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One Week Later...

A week after the Carnival of Tears, as the town of Shrikewall tries to get back on its feet, Baron Brinian summons you all to a public ceremony in the castle courtyard to remember the fallen and acknowledge your efforts. A crowd has gathered in the cold, muddy square in anticipation of the ceremony, yet a cloud of mourning hangs heavily over them.

You stand in a line atop a wooden platform as the frigid winter wind cuts through your cloaks and claws at the banners atop the walls, the golden dragon of Narland fluttering on a field of crimson. Jhod and Sheriff Deldrin stand beside you, while the baron, Thuldrin Kreed, Thalnoros, and Domenic Ghirlandaio, the Knight of Gold, stand at one end of the stage. Namdrin Quinn is conspicuously absent. A memorial sits at the foot of the stage, a commemoration for the victims of the massacre, and you spot several familiar faces out in the crowd—Akiros, Cilia, and Kimi, among others. Young Brinian Vasseri steps forward, his eyes tired yet his jaw set with grim determination. Speaking somberly and without pretense, he addresses the crowd.

“People of Narland, I stand before you as a man who feels your sorrow. I look out among you and I see many missing faces of friends and family members who are now lost to us. Know that every name of the one-hundred and thirty-seven men, women, and children who lost their lives will be forever etched upon my heart.”

The baron’s voice grows colder and his fists clench.

“People of Narland, I feel your fury. My heart burns with rage at the memory of what was taken from us, at the cruel creatures who would slaughter innocent folk without hesitance. Know that we will enact vengeance on behalf of the one-hundred and thirty-seven men, women, and children that were stolen by the fey.”

The crowd has gained some life at his words, and several voices call, “Kill the faeries!” and “Burn the damned forest to the ground!” Brinian holds up his hands until they are quiet again.

“People of Narland, let us not forget that none of us would be standing here were it not for the brave heroics of a select few.” The baron motions to all of you. “These nine heroes defended us when we could not defend ourselves. Their spells and blades saved countless lives, and they risked everything they had with no promise of reward.” He turns to look directly at you. “We—I owe them everything.”

Turning back to the crowd, he motions for the Knight of Gold to come forward. The Swordlord Domenic carries a polished mahogany box, two hands wide by one hand deep and only a few inches tall. He stands beside the baron and opens the box ceremoniously. Inside are nine deep-red cloth badges embroidered with gold lettering.

“In honor of these nine and those that fell, I present to you the Badge of the Crimson Tear. From this day forward, those that shed their blood for Narland will be honored with this decoration.” Brinian begins taking the badges from the box one-at-a-time and pinning them to your chests. He thanks each of you personally as he goes down the line [Comment if you are interested in what he said to you individually and want to reply]. Looking at the embroidered lettering, it reads in Draconic, “Iejir ihk Iejir.”

“Blood for Blood,” Deldrin mutters to himself as he looks down at his own badge.

After all of the badges have been awarded, Baron Brinian turns back to the crowd, fire in his eyes. “People of Narland, I know we have been beaten down, but we are strong. These nine showed the dark creatures of this land that we will not surrender. Join me, join these heroes, and together we will prove to every nation, to every troll and damned fey, that we are not leaving, that these Stolen Lands now belong to their rightful owners! When Gozreh releases his hold on the north, we will march south and drive out every enemy from these lands, from our lands!” Brianian draws out his blade in one smooth motion, the single edge of the curved steel glinting. He holds it aloft as he shouts, “People of Narland, gather your honor and your bravery, for when spring comes, we go to war!”


Phe’lyx looks side to side and grins while shrugging

I did suggest as much a few months ago. But it’s his idea not mine.

Phe’lyx furrows his brow and looks skyward.

It will be a real shame though. Some innocent people will die when they march for their righteous crusade. Not that I feel sorry for the fey, but many of them aren’t involved in this. But good luck convincing captain genocide here. He nods at the baron as he approaches with his hate marks

Phe’lyx smiles his biggest, most charming smile as he receives his very own Hate Mark while waits to here what the baron has to say.

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Ashen stands quietly. His gaze out towards the crowd, only turning to watch the Baron as he proceeds down the line of people. He simply nods as the Baron approaches to hand him his medal.

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[Badge, people. A fabric badge dyed crimson. Not a medal. You silly bitches. Also, I would probably wait to have your say until you can actually respond to what the baron says to you. I’m disregarding anything you’ve said to the baron before he spoke.]

To Phe’lyx: “Phe’lyx Cantori, your magical prowess will be legend one day. It is an honor to bestow this decoration on you.”

To Valyn: “Watcher Talathian, you grace us with your humility and honor. I hope that you will help lead our people in the coming fight. The forest needs to be scourged of these monstrous menaces.”

To Ashen: “Ayatollah Ashenii,” the baron says in fluent Kellish, “I pray the Dawnflower shines on Narland. You are a beacon unto our people, and I thank you for your courage. If there is anything at all that you require, please let me know.”

Ayatollah: Kellish word for priest or cleric

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Ashen looks stunned for a moment before taking the BADGE and offering a quick bow of his head

Thank you, Emir Vasseri.” He replies in Kellish.

He looks back up and inspects the BADGE before watching the baron hand out the rest of the BADGES.

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[maybe the Baron should speak faster if he doesn’t want to be left out of the conversation. Since “everything was disregarded” (rude) I re-did it]

Valyn stares ahead, his gaze on the amorphous blob of humanity in front of him. There is nothing distinct in their features, nothing specific, but the despair is heavy enough to be felt by the most lax observer, or Aleks. “This does not feel right, and I do not agree with his remarks. I feel used for propaganda purposes. None of these people want to celebrate ‘a victory’ As the Baron approaches, the ranger set his jaw, accepts the BADGE and out of ear shot, in a whisper

“my lord, I would very much like to speak with you privately, soon, please.”

loud enough for the crowd to hear and broad enough for the crowd to see a bowed head

“Thank you, your grace, Long live our Baron.”

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