The Lily of the Valley

William looked up from his notes at the pile of boxes that had just been delivered. He sighed and rolled up his sleeves, picking up a crowbar to get them open. Bottles clinked together as he counted them. All there. He grinned and stuck his head into the main part of his new tavern. “We got everything. Rai, can you come help me for a second?”
Raidho, his first real legitimate employee, approached with a smile. “Let me guess, need a hand unpacking?”
William rolled his eyes, chuckling. “You know I have a bad knee.”
She shook her head and pushed open the door, moving to pick up some of the boxes.
William moved back to his notes, double checking a few receipts. He’d have to go talk to Alonso before too long, see if he found that consierge he was looking for. He had mentioned Isadora… He sighed again and stood back up when he heard the door open. He stuck his head out the door again and smiled. “Azra. You finished the sign?”
“Yes sir.” They bowed and William frowned.
“I told you, you don’t have to call me that.” He shook his head. “You’re in the Throne now, free. You don’t have to call anyone sir anymore.”
“Yes sir.”
William sighed, but didn’t comment on it. Instead, he looked toward the pile of boxes Rai was unpacking. “Will you please help Rai with this?”
“Yes sir.” They moved to do so.
He shook his head again, but smiled and nodded. Yawning, he left the bar to see how Azra had done. Excellent, as always. He nodded and flipped the sign to open.

Not long later, William sat back at his desk, journal open in front of him.
‘Finally the Lily of the Valley is now open in Silbran. I never expected things to happen so quickly Lile. But here we are. I hope you approve. You would’ve liked it here. Silbran is nice, small town. Baroness Drake is certainly intimidating, but I’ve worked for her before. Do you remember?’
William put his quill down and sighed. He looked out the window and thought for a moment.
‘Hekte has recently become Master of Coin in Silbran. Things move so quickly here. Corvo is leaving, Saoirse’s made some good friends with the other Duns in the area. There’s quite a few of them that you would’ve liked. Niamh and Elona both remind me of you. I am curious, by the way. Saoirse says that her mother’s name was Sloane. Coincidence I’m sure, but it’s crazy to find out that there was another Sloane Tiarnan. But if it’s not coincidence… That would make her my niece I suppose. Don’t even know what to think about that.’
He sighed again. “Can’t believe it.” He shook his head.
‘I’m thinking about getting back into singing. You always loved that. I just found it too hard after you were gone. Saoirse thinks I should. Maybe I will.’
He paused, taking another breath.
‘I wish you were here. I’ve been relying on your memory, and that’s been enough for me, at least for now. This valley could certainly use your touch. You were always more adventurous than me. I didn’t expect things to be so hard here. Maybe in the future things will become better. But starting with nothing here was not the best of ideas. I probably should’ve brought more with me, maybe returned to Dunland first. At the same time, I’m almost glad I didn’t. Kirk Rennet showed up here. Apparently, he arrived a few months ago. If I had gone back, seen your family maybe, I wonder if more than just him would’ve followed me here, though Dame Kirsa Blackiron said that she took care of the problem. I owe her. She said that I don’t, but you know I can’t leave things like that. Apparently, we’re worth three gold apiece, Saoirse and I. That’s all we’re worth.’
He tapped his quill on the table for a moment, thinking.
‘I made some new friends in the meantime. A freed Jharad, Shazaad Jharad Azra ibn Jahan. I wish that they would understand that they are free though. They’ve been treating me just like their new master and I hate it. But they’ve started to work for me, just helping out around the place, maintenance stuff mostly. My other employee is named Raidho. It means Journey. I think you would’ve liked her too. Though frankly, I wish I could’ve found someone who knew how to use a sword for the place. I wonder if the MacLaren siblings would be willing to come this way.’
William looked up. The door was opening again. He grinned and set down his quill. “First Customer.”

A Moment in the Conservatory

One time highwayman, Bastione Montcorbier sits upstairs in the Black Pistol Inn’s music conservatory. The room is lit only by a small crackling flame in the hearth and a handful of floral scented candles throughout.

The interior is sparse save a broad window which looks out into a night sky , a couple of guitars, two stools, and a Gothic child named Lev. Bastione plays a series of simple chords, and instructs his young student to do the same.

You’ve learned the eight elemental chords in little time. You’ve made your first break through in simple melodies, and I think you’re ready to perform something downstairs, Lev. What do you think?”

