10

Oct

by Barnaby

This is a recap of the events, fiction, and in-game encounters that make up the story arc “The Path Forward” which began in March 2011 and ended in April 2012. This story follows the formation of a new Royal Council and the discovery of a new threat to Britannia. Please note that many of the discoveries that are detailed can still be examined (such as the mercenary camp) in game. The links provided vary in their importance to the core of the story – some are directly relevant whereas others help to properly contextualize the storyline.

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After the defeat of Virtuebane, the realm experienced a period of relative peace. This peace came with a high cost, however, as the kingdom had lost its ruler, Dawn, as well as countless lives during the struggle against the great demon. Led by Olivia Kanlocke, the Commander of the Guard, the people of the realm were able to push Virtuebane back through his dimensional gate on the island of Magincia.

Though the kingdom existed without a monarch, it was not entirely without leaders. Commander Kanlocke and her second in command Lieutenant Jeffrey stood by with the Royal Britannian Guard, ready to act on all threats big and small. Typically it was Jeffrey who dispensed orders from his usual spot right outside the castle. Our story begins there, with the Royal Guards responding to a report of a missing healer (note this is just before the final defeat of Virtuebane). Read an account of this event, with an after mission report from one of the Guard’s regimental captains.

With the Guard doing an admirable job protecting the people of Britannia, the lack of a leader on the throne was not as much of a concern as it perhaps should have been. Some had begun to talk about installing a new system of government, and still others thought that perhaps Commander Kanlocke should become the new ruler. It wouldn’t be long, however, before the gears started moving and a strange summons went out to the nobles of the land, inviting them to take place in a new Royal Council.

While the nobles gathered inside the Castle, the Guard patrolled the city of Britain. A mercenary scout was found in one of the buildings on the edge of town, and he was brought to Commander Kanlocke who was coordinating the town defenses from the Emissary Hall. The scout revealed that an attack from the north road was imminent. The Commander ordered the bulk of the defenders to follow her to the north road where it leads into the woods while Lieutenant Jeffrey and a small group escorted the scout to a cell. Somehow, the scout managed to escape, knocking Jeffrey unconscious. The Guards encountered a small group of brigands on the north road and swiftly dispatched them. Confused as to how such a group thought it could take the town and storm the castle, the Commander soon had an answer as she was informed that a large mercenary force had entered the city through the sewers!

The battle was long, but the Guard had managed to subdue most of the attackers. Just when it seemed like the conflict was over, a figured clad head to toe in black armor came forth, wielding a giant axe. The town’s defenders struggled against him as he attacked with both magic and steel – yet seemed impervious to both. Just as it seemed there would be no hope of defeating this being, a strange man in monk’s robes came forth and cast a spell on the shadowy berserker. Suddenly he began to weaken! Moments later, the figure fell to the Guard, and the Commander thanked the monk for his help. He did not give his name, but explained he had come to Britain to learn more about the nobles and their intentions. He then proceeded to the castle.

The meeting took place safely in the Castle, but it would be sometime before what transpired in there would become known. In the meantime, the Guard continued to serve the people of Britannia. Commander Kanlocke soon had a new set of orders, including an investigation into the origin of the mercenaries that sought to disrupt the meeting in Britain. Once more we refer to the after action report of the Regimental Captain for Vesper for details.

Concerned that some doubt may have been cast upon her character, Commander Kanlocke confined herself largely to the Castle, leaving her Lieutenant in charge of the day to day activity of the Guard. There followed another short period where the realm seemed to be without conflict. Kasaven, the Elder Emissary, took his leave of the world and Emissary Adris was introduced as his replacement. To celebrate both Emissaries, a Summer festival was planned. Please refer to reporter extraordinaire Vallend’s brief. Though it seemed the concerns over nobles, strange monks, mercenaries, and questions of loyalty had been put aside, there was the occasional reminder that something was going on in Britannia (such as the sighting of “Mark” in Trinsic during the Summerfest Pub Crawl).

The festival had ended and there still was no news of what took place inside the meeting of nobles (though those who took place in the Festival of Masks or helped retrieve stolen gifts last year would be familiar with two of the new Council members). The silence would finally be broken, but by perhaps the unlikeliest of sources.

Scores of interested citizens managed to avoid detection by the Guard and listened to what Sherry had to say about the meeting. A full summary of what was said was recorded by Vallend. Soon after, many of the nobles that comprised the Council began showing up in their respective towns, willing to talk with any who found them. It was eventually revealed that the Council had chosen Brother Lian Vinre of New Magincia to serve as the High Councilor (he also happened to be mysterious monk who helped in the defense of Britain). Brother Vinre met on the steps of the Castle to field questions from concerned citizens. He spoke in earnest about the Council and its desire to protect the people and maintain peace.

