don't want anyone to have the impression that we're unapproachable."

Brinn says, "That's all."

Arwen says, "Lord Errick, my thanks for joining us this evening and telling us this bit of history and current events."

Errick says, "and if we can't answer ye or don't know the answer we'll do what we can to find out"

Arwen says, "Lord Brinn, thank you for the additional insight you provided."