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626 ATA
"The Year of Dark Feathers"


Year Six-Twenty-Six After the Aegis of the First Age of Fastheld.

Here follows the account of the Year of Dark Feathers, in the year in which an Empire fell, the Kahar rule ended, and the Zahir rule began.

It was a year in which Serath Kahar, the errant Prince of Fastheld, and the ranger Vhramis Wolfsbane, defended the holdfast of Crown's Refuge against a Dark Wildling attack that would have consumed it. A defense prior to, and during, the arrival of an expedition from Fastheld that helped hold the walls.

A year in which a virulant Dark Pox threaded it's way through the people of Fastheld, touching many and killing many more. An illness that, to the shock of Fastheld, managed to kill an Emperor, and throw an Imperium into darkness.

One in which the great Red Dragon Val'sharax spoke of balance, and threatened the realm with a wake of disaster if it were to prevent him from restoring the balance that had been unhinged by the Archmage Zanorin Drakesfire a year earlier.

A year when Serath Kahar and Rowena Mikin were forced to return to Fastheld by the bidding of the dark words that had come from it, enduring the long trek across the hostile lands that remained between them and home.

A year when Fastheld threatened to tear itself apart under the strains of a Nobility scorned, and a rebellion on the horizon. A year that brought about a great betrayal in the name of order and justice, one that heralded a reunion of a broken realm, and ushered in a new Emperor of Zahir blood.



400 - Wolfsbane
Under sylvan starlight, Serath Kahar and Vhramis Skinner dine on ashes upon the Palisade of the lonely outpost known as Crown's Refuge. Matters of faith, personal revelations, and innuendos form the basis of an ususal and far reaching discussion, with an outcome that sets the mood for the new year that has recently been ushered in.


401 - Labor of Love
A standard day in the Assessor's office with Sahna Nillu turns into a surprisingly honest talk with her new beau...


402 - Interludes on the Water
A small run-in between Wilesly and Loeden; two members of the Expedition "Beyond the Wall" team.


403 - Befriending a Stray
Healer Chaori Balsam befriends Peanut, a strange little girl in need of help.


404 - Odd Dealings
Criss Ivorywood learns that Zahirs will talk the clothes right off your back if you give them the chance.


405 - Convictions
Wilesly 'Sly' Sprigg and Rowena Mikin examine their own convictions as the expedition aboard the Pride of Darkwater approaches the Aegis.


406 - Noblesse Oblige
Sahna Nillu calls for backup in the form of a cousin, with a strange mission in mind.


407 - Salva Nos - Side A
In the outpost of Crown's Refuge, deep within the northern Wildlands, Serath Kahar and Vhramis Wolfsbane once again take up sentry upon the Palisade that surrounds the wayward township to speak of the travel back to Fastheld that will soon be upon them. And then all hell breaks loose as the cold and overcast night is shattered by the onset of war...


408 - Salva Nos - Side B
West of the outpost of Crown's Refuge, having just disembarked from the vessel known as the Pride of Darkwater, an expedition party lead by Wilesly 'Sly' Sprigg and Marshal Lucius Nepos of the Emperor's Blades sets forth on a quest to arrive at the wayward outpost on a mission from the Imperial Crown. However, like those within that outpost, their plans are soon changed as they step right into the middle of the raging conflict...


409 - Reunion
In the aftermath of the events of Salva Nos, the survivors of the Siege of Crown's Refuge finally reunite to, amist the grim joy of victory, discuss all that has happened. For one Royal Healer named Rowena Mikin, it is a time of both revelation, and justification...


410 - Healing
Dirk Stonechip, badly wounded after the wildling attack on Crown's Refuge, recieves a visit from Vhramis Wolfsbane and two of the residents of the settlement.


411 - Dark Ventures
In the Wildlands, Lucius Nepos, Wilesly Sprigg, and Vhramis Wolfsbane take a trek through the forest to look at a particularly noteworthy landmark...


