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Writings > Stories and Fiction > Introduction Stories: Scenes From the Court
Introduction Stories: Scenes From the Court
Published by Dragavan on 2006/11/5 (7247 reads)
This is one of a collection of short stories that are used in the introduction of the main book to help describe the scope of what can be done in Land of Karn: Fantasy Role-Playing Game. They were not designed as whole stories, but snippets to be used as examples of different kinds of styles and themes you can include in your games using the LoK rules.

Scenes From the Court
Old Senton City was once the capital of the Senton Kingdom, before it expanded to the size it is now and required more room. Now the old city is just a shadow of its former glory, tarnished by the ruins and damaged buildings outside its inner walls. Most of those assigned to serve here (either politically or militarily) look at it as a punishment or simply that they are being shunned by the royal court. For the most part this is usually true.

Duke Elwin of the family Nelroon, however, has used his position as ruler of the city and surrounding lands to gain the respect and acknowledgment of the king. He is known for having turned what is often looked at as a joke and turning it into a position of honor. Unfortunately this respect has not spread to the rest of the court in the House of Nelroon and things continue as they have.
-

In the east parlor of the castle, now dubbed Castle Nelroon, the three Nelroon daughters sit, sipping tea and talking away the afternoon. In the darkened corner of the room sits Teven, one of the house servants, waiting for his next order of "Fetch me this."

The eldest daughter, Salowin, who is also the only one already married, looks at the others saying, "So, Elis, how are things going with Sir Darentine? Do we see wedding wreathes in the coming years?"

Elis takes a slow sip of her tea and says, "I can't be certain yet, but I do believe he is quite smitten with me. He has all but forgotten that Wendtwood wench he left behind. I see it as only a matter of time before we start the sacred rituals."

"Lucky you," snorts Mellgon, the youngest daughter, "You get to marry a knight in the royal legions and I get constantly bothered by that annoying Eastmont boy. Like I would even consider a Human."

"I never said I was going to marry him," Elis corrects, "I simply said that he was taken with me and that is was a distinct possibility. I don't want to start some silly rumors and ruin the whole thing."

"Elis is right," Salowin adds, "A poorly placed rumor can put an end to even the most sure of things, like this. So we have to agree to talk to nobody about this, outside of ourselves."

The others nod in agreement and Mellgon motions for Teven to get them some more tea. "This pot is getting tepid." she adds as he takes it and heads out of the room.

-

Several of the house servants are gathered around the kitchen table as Selma, the cook, prepares food for the night's dinner. They are talking and half-heartedly helping chop the vegetables. Even Sedrik, the Orc slave, is sitting off to the side and listening in.

"Looks like Sir Darentine is looking to transfer out of here." says Sondra, the youngest and most attractive of the staff, "He apparently feels under appreciated under the thumb of General Kogan. Plus, he says there are no good prospects here either, if you get my meaning."

"Really?" chirps Oona, the eldest maid and wife to the head of the staff, "I was under the impression that he was courting Elis."

"I heard he couldn't stand to be in the presence." Sondra returns.

"That's not what I heard." Says Teven as he walks into the kitchen holding a teapot. "I just left the girls behind, talking in the parlor about possible wedding plans in the next few years."

"That's kind of what it looked like to me." says Selma as she scoops the chopped carrots and onions into a large pot. "The two of them seem to get along quite well."

"Really?" snaps Sondra with a sharp look to the others. "Then why is it that he spends so many nights in my quarters?"

There is moment of stunned silence as they all look at each other, searching for the words. A few of them already knew, or at least suspected as much, but this is the first time she has openly admitted it. A bell ringing in the other room finally breaks the silence.

Sedrik, whose real name was Garbin Krakmok but nobody uses it in the house, rises and says, "That's for me." He then rises to leave the room, muttering his reply under his breath. "That's 'cause noble women don't do that Sondra." He doesn't care if any of them heard him or not. Besides, every young noble man in the area has had his nights in Sondra's room.

-

Duke Elwin stands at the head of a large table in a converted dining hall talking to Sedrik, a household slave. Around the table stand a number of local and visiting military men, including General Kogan Bolmont, the head of the local military, and his two chief advisors. Also, just in from the Argrow border, stands Sir Slagg Granitebutt, who brings news of the growing trouble in the Empire. The Duke finishes giving his orders to the Orc and the slave leaves again.

Turning back to face his guests the Duke says, "While Sedrik goes to retrieve my maps how about giving me a basic rundown on how things are going in the Argrow Empire."

