Lifeblood of the Jewel- The Senators of Peltarch
Lifeblood of the Jewel – The Senators of Peltarch
By Eowiel Senella, former Senator of Peltarch
This book is intended to give the reader an insightful glimpse into the life and times of the Senators of Peltarch, covering the period from the end of the Third Giant Wars up until the chaotic period prior to the abolition of the Senate of Peltarch. Despite the broad timescale being covered, I will note that my tone shall be biographical as opposed to historical.
If you are interested in the historical events shaped by the people featured in this book I strongly recommend you seek out the voluminous catalogue of histories by Fistus Mixander, the Gnome who Knows. His works can be found in any library of repute, including the Bardic College and Peltarch City libraries. The History of Peltarch, by Sir Roland Brynmor, available in the Temple Lighthouse public library, is also a stirring source, so too are the collected works of Master Zephlin Re’cual of the Bardic College.
Heart of the Jewel – The Senate of Peltarch: An Introduction
It strikes me that many younger readers may not have enjoyed life under the rule of the Senate of Peltarch, and so I will begin with a brief account of this most august body and how it functioned.
The City of Peltarch, Jewel of the Icelace, was founded by Tidus, the Fisher King, following his victorious war of independence against Hoarsgate. The Senate of Peltarch was likewise founded by Tidus, following his victorious war against the Fire Giants of Ignismons. The battle-wearied monarch commanded the election of a Senate, which would govern in his stead, and the formation of the Wavebreakers Guild, who he named his heirs and charged with seeing Peltarch prosper.
Every grown citizen in Peltarch was afforded two votes, with their King urging them to “vote once with your head, and once with your heart”. So it went with every election since, though it is doubtful the King’s voting advice was always heeded in the generations afterwards. Still, followed or not, it became a popular phrase around election times. Little is known about the first Senate, save that its membership was reputed to number seven people. Eventually, by the time of the Second Giant Wars the number of elected Senators had risen to thirteen. As the fighting died down, but before a formal peace was agreed, the Senate had a number of vacant seats and used this opportunity to vote to reduce its number back to nine Senators before holding the next elections.
Though not a mandatory appointment, most Senators were served by an official Advisor. These Advisors stood behind their seats when the Senate was in session, offering whispered counsel during debates and votes. On rare occasions, Advisors were empowered to act in their Senator’s stead, though this was uncommon and liable to ruffle feathers when it did occur. A notable example was Advisor Re’cual taking Senator Sten’s seat at the infamous meeting in which began the Civil War, drawing the vitriol of Senator Koreth moments before he launched his treasonous coup.
Sessions of the Senate were chaired by the Elder Senator, who traditionally called these meetings (though any quorum of three could also do so where the need arose). The Elder Senator was the Senator with the longest service on the body, and traditionally abstained from voting except in order to deliver a casting vote. You would be forgiven for imagining that refraining from voting reduced the power of the Elder Senator, for what is a Senator who does not vote? In practice however tied votes were common, and the Elder Senator also set the Agenda for sessions, a convention which gave them great sway over the business conducted by the Senate.
Decisions of the Senate were carried out by the bastion of clerks serving in City Hall, under the firm thumb of the Herald of Peltarch. The bureaucratic link between these clerks and the Senate was the Chief Clerk of the Senate, and it was not uncommon for behind the scenes rivalries between the Chief Clerk and the Herald to play back and forth ad nauseum.
Holcomb Fisher – The Noble Senator
Like many members of the old Fisher family, who were certainly related to but should remain distinct from today’s royal family, Holcomb served in the Senate for many, many years. In his later years he was also known as the “Old Senator”, even before he served as Elder Senator.
Like his many predecessors, Holcomb was a noble’s noble, representing the particularly entitled interests of the Civic district’s entrenched families well throughout his career. Despite this somewhat biased slant, he was well regarded as a good man despite his privileged background and has a number of noteworthy accomplishments to his name.
He took an active part in shaping the future membership of the Senate, and donated generously to candidates he felt would serve with a sense of duty, candidates such as Troth, infamous rival of Kanen Hightower, among those who caught his eye.
Holcomb also credited with taking a leading role in backing the successful unmasking of Senate candidate Vasha Doon as a Rakshasa, ousting them from the race (and indeed the country). His retirement made way for Delvin Gelon to assume the Elder Senator role, passing the torch to a new era in Peltarch’s politics.
Tarich Snydders – The Chain Shackle Senator
The noble Snydders family have long proven themselves shrewd operators in the highest echelons of Peltarchan society, though they ultimately fell short with Tarich. A razor sharp intellect, unburdened with that thing we call conscience, Tarich is notable in being the youngest person to have ever joined the council of three that governs the Seafarers Guild, at a mere thirty years of age.
Not long after that, he was elected to the Senate of Peltarch, where he was a skilled and assertive legislator in pursuing the interests of his Guild, his family and ultimately himself. With the trappings and prestige of high office adding to his already established business savy and wealth, he wilfully enriched himself through base, wanton corruption.
Most egregiously, Tarich Snydders holds the unwholesome distinction of being the only Senator to have ever been convicted of the crime of engaging in the slave trade. He was exposed thanks to the efforts of several luminary adventurers of Peltarch, among them future Senator Vino Sten.
He spent the remainder of his years attempting to unsuccessfully bribe his way out of prison, before he was ultimately executed for his crimes. Fortunately, the Snydders family was not tainted by the man’s misdeeds and their scions still hold high office today, serving the Fisher family.
Elnerick Dunderstone – The Bastion Senator
House Dunderstone has a long history of loyal service to the Jewel, and Elnerick was no exception. He served for decades on the Senate, and dedicated himself to bolstering Peltarch’s defences. Senator Dunderstone was elected as a young man in a time when the Jewel was gravely threatened by foes from all sides. The Fire Giants of Ignismons had united under a strong leader and were subjugating the local hill giants and ogres. The Lizardfolk had likewise united under a powerful trio of Priestesses, who had managed to come to an uneasy truce with one another and begin coordinating raids ourwards. And most dangerous of all, the Eastlander Bandits had gained total control of the Nars Pass, demanding tribute from all who passed, and even occasionally beginning to raid Peltarch’s southern farmlands.
