The Adventures of The Stonelanders

Phylas' Journal XIX

Further Entries from Phylas' Journal

7th of Kythorn

It’s funny, really, how just a few days can change everything. Or even a few weeks. When we came here, to Deepingdale, to Highmoon, I did not expect that I would not be leaving. They say that your destiny can be written in the stars, but it seems mine has been written in the moon.

I suppose I should explain.

On the 5th of Kythorn we did indeed rise, and all of Deepingdale with us. We funneled as many arms and as much equipment as we could to the rebels in the city, and spread word that there would be an announcement at noon. We had planned to reveal that I held the true Scepter of Aglauntarus.

We flew into the city on our pegasi, and found that Scyllua Darkhope, the leader of the Zhentish army, had returned. She was waiting for us, riding a twisted beast, flanked by demons, atop the ruins of the Tower of the Risen Moon. Thus ensued an epic battle in the skies above the city, which culminated in her death.

The allies and mercenaries of the Zhentish troops fled the city; this was unwise, as the druids and the wolves were waiting for them. The battle between the remaining Zhentish army and “our” troops- the Dalesfolk and our Fey allies, among others- took most of the rest of the day, but once we managed to secure the city gates and shut everyone in, the Zhentish forces began to surrender.

We left the troops to watch over the now-prisoners and we went into the Tower of the Risen Moon to try and find Lord Ulath. Sylune’s warnings about him seemed to indicate something was gravely wrong, and they were correct. Ulath’s mind had been overthrown and he was possessed by some terrible construct from the Plane of Shadow. We managed to subdue him, and again we turned to Gerard in Suzail for help.

He requested a miraculous intervention from Lathander, which was granted, and Lord Ulath was freed from the domination of his mind. While there, we also learned that Cormyr was finally triumphant in their battles against the Zhentish army near Tilver’s Gap, which was more good news.

We returned to Highmoon, and Lord Ulath was insistent that he resign.

It had occurred to me that Lord Ulath would need to be removed from his office, either because he was an imposter of sorts (as had seemed to be implied), or because something had gone terribly wrong with him. And who should replace him?

I did not tell my compatriots of my growing conviction that, perhaps, I should be the one to do it. What would they say, anyway? This is an excellent place to establish the Order of the Constellation, after all. And, really, a brush with death has a way of… changing someone. I am not so keen on adventure as I once was. Besides, it seems appropriate. Someone has to help rebuild things here, and I am more than capable. It also seems to be what the gods want. Perhaps that is hubris, to assume that I know their will, but it seems right.

The next day, on the 6th, I convened the Town Council, and we had an assembly of the leading men and women of the town and dale. The need for a new leader was discussed. A number of names were put forward to succeed Lord Ulath, including my own. Non-voting members were eventually shut out of the meeting, but after several hours of deliberation they delivered a verdict: the new Lord of Highmoon was to be me.

I have set the date of my installation for Shieldmeet. In the meantime, there is a great deal of work to be done.

9th of Kythorn

My compatriots do not yet seem to have realized that my new position will require me to stay here, that I can no longer go adventuring with them. Ah, well. They’ll figure it out eventually, I suppose.

I have begun having the city rebuilt and repaired. A number of sleeper agents had been planted in the city several years ago by the Black Network to assist in the overthrow of Highmoon; I think we have hunted them all down and confiscated their assets. Many of them fled the city in the aftermath of the Zhentish defeat.

I believe I have solved the question of what to do with the Zhentish prisoners. There were a fair number of them, so I had the number of casualties among the Dalesfolk tabulated, and I executed seven times that many Zhentish. Some of my adventuring companions seemed surprised by this, but I pointed out that I explicitly warned the Black Network of this retribution. The Dalesfolk do not seem to have been bothered by it.

I have had Gorstag retrieve my belongings from the manor house in Cormyr, and so I am settling in to the Tower of the Risen Moon as my new home. I am hoping that, with the Black Network defeated, trade can resume here. It is too early to begin laying the foundations for my Order, but I am commissioning a number of, hm, expensive parting gifts for the Stonelanders. I hope that this infusion of cash, along with the Lyre of Building which I now possess, will speed along Highmoon’s rehabilitation.

18th of Kythorn

The loot we have accumulated from the liberation of Highmoon was considerable. As we liquidate more and more of it, the group’s cash… expands. My compatriots are busy, it seems, trying to spend it. Gorstag, naturally, is investing heavily in magical items to augment his power.