General Bolmont is the first to speak. "My advisors and Sir Granitebutt here have informed me that all is not well and civil war is eminent any day now. They are strengthening our borders, just in case the trouble spreads, and request we send more men."

"How many men?" the Duke asks with a serious look of distress on his face.

"As many as you can spare." Sir Granitebutt says quickly. "The border must be protected if things go badly in the Empire and the fighting spreads."

"That shouldn't be a problem." General Bolmont chimes in, almost cheerfully. "We can easily spare many of our men. This city doesn't require all that it has right now, even with the Goblin problems."

Sir Darentine shifts in his seat for a few minutes as the Generals talk before standing up slowly and saying, "I apologize, but I have a meeting I must attend and it looks like the General has everything in hand here." He then bows to the Duke before heading out the door.

The others nod as he leaves and then go back to discussing matters of state and the city.

-

Lord Aerol and Lady Elona of the family Edelwan and Kobel of the family Nelroon, husband to the Duke's daughter Salowin, sit out in the garden sipping drinks and awaiting the one called them together this afternoon. Not too long after, Sir Darentine comes walking out of the castle and up to them.

"Greetings friends," he says warmly. "I'm glad you could all come out and meet me on this lovely day."

"Enough pleasantries," snaps Kobel, "Why was it so important to get us together at such notice?"

"It's General Bolmont." starts the Knight as he takes a seat. "He should not have been placed in charge of the local military and I fear he may do irreparable harm if something is not done. In fact, he is currently in a meeting with the Duke talking about sending most of our local forces away. Do you have any idea what that will do to crime levels? Especially with all the Goblin problems we are having."

"Don't pull this 'For the benefit of us all' crap." snaps Lord Aerol. "We all know damn well this is personal. You expected and wanted the position yourself when Sir Stonemont died and if we oust the General it will most likely fall on you to fill his shoes."

"Okay, I won't lie." admits the Knight. "I did expect and want the position and I would take it if the General left, but I do want what is best for this city and the General is not that."

"Besides," says the usually quiet Lady Elona, "It would be quite nice to see a fellow Frenal hold the position instead of that Human or that nasty Dwarf before him."

"I agree." states Kobel as he stands. "Whatever you decide to do, I'm in. But for now I have to find my wife and get going. We have seats at the opera this evening and you know how long it takes her to get ready. Not to mention get seated in the theater." On that he nods farewell to the others and leaves them to plot and plan.

-

Five people sit in the sunroom of the castle, facing the gardens, and sip tea. Three of them are the Eastmonts, Lord Martin and Lady Morella and their son Edwin. The other two are Ponel of the family Nelroon, the Dukes only birth son, and Jack Martin, a local of noble birth.

"I think Mellgon is starting to come around." says Edwin smiling. "Last week she even accepted my hand when I offered it to her as she exited her coach, and she took her time before letting go too."

"Dream on my young friend." snorts Ponel. "She's sooner accepts a date with a warg." He then takes another swig of what is obviously not tea.

"I wouldn't be so quick to rule it out." Says Lady Morella. "Not with the problems the Duke and Duchess have been having recently. Her cold demeanor may simply be in reaction to that."

Ponel shorts again and chuckles to himself.

Ignoring that reaction from Ponel, Jack asks "And what problems have you heard about?"

"I'm not sure exactly," She admits, "But I heard they are sleeping in separate wings of the castle and haven't even spoken to each other in a month. If that's not signs of trouble I don't know what is."

Under his breath, Lord Martin says "Oh if only I was that lucky. A month of silence."

Hearing this Ponel snorts again and starts to giggle once more as he finishes his third drink this afternoon.

Just then Kobel walks up, smiling almost coldly at them, and says "Has anyone seen where my wife has gotten off to? We have to get going if we are going to make the opera."

"Yeah, I saw her." Ponel touts. "She was going into the east parlor with Elis. Y'know, girl talk. Wouldn't doubt that Mellgon is there too."

Edwin's ears perk up and he rises saying "Wait up Kobel, I'll go with you."

As soon as they leave, Lady Morella says "I see there is more than one troubled couple in that family."

Ponel snickers as he sees Lord Martin roll his eyes.

-
And so life goes in one of the many noble courts of the Senton Kingdom. Affairs of state, underhanded dealings, unabashed gossip, political backstabbing, lust, and more are all just a part of life there.
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