“I could, Maestro, but I don’t know what to play. Do you have an easy song I might try?”

“Of course I have, but the point of your instruction is to teach you to write songs and perform them. Happy to offer some guidance, chlapec but the performance is yours alone.”

“But what chords shall I play, and which order?”

Bastione leaned back in his chair and hefted a huge mug to his lips. The water was cold and Bastione half expected it to be ale, which made the first sip off putting.

“Choosing chords, and putting them in order is a song, isn’t it, Lev?”

“Yes, but…”

“G major, A major and D major are good places to start, non?

“I know them well enough.”

“You know them better than well enough. That’s enough for today. You have work to do and I need a drink.”

“I will fetch one for you.”

“Kind. No need, I’m going downstairs to the taproom. Let’s see if we can’t find you some bread to take home, non?”

“Thank you, maestro. Might there be a tart or two available?”


“A sweet biscuit.”

“Oh, yes, a biscuit. Of course.”

The Beacon of Dawn

I am happy to report construction of the monastery is complete. The architect, Marcellus, along with Sif Farstrider, Bishop Adeodatus, Master Alonzo and their many friends joining them in labor have done tremendous work and the structure is beautiful and functional.

Marcellus has somehow managed to survey and construct the tower in such a way that it reflects the sun at dawn and creates a shining beacon in the western mountains visible from Stragosa. I’ve decided to name this place the Beacon of Dawn after its appearance at that time. Hopefully, it will be seen as an inspiration to the whole valley.

The pathway up to the monastery is still somewhat rough, but I’m sure it will be widened over time and perhaps a road can even be built.

I’ve moved some of my older notes and testimonium research out to the Abbot’s quarters here, though I’m spending my evenings at the castle. I’ve set up a hall for debate with inward-facing pews and desks. It feels empty yet, but it will be filled with voices soon enough. The courtyard is also a bit bare, but we have a stable and high walls and we’ll start moving in arms and training equipment and decor to inspire the faithful soon enough.

I plan to spend the summer training with my shield and will hopefully be ready by the autumn to turn this place into a true redoubt. In the meantime, I’ve been studying with a few itinerants and with Heinrich, Ansel and Lysander. All three have different insights and it’s rewarding to be able to work on exegesis, hermeneutics and homiletics with the ordained when so much of our time is taken up with praxis at forum.

“So, you’re the new tavern keeper?”

“I am.” the Cappacian offers with a nod. The Bard’s dark blue eyes, shaded by a well worn Cavalier’s hat, scan the bar room. Striding towards the solid cedar bar, he draws a leather gloved hand over its surface. “It’s gorgeous.”

“It is! And this area right over here can be converted into a stage. You can produce all kinds of shows, concerts, readings, you name it. A whole band can fit here, sir.”

“I was counting on it.” The tavern was already purchased, but Bastione appreciates the man’s enthusiasm.

“I imagine you were sir, I imagine you were! You’ll find all the furnishings to your liking. Three of the thirteen rooms are empty, just waiting to be decorated, as you like. But with supplies you could open tomorrow.”

“And I just may. It’s an interesting location. This South End. Feels right.”

“I know what you mean, sir. I do. Interesting is an understatement. Your clientele will be an eclectic lot, if you ask me. Archaeologists, guards, performers, not far from the Church District. Butcher shop just that way.”

“Harder to get fresher fare than that, no?”

“Yes sir, that’s right. You’ve found yourself a nice investment. Been walking by this place, hoping someone just like you wanted to do something with it. The convertible stage is a real treasure. A fitting addition, considering performing has done so well for you.”

“Performing, and hunting. Honestly, without both avenues I’d likely still be struggling to survive out there.”

“And you’re the Valley Historian. I imagine that’s a real help.”

“It is. I don’t have to worry about food, or housing for my wards. Of course, I could always move them in here.”

“You could, but now you won’t need to. Frees up rooms for rent.”

“I like how you think, monsieur.”

“Would you like a tour of the rest of the tavern, sir?”

“No, I think I’ll just explore.”

“Alright. Did you have any questions?”

“Just one.”

“Ask away.”

“What am I going to name this place…”

Looking for Tavernkeeper or Aspiring Merchant!

The Southside District is waiting for You!

At the lovely location of 27 Nemesis Way, you will find a well built and ideal site to either ply your trade or stake a claim in the future of Stragosa’s prosperity.