The repair of Highmoon continues apace. It is not a large city, but the Dale is beautiful, and I think I will like it here.

2nd of Flamerule

Time passes and passes and passes. Progress is being made on the gifts I have commissioned for the Stonelanders; I hope they like them.

It has occurred to me that, given that we have three of the legendary Four from Cormyr, obtaining the fourth and presenting it to the King of Cormyr as a gift would be a powerful gesture of friendship between Highmoon and the Forest Kingdom. I have begun making inquiries at the Temple of Oghma, and have begun praying about it as well, seeking answers from the gods.

3rd of Flamerule

I have decided that I shall commission the Stonelanders to retrieve the Fourth from Cormyr for me.

I have also decided to create Dejhara, a priestess of Deneir here at the Temple of Oghma, the second-in-command of my budding Order. I still have a great deal to do in the city, as well as planning for the enormous feast we’re throwing on Shieldmeet, but after that I hope to begin to break ground for the Temple of the Constellation, as well as the great library.

Have also decided to create a garrison and station it in the Underdark beneath the Tower of the Risen Moon. I have given the command of this garrison to Gorstag’s father, and awarded him Midnight’s Moon, the scimitar we recovered, to help.

Also, have informed the garrison that they are to kill any and all spiders they see.

25th of Flamerule

Not much to say. Plans proceeding apace. City recovering nicely. The liberation of Highmoon will afford me the goodwill of the people for a fairly long time, I expect, but I hope to give them other reasons to like and respect me.

1st of Eleasis

The feast was yesterday. I spent a great deal of money on it; you might even call it “extravagant”. I have the money, though, and I figured the city could use a celebration. I suppose some might look at it as my attempt to buy the affections of my new people, but that’s rather overly cynical.

There were enormous white tents, and a great deal of food and alcohol. I had a number of new things-a robe, a belt, etc.- commissioned for the celebration. I think I made a good impression.

The installation was at noon, and shortly thereafter I created the Stonelanders Knight-Champions of Highmoon. Then, I created them Knights of the Golden Moon in the Order of the Constellation, and awarded them gifts. They will be departing from me, but I hope these magical items will serve as reminders of me, and of Highmoon, and as a constant invitation to return.

Other awards were conferred on the Dalesfolk, and on Azalar Falconhand, for their parts in the liberation of the city, of course.

The rest of the day was spent eating and drinking. I think everyone had a good time. I assume my adventurer-friends went back with companions, though I did not stay to find out. Azalar came back to the Tower with me.

He’s still here, actually. The upside to not needing much sleep is that I can get this writing done in the early morning. Other things, too, of course, but I’ll let him sleep for now. Wait, what? Perhaps I can convince him to stick around; I like him, for one, and having him around will lend more legitimacy to my rule here. That sounds more mercenary than I intended it. We’ll see what the future holds, I suppose.

Anyway, the Knights of the Golden Moon (at least, that is what I shall call them- they can keep the name the Stonelanders if they want, but I doubt they will) are coming by here later this afternoon. I shall send them forth with a quest to bring me Silveredge.

Thus ends my adventuring life. The noise and violence and death and blood and (Lathander save us) spiders and undead and wyverns and on and on and on shall be replaced with the quiet of Deepingdale, with disputes over trade, with issuing permits to cut down trees in the forest. Replaced also with the time and opportunity to pray and contemplate and commune with the gods, and to attempt to peer into the future and see what is in store for me, for Highmoon, for Faerun.

Oh, what a life! To be so young, and to have experienced so much already. I think Gerard will be proud of what I have done, and what I will do. There is still the great question of understanding my prophecy from those years ago, but there will be time for contemplation and research, now. Hopefully, with the budding Order behind me, we may make some progress in that regard. Already we have begun attracting interested parties.

There may yet be room for a few more entries here, but I doubt that will be terribly necessary. An epilogue here or there, perhaps. I will keep track of things for my own sake, perhaps in another tome, but there will be no more grand adventure.

Perhaps, when all is said and done, and Septimus and Gorstag and August and Greizly and Deneal have wearied of the adventuring life, they will return here, to me, to Highmoon, and they can live out their days in the quiet shade of the Tower of the Risen Moon.

Perhaps, perhaps.

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