412 - Perfect Night
One a Prince, the other a Duchess; destiny has brought the two back together after nearly a year apart, and as one returns from a dark week of hunting Wildings, and the other flees an unwanted guest, their paths are finally fated to cross once more...


413 - Shared Thoughts
A conversation in Crown's Refuge between Thayndor Zahir, Wilesly Sprigg, and Vhramis Wolfsbane is interrupted by an unexpected source...


414 - Ode To Power
Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons, for you are small and flesh is flammable. The time has finally arrived for the Crimson Drake, Val'sharax, to visit the outpost of Crown's Refuge and honor the deal that had been established only a few nights before. For Vhramis Wolfsbane, it is a revealing encounter into the nature of the Dragon, and for miner Dirk Stonechip, the night becomes especially memorable...


415 - Common Enemies
Chaori Balsam complains to the boss about Gabriella Lomasa. The whole night goes a little weird with the additions of the chair master Aughol Zahir, ex-surrector and widow Tomassa Zahir, and of course, Ganeos Seamel.


416 - Common Friends
Tomassa Zahir pays a visit to Duhnen Seamel to discuss the past and the future.


417 - Growing Tensions
Wilesly Sprigg seeks answers from an uncooperative source.


418 - A Pox On All Their Hovels
Chapter 1: Aughol Zahir insists on accompanying Chaori Balsam to the Shadow District.
Chaper 2: Aughol Zahir and Chaori Balsam learn that the Shadowatch Tower garrison is healthy, but uninclined to be helpful.
Chapter 3: Chaori Balsam examines Adiana Stormclaw and Trenton Trask Lark. Aughol Zahir stops by and wishes he'd brought his favorite weapon.
Chapter 4: Chaori Balsam finds Nievea and a patient, Tahnin Graystone, at the Come On Inn.
Chapter 5: Lucius Nepos discovers that Bladesmaster Hartnek Lomasa has assigned him to a perilous mission.


419 - Milk and Wine
Oren Nillu and Gabriella Seamel discuss the values and ills of greed.


420 - A Pox On All Their Hovels, Part 2
Chapter 6: Chaori Balsam must give Aughol Zahir and Tahnin Graystone bad news.
Chapter 7: Tahnin Graystone recovers enough to complain about being comfortable.
Chapter 8: Duhnen Seamel and Oren Nillu attempt to avoid taking their medicine.
Chapter 9: Trenton Trask Lark pays everyone's medical bill.


421 - No More Summers
The dark pox finds its way to Fastheld Keep, and Emperor Talus Kahar XIV falls gravely ill.


422 - A Censorious and Denunciatory Personality
A lost and lonely Theo Lowland finds himself alone and afraid amidst the endless span of the barren Drake's Breach Sierra, south of the fortress of Ebonhold, having recently fled the citadel in an effort to return to Crown's Refuge. In a land where there is no cover, and no secrets, Theo soon finds himself questioning both those truths as utterly simplistic indeed... especially when under the scrutiny of a Red Dragon.


423 - Tavern Fever
Redana Moss, serving girl at the Lightholder Tavern starts to feel the effects of being locked up with the pox.


424 - A Pox On All Their Hovels, Part 3
Chapter 10: Aughol Zahir receives both medicine and news.
Chapter 11: Chaori Balsam reassures Chancellor Oren Nillu and gives Surrector Duhnen Seamel a very important little bottle.
Chapter 12: Roran Zahir finally drinks something in the Lightholder Tavern that he can't stand.
Chapter 13: Wilesly 'Sly' Sprigg gets a noxious drink and a summons to see Baron Ganeos Seamel and Duchess Sahna Nillu.


425 - Heart Change
After days spent lost in the wildlands and getting directions from the Red Drake, a weary but angry Theo Lowland returns to Crown's refuge. He encounters a strange woman, Rowena Mikin in his former home.


