The Eternal Brotherhood
Season Two Teasers
The slavers had been careless. Their guards were poorly disguised hobgoblins, probably out of Winterhaven. If half of what the captives said could be believed, strange and dark things had been occurring out that way. It made no difference. Once Fallcrest was taken, they could begin to rebuild the Empire as it was. The Vale had for too long allowed time and the wild to claim their right. But that was for another day. At present, Markelhay sits the throne and weakens the city and its people.
Barristan had no ill will towards his neighbors, and even agreed with the Equal Tax Act, which evened the historically imbalanced tax rates on the various races. He could not stand that fellow from Limb Borough, and he kept his own men in line and prevented them from becoming racially motivated bullies. He was an outlier, though, and his opinions grated against the powers that be within the Sons of Nerath, so he found himself several leagues from the city, harassing any who tried to sell humans in Fallcrest.
For some reason, slavers had been carting hordes of slaves towards the city, and all of them human. It worked in the favor of the Sons, who could easily turn a displaced and frightened human to their cause after breaking their chains, but it made Barristan uneasy nonetheless. It was as if someone had ordered the slaves to be human, but who would do that considering the state of affairs in Fallcrest?
When the slavers were positioned just so, Barristan ordered the attack. He charged into the fray with his longsword and cut down a foe as its allies fell to mace and dagger and arrow. The work was quick. Barristan had earned his fame at tourney and in honorable battle, but he had begrudgingly learned the art of ambush just as well. He eyed the slaves warily. No warriors in this lot. Oh well, they could easily serve at headquarters, and might even be sent home. Recruitment is necessary and important, but filling the city with refugees would do no good unless… No, not even the worst part of the Sons would subject their precious humans to that.
The past few weeks had been good for Raff. He had been working as a stable hand for years, with bad pay and worse working conditions. There were times when the horses which he cared for were better fed than he. All in all, the Sons of Nerath had been good to Raff, and he had taken it upon himself to return the favor. Raff was never what someone might call a smart man, but he knew how public opinion worked. The Sons had been earning themselves a bad reputation, and Raff did what he could to put a stop to it. He organized food drives and community service efforts to aid the poor of Fallcrest, and made sure none were refused, human or otherwise. As a result, the people of Fallcrest began to thaw their feelings towards the Sons.
The higher command within the Sons had noticed his efforts, although not all of them approved. It seemed as though the only way to advance within the organization was to be a cruel extremist. Fortunately for Raff, it seemed as though things were changing. He reread the letter which a courier left for him. It instructed Raff to come to the Lucky Gnome, which seemed odd to him, as the Sons had refused to patronize the place since Kelson was “evicted” from the place. Raff followed the instructions anyway, and rented a room from the drunken tiefling who ran the place. He waited for a few hours before dozing off.
A sudden knock at his door aroused Raff, and he hastened to answer it. It was only a serving maid, however, who came to clean up and empty the chamber pot. Raff was simultaneously relieved and disappointed. This business had him on edge, but he knew big things were coming his way. He had proven himself to the Sons and he would never again have to muck out another stable.
Then he felt the dagger.
Faren Markelhay had been Lord Warden of Fallcrest for almost thirty-five years. He had defended his city against gnolls, orcs, ogres, kobolds, and various other threats. He had developed a fair but strict justice system and revitalized the economy. However, he had never had to face civil strife. Things were getting worse in the streets of Fallcrest, and he needed to plan for the worst. He decided to send the three children of his who remained in Fallcrest south to join their brother, Doran, who had been serving under a lordling near the sea. They must not come to harm should the Sons turn to revolution. He begged his wife, Allande, to join them, but she refused. She had always been his closest advisor, and she would not leave his side.
Faren could not comprehend how the Sons had gathered so much power. Surely someone was working behind the scenes to ensure they gathered strength, but he had no idea who or what it could be. Fortunately he had friends of his own. When a quarter (a quarter!) of his guardsmen resigned in protest of the Equal Tax Act, Armos Kamroth stepped in and donated a few dozen warforged soldiers to the city. These guards were efficient, cheap to maintain, and could do twice the work in half the time of his other guards. As little as he liked Kamroth, Faren was grateful for his assistance and named him Master of Coin, a position for which he had been yearning for years. With any luck, those heroes whom he sent to Winterhaven would return with good news. Maybe they could even help with this nuisance…