Banestorm

**A Thick Red Leather Notebook part III**

The Personal Adventures of Halfling Scout and Brave Adventurer Fuzzytop Pathtreader

A year has passed….

The elf has created a beautiful city in the forest. I passed my time sitting with him, lending him energy to build as much as possible in one year’s time.

Lord Wallace has sent us to Oakwood to start up some trouble for the Lord in those parts. It seems that Lord doesn’t support the creation of the parliament as Wallace does. I grew tired during the journey and fell asleep on Fafner’s back. When I awoke, I was in a cozy little Hobbit hole.

I sought out the kitchen and found a lovely woman making breakfast. She served me a plump cinnamon roll, glinting with white icing; coffee and apple juice. The woman had a tattoo on her arm, which I was curious about, but I lost myself in the cinnamon roll’s deliciousness.

Mr. Aziz recognized her tattoo as from an Egyptian cult that the Nazis tried to infiltrate and steal their power. Lilly’s clearly nervous to talk about the tattoo. She fled to her room crying.

Her husband returned. The tall folk immediately made him nervous with talk of the demon cult. They forced him to tell us that he was a follower of Amun-Shakulal, who sent them to gain favor with the king in this land and spread the word of their god.

Mr. M’Tan turned him into a sunflower and put him in a vase. They sent me upstairs to fetch Lilly and try to convince her to talk. She confessed that her husband was in charge of the sect in this town and her brother Odo is his lieutenant.

She was relieved to find out that we are sympathetic to the followers of Amun-Shakulal and began to make second-breakfast. I stayed behind to help while the tall folk went out to smoke.

She confided that the djin are looking for a gate to Yearth and that’s why her sect has been sent to this area. M’Tan and Aziz have a plan to trick the followers to gather in one location so they can destroy them all at once. They try to convince Lilly to divulge the location.

(6 weeks later…)

Fafner and I had been spending several weeks in the forest. When I returned to the Keep it had been sacked. The Halfling village was in flames, the Community Tree an ashen stick, and some of the Halflings were even enslaved in chains. The banner of Lord Marsden now flew over the Keep. Lord Marsden was caught running pirates on the river and was disciplined by the King. He then joined the resistance against him. He’s a dastardly character.

Somehow I got separated from the tall folk. The Halfling village is in shambles , so they may be dead. Somehow I doubt it. I decide to head to Photius to see if I can find my friends.

Photius is a beautiful city with a huge white cathedral in the center. As usual, my first order of business was to find a Halfling outfitter for some sustenance. The shopkeeper gives me 4 blackberry and 4 raspberry pastries and a grog of cider. It seems these Halflings don’t drink. Curious…even suspicious behavior.

He directs me to Tenny Park where the Halfling refugees of Oakwood have established a camp. He said that Mr. M’Tan took over the Keep and then lost control of it to Lord Marshall. If that is so, I should think he’s trying to make it right. I may find him there.

I see Mr. M’Tan’s horse at the park and inquire if he is about with his guards. He is not, but I leave word that I am looking for him and take to relaxing by the pond. My pastries are truly delicious. I eat them all and wash them down with the cider. After that, sleep overcomes me. I lay my head down on Fafner’s back to rest.

Mr. M’Tan and Aziz return to the camp. We are joyously reunited! M’tan gives me a Halfling ring he found too. They are forming a party to defeat Lord Marsden.

We set out for New Jerusalem to assemble the army. It is winter.

Mr. Aziz mistakenly gets mixed up with some nefarious tall folk who want to steal our gold, so we rush out of town. We fortify ourselves in the woods and wait for them to catch up with us.

We easily defeated them and found that the thieves guild in Photius hired them to steal our gold. Mr. M’Tan then had them all executed. It was a very unpleasant and tiring battle, and it made me sleepy. I climbed up on top of Fafner and went to sleep.

