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Background

King Garvan has ruled Faringdale for almost 50 years. The first 5 years of his rule were tumultuous, but he succeeded in consolidating his rule and growing his small kingdom into a wealthy land. The main method by which this consolidation prevailed was by his use of a black group of mercenaries chosen from the best soldiers and adventurers around. This group operates entirely outside the constraints of the law. None of its members bear any insignia or other physical manifestation of their group yet they each know when another is present. The king quietly divides them into squads, often pairing new recruits with older members and rotating parties around so that no alliance within a group can threaten the others or the king. This group’s primary mission is two-fold. Keep the peace. Protect the borders. To keep the peace they eliminate rebellious tendencies in the population-particularly the nobles-by means ranging from a letter of gratitude from the king to poison. The borders are protected by an extensive network of spies in all of the neighboring countries including the Metes Empire to the west of the Storm Horn Mountains, the dwarves of Adkar Keep to the north, and the island of Waverly off to the east. This group of mercenaries are completely loyal to the king and none are able to gain any unbalancing power due to the fragmented nature of the group. In the rare cases that a squad has gone rogue the other squads have fallen upon them with the force of a thunderbolt and removed the threat. If there were to be an official name for this group it would be the Whispered Sentinels.

The main threat to Garvan’s rule came in his fifth year as king from the Metes Empire to the west. They thought the young king weak and sent emissaries and spies to the various nobles offering them riches for their allegiance. Their spies also sowed dissension and discord amongst the people calling into question the king’s fitness to lead and his birthright while building up the local noble’s reputation.

That’s when the Whispered Sentinels, or Whisps as the commoners call them, was formed. They quickly and quietly disposed of the spies and the traitorous nobles while aiding the loyal nobles in gaining more presitige and power in the king’s new administration. When the Metes marched to invade, the Whisps were ready. Their spies reported on it and King Garvan used it to rally his people. The army was larger than any Faringdale had ever raised before and it camped in a defensible position in the mountains. When the Metes came through, they were ambushed and slaughtered though they numbered ten times the King’s men.

The king keeps the patrols of the Sentinels going, but every year around the summer solistice he recalls them all to give them the most important of their missions—survey the land, find corruption, destroy it and report back. This year the king has asked them to pay special attention to any that could be his successor. All of the Sentinels noticed a weakness of heart and sense of urgency in the king’s commands. They set out at once.

It’s a well known fact that the king is without an heir. His wife died almost 20 years ago during a difficult childbirth. The baby did not survive either. The king, stricken with grief, never remarried and so has no heir. It seems the only thing he fears is losing another wife and child and so he has abandoned that method of obtaining a successor. Instead he has decided to choose one of his nobles. He hopes to find one the other nobles will be able to rally behind. The Metes Empire is still looming, just beyond the mountains, waiting for a moment of weakness to strike.

It’s been 5 days since you left the capital city on your way to Ekros City where the eladrin, Galen, rules. He is a favorite to be named successor to the king. You are still two days out of Ekros when you see smoke over the trees ahead.

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Whispers of Faringdale Mittop