Duncan et al arrive Pride Rock early evening. Lots of clans are here.
Ambassador arrives today as well.
The Pride Meeting
Lots of talking and posturing all day. Night the official meeting, lots of physical showings and domineering, including some non fatal fights which the brothers easily win each time. They are impressive comatants. The bros. are officially kings by the nobles, but enough are against them that its basically civil war.
Of the 9 tribes, 3 are loyal, 3 are begrudgingly loyal to simply following the new leaders. 3 are completely opposed. Several clans w/in the loyal 6 are opposed to the brothers still. They say that with the heir still out there, this is wrong to make them kings.
Both sides talk candidly to Duncan as a neutral party. The brothers say if Duncan can bring back the queen so they can kill the heir, or if we kill the king or bring him back to be killed, they will hook us up with an awesome item from their loot.
The rebels offer a separate solution: get the queen and heir and bring to one of their clans then we have their friendship. Bring the king back alive, same thing. Will find a way to reward us.
When the prides break up, the brothers say there's going to be lion blood. They can't put up with prides opposed to their rule. Those opposed would rather fight the fake king and the gnolls and die than follow a fake king.
They feel following these 2 kings means losing to the gnolls anyway. And their mentality of superiority and imbalance with the other races does not work in the long term.
Duncan et al get to the hills. After nightfall, we are caught by cougar mountain wemic aka The Proud. They have our scout as well. They can't hunt in plain lands for larger game cause the wemics will bust them up. Very territorial. In the hills, the gnolls are causing them trouble. Their numbers are too small to do anything about it.
This is caused by the brothers.
The mountain wemics are now hunting plains to west, causing some issues with the Nomad humans there.
Duncan thanks them for not eating his scout. Mulligan would not have been pleased at his death.
They have the old king as well!! They thought he was just a warrior hunting them, until they saw him being stalked by other wemics so brought him in alive to decide later what to do with him. Bargain to the brothers for hunting rights maybe.
Duncan explains our presence here, including his backup. They size realize we are nothing to push around and take us to their camp, freeing the scout who has never been happier to see anyone else in his life.
They know of our caravan as well, it was too much trouble to do anything about. They agree to leave it be.
We are invited to camp with The Proud and talk tomorrow.
They see our presence as a game changer, major power player.
Duncan wants the king set free. He explains we want to solve all inter racial issues and destroy the gnolls and any other threat. We just want peace. Duncan asks them to keep the king alive, well fed, and healthy as can be until we figure this out.
He also asks them to keep the king on the edge of the hills, easily accessible as quick as can be once Duncan wants him revealed.
They agree to take him to the caravan caves for us! And leave a handful of their warriors to makes sure we are on the up and up.
Now, Duncan gets to talk to the wemic former king Sirok Tor. Duncan introduces himself. Gives him the deal on why we are travelling through here.
He's heavily scarred. Lots of old war wounds.
He greets Duncan in a very regal manner.
His version of what happened matches well with what the brothers said. Their anger toward Sirok festered for a long time. They had a mixed adv party that did stuff extensively around the area. When they returned, they had the new equipment. At first, they asked to be part of the royal pride. Sirok turned them down, feeling they better served as wandering heroes not sun bathing males. They left, returned a few days later and kindly asked him to step aside and give them the throne. Sirok refused. They left for another few days, returned much more arrogant and demanded he step down, offering to let him take all his progeny. He refused of course, as a king should. They left assuring he would regret it. 2 nights later they returned while Sirok was relaxing, the pride was joyous with the alpha female being with cubs. A strange feeling came over all as the bros came in. Tension thick immediately in the air. All on edge almost in a trance, all anyone could do was watch. They drew wpns, challenged, he couldn't refuse and battle joined. The younger bro he thrashed heartily. The older was much stronger esp since he had just fought 2 at once. He was still holding his own until something weird happened. Sudden sickness came over him, weakening him. At that point on the older bro took control and won.
He can't tell if real or hallucination, he thought a man was there at the fight, human. It feels real but foggy all the same. That's when he started getting sick, when he noticed him. When he thinks about the fight in general, he doesn't recall him. When he pictures particular moments, he visualizes his presence. Sirok also can't place what he was doing, just staring perhaps. Also was never in one place watching. He pictures him in different spots at different points of the fight.
He wasn't very tall, shorter than Duncan. His eyes, though, had almond shaped eyes, not round like Duncan. Like a nomad rider only there was something about it off. Little to no facial hair, unlike the nomads. Its like he never looked directly at the man, but something off about the way he looks at Sirok in his memory of it.
Wore only robes, green to greenish blue color, shimmering like emeralds.
He's willing to go back, but knows he can't beat the brothers. Especially not with this strange ghost man seemingly helping them.
Duncan says he thinks the female is alive, and has top men searching for her now.
Sirok says no matter what, Duncan et al can't kill the brothers, not allowed since we can't claim the throne. We'd be like hitmen. They have to be brought down by their successor.
Duncan "But you could fight them with a partner, 2 on 2."
Yes, the 2 winners would be co kings then. Which at this point, he is fine with.
Sirok says we have to set the stage for this to happen properly. Whatever the bharag grok are doing is coming soon. There are already war parties crossing the second river in hunting parties. Even a unified wemic nation can't win vs their numbers. The wemics, centaurs, men, yak, etc must join forces.
No one will unite with the brothers, though.
He says he can tell The Proud are on our side.
He says an wandering man called The Master of heat and Flame is a wemic friend, he can help you with the alliances and much more. Find him.
We need to find this strange apparition man and deal with him then.
The Proud says we are free to go. We get on the move immediately. We send word with them to tell our cav to be ready to move soon.