It was in this oppressive climate the young Elnerick was elected. Like many in his family, he had been serving in the Peltarch Guard as a Captain prior to his election. Once elected, the immediate security situation worsened. Eastlander forces pressed harder and harder to the south; the farms there had to be completely abandoned, and safety extended only to bowrange of the City Wall. To the west, Ogre raiders led by Fire Giants began assailing the Jewel, occasionally clambering over the walls themselves and making off with goods, livestock and even citizens.
Dunderstone’s major contributions to the Jewel’s safety directly addressed both of these major threats, and also developed a lasting partnership with the Stonemasons Guild, ensuring their independence from control by larger guilds such as the Seafarers. First, Dunerstone promoted policies that encouraged the Defenders, then led by General Devin Telan, to press aggressively against the Eastlanders south of the Walls, whilst at the same time adopting a strong defensive stance on the western wall’s garrison.
This allowed the Senator’s two major defence projects to succeed; the doubling of the height of the western walls, making them an effective barrier against the raids of the Ogres and Giants, and the construction of the Southern Watch Tower. The tower was errected atop an easily defensible hill, and many times its warning lights flared as Eastlanders approached, allowing Defenders and the City’s adventuring heroes to bolster its garrison. Though the tower no longer stands, the farming families south of Peltarch’s walls can still trace their livlihoods back to Dunderstone’s resolute policies securing their lands for generations to come.
Delvin Gelon – The Dockhand Senator
Born with nothing, Delvin Gelon rose to the highest echelons of the Jewel of the Icelace by the time of his death. His family was from the docks, and like his brothers, sisters and cousins, Delvin worked the long, hard hours of a dockhand for ten years. He had hoped to join the Peltarch Defenders, as his father had, but those hopes were dashed when his father was dishonourably discharged from what might have been a promising career.
With his father having turned to drink, Delvin shouldered the burden of providing for his younger siblings in hard times and meagre pay. Ultimately, thanks to an unlikely friendship with a young noble scion of the Ashald family, Delvin gained his literacy at the Bardic College, and went on to make a decent living as a business man, moving his young family to the Commerce District.
It was after his business ventures turned sour, that the Wavebreakers Guild backed his election to the Senate of Peltarch. He played a significant role, alongside Elnerick Dunderstone, in formulating policies that helped Peltarch claim a victory in the Third Giant War. Gelon in particular, was responsible for backing a young rising star in the Defenders, who ultimately became known as the Hero of the Giant War, Devin Telan. It was Gelon who later proposed Telan be named Defender General, a rare appointment confirmed unanimously by the Senate.
Gelon later served as long of the longest-sitting Elder Senators, and was likely at the height of his influence during the period known as The Long Senate, when the Senate’s numbers were reduced to five, and he frequently used a decisive casting vote to break deadlocks. Unfortunately, much of his career suffered from stifled influence, as he was gravely indebted to the Seafarers Guild. Ultimately, he was able to see his onetime benefactor turned rival, Vaster Ashald, exiled from Peltarch, freeing him to pursue long held ambitions around expanding Peltarch’s territories. Though he was assassinated before these works could come to pass, his vision laid the foundation for the outlying protectorate townships now claimed under Peltarch’s rule. For a much more indepth account of Delvin Gelon’s life, you would be well advised to consult “The Life and Times of Delvin Gelon”, by Fistus Mixander, the Gnome who Knows.
Torin Bravickus – The Coinpurse Senator
One wonders what went wrong when the fates designed Torin Bravickus. He was elected on his second attempt to the Senate, having been narrowly defeated in his first effort by Delvin Gelon. By the time of his election he was already the patriarch of the noble Bravickus family, known for their wealth and business acumen throughout the generations.
Sadly for his family, by the end of his sordid career in the Senate, Torin Bravickus would leave his once-respected house shunned and spat upon in the streets, a long and storied reputation in tatters.
Torin’s time in the Senate was marked by a consistent litany of “Nay” votes to any proposal that involved the spending of treasury monies. Do not mistake his reticence for fiscal prudence, dear readers, for Senator Bravickus most keenly wished to avoid the need to increase any taxes upon the city’s Guilds. This is because Torin Bravickus was bought and paid for by the Seafarer’s Guild under their avaricious (and ultimately treacherous) master, Vaster Ashald.
In my many years spent as Torin’s colleague at the Senate table, I recall him voting “Aye” for only one significant spending proposal; which was to renovate City Hall. Bravickus was also well wooed by Koreth, then still “The Crusader” when he first arrived to Peltarch from Tethyr. The golden bastion plied several Senators and officials with lavish gifts, and Bravickus was no exception to this barely-concealed bribery. No surprise then, that when the vote to allow Koreth to create his own private army, the Black Dragon Knights, Bravickus’ hand was raised before the details were even presented.
When the Peltarch Civil War errupted, it was also no surprise that unlike many Senators who stayed to reclaim the Jewel from traitors (even including Rath Ashald), Torin safely fled with Vaster Ashald’s treasure fleet across the Icelace, joining the Seafarers in abandoning their city in its darkest hour. To abandon one’s home when it is in dire need is one thing, but Torin’s support of Koreth makes him partly culpable for the crisis he then turned his back on. One would not be blamed to wonder at how Torin was able to show his face in Peltarch after the city was reclaimed, much less rejoin the Senate table.
