Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Test of Faith

Barnathrum, known as the Lord of Warlocks was also one of several minor kings of the Whalebones: a collection of over fifty tiny Trackless Sea islands, some no larger a mile to two miles across. Over the past year Barnathrum worked tirelessly to accumulate power, wealth, as well as a trusted cohort. His mastery over diplomacy complemented his penchant for making pacts with evil outsiders.

Clara Graves was a necromancer and renowned island guide. Her beauty was legend across the Whalebones as petty kings vie for her attention by sending invitations for feasts and celebrations in her honor. Together Barnathrum and Clara worked behind the scenes to install a puppet-king as monarch of the Whalebones and themselves as his chief advisors. King Garr Ulfsson was just the Northman king they choose; strongest of any Finback islander and a keen naval warrior who cared little for the administration of the islands but who longed for open sea adventure. King Ulfsson was perfectly at ease while his advisors dealt with the day to day giving him leave to explore new islands and new dangers.

War came to the Sword Coast on this Year of Shadows as well as the calamitous godsfall; deities of Faerun found themselves dethroned and their crown jewels spread across the seven realms. The war, all over a stolen grimoire, started with an attack on a Luskan merchant caravel as a Rauthym warship searched for the stolen tome. Open sea conflict arose threatening all sea trade north of Waterdeep. The Northmen and pirate kings soon discovered that they had more in common than they had as differences and joined forces.

It was Barnathrum who advised King Ulfsson to band all the Whalebones kings together and join with Rauthym and Luskan to begin raiding the Sword Coast in large numbers, disrupting trade, and agriculture to monopolize sea trade in the North unawares of the genesis of the conflicts.

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Now on the deck of the newly seized Mermaid Sword, Barnathrum looked across the prow of the ship and spied the first of Luskan’s naval vanguard, a welcome sight and then turned to Clara.

“Ready the Waterdeep prisoners Sai.” Barnathrum said in a low voice, his hair and robes flapped briskly on the windy deck. “The Captain’s Confederation will have some questions for the Waterhavians.” He dismissed her by giving her the ship’s Ring of Water waking while looking at her solemnly.

“As you command,” Clara purred looking at Barnathrum lustfully. “Are we to keep them alive? The dead tell no falsities master, I can make them sing if it pleases you.”

“Yes my dear, High Captain Suljack wants that pleasure for himself… after of course he is satisfied they serve no further purpose and he has learned everything they know.” Barnathrum answered flatly.

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Below the two islanders Ord, Malakan, and Arnivon sat shackled and exhausted in the Mermaid Sword’s brig, a small dank room that was as cold as mid-winter’s night; their weapons and personals confiscated and the link to their god severed. Each had a look of dire expectations ahead, this was a test of faith that will either guarantee them position in the afterlife or damn them forever.

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