A charming three story Tavern complete with some pre-furnished staples of your typical Tavern. A solid cedar bar and a slightly raised seating area ideal for exclusive guests to easily modified for a performer’s stage!

Up the stairs, you will find 10 cozy private or group suites. Some of the walls are light enough to be removed to open up group rental options while there is plenty of timber left to reinforce those walls so you don’t hear the chatter or your neighbor guests. This Tavern hosts three additional rooms which could be utilized for a number of varied and diverse purposes (no additional furnishing available for these rooms).

If you aim to set up shop, start an income property, or otherwise have a large group of friends who have their eyes on a more permanent residence in Stragosa please reach out the District Magistrate of the Southside to seek to rent or purchase this excellent Tavern (naming rights either temporary or permanent available).

House Scordato of Hestrali

Current Head of House: Count Lorenzo Scordato (recently deceased)
Current Heir Apparent: Facio Scordato
Coat of Arms: An open book with a spyglass and short blade crossed over it.
Maxim: Harvesting the past, we flourish.
Keep: The Gilded Observatory
City of Influence: Segrati
Kingdom: Hestrali
Region: Le Sorelle
Island Name: The Isle of Forgotten Tomes

Centuries ago, Luca Scordato was an adventurous merchant that used his wealth to indulge a passion of adventuring. It was on such an endeavor that Luca Scordato discovered what he named the Isle of Forgotten Tomes off the coast of Hestralia. Within the island’s jungle, his party discovered signs of a small encampment. Using his keen mind, Luca Scordato realized it was not humans but Elves that resided within, he lead his company of soldiers deeper into the jungle away from the Elves. It was deep in the center of the island at the base of the mountain that he discovered what must have once been a massive library that held vast amounts of ancient tomes.

Having finally made his glorious discovery, Luca Scordato made the decision that he would purge the island of the Elves and take it as his own. Over the course of many weeks, he observed the daily routine of the villagers and devised a plan that would allow his company of soldiers to overwhelm the Elves, known for their superior fighting. On the night after they observed the planning of some heathen holiday, Luca Scordato and his men descended upon the inebriated village, finally cleansing the island of Elves. With the victory and wishing to fully excavate the largely buried library; Luca Scordato settled the region with the founding of the harbor city of Segrati.

With the isle resting within the region known as The Sisters of Hestrali, the family has often chafed against fully following the laws of others. Historically this has translated into the house building short lived ties with nobles from the Hestrali mainland, Capacionne, and occasionally the odd Sha’ra Shahzada. These ties are often short lived, around one or two generations. As of 602, the family has strong ties with Houses Trakt and a highborn house in the Castellonia region of Capacionne.

As a rite of passage, each member of the house is sent out equipped with a small party not unlike the one that Luca Scordato originally traveled with. A Scordato is considered a child until they return with their own discovery or equally bardic worthy tale. This tradition has led to some very famous competitions between siblings as; a first-born child could be killed on such an endeavor or disowned for failure if their younger sibling succeeds their own trial first.

City of Segrati:
The Gilded Observatory towers over the rest of the city and is home to House Scordato. An entire wing of the building houses what contents of the ruined library that have been recovered over the years. The view from the top of the observatory allows for a clear view of the entire island and the outlying vineyards and villages.
The primary exports of Segrati are the specialized wine grown in the volcanic soil and the sale of antique relics recovered by the Seekers.
While not one of the greatest centers of learning, Segrati hosts a gathering of eccentric academics and magicians interested in paying for the privilege to research the ancient tomes and relics unearthed by House Scordato. (see Università di Segrati)

The Seekers (Military House Guard Organization):
Valor: Vigilence
Grand Master: Agostino Rizzo (brother to Lorenzo Scordato)

The knights sworn to House Scordato are known to the world only as The Seekers however, the knights themselves have broken into two sub-groups with vastly different responsibilities. The two groups are the Seekers of History and Seekers of the Blood. Allies of the house are allowed to pay for the services of the Seekers as scouts and pursuers for their armies or as elite scholars of specific eccentric academics.

The Seekers of History perform their duties by accompanying expeditions funded by the house and fancy themselves treasure hunters. Their excessive traveling to all regions of The Throne and beyond has led to them being the public face of the group. The Seekers of the Blood spend the majority of their time acting as personal bodyguards and are the martial elite.

