Chapter 12: Plans

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Session Number: 124
Date: Sunday 26 February 2012
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog11 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA4 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal11 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz11 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

Troll stays the night in Trina, the others in Avarriel.

The next morning, before Troll Teleports back to Avarriel, he and Ethalyn are approached by Malek, who has Teleported back from Verithna's Ridge. Verithna has a message for Troll: her scouts have sent her word that an elf has been seen lurking about the old goblin mine. Troll dismisses Malek for the time being, then he and Ethalyn discuss the next move.

"If Elathon were to die," Troll says, "which looked like what was going to happen, then next in line to the throne would be Elowyn, soon to be married to a Larellian. Between the Kanafels and the Larellians, the house to gain the most from that event is House Larellian. It looks like Isengard Mordor Isendor is the place to go, but how to get in there and avoid simply being arrested?"

Troll hits on the plan of getting the queen to send word to the Larellians that the wedding has been postponed due to 'security issues'. If the Larellians are indeed interested in the political gain that they might hope to enjoy as a result of the union, then the missive may prompt them to be more open to the odd question. They won't want to knock off someone there to check up on security, because that only lends weight to the security threat story, giving all the more reason to postpone, or even cancel the wedding.

"Does my mother know that you suspect the Larellians in this?" Ethalyn asks.

"She will," Troll says, "when I get back and ask her to send the message."

"I think you will find it very difficult to convince my mother to send her youngest son into the den of the enemy."

"We either go with your mother's blessing or without, but we will probably go anyway. We could just walk into Isendor, talk to a guard about the Larellian family, and then get arrested. But if we go as part of a contingent that is there to investigate security, then we could ask questions and wouldn't seem so out of place. We need some reason to be there." Troll sees the thoughtful expression on his wife's face. "What do you think of this?"

"I would feel much more comfortable were it not you, for the very same reason my mother would feel much more comfortable were it not Feren."

"It's gotta be somebody, though."

"What do you wish to do that is beyond the ability of a message runner?"

"Start an investigation. I am thinking of the party going, but not as ourselves. We go as part of the caravan that the messenger will probably travel with."

"It would be a rather mottly lot to represent the queen, in any case."

"If your mother says the wedding is on hold until security is checked out, we are going to have lots of open doors because they are going to want the wedding to go ahead."

Ethalyn takes a deep breath. "It is as good a premise as any. It is dangerous. I don't know if is is significantly less dangerous than just turning up - they may do exactly the same thing. You need some reason to go there, or none… Probably having some reason is better than none. I guess it does seem to hinge upon the Larellians being motivated to keep the wedding on track."

"There are plenty of things that might go wrong, but we have to make a move." Troll pauses for thought. "The other thing is this damn elf that was hanging around in the mine. I dearly want to talk to him. I don't have the capacity to do anything about that right now, but you do."

"I could send more men; there is only one man on the ground at present."

"Whatever you think."

"What about Shalélu?"

"Whatever it takes. I will come back periodically."

"Shalélu is due back later in the morning," Ethalyn says. "I will have Malek take her to Verithna's Ridge."

The way Troll sees it, Ethalyn is his wife, therefore she speaks as him.

Back in Avarriel, Arrian arranges a meeting with Riaz, asking Feren to attend as well.

"How are you?" Arrian asks Riaz.

"As well as can be expected, given the circumstances."

"I understand. There must be quite a lot of pressure on you to come up with answers."


"What are you working on right now - what avenues are you pursuing?"

"I have agents in the regions of the other two houses," Riaz explains. "I am expecting another report from the Kanafel region today. My agent in House Larellian lands has reached Isendor, but has sent no further report."

"Who will succeed Theodric?"

"Lady Eirass will become head of the family," Riaz says. "In fact, in a very real sense she is now."

"The next step that we are going to take is to go to Isendor," Arrian says.

"We were wondering whether you had any agents there," Feren adds.

"My agent should be there now. I dispatched him the same day that the Queen dismissed the Larellian soldiers. He is remaining there and will be contacting me. In fact, he should have contacted me by now."

"His report is overdue?" Arrian asks.

"Yes. I know he made it into the city and that he was going to investigate further."

"What is he appearing as?" Feren asks.

"He is a cleric of Corellon Larethian. He actually is a cleric of Corellon Larethian, but he is other things as well."

"We are going there," Feren say. "May we call upon his services?"

"If you cross paths. If he contacts me, I can let him know to expect you."

"Was this person in place?" Arrian asks.

"No, he was sent. He shadowed the Larellian company on their trip from Avarriel to Isendor."

