Somerville Burning Cabal

Session 1
The City of Qom

Farkas the Bastard stalks into the palace, looking for the traitor to the King that he suspects is in the King’s Court. He finds the noble Lady Jezebel, who complains about the advances of TonTon, and tells Farkas of TonTon’s sleeping nook behind a palace staircase.

Farkas finds TonTon there and intimidates him into leaving his nook without having the time to take his things with him. Farkas searches for something to link TonTon to the Lion, but finds nothing. He takes one of TonTon’s matched throwing daggers, though. TonTon takes refuge in the kitchens, where he entertains and helps with the cooking.

Meanwhile, Taneskel is tailing the Court Librarian, who is deep in conversation with the Court Wizard. Farkas notices him and stops to question, but is allayed by the aura of fear that seems to flow out of Taneskel. The Librarian and Wizard enter the Chancellor’s offices. Taneskel convinces the guards outside the offices to leave, and then eavesdrops on the discussion between the Chancellor, Librarian, and Wizard regarding a particular book from the secret library.

Idle in the courtyard with his master’s horse, Khunbish practices his trick bow skills, but manages to frighten, rather than awe, spectators.

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Session 2
Ill-Received Gift

Taneskel looks for a library clerk with a known penchant for theft, seeking to use such a clerk to obtain the book Seeing the Unseen from the secret library. Farkas looks for anyone who can tell him of previous caravan attacks, hoping to use this as evidence for a future discussion with the King. He knows of such a soldier, but needs a horse to get to him. TonTon looks for a pious, young court page that he can dupe into sending a coded message to the Lion.

Farkas asks Khunbish to give him a horse. Khunbish, who doesn’t trust the Master of Horses, attempts to convince Farkas to take the horse he knows the best, the Chancellor’s horse. After a discussion, Khunbish grudgingly directs Farkas to the Master of Horses, who demands a note from the King before he will release a horse. Another discussion later, the Master reveals that, even if given such a letter, he would be hard pressed to loan out a horse, given the necessary preparations that are required for the upcoming caravan to deliver tax collections to the City of Coins. He freely relates the history of previous caravan attacks, which was the information that Farkas was looking for.

Taneskel wanders through a bad part of town and gets jumped by two thugs with knives. One Fire Breath and one botched casting later — granting everyone in sixty paces a temporary form of magesense — the thugs run away and Taneskel likewise leaves before the city guard can arrive.

Departing the stables, Farkas notices TonTon talking to a court page, but TonTon doesn’t realize he was seen. TonTon convinces the page to deliver a particular donation, two pears and a pomegranate, to a particular shrine just outside the city. The message to the Lion: the caravan leaves in two days. TonTon then looks for a flower to put into a pot as a gift to the Lady Jezebel, but instead fills a cracked bowl stolen from the kitchens with manure. Explaining the gift in song, it is not well-received.

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Session 3
Failure and Exile

Taneskel fails to find someone who can give him a pair of shoes, and finally breaks down and purchases some.

Khunbish asks the Chancellor for permission to accompany the caravan, laden with tax collections, to the City of Coins. The Chancellor balks, asking who would be his groom if that were to happen. Khunbish promises to find a suitable replacement. After mucking about in the stalls, he finds Jerd the Groom, convinces him to commit to the job, and introduces him to the Chancellor. The Chancellor and Khunbish visit the Constable, so that Khunbish can be recommended for a job on the caravan.

Farkas tries to set up a meeting with the King so that he and his platoon can be assigned to the caravan, but obviously can’t use normal, public channels because he is the Royal Bastard. He looks for rumors about where the King might sneak off to for a drink and checks some of the less reputable watering holes, but ends up using a military messenger to write and convey a message to the Constable destined for the King, dropping some confidential information about the exact date of the caravan’s departure and hinting of a possible attack.

Taneskel is summoned by the Viceroy to a meeting at the temple. The Court Wizard of Qom convinces the Viceroy that Taneskel deserves exile for frightening the populace with his magical display the night before. Taneskel departs Qom with his meager possessions via the gate facing the City of Coins.

