The Wake

    The Wake for Hartham the Trainer slain by the assassin's blade in Trinsic was held today.

    CrawWorth did not arrive when expected, leading some to question the emotional state of the good Captain.

    When, at last, he did arrive, he delivered the following eulogy for Hartham:

I thank thee for attending this most solemn occasion.
When lain to rest amidst the earth of his home, Hartham's spirit will no doubt be lifted all the higher by the presence of caring souls such as thee.
Hartham's years of service as head trainer, his actions in the great wars against the Orcs, and all of his official recognition are well known.
They shan't be forgotten soon. So, I see not the point of recounting those things.
Hartham himself did not care for matters of state, and loathed rewards for a job he felt simply should be done.
So I will instead tell my tale of how Hartham impacted my life.
It is one of countless stories that many other Citizens could relay.
A tale I have never told another soul.
Tightly clasped around the neck of my person is a necklace, which Hartham once wore.
In my hand is an axe he gave me when I came of age.
These items mark the start of my relationship with Hartham.
When I was but a child, my family, friends, and ancestral home of Paws were destroyed by the Orcish clan Jugdath'Bru.
I know not of my Father's fate. He died with the ragtag defenders that tried their best to keep the Orcs from destroying our town.
My mother was left to defend the house, and myself.
It was nightfall when the Orcs broke through the defenders.
My mother secreted me away in a crawlspace in the kitchen floor used for storage. Through the slats in the floor I was able to see all that transpired.
My mother had steeled herself. Armed with a staff she learned how to use whilst a Guard in the service of Lord British, she protected the home.
When the bloodstained Jugdath warriors broke down the door, she felled three before she was subdued.
I have never cursed my sight before, but now would rather be blind than have seen what occurred.
I watched as they pinned her to the wall with spears.
I watched as they used an axe to cut her in half, from waist to skull.
I watched as they laughed. I watched carefully through the haze of tears that silently covered my face.
She never uttered a whisper, save the curse she laid upon them.
The Orcs began to talk amongst themselves, I did not understand them at the time...but I gathered that they knew there was something else alive in the room.
I backed to the very rear of the crawlspace unable to steal my gaze away from the kitchen.
With snuffling noses they attempted to pinpoint my scent. The dull eyes of one of the Orcs filled the slats, and he uttered a cry which, no doubt, meant he had discovered me.
It was at that moment a huge crash was let out. All I saw was a swinging flash of gold. This necklace, swinging around the neck of the one whom would rescue me.
A man, nay, a giant, in full plate mail, a huge black axe at his side, burst into the group of animals. The battle lasted perhaps a minute.
After he had made short work of the Orcs, he stopped to look at what remained of my mother's body.
My tears were redoubled, and now, a faint whimper escaped my lips.
Wiping a blood stained hand across his eyes, he caught the sound of my grief.
He pulled me from the crawlspace, stared at me carefully, and said, "Seems thou art the sole remaining citizen of Paws."
He thought for a second more before saying, "I am Hartham. Trinsic's finest have dispatched the Orcs. The Jugdath'Bru are but a stain now.
"Alas, thou art the only representative of Paws I am able to give this message to. If we could have arrived sooner I"
Hartham paused.
"Hast thou any family that lives? Perchance in another village?"
I shook my head.
"Then consider me your diplomatic escort to Trinsic. Being Paws official representative, you will need a guardian to protect thee in these troubled times."
With that he scooped me onto his back and carried me the entire way to Trinsic.
Having no family of his own, Hartham raised me as his only son. He trained me in the art of the warrior. He instilled in me the virtues.
He provided me the tools and skills I needed to fulfill the promise I made to myself when I watched my mother's murder.
He is the reason I am.
May he rest at long last, and experience naught but good drink, and better hunting.
May the virtues guide and keep all of thee. Now Drink! Feast! Make Merry! Make Hartham's spirit smile!
For I am as sure as I breathe that he is already long tired of this sentimental speech.

    At the end of this speech, a mysterious figure appeared in the tavern.
Unwilling to identify himself he made an ominous statement:

Hear me petty creatures of order and fear. Thine mewling, weak willed virtues and suffocating ideologues will at last be lain to rest.
Hartham was the first course of a meal whose consumption WE will take a great deal of pleasure in experiencing.
Lord British would rather sacrifice all of you for a mystical truth he does not understand.
Blackthorne would rather rest on his station and claim to follow a tenet he will never truly grasp.
OUR reach has penetrated the very strata of all considered to be sacred by thee. OUR influence breathes down thine neck.
Hartham is an example of what is to come.
WE only hope thou wilt enjoy the next course of OUR meal as much as the appetizer.
All of your heroes, all of your institutions, all of your ORDER will FALL to US.
WE are the ZOG CABAL.

    He then abruptly disappeared.

    At this point a guard, who had been stationed in one of the outlying posts staggered into the tavern and announced that the roads and wilderness of Trinsic were under attack!

    The goodly citizens of the city have now mobilized against the dark forces, we can only hope they are able to succesfully hold back this odd mix of creatures and men from the walls of Trinsic itself!

    Who are the Zog Cabal?  What is their purpose?  Their goals?  Reports have it that a manifesto of the Zog Cabal was delivered into the hands of Lord British and Blackthorne. We hope to be able to make available a copy of this manifesto as soon as we are allowed access to it.