426 - The Huntress Returns
Several months ago Deputy Surrector Ester Shardwood disappeared without a trace. She mysteriously reappears at the Lightholder crossroads bearing information about the Pox that has plagued the Realm.


427 - Shades of the Shadow-Part I
Once friends, then sworn enemies, Deputy Surrector Ester Shardwood and Contessa Tomassa Zahir have not seen or spoken to each other since Lord Corriden Lomasa's death. It's the time of The Pox and citing a check on Bramblestone's wellbeing, The Huntress pays the Lionness a visit. Though perhaps she really has something else in mind... New and long held grief converge and things get emotional. When healer Chaori Balsam and her guard Roland arrive with news that the Chancellor, Oren Nillu faces death Ester must make the hardest decision of her life.


428 - Shades of the Shadow-Part II
The Emperor is dead, Chancellor Oren Nillu is gravely ill and Deputy Surrector Ester Shardwood is rumored to hold a potential cure-A 'miracle' tonic passed down through her mother. However, unbeknownst to most the 'miracle' is more then just a concoction of plants and wine. Can Ester help without revealing it's true nature?


429 - Mingled Perceptions of Feverish Minds
The sickness still rages in some, even as other succumbs, and others recover. Two feverish nobles path cross, grasp on reality weakened by the pox, began to see things through a veil of altered perceptions and an honest exchange of doubts and fears between two strangers follow.


430 - Hard of Hearing
Simple conversation takes an obscure turn as Vhramis Wolfbane's ears send both he and Rowena Mikin into confusion. The moment of hilarity takes a more somber turn as the moment dies and the weight of their situation settles back into mind.


431 - Lookin' for Trenton
A scourge, a baron, a pox-marked man and one simple serving girl with messages and gossip galore. Just another day in the life of Lightholder Tavern.


432 - Trenton Found
Savarius Kahar and Trenton Trast Lark meet at last for a questioning that turns into a harsher ordeal.


433 - The Business of Remembering
The Days of Memory have been called and the nobles and citizen of the Realm have begun to arrive at Fastheld Keep to pay their respects and remember the Emperor. Life must go on however and though the times be uncertain, business must continue.


434 - Dark Wings
They say that death is a debt we all must pay. In the holdfast of Crown's Refuge, deep within the Wildlands beyond Fastheld, it falls upon Duchess Rowena Mikin to catch a Wildcat, and then deliver dark words that have, in turn, been delivered by dark wings.


435 - Honor Thy Father
Tomassa Zahir meets up with Lucius Nepos on her way to speak to Hartnek Lomasa about something important.


436 - Misty Midnight
Under the cover of darkness, beneath the ominously overcast shadow of night, Serath Kahar, Rowena Mikin, Vhramis Wolfsbane, and Theo Lowland depart the holdfast of Crown's Refuge and begin the long sojourn back to Fastheld...


437 - Speak of the Dead
A troubled Chaori Balsam meets with Savarius Kahar, resulting in therapy mixed with some fact-finding.


438 - The Nature of Law
Surrector Duhnen Seamel and Duchess Gabriella Lomasa pay a visit to Justiciar Soravyn Zahir in an effort to seek justice for a transgression previously rendered unto the Duchess. However, they soon find that the dignity of the Imperial Law, and the frivolous nature of Noble Politics, are two very different things indeed.


439 - Frailties of Friendships
Meanwhile, Sahna Nillu tells the story of her recent abduction of Gabriella to Ganeos Seamel, waffling around on what actions to take next.


440 - Interview with a Surrector
Rhiannon Steelsong and Tinumir Swift make there way to Jade Gardens searching for work. They meet with the Lord of the keep Surrector Duhnen Seamel and Ester Shardwood.


441 - And Baby Makes Three
Nikolaes Zahir and Tien Mikin experience the joys of latenight feedings.


