Torendra’s involvement with the ruling classes
Torendra found secure employment as one of the kitchen staff in Dalla Tyrl, The Royal Castle of Alcant, on the edge of the capital city, Kamveluna. It was close to her friends in the harbour district, but secure from the less desirable aspects of consorting with seamen.
Secure in her new employment as a cook, eventually becoming quite proficient at baking, usually morning goods. Life in the castle is never hard, but usually interesting. Glordin, the old king, was increasingly remote and becoming more and more spiritual as his time drew to an end. Arutha, his heir, was known to be in love with a princess from an island chain to the north. But she was a long way away and Arutha was known to occasionally take one of the domestic staff to his bed.
Seeing the advantages that being one of the heir’s lovers could bring, she took on more duties in the castle, specifically chamber maid duties in the Royal family’s apartments. Despite her best efforts to catch his eye, she’s pretty sure that he doesn’t even know her name. So that’s her best chance at a life of leisure (as mother of his love child, ensconced in modest, but comfortable, out of town home) gone.
So Torendra’s duties were split between baking and being chambermaid to the only other remaining resident of Glordin’s family, his youngest daughter, Forgileill. She is a spoiled (by her father) and arrogant girl with hardly any friends. She always had her nose in a book and left her room in a mess. She was also quite sharp if anyone tidied her things up (They were “magic” apparently).
Things came to a head when a werewolf broke in and tried to eat the Princess. (ha! She’d probably have given him indigestion). A visiting Fallia knight (a sort of warrior-monk) and his lackeys were given the task of hunting it down and she volunteered to go as their translator (as none of them spoke Muri).
There was a long journey across Alcant and into the next country, called Diaton. There the trail turned north and went in to the mountains, to a fortress called Caell, which was the stronghold of a warrior order known as the Brotherhood of the Black Scabbard (“the Brothers”). There they met another adventuring party, which included a ruggedly handsome man-mountain named Rothgar “the Mighty”. Never one to pass up a challenge, Torendra set out to explore just how mighty he actually was. The two groups set off, leaving the security of the empire and heading into the rainforest of the central plateau. And still Torendra and Rothgar couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
Eventually the others had to go their way and Torendra, as official translator, had to go with the Fallia Knight. They tracked the werewolf to a ziggurat in a ruined city and were caught up by some Aerdy whore, Katamaya, whom the others had met before. Within a very short space of time, they had found and killed the werewolf, met a Mura girl from one of the rainforest tribes (Who Torendra told to go away in no uncertain terms – she already had too much competition as it was).
They ended up under the ziggurat where the tribeswoman turned out to be a vampire (Ha! Torendra was right all along – the party should listen to her more often). They all ended up in an underground river to escape the vampires and eventually ended up wandering around the ruined city.
Next someone managed to set off some kind of half completed ritual which summoned some Devils and other magical creatures to chase them through the ruins. They ended up in a huge building, scene of a terrible battle in ancient times between an army of women and an army of bugbears. At some point, they took refuge in the topmost intact chamber.
During these skirmishes it was revealed that Katamaya the pole dancer was actually Princess Forgileill in disguise. Torendra was not impressed. The Aerdy are a Suel people, as are the Mura and quite a few other ethnicities in Alcant. Torendra, being Edium, had Suel ancestry somewhere. So, if this wonderful disguise was as an Aerdy woman, then why did the Princess feel compelled to portray her as a whore? Or, if she wanted to adopt such a risqué disguise, then why not someone from the Baklunish or Flanne peoples? For Torendra, the racism that the princess had shown in her depiction of Katamaya was blatant.
What happened next is a bit confusing. For Torendra, the room suddenly lost two and half thousand years of ruin, soft furnishings were restored. Light once again streamed through gauze curtains, the wind blown leaves and animal droppings were gone, replaced by long-rotted carpets and iconoclastic works of art showing winged warrior women defending their city. On the floor before her lay a critically wounded woman, tanned and lithe with long blonde hair. She beckoned Torendra over and told Torendra to take up her weapons and continue the fight. With which, she died.
Apparently, what the non-human members of the party witnessed was Torendra and the others enter the room and fall into a brief trance. After a space of only minutes, they shook their heads and returned to the real world, where upon Torendra stripped the moulded armour from one desiccated corpse, stripped off herself and put on as much of it as had survived. Torendra then grasped the sword.