Alas, I cannot spare the inches to detail all of one man’s sins against his homeland, though I assure you there are enough to fill their own book. In the end, with the turning of the tide and his erstwhile master Vaster banished to Hoarsgate, Torin found himself isolated on a Senate more concerned with the common good rather than the interests of the Seafarer’s Guild. Perhaps this is what led him into the waiting hands of conspirators, dark priests and vile treasons? He became formally what in spirit he had always been – an enemy of the Jewel. In the end he was murdered in his prison cell, and not a tear was shed, save perhaps by the ruined family whose future he had bartered away in the name of greed and avarice.
Vino Sten – The Trailblazer Senator
Unlike many members of the Senate before him, Vino Sten was already a household name before his election. A priest who had been up and down the country of Narfell, righting wrongs and inspiring songs, his election marked a turning point in the history of the Senate.
Previously a body composed of nobles, businessmen or the well connected, Vino Sten’s election showed that deeds of glory and renown could actually be translated into votes – provided the right people in the right places concurred. It was a path that several adventurers would follow in the future, successfully and otherwise.
Vino’s time in the Senate came while it was certainly under Seafarer control, but at a less partisan time than the later era, meaning the more independently minded priest was still able to work with his colleagues to pass useful and meaningful legislation.
He was famously friends with future Senator, Sir Roland Brynmor. On one memorable occasion, the Eastlander Bandits managed to kidnap Senator Sten’s then fiancé Linah (famous in her own right), demanding a random of fifteen thousand gold pieces for her return. It speaks to the Senator’s influence that he and his allies were able to quickly come up with the required gold, and ransom his lady love back in short order. It also speaks to the Senator’s tenacity and determination that the kidnappers did not live long enough to enjoy their ill-gotten gold; joining forces with then Master Bard, Adam Bromley, the Senator and his allies chased the kidnappers deep into the very heart of the Lost City and in a confrontation in those terrifying, haunted mines, slew them to a man.
Senator Sten also made a lasting contribution to the development of Peltarch’s judiciary, encouraging his Advisor, Zephlin Re’cual to (very successfully) seek Senate backing for an appointment to the Magistracy, an appointment which bridged the old judicial era of two magistrates with the modern three-judge system we still enjoy today.
Shana Je’laan - The Lamplight Senator
The moon elf House of Je’laan have long been a force for good and for progress in the Jewel of the Icelace, and none exemplified this earnest dedication more than Shana Je’laan. Her election campaign was famous for her promise to erect street lamps on all streets throughout Peltarch; previously they had only been built in the Civic district.
It proved to be a very symbolic promise, as her term as Senator represented a great light of hope in what were certainly grave and dark times across Narfell. Senator Je’laan’s primary concern at the Senate table was common welfare of the ordinary citizens; an uncommon agenda on a table largely comprised of vested interests. She most often found herself voting in concert with Senators Sten and Makere, and occasionally Dunderstone.
Though often portrayed as a “bleeding heart” Senator, there was iron in her veins where Peltarch’s enemies were concerned; she was notable for her invective speech denouncing the Thayvians abound at the time in Narfell, not long prior to their kidnapping of Senator Ayanie. She also supported the appointment of General Telan, and the strengthening of the city’s defences.
Well beloved by the ordinary citizens, the Senator was known for frequently offering pardons to the hungry convicted of stealing bread, or the poor convicted of vagrancy, practices which perhaps earned her a number of foes among those tough where it comes to law and order.
She was shrewd in her mistrust of Koreth, still merely “The Crusader” in her time, as she never lived to see his later election to the Senate, nor his ultimate betrayal of the Jewel. She was in the minority of those who voted against the formation of the Black Dragon Knights, and though her mistrust was well placed it tragically also led to her untimely demise.
Days before her brutal assassination, the Senator had dismissed her elite Black Dragon bodyguards, and she was cut down in the Dancing Mermaid Inn at the hands of a foul Blackguard whose name does not bear repeating so many years on. The fiend used a dreaded “Souldrinker” blade, rendering all efforts to resurrect the good Senator fruitless. The outcries of grief and fury drowned all city business for some time thereafter, and the joint funeral she shared with fellow victim Myrie Makere was the largest in Peltarch’s history.
Myrie Makere – The Patron Senator
The Makere family have always been associated with patronage of the arts, and the advancement of culture; Myrie was no exception to this admirable history, though she was certainly exceptional in many other qualities.
There still stands today a statue venerating Senator Makere in the Bardic Theatre, it was erected because it was thanks to continued advocacy on Myrie Makere’s part that the Peltarch Senate granted the local bards an annual stipend to keep the threate well maintained and in good condition and working order. In return, the Bardic College housed there has educated generations of Peltarch’s nobles.
Of course, it speaks to Myrie Makere’s generosity that she herself provided additional funding for a number of spaces for commonborn children to also receive education at the hands of Peltarch’s highest institution of learning, a practice that still carries on every year even to this day.
Senator Makere was cut from similar cloth to Senator Je’laan, in terms of her keen interest in bringing the arts to the masses and not just the wealth of the Civic district. Unlike her colleague however, Myrie was known for her considerable eccentricities; she was never seen at the Senate table without one or more of her beloved cats, was known to pinch younger Senators by the cheeks when agreeing with them, and was often warmly referred to as the “Grandmother of Peltarch” by her many supporters.
You can imagine then, the immense grief and horror that swept the city when she too fell victim to the wicked “Souldrinker” blade of the foul assassin, having joined Senator Je’laan in solidarity by also dismissing her Black Dragon Knight bodyguards.
Though it is fair to say that advocates of culture and champions of the people were certainly elected after, due to the increasingly partisan climate in the Senate and City, it is this author’s opinion that there was never elected again any Senators so widely beloved by their city as Myrie Makere and Shana Je’laan.
Delvana Morischa – The Treaty Senator
A noteworthy Adventurer, a Knight of the Cerulean Stars and a Master of the Bardic College, Delvana held the honour of being the first elf outside of the Je’laan family to be elected to the Senate of Peltarch.
