Sunday, January 22, 2006

Conspiracy of Shadows (Season Two, Opener)

It has been many months since the ragtag group of devil hunters and refugees were forced to flee the city of Kulkuzgrod and make their way back to the passes across the Barran Mountains and back to Wallavich. Hunted all the way by the mercenaries of the Khark and bounty hunters sent by the city.

Now with spring approaching and tempers frayed the group are near the passes. The members of the cell and the refugees are a separate fires but even that cannot keep tempers from boiling over and ill-tempered comments between Little Alexander and Sedziwoj soon escalate into a scrappy duel that seems both protagonists holding their own until Little Alexander manages to crack Sedziwoj's kneecap allowing him to follow up with a number of nasty blows before the Bishop runs in to break up the fight.

Despite Little Alexander's moment of victory, little has been resolved and while Sedziwoj is somewhat chastened he not a man know to forget a slight. This disagreement is certain to rear its head again.

However with their differences put to one side for the moment the group are able to struggle through the pass and the group, cold and hungry make their way down from the forbidding slate-black mountains into the valley that runs into the Little Hills Barony. The refugees quickly turn to foraging to fill their empty stomachs and Sedziwoj takes the opportunity to ride ahead and look for a farm to house and feed the remnant of the Little Kingdom. What he finds are empty farms, fallow fields and two rotting black corpses nailed cruelly to large trees beside the road.

A new banner can be seen flying at the old keep, still ruined and blackened from the sack that started the cell's long journey. The pennet is red and blue split lengthwise, Sedziwoj recognises the colours as those belong to a family from the north in Jenka, strong allies of the king. He rides towards the keep aiming to look for help but as he does a scruffy looking rider in leather armour appears from the woods and asks him to stop.

The stranger identifies himself as a oathman of Sedziwoj's father and quickly informs him that Sedziwoj and the Alexander's have been declared outlaws and that sell-swords are keeping an eye out for their return. He asks Sedziwoj to come to the inn in the larger village in the foothills where there are fresh horses waiting and matters can be discussed in private.

Sedziwoj returns to the group and quickly brings them together and marching down into the valley. Arriving at the village he and the Alexander's hold a quick conference in the inn. It seems that the remainder of the cell have been betrayed and on arriving at the king's palace they were seized and thrown into a dungeon, their evidence of the count's misdeeds disregarded. They were then tried and executed and their bodies hung on the walls of the king's palace. The others were exiled in their absence and condemned to death should they return. Sedziwoj's father is willing to try and help his son but he cannot be too overt for the family must be above suspicion of involvement in the murder of another noble.

The news is grave: Sedziwoj sends the refugees to his father's house in the hope that work or land can be found for them. Bishop Banuch must ride to the Curia to bring news of the fall of the enclave, he promises to try and assist the Cell as best he can.

There are not many options but the group decide that the only thing they can do is try to unravel the identity of the traitor and to do that they have to start with the details of the trial. Travelling to the king's court incognito will be hazardous in the extreme but seems the only way to answer this new injustice.

2 comments:

Keith said...

This is some neat shit. It sounds like you started posting in the middle of the first season. Do you got a lowdown on who folks are in relation to each other?

Robert said...

I'll try to upload the story prior to the blogger starting and a "cast list" on the weekend.