D&D: The Doom of Ardross
Emerson Hawkenthorne, Ritter of Black Hall
Lordling on a diplomatic and academic expedition
Emerson Hawkenthorne hails from the mountain realm of Tir’Run, where his family holds a citadel of power in the fortress city of Black Hall. The Hawkenthornes are both respected and renowned, but as the 3rd son of his line, his title is moreso a technicality than an honour. By virtue of his father the Viscount, his 2 elder brothers, Erendal and Evan, enjoy rank of Baron and Baronet (respectively)… but as is tradition in the Forge Citadels, the third child is knighted to the title of Ritter and sent to study and train to be master of arms for the house. Some houses elect highborn daughters to the task… a fact that many of his first and second born peers unkindly and hilariously point out.
And so, for the past 3 years, Emerson has followed the path of a Warrior Philosopher, learning not only swordplay and military theory, but a wide range of skills befitting “a third’s” position in the Citadel. Emerson is still young and a bit naive. He has completed the first segment of his studies, but while educated and knowledgeable in many things, he lacks “street sense”. This ignorance is to be scraped away by the second leg of his academy training – “The Venture", a journey abroad to learn the ways of battle and diplomacy firsthand. See the realms, its people, and perfect his own fighting style that he will one day train to the soldiers of Citadel Hawkenthorne.
Emerson rolled his signet along the back of his knuckles absently, his focus trained upon a small tome of dwarven schematics. With the crook of one leg over the arm of the heavy chair, one might think the young lord’s pose disrespectful. But in truth it was simply comfortable, and his fascination with the weapon designs distracted him from matters of courtesy and decorum. It mattered not, for he had addressed the Forgemasters earlier that morning and delivered unto them every inch of honours due – the opinions of the lower folk in the hall this afternoon did not weigh upon him.
His visit to the Holds of Rokterre was pleasant enough, and he enjoyed the lectures of the master weaponsmiths and armourers throughout the week. Over the past year, he had come to learn some honest passion for their craft. The arms and armours presented were remarkable in quality and design, and certainly lived up to the reputation of Rokterre and the standard of Citadel Hawkenthorne… his report to the Viscount would be highly complimentary of his family’s dwarven ally.
A melodic but tactless voice resounded through the Portly Dragon common room, “By the flaming Seven! Did you learn to pack a haversack the same way you learned to pack mutton into that homely face?” The source of the scolding was a young man in fine clothes towering imposingly over an aging servant. He frantically dug through a pack, flinging articles of clothing and gear at the blank faced older man.
Emerson rolled his eyes at his cousin’s outburst as he flipped the page to a stunning hatchet design. “Peace cousin… please do keep in mind that Yorwyk is my manservant, and not yours.” His cousin Andrin is a decent lad, but presumes too much of his station of fourthborn. When his uncle asked that he take the lad with him on his Venture, Emerson was skeptical. The youth was rash and uncouth when he let his temper and vices get the better of him, but when Andrin kept his head about him, he was extremely charismatic and fierce in conversation and negotiation. At the time, Emerson had thought that his silver tongued relation may prove handy in procuring supplies and accommodations, but these displays of uncouth argued against. At least he was an entertaining drinking companion.
Old Yorwyk had begun refolding clothing and replacing the items into Andrin’s pack. The old bastard-born retainer has been at Emerson’s side since he was a young child. Low-born of course, but loyal to a fault and endlessly patient, the hunched man conceals surprising strength and endurance beneath his lumpy and drab tunic and garb. Well known to Emerson and his brothers for his deep wisdom but painfully obvious lack of education, Torwyk is as beloved as a pureblooded family member… but naturally, such affection would be unbecoming of expression given the difference in station.
As the aged block of cheese shuffled past, he winked at Emerson and muttered in his raspy mucktown accent, “M’Lord, it may be that I mispacked that rather well seasoned bottle of Rokterre red into your pack rather than the boy’s… curse this ancient memory o’ mine…”. His withered lips cracked into a wide toothy grin as he continued his shuffle out of the tavern. Emerson couldn’t help but betray a smile of his own, as he began reading through some commentary on chisel edge blades.
It was then, just as he was flipping to a truly amazing illuminated depiction of a deadly looking rapier, that the book snapped closed. The lithe form of his third companion draped over the armrest of his seat with sensual and specific purpose, straddling both the armrest and his leg. The raven haired beauty flipped the book over in her hands with disinterest before turning her attention to Emerson.
“Darling… must we go home? I wish to go to the festival. I wish to go to Dragon Breath”. Her words sang and his heart twisted at the sight of her pouting red lips.
Sarette was technically his “Diplomatic Advisor”, but the fact that she was recruited from the finest brothel in Tir’Run was a poorly kept secret. Emerson did not care, for she brought to him a blessing of talents that extended beyond the bedchamber. Though moved by her licentious presence at his side, Emerson was not prone to granting requests to the help. However, the Venture was all about diplomatic expedition and geographical exploration. If such a foray also included the entertainment of a festival, then so be it and all the better.
“Andrin, Dragon Breath is not far south of here by way of Oldforge and the Black Road. My dear Sarette has echoed my own desire for diplomatic engagement and festival fare. Yorwyk, prepare our gear for such travel.”
With that, Sarette clapped her hands with a squeal of delight, and Andrin cocked an eyebrow with curiosity. Emerson smiled slyly at his small entourage and hopped out of the armchair. The prospect of this unexpected trip south suddenly invigorated him. He swept Sarette into his arms and strode out of the alehall.
“But first, my sweetgrass, let us plot our political strategy for Dragon Breath in private, and bid farewell to my chambers…”