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M'tan's travels - entry the sixteenth

We began by plan to travel to Phodius then New Jerusalem, if necessary, to recruit the troops necessary to attack the town during the winter, when it was unexpected.

While we were making the plans, a sad side effect of the removal of the demonic Halflings happened. All of their kids, with their parents missing – were in need of food, shelter and love. In all their are 18 children 16 aged 1 – 7 and two 13 year old girls who are caring for the other little ones as best they can.

We sought out the Halfling ruler of the area, one Sheriff Goodbody (the human leader, Mayor Bark Matley was rumored to be very cozy with Lord we were trying to depose.)

After asking around we learned that he was based out of the town hole, we went there, but no one was present, it turns out everyone was helping to save the Center Tree (that had been damaged in the mudslide.) There are humans present so we decided to help out with the tree digging. One of the more gruesome aspects of the mission is the body retrieval, as there is no way to pull out most of the bodies. We salvage 2 or 3, but they are in poor repair.

During the third shift of tree duty we meet Pete Hornblower, we chatted with him for awhile and learn that aside from the children’s conditions, the loss of the Western Halflings isn’t all that bad, as they were rabble-rousers.

Thanks to helpful Pete, we were introduced to the Sheriff (who is a very fancy dresser), the Sheriff is busy so we return to talking with Pete. I ask him if the Halflings are close to their human leadership? Pete says, the Lord doesn’t like halflings. Pete says the Lord’s father was a very nice man, Lord Harren. Sadly, he recounts, Sir Harrow, died in the Magallen invasion and when Lord Harren died, the Lording was given to his nephew Brance. Pete seemed to be getting a little put off by my line of questioning so I switched to a much easier one and asked what he does for a living. It turns out Pete makes pastries, he’s a local pastry chef. Sadly, Aziz the Diplomatic immediately begins to make him ridiculously uncomfortable with open talk of rebellion. Pete quickly breaks off the conversation and invites us to come have one of his pastries sometime.

We prepare to go talk to the Sheriff, but I must mention that throughout this entire time period, Aziz the Loving, keeps trying to get me to agree to enslave the children of the diabolists. Sometimes I fear that Aziz belongs more with people like the Inquisition, rather than people like me. Enslaving children because their parents are evil? It is the same as the Inquisitors who took us.

Nevertheless, we go back to the town hole and wait for Sheriff Goodbody. For quite some time he talks with human guards. After about 45 minutes the Sheriff returns to the hole and, very kindly, invites us for dinner, where we promptly lie about our involvement with Mr. Illwind, letting the Sheriff know that we were business partners with the Illwinds.

Our talk eventually Lord Brance, and the Sheriff tells us that the Lord dumped all the Halflings in together with the Western Halflings.

Additionally, the Sheriff lets us know that he reports to Reeve where he lets him know of the weeks goings on. I can see this is beginning to go the way of the Pete interview, so I try to tell him stories, and, just like the Pete interview, Aziz presses him for information. After a bit of this I ask about a stable, one outside of the Keep where Aziz I could purchase or rent horses. He gives me the location of one.

Aziz the Subtle then, asks numerous and specific questions about police force, number of deputies, their loyalties, etc. Eventually the Sheriff let’s us know that he has 4 deputies. continues to ask about their loyalties to the crown. The Sheriff lets us know that it’s nice to have visitors who are not scared of the Law in a strange town. I am able to switch gears and I ask the Halflings if they would like to hear an elven song, the Sheriff and his GoodWife agree.

To set the song up I talk about the Great Forest and all times I have had there, the different Elven tribes, the creatures of the forest and their freedom. I also mention M’tan’s Woods as a place that is open for settling for Halflings. When the Sheriff heard of it he initially scoffed because he heard that the burrows were under trees. But I tell him, the tale that I heard was that it was made by a powerful Magus and that the leaves part for the sunlight to allow the Halflings the warmth of the Sun and the Protection of the Woods. He says he will pass the word, but that Halflings do not like to move. After that we laugh and then I sing my song. A song about Freedom, in its pure sense, not a a revolutionary jingle.

