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Shadow of Girithron

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“The forest is frozen; it is the time of Girithron. It’s been many years since we’ve seen this amount of snow and ice. Is the Frost God angry? It seems that every living creature is hiding from the bitter cold, yet, something is moving. Just over the hill and beyond the snow laden pines. Something that lives is moving this way. It will surely see my breath; it will likely sense my fear. My eyes sting from the brisk winds that cut like blades through the air, but I must remain still. As time passes and I become bitter cold, I see their dark silhouette’s on the white horizon. They are here, even in the winter; the Yaun-ti, dressed in furs and heavy garb to warm their cold blood. Their head guard swore they would find me…they swore I could not hide…they swore I would die. They would take me or my brother in their blood-thirst. I glanced over to see if I can still see my brother through the snow. I think I can see just where he…wait! Dogs. I hear them rustling and growling as they forage through the snow, while the flakes still fall heavy. The group stops, moves, tracks and then moves further. They are getting closer and my heart is pounding. Can dogs hear that? I calm myself, close my eyes and breath steady. Suddenly, they are just a stone’s throw away! Should I jump and run? Should I hold my breath? SHOULD I…???”

“…MAKE THIS MORE DRAMATIC???”, bellows a rough half-laughing voice from beyond the stone hearth. The room fills with laughter as the tension begins to settle. Folks who were on the edges of their seats are now breathing a sigh of relief from the climatic building of a great story.

“Aye, Baron…ye’ve barely given us enough time to catch ire racing hearts!”, said a well-dressed man with mutton chops and pipe, looking as if he had been very enthralled in the story.

The Baron bellows with a hearty laugh himself. “Gwahahaa! I guess you are right, my friends! I did not bring you here to seize your hearts where you stand!”, he motions to a few young maidens that are modestly dressed and carry pitchers of wine, “Please! Make sure everyone’s goblet is full! I shall cut to the meat of this story and tell all of you why I have brought you to my humble home!”

Across the great room of this palace are around twenty or so guests; students, scholars, influential persons, travelling patrons, all of whom are friends or acquaintances of Baron Joaquim Wildhurst. His wealth is substantial, his power is blessed and his likeness is stunning. Everyone in the room gives him deserved attention as he stands beside the hearth in a silken half-opened shirt, durable britches and leggings, high-laced boots, and darkened robe and a cutlass strapped on his hip. His long hair black hair and matching fu-manchu show very distinct in the fire light. A group cheers in the corner as the maidens fill their cups.

The Baron clears his throat and the crowd grows silent once again. “Aye…I guess you realize that I did survive that day. I was fortunate enough to have a potion of invisibility, the last of several items that the House of the Circlet provided as provisions for me and my brother’s group to find the Yaun-ti hideout and destroy it. Things did not go as planned. Our group picked off, one by one, until the last two remaining tried running through the wilderness to return home unsuccessful. Only one came back.”. He lowered his head for a brief moment and mumbled a prayer to an unknown ear.

“Sixteen years ago. Sixteen long, painful years. The Yaun-ti have long since moved, but tales of their power is still strong within the lands. In that same amount of years, I, too, have become strong. I have learned deeply, I have respected the people of this land, I have given back by teaching what I have learned and shared in the knowledge of my experience and arts, and I have risen to power by your grace. The House of the Circlet favors upon me once again, to help the Duchy of Tenh and the Theocracy of the Pale; and it is the very reason I have asked you here. The House of the Circlet grows weary of the advances of the Bandit Kingdoms and we need those whom I have taught, those whom I have favored and those whom I have deemed worthy in my travels to help me face these aggressions. As the House of the Circlet has extended to me a full membership of the legion, I am asking of you gathered here to help me in my quest. Are you with me?!?”. The Baron bellows with the thrust of his goblet to the air…and the crowd in the room responds with a roar! The clinking of goblets and cheers fill the great room. A warm companionship fills the air.
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