Mystara and the Path to Immortality
In the Year 1001, Sven was promoted to Count and Jarl of Vander Pleet and Darnen, by boon of the High King, for helping rescue him from the Sea Hag. The farming provinces were nice slow province which produced a wealth of Lamb and Beef for the for the kingdom and were a good climate for growing pumpkin and squash.
The new Jarl spent most of the first year learning what it meant to run a County. He toured the area meeting locals and talking to the Mayors and Magistrates and building relations with them. He made good friends with the Magistrate of Vander Pleet, one Mandorallion of Vander Pleet, who shared the counts love of the outdoors and hunting. After a particular hunt, where the bounty was plentiful and the beer flowed, Sven ask Mandorallion to become seneschal of the Keep and look after the affairs of state whenever he toured.
As the year began to turn, many strangers came to the keep and there were many meeting behind closed doors and many of the strangers left again as soon as they had come, they left news of far off lands and the folk became used to seeing lone travelers coming and going from the castle. The winter that year was particularly harsh in the area around Darnen and the snow pied higher than usual around the hills and valleys, but the spring came quickly and temperatures rose swiftly and a great torrent of water cascaded down the river Piet and the township of Darnen was almost destroyed by the terrible floods and several families lost loved one to the river. The Jarl sent troops to help with the cleanup and they built stone houses for the displaced families and this allowed the population not only to recover, but the river had receded and left the farm lands more productive than before, cause in influx of immigrates to the region.
In the Late spring word came to Sven through the “friend” he had in Ethengar that his kidnapped twins had been seen in the caravan some was in the North of the nation. Sven sent several of the Young group of “Friends” that would meet regularly at the Castle to the West to see if they could find any trace of them. As the year drew to a close, the Young men returned with stories of A black dressed man who had a distinctive Skull tattoo showing a horned skull on his left wrist. He was accompanied by a burly man in Platemail who seemed to be terrorising a woman caring for 2 young Vestlandian looking boys. But whenever anyone was getting close to the group they would disappear and turnup again weeks later in another part of the country.
As Summer of 1002 turns as summers do, Sven send some of his young friends off to different parts of the world to experience the joys of travel, each of the 8 take a different land to travel to. Thyatian City, Glantri City, Darokin City, Zeamark, Sundinville, Landfall, Sveamark and one Back into Ethengar to roam the plains. They all take with them a traveling companion and several trunks of gear to allow them to blend in with the population. As the year advances the messengers start to turn op at the castle with strange tales from the Friends, they speak of a cult of Mages rumored to be studying strange magics, unknown to man before now. They speak in whispered groups and move around the world acquiring unrelated items that looked to be nothing special until a strange group started to acquire them.
During winter the snow lets up enough to allow Sven to travel the County and make a trip to the Capital to pay his respects to the King and advise him on the matters he has heard. During this visit new come in of an assassination of the Mage Torikithis, a friend of the witch Azimi.
Sven sends his Friend who delivers the message to Brinsforth to see if there is anything that he can do to help with the investigation. The young man is staying in a local hostelers when he notices that one of the other patrons has an unusual tattoo of Horned skull on the left wrist and send word to Sven who makes a secret trip the Brinsforth area to see what this tattooed man is up to. He watches the stranger as he moves around town and sees that he is spying on the wait staff of the tower owner and is asking questions and spending money to by the services of several of the servants. This is enough to convince him that the fellow is up to no good and he allows the stranger to retire back to his chambers for the night, before he sneaks into the fellow’s room and silently relieves him of his life, and several vials of poison and other implements of the assassin, on his person was a strange broach, shaped like the crescent moon, which enables the wearer of understand all speech and to disguise his own speech so it sounds like a fluent speaker of the language being spoken. Sven then had the body packed into the assassins own traveling truck, which was turned invisible and quietly taken out of the tavern, and left in a dell outside of town to be collected as he ride home, the body is eventually found several hundred miles away, by a hunter that was tracking a bear in the area, it was thought to be a victim of the bear.