Her campaign was firmly backed by several Guilds, including the Wavebreakers, as she proved even before her election to be a capable and wily negotiator – defeating several candidates who were better funded on paper. Spending her hard won funds wisely to reach the people who would hear her message of being their champion best, her election marked a passing of the torch from Myrie Makere to those she had long patronized and supported.
Senator Morischa was a pragmatic member of the Senate, and not averse to working with any of her colleagues on matters she thought could benefit the city. It speaks to how respected she was among her peers that she was chosen as the Senate’s representative to negotiate a formal end to the Third Giant War.
The war itself had petered out into mere skirmishes and raids at the borders of Highhold, with General Telan confident the Fire Giants would not pose a serious martial threat again for many years to come. All that remained was to formally conclude the affair and put an end to the damaging skirmishes that continued to take place; allowing the General to focus his efforts where they were much more urgently needed; the Eastlanders to the south.
In this, the Senator was successful. She famously ventured deep into the Giantspires alone, armed only with her magical and martial prowess (which, as a former Cerulean, were not inconsiderable). Though tensions have flared since from time to time, there has never been a return to fullscale war with the Fire Giants of Ignismons in the years hence.
The Senator retired to regions outside of Narfell prior to the Peltarch Civil War, and was spared the injustice of bearing witness to her City being torn apart from the inside, having herself spared it from being so assailed from the outside.
Ayanie – The Blue Flame Senator
Ayanie was notable among her fellow Senators for a number of reasons. Firstly, she was a sorceress of considerable prowess – up until Koreth joined the Senate table I would rate her as having been the most powerful individual seated there.
Secondly, she was independent in a truer fashion even than the Senators who professed being “independently minded” such as Senator Morischa above, for even they had had their elections backed by guilds. Not so, Senator Ayanie, who financed her election entirely with private fortunes of her own or her fellow Adventurer allies who silently backed her. Either way, no Guild could claim to have any kind of hold upon her vote, putting her in a rather unique position among her colleagues.
Such were her sorcerous abilities, that she was specifically targeted for abduction by the Red Wizards of Thay when they were at large in Narfell seeking out grave relics of ancient danger. Her rescue was effected in short order by the Knights of the Cerulean Stars, but her brief capture gave powerful political capital to Koreth, in his efforts to have the Senate allow him to create the Black Dragon Knights, efforts he ultimately succeeded in.
Strong willed, but not hotheated, Ayanie proved a capable legislator who advanced the interests of her city according to her keen sense of the common good. She died in office, one of two Senators to ultimately lose their lives in the dreaded depths of the Lost City. It speaks to her courage and self-sacrifice that she would even go to such a place, scorned even by treasure seekers as a death sentence, to seek answers to grave evils threating her City and her country.
Adam Bromley – The Glimmer Senator
Another Adventurer, turned Master Bard, turned Senator, what can one say about Adam Bromley? He could as easily be called the “Puppet Master” Senator, for in his day his strings were threaded far and wide across Narfell. A founder and first Headmaster of the Bardic College, his involvement can be traced into almost every mythical event of note from Narfell’s storied history, from the First Defiler War to the great betrayal of Selron the Deciever, where at the time Bromley was posing as the wicked witch Vinessa’s lover in an effort to gather intelligence against her foul plans.
He was famously wedded to the former Black Dragon Knight, Maya, a warrior woman of legendary repute, and as a Senator was generally cut from similar cloth to the other Senators drawn from the ranks of the Bardic College seeking to live up to the legacy of Myrie Makere.
Senator Bromley was instrumental in opposing the Thayvian threat to Narfell, and in preventing a deadly plague from overcoming the Jewel. Sadly, just like Senator Ayanie, he died in service to his City seeking out solutions to the grave threats faced by Peltarch deep within the ghoulish depths of the Lost City.
As noted above, the sheer volumes of tales that could be told about Senator Bromley are immense, and if interested I would recommend seeking out further materials in the libraries of the Bardic College. Beware though, for Senator Bromley’s vainglorious ghost is said to still stalk the halls of the Theatre, and he is especially partial to haunting attractive women, or failing that offering extremely pedantic corrections to any volume concerning any event he thinks he has a better memory of. Research cautiously, would-be scholars and historians.
Nico Black – The Black Market Senator
Peltarch has a long history of men and women out to enrich themselves by enriching their Guilds. Almost all major commerce, and the politics surrounding it, went through the two major Guilds in the city – a narrative you will be intimately familiar with by the end of this series of biographies.
Enjoy this entry then, as a refreshing break, for Nico Black was cut from even shrewder cloth than the masters of commerce at the helm of the Jewel’s major guilds. A proud and pious Waukeenar, Nico Black made no money through middlemen, unless of course he himself was playing the middleman.
He brought money into Peltarch through channels undreamt of by the conventional trading costers, who were gathering dust in the Docks by comparison to his entrepreneurial innovations. As a true Waukeenar, Nico’s interest in wealth was not merely for the purposes of self-enrichment, and his election saw gold flowing to parts and peoples of Peltarch that had long gone overlooked. The only thing that sadly checked his prosperous influence were the wars the plagued the Jewel, and it was during the rise of the Eastlanders that the Senator and his wife decided to leave Narfell, perhaps for more peaceful lands.
Koreth – The Golden Fist Senator
If younger readers wondered in recent years why so many citizens of Peltarch viewed the crusading forces of the Silver Host with such grave suspicions, you shall find your answer in this entry. When he first arrived in Narfell, Koreth was well known as “The Crusader”, and many towns that supposedly housed “great evils” had burned under his steely gaze, purportedly in the name of Tyr.
Ahead of his arrival in Peltarch, his servants lavished gifts upon the populace, parades were held where paid bards recounted his many glorious deeds, expensive gifts arrived for Senators and Magistrates alike and the Jewel awaited his coming with bated breath.