They fought off the remaining devil and explored the city a little more. Torendra now noticed, as if for the first time, that this had been great and rich metropolis, ruled over by a benign matriarch. It was guarded by fierce champions, the kind of women whose men would never have thought of selling their only children. She was suddenly over come with a desire to see Rothgar the Mightly again. And kill him.
The party located a Mura shaman who was being held in a bugbear slave pen. At Torendra’s insistence, the party set out to rescue him. Fleeing through the jungle, the party stumbled upon a Bugbear mage who summoned up a pit fiend. Frozen in terror, the whole lot of them were sucked through a dimensional vortex and narrowly avoided a one way trip to Hell, ending up instead in T’ír nan Órgh.
Here, through some accident of circumstance, they became the agents of the repulsive King Osdann. He was the tyrant king of a warlike tribe called the Fir Domhain. There was an awful lot of guff about some goddess and pigs teeth and harps and stuff. It transpired that they would need the harp to find the teeth to get them home again. So their quest began. At some point Forgileill disappeared. The story goes that she was critically wounded and that some spell placed upon her by a witch transported her home to be healed. Torendra is not so sure. It would seem altogether more likely that the Princess decided that the fighting was just too dangerous and that she ought to make her self scarce until the worst was over.
Anyway, T’ír nan Órgh is much colder than tropical Alcant. When the princess returned, she brought gifts for everyone, including a magical cloak for Torendra to borrow (everyone else appeared to get a gift, Tor was leant an item). But it was a fantastic cloak, keeping her warm and dry through even magically enhanced ‘death winter’.
Mistakes were made; at one point Torendra made the mistake of appearing before Osdann without a cloak and upon seeing her, decided that she would be a welcome addition to his harem. The man-hating magic sword came into its own here, slaying several of her captors (even after she was disarmed) until one of Osdann’s war witches took it. Torendra had a fist fight with Osdann’s favourite and eventually escaped, helping the rest of the party escape their confinement as well.
The quest and civil war continued, involving all sorts of strange and magical journeys and fights. Torendra and the others met Danu, the Earth Goddess. The others bowed and scraped like dogs but Torendra stood up for herself. There then appeared to be a huge effort on behalf of the cowardly goddess’s witches to trick Torendra into accepting their crazy doctrine of balance and harmony (apparently this involved an equal role in society for men – how ridiculous!). But it did give Torendra the ability to cast a number of spells.
Magic (like flying ships and so on) in T’ír nan Órgh required blood sacrifices. Animals were used (with the notable exception of their horses – oh no. Not their precious horses. They cared more about their bloody horses than they did for anything else! Bastards) but human sacrifice was better. It gave more power. And Torendra was the only one who had the bottle to conduct the rites. She was the only one who bothered to learn the rise prayers that would get damned flying ships off the ground.
Brakki was the only one who recognised her greatness. For a long time he followed her around like a sheep, hanging on her every word, doing all her camp chores, fetching and carrying. Eventually, at the height of the civil war amongst the Fir Domhain, Princess Forgileill finally became so jealous of her devoted servant that she stole him away from her. He was still there physically, but no longer fawned over her. It made Torendra think about slaying him, just to wipe that unseen smile off the Princess’ face.
There were a number of huge battles. It seemed like the whole of T’ír nan Órgh was mad for war. There were battles with Fomorians (bloated mutated fish-men) and then a series of pitched battles with men from the south known as Drunes. This was more to Torendra’s liking. Her sword loved killing men. Prisoners were sacrificed afterwards making great spells that prevented the rapidly flooding land from disappearing completely.
All good things come to an end. The pig goddesses’ teeth were arranged just so, and the spell was done. It took the princess three or four goes to make a connection (spell-caster? Ha! She’s an amateur.) and that took them back to Dalla Tyrl, arriving on the beach at low tide.
At this point the Fallia Knight and the others were arrested and locked away. The princess was sent to her room (ha! fat of good that’ll do…) and Torendra was largely forgotten about. Not important enough to be arrested with the males. She was Edium, and therefore not important enough to be arrested with everyone else. She was only a servant, not important enough to even come to the Lord’s notice.
Well, they might not want her, but there were other people out there who would…