The Blind Wolf: Last CallThe tavern. The taproom. The pub. The café. The tea house. They’ve existed for about as long as settled human civilization has, in one form or another. A place where one can sit down, face to face, and spend time together in that special way that is possible only with a warm drink between your hands. The Blind Wolf was a larp - not a tavern larp but a larp about a tavern. But more than this, it was an event to provide both players as well as characters with just that type of social space that is so important in society. It was a game with the core aim to spend time together once more after a long pandemic. An evening at a tavern, in the company of old and new acquaintances. Not to mention hot Rakkhari drinks and food.
An Evening at the Blind WolfThis is no ordinary evening at the Blind Wolf’s tavern, and not just because an unusual number of visitors have found their way out to the small establishment on the edge of the Sorcerors’ Forest. No, this is the last evening that the southern owners are in charge of the tavern, and they have decided to treat their guests to the very best. But it’s not just wanderers and travellers that have found a place by the table.
The whole thing started, a bit unexpectedly, with a bunch of Javenians.
Rumors started spreading recently that the Blind Wolf - a tavern in southern Lenori on the road to the large harbour city Kern Avanna - would maybe be bought by Javenians. No one who knew of the place were very surprised that the tavern was set to change hands once more - it seemed to be rather haunted by ill fortune, and the Rakkhari owners hadn’t exactly been able to convince the locals to try more exotic drinks and foods. But the idea that Javenians were interested in buying it raised more than a few eyebrows.
It didn’t take long before the Silver Flame - a Seran group made up of diplomats, merchants and their allies - reacted to the news. They saw it as a clear attempt by to expand Javenian influence, which in their eyes had already grown too large in Lenori. The deal must be stopped - even if it meant buying the tavern themselves.
These plans were soon caught on to by the Red Bjurgs, a Lenorian movement who are working against the growing foreign powers in their small country. Something had to be done, and the Blind Wolf quickly became a symbol for their entire ideology. Take back what belongs to Lenori - even if it’s just a small, weatherbeaten tavern.
So now, all these parties have been invited to see who is best fit to take over. Because money alone will not be enough - it’s also about winning the owners’ trust and at least make them believe that the tavern will be in good, decent hands. So tonight, one has to choose one’s words carefully, and who knows what kind of unexpected allies one can find on a night like this over a mug of hot apple brew?
EpilogueAll great events start from something small and insignificant.
A pebble falls into a placid lake, sending cascading ripples across its surface. A small seed falls into the ground and gives rise to a sturdy tree, a beautiful grove, a mighty forest. A small tavern opens its doors, and the world shifts.
In the end, the Javenian separatists managed to get their hands on the Blind Wolf, despite the intervention of the Silver Flame and the Red Bjurgs. Their flight from eastern Lenori had been a massive gamble, knowing that it was only a matter of time before Javenna and the Church that rules the nation would strike out at them. But with the tavern and its grounds in their hands they had a chance to prepare, and more importantly, somewhere for their people to settle down. Suddenly, after having barely seen any of their kind, Kern was home to about fifty Javenian separatists.
Barely had they arrived before a cadre of about two dozen soldiers and guards showed up, led by the Duchess of Kern herself. The Duchess, like many others, was not too keen to see such a force show up unannounced to settle down. Hours of tense talks between the Duchess, her sorceror advisors and Ravenni, the leader of the separatists, passed as the people waited in tense apprehensiveness. But in the end it seemed like the Javenians’ promises to aid the Oathsworn, and thus the people of Kern, had earned enough goodwill for the Duchess to give the easterners a chance. For now.
The Oathsworn quickly began operating around the Blind Wolf - something that proved to be a big boon for the Javenian separatists. In those early days the locals were none too keen on them being there, and they had to endure all sorts of harassment. But as the Oathsworn showed up and started treating and healing people, more and more started defending the separatists out of gratitude. And now that they had Javenian goods to boost their power, the Oathsworn life sorcerors could use their powers to a far greater extent than ever before. That is not to say things flowed without problems - with the most desperate also came problems and conflicts, not to mention the constant worry of plague. The latter became a major worry as neither the Oathsworn nor the Javenians had any way of helping those stricken with the Rakkhari plague. But they did what they could, but sadly guards sometimes had to intervene.