When he arrived in Peltarch clad head to toe in his immaculate golden armour, he and his supporters quickly brought to justice those responsible for a series of murders, and he requested the Senate of Peltarch grant him special powers to continue to impose Order on the rougher areas of the Jewel. This first request, proposed by Senator Bravickus (whose daughter Koreth had been dutifully wooing), the Senate declined with a vote of 5-2 against.
It should be noted Senator Sten, a priest of Tyr, had opposed Koreth from the beginning despite their apparent shared faiths. His first effort at acquiring power thwarted, Koreth instead bided his time, until it came that Captain Troth, the original commander and creator of the Black Dragon Knights was finally declared missing in action by General Telan, and the Senate considered his replacement. Many found it suspicious that Troth had vanished just before Koreth arrived.
In a tight vote of 5-4 in favour, Koreth was granted command of the Black Dragon Knights. Captain Koreth immediately set to filling the ranks with his own personal guard, elite soldiers who had crusaded with him for twenty long years. In addition, he also instituted a system whereby the most skilled and talented members of all other Defender branches could be recruited into the Black Dragon Knights. He also took great pains to secure the loyalties of some of Narfell’s more infamously capable combatants, such as the warriors Uthger and Maya, both of whom were quickly seen in the colours of the Black Dragons. Soon, the small taskforce Troth had once commanded had grown into a highly effective elite wing of the Defenders, with most loyal only to their Captain. Koreth had a private army at his back.
Koreth’s time as Captain was rife with controversies, especially after the appearance of the blackguard responsible for the deaths of Senators Makere and Je’laan. Many citizens and even luminaries of the Jewel were dragged off in the night by Black Dragon Knights under suspicion of being in league with the forces of the Archdevil. Most accusations were baseless, such as those against celebrated songstress and Cerulean Knight, Demi Arkania Rei Can’dii. On multiple occasions, Captain Koreth pressed for the declaration of Martial Law, but was turned down by a wary Senate, divided by those who supported and those who opposed his excesses.
A victory for those who opposed Koreth came when an investigation exposed the severe excesses such as the example listed above, and the Black Dragon Knights were formally disbanded. The victory was short lived however, as Koreth was elected to the Senate of Peltarch soon afterwards, and it later emerged that Koreth had disbanded the Black Dragon Knights on paper only.
Things came to a head at a meeting of the Senate called due to the disappearance of General Devin Telan. The lack of leadership in the armed forces had created severe tensions within the Jewel, and the Senate met with soldiers occupying various parts of the city in a tense stand-off between the various Captains. During this meeting, Koreth entered the chambers flanked by armed Black Dragon Knights, and uttered the famous words that began the Peltarch Civil War, also called Koreth’s War: “This government is suspended.”
Silence, and then the chamber exploded into chaos. Black Dragon Knights began cutting down those who resisted arrest, some Senators lucky enough to have Advisors with arcane skills winked out of sight and fled for their lives. Explosions rocked the city, as the stand-off devolved into open warfare. Months later, Koreth’s brief reign had been toppled, and he had fled to Highhold with the other traitor Captains. Years later, it was claimed his head was returned to Peltarch, but this was never verified. His ultimate fate remains a mystery.
If interested in Koreth's War, I strongly encourage you to read the works of Zephlin Re’cual or Sir Roland Brynmor, both of whom have recounted the events in sombre, stirring detail in their written works.
Sir Roland Brynmor – The Woodbine Senator
A great warrior, a skilled detective, a pious knight, and a lifelong friend to the less fortunate, these are but a few things one might say about Sir Roland Brynmor, even before his election to the Senate of Peltarch.
The Brynmor family has a long history of service; service to Peltarch, service to Helm, service even to the Fisher King himself. Sir Roland Brynmor more than upheld that lofty legacy in his tenure serving the Jewel and her people. Together with Kaster Lavindo, one of Roland’s most memorable accomplishments was achieving victory over the renegade forces led by the traitor, Koreth.
Despite having been driven out of the city, which the rebels then secured and fortified, Sir Roland led efforts to rally the remaining loyalist forces at the southern watchtower, assembling then a War Council composed of loyalist defenders, powerful civilian groups such as Spellweaver Keep, and military allies such as the Legion and Norwick. Turning a war council of such varied and discordant members into the successful, multi-pronged counter-attack that followed was a feat of leadership and military legerdemain rarely seen. This author feels it is safe to say that without the co-ordination, courage and resolve displayed by Sir Roland, the myriad groups involved in retaking the Jewel would never had had the cohesion to succeed in driving the traitors from the land.
Sir Roland also had a keen eye on the future. Alongside Senator Mildsilver, he was a critical force for ensuring actual useful legislation was passed in the period after the Civil War, when only five Senators held office, called the Long Senate. Sir Roland’s close collaboration with Wesley Hardin also led to his enthusiastic backing of several Senate candidates whose causes he supported, donating generously to their campaigns in both gold and public endorsements. Ultimately however, partisan strife grew greater, as did the war footing of the Eastlanders, and Sir Roland joined Senator Mildsilver in passing a declaration of war against the old foe.
As before, Roland was a key actor in the war, particularly in gaining support from the old allies he knew were reliable from the Civil War, bringing them together for the common good of all Narfell once more.
While this war was winding down, elections were finally held, and once more Sir Roland’s foresight in backing several key progressive, Wavebreaker candidates, paved the way for the ultimate breakdown of the stranglehold Vaster Ashald had by then established over the Jewel of the Icelace.
Evendur Mildsilver – The Senator’s Senator
A faithful of Azuth with a wholehearted commitment to best practices in all walks of life, Evendur Mildsilver had previously served as Clerk of the Senate and Acting Magistrate prior to his election to the ranks of the Senate of Peltarch.
