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Secret Journal Entry
*** Unfinished business ***

Have to kill the second werewolf, be careful not to be caught without the silver sword. Also have to beware of the bandit captain.

*** Political situation near Restenburg ***

Essing: a relatively new entity founded in the past 100 years, ruled by the sovereign Altgraf of Essing. The Altgraf has no male heir but only a daughter, for whom he is actively seeking a match. There is a great deal of competition for her hand.

Restenburg: a small town that has been governed by Burghermeister von Restenburg for the past 30 years, a somewhat pretentious name for a reasonably good administrator. Strong commercial ties with Leobold Manor, yet a competitor.

Tupelstein Manor: geographically and politically very close to Essing proper. Largest number of knights in area. Has a son to marry off to the Altgraf's daughter. However, Altgraf wants a more significant marriage.

Leobold Manor: vintner, strong economic output but weak militarily. Two sons of no real significance, Jacob and Heinz. Strong ties with Restenburg and considered extremely good neighbors despite being a competitor to Restenburg.

Efeustein Manor: produces high quality horses and grapes. Does not have the most knights but has the longest and most illustrious history. Son of lord, Pech, is a great horseman now serving in one of the West Marches as a knight.

*** Social and political capital ***

Burghermeister:

- Provided the "correct" judgment in trial between Ulrich and Baldsweiger regarding land ownership issue, Ulrich was probably in the right but Burghermeister wanted to support Baldsweiger, because Ulrich was a bad neighbor while Baldsweiger had helped out the Abbot a while back.

- Provided warnings to Leobold and Efeustein Manors.

- Suspect that Tupelstein was responsible for the assault, as the leader of assault was from Essing (close to Tupelstein). Two possible motives: Essing himself wants Efeustein in closer orbit and got Tupelstein to do dirty work (less likely) or Tupelstein was trying to reduce the attractiveness of Pech as a potential rival for the hand of Essing's daughter (more likely).

Baldsweiger: vintner who received a favorable judgment on land issue

Efeustein: saved him from an ambush that might have been successful had surprise been achieved

Debts: not going to worry about Tiny's death -- foolhardily joined a raid that I opposed, and lacked the element of surprise. Given that the raid happened, I suppose that he did not backstab us. More concerned about Aisha's injury -- have to be good to retainers, otherwise will not breed loyalty and reputation as a friend to the common man. Have to be better to be treated as a better. MUST find healing for her infirmity.

*** Recent events ***

- Killed a werewolf (innkeeper), second werewolf (his wife) still on loose

- Scattered bandits waylaying us, bandit captain is still on the loose

- Attempted to retrieve horse on behalf of Tiny's contact, turned out that the horse had fey blood and was being claimed by the Knights of the Seelie Court, wisely avoided combat. Wonder if there is a way to turn Seelie Court against Unseelie Court before I move in and drive the weakened winner out of the forest.

- Got waylaid by fey on the way back, need to find a better scout than Tiny. Also need to find a way to prevent being charmed by their songs...sweet and seductive as they were...ugh.

- On arrival to Restenburg, decided to use information gathered from Tiny to warn two most likely targets, Efeustein and Leobold manors, about the raid that was being formed against one of them. As described above, Efeustein was most likely target. Sent magical message warning both manors via Restenburg's wizard, and then rode with most of party to reinforce Efeustein. Forewarned, Efeustein beat back raid with our assistance. No sign of Tiny.

*** Motivations and objectives ***

- Win hand of Princess of Essing. Vingan relatives fear being outflanked by Essing in league with our enemies. Far, far better to turn Essing into an ally and expanding its borders westwards. And I would be in charge as the heir to the Altgraf of Essing.

- Eliminate competitors for Princess. Looks like the jockeying has already begun...

- Build political capital. Already the Burghermeister and Efeustein owe me favors. Make sure to collect favors from all to be cashed in appropriately.

- Recent decision to reinforce Efeustein rather than to sack it advanced the building of political capital but hindered the elimination of potential rivals for hand of Princess. Difficult decision but decided to reinforce rather than sack. Efeustein has a long and martial tradition, much like Vingans, and would make an ally that shares many of our values. Must prevent Pech from becoming overly favored in competition for the hand of the Princess, however.

- Respect Pech and his martial prowess, must figure out how to eliminate him as competitor without having to kill him. Must think on how I can manipulate Imperial bureaucracy to give him an important position taking him far away from Essing on a permanent basis. Perhaps talk to friends from college about having him be promoted in the Marches?
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The Epic Tales of the King and the Bastard.
All tales must begin somewhere and here this one does. It was a time of wildness, of fairies and elves, of dragons and men.

The king and the bastard were as true as brothers could be, even with different mothers. And they loved each other as if true brothers, and neither had claim to the land of the Vintners. Theodore was the second born, and Helmut though oldest was a bastard. Perhaps it was this that brought them together, perhaps it was the evil queen Theodore's mother who manipulated their beloved father. No one can remember, but brothers they were.

There came a time when the evil queen forced our heroes out of their home, with little more than their trusty swords with to forge their kingdom.

And they began by helping the common people they loved so much, by promising to kill a boar who was destroying the grapes of the winemakers. Our fearless brothers tracked the beast with others. It was the biggest boar Helmut had ever seen and he slashed at at with his sword, striking it's side as he jumped aside. The deceitful changeling Lilzzt wasn't so lucky as it smashed into her, giant tusks scooping her up and flinging her aside, a shovel moving dirt. Then it skidded to a halt, pawing at the dirt. Twas brave Theodore who rounded onto the beast, slashing into the shoulder causing the beast to scream, rage and pain. This provided Helmut the Bastard with the opening he needed, bringing his sword down to sever giant beast's neck.

It took five men to carry the mighty creature into the town of Restenburg, and a feast of boar was held in the great hall by the major of Restenburg as has not been seen since. As the townspeople beheld in wonder the future king and his bastard, and they knew in their hearts that the two were truly righteous!

And it was then our prince spoke.

"Thy wine is the fairest in the land. Hereafter, let this hall be named Boarshead Hall!"

And there was much wine and merriment.

'Twas the next day and our heroes searched for wolves which were said to plague the town of Restenburg and the woods beyond. They cameth across an Inn which had made the Nanny Stewart suspicious, for she was a wily one and much loved the brothers. It is said she could smell evil, for the Innkeeper and his wife were werewolves.  But our brothers sallied forth and slew the inkeeper and wounded his wife, who ran away to the forest to be with other wild, evil things that dwelt there.

Twas a fair sometime later the brothers heard of a horse that had been stolen. Chased they this horse with their companions until they found they were led into a trap. It was here that their deceitful companion Lilzzt was killed by deadly vine plants, and her true identity as an evil fey spy was exposed. And yet our heroes did not relent to give up on their quest. They tracked the horse to an Elven prince. The Elven prince, seeing the righteousness of the brothers, fled in panic on the mighty horse. The mighty company continued to seek the horse, never wavering in their quest until it became hopeless. And thus our heroes returned to the town empty handed, wet and bedraggled, but proud in the knowledge that they had never relented.

Here endeth Chapter Eins.........
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