At the end of the song, Aziz the Influencer openly asks what if everyone got angry at the Lord, might they might revolt. The Sheriff reiterates that he is please to meet visitors who are not afraid of the Law. The Sheriff agrees that we can stay at the Illwind’s place, as we were business partners and it is Winter. He arranges for a local party to search for the money (which I already had safely hidden, it is to be our War Purse) but they find nothing. We begin to spend our time in isolated work.

We first build the tunnels (Rolls: 6 /6/ 9 / 3) and we are able to get tunnels done in 3 weeks, making it January.

During the month which goes by we each spend our free time on our own studies. For me, it is Area Knowledge, the study of Leadership and the Spell which I constantly use!

I also pack the money, hidden as food stuffs. For purchases in town I make sure to buy things with only local money. There is no reason to draw further attention to ourselves.

Finally we go to buy the horses and, what luck, the merchant doesn’t like me, and he quotes a 2K price. Luckily Aziz the Merchant seems to have improved his haggeling skill and he gets involved and quotes 1K, the merchant responds with 1.2K, which Aziz get to include feed and tackle. The final price ends up being 1.5K for the horse, bit & tackle and saddle.

The horses are assigned as follows:

1) Aziz – Oliver 2) M’tan – Aulae 3) Pack – Stan

The next day we head out, with the money at dawn’s first light. We ride onwards through the winter heading towards Phodius. Although there is the possibility for great trouble (i.e. Ray roll’s a lot.) The ride, while uncomfortable is primarily uneventful, except for riding in the dark! A difficult task, at best.

When we arrive the City Guards let us in and direct us to the 3 Bells Inn. We go there and get room sleep through the day. We wake late, but decide to wait for the nest morning when we head out to find the Mercenary’s Guild.

Aziz has used his hard earned experience to learn the ways of the street. A long way from when he simply lied and pretended to be streetwise! We spend our days in the following ways:

Day 1 – we fail to find a contact. Day 2 – in the morning, Aziz finds a guy and gets a meet for 6 pm. We go to the place very early, around three PM, we check out exit routs and I rent a room. At around 5PM 2 big guys come in and get set up. At 6:05PM a guy comes in with a big fat human with dark complextion. They come in and Aziz using his merchant skills, determines that the man looks rich. We talk with him, and after I almost blow the deal, M’Tan the Wise, Aziz is able to use his superior merchant skills to talk with him. He trusts him and we agree to the financial terms – 500 in 2 weeks – 1000F paid. He will go recruit who he can and will meet back up with us in a week to report.

We wait in town, one week later he returns with a status report. He has been able to recruit:

50 shortbowman 50 medium infantry 400 light infantry

The second week of recruitment sees no further recruits.

I will now break down troop movements and the associated War Costs:

Overall a cost of – wk = 6750f (monthly = 27,000f (156,000f) Second week muster – 375 (-5100f) (50 are command – extra – 5000f) 4 days – weapons – (-900f) he asks – we agree Oxen (2) – (-280f) Ox Cart (-200) Muster area – town open field – (-200f)

Aziz takes 10 guys with him to 2nd muster area We then travel – (100f bounus after battle)

All troops march there – 4 days 2 enemy scouts are captured I give my plan and my leadership study has paid off, the men respond appropriately! I lead them into battle. The troops are dispatched into the 4 tunnels At the precise time – the attack begins, the fires are lit and the smoke comes up. Our tunnels work, the ground opens up and the walls come tumbling down. An unmitigated success. Attack won and the raping is mitigated Fritz – and men (-1200f) (-500f) for [[:Commander Joshua|Commander Joshua]] award The Halflings participate in and are happy about the result. The local Human population is surprised, but seems long used to the Civil War. Oakwood is won. We have [[:Lord Deneral|Lord Deneral]].

