Boar’s Head Revisited (Part 1)

There is a long-standing rule that when a castle changes hands the name remains the same. Whether it be due to superstition, tradition, or a mix of both this creates an obligation to keep the name of a fortification regardless of size or relative importance. Boar’s Head in the far north of the Duchy of Maelonbourg is no exception. Despite it being newly constructed the place already had earned a spot in the hearts of those that lived there and nearby to it. It had a reputation for being a rough place full of tough people, and this was only enhanced by the fact that Drndyllyn the Wyld, a half-orc barbarian warrior who was now the Duchess of Oublier, had been the one that commissioned the construction of Boar’s Head and had contributed a great deal to its’ overall design and architecture. The dashing and dangerously adventurous woman found out quickly that her long awaited base of operations was no longer ideally situated to her needs, and so it was with a heavy heart that she decided to sell her rambling fortified home in order to move fulltime into the citadel of Bozageest and have it refitted to match that which she was giving up.

That meant that Boar’s Head was on the market barely more than two years after its construction had been completed. One does not simply place such an estate on the open market, though. This was no one-room cottage on the lake. Boar’s Head was a hulking beast of a defensive bastion perched on a rocky crag surrounded by a settlement that was itself protected by a stone and wood palisade. The town of Boar’s Head had attracted an almost hilariously tough population of goblinoids, mixed-race humanoids, and few if any of them could honestly claim to not be on the wanted list for law enforcement in one or more neighboring countries. They had been talking amongst themselves for awhile after learning of Drndyllyn’s departure about what the future might hold for them and Boar’s Head. Their biggest fear was that the realm’s resident do-gooder, the paladin Duke Aurelius of Condamner, would seize the chance to claim Boar’s Head for his own and uproot the merry miscreants from their comfortable way of life. The good lord of Condamner was well known for his cunning opportunism when there was land to be had so this didn’t seem at all far-fetched to anyone in Boar’s Head.

The next person to show up in this saga was unknown to anyone connected with the castle and settlement of Boar’s Head. He was a man of noble bearing who dressed and acted as a proper aristocrat. His clothing was of the highest quality with subtle touches of elegance. The crisp autumn weather justified the man’s warm, perfectly tailored great coat and his tall, jet-black frustrum-shaped bear-skinned hat that was wider at the top than at the bottom. It wasn’t the sort of haberdashery common to this region, and wild guesses were made as to the stranger’s origins. He rode a majestic horse that was a mottled grey color and had a glossy black mane and tail. Another horse, virtually identical in coloration and bearing, carried the stranger’s baggage and it was noted that there was no lead or harness required to keep it in line. All of it was terribly intriguing. But the most fascinating aspect of it all was that nobody could see any sign whatsoever that the stranger had a weapon or means of defense. What kind of crazy person would trek across central Partum dressed so elegantly and with lockboxes on his baggage mount and not bring along at least a sword, or a retinue of hired guards?

Conversations with the stranger left people even more perplexed. His accent was by all accounts heavy and unidentifiable, yet he knew Fanolanian well enough to communicate effectively. He also made quite a number of new friends in short order among the suspicious folk of Boar’s Head. The stranger introduced himself as Iosif and with his ready smile and easy laugh he quickly proved pleasant to be around and soon the people of Boar’s Head had provided him with all of the information he needed to pursue his goal of acquiring the deed to Boar’s Head. After spending a few days in Boar’s Head he proceeded on to Bozageest to finalize the deal with Duchess Drndyllyn.

Of course, this was only the part of the story that the people of Boar’s Head knew firsthand. Behind the scenes and higher up in the political machinery of the Archduchy things were moving along at a brisk pace to permit the sale of Boar’s Head. The buyer wasn’t Iosif; the handsome and fashionable stranger was merely an agent for Prince Bortimer von Slothjem. The roguish nobleman had intended to buy Boar’s Head as a wedding gift for his betrothed, Duchess Seraphina Thorngage of Maelonbourg. The castle was more perfect than anything he could have ever wanted for this purpose, and the fact that it suited his own designs better than he could have imagined didn’t hurt the notion either. To this end he had sent his Major Domo, Iosif, ahead of his own arrival in Renatus to get things in order. Iosif did the job exquisitely and precisely as his lord had mandated. Drndyllyn finished moving her personal items and servitors out of the castle and less than three hours later Iosif arrived and began moving Duchess Seraphina and Prince Bortimer’s personal belongings in. There were also new servants to equip the place and to keep the premises secure from would-be sneak thieves. It was going to be bad enough with the newly married thieves taking up residence and having their own roguish followers lingering about without adding even more criminals to the mix.

All that the place needed now was for the happy newlyweds to show up and begin settling in. But this was not going to be a calm, tranquil place. Oh no indeed. Boar’s Head was never going to be a placid locale.

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