His dry, insightful and typically methodical approach to problem solving made him a valued addition to the ranks of the Senate, and indeed his dispassionate impartiality ensured the Senate was able to continue to at least do some business as the era of the Long Senate dawned after the Civil War and partisan divisions grew more and more problematic.
Those who remember Senator Mildsilver often recall a bookish man, of an unsmiling, austere disposition robed in a grey that seemingly mirrored his outlook on life. As one who knew him well, this author recalls differently; a man possessed of a deep, oft-hidden passion for public service, for his faith and for his people.
Senator Mildsilver’s vote was critical in the Senate decision to declare war upon the Eastlander Bandits, finally giving General Lavindo the orders to take the fight to the enemy’s homelands until their fighting forces were exterminated. Evendur’s outward appearance did not suggest to the casual observer the steely resolve the Senator maintained against the enemies of Peltarch, and where it came to matters of security his voting pattern is as resolute as that of Elnerick Dunderstone from decades before.
As a former Magistrate, the Senator was also a key advocate of the judicial reforms that led us to our current three-magistrate system that we have to this day, and his academic writings are still housed in any libraries concerning the arcane. He served throughout a long illness, until he was ultimately forced to step down to preserve his health, but by then he had a long and dutiful record of service to his name, which stands to this day.
Tidus Clodpin – The False Senator
After the Long Senate has run its course, Vaster Ashald gathered a number of pieces into play and then ordered his catspaw Senators, Torin Bravickus and Rath Ashald, to press their fellow Senators hard to call new elections. His intention was to quickly see a number of his preferred candidates elected, who he had primed and ready to leap into a quick three-month campaign he knew his opponents were woefully underprepared for. Tidus Clodpin was one such specially crafted, prepared candidate.
A fortunate side effect of the declaration of the Eastlander War by the Long Senate, is that it served to delay the election as political efforts moved to support the war efforts of General Lavindo. The war also offered several non-Seafarer candidates opportunity to gain glory which would serve them well at the ballot box, but more on that later, for Tidus Clodpin most assuredly failed to distinguish himself in the war effort.
Claimed by his backers to be a legitimate descendent of the Fisher King, also named Tidus, Clodpin was raised up as a ham-fisted effort to link Vaster and the Seafarers Guild with Peltarch’s romantic, mythical past. Needless to say, the ruse of Clodpin’s actual links to the King of legend were dispelled to any who had the misfortune of hearing him open his entitled, snobbish, self-deluded mouth. This author has had the pleasure of working with many Senators, as town crier, Advisor and Senator, so it should be taken as quite a slight when I say Tidus Clodpin was by far the stupidest man ever to sit at the Senate table.
Stupidity was far from the worst of his crimes however. You may ask, how could a man so obviuosly lying about his heritage, so obviously devoid of any discernable talent or qualities, have been elected to the Senate of Peltarch? Well, these questions were asked most furtively by the populace at large after his election, for indeed almost nobody DID vote for the man.
In an investigation spearheaded by Senator Roland Brynmor and Herald Thril, a massive electoral fraud was discovered in which the ballots cast for Mister Clodpin were found to have been falsified and fraudulent. The bumbling buffoon was stripped of Senatorial office by the Magistrates, and his election deemed null and void. Instead, the seat was awarded to the candidate who had received the next largest amount of legitimate votes, Eowiel Senella. Though Clodpin fled Peltarch into exile, the conspirators in his fraud survived a fair while longer, and indeed one of them still serves in high office to this day.
Sir Mariston Thel – The Righteous Senator
It was during the Civil War that many citizens of Peltarch first met Sir Mariston Thel. Note I do not say “first heard of”, I literally mean that they personally met him, for it was he alongside High Priestess Daisy Millern, who organised the refugee camp immediately after the initial chaos broke out.
The young paladin’s quick actions and rigid dedication and organisation despite the madness enveloping the Jewel surely saved lives beyond counting that day, and his valour would not be forgotten in times to come.
As the Eastlander War broke out, Sir Mariston once more proved his valour and courage on the battlefield, fighting alongside his fellows from the Order of the Divine Shield to expunge the Eastlander threat from the Nars Pass forever. He left no doubts as to his credentials as a knight empowered with the strength and might of Torm the True, as he braved a battle with the dread ancient dragon, Rass, in single combat! He fought the scurrilous enemy of Narfell for long enough that the Defender’s ballistae battalions could finally fill the skies with bolts, causing the old red to flee the field. A feat unlikely to be repeated even in this author’s lifetime.
Returning from war, Sir Mariston was well rewarded by a grateful populace, in whose hearts he had himself well endeared, and won election to the Senate backed by the Wavebreaker Guild. As a Senator, he worked tirelessly for the poor, the infirm, the elderly and the sick. Together with the other successful Wavebreaker candidates, and Sir Roland Byrnmor, the vice-grip on the reigns of power Vaster Ashald and his cronies had long held was finally broken. Crimes long unpunished were punished, wrongs long unrighted were righted.
During Sir Mariston’s tenure on the Senate, some of his many accomplishments included personally financing and overseeing the construction of the Western Watchtower, the expansion of housing for Peltarch’s growing population (putting an end to the odious conditions in the Tent City that emerged after the population surged) and joining with Senators Brynmor and Senella in confirming the banning of worshippers of the Black Hand from Peltarch.
By the time Sir Mariston had departed from the Senate table, Vaster Ashald was long since exiled, the City was secure as never before, and the population was thriving instead of starving. In all this, his unending effort was a driving force.
Aaron Ashald – The Silverware Senator
A noble born scion of the Ashald family, like his brethren, Lord Aaron was born with a silver spoon firmly in his mouth. Prior to his election to the Senate of Peltarch, Aaron found employment with the City Guard, an unsurprising career choice given the close ties between then General Vick Dunderstone and the Seafarers Guild.