We spend a week in some revelry and helping the locals. (light troops are on the way – 250 more – in 3 weeks ) A crow goes off to Wallace.

Lord Donalas arrives with his troops. We are overjoyed! An Ally at last. He demands to speak with Lord Deneral. He goes and speaks with the prisoner. He’s of a higher social status and an ally so I allow it. He comes back out and let’s us know that he’s no longer with Lord Wallace and that Lord Marsten will have back up troops there in two weeks and that he is seizing the castle. He asks if I will surrender and I tell him exactly what he can do with that surrender. He laughs at us, says he will see me on the field and leaves. He mocks our not fortifying our position (in a week, against an ally? He almost got inside my head and made me doubt myself, but he was already on the road, hoping to get here first. I suspect that word got to him while we were recruiting and that we have aggressively fucked his time table. I am not the child he thinks he faces.)

I do the only thing I can, facing an force of 500 fresh medium troops with armor and support I quickly assess the situation and call Aziz and the Lieutenants and let them know we are affecting an immediate withdraw and retreat. I send a goodly number of the men to accompany the halflings North to M’tan’s Woods (I explained the situation to the Sheriff, but he already well understood the implications for himself and his people.) They immediately departed for the North.

We secure the Lord Prisoner Brance and I go to help the Ravens’ Master, who is gone. Also, the homosexual illusionist has disappeared.

The retreat is going fine, the other Lord’s troops are still moving in, slowly. Far and away I can see a Crow landing on the one remaining, unstable tower, the illusionist is there, sees me, an laughs…

I pay off the remainder of my troops and tell them to disperse, which they do. I take Commander Joshua, an unconscious Aziz, 10 men, the now dead body of the Lord Prisoner and we run during that disbursement of troops.

My purse is in hand. My confidence is not shaken. I am charged with ending this Civil War for my Lord and I shall do that.

I am now their Enemy. And they will learn to Fear Me.

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Justice

They won’t be opening any gate. The only remorse I have is not getting to put them to work in the quarry.

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M'tan's travels - entry the fiftheenth

Wow.

This was an decidedly busy rebellion. The Little Folk we decided to partner with turned out to be demon worshipping freaks. Thankfully Aziz and Fuzzytop found them out.

Aziz seemed surprised I was willing to take strong action against them (they’re the enemy!) We confronted the lady of the house, who completely denied everything – then when the gentleman returned, we confronted him… and we… solved that problem.

After attempting to reason with the wife she became part of the woodwork.

We fooled all the demonic halflings into an area and collapsed a building on them. We did our service to our King. Now, we’ve got to make this rebellion happen!

Good job from Aziz and Fuzzy!

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Whiney Little Bitch

Progress is made in spite of my effeminate friend.

The danger he puts us in!

He is either an agent of Chaos and Entropy or is naive as a little girl.

I wonder if he has ever made any kind of sacrifice. Seems unlikely. I don’t believe he has ever had to suffer indignity, humility, oppression or any such struggle for mind and body.

Life feeds on life and sometimes, in order to bring justice and true freedom, there will be times of injustice, there will be death. The sooner he understands that we all must negotiate our principles, the sooner he’ll understand the way of the world.

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M'tan's travels - entry the fourteenth

In service once more!

We continued to bicker, the Slaver and I, but my focus on the health of the forest remained foremost in my mind, so I mended what bridges I could with The Slaver. We are on talking terms at least. We have been good friends, so feigning interest in his wicked evil should be more important to threatening the health of the forest.

In September we met with Lord Sterling and, after learning of the political machinations occurring (It turns out that the Bastard Denerell was responsible for the Nightmare at Castle Defiance, not the King.) So we were on the wrong side. Luckily, our Sovereign rebelled out of belief, not political nonsense, so a remedy is possible!

