Right, so we’d come back from Eastport to check on our little pile of rubble that we like to call a fort. Most of the people we’d left working were still working, so Dax patted them on the back and gave them additional orders. I’m just looking forward to when the inn is done so I can see if we can find a decent brewmaster or if we will have to import all of our drink like some savage. We knew we’d have to finish off the Viscount soon, as he was surely aware that his wife had been killed in Eastport. We also assumed that he’d be able to figure out that we’d done it, but the question was how he’d respond. Would he send more of his assassins to kill us or would he make up some lie and send his new ‘legitimate’ troops after us instead?
How’d he get troops? Didn’t I tell you? Nah, I guess I didn’t. The old steward of Sutherland had recently died under very mysterious circumstances and who should be the one to take his place but the Viscount himself! It probably smelled fishy to anyone who didn’t even know that he was the leader of a cult of assassins or even a vampire patriarch, but being that we knew about both, it was obvious that this new role was no coincidence. Granted, he shouldn’t have absolute power over the kingdom as just the steward, but let’s be honest. He wouldn’t go through all that effort to make himself steward to just sit around with only half a kingdom. We knew that he’d have something in mind for his counterpart, the Grand Marshal.
So, we’re waiting for the Viscount-turned-Steward to make his move, yeah? While we’re doing that, the drow girl who’d been helping us, Veshaya was her name, her daughter shows up and begs us to take her with us to kill the Viscount. Turns out the Viscount had really messed up their family and they both wanted vengeance. The others hemmed and hahhed about this, but I wasn’t about to get in the way of that. People have called me petty from time to time for it, but I know a thing or two about vengeance and I wasn’t about to hold them to a different standard than I held myself. So, we told her she’d come.
Well, we soon got a summons to come ‘meet with’ the Steward. All very normal and non-threatening on the surface, you know? Couldn’t fool us though. We knew it was a lure or trap or something, so we decided to get crafty about it. Not that being crafty has really worked out for me, but we thought we’d try it. Fulgen handed me his weapons and walked into town, stating that he and he alone had come to answer the summons. The rest of us slipped into town and then into the keep itself, fully armed and ready for a fight. Turns out a fight is exactly what we got. Fulgen met with the Steward in the main hall and eventually shouted out something, letting us know to come storming in. The Steward was there, fully armed and armored, sitting on the throne like he owned the place. The Grand Marshal was there too, but was fighting for the Steward like he was some long-time friend.
Like I said, the Viscount hadn’t settled for just part of absolute power.
So, I went in swinging and hollering like mad, trying to keep the enemies’ attention focused on me. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not as good as Wyllo or Yoon at finding the best place to stab something, but what I can do better than anyone else in the group is take a hit. However, even though I took up most of the Steward’s attention, Veshaya still died. The Grand Marshal too, though I’m still torn on that. The drow girl was a good ally and I mourn her loss. The Grand Marshal might have just been under the vampire’s control and not a willing pawn in all this, but at the end of the day he raised his blade against me and mine, so I don’t mind as much when Yoon killed him. We did however manage to kill the Steward, and I mean proper kill him, since he’s a vampire and you have to make sure you do it right or he’d just come back.
That was about the time the guards came in and told us to surrender. At first we tried to explain, just like in Eastport, that the Steward had been a vampire, yadda yadda yadda. They still wanted us to surrender. I guess we could have ran, like we’d done after killing the Countess, and just leave them to figure it all out, but I was tired by that point. All this running, all of this fighting to save people who were ready to attack us… I was done. I just wanted to sleep, so when the others surrendered, I did so as well. Granted, Fulgen put up a hell of a fight before he gave in, arguing that he could bring the Grand Marshal back and that we should be hailed as heroes for the bloody mess we’d just made of the keep. I think he’d been hoping that the Grand Marshal wouldn’t just survive that mess, but would have been able to hold things together enough to get a decent Steward this time around.
Instead we got used. That’s the only way I can describe it. Eoth, a priest we’d come across from time to time, convinced us to surrender, then eventually convinced Folgen to not try bringing back the Grand Marshal. Turns out Eoth had positioned himself to become the next Grand Marshal and thought he could do a better job of it. All we had to do was just go back to the fort. Fulgen must have hated this deal, must have hated it fiercely. He stuck around enough for us to try to bring back Veshaya, but then he just left. Went away with hardly any word of explanation to any of us. As for trying to bring Veshaya back, they cast their spell, spoke with her spirit and got turned down. She told them simply that since the Viscount was dead, her vengeance was done. I guess that was all she had to live for and now that it had happened, death was what she wanted. She stayed wherever she ended up and we took in her daughter, letting her stay at the fort and grieve.
So, Fulgen had walked off on us. That hurt. I knew we didn’t always fit with the brave and noble adventurers he often talked about, but at least we tried more when he was around. To top this whole thing off, Dax announced he’d leave us too. Just decided to head back to Cana and live the rest of his life as a book-keeper. Granted, I think a certain letter from a certain woman he’d met there was what really swayed him, but it still stung. At least he left us most of his coffers so we could continue working on the keep, but now I’m left wondering what for, you know? Where do we go from here? We had a book that a god had sent us after, but what were we supposed to do with that? We had a fort that we were rebuilding, but what were we supposed to do with that? For the first time in a while, I felt lost.
The next time we try to save a kingdom from itself, I might just tell it to go shove it. Lost three friends from it and all we got out of it was being the unwitting pawns of some power-grabbing cleric. Bah! Lords and rulers, who needs them?