The eight of you have arrived in the great hall of Queen Eisa's palace, and stand arrayed before the Bleached Throne, the ornately carved whalebone chair that has been the traditional seat of the monarchs of Scurdaeg for the past 300 years, recovered by Queen Eisa's predecessors after the 200 year Interregnum after the War of Six Thrones, before which it was used for millennia by the cruel iron-fisted kings of Old Drenheim in the distant past.
The throne rests upon a dais raised 10 feet off the ground. The rest of the hall is empty of people; benches and tables line the walls, and tapestries of great battles adorn the gray stone walls, and the vaulted ceiling is supported by rows of ornately carved columns. Whether you answered the queen's summons, or followed your own hearts to the city for reasons unknown to you till now, the Iron Queen herself gazes upon you from her lofty perch with eyes gray as the sea during a storm.
"I thank you all for answering the summons," the queen intones in a strong but not unkind voice. "Indeed, others loyal to Scurdaeg answered the call as well...but I culled them from your number, as I can use only the hardiest of souls for what I intend; and those souls are you."
She stands from her throne and descends the stairs from the dais, her royal robe of gray wool lined with white wolf fur trailing behind her, her staff of office clanking on the stones rhythmically, the polished adamantine of her sword hilt at her belt flashing in the light, her crown resting comfortably on her braided flaxen locks, the single large sapphire gleaming in the thin steel band. She comes to stand before you, addressing you individually.
"Master Anton," the queen said to the halfling, "
|Crown Prince Aelfgar, a high-ranking Knight of the Iron Glacier, older brother to Eisa's second child, Princess Abelena|
Moving on to Lyeth, the queen says, "And dear Lyeth. Your superiors have told me you have performed most excellently and humbly in the order of Arbiters, and that many reckless lawbreakers have been acquainted with the palace jail cells thanks to your relentless hunting. I'm sure you will be a most valuable asset to this team. And, if it comes to it, I believe you may be a fine conduit between us and the elves of Heleg'Nor."
Now standing before the wizard Garn, the queen eyes him up and down and says, "Master Taberic, your leader, Archmage Thoven, has spoken highly of the quality of your spellcraft and dedication to research. 'Prodigious,' I believe, was the word he used to describe your abilities. I trust his judgment; and as such, it is my firm hope and belief that you will be able to shed the light of arcane knowledge on the issues that I believe are beginning to plague the North."
Next is Corynn Rayess, the ex-soldier. The queen smiles slightly and narrows her eyes. "Master Rayess, I reviewed your records after you were terminated from service; and I honestly never would have expected to see you standing before me today. But despite your unruly behavior, the records are undeniable; you were a good soldier, skilled at what you do. I don't know what has happened in the meantime, and I'm not sure I want to know; all I ask is that you display the skill and loyalty you did when you first served, and that will be enough for me."
She then moved on to Ruln, the hulking Neanderthal who looked so out of place in the hall of the Iron Queen. She eyes Ruln curiously, and not without a slight hint of caution from her body language. "Ruln," she says. "An old name. Older than Scurdaeg, maybe even older than the tyrant kings of ancient Drenheim. A true native of the North. I know not exactly why or how you have come here, but I do know that your people do not pursue things out of frivolous fancy. Whyever you are here, it is something extremely important to you. I can use someone of such steadfastness on my side. I just hope that our purposes may coincide, and foster a mutually beneficial relationship."
Eisa next lays her eyes upon the strangest thing she has yet seen in her court: the orc, Deresk. "Now here is something I never thought I would see," she says with a hint of wonder. "A respected member of clan Redtusk standing in my court, unguarded, not hostile. I hope you will forgive me, but most of your kin I have seen were either lying dead upon the field of battle or stealing off with travelers in the night. My scouts in the wilderness tell me a change has come to the power structure of the orc tribes in the North; whatever has happened, you clearly are different from your savage brethren. Perhaps you may be of use in this team's journeys to uncover the encroaching peril so few have felt."
Now, Queen Eisa crosses her arms and levels a piercing gaze upon Uldin, the dwarven cleric and ambassador from Gildar Hold in the great Skyspear Mountains of the mainland in the south. "And Master Hadderhek," she says simply. "I trust your accommodations have been satisfactory? Certainly not as...luxurious...as the glittering halls of Gildar Hold. But in your time here you've proven to be a shrewd and stubborn diplomat, and the tales of your exploits upon the battlefield have preceded you. I hope and trust your mace and prayers will avail themselves against the shadowy forces arraying against us...for both our people's sakes."
Finally, she turns her gaze on L'lef, the tall, pale-blue-skinned-and-haired human from the circle of arctic druids. "And of course, Master T'sorf," she says. "The druids of your order are a secretive and reclusive lot, but are unquestionably the masters of the lore and nature of the North, a bastion of what good can come out of the savage earth. We do not have much contact with them here, but they are respected and honored just as the biting north wind; their knowledge and skill not to be questioned, but acknowledged as what it is. Your guide, Rohn, spoke very highly of your knowledge and skill; almost as if you had been born with the blood of the North itself. I believe your intimate knowledge of the North and its wild strangeness will be extremely useful to our endeavors here."
The queen then went back in front of all of you.
"Now, let us adjourn to the feast hall, where your bones will be warmed and your bellies filled with the best provender Scurdaeg can provide, such as it is, and we will discuss in more detail what I will wish of you all. Come, this way."
|You can talk to each other here, or just say what you're thinking etc., ask questions and all that|