Hell's Rebels

Barzillai's Proclamations


10 Gozran 4716, Sunday, Aria Park

It has been two days since the devastation that the people of Kintargo have begun calling “The Night of Ashes”. When all was accounted for, it was found that three buildings had burned to the ground and for some, they have found that their neighbors have simply disappeared. Confusion, fear and anger have spread amongst the people of the city.

Questions are being asked and topics debated in the taverns, the academies, guildhalls and the streets. “Why was lord-mayor Jilia Bainilus sent to Anchor’s End?” “What are Barzillai Thrune’s plans for the city?” “What has become of the opera diva Shensen who disappeared?” “Why has the Order of the Torrent been so quiet and why is the Order of the Rack here?” “Where have those who disappeared two nights before gone?” “What is happening to the Silver City?”

It is announced that Paracount Barzillai Thrune will address the city this afternoon. Not from Andos Hall, as was always done in the past, but from the balcony of the Kintargo Opera House, overlooking Aria Park. The Opera House is now occupied by the Inquisitor and his entourage. The anticipated Huntress of Heroes, and indeed, all further operas and performances of the season have been cancelled.

It is under one of Kintargo’s rare crystal blue skies that people gather in the park. Looking around you see people huddled together, many looking resolute and defiant as they wait for the Paracount to make an appearance, but you count less than 100 people. The park is eerily quiet. A gaunt, particularly unattractive woman stands on the steps before the closed door, surrounded by a squad of dottari. A murder of crows noisily alights from a nearby tree as you see mounted Hellknights close in from either end of the avenue. They reign their horses to a stop, about 100 feet away and seem to stand there silently regarding the crowd.

Finally, the silence is pierced as trumpeters begin sounding from the windows of the Opera House. The March of the Thrice-Damned House Triumphant echoes across the park and the doors of the balcony slowly open to reveal an imposing, middle aged man, wearing an ornate breastplate emblazoned with the pentagram of Asmodeus and the cross of Cheliax. Smiling, he gestures with an open hand across the park, bowing to those gathered below.

“My dear countrymen, thank you for gathering here to visit me so I might share with you my plan to combat our recent troubles. I will not lie to you. The fear engendered by the threat of zealots such as those of the Glorious Reclamation often pushes men to acts of depravity. We saw the results of this the night before last. Foul cultists of Rovagug burned down a beloved drinking establishment! Tiefling knaves sought to burglarize and destroy the home of a talented diva! Ungrateful and envious house servants burnt down the home of the noble Victocora family! Luckily for us all, the dottari of this fine city acted quickly and decisively with our gracious friends and allies in the Order of the Rack. Many of the blackguards were apprehended and many more falsehearted individuals have been taken in for questioning.” He smiles widely as he leans over the railing. He raises a fist. “I have been sent by our Queen to guide you along a loyal path and guide you I shall!”

“It has become clear to me that I must take an active hand in affairs to keep us safe before the march of the Glorious Reclamation and the chaos their very name engenders! Until I can be sure that you, my charges, are safe, I must enact martial law in this city. You must obey any official deputy of the state without question! Furthermore, as lawlessness can only flourish in the shadow of darkness, I am forced to enact a curfew from 9:00 post meridiem until 6:00 ante meridiem each night. Please assist us in protecting your homes and cooperate! I have also devised seven other proclamations. Take them to heart and you shall lead a more virtuous life.” He regards the crowd for a moment and then, putting his hand to his heart, he declares: “Fear not my countrymen. I am a son of House Thrune who brought order to this land after the death of Aroden and who bends even Hell itself to our will! I speak for our Queen when I say we shall protect this land no matter the cost!”

With that, he bows before the audience again and retires to the interior of the Opera House. The people are taken aback. Some mumble, some shout and curse. The Devil’s Bells begin to toll while the gaunt woman at the door unfurls a scroll, reading from it Thrune’s seven proclamations. When she finishes, the Hellknights part to let the people pass. Many tell each other this cannot be allowed to stand. Others proclaim that it’s about time the hand of justice reign in this town’s libertines. As the attendees see criers have already preceded them, spreading the news to the city, the feeling that a time of turmoil is brewing is unmistakable.

Night of Ashes


8 Gozran 4716, Fireday, Hereafter known as the Night of Ashes

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The Missing Mayor


5 Gozran 4716, Fireday, Kintargo’s Streets

A gray fog rolls in on the ocean winds with the morning’s rain, but the piercing squall is mercifully light today. It has been four days since the arrival of the man who the city has come to know as Barzillai Thrune. In that time, he has shown himself little to the people of Kintargo. He seems to have turned down several invitations from Pavo Alazario to inspect the Chained Devil Inn, causing the old patriot no end of consternation.

Rumor has it that he has visited several noble houses in the Greens, but which ones precisely have been inconclusive. Furthermore, he has been spotted several times in private prayer with Infernal Prelate Corinstian Grivenner at the Church of Asmodeus. It is said that he is a particularly religious man.

No one has seen nor heard from Lord Mayor Bainilus all week, which is very much unlike her. The citizenry are beginning to talk but by noon, criers begin circulating throughout the districts, bearing a message from the Lord Mayor that should reign in much of the speculation.

