Heralds of the Crescent Moon
Prequel Chapter 1
The Academy at New Valoria
Just prior to your departure for New Valoria, Garendgar is called away on urgent Conclave business. He apologies for not being able to accompany you, but assure you he has sent word to Lord Revaldi of your imminent arrival, and also gives you a sealed parcel that you are to deliver to the Lord upon your arrival.
The journey to New Valoria is long and rough. It is currently winter and snow blankets the land. You travel through the Great Waygate of the East which takes you to the base of the Valorian Mountains, on the eastern slope. You have to traverse the mountains, as New Valoria is on the other side. The pass through the mountains is passable, but the journey is difficult.
After four weeks journey, you arrive at New Valoria and make your way to Lord Revaldi’s manor. You knock on the large door. After a few moments, the door opens to reveal a tall, thin, balding man. He looks you up and down and says:
“Ah, Wizard Sarek, we were informed of your coming. We had expected you earlier. I am Tobias, Master Revadi’s Chief Manservant. If you will follow me, I will take you to the Master’s Study.”
He motions for you to come inside. The warmth feels good. Tobias leads you down a large main corridor, and then opens the fourth door on the right. Inside is a large room. Bookshelves line the walls to the left and to the right. The are double stacked, and nearly reach the ceiling. A hovercart rests in the corner. Directly in front of you is a large fireplace, with a roaring fire. In front of the fire place is a very large, plush (empty) chair. A rug of a very large bearskin is in the middle of the room. Scattered around the room is a variety of trinkets and trophies in display cases and table stands.
Tobias tells you: “The Master will be with you shortly.” He then bows, backs out of the room, and closes the door behind you.
Fifteen minutes pass uneventfully.
Serek: I would spend the first five minutes trying to look patient while warming myself by the fire.
GM: What about the 10 minutes after the first 5?
Serek: I would then start to get ichy and look around at the trophies and the examining the rug.
Another 15 minutes pass (30 total) with only the roar of the fire to keep you company.
Serek: I guess I’ll check out the library. If after 15 minute I don’t find anything interesting to read/look-at then I would attempt to find someplace to slouch and wait. If I fall asleep that’s fine.
You do so, and eventually fall asleep by the fire.
Some time later, you are nudged awake by Tobias:
“Forgive me for disturbing you your Wizardship, but the Master has been unavoidably detained. He has asked me to bring you to him at once, he is in town.”
Successful perception check Even in your drowsy state, you notice that the bear skin run is gone. In the corner of the room, a large, stuffed (as in taxidermy) black bear stands in a menacing posing, towering over everything and everyone. It is as tall as one of the bookshelves.
Serek: I obviously think the rug is not normal. Current mental conjuncture is that the rug is: A: Another Shift wizard (maybe a teacher) B: Master Revadi
GM: Lord Revaldi is can not wield magic, at least not that you or The Conclave is aware of (at least at your clearance). If he can, he must hide it very well, because Conclave Law would apply to him (either learn to control it or perish).
Serek: I’ll turn and bow to the bear. And then I’ll turn to follow Tobias. As we walk I say to Tobias, “You know, that’s an extraordinary bear.”
Provided he doesn’t say anything of note, I will continue with, “Oh, and feel free to call me ‘Sarek’. ‘Your Wizardship’ is a bit weighty, don’t you think?”
GM: Tobias raises an eyebrow and says:
“You have nothing to fear your Wizardship, the bear is quite dead. The Master slew it himself on these very grounds, when he first chose to build his Manor on this very spot.”
Serek: “Hmmm, remarkable. But I’m not so much afraid as I am interested.”
GM: “I see. If you will follow me your Wizardship, I will show you to the master. Please dress warmly” and he motions to the study door.
Serek: I will put my cloak back on and then move as he directs. this is also when I will tell him to use my name.
GM: “I am afraid that would not be proper, your Wizardship. Please, this way.”
He leads you back through the house and out the front door (after first bundling up himself).
The two of you go down a large road and soon rough, plan, but thickly settled buildings begin to appear on either side. Tobias takes you down the first large side street to your right. As you begin to approach a large work area, it begins to get noticeably warmer. The snow goes from a fluff, to a watery mush, to puddles, and eventually disappearing altogether. It eventually gets so warm that you are uncomfortable in your heavy clothes.
Tobias comes to a halt next to a tall, thin man (dressed only in a light robe), intently concentrating on the work site. You can sense magic flowing from him as you get near. Tobias turns to you and says:
“If there is nothing else your Wizardship, I have other duties to attend too. His Lordship may be found within the construction site, itself.”