One of the first things Brother Vinre did in his new position was to order the Guard to search the woods on the Skara Brae mainland for signs of a missing lord, Eamon MacTarnaghan, whose daughter sat on the Council. Lord MacTarnaghan, who is also the commander of the local Rangers, went missing while investigating reports of groups of mercenaries hiding in the forest. After a search of the forest, he was found in an underground cell that had been built underneath a farmhouse. During the search, there was a sighting of Vincent, the Guildmaster of the healers in Britain, as well as Mark. Trouble seemed to follow whenever these two were sighted, and this time was no exception as no sooner had Mark disappeared after being sighted did a group of mercenaries attack the group. Perhaps most troubling was that Mark seemed to know the Commander personally, calling her by her first name and saying he was “sorry”.

With doubt now being cast upon the Commander, the Council decided to relieve her of her duties and entertained the idea of recruiting help from outside the Guard. A follow up investigation was ordered, and under the command of Lieutenant Jeffrey, the Guard returned to Skara Brae to continue Lord MacTarnaghan’s investigation into rumored activity of an individual known only as “Janus”.

The Guard had no sooner begun their investigation when they were again attacked by mercenaries (after a stern warning to stay out of Janus’ affairs). The attack was merely a diversion, however, as word quickly came during the fighting that Skara Brae was under attack. The fighting in the island city’s streets was fierce, but the mercenaries were pushed back to the docks. When the Guard arrived at the docks, they were met with a startling sight – a hooded figure wielding the Commander’s sword fighting off a group of mercenaries while Mark launched a small ship. Having recognized the arrival of Jeffrey and the Guard, the hooded figure jumped from the docks into the moving boat. A report from Belle – the captain of the New Haven Regiment:

As a result of tonight’s battles and observations around the fighting and in Skara City itself, it seems that Commander Kanlocke of the Royal Guard is

either undercover and associating with troublemakers, or has gone over to the other side. There may be another explanation, but that is unknown. We

await further developments and may set out to sea for more investigation.


As a result of the sighting of the Commander, suspicions of her treason were all but confirmed. Command was given to Lt. Jeffrey on a temporary basis, and the Guard was ordered by the Council to avoid any direct investigation of Commander Kanlocke. Determined to get to the bottom of the situation (and clear the Commander’s name in the process), Jeffrey and the Guard reexamined past scenes of battle and mercenary encampments to determine if any clues had been overlooked. The search yielded little new information, though a strange bit of dirt was found in the underground cell where Lord Eamon had been kept, and the Guard determined a visit to Trinsic was in order based upon a mention of the city within one of the mercenary documents.

Lieutenant Jeffrey ordered the Guard to seek out Sir Kerwin in Trinsic, but to keep an eye open for anything strange as Trinsic had been the site of some odd occurrences. When the Guard  found the old Knight, he seemed uncharacteristically rattled by the mention of Janus and the mention of Trinsic in the mercenary documents. He reluctantly agreed to discuss the matter, telling the Guards to meet him outside the side entrance to the city walls (he had a visitor whom he had to delay). The Guard waited at the designated spot for some time before a figure in dark robes showed. He introduced himself as Janus, saying that the Guard could finally stop searching for him. After some cryptic remarks regarding a prophecy and the leadership of Britannia being incapable of understanding what was about to happen, he disappeared. Of course, no sooner had Janus vanished than a great many demons arrived on the scene to do battle with the Guard.

Unaware of the developing situation, Lieutenant Jeffrey arrived via moongate and joined in the fighting. Soon enough, the demons were defeated and the Lieutenant was briefed on what had happened. Angry that Sir Kerwin still had not shown, he dismissed the Guard and returned to the city.

Weeks passed without further development before orders were sent to all Guards to report to Sir Andrew in Britain. The Guards arrived, many curious as to why they were reporting to a retired knight of the Council rather than the acting officer of the Royal Guard. It was revealed that the Lieutenant had never returned from Trinsic. The Guards were asked to put their concern aside for the moment as they had work to do. Their orders provided a welcome distraction, and they were successful in their assignments. Satisfaction quickly gave way to shock, however, as the night closed with a startling revelation. Bytor of the Vesper Regiment provided a thorough report of the events of the evening.