"You may not want to comment on this," Arrian says, "but I would have presumed that you would have had people in place in Isendor."

"I needed my best man for this particular job," Riaz says.

"Do you know where he can be found?" Feren asks.

"He will have made contact with the Tree of Corellon Larethian and spoken to the high priest there. His name is Ilmiriel. That is not his real name."

"Is there anything that we should say," Feren asks, "to let him know that we are affiliated with you?"

"Avarriel, Ferlar, Isendor, it's all the same to me."

"Riaz," Arrian says, "what do you know about what is happening in Isendor right now?"

"Unfortunately, very little. If I don't hear any more from my agent within the next two days, I will have to consider him compromised and send someone else."

"Do you have any special relationship with the high priest there?"

"No. This is merely priests going about their usual activities, moving around."

"Any other way you can be of aid as we go to Isendor?"

"I have given you the keys to my agent. At this time I am not willing to give you the keys to another."

"Do you have any other sources there?" Feren bluntly asks. "Feel free to say no."

"No," Riaz says. "Now, may I ask you a question? How much interaction did you have with the guild's two mages that you requested?"

"We gave them a sample of the things that were placed in our necks," Arrian says. "We took them to Trina. You are aware of the cork evidence?"


"Trina has established that neither of them were the person that handled the cork."

"Did they ask any unusual questions, or do anything to make you suspicious? Did they express any particular interest in Trina?"

"No," Arrian replies. "They seemed comfortable, not defensive. The only discomfort I feel they have had in this process is perhaps feeling untrusted in the Queen's investigation. On one hand you cannot trust them, but on the other they have a track record of loyalty that they feel miffed about. I have nothing but my intuition to go on, but I didn't feel that they were hiding anything."

"I understand," Riaz says. "If you do contact Ilmiriel, then he will be able to contact me quite quickly."

"Unless we think he is in danger, or really need his help, we will try to stay away from him."

"That may be for the best."

The meeting ends. Meanwhile, Troll Teleports to Avarriel and requests an audience with the Queen. He explains his plan.

"If whoever you send is told by you that the wedding is postponed, then as far as they are concerned, that is the truth and that is the whole truth. No one can give information that they do not have. That is why I came to you alone. Whoever you send, tell us that the wedding is on hold until you are satisfied that security is sound."

"As for the messenger being Feren," Queen Raewyn says, "absolutely not. He has no public authority to represent me, and I will not place him in so risky a situation. Whether he chooses to do so of his own volition is somewhat of a different matter."

"That's OK. If you task us with checking out security and report back, then everyone who is checking security believes that is what they are doing, and it gives us the excuse to look around."

"Mmmmmmmm. Were it not that Riaz has his hands full here, I would send him; it would seem appropriate to send my head of security on an important security matter. Were it not a matter of security, I would send one of my own children. I will think on the matter and send a retainer. A diplomat. Faavulel. He is trustworthy and competent. I had intended to delay the wedding anyway. I wasn't intending to let them know why, but I can see that telling them it is a matter of security will give you a certain amount of freedom to pursue your investigation; I am prepared to do that. But both you and Feren are travelling incognito. When do you intend to go?"

"I have no other priority higher than this," Troll says.

"I can have Faavulel and a team ready to move out later this afternoon."

Arrian returns to Ethalyn's tower and asks Rowaine how she feels about disguise.

"It has its place," she says. "I thought that Troll would Teleport us there."

"But what do we do then?"

"I know nothing of this Isendor," Rowaine admits.

From Lionel and Feren: Isendor is quite different to Avarriel. Whereas Avarriel is a city of stone structures beautifully mated to the surrounding forest, Isendor is fashioned from the forest itself. The city is the site of a large stand of endotaa trees - slow-growing trees that can live for thousands of years and grow to colossal size. They will continue to grow until disease or mishap takes them; they are not known to die of old age. They have undulating, curtain-like trunks that flare out at the base and top. An average endotaa tree in this area stands 300 feet tall, 200 feet of which is flared trunk. The eldest are over 5500 years old and over 500 feet tall. In Isendor, endotaa and other smaller tree varieties have been reverently made into dwellings, carving out internal areas without harming the tree or compromising its structural integrity. The city is home to about 2500 elves, half the population of Avarriel. Families of note and wealth live in endotaa trees.

"Our reputations may preceed us," Arrian says. "Especially you, Ro. Your appearance is quite striking, but not necessarily useful."

"It would be rather difficult for me to pass as an elf," Rowaine says. "I'm, um, a bit bigger than they are. And I don't speak their language."

"How would you feel about passing off as mute?" Feren asks.