A crier at a nearby intersection unfurls a scroll and reads in a booming voice.

“Hear me, citizens of Kintargo! Lord Mayor Jilia Bainilus has written the following for your edification: ‘My fellow Kintargans, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Her Infernal Majestrix has determined that my administrative talents are needed in our colony of Anchor’s End. Governmental turmoil has arisen and the Queen believes a lord mayor of my experience is needed to put things to rights. I have been commanded to leave upon the H.I.M.S. Incubus which will have unfortunately already set sail by the time this message reaches your ears.

In my stead, Paracount Barzillai Thrune shall hold stewardship over Kintargo at the Queen’s pleasure. Please, extend to the Paracount all of the trust and cooperation you would give me. Show him that the Silver City is indeed a jewel in the crown of Cheliax. Until I return to you, best regards, Jilia Bainilus.’ The proceeding was presented to you at the behest of Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune. Asmodeus keep the Queen!”

Upon his reading of the scroll, the Devil’s Bells give a single, baritone peel and then fall silent.

Thrune's Arrival


1 Gozran 4716, Fireday, Veritas Plaza

A frigid wind blows down from the north on this Fireday. The streets along Veritas Plaza are hung with the flags of Cheliax, their red and black whipping in the wind. Despite the cold, many people have gathered to get a look at this visitor. At just past noon, a song can be heard upon the air. As it gets closer, all recognize the sounds of the official anthem of Thrune, The March of the Thrice-Damned House Triumphant. The Rust Gate winches up and the great doors are thrown open.

An honor guard of Thrune cavaliers ride at the forefront, bearing flags of Cheliax and House Thrune. Following the mounted warriors, the troubadours march along, playing their horns and drums. A column of Thrune household soldiers and sworn agents come next. Just barely perceptible over the din of the band, the tolling of the Devil’s Bells seems to join in as a cadre of Asmodean priests makes their way through the gate. Wearing their rich crimson and ebony vestments, they swing censures belching out black and red clouds of incense which smells of sandalwood and brimstone. The priests stop in their procession to offer a few lucky bystanders of the faith maledictions against their foes.

Next, a baroque monstrosity of a carriage comes into view. Nearly too wide for the street and pulled by a team of twenty horses, it’s a small wonder it fit through the Rust Gate at all. It is festooned in leering devil faces and cavorting gargoyles. In golden filigree on the side is emblazoned the sigil of House Thrune. Crimson velvet curtains are pulled aside and within you spy a man. As the crowd peers to see him, he seems to be surveying them as well. An imposing man, dressed in fine red, orange and black clothing, he is middle aged with short, dark hair. His eyes seem to take in much as he meets your gaze. You think he gives a wry, half grin and the slightest hint of a nod before drawing the curtain closed.

Finally come the Hellknights. At the head of the column rides a woman with short blonde hair and hard blue eyes like dirty flecks of ice. To either side of her ride knights bearing banners with a spiked wheel. There must be at least thirty of them, and they are followed by nearly twice as many armigers. These knights look different than the Order of the Torrent that you are accustomed to. While the Torrent wear royal blue cloaks and their armor has a majestic, almost fanciful sea creature motif, these knights are different. Their armor is clearly designed to sow fear, making them look like flayed men cast in iron. Their cloaks, if they can be called such, look tattered at first. Upon closer inspection however, the cloaks are intentionally cut to resemble long strips of flayed skin. Each warrior carries a long sword on one hip and a whip on the other. Following this intimidating column is a long procession of seemingly unaligned free riders and foot soldiers, who may even be sell-swords. The parade continues north towards the Castle District and the music fades until you’re left with only the song Devil’s Bells.

Distressing News


26 Pharast 4716, Starday, Andos Hall

For a second time, the streets of Kintargo are abuzz with rumors and excitement. The Wealday previous a party of outriders arrived at the Rust Gate. It was said they came bearing a message for Lord-Mayor Jilia Bainilus. While the content of that message was not public knowledge, what was known is that the outriders wore tabards emblazoned with the sigil of House Thrune.

Word spread throughout the streets like wildfire that someone important was coming to pay the Silver City a visit. At the Chained Devil Inn, one of the most conspicuous buildings in Jarvis End and a hotbed of Chelish patriotism, it was said the proprietor, Pavo Alazario, was no longer satisfied with the large Chelish flags posted at each corner of his building. Thrune pennants now flew from every window of the building and the word was the old man was having an even larger painting of the Queen commissioned to replace the already sizeable one in his tap room.

While many were proud to host a visit from a Thrune, even more were quietly pensive. It was always believed in Kintargo that no news from the Capitol was good news. Was House Thrune sending an actual member of the royal family to the city? They had always considered Kintargo a back water. What could they want with the Silver City?

Town criers traveled through the districts announcing that the Lord Mayor would address the townsfolk that afternoon. At the appointed time, people begin making their way to the steps of Andos Hall. Though three stories tall, Kintargo’s city hall seems quaint and cozy sitting in the shadow of the castle.