Weeks passed an there still had been no sighting of either the former Commander or Jeffrey. Lord Eamon, having fully recovered from his capture at the hands of Janus, found that the woods on the mainland of Skara Brae were crawling with mercenaries. He called for an investigation of the woods, in hopes of locating the base of operations for the criminal Janus and his forces. The search yielded the location of the mercenary base – underneath a small pond not too far from the Shrine of Spirituality. A follow-up mission sent scouts inside the base itself where they discovered a series of dangerous defenses, including strange mechanical devices that fired arrows at anyone who moved close enough. They also learned of a man (or beast) named Carver who guarded the armory. Though the other mercenaries spoke fearfully of Carver (our scouts spied upon their conversations), they noted his intense dislike of cold water.

Armed with the knowledge of the base’s defenses, an announcement went out – it was time to raid the base and finally defeat the forces of Janus. Upon arriving at Castle Britannia, it was announced that Brother Lian Vinre, the High Councilor of the Royal Council, would be leading the raid so that Sir Andrew could stay and defend Britain against the increasing amounts of raiders. He brought the raiding force to Skara Brae where Lord Eamon was standing by to brief everyone. With that done, a moongate was opened in the vicinity of the hidden base, and the attack began.

The casualty count was unfortunately high, but the invading force managed to fight though the mercenary defenders and reach the deepest level of their subterranean base. It was here, at the door to the base’s Armory (where Janus was said to be meeting with a traitor to the Royal Council) that they fought Carver. A being more beast than man, Carver laid waste to the initial attackers. But relying on the intelligence gathered by the scouts, the invading force of Guards and volunteers focused on bringing Cold-based attacks on the creature in order to defeat him.

Upon entering the Armory, the Guards were greeted with a grisly sight – the dead body of Sir Kerwin of Trinsic. Kneeling over him was the robed figure, Mark, who was on hand during previous engagements with the mercenaries, and whom Olivia Kanlocke had been seen assisting. This seemed to confirm the suspicions of many, including Brother Vinre, that Mark was in fact Janus and was therefor responsible for the attacks on many of the cities of the realm. As Janus noticed the group, he stepped towards Vinre who was already casting a great spell. In a flash, the leader of the mercenaries was dead.

Word spread quickly of the demise of Janus. On the following day, the former Commander of the Guard, Olivia Kanlocke, turned herself in to face a public trial for her actions.

Shortly after Kanlocke turned herself in, Brother Vinre announced a sentencing would be held in front of the Castle. Many were angered by the lack of a trial, including Council members Sir Andrew and Lord Cecil of Yew. Cecil was especially angered, using his superior knowledge of the law to argue against Vinre in front of the gathered citizenry. Vinre patiently listened, but ultimately disregarded the arguments against the proclaimed sentence – death. The confusion over Vinre’s stance was soon explained by the shocking arrival of Lieutenant Jeffrey and a small group of loyal Guards. Jeffrey revealed that he had been recovering from the attack against him some weeks earlier near Trinsic. Upon his recovery, he conducted a secret investigation into the deaths of Sir Kerwin and Mark. He uncovered the truth about the identify of Janus – that he was the same man who attacked him in Trinsic, and that Kerwin was duped into helping this man by supplying gold for the mercenary army. Kerwin realized what was going on, and called for Mark, who seemed to be a part of a group opposing Janus all along, to meet with him.

The meeting didn’t happen as planned, though, as Kerwin was already dead when Mark arrived. Kerwin had been killed by Janus who was the same man who then killed Mark, who tried to kill Jeffrey, and now sought to execute Commander Kanlocke – Lian Vinre.

As Vinre rose his voice in protest, Jeffrey spoke one final revelation – Mark was the Commander’s younger brother.

Realizing his deception was at an end, Vinre raised his hands in surrender. Just as he did so, however, Kanlocke broke free of her escort, and rushed towards Vinre with a dagger she had concealed. Before any protest could be heard, she plunged the dagger into Vinre. Keeled over and clutching the dagger in his stomach, Vinre began to laugh. He proclaimed that he was merely a pawn – a small part of a prophecy that was unfolding. He claimed that his master was coming, and that he would rule all of Sosaria. When asked who is master was, he cryptically replied “my names are his”, and as engulfed in a fire that stetched into the sky.

When the fire abated, Lian Vinre was gone, and in his place was a large demon. Suddenly all of Britain was under attack by demonic forces, and all assembled had to fight for their lives. The battle was fierce, but ultimately the demons were defeated. In the aftermath, it was discovered that Olivia Kanlocke had disappeared (though she was last seen locked in combat with a demon atop the Castle walls). The Council was disbanded, with each of its members retreating to their respective towns and all forms of central governance and support disappearing. The months ahead would prove to be a dark time, as the people of Britannia allowed their differences to divide them. Reunification would eventually occur, but the ominous threat of the one Vinre spoke of lingers in the minds of many who lived through these events.


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