Sunday, March 29, 2015

Westmist Session #92 - Insurrection!

The party now knew they were being watched by Jax; and it was possible he already knew what they were planning. So the time had finally come to put everything into motion, to usurp the March Baron and place Duncal in charge of the March Barony. Having the March Baron in town was a complication, but it was now or never. First order of business was brains. The two guards were relieved of theirs, and Kern set about distilling their grey matter to use in the cerebral shield. Meanwhile, Stonehell went into lock down. No one from the Stonehell Resistance or from Sir Janus' group were allowed to leave, and no one was going to get into their lair. Shortly after, Cal from the SR came to report someone or something was lurking just outside their defenses. The party moved out, and Erijay used her mini-meerkat and clairvoyance to scout. The spy proved to be a wererat. Erijay slipped forward and tried to charm the creature, but it sensed her attempt and slipped off into the darkness. A quick scout around did not reveal any more spies, so it was decided to just let the were rat go and focus on preparations. Which also included a mass of invisibility spells to shield everyone but Jasper from view when they moved on Westmist.

Because the plan was to have Jasper (who was unknown in Westmist) to present himself and the barbarians as mercenaries for hire to Lord Merdwyn. Having ingratiated himself into Lord Merdwyn's good side, the party and their supporters could strike by surprise and take out Jax and the March Baron. The Stonehell Resistance, Sir Janu,s and Duncal were left behind to await developments.  Jasper collected a dozen of the biggest and meanest looking barbarians, and with the party invisibly in tow, headed to Westmist. On arrival, it would appear they had been expected, for all the gates were barred and patrols mounted the walls. Hollering out to the guards, Jasper asked that Lord Merdwyn came out to parlay.  It took some time, but soon the March Baron (accompanied by Jax, Bazzrel, Liphanes and a gaggle of guards) appeared on the wall. He was immediately hostile, letting Jasper know he was aware of his connection with the party, as well as this act of invasion they've performed by bringing a barbarian tribe across the Great River. This was just the type of incursion the March Baron was supposed to guard the Kingdom against, and he had no intention of parlay. Riders had already gone east to inform the king and summon the royal companies to his aid.  Lord Merdwyn suggested Jasper take the tribe and the rest of the party and clear out before the hammer fell. And with that, he turned his back and left the wall.
Jasper and the barbarians retreated to discuss next steps with the party. They decided to use a bigger stick, and Kern headed off to summon the whole Ram tribe and bring them in view of the town walls. Meanwhile, Duncal was collected from Stonehell. With everything in place,  the party now approached the walls and once more summoned the March Baron. He arrived again with his entourage, and this time Kern did the talking. He accused the March Baron of conspiring with Jax and his foul deeds, that the King would  be interested to here of all the terrible things going on in Westmist. He also shouted for all inside the walls to here that Lord Merdwyn was not the rightful ruler of Westmist, that the party had returned with Duncal, the rightful heir. Kern also threatened the March Baron with death and destruction if the barbarian hoard was released upon the town, and that the blood of all would be on his hands.Kern demanded Jax's head, and that the March Baron give up Westmist to Duncal. While Lord Merdwyn and Kern argued and negotiated, Jax could be seen getting more and more agitated. As Lord Merwyn began to bargain with Kern, Jax alternately looked angrily at the March Baron and glared with frustration at Kern and the rest of the party.
Lord Merwyn reached an agreement with Kern. Duncal would take Westmist as a vassal of the Count Palatine and deal with the fallout from the Kingdom. The barbarians would be settled in the March Barony (and again Duncal would deal with the fallout). And Jax would be removed from power, and from Westmist, but would not be killed. At this point Jax exploded in anger, waving his hands to an apparently blank section of wall. There suddenly appeared there a women with red hair, hands moving as she cast a spell. Kern and Erijay immediately recognized her as Alia, an old foe thought long dead. Alia finished her spell casting and blasted the party with a lightning bolt. As the party moved to retaliate, both Alia and Jax disappeared in a cloud of mist and drifted out of sight. Chaos ensued, and the sounds of fighting could be heard inside the walls. Some time later, the gates opened and Lord Merdwyn emerged with the remainder of Jax's guard at sword point. He sealed the deal with the party, with one addition; that they take out Jax and Alia as part of the deal. Lord Merdwyn explained that Jax was a vampire. Even so, he had long served the March Baron faithfully. But it would seem power had gone to his head, and he had now turned on his old friend and mentor. Where Alia came into the picture he was not sure; she had been in the dungeons below the keep since her capture by the party almost two years ago. He had learned from Jax's guard that the vampire had discovered some old ruins or tunnels below the keep, and it is presumably there he and Alia had fled. Lord Merdwyn offered the Jax's captured men to the party as a token of good faith, and urged the party to hunt down the fugitives without delay. In the meantime, Lord Merdwyn would stay in charge of Westmist, and Duncal and the rest of the party's supporters were to stay outside the town until it was time to hand over power.

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