The message having its intended effect, Farkas is summoned to meet with the Constable. During this meeting, with the Chancellor and Khunbish also present, more information arrives of an impending assault, on both the city and the caravan, by the Lion’s forces. Farkas and Khunbish convince the Constable to treble the forces guarding the caravan, providing an irresistible lure for the Lion.

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Session 4
Bath Fight

Flashing back to the night of TonTon’s ill-received gift, Farkas and Khunbish rescue TonTon from the guards that Jezebel had summoned. Not finding a court fountain suitable for cleaning up TonTon, they go into the city and get jumped by thugs. Farkas slowly wins TonTon’s trust by defending him, and Khunbish unluckily gets stabbed before he can shoot his bow. Eventually TonTon is able to escape the fight and call the city guards.

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Session 5
Caravan Preparations

Farkas and Khunbish prepare for the caravan’s departure and the secret plan to envelope the the Lion‘s oncoming army. Farkas and Lord Paz jockey for position and control of the caravan forces. Despite it being Farkas and Khunbish’s plan, Lord Paz asserts his authority, and Farkas acknowledges this.

TonTon attempts to learn more about the caravan’s plans, by dressing up, singing, and mocking the nobles of the court. This gets him thrown in jail, where Jezebel visits him. TonTon promises to never bother her again, and Jezebel lets slip that her brother is part of the “caravan guard” which is actually going to strike the Lion!

Taneskel, outside the city gates, buys food, fails to buy a sword, anxiously awaits the departure of the caravan. He watches the stars for an omen.

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Session 6
Scouting and an Invitation

After approaching and watching the conversation between Farkas and Lord Paz, Taneskel is noticed. When prompted by Paz, Taneskel attempts, poorly, to convince Paz that he is a useful and worthy hire for the caravan. Taneskel starts to bring up literacy as a useful skill, but Farkas interrupts and intimidates him, and the words don’t quite make it out. Failing miserably, Lord Paz forbids Taneskel from joining or following the caravan and warns that Paz does not want to see him again. Taneskel watches as the caravan passes him by.

That night, Farkas and Khunbish, along with part of Farkas’s platoon, survey the Lion‘s army that is covertly tailing them. They accurately determine the army’s location without being noticed. Trying to impress Lord Paz by showing the distance he can cover, Taneskel uses sorcery to transform in a falcon and fly ahead of the caravan. While doing so, he also spots the encamped army following the caravan. Farkas’s party neither notices nor is noticed by Taneskel. Farkas and company return to the caravan to report to Lord Paz early in the morning.

Landing about an hour ahead of the caravan, Taneskel has a good night’s rest, wakes up with the dawn, and writes a note to Lord Paz, explaining what he saw about the army “with his own eyes”. He waits on the road, note ready, for the caravan’s scouts to find him.

Lord Paz reads the note, and passes it to Farkas, asking “What do you make of this?”. Farkas admits he can’t read. Paz explains what the note says, and asks for the guards to bring Taneskel. Farkas and Paz question Taneskel’s claims to everyone’s satisfaction, but without Taneskel realizing that they already have this information. Privately, Paz and Farkas confer, and Farkas concludes there is a spy in his company! Paz admits that he suspects the Mongol, but Farkas denies this and goes off to find the real spy. Also in private, Paz asks Taneskel how he came by this information, and Taneskel claims that he flew, as a falcon. Paz requests proof by asking Taneskel to fly, and land on his arm, in three hours time. Taneskel agrees to this, but humbly asks for some food. Taneskel enjoys the provisions as the caravan leaves him behind once more.

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Session 7
Spies and Horses

At the appointed time, Taneskel sneaks off the road and away from any prying eyes, and once more calls upon his sorcery to take the shape of a falcon. Taking a circuitous route, he flies to the caravan and lands on Lord Paz’s arm. Paz, now convinced, announces to the caravan that this is clearly an auspicious sign, an omen from the gods. Taneskel departs.