He then bows to the concentrating man “Sir Herald, pardon the interruption.”
And if there is nothing else, he will walk back the way you came.
Serek: “Um, thanks Tobias. Can you at least describe what Master Revadi looks like?”
GM: His eyes widen ever so briefly, but he very quickly recovers.
“A very tall, athletic man. Black hair, with a moustache. He is quite possibly the tallest man in the region, you certainly can not miss him.”
Again, if you are done with him, he will walk away at that point with a polite farewell.
The work site is a bit muddy, due to the melted snow. You look around the site for a few minutes. It appears they are building some kind of meeting hall or large, enclosed assembly area.
You find you who assume to be Revaldi. He is as described, and wearing (what you can only assume) was once very fine garments. They are a bit tattered and torn, as he is actively helping in the construction of the hall. When you find him, he is in the process of helping a group of men life a portion of a wall into place. Once in place, he looks at the next section, a considerably larger section, and says:
“We’re going to need some help with this one, men.” He look at you “You there! Come over here and give us a hand with this!” I eagerly do my best to help out for as long as I can.
Serek: Sarek’s thoughts: Awesome! A Lord not too high and mighty to get his hands dirty!
At the first break, I’ll introduce meself and ask if I can use my magic while helping out.
If it is a long time coming, I wait quietly. loner check to see if I make the first move to introduce myself to those I’m working with
GM: After the first wall goes up (you manage to help without injuring yourself.) he dusts of his hands, claps you (quite forcefully) on the back and booms:
“Thanks for the help stranger, that was a big one. I have to remember to tell them not to make em so big. I don’t remember seeing you around, are you new to New Valoria?”
your introduction here
“Ah, Wizard Sarek, wonderful, I’ve been waiting for you. Now that all the candidates are here, we can get started. Lovely.”
He turns to the works crews: “Ok guys, I know it’s early, but let’s pack it in for today. Go home to your families.”
A middle aged man steps forward: “If it’s all the same to you, My Lord, we’d like to keep going for a bit more.”
Revaldi lets out a booming laugh: “Alright Gerry, just take it easy. If you bust your arm again, I am not going to be the one who tells your wife this time.”
He then walks up to the man who you felt radiating the magic before: “Rakal, keep it up for another hour or two, or until they get tired. But don’t let it go on much longer than that. Tell them you’re getting tired or something, be creative.”
“Yes Sir.” Rakal responds, “Though that won’t be far from the truth at that point.”
Revaldi claps Rakal on the back: “Good man. Don’t over-do it yourself.” He turns back to you, putting on a warmer jacket: “Shall we?”
Serek: I follow him (after bundling up). I inform him that I have a package for him from Garendgar . Would he like it now?
GM: “Best wait until we get inside, I don’t want to get snow all over it.”
During the journey back he makes some small talk:
“So tell me Wizard, what makes you want to be a Herald? And, specifically my Herald?”
Serek: Well, sir, that’s not the easiest question to answer. Being a Herald seems to be the best use of what I am.
If I were left to wander on my own, <wry> there is no telling what mischif I would get into.
<more>I guess, as a Herald, I would be able to really use my “abilities” for someone else’s benefit without just meddling or profiteering. And, to be honest I am very happy to be away from the academic setting.
As for you yourself sir, I can only go on my perception, but you seem to be making something out here. You don’t seem to be an old crony playing a game. Maybe you are, but if so, you are at least playing it a different, and to my mind, a better way.
GM: “HA! Kissing up to me already, eh? Ah, I like you Wizard. You are a doer, I can appreciate that. But yes, I am very proud of what we’ve built here. This land was devastated after the war, and we’re only just now making it livable again. And if my family gains some prestige and power along the way, so be it. The point is people can get a fresh start here. I am convinced that is a good thing. We are all getting a second chance in God’s eyes here. Why, just fifty years ago I would have been forced to kill you as a demon. But look at us now, fast allies. And as the closest territory to Avkenda, that is important to me. Ah, here we are.”
As you approach the manor, Tobias opens the door to meet you. He ignores you entirely and looks Lord Revaldi up and down:
“I see you are finished with yet another hard days work, My Lord. You must be as ravished as a commoner. I have taken the liberty of preparing your evening coat and meal, they await you on the veranda.” He begins removing Revaldi’s coat
Revali lets out a loud sigh and rolls his eyes: “Yes, Tobias. If you’re done, please show Shift Wizard Sarek to the Dormitory and then convene the Prospects in my study in one hour. Young Sarek here has a package for me, please see that it is properly filed with the rest of the Prospects documentation; I will review it all tonight.”
