Sir Thorne’s Letter Home #5
Dear Father and Mother,
It has been a full year of ups and downs as you may imagine. Surely the news of IronHold’s destruction has reached the eyes and ears of Restov by now! Fear not! For after we put out the fires, we slew the beast that wreaked havoc upon the capitol by mine own command. It was traced to a series of caverns in the southeast… you will have to ask Rufus for exact directions. That man seems to have a nose better than most dogs these days! What we found there was a mess… Owl Bears big and small slaughtered, and plenty of sell swords to boot were dead, but the one we sought was still living. We defeated it once and for all, and only afterwards discovered a lone owling survivor. Upon further investigation, it seems as though it may have been goaded into attacking our fair city. Pity. I have taken liberty in bringing this small one back to IronHold for its care and proper attention.
Rebuilding the capitol has been of maximum priority! Months and months of toil and labor have shown an IronHold even stronger than before. Population, surplus, and happiness are at an all-time high. Except for that bandit, “the Fox”, who blew up the blasted Grigori’s Grundel! I mean honestly, who blows up a tavern?! On a brighter note, our brand new Academy, of which we named after our late Magister Stolliad, has attracted scholars near and far! One such man, Anaxamander Ghulsteen, a childhood friend of Stolliard’s, left his high position in Brevoy at the rumor! He was so impressed that he offered me his aid in any and all things in exchange that he has a place at the school. His mastery of the arcane arts is unparalleled… he shows me a fine trick every time I see him and it is delightful! I have written them all down as I see them, as he assures me it is as easy as memorizing the words!
In any case, I must digress! I write to you because I am home! Or at least, I was… A missive from Mayor Ioseph Sellemus himself beckoned us back into the north post haste. In an act of grandeur I traveled north with a retainer befit the stature of Duke. I am the Iron Duke now, if it pleases you. The city has not changed much, but there is an underlying uneasiness everywhere I go, as if a pot of water near simmer. We were greeted kindly enough and met those who have been making the decisions around here for most of my young life. I even met a real Aldori Swordmaster! It became apparent that serious issues were at hand, and they in no political position to outright help. Varnhold, a settlement to the SouthEast across the mountains, has sent no word for months… most irregular. As you know, we were originally chartered to settle the Stolen Lands, as were other adventuring parties in adjacent lands, by the political heads of Restov. However, with the mounting tension with Brevoy to the north, they must not risk any action that may be mistaken for an act of expansion or power grabbing! In fact, it has slowly come to my attention that anyone north of Restov knows anything about the new southern settlements!!!
A minor noble named Tobin, was the last known man to travel south into Varnhold, and word of his arrival has been mute. This was weeks ago… a grave sign. The Iron Tide had heard enough… we would investigate Varnhold and its recent irregularities immediately, although in a quiet matter of course. There is also the supposed matter of feisty Centaurs who roam the lands about the mountains near Varnhold. Duty calls Father! We had to leave the same day we arrived; although I so much wanted to show you how big Noble Steed has grown!
The begging of our travel procured many characters on the way to Varnhold, with all manner of requests and pleas. We must help them all! For the good of the land! However, days of late we have seen fewer and fewer man or beast, even a dead body along the road is eerily similar to the description of Tobin. In fact, the last few farmhouses have been outright abandoned! Varnhold grows near, I feel it!
Sir Francis Thorne, the Iron Duke