Writing History

A Pathfinder Chronicle (with commentary)

The Tomb of Vordekai is located in the Northern corner of the Tors of Levenies. There is an ancient set of markers near the Northwest corner of the Tors that a local tribe of centaurs, referring to themselves as the Nomen, had placed to identify the area of danger, which principally consists of a 10,000 year old Cyclops graveyard.

“You know,” said Tangsen, “that almost makes it sound like the Nomen aren’t very bright.”

“People who forget the things they knew do not get high marks from me for erudition.” Gaeren dipped his quill in the inkwell and continued to scratch out the draft of the Chronicle.

“Says the confirmed alcoholic.” Tangsen muttered wryly.

The Tomb is built much like a cylinder atop a small island in the middle of a river. Our ranger companion theorized that it may have once been all of a piece with the cliffside, but was worn into a separate construction over time. We discovered an entrance at an elevated position and elected to go in that way, with our Druid companion providing aerial transport.

“Are you going to refer to them like that through the whole chronicle?” Tangsen asked.

“It’s the traditional method.” Gaeren replied. “I’ll name them at the end. The focus is supposed to be on what was done, not on who did it.”

“But we did some fairly awesome things.”

“True, but we let the facts bear that out…”

“That we’re awesome?”

“Quite.” Gaeren said with a half-grin.

“Okay then.” Tangsen said as he lit a pipe.

We backtracked the previous party’s route until we came to the feasting hall, described in testimony 4. While there, we encountered a quartet of Dread Zombies, as well as the animated remains of the previous party’s cleric. Thanks to some ingenious tactical planning and the prodigious crossbow skills of our Ranger companion, they were dispatched with a minimum of fuss.

“Don’t forget to add a timely grease spell.” Tangsen sniffed.

“Adding it now.” Gaeren replied. “Though that was really part of the ingenious planning. You’re coming along quite well in your understanding of tactical spellcasting.”

“And now I sound like teacher’s pet. Ugh.”

“Where’s my apple?”

“Somewhere dark…”

“Oh, your room then?”

“Shut up.”

“First give me the notes on the rooms. I’ll need to incorporate them into the narrative.”

“Why did I have to write those?” Tangsen complained.

“Because it pays to learn to be attentive.”

“And when will you do that?”

“When it pays better.” Gaeren replied, earning a harrumph from the other side of the room.

Having dispatched the elemental guardian in the outer chamber, we entered the throne room and encountered Vordekai himself. He was, by turns, dismissive and malevolent. He purposed to assault us with spells, but we did not grant him the opportunity, dealing him several terrible blows. He made an attempt to escape via a local teleportation, but his spellcasting was disrupted by swordwork. We destroyed his body, then found his phylactery in the copy pool in the throne room. Our Warrior companion smashed it utterly.

“Why don’t you refer to yourself?” Tangsen asked.

“What do you mean?”

“You say ‘swordwork,’ but I was watching – you specifically targeted his hands while he was trying to cast.”

“Like I said, it doesn’t matter who did it, only that it was done.”

“But someone could get the idea that someone else did it – like Ulgar or Galina.”

“Could they?”

Tangsen pondered, “…and then the readers know we can counter spellcasters, but they don’t know who specifically.”

“You really are quite clever, no matter what Akiros says.” This earned another snort. “Now I add in the details from the library about Vordekai and the Casmaron Empire, though I think that will go up front.”

“Up front?” Tangsen asked.

“Prelude should set the stage. Try and give them an idea of who it is we dispatched.”

“Sounds almost like you’re trying to impress people.”

“Some people, yes.” Gaeren continued writing.

Included in this chronicle are notes of historical interest, taken from stone rubbings and scraps of mostly-disintegrated books. Of the worthies who accompanied the Pathfinders on the expedition are the following:

Lord Lem of House Berrybrook, Champion of Ursundova
Lady Leilania of House Syphaisoma, Marshal of Ursundova
Lord Ulgar of House Ironbeard, General of the Army of Ursundova
Lady Galina of House Maximov
His Grace, Jacek of House Lodovka, First of His Name and Grand Duke of Ursundova

Grand Duke?” Tangsen exclaimed.

“It’s an appellation without legal significance and it will catch people’s attention.”

Tangsen considered that a moment. “Whose attention? And why is Galina a Lady all of a sudden?”

“According to the Ursundovan Constitution, anyone who sits on the Privy Council is invested with a noble title. It says nothing about them losing it should they leave the position.” Gaeren smiled to himself. “When I was training in Absalom, Mikhail Medvyed and I went to a Salon hosted by Lady Gloriana Morilla, probably the most influential Taldan in the city and the organizer of Taldor’s efforts to subvert the society to Taldan ends. While we were there, Mikhail was unfortunate enough to catch the lady’s attention. She muttered something about ‘jumped-up bumpkins playing at nobility.’ We found ourselves with no one to talk to soon enough and I consoled my friend with several bottles of wine and four rather limber ladies of negotiable companionship. What he told me, though, is what stuck with me. ‘If Lady Gloriana remarks on something, it will spread like a thought plague throughout the Taldan court.”

“So you want her to remark on Ursundova?” Tangsen asked.

“Precisely.” Gaeren replied. “It serves a twofold purpose. One – it spreads the names of the realm’s rulers into a neighboring land by an indirect vector, which will lead to it reaching the ears of those who think they’ve got us all figured out. They shall have to rethink their figures.”

“What’s the second?”

Gaeren’s smile tightened and his eyes narrowed. “Lady Gloriana has no bloody idea who Vordekai is or what he represented; while the spread of the news locally will, I suspect, make an impression on those in a position to understand what he was. When she dismisses us out of hand and is, in turn, corrected by those closer to the situation, she looks a fool and out-of-touch. Some slight repayment for my friend.”

“Gaeren,” Tangsen said, “sometimes, your mind bothers me.”

“No one does a hurt to my friends unanswered.” Gaeren signed the chronicle and gathered the papers together, sealing them in a wooden box for transit to Daggermark.


kitsuki Bookkeeper

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