As the sun sets on a frigid evening, the people of Kintargo gather at Andos Hall. Upon the stage sits a large rectangular table. Under a large painting of Queen Abrogail Thrune II, flanked by Chelish and Kintargan flags, a high seat is positioned at the center of the table. Three lower seats are placed to either side of the central chair. Oil lamps line the walls, illuminating the crowd of Kintargans. Rumors of the horseman from Kantaria and his startling news have flown through the city and the auditorium is filled to capacity. The noise of the crowd quiets as a city official mounts the stage.
“Welcome countrymen, to your seat of government, Andos Hall! By the grace of Asmodeus and in the name of Her Infernal Majestrix, Abrogail Thrune, Second of Her Name, Queen of Cheliax, I call this meeting of the City Council of Kintargo to order!”
As a handsome noblewoman with a resolute face enters the stage and takes the central seat behind the table, the official announces: “I present the Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, Her Honor, Jilia Bainilus. Welcome, Your Excellency!” The noblewoman gives a warm smile and bows to thunderous applause before taking her seat.
Next, a severe looking older man with immaculately coiffed snow white hair and chest length goatee enters the stage. His red and black robes and ruby studded golden unholy symbol leave his identity unmistakable. “I present Arch-Heathen of the Church of Asmodeus, Corinstian Grivenner. Welcome, Your Unholiness!” The man gives a flourishing bow before taking his seat to the mayor’s right to polite applause.
A square-jawed man with close-cropped rust red hair and penetrating gray eyes, dressed in ceremonial armor with an aquatic motif enters the stage. “I present the commander of the Hellknight Order of the Torrent, Lictor Octavio Sabinus. Welcome sir!” The crowd applauds while the soldier salutes the portrait of the Queen before taking his seat to the mayor’s left.
Following the knight, a lithe elven women with pale blonde hair in a long braid enters the stage. She wears a black cloak over dark gray robes bearing a small unholy symbol in the shape of a skull. Oddly, she seems to be cast in shadow, despite being upon an illuminated stage. “I present the Umbral Archon of the Church of Zon-Kuthon, Aluceda Zhol. I welcome you, Lady.” The representative of a foreign god gives a slight nod as she sits next to the Arch-Heathen, to subdued applause.
Next, a well kept half-elven man enters the stage. His hair is dark but graying at the temples and kept in a short, tidy braid. His clothes are white, trimmed with gold and a large golden key hangs at his belt. “I present the Arch-Banker of the Church of Abadar, Mhelrem Gesteliel. Welcome, good sir!” The man puts his hands together and bows as the crowd gives polite applause; he sits next to the Hellknight.
A clean-shaven younger man enters the stage. He wears finely tailored clothes with a brooch bearing the rainbow tailed bird sigil. He removes a brown tricorne hat with a rainbow hued plume in it, revealing brown hear and crystal blue eyes. “I present High Chorister of the Church of Shelyn, Zachrin Vhast. Welcome, good sir!” The man places the hat over his heart and bows to the crowd to loud applause, then seats himself beside the elven woman.
Finally, a youthful looking half-elven woman in a sensible robe and woolen cloak enters the stage. She has alert hazel eyes and dark hair and upon her head sits a circlet with a butterfly motif. “I present the Chancellor of the Alabaster Academy, Professor Iylvana Desdoros. Welcome, good doctor!” The woman takes a bow and then sits beside the Arch-banker.
The official leaves the stage as a Dottari officer in ceremonial armor emblazoned with the symbol of Cheliax and carrying a gilded spear enters the stage and rings a bell. She then stands at attention to the side of the stage.
The Lord Mayor stands, addressing the audience. “Welcome, my fellow Kintargans. Thank you for coming out on such a frigid evening. I believe this is the largest number of people we’ve had in attendance at a council meeting in quite some time.” She smiles. “No doubt your curiosity has been piqued by our visitor from the Archduchy of Menador to our south. He has come bearing some truly startling news and we present him now to you, so you can hear his words directly. Sir Morvius, please step forward.”
A weathered fighting man mounts the dais. He has a well-trimmed beard and wears a tabard bearing the sigil of House Nerikopolus and a longsword at his waist. He clears his throat and looks over the gathered crowd, which falls silent as he begins to speak. “Thank you, Your Honor. Greetings, people of Kintargo. I have rode north from Kantaria to deliver the following news. A month ago, an army of Iomadean zealots calling themselves the Glorious Reclamation, laid siege to Citadel Dinyar. Against all odds, these warriors breached the Citadel and laid low the Order of the Godclaw! Some are even saying that several border villages have risen in revolt with them! It is unknown what their intentions are, but Her Infernal Majestrix is marshaling our forces. I have been bade by my master to warn you…”
Suddenly the crowd’s rapt silence is pierced by a commanding shout. “I have heard enough! Duxotas! Place this man under arrest.” The messenger turns to face the Arch-Heathen, pointing down at him from the table. The Dottari officer at the stage turns to follow the cleric’s order. Hellknight Sabinus snorts. Lord Mayor Bainilus says: “Hold, Duxotar Trex! Upon what grounds do you order this arrest, Arch-Heathen?”
The white haired priest looks miffed but not surprised as he turns to the Mayor. “This man has no writ from the Throne to carry these tales. His words will cause nothing but worry and derision in our citizenry. For all we know he very well could have been involved in this treasonous attack.”
The messenger looks horrified as he interjects: “Your Unholiness, no! I am no Iomadean, nor was I there! I am a loyal man of House Narikopolus!”
The Lictor speaks, his voice clear and loud: “Speaking as a Hellknight myself, our orders are not monolithic. Neither are we an extension of the Throne. If these warriors have attacked the Order of the Godclaw, they have not necessarily attacked Cheliax.”
The Lord Mayor next speaks: “Furthermore, Citadel Dinyar is in Isger. I would say that this currently falls outside of our jurisdiction to act upon. Although Sir Morvius bears no writ from the Queen, I certainly will not fault him for acting upon the command of Archduke Narikopolus. I see thin justice in it, Arch-Heathen. He has my protection and I will not hinder him from traveling on to Vyre upon the morrow.”
Grivenner seats himself, looking rather vexed. “This is carelessness, Lady Bainilus. I will be forced to report this to my superior in Egorian.”
Jilia Bainilus clasps her hands. “But of course, Arch-Heathen. Hm. There you have it, my countrymen. These are certainly interesting times, but I trust our Queen to keep us safe from any zealotry. I am going to call this council meeting to a close early. I fear this excitement will prevent us from accomplishing anything else tonight. Be safe and stay warm. Duxotar, if you will.”
With that, the Duxotar rings her bell and the meeting is adjourned. Dottari open the doors to Andos Hall and usher the people out into the frigid evening. The excitement is palpable. Many find it inconceivable that a Hellknight citadel could be conquered, let alone attacked. People begin rushing to find shelter and warmth. This is shaping up to be the coldest night in recent memory.