Painful exertion is somehow always exhilarating. Spent the last nine days training with Kesten. I am bruised and bloodied for the effort, but feel at my physical peak nonetheless.
Numerous developments during the last nine days as well. For one, a woman named Lily Tesskarten has joined the community. She is undeniably attractive, but also a shameless flirt. I confess, I am mystified. When someone acts as though every person they encounter is someone they would like to wrestle into their blankets, does it not devalue the invitation? That said, she suffers from no lack of fans, and so will likely feel very welcome here. For a while anyway.
We also caught wind of a rumor that would seem to confirm Akiros’ story about the zombies at the Stag Lord’s fortress. Apparently an entire cultish order of evil monks and priests previously lived in the area. Gyronna would seem to be the logical patron deity of such an order.
But of greatest import, we have received a new charter. The Swordlords of Restov and the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne have recognized our recent efforts, and have granted us exceptional trust and authority based on the results. We are to officially establish a kingdom of our own, defining the laws and means of rule as we see fit. They have also granted us the incredible stipend of fifty thousand gold crowns to help build such a duchy.
We have decided to use the north shore of the Tuskwater as the site of our initial settlement. We have a mind to build towards the gold mine we discovered, and ultimately north to Oleg’s trading post and west to the Temple of the Elk. Our kingdom will be ruled by a traditional potentate, and WE have compromised by setting up a system of laws that will encourage goodness (somewhat to Ce Me No’s annoyance), but which will also split the difference between the law and order that I prefer, and the more free-wheeling style Morrigan prefers.
With Morrigan – Duchess Morrigan now – the obvious choice as ruler, the task is left to provide her with a council of advisors and administrators. Wiry and cunning Ce Me No has quickly volunteered for the job of Spymaster, responsible for monitoring whispers and rumors to help stabilize our fledgling state. Our old friend Tōgg has joined an organization known as the Pathfinder Society, but he has also volunteered to serve as Magister to the realm. His magical knowledge and learning should help build invaluable fonts and repositories of knowledge. I am currently undecided on a position, as is our new companion Rabbi Lyon. We have set about seeing what talent is available (and willing) among the locals.
To that end, we headed out to the Temple of the Elk to ask Jhod to serve as the new kingdom’s High Priest. We arrived at the temple without incident. Apparently his temple cleaning has been going very well. Sloth has unsurprisingly been quite helpful in reaching things on the top shelf for Jhod. Sloth was happy to meet Duchess Morrigan, though he managed to tear her dress in his excitement, followed by him apologizing profusely.
I found myself in a very uncomfortable position. On the one hand, the prospect of Duchess Morrigan being slightly less covered by a dress is not without its visceral appeal. On the other, I have already lost one ruler to a violent giant – I do NOT intend to lose a second. Sloth still seems good-natured enough. But regrettably, I’m just not sure I can find it my heart to judge him less harshly than the other members of his species. That may be unfair to him as an individual, but to do otherwise would be foolish given the well-earned reputation of the evil races of giants… That Duchess Morrigan can see her way clear to treating him not merely with courtesy, but with friendliness? Well, perhaps that speaks to the idea of her being a great soul – or at least, greater than me. Then again, perhaps this is just another instance of her being just a little bit mad… Such a trait can be invaluable in a leader. But it can also get them into terrible trouble. I see it as my duty to safeguard against that.
In the end, Jhod has agreed to serve as High Priest after some assurances from Duchess Morrigan. First, that Erastil will have primacy in the religious hierarchy of the new kingdom. Second, that his duties would only require travel to the new capital a few days out of the month. This will leave him time to pursue his passion of refurbishing the Temple of the Elk. With that post filled, we’ll head back to Oleg’s in the morning to try and flesh out the rest of Duchess Morrigan’s Duchal Council.