It is chill day, but the sky is filled with fluffy clouds. As the sun sets over the Arcadian Ocean, the light filters through the clouds, bathing the cold dusk in warm orange light. Jilia Bainilus stands before her people in a blue-green cloak, flanked by Dottari.

Her voice trembles ever so slightly as she speaks, but her bright blue eyes are as defiant as ever. “My countrymen, I address you today to inform you that Barzillai Thrune, a cousin to our Queen and Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus rides north from Menador Keep and shall be here within a weeks time. He has been sent by the Throne to advise us regarding the Glorious Reclamation. I know some of you may feel concern over this news, but I urge you to take heart.

For you see, I am Kintargo’s lord-mayor, yet Kintargo is not my city. Nor is it Cheliax’s city. Kintargo belongs to no one person, but to all who live here and make it the greatest city in Cheliax. We call it the Silver City not only for the gleaming waters of the Yolubilis, but for its purity. Kintargo is unique in the nation of Cheliax in this way.

We are not the nation’s largest city, nor its strongest. We may not have Westcrown’s history, Ostenso’s naval superiority, Corentyn’s trade dominance, or Egorian’s power, but nor do we have Westcrown’s decay, Ostenso’s violence, Corentyn’s slaves, or Egorian’s damnations. Kintargo is our own, and as Cayden Cailean is my witness, I intend to do all that I can to ensure our silver shall never tarnish under Thrune’s touch!”

Many in the crowd cheer loudly at this, but these cheers are far from universal. The lord mayor withdraws to the interior of Andos Hall and the Dottari stand before the door.

Feast of Embers


26 Pharast 4716, Starday, Aria Park

As the sun sets on a chill evening, the people of Kintargo gather at Aria Park for the Feast of Embers, the last annual winter dance of the year. The light, musky perfume of the blooming blackthorns competes with the scent of kindling for the trademark bonfires to be stoked in the park’s open air. A large center dais holds the attention of the crowd, who huddle together around the raised stage prepared for the evening’s dancers. Musician, street performers, and vendors of hot food and drink, as well as wine and barley ale move throughout a delighted audience beneath a festoon of brightly colored pennants.

Upon the dais sits a large rectangular table. 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. Halorans, 7-foot-tall hooked staves hung with bright lanterns, line the dais, illuminating each seat. A soft buzz of excitement lies over the evening. The noise of the crowd quiets as a city herald mounts the stage.

“Welcome Kintargans, to the annual Feast of Embers! By the grace of Asmodeus and in the name of Her Infernal Majestrix, Abrogail Thrune, Second of Her Name, Queen of Cheliax, we gather here in celebration!”

As a handsome noblewoman with a resolute face enters the stage and takes the central seat behind the table, the herald 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 beard enters the stage. His red and black robes and ruby studded golden unholy symbol leave his identity unmistakable. “I present the Infernal Prelate 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 elaborate armor with fin-like flourishes 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 flags and the Lord-Mayor before taking his seat to the mayor’s left.

Following the knight, a lithe elven women with bright crimson 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 Infernal Prelate, 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 Master 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.

An androgynously attractive young 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, and even cheers, then seats himself beside the elven woman with a smile.

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 Master Banker.

The herald leaves the stage as a Dottari officer in ceremonial armor emblazoned with the cross of Cheliax and carrying a gilded spear enters the stage escorting a tall, silver-haired half-elven woman of astounding beauty. The Dottari officer 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 frosty evening. I believe this is the coldest Feast of Embers we’ve had in quite some time.” She smiles. “Let’s not delay in lighting the bonfires then.” The Lord Mayor plucks the nearest haloran from it’s place and hands it to the silver-haired woman. “Lady Shensen, if you would be so kind.”

“Or course, Your Excellency.” The half-elven diva descends the dais and makes her way to the center stage, where a great bonfire has been built up. She plucks the silver lantern from the haloran, but before she can set it into the bonfire, a commotion rises up from the crowd. The people rush to part as a lone rider rushes down Argent Avenue.

A weathered fighting man dismounts and climbs 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, who falls silent as he begins to speak. “Your Honors, 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! It is unknown what their intentions are, but Her Infernal Majestrix is marshalling 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 Infernal Prelate, 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, Infernal Prelate?”

The white haired priest face turns red with anger as he turns to the Mayor. “This man has no writ from the Throne to carry these tales! His words will cause nothing but fear and derision in our citizenry. His words sow heresy and the disease of panic! 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 stands and speaks, his voice clear and loud: “Take head, Infernal Prelate Grivenner, Hellknight 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 this young man 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, Infernal Prelate. He has my protection and I will hear his warning. Nor will I 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, Infernal Prelate." She turns to the crowd. “Fellow Kintargans, these are certainly interesting times, but I trust our Queen to keep us safe from any zealotry. Please, Shensen, light the first bonfire before we all freeze to death.”

Hushed whispers and a palpable air of nervousness takes over the audience. Many find it inconceivable that a Hellknight citadel could be conquered, let alone attacked

As the diva lowers the lantern, lighting the first of the bonfires and making way for the other dancers to light their torches, few notice the Lord Mayor disappearing with the Kantarian messenger.


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