In warfare, the Seekers are specialists that use their skills to bravely harass behind the enemy’s main battle line. Many major battles have been won because these specialist knights completely decimated supply and communication lines. During the war to bring Hestralia under control of the Throne, the Seekers were so successful in disrupting supplies in their regions of operation that House Engel had to pull entire units of front-line troops to escort their supplies, lest they starve.


Karayin is a city of medium size by Shariqyn standards; not as sprawling or ancient as great Siri herself, but near twenty thousand citizens. It rests near the foot of the Kimshir mountain chain, along the river Alhamd that descends from the mountains and into the wide, flat plains that dominate Sha’ra. Karayin is one of the hubs through which trade flows into the lands of the Evren, and the city has grown prosperous as a result.

Larger than the city proper is the circle of altariq encampments that surrounds it – one of the largest communities of altariq in the Evren lands. By tradition, these encampments move slowly through the land, along a pattern dictated by the magi. The pattern is centered on the river, the source of life.

The river itself is a precious resource. Karayin has grown to the carrying limit of the water supply; only careful management prevents the onset of thirst, famine and squalor. For this reason, laws and customs surrounding the river are very strict. Altariq seek to claim the best lands while obeying the migration patterns set by atma; near the city itself, saqim seek permits for irrigation. Harsh penalties are imposed on those who steal water from the river, or befoul it. Below the city, stone cisterns hold large supplies of water against the threat of drought or siege. These reserves are guarded as well as any vault of gold.

Besides its physical wealth, Karayin has grown to be a center of learning. According to legend, three Aa’boran magi of great wisdom passed through Karayin on their way into the mountain temples. They were seeking the origin of the river Alhamd as part of a spiritual quest. They went up the mountain paths with no supplies or guides; there they disappeared, only to return three years later. They did not say what they had found. However, all who beheld these magi agreed that their voices were different, and their eyes had a different look. The names of the magi are no longer known; they are now called Alimqat Alaynayn, “the ones of deep eyes”. They settled in the city and turned to spreading their wisdom, founding the first madrasa of Karayin. After centuries, the tradition of learning and institutional study has sunk into the bones of the city. Rich libraries and madrasas are located in the districts of highest prestige, and wealthy saqim boast of the size of their personal collections. Several temples devoted to Aa’boran study are located in the city proper, but the largest ones are built along the mountain paths; tradition states that each major monastery is built at a site where an Alimqat Alaynayn attained another step of enlightenment.

Local tradition holds that at least one of those three was magus’tariq, and at least one was magus’biraq. Any further details are subject to heavy, though usually polite, philosophical debate.

Karayin is far from any of Sha’ra’s external borders. Karayin’s defenses are therefore primarily oriented toward two main threats – the bandit raiders that plague any civilized nation, and the Night Malefic. One of the city’s plazas houses an obelisk in memorial to those who fell in battle against the forces of darkness; it is forbidden to speak in its presence, out of respect to the resting spirits. Water flows along an artificial channel – supposedly aided by an ancient minor enchantment – to a pool around the base of the obelisk, then back out to drain into the river.

Karayin’s history influences its warrior tradition. Warriors among the altariq are frequently versed in philosophy as well; they seek to excel in the virtues of their spirit, at the same time as they strengthen their body.

Le Sorelle Pirati

A sturdy stonework hut somewhere in La Montanara, Hestralia:

“Why do we live here now papa?”, asked the child, scribbling absentmindedly in the dirt using a stick.
“So, I can work and so we can eat”, replied the man as he dumped a bowl of chopped meat and vegetables into an iron pot that hung from a chain above the hearth.
“There was no work on the island, papa?”
“Not for me, paisano.”, the man muttered as he tossed some dried herbs into the pot for flavor. “There’s nothing good in those islands for us now.”
“The islands have bad-guys, papa?”
The man pushed the pot to a different position over the fire so its contents would boil more gently. “Of course! You know about Le Sorelle Pirati, no?”
“No papa, tell me about The Pirate Sisters!”
“The Sisters Pirates.”
The man laughed. “The Sisters are the name of all the islands. The islands, they have pirates, si.”
“The pirates are not sisters?”
“They are all kinds, but yes they have a lot of girl pirates, girl captains, and a girl ammiraglia. I think they have a lot of girl pirates for the same reason you were confused by the name. It is an amusing coincidenza, no?”
“Co-in. Coinzi”, the boy struggled with the word while using the stick as a cutlass and dueling the empty wall while his father smiled.
“Can I be a pirate, papa?”, the boy asked innocently while the man checked on the pot. His smile half faded, and he lied in the easy way that only a parent can, “Of course you can, Sergio.”

