Monday, September 26, 2011

The Life and Death of Lord Dunn

In the mountain town of Hobbington there are legends and rumors regarding Lord Dunn that are considered common knowledge, and as they may be of interest to the Adventure's Guild, I will record them as I have heard them from the locals in the town. It should be noted that the legends and rumors change somewhat depending on which area of the town the residents come from. Those who live in the wealthy area known as 'The Heights' have a tendency to look highly on Lord Dunn, and so those elements of his legend that shine brightest are emphasized, while the rumors regarding his demise are somewhat marginalized. Those who live near 'The Old Quarter', which is the lowest area of the town, and the poorest, have far more colorful versions of these matters. I will include both and let the reader decide which among them has the greater veracity.

According to legend, Lord Dunn was a Baron in the Kingdom of Oswald. When Good King Oswald's twin children were captured and taken by some unknown force out of the Kingdom, the King and Queen were besides themselves with anxiety. Lord Dunn was the first of the Lords to propose sending expeditions far and wide to seek news of the children. When the mysterious Queen Watho arrived shortly thereafter, she consoled the Royal Household by stating that she knew the children had been kidnapped by an evil wizard who happen to be her rival in an hitherto unknown kingdom across the Western Mountains. Lord Dunn was again the first of the Barons to propose taking an army over the mountains to confront the villainous wizard. Seeing as how the Campaign would lead into unknown territory it was decided that a third of the Barons would join the expedition under the guidance of Queen Watho who knew the passes through the mountains. And so the army was gathered, retainers equiped, and a following of artisans for the upkeep of the force was assembled, and they set off over the Western Mountains. These events occured many decades ago. It was unfortunate luck that caused an avalanche to block the pass leading back to the Kingdom of Oswald, and so the army had no choice but to forge ahead, and eventually made their way into the Glendale valley. Although a quarter of the army had perished of cold and privation, it was Lord Dunn's good leadership that allowed the remainder to survive the terrible journey. Lord Dunn also distinguished himself while crossing the snow capped mountains by leading the van, and defeating several mountain monsters along the way, the greatest being a huge troll named Otorg the Red who lived in a massive cave high up on Whitefrost Mountain who had threatened the life of Queen Watho.

Finally Lord Dunn lead the van into Glendale valley, as guided by Queen Watho. He was told that there were a number of old towns that had been abandoned long ago, and could be easily occupied while the Oswaldians sought a pass by which they could return to their own Kingdom. The closest of them was a place she called Hobbinton, and only a week's journey southward. Beyond that by another week or two would be other hill towns. Though the Barons wished to complete their mission and return quickly to their own Kingdom, that was now impossible. And so it was that Glendale was settled by the Oswaldians.

Queen Watho however, had caused a great stir when she advised the Barons that since they were trapped on the west side of the mountains that they ought to swear loyalty to her own Kingdom which was further to the north of Glendale valley. Lord Dunn considered this request and held council, but the other Barons lead by Lord Beltaine refused it, declaring that such disloyalty to Good King Oswald would be worthy of a shameful death, and so in a pitch of wrath Watho stormed off with her brother, a powerful wizard in his own right, and they vanished upward into the snow capped mountains to the north. This left Lord Dunn in a difficult position, as most of the Barons thought he had shown obsequious weakness to Queen Watho by failing to denounce her plan immediately. And so it was that the army was divided, and Lord Dunn with his knights and retainers and the bulk of the lesser sorts of artisan workers headed through the tall hills to the east in search of Hobbington. The town, it is said, was not named after Hobbits as is supposed by some, but rather after Hobgoblins where were said to occupy the Old Quarter by Watho when she originally described the ruin to the Barons.

As it happened Lord Dunn after many sundry adventures along the way, finally found Hobbington on Zatok Mountain. It was a ruin at that time, and some portions of the town were completely destroyed. However, the adventurous men, and their wives and children, who had come over the mountains, made the best of things and began building the town up again. No one knew anything about the former inhabitants, but it seemed that once upon a time, long long ago, a prosperous fortified mountain town had been thriving there. Bridges were repaired, water ways cleared, buildings renovated and all was well. A town council was elected and approved by Lord Dunn, and various town institutions established, including Saint Elaine's Hospital, The Court House, the Prison, and the town's wealthy people took ownership of 'The Heights' and Lord Dunn and his family and Knights occupied the Palace. There were two pagodas in the town, one in the center, and one near the Palace Gate, that two groups of monks took possession of. The one in the center was called The Pagoda of Heavenly Harmony and Divine Light, and the other was called The Dragon Gate Temple. The mayor took ownership of the upper area beneath the lake and discovered the water works that fed the fountains of the town, and soon they had flowing water and all was well.

It was not long, however, before strange rumors began to spread. It seemed that people felt that there were ghosts in the town. Especially in the Old Quarter, which at first was occupied by the poor, but then most of them moved away into other districts, and now the Old Quarter is hardly occupied at all. It is said that Lord Dunn himself spent many months and then years investigating the warrens beneath the Old Quarter and became obsessed with discovering its secrets. Rumor has it that he also took a mistress at that time, who was a powerful sorceress. She gave Lord Dunn a magic cloak, ring, and sword and with these he began to oppress the people of the town. There was a rebellion, but the cause is not clear. The Mayor of the town became the leader of the rebels and fought against the Aristocrats, and that warfare went on for some time. The Monks of the Dragon Gate sided with the Aristocrats, while the Monks of Heavenly Harmony sided with the rebels. Civil strife became epidemic and many people died. The Court was burned down, and the Palace was invaded.

Suddenly one night there was heard a great wailing on what is now known as Dunn's Bridge leading into the Old Quarter. A crowd gathered to see what it was, and they saw Lord Dunn himself on the top of one of the four spires holding a blazing torch. In a fit of rage or despair he flung himself to his death in Dunn's Brook, and vanished into the dark swirling waters, never to be seen again. After that the rebellion ceased, and the Mayor of the town gained control of the various factions and there has been a tenuous peace ever since.  Blights of strife, famine, and disease break out now and then and life in the township seems somewhat precarious.  The environs round about are populated by ferocious beasts, and there are rumors of ghosts and devils throughout the region.   It is said that Lord Dunn haunts the bridge to this day, and having investigated it on our arrival in Hobbington, we can confirm that there are indeed strange forces at work on and around Dunn's Bridge, especially in the dead of night.

As yet we are just at the point where we have trained enough Adventurer's to begin exploratory Missions, and we will continue to record discoveries as we find them.

Rothmon Thornwood, Guild Master of the Hobbington Outpost
Guild Archive - September 26, 151 New Kingdom

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