442 - Brokeback Wildlands
Theo Lowland and Vhramis Skinner chat while preparing camp.


443 - One Rainy Day
Just and average day of conversation in Lightholder Crossroads.


444 - Breaking Point
Everyone has a breaking point. When lifes trials merge to affect the very essence of who one is. And everyone reacts to it in a different way. One rainy night at Jade Gardens Ester Shardwood discovers hers and things between her and her friends Duhnen Seamel and Gabriella Lomasa will never be the same.


445 - Slackers
Fionnlagh, Dirk, and Tomassa Zahir hang out in the market district.


446 - Death and Taxes
Tomassa Zahir goes on a routine visit to the palace to pay taxes, but gets sidetracked.


447 - Tracks in the Ashes
Travellers of the Wildlands find themselves amidst the wastes of the unforgiving Ashlands.


448 - What Once Was Lost
Ghosts walk the halls of the Throne Room as Imperial blood again returns to Fastheld; but it is not Talus Kahar that has returned to the Empire, but a Wildcat Prince and his beloved Duchess. Under the secret veil of night, the party that ventured the Wildlands have returned, and two make their way to the place where it all began, so very long ago...


449 - Troubled Minds
What happens when an over-stressed Chancellor and an overly defensive Royal Healer come together? An exchange of worries and quarrels, of course! Rowena Mikin receives a warning to pass along to her betrothed regarding the fate of Fastheld in his hands.


450 - Nocturne
In the Bronze Hall of the Imperial Horsemen, in the wake of the Rowena Mikin's meeting with the Chancellor Oren Nillu, the Duchess of Light's Reach seeks an errant Prince Serath Kahar in order to deliver an omen, council, and so much more.


451 - Harvest Dawn
What begins as a simple visit between Duchess Sahna Nillu and Prince Serath Kahar to discuss the situation involving the recent promotion of a Surrector involves into a stark revelation that the Prince of the Blood is not the quick solution that everyone wishes he could be, and paints a dire picture of a realm in turmoil in the wake of the passing of an Emperor that held it all together.


452 - A Plan. Sort Of...
Once the Prince Serath Kahar and Lord Ganeos Seamel take their leave Duchess Sahna Nillu and Acting Imperial Surrector Ester Shardwood continue the discussion. The conversation ends on a darker note and a plan is hatched.


453 - A Lesson in Letters
From a chance meeting with Ashlynn Birch in the Lightholder Tavern, Vhramis Wolfsbane gains a brief conversation and, among other things, a brief refresher in writing.


454 - Premonition?
Zolor Zahir, Ester Shardwood and Wilesly Sprigg have a short, but interesting conversation.


455 - The Hammer's Fall
On the Fourth hour by the Shadow on Idleforge, the 21st day of Greening, Justiciar Soravyn Zahir enters Fastheld Keep with an agenda for the Reunion. To the chagrin and astonishment of those gathered at the Palace, events are put in motion that will shape the couse of Fastheld forever.


456 - Up Above and Down Below
Tomassa Zahir puts her freedom to good use by moving throughout the palace to converse with those of both high and low stations.


457 - An Ending of Sorts
Ester Shardwood, one of many put in the dungeons of Fastheld Keep to await decisions of their fate at hands of the new Emperor, gets wind of what hers will be. She decides to take fate into her own hands.


458 - Which Way Did She Go?
Tomassa Zahir arrives in the dungeons, set to carry out the Ester Shardwood's grisly sentence. She discovers an empty cell and is puzzled by the information gained from the guards and another dungeon guest Kenneth Fionnlagh that Justiciar Soravyn Zahir has already had her removed.


459 - Talking Turkey
Tomassa Zahir and Sahna Nillu have a little chat in the ex-assessor's towertop room, and Ester Shardwood's escape is discovered.