Type: Outlaw
Ties: Many formal and informal throughout Hestralia (and likely beyond).
Tier: 4 (estimated)

There are those (especially that live in the islands in question) that believe the recovery of humankind started from the aftermath of the Age of Witchkings in the islands called The Sisters. These are remote enough to not be easily reached by unskilled navigators, and small enough that they could be reclaimed one by one. This allowed the fledgling new civilization of human refugees from the ancient disaster to raid and conquer their way into the continent and establish the nations we know now. Interestingly, the same remoteness and beliefs about the history of The Sisters is assumed to be why they were the last to join the Unified Hestralia, and even to this day often ignore the rule of Aquila. It is also known that the reason the Sisters Pirates are often held in a degree of reverence is the belief that they are continuing the lifestyle of the original warriors and raiders that launched the recovery of humankind so long ago. (This savage time before the Age of Heroes is poorly understood, and nearly undocumented.)

The Sisters Pirates have been involved in almost every major conflict accessible by sea in the eastern part of the world. They have been known to appear and turn the tide of a battle, but also to betray a side they were hired to fight for. The motivations of these pirates would seem to be strictly profit motivated, but there is some evidence they work, in a roundabout way, to maintain the freedom of Le Sorelle.

The Sisters Pirates are organized loosely after the model of a naval fleet. There is an admiral that rules over the whole organization, four commodores with logistical and political duties but no fleets of their own, and a lot of captains that command everything from whole battlegroups to individual ships.

Thirsty Thorn

Thirsty Thorn

Unassuming from the outside the interior looks like a giant rose bush. The interior is a near miraculous example of advanced and mysterious wood working marvels. Woven wooden vines carved from rosewood decorate the tavern, serpentining around and amongst the bars various beams, benches, and bar stools. The bar itself is hune from a solid piece of rose wood that is nearly 12 feet long. The stools are intricately carved giant long stemmed roses, complete with thorns. They are one legged, and the tops, with their petals, are shaped so that sitting in them is most comfortable. Patrons are expected to be able balance using the one leg, and should a patron fall from a stool it is a sure sign that they should be cut off. The stone hearth even has the same serpentining rose vines carved into its face blending seamlessly with the woodwork around it. Due to the amount of nooks and crannies that so many intricate vines make pests are a constant problem to the Thirsty Thorn, which is why the owner loves cats so much. Regina is friendly but absent minded, and had the brilliant thought of filling her tavern with cats rather than rodents. It is well known that Regina owns over 30 cats and that these cats keep her bar clean and are often seen watching over patrons from their perches in the wood worked vines and brambles within the business. Such is the marvel of the wood working in the Thirsty Thorn that it is also an instrument itself. In the early summer when the wind blows from down over the hills and into the valley if the windows and doors are kept open in certain arrangements the Thorn will actually produce haunting wind swept melodies from within its walls. Given the door arrangements these melodies can be in major or minor keys giving Regina the ability to choose various moods for her tavern during this time of the year. These winds also bring the scent of the vast gardens from the crimson keep, ensuring that Regina’s bar never smells sour.

Petaller’s Post

Petaller’s Post:

Herbs to Canvas, Quills to Capes. If it is legal to sell it; we have it. If it’s not legal we probably know someone who can get it. Murlte’s got her hand in just about every pie!! Blast!! We don’t sell pie!! Anyway, come on down to the Petallers Post and see what we have.

PS: Pies coming soons.

While many would think that Rosenberg is too good for peddlers, petallers on the other hand are a different story. Murtle is the owner operator of the Petaller’s Post and she knows EVERYONE. Many know her to be fair, honest, and not to suffer fools. She is always on the look for exotic trinkets, new and stylish fashion, as well as ancient and mysterious tomes. Whereas other places use their shop windows as a gateway to the shop Murtle’s appears to be an escape route for its contents. Murtle hasn’t even seen the window in 2 years. Murtle’s store is an amalgamation of every odd shop and antique store ever made. If it exists and you want to buy it, chances are you can find it at Murtles; that is if the store hasn’t swallowed it yet. Also, Murtle’s great great grandmother Ophelia Witchbane is also the progenitor of the Night Market in Rosenberg.