In summary: we now will have plenty of cash coming in. We may fail stability, but with Rainor on the job we can buy unhappy peasants off by building houses.
It has been a season since I last wrote. Several things – of course – have happened, but our situation is much less dire than it was.
When last I wrote, we were very much hoping to get Melanae (the Nixie) helping us with administration, in particular with The Art. It makes sense, you know, even though the fey can be difficult – an understatement if ever there was one!
Melanae was upset about her trees being cut down and wanted them replaced. So we decided to head to Oleg’s and see if we could order in five Qualls Feather Tokens of “tree”. But we decided to go by way of some of the unexplored are in the western forest.
Directly to the west we found some sort of hermit who simply attacked us. He was – a very tough opponent and showed me a thing or three about stabbing someone while they are looking the other way. We did defeat him, eventually, although who knows how it would have gone if Morgana hadn’t blinded him (creepiest thing in the world to watch cataracts form in someone’s eyes in a matter of seconds). Even blinded he was tough.
Following the river west and north, we found an old fort, which it turned out was inhabited by some sort of frog creatures. Negotiations went sour pretty quickly, and a fight broke out. We cleared out the fort – by which I mean we killed the people there. It’s a little too far out to assert title, but when we do I think it might prove a very handy border defense.
North and west again from there was an abandoned village. Rainor believes that it was attacked from further west, but really it’s a bit far out to investigate. Something to keep in mind.
This all took a week, so from there we headed in to Oleg’s and placed our orders (collecting the bounty for the Tzatselwryms). As we had already spent nearly two weeks away and it would take a week to get back, we headed straight home.
The next month, well, we spent at the fort. Jope was ruling, I think, and arranging for a proper smithy with a resident smith. Morgana brewed up an absolute storm and made a bucket of cash, which we all spent on items on account of she was uncharacteristically silent about what should be done with the money. She and I both got in one of those headbands to improve your memory, and frankly it’s been a godsend in helping me to keep various … names and activities straight, let’s say. I scribed some more scrolls. Eventually our Quall’s Feather Tokens arrived. Everything safe and secure, it was time to head out to Melanae. But first: a detour.
We investigated the eastern side of the lake, looking for this enormous turtle for bounty. We found its lair, right enough, and just went straight in. Another tough fight – ever tried shooting at a turtle? They have shells, you know. But we managed to put it down, eventually. We took the carcass back to the castle (quite a collection of offal we are accumulating), and his lordship orderd the shell be made into an enormous bathtub. A bit of a waste – that shell would have made several very fine compound bows – but he explained to me that it’s important for a lord to be seen as acting like a lord, and that means publicly wasting money.
It was time to go see Melanae. Morgana brewed a potion of Eagle’s Splendour just for the occasion, to see if we could take a little more of the uncouth off His Lordship (the crown definitely helps). It was all very formal and careful, of course. Melanae was very happy to have some trees back, and agreed to assist our little barony with the arts. With some conditions – a week off to visit her grove, a little shrine or park to be built by the water at the castle, she gets to veto anything relating to the western forest, and a caster’s tower to be built when possible.
Well, this was all very agreeable. I’m interested in seeing what a Nixie’s idea of a caster’s tower might be. We built her a shrine to the elements, starting work more or less straight away. It was unexpectedly expensive, using up about all of our reserves. But absolutely worth it – she is a marvel. She applied the arts of “Feng Shui” to our castle and grounds, did something (I don’t know what) to the farms, and in short with her doing whatever and Morgana looking after the budget our money worries are more or less over for now.
I’ve chipped in as well – I’ve stopped chasing up dissidents among the peasantry and I’m currently concentrating on tax evasion and white collar crime (smuggling, dodgy weights and measures, people hiding their taxes under the floorboards – that sort of thing). Things may get a shade out of hand, but Rainor can deal with it and we can always buy people off with housing and the public works we can now afford.
So, things are going well enough for the present. We need to resume expanding in the near future.