D&D4E Prologue

Written by DM MBabiash 

It was the evening of the autumnal equinox in Bulwark Point as The Raven Queen’s influence began to sweep across the land. Leaves began to turn bright colors, then brown, and then fall. Creatures of all kind began to gather food for the winter months ahead. The civilized world was of equal bustle as the farmers harvested their final crops and prepared their fields for the snow.

Just as the wildlife gorged on all manner of food for their hibernation, so did the citizens of Bulwark Point. All religions have their particulars, but all alike celebrate this time of year with great feasting. On this particular day the only ones working were those cooking and serving these great feasts all over the nation.

One such feast was taking place in the great hall of the castle. Generally used to hold court and audiences, the largest hall of the keep was often used for special occasions such as this. Large tables and many chairs were brought in, and the kitchen worked overtime. The guest list this evening was made up of the council members and their friends and families.

“Ha ha,” Leoboren IV laughed loudly and scanned the large hall in front of him. Though all the tables were round to facilitate conversation, one was discernibly the head table, set up on the dais where the throne normally would. Leoboren IV sat so that he could overlook the entire hall.

“So then it ran off into the woods with its tail between its legs,” a dwarf sitting at Leoboren IV’s table gave a gruff laugh and slammed his tankard down onto the table. “More ale!”

“Yes sir,” a teenage girl with long brown hair and soft features, apron clad, walked over to the head table. She held a pitcher carefully in both hands, which she then poured into the raise cup of the dwarf.

“Move over here, and be quick about it,” A young man sitting to Leoboren IV’s left said, staring at the girl and raising his own tankard.

She finished filling the dwarf and hurried over, filling the young man’s tankard quickly. She offered a slight smile, but he just turned away and resumed his conversation with another young man sitting almost across from him.

“Thank you Angie,” Leoboren IV smiled and raised his own cup in hail to her. She smiled and blushed slightly, then curtsied slightly careful not to spill, and hurried away to another table.

“So long as you are under my roof you will practice better manners.” The king gave a stern look over to the rude young man.

“Yes, yes, father, I will try,” young Leoboren V smiled once at his father and then returned immediately to the dwarf off to his side. “You must tell us another one!” he leaned forward eagerly.

A stoic scarlet scaled Dragonborn sitting to the King’s right shook his head slowly, making eye contact with the King. They both raised their cups and took a sip and Leoboren IV let his gaze fall back over the rest of the hall once more.

At the doors and sporadically placed around the edges of the hall were members of the Scarlet Guard. Armed with a cudgel hung on their belts, and a sword in their scabbards, these guards keep the peace region wide. Known for their vivid scarlet capes, they are well disciplined and well trained.

Each council member sits at their own table, sharing it with family and friends of their choosing. Save for a few neighboring village mayors, none actually share a table with each other. Not oddly enough, entirely dedicated to his work, Captain Regis of the Scarlet Guard is the only member missing from the celebration.

Leoboren IV stops an older gentleman, dressed like the servers, as he walks past the table. “Excuse me, Roland, be sure to set a plate aside and have it sent to Captain Regis at the guard house. He deserves a nice meal with all the long hours he puts in protecting this city.”

“Of course milord,” Roland places his right hand over his heart as he bows, before making directly for a set of doors leading down a hall to the kitchen.

Dinner begins to wind down as the servants remove the last few remaining plates from the tables. Roland returns from the kitchen and heads to the King’s table, exchanging a few words. Clasping both hands behind is back he turns to the rest of the hall.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now have a 30 minute intermission while we prepare the great hall for the entertainment. Feel free to enjoy the festive lighting in the courtyard, or use the facilities.” With a smile and a nod he begins to beckon to the servants as they come out of doors in force to move tables and chairs.

The guests stand and all begin to work their way out en masse, as the servants begin their work.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~*

A dark cloaked figure waits impatiently next to a stone wall. He paces back and forth quickly, turning his head sharply at the slightest sounds. Finally another cloaked figure, slightly larger in stature, emerges from the shadows around a corner.

Glancing over his shoulder quickly, the first figure turns to the newcomer, “You’re late.”

“I was tied up,” the second adds matter-of-factly.

“Just don’t forget who you work for,” adds the first, poking a finger into the chest of the other.

The slightly larger figure sighs audibly, “Yes sir.”

“Well… What’s your status?”

“Everything is going as scheduled. The wheels have already been set in motion.”

“Good, good.” The first figure smiles to himself for a moment, “Alright, you’re dismissed.” With that he turns and strides off, and turning a corner is gone. The larger figure shakes his head slowly before turning to head back in the direction he came.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~*

Everyone returned close to 30 minutes later, to find the tables and chairs cleared from the room entirely. Up on the dais a small band with varying instruments had set up, and they immediately break into a lively jig upon seeing the first of the guests.

Many of the family members cheer and immediately break into dance, along with several of the council members. Other council members duck out of the way to the edge of the hall and congregate in small groups, no doubt talking of politics.

Leoboren IV claps his hands and laughs jovially, glad to see everyone enjoying themselves. He ambles through the crowd, stopping to dance for a moment or two with a couple family members, as he makes his way toward the edge of the room. Standing there deep in conversation are two of his own personal friends, the Dragonborn and Dwarf from his table.

“Friends!” Leoboren IV roars fraternally at the two as he approaches, spreading his arms wide. He moves to stand beside the other two, all three of them watching over the festivities. The two friends each hold a tankard in one hand, and the Dragonborn hands a third to Leoboren IV smiling politely and nodding his head.

“Ah Leo, you always throw some great parties,” the dwarf grins widely, taking a large swig from his tankard.

“Thanks Baer, but these are more for the council members and nobles to smooze than anything else, I just try to get the families involved to have a little fun.”

“Aye,” Baer adds, taking another swig. He gestures into the crowd. “Young Leoboren V over there sure seems to be having a good time.”

“Yes, I know. Too good of a time sometimes…” The King’s son dances fervently with a young noble woman who seems to be quite taken with him.

“Don’t forget who he takes after,” the Dragonborn speaks for the first time, in a deep and clear voice. “You were once quite rambunctious yourself.”

“Ha, ha. Don’t remind me. Yes, I’m sure he’ll be coming around fairly soon, I had just hoped it would come sooner after he returned from his initial militia training.”

“Bah, he’s a good kid, and you’re a good father,” Baer slaps him hard on the back and takes another swig.

“Yes,” the Dragonborn pipes in. “Who would have thought all those years ago the man doused in flames and flailing wildly as he rushed and dove headlong into the river, would have made a great father?” And with that they all laughed loudly, taking sips of their drinks.

The night wound on without incident and the guests began to retire. Some of the mayors and other guests from out of town made for home that evening, but most stayed in some of the higher quality inns located in Bulwark Point. The festivities of the autumnal equinox had come to an end once more, but not all was quiet.