The party’s first three days in Jen were an excellent opportunity for the party to see the city and get used to being back in the Mundane World.
While they were made quite comfortable in the Lorn Household, the Duke’s family was too busy dealing with the immediate politics of Princess Mandy’s return to spend a great deal of time right away attending to their guests.
The party was, however, honored at a feast hosted by the royal family on their second night in the City. At the feast, they were formally recognized as guests of House Lorn, and gifted with an enchanted suit of dragon-scale accented armor that King Ashten said had been worn by one of the first Lorns to have come to Jen during the Blood Wars. Further, a representative from Jen’s Bardic College was also present, to hear the party’s tale and being on an epic to be sung throughout the Blessed Lands.
The recognition and the gift took some of the potential sting out of being somewhat ignored by their hosts for a few days.
Not that they were actually ignored. Particularly after the royal feast, the Jenese heralds spoke often of the group’s welcome by House Lorn, and by the time the lesser bards and minstrels had begun to share lesser versions of the tale around the city, the party was quite well known throughout.
During their downtime, Kimiak meditated over the princess to determine the appropriate crystal so as to best attune it to her aura.
Caelythania relaxed and did a lot of reading in the Lorn’s and royal libraries.
Ol’ Slosh appeared, abruptly, with a confusing sense of time’s passage, a significantly more genteel appearance, and little sensible to share.
While Fate and Talise explored Jen.
Talise found herself, for the first time in her life, blending right in. Not that druids were common in Jen, quite the contrary—the Jenese tended towards piety, and testaments to the gods’ primacy were ubiquitous. But as an ashai, she had always stood out as too human, or too elven everywhere she’d been. In Jen, her race was taken as a matter of course and, indeed, to some degree she found herself, unexpectedly, the object of occasional deference—something she had certainly never before encountered.
Fate’s experience was quite different. By virtue of his fame and renowned service to the crown, he was not abjured out of hand. That said, for exiled royalty who had only ever traveled in lands where his race still gave him an air of nobility or, at worst, otherness, being confronted with a culture wherein his appearance called up enmity as a starting point was a rude awakening to say the least.
But Fate was not deterred. Through some combination of genuine grace, fatalistic certainty, and sheer stubborn megalomania, Prince Ra’Asiel set about the slow and frustrating work of winning the hearts and minds of the Jenese ashai which, for the time being, mostly consisted of being gracious in response to their racism, and unabashedly declaring his lineage and purpose over rounds of various drink.
Perhaps ironically, or perhaps simply poetically, it was the tiefling prince and the ashai druid who sought out the ranking priestess of Jehnahn to bring her Brother Torm’s most precious belongings.
They found the legendary Mother Gretha Arn in the High Temple of the Sun. She greeted them warmly, and accepted Torm’s belongings with a sorrowful solemnity saying that she had known of him, but had never met him, and that she was sad now that she would not have the chance to do so in this life.
She went on to explain that, in the Jehnahnic tradition, the belongings of fallen priests were given to younger priests, and occasionally even to adventurers, to help ease their journeys. She went on to offer that if Talise or Fate, as Torm’s companions, wished to keep any of his belongings, it would honor his memory so long as they were put to use along the way.
Talise hesitantly accepted, keeping Torm’s ritual book in the hopes of adapting his jovial scrawlings into formulas useful in her druidic rites. Fate thanked Mother Gretha solemnly but declined her offer.
Before they left, they explained that Torm’s body had disappeared before they’d left Temaurenell. Gretha Arn seemed surprisingly unperturbed at the news, and muttered something about a strange journey indeed.
As they left the High Temple, they passed a small crowd gathered around a young, golden haired cleric of Ohlen who was preaching in a clear Wild Coast accent about the stirring of the primordials and how Aechell’s aggression was unimportant compared to the true war that was coming.
Talise and Fate slowed as they passed, listening to her impassioned oration. As her eyes fell on them, she fell momentarily silent, as if distracted or taking note of something, but resumed with even more conviction as they carried on across the plaza.
On Karan the 28th, eve of the confessional Day of Shadows, the party gathered for a formal dinner with the members of the House of Lorn, as well as the last minute addition (for which Duchess Renee apologized) of Errton Lorn’s, a young lord from House Fallcrest.
Dinner was only slightly awkward at first, with Errton speaking stridently about the glories of war with Aechell. Eventually, Errton became sufficiently drunk and combative that he was dismissed from the table, pausing briefly to assault Ol’ Slosh with some more than slightly awkward kisses before glaring pointedly at Jornell and then accepting his culinary exile with a bit of a flounce.
Beyond that, for the most part, the more staid and measured temperaments of the Duke and his elder son Arnoll ruled the table. Duke Maygar formally thanked the party for their service in returning his granddaughter to Jen, and shared what little was known regarding Aechell’s sacking of New Cormorell which, it was said, all of the Cormorellan royalty had survived, though Princess Deselle was still unaccounted for. It was further revealed that another of the city states of the tieflings had come under the rule of the pretender and traitor Isra’asiel, and that he was backed by Adridran forces who sought to make alliance with a unified tiefling nation.
The Duke discussed with the party, particularly with Fate, the possibility of building an alliance with the elves of Thellay and the denizens of The Six Kingdoms which would, of course, include Jenese support for Fate’s claim to the throne of the Six Kingdoms as well as an official offer of friendship with the elves to be delivered by Caelythanya.
The conversation meandered across many topics, and a variety of perspectives were presented. In the end, it was agreed that further discussion would be needed, but that Duke Lorn would discuss the matter with the King. It was suggested that the young lord of Fallcrest should accompany them, when and if the journey was sanctioned by the throne.
Before heading to bed, the companions discussed their own concerns, and generally agreed that they were interested in advancing Fate’s bid to unify his people. Only Talise seemed uncertain, and declared that she wished to speak to Sister Briar, the Ohlenic priestess who’d been warning of the primordials on the steps of the Sun Temple earlier in the week.
The party went to bed after a halfhearted round of toasts to each others’ health and well being, and the next day Talise met Sister Briar in the Lorn’s gardens.