July sees the Iron Region take its first tentative step towards progress. Life has returned some what to normal in the mountains with the Beastmen threat quelled. And the Kings Guards work with the bandit camp has seen the attacks on the Southern flatlands dissipate to almost nil.
The new road to Blackwell is the talk of the travelling merchants. Its quality will no doubt be sung around all of Faraway soon. That coupled with the tentative neutral zone that the Iron Ridge has become, thanks in no small part to Rivering and the Ruby Court battling to stay in your favour, is increasing Blackwells popularity as a stoping point for travelling merchants.
Brutus enraged by is brothers sudden return (though brief), summons his personal guard and departs for the Forest. His intentions are to hunt some of the giant spiders your reports spoke of and possibly find his cowardly half brother, (Donk also suggests that boredom may have been a factor in his choice, who would have guessed a life of drinking, eating and fucking pleasure slaves could get boring.)
Melchid’s call to his brothers in arms bears its first fruit. Late in the month Sgt Bongo Dull and his unit of Gnomish crossbow”gnomes” march into town, (numbering 30 in total). Unit 222 or “the triple deuce’s” as they were known, served under Melchid in the battle of Wuthering lows, where he had been conscripted to help a fledgling lord recapture his family estate after a domestic issue involving his younger sister and enraged Trollish cobbler. The siege lasted 18 months in total and “the triple deuce’s served faithfully during the entire ordeal.
Sgt Dull reports that the Deuce’s have not long finished a mercenary contract up in north Faraway but seeing as how expensive it is to get a boat back to the main land at the moment, have decided to stay around for the immediate future.
His squad is happy to sign on with the Iron Region for a sum of 60gold per month.
Furls caravan rolls back to town in the later stage of the month to pick up the iron which awaits him. He comes with praise for the growing Blackwell castle and the prosperous Iron Region and also with him he brings many interesting things to trade. Mainly it is goods not available locally such as foreign spices, dyes and wines. He also brings a contingent of slaves for trade.
With him he has 4 skilled blacksmiths, all trained in the making or agricultural and mining equipment. He brings 2 skilled wood workers and 2 Leather workers. 3 stone masons and 1 skilled tailor. For each of these skilled labours his price is 800gp. He also has 6 pleasure slaves (5 women and 1 man) for which he wants 500gp each. 12 female house slaves (skilled in cooking/cleaning etc) for which he wants 200gp each. 10 strong slaves good for labour intensive works, for which he wants 300gp each. Also a dozen low slaves (unskilled/children/not overly healthy) for which he wants 50g.
Furl also whispers stories of a giant beast in the Royalwell lake, attacking boats and small hamlets in the area.
“The peasants sing song of an ancient horror from their grandfather’s day. A giant tentacled monster rising from the depths to puck wary fishermen from their boats and beds alike! They call her Shullgothin the ever hungry if you believe such things ha ha ha! Though I will not deny we passed through an empty hamlet on the edge of the lake and the bones of many boats now lie on the lakes shore.”
Aizen has heard a similar rumour in his travels but until now had thought them nothing more then the boasts of drunken wharf rats.
Captain Donk requests your attendance for a meeting regarding the state of the Regions defence.
“Dukes… good work with the bandits, the boys needed a good fight to take some of the fire out of their blood and it looks like they got it. I have left the healthy ones in the Southern Flatlands for the moment. I want to let the farmers get back to farming and there are still whole nests of spiders in the woods that need dealing with. So for the moment Lt Chucky and his men are tasked with that.
What we need to talk about is Regional defence. I have heard wind about some strumpet down south named Charlotte who is building her self and army with the intention of relieving us of some of our southern territory. That coupled with news of a ship of imperial troops bound for Port Newland to reinforce General Gavin doesn’t bode well for us. As soon as that crotchety old buzzard feels he is ready, there will be Imperial troops heading north looking to resecure their iron supply, you can be sure of that.
That in mind we need to fix our army, or lack there of. I don’t have time for bullshit debate or argument so this is how it’s going to go. Melchid, you get the East Mountains and our eastern border. Erd you get the Western mountains and the border that goes along with it. Aizen, the lake and the north are yours. Ivan the southern forest border is now your baby, and finally. Micken, you draw the short straw of organising the city guard for Blackwell and a policing force to keep order in the flatlands. Before you all piss and moan, if you can convince one of your fellow Dukes to swap then so be it, I don’t care as long as none of you drop the ball.
Now because I am the kind of guy who likes to tout the carrot rather then the stick I did some dealing with our beloved King. He has benevolently agreed to free up some more estates as reward but only once he can see results.
We need to be standing firm before winter, so November is your deadline people! I am not expecting this place to be as secure as the Imperial harem but unless you all ready to be thrust back out into the street we need to defend what’s ours. Find choke points and defensible positions. Build a garrison so we can house fighting men close to the borders and so we have strong points to fight from. Think watch towers or some kind of waring system. And most importantly soldiers! We need them! I am happy to aid in training of any men you bring to Blackwell and for the moment I will even aid in equipping them as best as the kingdom can, but it has to happen pronto! I will have some maps made soon with the official borders so we know who is in charge of what, but try to play friendly Dukes. If one of you falls then you all potential have swords marching on your backs.”
A hundred years from now, D&D 99.5E will have pared the game down to four skills - Hurting, Breaking, Living, and Talking. Talking will be a dump stat for most classes.