Having dispersed the bandit camp and bestowed the Blessings of the Trinity upon the camp followers, the crew camped in reasonable comfort.
The party proceeded through the hardy Moravian countryside, following a well-worn track. At about two o’clock in the afternoon, the walls of Ohmsford Castle became visible in the distance. After a brief discussion, the decision was made to proceed no further at that time. Rather, they would wait and make an appropriate entrance to Ohmsford the following day. Varanis approached a homesteading reminiscent of his homeland. With a gift of some silver to a teenaged farmer, the brave orator was able to secure lodgings for the night. At about sundown, the homestead family brought a raspberry pie to the encampment. In interacting with these good solid people of the earth, Varanis was able to gather some information. The Lord of Ohmsford was to be reinvested in his charge by the Margraf of Moravia, who was in attendance at Ohmsford Castle. This man, named Lord Warcher, had been the subject of some sort of disagreement with the Margraf, such that he was supposed to be removed from his post. The farmers had a strong positive impression of Leiden, Margraf of Moravia for his military successes and his fair rule.
The teenaged boy sheepishly approached the heroes camp to return Varanis’ bag of silvers on the instructions of his father. Varanis accepted the silver back, but found out that the family would have used it to purchase a new plough. Narthairian pronounced the blessings of the Trinity upon the homestead, which was well recieved by the family.
As the seasoned adventurers proceeded towards Ohmsford Castle, a group of tabard wearing cavalry approached them. They discerned that this was the same troop that had brought the summons to Castle Montford a few days previously. Under Varanis’ steely gaze, Sir Kabik seemed to be genuinely hostile towards Warrick and the rest of the crew. However, he also seemd to genuinely have no knowledge of the bandit ambush. The brave orator used the power of his voice to suggest to Sir Kabik that it would be in Kabik’s best interest to be honest to his master. The cavalry escorted the party through the main gate of Ohmsford Town and up to the Castle. Unseen by the escorting horsemen, Grom slipped off his saddle and into a convenient alley. In the castle courtyard, their horses were led off towards the finely appointed stables while the party collected themselves and spruced up somewhat. The double doors to the Great Hall of Ohmsford towered menacingly over them.
Warrick confidently and with purpose approached the doors, which were opened before him by guards. A hush fell upon the hall as all eyes turned to the young wiazard and his companions. Summoning all that he had studied of courtly protocol, Warrick was able to deduce that the nobleman directly ahead of him at the far end of the hall was Lord Warcher of Ohmsford, and not the Margraf of Moravia. “Political trap,” he mused. Instead of approaching the dais at the far end of the hall, Warrick stopped instead in front of a well dressed nobleman standing amongst others at the side of the hall. "Your Lordship, " he said. “I am Warrick d’Montford. I am here from my familial holdings… Montford Castle.”
The Margraf of Moravia laughed good naturedly at his ruse having been discovered. Conversation returned to the hall. Leiden asked why the adventurers were in his lands, so far from Crystal Lake. During this exchange, Warrick discovered that his father, Warren d’Montford had been removed of his post by the previous Margraf. With so much information to be sorted through, the Margraf told them he preferred that they make a full accounting to his advisor, a man by the name of Zardin. A look of unease passed through the party when the Margrave next spoke. “Sergeant Monchak, take these men to Lord Zardin.”
As they quitted the hall, sharp eyed Varanis deduced that an ambush lay in wait. Thus forewarned, the heroes sprang into action when Sergeant Monchak tried to hand off the crew to Corporal Will of the watch. During the brief scuffle that ensued, Sergeant Monchak was restrained, Narthairian sprinted back to the great hall for assistance and magical spiderwebs kept anyone from being injured. Having identified Monchak as an possible enemy, the party made their way carefully to Zardin’s tower. On the steep curved stairs, they noted a probable ambush location.
Zardin proved to be an impressive nobleman of some advanced years. His office was the top floor of a corner tower. The well appointed room seemed to Warrick reminiscent of the quarters of William Fitzhugh, Equerry of Exeter and also a wizard. Varanis, with some help from the others, recounted to Zardin the tales of their adventures, culminating in the assault upon the Cult of Death at Castle Montford upon the night of the Second Conjunction. The sun hung low in the West by the time the tale was told. Zardin, who took no notes, thanked them for their tale. The party was then led, without ambush, to guest quarters along one of the inner walls of the castle. There, they each made preparations for the evening.
As evening fell upon the castle, a ceremonious banquet was held in the Great Hall. During this ceremony, Leiden, Margraf of Moravia reinvested Warcher with lordship over Ohmsford and the surrounding district. During the banquet, Narthairian Brentar kept mostly to himself until he saw another knight bearing the symbology of the Crusade. The two of them were obviously uncomfortable with the crowd and spoke quietly about religious matters. Childris joined a conversation circle with a group of Moravian knights and had a boisterous time talking about horses and chivalry.
Warrick was approached by an older soldier who gave his name as Sir Fenic. Fenic stated that he had been a comrade of Warren d’Montford. The two men slipped quietly outside for some private words. They discussed Warrick’s father, who had been relieved of his lordship over Montford Castle for insubordination. According to Fenic, Warren had broken the jaw of the previous Margraf’s chief advisor regarding the strategic value of capturing some castle to the far east on the Parthian border.
Meanwhile, Varanis noted Sergeant Monchak at the banquet, but not wearing the livery of the guard. The skilled orator struck up a conversation with their earlier opponent which left Monchak visibly uneasy after a small duel of words. “This isn’t over,” Varanis warned.
Also noticed at the banquet were an older nobleman and his much younger wife. Parvis and Larisella, Lord and Lady Norco, who lived not far from Montford Castle. Lady Norco piqued Narthairian’s interest when he was not able to scan her for the presence of Evil.
Towards the end of the banquet and reception, Warrick was summoned to speak with the Margraf of Moravia. During this exchange, Warrick declared his intention to reclaim the Montford estates. This pronouncement drew forth a snort of derision from Monchak, who had positioned himself closeby. Warrick turned on the villainous Monchak and words led to words. Lord Norco interjected and Monchak demanded that his guilt or innocence be established by ancient Moravian right to Trial By Combat. This fight was to take place the following noon between Warrick and Monchak. Weapons of choice were to be sword and shield. After this, Lord and Lady Norco left, accompanied by Sergeant Monchak.
Later that night, quite late in fact, Narthairian glanced up while returning from checking on Spartan and Thunder and saw a figure in white descending to a familiar balcony from the roof above. Meanwhile, Warrick and Childris were engaged in some light training with armor, sword and shield. Sprinting back to Warrick’s room, Narthairian arrived just after Warrick opened his balcony door to Larisella, clad in revealing white. Resisting her attempt to kiss him, Warrick retreated towards his bonded staff. In the ensuing scuffle, Varanis was awakened next door. After receiving the might of the Trinity focused through the Crusader’s Sword wielded by Narthairian, Larisella fled through the window. Narthairian rushed from the room to safeguard the mighty horses. Hauling off his chainmail shirt, Warrick was less encumbered when Larisella reappeared. She used foul magic upon brave Sir Childris, urging him to attack his brother in arms, Crusader Narthairian. Hearing this, Varanis quickly created an illusion of Narthairian in the same location at Larisella. After several sword swings in her direction from Sir Childris, Larisella fled the scene while Varanis used his oratory to remove the compulsion from Childris’ mind. Unsettled, the crew settled down for what remained of the night.
The sun was upon the field of honor, as Warrick d’Montford and Sergeant Monchak prepared to settle the matter of his guilt or innocence.