The Sorcerors’ Forest problem could finally begin being dealt with, as a gathering of sorcerors from both Lenori and Serdanos arrived to set up a research station. Many were suspicious about working with the easterners, though as Javenian enchantment sorcerors had been involved in refining the enchantment many years ago, it seemed like they could provide valuable insight into what was going on. Though despite long and arduous work, little progress was made over the coming months. It seemed like every step forward resulted in two steps backwards, and hope was fading that anything living would be found inside the forest. It wouldn’t be until a great disaster that true progress would be made…
The Golden Leaf kept to the shadows of the forest, having not aligned with any of those that seeked to make use of the tavern. The great corrupted being-thing that they had uncovered at the outer edges of the Sorcerors’ Forest would need to be dealt with, but they feared that all the outsiders around the Blind Wolf would mean problems in one way or another. So instead, they sought the help of the great ancient in the forests of Llanas to bring new forest winds to life in the wilds around the Blind Wolf. With the help of those beings, they might stand a better chance to uproot the corruption that was spreading…
The civil war in Norn would perhaps see the greatest consequences of that evening. Aratof, first born of the Irmograf family, raced back to Norn with the promise of enchanted items and soldiers from the Javenian separatists. He returned to find his family’s forces under threat - the traitorous Angeryv family who held the throne seemed to be amassing their forces for one final killing blow. If the Aratofs failed, Norn would truly be lost to the traitors. For a few dark days he wondered if he had been duped by the easterners, and cursed their strange kind.
But then, in that eleventh hour, the Javenians appeared. Their soldiers were few and strange, but he had been promised that each and everyone was worth fifty warriors on the field. And stranger still was that they were joined by the separatists’ leader - a sorceror terrible in both power and beauty. A being who would test Aratof’s resolve in more than one way. Ravenni.
Unaware of this new reinforcement the Angeryvs made their move. But what they meant to be a decisive blow to the rebellion became utter chaos as the former soldiers of the Javenian Havoc Battalion entered the field, falling from the sky like thunderbolts, scattering the attackers like leaves. Conviction turned to confusion, and then to terror. Before long, the Angeryv’s troops were routing, and disaster had been averted.
The element of surprise was gone now, however. Though the Javenian soldiers and goods made a big difference, every metre was bought with blood. But once they saw that the tide of war was turning, the former allies of the Irmografs who had been forced to surrender once more saw an opportunity to reclaim their country. One by one, they once more swore allegiance to the Irmografs. Even though they were heavily weakened, they offered whatever they could, and the rebellion grew with every passing day. What had been a battle for survival just weeks ago now was a consolidation of power, and would soon turn into a march on the very capital of Norn. Mardanva.
Rumours trickled to the north that it wasn’t just Javenians that were helping the Nornean rebels, but that elite Rangers from Lenori had been sent as well. Most, however, dismissed this as empty bluster.
Though the battles were bloody and brutal, it soon became apparent just how far the Angeryvs had overextended their power to try and crush the rebellion. Little by little their forces crumbled, scattering and fleeing the reckoning that was coming. The writing was on the wall, and the rats fled the ship. In the dark corners of Nornean taverns, people whispered of the mighty army that was bearing down on the capital, led by that mightiest of Nornean soldiers. The unkillable Aratof Irmograf. Few knew of the Javenian sorceress in the shadows behind him who kept him alive. Kept him safe. Kept him warm.
Finally, the day came when the Aratofs and their forces entered Mardanva, with barely any resistance left standing. Some cowered in fear of what was to come, others cheered and welcomed those who would finally cleanse the nation of Rakkhari influence. As she had promised, Ravenni brought Aratof to the Fortress of the heart of Norn where the traitor family huddled helplessly, waiting for the end. The remaining Angeryv guards fell into deathlike sleep before the Javenian sorceror as she calmly led Aratof by the hand towards the throne room. And then, finally, the Irmografs stood before those that had stolen Norn to aid the Rakkhari. With an army at his back and the most frightening woman he had ever met in his life, Aratof relinquished the Angeryvs of their power. The civil war was over.
It was clear now that the Irmografs could be the only worthy rulers of Norn. But Aratof’s father and mother both declined that power - too old and too worn from the long years of occupation and war. They passed their power on to Aratof, and there was no one that their allied families would rather follow than the man who had led them through those dark years of war. Less than three months after that fateful evening in the Blind Wolf Aratof Irmograf sat as the uncontested King of Norn. And there was much to be done.
Though they were given a chance to explain their actions, the Angeryvs were decisively executed for their crimes against the nation and its people. Though this would cement an eternal lust for vengeance in the hearts of those that were still loyal to the Angeryvs, it would cement the Aratofs power. It was seen as a just punishment, though most would have had them all slain on the spot without a word. Many of the Angeryv loyalists would flee to the Rakkhari Commonwealth, but this would only make it easier to divide the traitors’ lands among those that had been loyal to the Irmografs.
It wouldn’t take long before new political bonds would be formed, as Aratof gladly received a handful of representatives for the Javenian separatists to his court. Though he was more than a little bitter about the Lenorian reluctance to help his family, he saw that it was prudent to swallow his pride. A close relationship with the Duchy of Kern would get its start in those days (some say the Nornean favouritism for Kern was not only because of proximity, but because of some secret deal during the civil war). This relationship would prove invaluable for both sides who would be struggling to rebuild for some time.
