Alturiak the 28th – Ches the 12th, The Year of the Gauntlet (02/28/1369 – 03/12/1969 DR)
After the battle at Vangerdahast’s tower the city seemed to slip into a moment of panic. The first hours and days after the battle were spent with a collective rescue effort as people of all castes set to put out the fires through the city and save the wounded and dying. Over the course of the next two weeks the capital city of Suzail experienced a wave of emotion as details from the previous month’s events began to trickle out of the castle. Popular belief among the people in Suzail is that the King was attacked by some otherworldly beast while on his hunt where the King’s Forest meets the Stormhorns and that the beast was summoned by Aunadar Bleth and whatever devilish allies he had surrounded himself with. That the beast was still loose in the King’s Forest and would strike again at any would be travelers in the western reaches.
Over the course of that first week Vangerdahast stepped forward, organizing the surviving War Wizards and Purple Dragon Knights and issuing them orders to occupy entire districts throughout the city as they began to turn over and investigate every residence, holding, business and affiliate of the houses Bleth, Cormaeril and Illance specifically. However they also spent time in detail with all of the Noble Houses that made up the Noble Council responsible for cornering Vangerdahast into the laws that were signed into action over the months before the King’s assault. An official proclomation from King Azoun IV to disband the Noble House Council was issued and all laws passed by them dissolved, much to the dismay of many businesses in Suzail who had profited under the aid of the Noble House Council.
Most of the Noble Houses were quite cooperative with the investigation, although nearly every Noble House involved in the scandal seemed to lose investors and business rights throughout the country. This seemed to allow a shakeup in the higherarchy of the Nobility in Suzail, allowing some of the lesser known Noble Houses to gobble up contracts and business deals that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get due to the turmoil.
During the second week the rumors had gone rampant. The common people of Suzail believed that the plot against the crown was now to be blamed on all of the Noble Houses. That the Nobility of Cormyr made arrangements to take over. Due to this, a few break ins and fires were started at Nobility residences and properties in the city, however with the increased Guard detail in the city and everpresent War Wizards, these issues were quickly put to rest. The bigger issue was the growing animosity with the common folk of Suzail and the wealthy. Suzail loved it’s king, and the rumors against the Nobility served to give a target for the people who so desperately wanted an enemy to focus anger toward after the King’s near death experience.
On Ches the 9th a general assembly was called at the Assembly Grounds just outside the palace. Thousands attended the event from throughout the city as it was expected that the King would make his first appearance since his recovery. The people were expecting a champion, the King that rumors had said repelled the attempted assassination and took back his Kingdom. Of course, there were rumors that others were involved with the King’s rescue, but popular belief held that the King’s vitality had won out, allowed him to recover and defeat the unlawful occupiers, then walk through the magical barrier to cut down the demons that held Vangerdahast prisoner. Then, magically enchanted by Vangerdahast he unleashed a mighty blow that blew up Vangerdahast’s tower, slaying a dragon in the process.
What the people got instead, was a painfully frail man, a shell of the burly king who went hunting through the realm for dangerous beasts and fought in battles to defend Cormyr. Where there was once only touches of grey, now only touches of dirty brown in his hair and beard. The skin seemed to hang from his skin and he seemed to have lost a least twenty stone since he had last been seen in public. Shakey on his feet, attendants helped him to the podium overlooking the crowd and Vangerdahast stood loyal at his side. Absent and noted by the crowd was the king’s wife and queen of Cormyr, Filfaeril, who some believe to have died in the attacks.
Also noted was the large wooden stage that had been constructed in the Assembly Square, with large structures covered in cloth to conceal the contents. The King cleared his throat and when he spoke, he spoke with the same intensity and fire that his people had known him for. His body may have been broken, but his spirit seemed alive and well.
“People of Suzail, of Cormyr. We have undergone an attack upon our fair realms. I have been entrusted with the safety of these lands by my father and his fathers before him for generations. I have made a promise to you all that I would keep these lands a safe and secure place to raise families, run prosporous business and grow the interests of the Cormyrian people.”
A sharply taken breath.
“I have failed in my duties.”
The crowd’s reaction was that of shock. A boo erupted from the crowd, as no one believed that the King had done anything but his most to protect the realm. It took a few moments for the crowd to calm down, but when it did the King continued.
“There was an attempt at my life and plans to take control of our nation. This was done through careful plotting and manuevering both outside and inside of our country. Our investigation has implicated the known Assassin’s Guild, the Fire Knives, who once plagued our lands. It has also confirmed that the houses of Cormaeril and Bleth are actually members and agents of the Fire Knives in their entirety. The leader and organizer of the coup was the noble Aunadar Bleth, who I mistakenly trusted to gain close access to official state business through council and personal relationships.”
Once again the crowd began a roaring hiss and death chants for Bleth rose from the crowd. It took substantially longer this time for the crowd to be quelled, which seemed to suit King Azoun IV fine, as he looked to be regaining the strength to continue to speach.
“By issue of the crown, all lands, properties and assets of houses Cormaeril and Bleth have been siezed by Cormyr. In addition, all house members of both Noble Houses have been issued warrants of arrest for grand treason. All Adventuring Charters as well as the Purple Dragon Knights and War Wizards of the realm have been put on alert for members of either house that managed to escape the city. The children of both houses who are captured will be raised as wards of Cormyr and raised to be productive members of our society. All others shall face the only penalty suitable for such treasonous actions.”
The crowd began a series of “Death” chants, it took a full five minutes for them to be quelled.
“Our investigation continues, and the involvement of the dragon and demons involved in the attack upon Vangerdahast and the War Wizards along with how they fit into the attempted plot against the throne will be uncovered. This is my promise to you, people of Cormyr. These lands shall be defended against all enemies. The wicked shall earn their place in hell!”
The crowd erupted into a blast of deafening chears as the King was escorted off of the podium and taken back into the palace. A number of War Wizards approached the wooden platform and pulled back the concealing veils from the structures on the platform. Turns out they were cages, crackling with magical energy to keep the prisoners within. The prisoners numbered 48 and were members of the Cormaeril and Bleth houses, dressed in prisoners garb. Many of them screamed their protests, but behind the magical barrier no sound escaped. The War Wizards chanted in unison and all at once each cage erupted into flame, a flame so bright that one could not see the contents. These flames lasted for thirty minutes a piece, and when they finally faded, nothing was within the cages at all except the blackened blast marks of the intense fire within. The bodies literally incinerated.
It took the rest of the day before the crowd was finally clear of the Assembly Square all together. Word quickly spread throughout the city and would surely reach the other cities of Cormyr within days.
The last few days of the second week saw the redeployment of several Purple Dragon Knight units and War Wizards alike, back to their lightly garrisoned stations to relieve those troops who were left lightly staffed. The city hardly returned to normal though, with those War Wizards and Purple Dragon Knights working hard to attempt to keep control over the new class division between the Nobility and the common people of Suzail. The presence of Purple Dragon Knights and War Wizards in the lower districts seemed to disappear, as most were too busy investigating attacks on Nobles and their holdings along with defending businesses and people closely affiliated with the Noble Houses or the former houses Cormaeril and Bleth.
(I’m doing individual player stuff for the two weeks, so look for your own personal story piece below. If it’s not there yet, it will be by the end of the day)