As the caravan moves along the bottom of a ravine, a handful of people notice something along the top of the northern edge. Khunbish takes a horse and goes to investigate. Behind him, Farkas orders his scout with the best eyes to quickly look up, but Kurtz claims to not see anything… and Farkas doesn’t believe him. Farkas orders Kurtz to grab a horse and follow him, despite the protests of Kurtz who claims to be merely a foot scout with no riding skills. Taneskel-as-falcon also surveys the edge of the ravine.

Three men, scouts, have walked back to their horses and ride hard, northward, tailed by Khunbish, Farkas, Kurtz, and Taneskel. There is a chase, and arrows fly. One scout is lucky to be alive, saved by his armor, from the shots of Khunbish. After an intense chase, finally Khunbish and Farkas manage to bring down the scouts. Farkas orders Kurtz to tie them up, and Khunbish leads the captured scouts to the caravan as if they were prized livestock. Taneskel-as-falcon continues in the direction the scouts were taking, and finds another, hitherto unknown, company of soldiers, just west of the army already following the caravan.

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Session 8
An Evening with the Torturer

Taneskel lands in advance of the caravan and walks back to report to Lord Paz. He is quickly spotted by the caravan’s scouts, but refuses to explain how he got there. They shoot him with arrows and drag him off to be interrogated by Lord Paz’s torturer.

Khunbish returns the horses he misappropriated to chase the spies that were surveying the caravan. The Horsemaster also wants the three new horses that were captured along with the spies, but Khunbish refuses, claiming that they belong to Farkas. Khunbish is taken into custody.

Farkas argues with the guards holding Khunbish as Taneskel is dragged, limp, to the torturer. Some quick work later, the torturer asks how Taneskel got ahead of the caravan, and Taneskel admits to the torturer that he flew. The torturer believes him. Lord Paz shows up, hears Taneskel’s report, and has him sent to get patched up by Paz’s doctor. Paz and Farkas argue about the next course of action.

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Session 9
Fealty and Flight

Farkas and Lord Paz discuss what to do with Taneskel. Farkas doesn’t trust him but wants to hire him to keep him close. Paz is noncommittal.

Taneskel gets patched up by the doctor, has a quick discussion on where to find good surgical tools, and is summoned to a meeting with Lord Paz. Paz asks Taneskel to join his court of advisers, on the condition that he kill the Court Wizard of Qom. Nothing would actually please Taneskel more, but what he really wants is access to the Secret Library of Qom. Paz promises him access should Taneskel be successful in killing the Court Wizard, and Taneskel swears fealty to Paz, unto death or until released from service by Paz.

Farkas gets permission from Paz to release Khunbish, which he enacts. Taneskel is also assigned to Farkas for their upcoming break toward Qom. Khunbish, feeling betrayed by the theft of his horse by Lord Paz, steals back his horse and rides off into the night.

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Session 10
Khunbish Turns

Khunbish rides through the night, seeking to intercept the Lion’s army in its march on Qom that he might “Take the measure of its leader, General Atrius.” Disgusted by his treatment by Lord Paz, Khunbish betrays Paz’s and Farkas’ plan to assassinate Atrius during the upcoming battle. He does not manage to meet with Atrius in exchange for this information, but he does remain in the keeping of Atrius’s personal guard.

Farkas and company set off on the mission to assassinate Atrius. Taneskel accompanies them for his own mission in Qom. Farkas sends Taneskel to scout the enemy but also sends some of his own scouts. Taneskel hopes as well to keep an eye out for Khunbish in his midnight ride, but fails to spot him. He does notice a few arrows from Atrius’s men. They follow Taneskel back to Farkas and try to jump him. He manages to kill one scout with Fire Breath before the other two flee, chased by Farkas and his men.

Back in the city, TonTon is released from the palace prison in the hope that he and his jailer might aid in the city’s defenses. TonTon manages to secure the job of keeping morale up. And he uses his newfound respectability to make a new approach to Jezebel, presenting himself as a reformed rascal now earnest in the hope of keeping the city safe. She reveals that Paz was rewarded with the mission against Atrius after having brought the King’s Constable vital intelligence about the planned attack. She also hints that the King’s competence is being questioned by some noble factions and that she (and her as yet unnamed brother) favor the ascendency of Paz.

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