Aaron acquitted himself admirably during the Eastlander War, and flush with the valour of victories well won, returned to campaign vigourously in the elections, backed by the Seafarers Guild. Throughout the campaign, the would-be Senator contended that his uncle, Vaster Ashald, and the guild he helmed had only brought prosperity and wealth to the people of Peltarch.
Despite the author’s best efforts to the contrary during the same campaign, enough people were convinced and Lord Aaron Ashald joined the Senate table. His time on the Senate came during some of the most stonewall partisanship the Senate had seen, with three distinct Senators firmly supporting the Seafarers and Wavebreakers Guilds, and many votes occurred solely along these lines.
Despite this, Aaron certainly did not suffer from being as trenchant and uncompromising as say, Senator Bravickus, and did manage to see reason in his voting for a number of progressive items of legislation during his tenure. He was also known for having a wider range of Advisors than the usual sycophants his colleagues were known for, giving valuable political experience to the next generation. He resigned from the Senate after a respectable career, avoiding the disgraces or assassinations his fellow Seafarers careers ended in.
Eowiel Senella – The Five Star Senator
Third in the line of bards turned Senator, following the spirit of Myrie Makere, the moon elf Senella was also originally an adventurer. However, her entry into public service in the Jewel began early after attaining her citizenship, with her appointment as Town Crier.
Soon after, the elven crier took a shine to Senator Shana Je’laan, and secured employment as her Advisor. She would later credit Je’laan with inspiring her own decision to run for the Senate of Peltarch. Senella was much aggrieved when Senators Je’laan and Makere were assassinated on the same day, and joined the city in mourning. Not long afterwards, she regained her position as Advisor, this time for Senator Rath Ashald.
Throughout this period, the elf also joined the ranks of the Knights of the Cerulean Stars under then Commander Anakore, which saw her serving on the frontlines of both the Civil War, the Eastlander War and the N’Jast War. She later came out of combat-retirement to play a minor role in the Nexus War as well. At the time of her election she was a Five Star Cerulean, and with Anakore’s departure, the Acting Captain of the Knights.
During the era of the Long Senate, between the Civil and Eastlander Wars, Senella was primarily concerned with her duties as a leader among the Cerulean Knights, and consequently played a larger role in the Eastlander War than she had had a chance to in the previous one. A memorable contribution was her duel with an Eastlander Archmage, successfully counterspelling his lethal magics deep within the deadly catacombs guarding the passage to the Eastlander home town.
The tail end of the Eastlander War coincided with the Senate elections, and she ran an extremely partisan campaign vilifying the Seafarers Guild, the Ashalds, and all Seafarer candidates, claiming they had taken bread from the mouths of children with their grain price-gouging policies, and that they had abandoned Peltarch in her hour of need during the Civil War. As noted above, she was elected once the electoral irregularities of Tidus Clodpin were exposed.
Her tenure on the Senate of Peltarch was marked by vigourously pursuing her stated goals of undoing the noose around commerce Vaster Ashald had carefully tied, whilst also pursuing personal vendettae against (in her view) corrupt officials such as guard General Vick Dunderstone. Long an ally of Senators Thel, Brynmor and Mildsilver, she gradually lost her rapport with her colleagues after the successful ouster of Vaster Ashald, and resigned an isolated figure, though with her main goals accomplished if nothing else. The open-armed collegial approach of her erstwhile mentor Shana Je’laan ultimately eluded her, though it may be said she left the city she loved better off than she found it.
Ryan Fisher – The Yellowliver Senator
Like his predecessor, Holcomb Fisher, Ryan hailed from the noble Fisher family and his election to the Senate was long predicted due to his amassing of support from most of the population in the Civic District.
As a Senator, he served much the same role as Holcomb did, at first. However, as time and voting patterns wore on, it eventually became clear that Fisher was bereft of any ideals of his own, and his vote invariably went to whatever the most popular move of the moment turned out to be, even if it contradicted his previous voting patterns.
Known for adopting a gentlemanly, grandfatherly persona, his populist tactics paid off and he was a generally well liked Senator, though those paying closer attention to political affairs than the average citizen tended to hold him in low regard.
Ultimately, the Senators penchant for the quick and easy path to maintaining his position led him to fall under the sway of forces malevolent, and like Torin Bravickus he was forced to cut short his career due to exposure of these ties. Unlike Bravickus however, Fisher’s exit from the public stage was more gracefully managed by his family, for their members filled the roles of so many bureaucrats and clerks in City Hall that a complete downfall of their affairs would have been quite disastrous for the normal functioning of the city. Indeed, even today many clerks in City Hall can quietly share the royal claim of their new masters in the throne room, and one wonders if many of them feel cheated the Church of Siamorphe did not turn the hand of fate in their direction instead.
Kaster Lavindo – The Unflinching Senator
Unlike many in this record, whose stories are by now little known and remembered only in libraries, Kaster Lavindo is a name that lives on in the common memory of Peltarch, immortal and revered.
House Lavindo, not quite a noble house, but a solid “Defender Family”, has an old history in Peltarch, and Kaster’s background fits their mould precisely. Raised to join the Defenders, he did just that, rising through their ranks with the same determination and passion as his father and grandfather before him. Unlike both men however, Kaster surpassed them in rank with his appointment to the Captaincy by Devin Telan, not long after the conclusion of the Third Giant War.
As a Defender Captain, Kaster distinguished himself by commanding a disciplined company. During the tensions that led to the Civil War, Lavindo was initially stationed guarding the Icelace Beach, but wisely drew his men back to Peltarch to ensure none of the more ruthless Captains could get an advantage over him.
Ultimately when Koreth’s rebellion drove the loyalists out of Peltarch, it was Kaster Lavindo who assumed command as the new Peltarch General, a position in which he was joyously confirmed by the victors when the new Senate reconvened in the aftermath of Koreth’s ouster.