Lord Wallace was looking for agents to cause disruption and I quickly volunteered us to go to Oakwood (I will embed the bastard who killed my Master in a tree AND keep him alive for centuries) Lord Wallace seemed truly moved that “we” would be so noble. [[:The Slaver|The Slaver]] agreed to help, in his horrifically mercenary way. I wonder if I should continue to count him as a friend? Dinner was had, (as well as the sex!) and it was good to see everyone in the town. The serfs were given a holiday and I was ecstatic to see them. I repaired the bush, re-grew the garden and (hopefully to their surprise) gave them another harvest! May they be healthy and full!

We returned to our homes and minded our lands through the month of October. On the 20th we returned to Sterling for the Moot. Then we arranged for people to watch over our lands.

The we travelled.

Overland. Trying to beat the weather. We rode horses. Fought. Travelled. Fought.

I was reminded why my friends, The Slaver included, are my friends. We fight at each other’s side. I begin (maybe) to understand why humans seems to have friends that serve different roles. It’s a very different society than my, all-inclusive world. In my world, we are tribe, which always lives together, lives, loves, dies, imagines, works, cries, eats, shits, dances, and does everything together – always. Here, there are “degrees” of friendship. Almost “levels.”

I digress. We got there, after battles, before the winter. I am posing as a Bard, due to my singing. We met wonderful halflings who want to rebel and need weapons. We are working to get them (especially stone weapons, as I can cause them to become iron!)

We are building tunnels (under the very castle, we have already completed.)

I have confessed my identity, which as caused consternation with The Slaver, and I know that he is mightily working to control my information leak. I just love my rebellion brothers and sisters and hope that they will come live in my village!

(I have invited them, letting them know that they can create speciality goods, have free homes, equality and be able to sell their wares in the nearby city of Azizabad. Mind you, even if The Slaver and I aren’t getting along, I will work to make our city work! So, if we have specialty goods available ONLY in Azizabad, it will draw people.

Tunnels are built, weapons are being converted. We’ve been kept secret (except for the Innkeeper and the Mage) and we’re midway through the Winter. We will keep building weapons and, Eternal God willing, we will get the Bastard Deneral.

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M'tan's Travel's - entry the thriteeth
Sorrow

I am utterly unfair. Why do I judge others by my own standards? By Elven standards? I travel among them. Live among them. Love among them. And yet I forget I am not them.

Slaves. A human I thought of as a brother did not bat an eye at dwarven slaves. His fault? No. Mine. I just assumed that he loathed slavery as did I. He often ranted about “white skins” enslaving his people. So I assumed he was being literal. When confronted with the slavery issue, I realized I would get nowhere with him, because he immediately made my objections a racial issue. Everything I said was negated because of his perceptions of my “eternal” life.(not that in the 5 years we have lived together he has ever asked about anything Elven… honestly, not even once. I have had him to honored dinners, built him homes, grew a town for him – all the gift of Elven knowledge – given freely by me, mind you – but he automatically assumed some strange supernatural way that I lived. That Elf’s existed in time differently that he did.) He often positioned himself as the victim, but this was the first time I found it unconscionable.

In short, the dwarf’s showed up. Their workforce was slaves. He accepted it whereI utterly refused. We had recently had a disagreement about how to manage the land, wherein he wanted to cut the trees…and he (momentarily) convinced me that this was a wise idea somehow, clever fellow!

The part that hurt so badly is that after everything I had done with and for him; read: town building (in a low Mana area, that is pretty difficult) and lending my prestige to his unappealing Muslim personality / saving him from the Inquisition by getting him the necklace / just plain being his friend. After all that, he tried to manage me, through lies. We survived the Inquisition together, We have fought, side by side. I makes me unbearably sad.

So I closed my boarders. I grow my trees. The knight with her warhorse (we were in a massive battle earlier in Hallmutt, which I will leave to another to recount) has decided to live with me. I’ve cut off my partnership with Joshua Tariq Aziz and instead I’m inwardly focused.