Tobias: “Quite done, My Lord. As you wish, my Lord.”
Revaldi begins walking down the corridor humming a tune you’ve heard in a number of rowdy (and slightly indecent) taverns.
Tobias (to you): “This way, your Wizardship.”
Serek: “Tobias, really, it’s OK to call me Serek. I don’t mind.”
GM: “And I do not mind doing my duty. Please follow me, your Wizardship.”
Serek: “OK. Thanks.”
GM: Tobias takes you through the Manor to a small building attached to the main house. He leads you inside and to an empty room with a bed, desk, dresser and bookshelf. It is modest, but functional.
“Here are your quarters your Wizardship. The pantry is just down the hall, meals are at midmorning, noon, and sundown though it is open to you at any time. If you need anything, ring the bell on the desk and the Dormitory staff will attend to you. Someone will stop by within the hour to escort you to the Master’s study. If there is nothing else, I will take my leave.”
Serek: “OK. Thanks.”
I guess I’ll settle in. Search the room completely for about 20 minutes. I hang up my heavy cloak and change into fresh clothing, but other wise don’t unpack. After getting changed I’ll lay down and wait for my escort.
(Serek doesn’t feel comfortable anywhere right away, and likes to be able to leave quickly.)
GM: Just as you sit down on your bed, there is a knock at the door and it opens almost immediately after. A young man (probably just slightly older than Sarek) bounds in. He has a broad, almost goofy smile upon his face. His hair is a bit of a mess, and is wearing a commoner’s outfit (shirt, pants, shoes) that is not in the best of shape. He speeks very hurriedly, his is obviously very excited.
“Hey there neighbor! My name’s Pelron, I hail from these parts. I hear we’re gonna be classmates! Can’t tell you how excited I am, a bonafide Herald. Well, Herald Candidate. Whatever, if my mom could see me now, Lord rest her soul, boy she would have been some kinda proud. Always thought I was going to be stuck on the farm, she did. Sorry, I’m rambling a bit. Nice ta meet’cha!”
He extends his hand to you.
Serek: Reserved> “You could at least wait for me to say “come in”?”
I don’t bark it out, but I’m a little annoyed.
GM: “Oh geez, sorry about that. Not used to being in a fancy lord’s house and all. That’s the way we did it where I come from, door’s always open to you and what not. Don’t you worry though, I will remember that down the road. I figure you’re right, a Herald Candidate should at least respect the privacy of others.”
He still has a big smile on his face, and his hand is still outstretched.
Serek: “Well, nice to meet you.” Small smirk
I will shake his hand.
“So, is it time to go for the big meeting?”
GM: He shakes your hand vigorously, apparently oblivious to your smirk.
“Soon, I think. Mr. Tobias told me someone would be by to get me soon. I don’t know where the other three are, but they’ll have to go too I guess. So what can you do? I’m pretty handy with a stick, or staff, myself. I’ve had to fend off a lot of wolves in my day. They used to like to feed on my flock.” As he talks about being good with a staff, he goes into a little attacking posture, does a few moves. Kind of like air guitar, but with an air staff.
Serek: <wry> “Well, I guess you could say I’ve been superbly trained NOT to kill myself. It is assumed that I was too stupid to figure that out for myself. Hopefully they were wrong.”
GM: He has a superbly confused look on his face.
“So you’re good with lots of different weapons? Swords? Knives? I’ve never been good with the sharp stuff myself, I tend to cut myself.”
Serek: “Actually, I’m not really that good with any of them.”
“So, your room is around here somewhere?” I say as I lead him out of my room and into the hallway.
GM: He continues to look utterly confused as he follows you out the door.
“Uh, yeah, right next to yours! It’s right over-”
He stops mid-sentence, as if lost in thought. It lasts only a split second, and then he says:
“Whelp, looks like they’re commin to get us. Better get ready.” He begins to button up his jacket.
Almost as soon he finishes speaking, the door to the main house at the far end of the corridor opens, and a servant is standing there.
“If all prospects will please follow me, I will show you to the Master’s Study.”
Serek: I will quietly ask him as we start down the hall, “Wow! how did you know they were coming?”
GM: “Oh these fancy folk are real loud. I could hear him comin a mile away.”
As you converse, other people begin emerging from the dormitories. One is a woman a little older than you. She is wearing leather armor and carries a mean looking dagger on her belt. She has long, jet black hair that goes down to the middle of her back. She is wearing a circlet upon her head. She is healthy yet thin and clearly very athletic.