In the spring of that year the forests in the west of Darnen was invaded by a foul plant life that was strangling the life from the forests, Sven asked the local Druids if there was anything they could do for the forest, They called for one of the elder Druids to cake a home in the area and see what he could do to alleviate the problem. A circle was established in the Darnen forest and the druids were supported by the Jarl to track the evil through the forest. The Druids found a deep cave in the forest and sent in messengers and found none ever returned, the senior druid of the circle sought audience with Sven and a plan was enacted to send troops into the cave with the assistance of Sven and the Druid. The dark cave was riddles with evil creature and Magical traps, at the centre was a Dark Wizard experimenting with dark magics on the native flora and fauna. A battle ensued and the wizard was slain, the druid cleansed the cave of the taint of evil and established a protective Glade to ensure that no other evil would try to re-establish the place as an evil grotto. The Druids are given the run of the forest and agree to help with the local area in regards to crop fertility and in times of adverse weather events.
The summer of 1003 find Sven leaving the comfort of the Castle in the hands of Mandorellion and going deep into the Ethengar ranges, tracking down information on his lost sons. The noose is tightening around the kidnapper and Sven feels the need to be there to recover his sons for himself. Summer turns to Autumn and the group are seen moving around the Chapel of Vanya, Sven and several of his apprentices are scoping the building when a large group of Horsemen arrive and start to cause trouble outside the temple. The Priests draw back to the temple doors and several of them draw shortswords in a display of their power, and one is heard murmuring a prayer to Vanya. At a signal from the leader the Horsemen, they charge the group of priests and hack at them with Daggers and Maces, and a slaughter was conducted of the priests. As this was taking place, Sven and his apprentices, who knew they would be no matched for the armed invaders at the front, moved to the rear of the building and found the way blocked by 3 more of these raiders. Sven used the power of the ring and of his armour to turn 2 of the group and himself invisible, and the 3 of them quietly moved into position, After some time, one of the other young men whistled from a distance which was the signal for the 3 to strike. All three raider were struck down simultaneously, and the group moved into the Chapel.
The sounds of the battle in the front of the Chapel, seem to have moved into the interior of the building. The Group moved through the building, occasionally surprising a lone raider, but also directing some of the priests to the rear of the building, allowing them to escape the massacre. The High Priestess, was found praying for salvation in a side chapel. She was convinced that all was lost and that escape was the best course of action. As they made their from the building a large dark robed figure leapt from the darkness and attacked, Battle ensued and the figure attempted to kill the priestess, which left him vulnerable to attacks from the rest of the group. He was finally vanquished and the group escaped the chapel and fled with several of the priests. The Priests were given help to relocate where they wished to go and each was offered a safe post as a castle priest in Vander Piet.
Unfortunately the trail of the kidnappers was again lost and Sven was back to the start in tracking the Kidnappers. Sven returned home disappointed, but knew that he could find these miscreants again. As autumn turns to fall Sven returns to Vander Piet and is quickly back into the running of the estate and province. He spend many days locked in his study, reading documents that have arrived in from the Friends overseas, and find a disturbing amount of chatter about the rise of a certain Magus in the Alphatian bureaucracy. He sends messeges back instructing the group in Sundinville to make a special file on this individual and his associates. Through the long winter scant messages are able to make it to Vander Piet and in the time a fully fledged take over in the Hierarchy could have taken place. As the season change into spring Sven leaves home again to travel into Alphatia and see personally to the problems that are arising there.
In the Summer of 1003, Sven is taking a home in the city of Alphatia, and watching the going ons in the leadership of the Alphatian Mages, they are action rather unusually, even for them and it looks as though they could be planning to attempt to take over parts of the Vestland coast and maybe even land troops in the area. Sven knows that this is not something that is allowed to happen to his Kingdom and so is planning to do something about it.
The Main Instigator of this Plan is a relatively newly appointed Mage. Who seemed to have convinced some of the week willed brethren to back the idea of invasion. As the days turned to weeks and the weeks into a month, the routine of the mage finally began to emerge, and a plan was enacted. Sven was able to secure a job as a waiter in the club of the Mage and after several weeks of serving drinks and talking to the other patrons he was able to slip a few drops of a lethal poison into the mages favorite wine and as the commotion started walked calmly out of the club and out of the city. With the ringleader dead the rest of the group were at a loss to explain why they had wanted to invade Vestland and the whole issue was dropped from discussions and the mages returned to more scholarly matters. Sven returned briefly to Vander Pleet in the Winter and found news of the Kidnappers and a definite lead to their hideout. He swiftly took horse and galloped into Ethangar to see for himself the place where his children were held. It turned out that there has been a cave complex built into the ranges of the Ethangar hills and that these cultists were using them for a staging post to raid the Ethangarian traders and into tVwestland and Ostland and other parts of Norland.
