A Meeting with Lady Blanchfleur

A transcript of a conversation between Hanna Darrowkin, Pritchard Hood, and Lady Blanchfleur of New Averoigne. Early June, Year 209.

"The Chateau d'Ambreville is a terrible place. When the war came, we joined the Ambreville banner; we feared to do otherwise. Only in the last days of the war did my father change sides. And the other Houses have not forgotten.

"There are treasures down there beyond imagining. And I will not deny that we covet their wealth: fabulous lost magic, and more gold than in all the rest of Glantri together, or so it is said. But there are also horrors down there. Demons, elementals, dragons, the legendary gorgauril, and who knows how many of the living dead, many of them more powerful in magic than the archwizards at the Great School? Few of those who went down into the catacombs when the Chateau fell returned to tell the tale, and the tales the survivors told were dreadful.

"So there were few concerted efforts to loot the place in the years that followed. Such expeditions as were mounted did poorly, with many men — of whom Glantri had few to spare in those days — dying for little profit. And there was always the fear that further delving would awaken something terrible that would rise from the ruins and do harm to the rest of Glantri. Meanwhile, Darokin's grip tightened on the southern provinces. The Great Houses agreed to let Ambreville lie for a generation, until the matter of Darokin was resolved. We were only kicking the pebble down the road, of course, as none of the Houses wished the others to claim the spoils.

"And now, with war against Darokin doubtless to be declared by the start of summer, we have broken the truce. Who knows what will happen now? Will the Darokinese gain the upper hand and conquer more of Glantri? Will Malinbois be beset by forces sponsored by rival Houses? Will assassins come into Chateau Malinbois to murder my brother and I in our beds? I don't know.

"Frankly, we would be best served to deny everything, accuse you of lèse principé and hang your entire band from the gallows tree before the Council has your minds probed for the truth. But we abide by our word, and you are under our protection. You would be best served, however, by taking our colors and our oath in overt service. The Company of Crossed Swords is well enough known that you can no longer take refuge in anonymity.

"As to the Torchbearers, I have hope that they will do the same. They are well regarded in Nouvelle Averoigne, and for good reason; they have slain bandits, rescued children from gnoll raiders, and other such reputable deeds. Your acrimony toward them — which is well known, even here within these castle walls — has done you no favors. We would be displeased if you were to act against them — unless, of course, they were to act against our interests.

"And what we would have of you? Slay the creatures beneath the Chateau, ensuring that nothing rises up from that place that cannot be put down again. Bring back the riches of the place, for they are riches of Nouvelle Averoigne and belong to this land by right, not to the snakes of House Ambreville, the greybeards of Glantri City or the witch of Touraine. And for the gods' sake, do not make our political situation any worse. Our people have suffered enough without some new army on our doorstep or our town walls ensorcelled into mud."

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