460 - The Justiciar's Claws
When a forsaken Marshal of the Emperor's Blades meets with the Justiciar of the Imperial Tribune, Soravyn Zahir, the Empire of Fastheld inherits a reforged collection of protagonists, and Lucius Nepos himself earns the chance to shine once more.


461 - The One That Got Away
The time has come for Justiciar Soravyn Zahir to check up on the ensnared Prince of the Blood, Serath Kahar. However, the Bronze Hall of the Imperial Horsemen holds many secrets, and the Justiciar and his aide, Marshal Lucius Nepos, are about to discover one more.


462 - The Rolling Ball
After negotiating through personal hang-ups, Maris Kahar finally approaches Winter Lomasa to officially start the planning of Winter's new school, The Snowflake Center.


463 - Camp At Arrow's Watch
A bird roasting over the fire, though probably not the bird Vhramis Wolfsbane wishes it was.


464 - Down by the River
Marshal Lucius Nepos head of the Justiciars Claws and Guardian Owen Stone take walk along the river's edge, in search of some tasty tumbler meat; surprises, of course, have a way of cropping up.


465 - Unexpected Bargain
As the former Dianna Lomasa is brought before Emperor Zolor Zahir, expecting to bargain for her freedom, she is instead given a surprising chance...


466 - A Few Memories
When Ravens descended upon the Imperial Throne, Bulls and Bears were cast out into the cold, and an Empire was cast under the shadow of dark feathers. Yet Wildcats remained, and fled, and hunted in the shade of political turmoil. Upon a dark and stormy night, Rowena Mikin is to find the location of her own missing Wildcat from a shadowy rogue, and the information will lead her back to a home now in ashes, and to an offer that couldn't be refused.


467 - Crossing Paths
Friends and acquaintances meet in the Lightholder Crossroads.


468 - To Be A Thief...
A Thief decides to take a walk on the wild side and do something against better judgement.


469 - Crime & Punishment
Amaas Shadowfinger faces the consequences of his pickpocketing ways.


470 - Rumble Tumble
It's late eve during a tempest of a storm when Amaas jostles the wrong man, and is soon caught up in a round of lawless fisticuffs, with an adversary rooting against him.


471 - Marionettes of Fate
By the folly of chance and fortune, familiar faces meet in the River District. This fortuity doesn't strike the fancy of one participant, or as he says: a pawn.


472 - A Sly Slip into the Halls of Healing
Two curious minds reunite after their return from the Wildlands and nothing less of meddlesome investigations can be expected to occur


473 - Carpentry Order
Rowena Mikin contracts Benedict Thatcher for a hefty carpentry request


474 - Excerpts from Sheltered Flame
An old face comes home, and Vhramis gets a warm welcoming from one of the ancestral Keep's most intriguing individuals...


475 - Interlude of Ashes
A chance meeting of armed men amist the ghosts of a ruined forest.


476 - A Sheltered Flame Stirred
A silence and secrecy is broken as the liege of Light's Reach meets for the first time the resurrecting town's new guardians.


477 - Through the Rift
A stranger arrives in Fastheld through a mysterious rift at Lightholder Crossroads.


478 - Dealing With Dragons
In an attempt to learn more about the stranger and the rift that appeared at the Lightholder Crossroads, Vhramis Wolfsbane and Ashlynn Birch travel to the Ashlands beyond Fastheld in search of the crimson drake known as Val'sharax. However, once they locate him, they soon find that dealing with a dragon is as about as easy as it sounds...


479 - The Shadow Be Cleansed
In an attempt to purge Fastheld of the "monstrosity" that arrived through the mysterious rift at the Lightholder Crossroads, Bandus Flint and a collective of Shadowscourges head into the Imperial Huntswood to strike first and strike swift. However, for the group of Emperor's Blades that watch the events unfold as they guard the rift, the night is about to take quite a different turn.


480 - Just A Wall
The Kamir returns to the Lightholder crossroads, saving certain people the trouble of finding him. A brief conversation follows, and a hint at the future..