"I feel that would be very risky. The more unusual I appear, the more attention I draw to myself."

"Lionel, do you see other races in Isendor?" Arrian asks.

"None live there that I know of," the Isendor resident answers. "Being a city that is the closest elven city to nonelven territory, other races do visit, particularly those interested in nature. Holt has some trade with all three of the major cities."

"We could go to Holt and pick up a cargo," Arrian suggests, "passing ourselves as merchants with protection. I could be the merchant, Rowaine my guard. I could be a human or half-elf that doesn't speak elven, and Feren is my interpreter. Troll is my simple brother-in-law that I have to take with me because I look after him."

Troll returns to Ethalyn's tower. Arrian talks to him about his idea. "The party needs a cover, therefore we go to Holt, buy a wagon and some cargo, and take it to Isendor. Could we use magic to alter our appearance?"

"Magic can be detected," Troll warns.

"What about Trina?"

"Like all useful things Trina is capable of, I assume it would take a lot of time. Plus I expect it would be permanent."

"Alright," Arrian says. "No magic. We disguise ourselves by more mundane means. It shall simply be a merchant's first trip to Isendor, wanting to make contacts and get the lay of the land."

"Brilliant," Troll says. "I'm sure Riaz can help us with that." Arrian senses something is off. Troll explains it away by talking about the elf seen about the goblin mine. Arrian doesn't push the matter.

Lionel thinks about how he might feel about entering his own city under cover and possibly working against the ruling family…

Midday approaches, time for Riaz's update meeting with the queen, which the party have a standing invitation to attend. Troll sits this one out.

After the briefing, Arrian talks about his idea of entering Isendor posing as merchants, and asks Riaz about options for cover identities.

"You are not aware that there is a plan in motion for you to travel from here to Isendor?" Riaz says. "Along with a diplomatic emissary?


Riaz glances towards the queen. "I am sending a diplomat to Isendor," she says, "to say that due to current security concerns I will be postponing the wedding until further notice. There will be a retinue going along as well, you can join it if you wish."

"That is quite convenient," Feren says, smiling.

"As an official part of the retinue?" Arrian asks.

"Yes, but not as yourselves. Better not to, I'd imagine."

"As merchants?"

"Probably not for a task of this nature. You could replace any number of the staff we are assembling. There are eight in total."

"Will you be sending a cleric?"

"I wasn't intending to."

"Riaz," Arrian asks, "how well could you cover our identities? Of Lionel in particular?"

Riaz appraises Lionel. "Shouldn't take too long. Just let me know."

"Who is going?" Feren asks.

"My diplomat Faavulel, his butler, his bodyguard, a cook and four guards."

"A political retinue from Avarriel would have House Roielle guards," Riaz observes.

The details are worked out and identities are agreed upon:

  • Arrian: Roielle guard
  • Feren: Roielle guard
  • Lionel: Roielle guard (much work to disguise his Isendor lineage)
  • Rowaine: Faavulel's personal bodyguard (her hair cut short and dyed by Riaz's staff)
  • Troll: Faavulel's valet/butler.

…in addition to:

  • Faavulel
  • Ershathov, Roielle guard
  • Lovar, Roielle guard

…for a total of eight.

The meeting ends. Troll joins the others for lunch, where Arrian explains his plan back to him. Troll hides his smirk well.

After lunch, Riaz's people give the party clothing and equipment suitable for their roles, then spend time with them, organising their disguises. The guards each have a long sword, a long bow, chain mail and a light steel shield - standard issue equipment. Lionel opts for a suit of Roielle leather armour - not wholly uncommon for those in the service undertaking more covert tasks. The party are then told to assume their identities by themselves. They barely recognise each other. Riaz recommends that all personally identifiable equipment be left behind. Rowaine takes the Silver Hand symbol off her imithrium breastplate armour, leaving it in Ethalyn's tower.

By mid afternoon, they set out. The journey takes the remainder of the day, and four more. The party spend the time familiarising themselves with their identities and roles, learning to work with the other guards and their routines. Troll practices not having to do anything with the guards besides telling them what to do.

On the fifth day, Faavulel says that they are nearing Isendor.

"What can we expect?" Rowaine asks.

"Ordinarily, I speak to the guard, state my business, and either just go on in, or I am escorted."

They soon strike a river and follow it downstream. There is less foliage growing alongside. In the distance they see massive trees. Now that they look at them, they realise that Trina is an endotaa.

The entourage arrives at Isendor. Faavulel tells the guard that he wishes to see Sir Imothell Larellian. The guards spring to attention. One is sent off into the city.

"I will arrange an escort," a guard says. They are led in.

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