The second person is a man in his early to mid thirties. He is obviously very strong, his arms are the largest you can remember seeing (though having lived among Wizards, that’s not too unusual for you). He has some noticeable scars. He is wearing the Formal Dress attire of one in the Legions, light chain mail with a few awards and decorations. While clearly not a Knight, he is likely a non-commissioned officer and certainly a veteran.
The third and last person is a short man with a shaved head, looks to be in his late 40s. He is wearing all white, and his clothes are far too light for this climate. He does not appear to have anything upon his person. His clothing has no pockets or belt, and he carries no pouches. His movements are very smooth and effortless. He is walking much faster than seems possible, given the level of effort (walking casually).
The all make their way along with you to the servant at the end of the hall.
The servant leads the five of you to Revaldi’s study. The fire continues to roar, and you notice that the bear skin rug has returned to it’s previous location. Five seats are aligned in a row in the middle of the room.
“The Master shall be with you presently.” says the servant, and then leaves the room, closing the double doors behind him. The man in white and Pelron make their way to their seats. The warrior and black haired woman begin looking over the various trophies and other notable items displayed around the room (separately, not together. They are on opposite sides of the room from one another).
Perception Check On his way to his seat, Pelron gives the rug a wide berth, glancing at it nervously.
Perception Check You notice that there are a stack of parcels and letters on Revaldi’s desk. Yours is among them, unopened. You can see at least two which have been opened.
Serek: Can I go stand on the rug? Trying to make it seem nonchalant but being wary, I will step on the edge of it first and then all the way.
GM: Yes. It is warm (ie due to its proximity to the fire) and very soft.
Perception Check The man in white is watching you out of the corner of his eye.
Serek: I will look at him directly with a small smile and raised eyebrow. (friendly but inquisitive)
GM: He also observes the rug for a moment while you stand on it, then gives you a polite nod, and turns away.
Serek: Well, if nothing happens, I’ll get off the rug in a few minutes and then just wait (watching all the time of course)
GM: A few minutes later, Revaldi walks in (with Tobias on his heels). He is dressed much more Lord-like with a flowing cape and fine clothing.
“If everyone will please be seated, we can get started. I know you all know who I am. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. As you know, I have decided to extended my Patronage to another Herald. As such, I am opening up the Academy here in New Valoria. You are the prospects I have chosen after a preliminary screening. Now, I know who you are, but you probably don’t know who you are. So, please introduce yourselves to your fellow prospects.”
He sits down and looks at Pelron. Pelron stands up and bows far too deeply.
“M’Lord. Hi everyone, my name is Pelron Thornsby, and I am from the Clarke Homesteads here on the Valorian Plains. I am a farmer by trade, but I want to do more for my home and the folks of this great Realm. I am a decent hunter and pretty good at tracking things, so I decided, heck, why not be a Herald. I had heard about all the great things Lord Revaldi here has done for the people of this realm after the war, and I knew he would be the Patron for me. So here I am. I may not be the smartest of guys, but I am gonna give it my all.”
He bows again “M’Lord” and sits down.
Revaldi then turns to the man in white. The man stands and bows before Revaldi, and then turns and bows before all of you.
“Greetings to you all. I am honored to be here with such distinguished company. My name is Scipius, and I am a Monk from the Ya-ti (YA-Tie) Monastary. I am skilled in the ways of unarmed violence, though I prefer to resolve my disputes peacefully. The elder Monk from my home received a vision from the Lord God himself, commanding us to send one of our own forth to become a Herald, and serve mankind. As we worship the One and his teachings, I was selected to serve. I am prepared to take the solemn Oath of Heraldship and put my service before all else, for as long as the One allows me to remain on this plane of existence. I can assure you my dedication will be second to none.”
He bows again to Lord Revaldi, and sits down again.
Revaldi now looks at you.
Serek: “Hello, everyone. Lord Revaldi.” Slight bow to Revaldi.
“I guess you could say that I’m a bit like Pelor. I heard the things that Lord Revaldi was doing out here with his own time and money, and thought that is was one of the most decent and interesting things going on in the world, and something I would be proud to be a part of. So, when the opportunity came to get away from the Conclave and try to become a Herald, I knew this was the place.”
“I’m sure I’m less skilled and interesting than the rest of you, but I will give everything I’ve got to help make this land, and it’s Lord, thrive.”
(He truly means every word of it, even if it does sound like butt-kissing.)
“Oh, and I’m a little scared of that rug over there. It’s a bit too mobile for my liking.”
GM: Perception Check Pelron’s eyes grew a little wider when you said the word ‘Conclave’
Revaldi barks out a laugh at your rug comment.
Perception Check The black haired woman shoots you a look when Revaldi laughs at your comment.