It was after much surveillance that Sven and the group sent to keep an eye on these people were able to draw a full map of the complex and found the secret passages which enabled the Cultists to move freely through the Place. Also discovered at the far end of the complex was a series of rooms put aside for the ringleader and his cronies, they were heavily defended and this is where the twins were being kept. The Plan was set and put in motion. The Group that entered the Complex consisted of Sven and the head of the organization in Ethangar, plus 6 of the older recruits, also with them was a mercenary wizard that had been recruited to help with some magical backup. The group were under the protection of an invisibility, which enabled them to bypass most of the guards. The secret complex was located and the 2 Guards by the door were removed and pulled inside, to be replaced by 2 of the group, the complex consisted of several barracks and the private residence of the Cult leader. The barracks were enclosed by the use of a wall of stone cast from a scroll in Svens possession. The guard set outside the nursery was a huge man dressed in Plate armour with a rather distinctive horned skull tattoo emblazoned on his left wrist. He strode forth to attack the now visible mage but was taken down by several of the rest of the group stabbing him in the back. His demise allowed Sven to creep into the the ringleaders room and assassinate him while he was donning his armour. With the demise of the leaders Sven and the rest of the group grabbed the twins and their nanny and made haste to the secret bolt hole that lead from the base. They escaped back to Vestland and civilization though there followed several attempts on the lives of Sven and the Twins since that time.
As summer turns again Sven receives word from the Prince Tendar, Duke of Norrland, that he wished to travel to Thyatis City, to receive advanced training in the use of the Hammer, Sven agreed to accompany the Prince on his journey and look to improve his skill in the crossbow. They took a small entourage to accompany the prince, and were met in Thyatis City by one of Sven’s Young Friends, who had taken the liberty of booking rooms and arranging introductions to the right people. They arrive in the City during a Festival and are invited to mix with the local dignitaries, whom they make some useful friendship with. The gladiatorial festival are more lavish than ever, the parties and festivals are being thrown more often and with wilder abandon; all in all, it’s very entertaining place to be…. until one spring day (spring 1004) everything goes wrong.
On that date, an enormous riot takes place in Thyatis City. The lower classes have for months seen a steady decline in the quality of the free bread passed out every morning in the city, bread which sustains life of thousands of poorer Thyatians. While the size of the typical loaf of bread has shrunk in half, the loaves handed out have been only half-cooked and usually swimming with maggots. Finally the city’s lover classes revolt, storming the Coliseum during one of the gladiatorial games.
Significantly, the Thyatian legions inside the city are poorly trained and badly led; they are unable to put down the rebellion. Far too many legions from other Thyatian cities have to be brought in to quell the insurrection, but quell it they finally do.
Over the next few weeks, the scandal continues to worsen as it is discovered that funds which were to be spent on the free bread were being diverted to fund several senator’s nightly activities, notoriously decadent affairs. Additionally, many Thyatian officers are charged with dereliction of duty or with incompetence, especially those who appear to be addicted to the dangerous “zzonga” fruit; they are executed.
Many of those convicted for embezzlement, bribery, and corruption break out of jail and leave for foreign parts, often in the company of their paramours, women of foreign nationality. subsequent investigations of the Thyatian prisons reveals that they are rife with corruption; dozens of jailers and military officers involved with the prison system are executed. During the riot Sven and the Young men establish contact with a like minded group that have some safe houses around the city, set up for this type of event. They are able to shelter several of the key players in the affair leading to the riots and have them readied for travel back to Vestland. While Tendar and Sven continues to train the Young men are sent into the city to see if they can find any information about the leadership behind the latest riots and the real causes of the troubles. As Summer arrives and the Prince feels he is more confident in the use of the mighty hammer he wields, Sven having learn all he could from his crossbow teacher several months earlier, the group head home to Vestland, though very observant people may have noticed that the entourage had increased in size from that that had entered the country.
Sven had bought several of the Thyatian officers back to vestland to allow them to escape the beheadings that would surely have been their fate. Included in the group were several Fighting men who were offered places at Vander Pleet as Castellan and Guard Captain, and some lesser nobles who were offered the position of Chief steward and as a Reeve for those with a practical mind.