481 - Waiting
Two soldiers sit in Bane's View tavern, talking and waiting for an errant ranger.


482 - Outbound Discussion
Three men venture into the Wildlands in search of the red drake Val'sharax. Misfortune befalls them, but conversation on all manner of subjects eases their spirits.


483 - Dust And Bones
Vhramis Wolfsbane, Lucius Nepos and Norran Lomasa continue their journey north from the relatively pleasant Southbight grasslands to the bleak Ashlands, coming across an unlikely shelter.


484 - Prelude
The interesting journey of three men camping in a hollowed-out skull continue unabated as an unusual object comes across them in the Ashlands.


485 - A Blast from the Past
For months after her mysterious escape from the palace Ester Shardwood has not been seen by her friends. Unexpectedly she returns and gives Duhnen Seamel a glimpse of a part of what she has been up to.


486 - Melancholy
Vhramis Wolfsbane, Lucius Nepos, and Norran Lomasa finally locate the crimson drake known as Val'sharax, bringing their quest to an end as they petition the great drake for aid. However, that which concerns man, and that which concerns dragon, are two very different things indeed...


487 - Barely Conscious
After surviving the sinking of his ship, The Emissary, Adaer Kahar makes it to shore only to find himself in the unwanted care of one Ester Shardwood.


488 - Knight Moves
Countess Sahna Nillu of Sweetwater and Marquis Abon Nillu, Steward of Hawks Aerie, meet for and evening chat about the news that Noble House knights are making a comeback in the realm of Fastheld.


489 - Between the Lines
A strange woman, professing to be a healer, shows up at Glittering Bear Keep and converses with Oren Nillu about employment.


490 - At The Duchess' Disposal
Late in the night, Adaer Kahar II gets a vistor in the form of one Duchess Rowena Mikin.


491 - Mind If I Crash Here Tonight?
Lucius Nepos, Amalai Pinewood and Adaer Kahar II witness a strange craft flying over the Lightholder Crossroads late at night only to barely avoid it's sudden crash. But things are only getting started...


492 - Shadow Over the Touched
Ester Shardwood and Duhnen Seamel meet unexpectedly and have a conversation about the changes and uncertainty that the Shadow-Touched amnesty has brought to their personal lives and to the secret organization known as the Luminary.


493 - Cyneray spurns Nepos
Lucius Nepos and Amalai Pinewood go for a little stroll in the Market District. When Lucius approches Cyneray Coolweather to ask him about the Darkwater Deepers, the reception is less than favourable.


494 - Talking in the Trout
Lucius Nepos, Norran Lomasa and Alath Kahar spend an evening amicably in the Thirsty Trout. Pleasantries and jokes turn to politics and plans as the wine gets to work.


495 - Denial of Service
Loeden Whicker goes up against Adaer Kahar in her shop on the basis of the old adage-- We reserve the right to refuse service.


496 - Happy Hour
A friendly drinking contest in Aegisview's Gold Coin tavern attracts all sorts. Unfortunately, some sorts are more violent than others.


497 - Unification: A Prelude
A brief, business-like exchange between Abon Nillu and Xerun Nillu over the fate of House Nillu intended to precede the establishment of a House Order and Heads of House.


498 - Temple Reunion
A chance meeting in Hawk's Aerie temple leads to blue wine and big plans between Sahna Nillu and Alath Kahar.


499 - A Plea From The Plebe
Lucius Nepos is recieved by the Emperor, Zolor Zahir to talk about several matters. His following proposal is less than well recieved. In following, Sahna Nillu seeks an audience with Zolor Zahir to discuss a matter preemptively. It doesn't go at all like she planned, either.


499.5 - Chaori Awakens
Chaori Balsam begins to recover from her seemingly vegetative state within the walls of the Tribunal Hall of Healing. Rowena Mikin welcomes her personally to the world of the living and gives her brief insight into the changes that have come to pass.

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