(In the earlier battle, around the fountain, everyone did great, but the knight was amazing, and my spells – arboreal internment was fucking awesome!!! I got to use it… twice!

I determined that I was wrong to have expected him to be more than what he, personally, is. He has his customs and mores, and they might not be mine. Nevertheless, the tress grow and I shan’t help “his” town anymore. (Okay, we both made it together, but it WAS my magic.)

I will not stand by Slavers.

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Adaptability

Was interrupted during my last entry…

A ruckus started near the quarry regarding slaves

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Azizabad

A new city is born today. I named in honor of my father and my family and will forever be remembered in this world.

My hope is that it will be built in the style of my father’s technique, at least as far as I can gather from his writings.

Azizabad shall be a shining light of knowledge and the beauty of nature

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M'tan's travels - entry the twelfth

We travel to the site and review it. On this trip I was completing the paving between Wallace, Azizabad and M’tan’s Forest and on the way up, a dwarf show me a better way to pave roads, letting the rainwater drain away from the surface, it was greatly appreciated. During the evening Fuzzytop Pathtreader becomes very close friends with Thistle a dwarf interested in fun and eating. fountain, which is a high compliment coming from a Dwarf to an Elf! The Dwarf’s were impressed by my We make the deal with the Dwarfs. They’ll set up the mine and run it. The profits will split as follows:

Year 1: 70% them 30% us

Year 2: 60% them 40% us

Year 3: 50% them 50% us

Year 4: 40% them 60% us

Year 5: 30% them 70% us

Year 6: 30% them 70% us

Year 7: 30% them 70% us

Year 8: 30% them 70% us

Year 9: 30% them 70% us

They leave, to return 1 year and 1 month later, when they will begin work. We are responsible for building the limestone business.

We meet with Lady Wallace, Bailiff of Wallace to get her thoughts on building immigration, she asks we not recruit from the town (we tell her the 4 instances we did;

Ben, Sheriff of Azizabad – the young sheriff, Ally of Joshua and M’tan – brother of Jason

Jason, Warden of the Wood – the young warden of the wood, Ally of M’tan – brother of Ben

Bob Blacksmith – Young Journeyman, son of blacksmith of Wallace

Maria – Serf, Cook of M’tan, also her daughter

The Lady Wallace, Bailiff of Wallace was fine with that, as long as we stopped. She offered to send us letters to her contacts, which she did. Later that night I met a traveling bard who I paid to take a letter requesting immigrants from the Great Forest. Both letters request that immigrants showed up a year and a month later… (or in just 2 weeks!) The Lady also let me know that the Goblin Magus would soon be retiring and that the Lord would consider me for his position. What better way to influence the protection of the Forest.

As that previous entry indicated, we took a year to grow the Village and then my Tree City. I only heard tales of them, so I hope I did it right. The center tree is 425 feet, the middle ring trees are 375 feet and the outer ring trees are 300 feet tall. The trunks are 60 feet wide. Because of the spells I cast, these trees will be able to grow 3 times their maximum height (which they are currently at) – so in years to come the trees height will be 1,275 feet, the middle ring will be 1,125 feet and the outer ring will be 900 feet. Their are two levels under the covering of the trees. The lower level is grown to replicate fields, with food being grown here as well. Hopefully I can attract a Centaur sage to this area. The middle level is where the residents of the tree will live and love. When you get to the canopy levels, the Outer Ring will house defenses and communal areas, the middle ring will have shops, an inn, a Magus University and an art center. The top level houses my tower (a 100 foot tall version of my bush in Wallace) and a chapel (all naturally grown.) These structures are grown, but unoccupied (except my tower, by me.)

We have just completed the growing, Joshua Tariq Aziz and I return to town, where we will discover if any immigrants or messages are waiting for us. We hope to visit with the Lord and the Lady and to find news about the Civil War. (I need to know if I should build a wall!)

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