Revaldi turns to the warrior.
He stands “Claudio Emeritus Vargo is my name. 1st Sergeant, XIX Century serving under Sir Clayton Heratitus.” He pauses ever-so-slightly, seemingly for effect, though you have no idea why. “I am on leave to attend the Academy here. Sir Heratitus himself encouraged me to attend. Other than the [[Knight-Centurian]] himself, I was the finest swordsman in the Century. I have dozens of kills to my credit from the ranks of bandits, smugglers and slavers. I know I can do a good job as a Herald. My record of service has been flawless and I have always served without hesitation. I look forward to taking that next step.” He pauses for a moment, as if considering adding to his statement, but sits down instead.
Revaldi nods, and turns to the woman. She slowly stands up.
“My name is Obsydian, though my friends call me Syd. I am, quite simply, the best at everything I do. I have always succeeded in everything I have done. You will find no better Herald Candidate. I adapt quickly to any circumstance, and I am never caught flat footed. You won’t find anyone better with a dagger or knife in the Realm. While I am eager to serve the people. I can no longer return to my own home, so I am eager to start new and establish some roots. I promise you Sir, if you choose me, we will both gain fame quickly.”
She sits back down.
Revaldi stands up.
“Very well, thank you all for that. As I mentioned earlier, I am looking for a new Herald. But, I am looking for just one. So I will only be choosing one of you. I will be evaluating each of you based on my own personal criteria, which I will not share. All I will tell you is this: Remember that each Patron Gift only works with what a Herald already has within him, or her. If you are good with the sword, such as Sergeant Vargo here, it will enable you to be better in some or all aspects of the sword, whatever they may be. So with that in mind, I urge you to be yourselves for, I assure you, if you try to be something you are not, I will find out eventually.”
“And that brings me to your first task. I am sorry to say that none of you can enter the Academy, because it has not been built. I chose my first two Heralds without the aid of an Academy, when New Valoria was much smaller. Sarek and Syd, you have both already seen the construction site where we are build it. Your first task will be to assist the villagers in building the academy. You will be evaluated on speed and overall efficiency. Work will begin tomorrow. Herald Rakal will assist with temperature mitigation, as he has been, but will not provide any further assistance. You have the rest of the evening to yourselves, you will start first thing tomorrow.”
He rings a bell on his desk, and turns to the pile of parcels and letters on his desk. Tobias enters.
“This way please Sirs and Madame.” He leads you back to the dormitory.
Serek: When Syd shot me a look, was she jealous?
I will try to chat with Pelron on the way back to our rooms and gage his reaction. I’m wondering if he was surprised or if he for some reason doesn’t like the Conclave, and by extension me.
GM: The look Syd shot you wasn’t a good one, kind of a scowl. Not quite a ‘if looks could kill’ moment, but close.
What do you want to say to Pelron?
Serek: “Well, I hope no one takes the competition angle too seriously.” quietly to him.
GM: “I dunno, you guys all have real jobs. Some of these guys looks AWFULLY serious….”
Serek: “That doesn’t mean you are not the right guy for the job.”
GM: “That’s awfully nice of you to say Ser,... I mean Mr. Wizard Sir. I sure will be giving it my best. And here I was, thinkin you liked swords! Guess I missed the ferry on that one!” He grins sheepishly.
Serek: Pleadingly> “Pleeeeeease don’t call me Mr Wizard or Your Wizardness. I get enough of that from Tobias. Serek has always worked just fine.”
I would like to ask Tobias when I can get a moment alone, when the workmen start in the morning.
If he tells me, I’ll knock on eveyone’s door and pass the word to anyone that will answer.
GM: (Pelron) “I dunno, I’ll try. My mom used to tell me if you don’t respect a Wizard, he’ll eat your soul. Of course, she also told me that if I waz bad a dragon would burn my room. Uh, anyway, I should get some sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Tobias tells you:
“Herald Evana will take you to the worksite tomorrow morning after first meal, before the workers arrive.”
Serek: So, no need to tell everyone else then. Oh well, there go a chance to be nice.
End Chapter 1
Serek’s Thoughts: Lord Revaldi is everything he hoped for. Tobias annoys him. Syd is a brat. The others are probably fine as you get to know them. Oh, the Knight seems strange. He acts like he is just obeying an order instead of really being into this land/Lord.
And Pelron seems like a nice and uncomplicated person who could become a friend.
As far as the “one spot and five candidates” bit, he doesn’t want to get competitive. He wants to do his best and help out in any way he can. He doesn’t expect to win the spot, but he wants to.