Each Baron also received a second letter, hand addressed from Count Osriel. The letter ordered the Baron to “take care of” Lady Shara’s child. Count Osriel offered a great reward to the Baron if they complied with this “request”.
Of course, the Barons know Lady Shara is not married, so where the child came from is anyone’s guess…
Count Osriel‘s barons (the PCs) travelled across Shanri to travel to the glorious Puzzle House of Lady Shara. The night before the party, the Barons stayed in the home of the Mayor of the local Village closest to Lady Shara’s home. They met that evening to discuss the details of the party.
As befitting to the Season, Lady Shara was throwing a grand and glorious Garden party, to show of the exotic and beautiful flowers which bloom in her home, the House of Faded Flowers. The Barons wondered at the entertainments to be held, and guessed at the parentage of Lady Shara’s child. Baron Yvari was not present, though his brother, Deta, stated that he should have been there. None of the other Barons knew more of what Yvari was up to this season.
Lady Shara was not married, and while it is not frowned upon for an unmarried woman to bear a child to an unmarried man, it is usually grounds for a wedding. Of course, if the man or woman is married….
The child had been born in this season, meaning it was conceived in the last Season, a child of Winter…a strange and ill-omened child. The barons shared the current rumors surrounding Lady Shara’s child, that the child is the son of her Count, Count Cordana whose wife Shara hopes to replace; the son of a neighboring Count, whose heart Shara broke last Summer; and that the child has no father, but was instead born of the Winter itself.
It was then that Baron Korba revealed that he had through gossip discovered the truth of Lady Shara’s child. Lady Shara’s child was the prodigy of none other than Count Count Osriel, the Barons’ own Leige. Korba told the others of the stormy Romance that had burned between them, and the public disgrace Lady Shara had brought upon herself last Summer when she publicly spurned Count Osriel at the grand Hunt thrown by Marquis Jorath.
Noticing the prying eyes of the servants of the Mayor, the Barons decided to stop discussing these matters until the next morning.
On the ride between the Village and the Puzzle House, the Barons discussed the news of Lady Shara’s wife, and the puzzling instructions given to them by their Count. Thalassa then revealed to the other Barons that she had received another letter, a letter addressed only to her, which asked her to take care of the child, in any way possible.
Understanding now that Count Osriel wanted the child killed, Thalassa came outright and told the other Barons that she would not stand by as the child was killed. She discovered in herself that she could not bear to see an Unblooded child killed for their parent’s crime. She asked the Barons to let her take the child, and adopt it as her own.
Deta pointed out to Thalassa that it would be difficult for her to disguise the child as hers. Zrudura argued that it would be to dangerous for the child to be kept by any of the Barons, but agreed that they should find some way to dispose of the child other than killing it. After discussing for a time, the Barons could come to no agreement as to what to do with the child.
Before long, the Barons rode within sight of Lady Shara’s Puzzle House. A grand and glorious home of the sorcerer-kings, its very structure defied the laws of reality. It was formed by a series of 7 concentric circles, each larger than the last, floating around a central pillar of light. The layers of the circle were connected by thin bridges, and the interior of the circles were covered in gardens. As they got closer, the Barons realized they could see people moving around in the gardens, people who were orientated as if the central pillar of light was the sky, and the circle was the floor. None of the Barons chose to comment on the strangeness of the Puzzle House, as if doing so would conjure the forgotten spirits of the sorcerer-kings.
Upon arrival, the Barons were met by Lady Shara’s seneschal, an thin, creepy, old man. He informed them that they were expected, and that the party would begin in a few hours. He offered to have servants take them to their rooms, so that they could freshen up for the party.
The Barons agreed this was best, and were whisked away by the servants to their individual rooms. Along the way, the servants seemed to intentionally take the characters past a room where several other nobles were already gathering for the party. The Barons saw (and were seen by) Count Cordana and his wife, Valin Burghe, Lady Peacock, Lady No, and Dannin Steele.
The Barons refreshed themselves in their rooms, and each asked to be taken to the gathering they had passed being held before the banquet.
The first to arrive was Tymon. He had recognized his aunt, Lady Peacock, and wished to approach her to give his greetings. Upon seeing him, Lady Peacock greeted him by extending her wrist for a kiss. Tymon bent and touched his lips to her wrist, lingering perhaps a few seconds more than propriety would normally allow. Such a bold and brazen statement was not missed by the gathering, which began to buzz with rumors that Tymon was beginning a Romance with Lady Peacock.