Aratof’s most controversial decision was to sue for peace with the Rakkhari. Many wanted revenge, though most realised that this was folly. Surprisingly, the Rakkhari leaders agreed without any hesitation. Under intense pressure from the war with the nation of Javenna, the Supreme Commander Targo of the Stormcliffs eagerly agreed to restore an official peace between Norn and the Commonwealth. Ironically, the man who had led the Rakkhari Crusade through Norn would now renew the shaky peace his predecessor had broken. The old defences along the eastern border of Norn would be reconstructed however, as Aratof didn’t intend to take any risk with the southerners. One never knew when they’d see Gods in the shadows again.
And so, Norn belonged to the Norneans again. A battered, bloodspattered and divided nation. But as always, Norn would rebuild.
The Red Bjurgs failed to keep what had become a symbol of Lenorian heritage, and it was a rather hard blow to morale. The sudden presence of so many Javenians would undoubtedly change the Duchy, if not Lenori as a whole. And though there was much talk of vengeance and retaliation, very little came of it in practice. Though they tried to rally the people against the perceived intruders, they saw less and less success as time went on. The Javenian separatists successfully managed to paint themselves as victims who only wanted freedom, and their close cooperation with the Oathsworn only made them appear all the more altruistic. It seemed that the people were unable to see the same threat that the Bjurgs saw. It was only a sign of things to come, however. As the relationship with Norn and Kern improved, people only came to view the separatists more favourably, as they had helped secure Nornean independence. The Bjurgs, for all their bluster and talk of making Lenori safe, were steadily losing interested ears. Lenori was changing, and at least in Kern it seemed like people did not mind it very much.
The Silver Flame had also suffered a defeat that afternoon in the Blind Wolf. But though they were more than a little nervous about the implications of Javenians establishing a foothold in southern Lenori, the news of a separatist movement was auspicious. An enemy of my enemy… Though everyone agreed that they must be kept at arm’s length, it was deemed that it would be foolish not to try and maintain some sort of contact and relationship with the separatists - perhaps they would prove to be less unstable than their countrymen, and could be taught reason? Perhaps they would be willing to offer up valuable information about the nation they had abandoned. There were many risks, but also many possibilities, especially as news spread about a group of Selamandeshi Javenians who had defected to Serdanos in an attempt to retain their culture and heritage. All was not well in the east, and that was a great opportunity for Serdanos. While the Blind Wolf was a regrettable loss to the Silver Flame, there was a chance that something constructive could be wrought out of this unexpected group of stray Javenians…
And so the Duchy of Kern in the small nation of Lenori changed, some would say for the better, some would say for the worse. But what none could imagine during those three months was that something was slowly approaching through the dark heavens. Something that would leave a permanent mark on the history of the world.
Like all disasters, it came without warning.
It happened on a bright summer day, when the wind was peaceful and the sun was bright. All of a sudden, a dark ripple spread across the clear blue sky, like black oil across the surface of a pond. And then, with an unearthly howl, it came. Out of nowhere a massive, dark moon appeared, a sombre giant clad in black and violet, its surface streaked with colourful scars. It blotted out the sun with its dark haze, covering the world in a gloomy, unnatural night. The world came to a standstill as they gazed upon this dark visitor, fearful of what might come next. That’s when the changes started.
All over the world, the flow of sorcery changed and warped. Those that had once wielded it with great skill suddenly found that it failed or went wrong more just as much as it worked, and that was only the beginning.
The great Javenian cities were suddenly plunged into chaos, and in one fell swoop the Rakkhari-Javenian war came to a standstill. Rips and tears in the very fabric of the world opened up, causing all manner of strange phenomena to arise. Age-old prisons and shackles were undone, unleashing beings that had been waiting for centuries. Things were, to put it lightly, a bit chaotic.
And it was in this time that the Sorcerors’ Forest lit up with strange life, finally giving the researchers an opening to break the enchantment that had gone wrong. With great efforts, they managed to dispel it, opening up the forest for exploration for the first time in many years. A team of capable people was quickly assembled to delve into the heart of what had once been a sanctuary to figure out what had happened to the dozens of sorcerors that had disappeared in there…
The season of the Dark Moon had begun. A season when the great Lenorian colony Haspar Urav would declare themselves independent to form the nation Hasparia. A season when a secret Seran ship braved the high seas to reach the Thousand Island Empire Beratun. A season when Lenorian expeditions landed upon the shores of the golden lands of Sutesh. A season when the world plunged into great need and some rose to mend it while others sought to use the chaos for their own gain.
A season when great stormbolts approach the lands of the Mountainborn, and three peoples would join hands for the good of all.
Under that sombre visitor in the sky the order of the world was written anew, and Menidiath would never be the same.
Blind Wolf-merchIn case you feel like supporting the project, you can get t-shirts, stickers, notebooks and a lot of other things with the Blind Wolf's Tavern sigil - both Swedish and English versions!
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