The session opened with both Weath and Tequis arriving home after many years abroad. Weath spent his days fighting in the wars over in Niambe, ending up penniless and nearly friendless, while Tequis spent his days hunting the undead and rogue mages for The Mysterium. It was their brother Childress's marriage to Ella Tiberius that brought them home. While all of the houses had wed daughters to their sworn banner men, none of the major houses had intermarried. This marriage would mean that the Ostmund lands would be bordered by staunch allies on all sides, reducing the threat of war from that ambitious family.
Eveyone settled back into their old home in Lieberton Castle. Tequis went to visit Mathias (the Viper) who welcomed his old protégé with open arms and kind words. Weath spent his day getting groomed and bathed, though he couldn't break the habit of pocketing food that he picked up in his solider days. Eventually, Childress called a meeting.
Tequis arrived in the study first and he and his older brother caught up, though they were cautious around each other. A slip of the tongue regarding his 'summoned servant' spell raised Childress's hackles s he thought it may be the illegal type of summoning. A duel of the wits kept the peace though neitehr brother could claim true victory. As an awkward silence filled the library, Weath came in and regaled them with a terribly non-sensical recounting of his days of battle. The time spent apart had made the brothers a bit awkward around each other.
Eventually, their eldest sister Selene showed up to say hello and greet her younger brothers. She was relieved to see them all safe, though she made no qualms about her disdain for her brothers' choices of professions. She also revealed what only Childress knew, that their father was acting unusually morose of late and spent most nights drinking heavily. After that, everyone prepared for dinner with their mother and father.
At dinner, they greeted their sisters Emma, a wild child who brough shame on the family by eloping, who had calmed down since having her first child two years ago. Their mother doted on Childress and scolded the other kids for being disappointments, particularly Weath who she caught stuffing his pockets with food. She excused herself after that incident. Their father tried to make cheery small talk, but could barely muster it. In a moment of seriousness he did talk of the dire need for unity in the coming days as the wedding will unite allies and enemies alike.
After their father excused himself, the children talked about how every suspected something was going on with their father, who had never been this depressed before. Emma and Weath renewed their tight childhood bond while she pounded back goblets of wine. Afterwards, Childress went after their father who was in his garden grove and tried to find out what was going on. His father wouldn't say, but in a touching moment he shed a tear when his son offered to help any way possible. As Childress left, he swore he heard another voice whispering in the grove, but saw no one.
That night, Weath went and annoyed Mathias (living in the dungeons) while Tequis checked on Manny, his wolf.
The next morning they were all present in the great hall for the arrival of the Tiberius family. Childress saw Ella, his betrothed for the first time and was taken aback by her beauty. They all feasted and Otto interviewed Childress to make sure he was honorable enough for his daughter. Childress impressed him. Weath spoke to his friend Brugo about his food-stealing problem and Brugo offered to help. The dinner was going well except for the fact that Childress was finding out his bride-to-be was quite demanding, to say the least.
Lunch was interrupted by Emil, the sensechal, bearing a message of great surprise: The Royal family was coming to the wedding and were only a short distance away. An hour later, the King, Queen, Prince, and their entourage arrived. Yorick, the prince's tutor and bodyguard were with them as was Hans Gruber, the renowned bard and ladies' man. Idrian and Ford, the royal mages were also in attendance along with Saebert Ostmund, the Queen's brother and most renowned swordsman (and drunk) in all the land. Also present was Oslo Tiberius, arriving with the rest of the Royal Guard.
Idrian, Mathias, and Tequis all made small talk while Ford did his own thing. The Prince exchanged barbs with Childress and eyed Ella for some time. The King and Childress had a short conversation before Aldric turned back to talking to his close friends Bastion and Otto.
The Prince was causing a commotion talking to his mother and father and eventually excused himself. When he returned he shocked all by announcing that he was cancelling the wedding and taking Ella to be his future queen. Chaos broke out. Otto demanded the King overrule the decision as he had given his word to his friend Bastion about the wedding. The King stated there was nothing he could do as his son had the right and that everyone needed to learn to respect him as he would be king someday.
Childress, obviously distraught over the humiliation and political ramifications, got into a ribald discussion with the King trying to convince him to overrule his child. The duel of the wits was intense as The King understood how embarrassed he must feel but it was for the good of the kingdom to let the Prince have his way. Childress argued that the spoiled child was only ostracizing all involved parties and that would only make his kingship tougher. The duel ended in a tie where the King compromised that the grievance would be settled the old-fashioned way, by combat.
Childress decided that they would use proxies and named Weath as his champion. The Prince named Saebert, despite him being drunk. At this point, all the mages gathered and Idrian and Ford, both members of the Shadow Court, argued that this was the opportunity they needed to prevent disaster. They knew the Prince would make a terrible king and were working on undermining the claim without betraying the crown. Ford argued that providing magical help to Weath would be in their best interests. Tequis called for a Duel of Wits as he opposed such interference and the two compromised that no magical aid would be given but Idrian suggested that Yorick was equally appalled at the Prince and, as someone who knew and had dueled Saebert, would likely give some tactical advice. Tequis agreed that would be fair.
Yorick advised Weath on what to expect, however it turned out to be advice that he didn't need to heed as the duel was over almost immediately. Wiedling traditional dueling sword and shield, Weath blocked Saebert's initial attack and then made a hard slice at his exposed right leg, nearly severing it in two (He spent a fate point and rolled a ridiculous number of successes dealing Saebert a mortal wound. Saebert spent a Persona point for the will to live.)
Weath won the duel and the Prince's claim to Ella was lost. He stormed off and then Ella approached her Childress and told him that if he really loved her he would have fought the Prince himself instead of calling for champions. Weath was carried off by banner man to sing songs and drink all night to his skill as he had bested the world's greatest swordsman . Has Grust was already composing a song about it.
Later that day, Childress calls together Mathias and Tequis and promises Mathias that he won't be like his father and that he'll let him perform his duties as he'll need him in coming days. Mathias is more than happy to serve the house and lets Childress know that he has nothing to worry about.
That night, Tequis is awoken by a paige who says his father is waiting. After being led through secret tunnels he meets his father on a horse and the two begin to ride towards the Witchwood. His father tells him how proud he is and that he's sorry for the way he treated him publicly as he had actually groomed him for his path as a mage. He said he needed a mage he could trust and it was the only way. As they neared the wood his father began to shake and cry and said he couldn't go on. He siad he'd doomed the family and that Tequis was their only hope, but it was too painful to say more. Without resolution (and Tequis failing the DoW), they rode back , the wood whispering behind them.
Hear the players and GM recap the events and give their thoughts on the in-game going on here.