I’ll be brief here. This past week put us all to the test.
On Friday I was given orders by the Empire to hand over control of the town to the Black Channel. Arriving with those orders, unbeknownst to the Black Channel, was a true Thalan. This Thalan, calling herself Anariel, was sent to assure me that the Empire had not abandoned Jericho and, for reasons I did not understand at the time, we had to weather the storm. Before I disbanded the council I brought them before the Grey Elf so they too could see that this wasn’t something I was doing because I was charmed or because I was betraying my Emperor. I gave the orders to town Friday night and asked for you all to be loyal. I know this coming storm would be difficult but I all but begged you to trust in the Empire and to trust in me. While I couldn’t outright say there was a Grey Elf involved to the general populous, I did ask you all to speak with their former councilers if there were any outright concerns, if my orders were not enough to ensure obedience.
Suvant threw a complication in this mess. From my understanding Suvant refused to work with the Black Channel, against the advisement of the Empire. As such, much like us, they were left in the dark as to the how and why the Empire was bedding with our once enemy. I don’t blame the Empire for keeping things tight lipped. Every piece of information we’ve released about the Black Channel has made it’s way to the Black Channel. We have some loose lips in town and loose lips sink ships. Suvant, unaware of what was transpiring quested some of her elves in Jericho to obtain a Black Channel sword for study. That would have been all well and good had somebody not run their mouth to the Black Channel. They of course, upon finding out, demanded the blade be returned. As we are under orders to appease them I had those involved detained. Things went south from there. The Dark Church of Jericho approached my keep. After a brief deliberation it became apparent they were acting against the best interests of the Empire. My guards were assaulted, declarations of war were given and those who were placed under arrest drew blades on myself and my men. Once they were driven off they proceeded to rally allies in town to assault my keep and commit treason against the Empire, even threatening to use a catapult in their siege. You don’t have to like me but you do have to obey me. Declaring war on your Baron is a declaration of war on the Empire. Enemies of the Empire can expect nothing less than final death. Their troubles compounded as a majority of the factions, organizations and individual citizens took this opportunity to denounce them. I heard first person accounts of crimes so horrific they made my stomach churn.
With the aid and council of Lord Councilor Jjik’da Shalonost, who thankfully rescinded his involvement against the Black Channel when it became apparent a Grey Elf was involved, those responsible were detained and brought to knee. The ringleaders were banished from our lands and their Dark Church disbanded. This isn’t to say dark worship is illegal in Jericho or that there won’t be a church again. You are free to worship as you’d like so long as the Empire tells me this is so. But the stain of that church will take some time to remove and our peasantry and other citizens, need to see that we will not stand idle while their lives and freedoms are threatened. If there was more proof required as they left, in a unbelievable show of arrogance, they admitted to a string of crimes, both committed on the town and on lawful citizens.
Once this was all said and done, as the sun began to rise on Sunday, I received further orders from the Thalan that was sent here. While we had been kowtowing to the Black Channel the Thalan had been searching. The Black Channel serve a creature they call “Father”. The location of Father was unknown to the Empire and the Thalan. The means to reach him was unique and only available if left open. It is my understanding that the Black Channel leave this unique passageway open only when they feel there is no immediate threat to them. While we were keeping them feeling safe they grew cocky and made mistakes, namely allowing our Grey Elven friend to track Father’s location. Sunday morning was a time for vindication. The Grey requested an escort through that Black Channel rift and we did abide. As we reached the end of our journey and the guardians of the Father thinned we came upon to locked and chained double doors. Cellar doors almost. In the center was carved a cross, much like the Black Channel wear upon their faces. The Grey Elf opened the doors and stepped inside, against our advisement. Time passed and nothing happened. Lord Councilor Jjik’da then peered into the slit of the door and fell backwards, activating multiple magical defenses. I do not doubt the power or prowess of the Lord Councilor but he whispered something horrifying in my ear then left as fast as his legs could carry him. He told me “It is a Vampire and he is appropriately named.”
With the Grey gone and the information passed on to me, I made a call I shall see if I will pay for. I rescinded the order of the Empire as I believed the task set before us was complete. When we returned to town, all bets were off. The Black Channel are to be hunted and killed on sight. An order I expect to be followed. The exception to this is our Former Master of Coin, Rain. I want her alive, if possible.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be picking new councillors and advisories. Some of old will stay the same but if this has taught me anything, it’s that some of my crew proved themselves above the others. That will be rewarded.
I have given up much over the last few days and so have many of you. I lost my Goldboy to the Black Channel so they would leave my scribe alone on her wedding night, I gave up my resources, my men, citizens of this town and even my own bed. I did this because I was ordered to and I am loyal. You don’t like it, I get that. I have sailed on almost every sea and I swear some of you are saltier. Those of you who remained loyal, I commend you. Those that were not have been punished, will be punished, or are gone from our good town. This is how it will always be.
Mark my words thought, we will make them pay for what they have done to us and what they force us to do for them. We will have our vengeance, we will have our justice and by all the gods of both light and dark, I’ll get my fucking Goldboy back.