Lavindo quickly set to rebuilding the Defenders, and it is to his great credit as a General and leader, that he was able to prosecute a successful war against the Eastlanders some years later, a powerful and bitter foe who commanded greater numbers, powerful magics and the allegiance of the dreaded Red Dragon, Rass.
Lavindo’s defeat of the Eastlanders has left the Nars Pass relatively safe to travel to this very day, and cemented him as a living legend in the Jewel for the remainder of his life. On retiring from the Defenders, he was practically forced by his loyal troops into running for the Senate of Peltarch in the next elections, and the vote count he gathered was record breaking.
Kaster did not take easily to the life of Senator, however, for he was used to his word as general being final...while on the Senate table, too often “final” was not forthcoming. Nonetheless he legislated diligently for his City, particularly where it came to affairs concerning security or the Defenders, and though his skill at collaboration may not have been remarkable, his continued service to his City certainly was commendable. His statue still finds itself wreathed on the anniversaries of his birth and death each year to this day.
Wesley Hardin – The Patient Senator
Wesley Hardin, born in the docks, though not quite into poverty, he was still certainly no upper cruster. His family were hardworking, mostly for the Wavebreakers or Stonemasons Guilds. Wesley eventually through years of hard work and shrewd savings came to own a stake in the Wavebreakers Guild.
Fortunes were sinking for the Guild however, and Wesley soon found his fellow Wavebreakers were all too willing to sell their own stakes to make ends meet, and the Guild it seemed was steadily being reduced to drunken sailors in the Three-Legged Mule, singing sad songs about better times.
It was from this morass of nostalgia laden defeatism that Wesley Hardin dragged the Wavebreakers Guild (kicking and screaming many would say), back into the limelight of commerce and politics in Peltarch. It was he who carefully choose to back candidates he knew as Senators would be able to break the grip of Vaster Ashald on trade and power. It was he who gambled the little remaining Wavebreaker profits on backing their election campaigns. It was he who doggedly supported the many, many investigations that overturned fraudulent votes, exposed conspiracies, exposed treasons, and through years and years of hard, tireless work, expunged Vaster Ashald from the Jewel of the Icelace.
Only fitting then, that his resurgent Guild clamoured for his own candidacy, demanding he run for a seat and take his place among those he had sent before him. As a Senator, he was diligent in supporting free trade, even where it cost him political capital. His stance on an Oscuran trade deal won him little favour from either side of the debate, as he voted for open trade whilst also vilifying Oscura and saying that though he wanted trade to be free in all cases, he would personally bar the Wavebreakers from trading with slavers, contending it was a decision for each Guild to make.
Naturally, those more fully in favour of actually profiting from the open trade considered his lukewarm support to have been undercut by his open denunciation of Oscura, which was believed to have aided in the deal failing despite his own vote.
On the other side, his primary allies on the Senate, Sirs Roland Brynmor and Mariston Thel could not countenance trading with Oscura under any caveats, and Hardin’s vote for the trade deal was a point of contention between them.
Hardin remained a Senator for many years, until his retirement, having cemented his Guild’s fortunes politically and commercially, and many would argue, saved his City’s soul in the process.
Enenan Snydders – The Enduring Senator
What can one say about our current Master of Coin? Unlike the Senators listed above, Enenan’s deeds and details of his life are not a matter of public record. One assumes he holds a significant stake in the Seafarer’s Guild, like many patriarchs of the Snydders family before him did.
Is he, like Tarich Snydders was before him, a member of their ruling council? It would be a very solid bet, but once again like most aspects of Enenan’s life, we simply do not know for sure. Is he married? Does he have children? What magical research does he conduct atop the tower of the Snydders estates in the Civic district?
As a Senator, Snydders rarely debated and often abstained from votes. Most of his term was after Vaster Ashald had already been toppled, perhaps his political reticience was due to that? Was he cautious for fear of having some aspect of his own misdeeds exposed, like Bravickus, Fisher and Clodpin before him? Well, if so, his caution has paid off, for he still serves the Jewel faithfully today.
It is noteworthy that during the rigged election of Tidus Clodpin, one of the three returning officers was none other than Enenan Snydders. This author casts no aspersions, but will let the reader make up their own mind about the calibre of advice their so-called king currently chooses to listen to.
Bofaulk Faltek – The Stonetrust Senator
Readers will be forgiven for not recognising the name above, for this dwarven Senator was more popularly known simply as “Heffa”, and was a senior member of the Stonemasons Guild.
The dwares of the Stonemasons were devoted to their craft as only their kind can be, and throughout their centuries have been behind the designs, logistics and more complex work of any major Peltarchan building project, their expertise granting them an easy monopoly on such affairs. Due to this, they were able to remain largely above the internecine Guild conflicts that ran roughshod over Peltarch’s commercial and political history, something they keenly stayed out of.
This changed however, once Wesley Hardin’s Wavebreakers began to turn things around. The old tactic of keeping their heads down to maintain their standing did not seem necessary anymore, and the Stonemasons were one of the first independent guilds to realise this, and they reaped the political capital for their trouble.
Heffa’s candidacy therefore while novel, made a great deal of political sense to the keen observer. Essentially he was running on a combined platform of commerce and defence, two things that resonated across a broad spectrum of Peltarch’s citizens, and the Stonemastons cleverly used their involvement in every single defensive fortification ever erected by Peltarch to portray their longstanding patriotism. This was entirely accurate, but also extremely shrewd, and Heffa was duly elected.
As a member of the Senate of Peltarch, Heffa immediately caused controversy by the appointment of Dwin Dolvak, former Chancellor of Norwick, as his Advisor. Outsiders immediately suggested he had only appointed the polarising figure because he was a fellow dwarf; which was essentially true. However, for dwarves, that observation is not damning. Dwin’s allies in the Council of Moradin had invited the Stonemasons to conduct some works for them, and to be thus recognised by the representatives of the Moradinsamman in Narfell was a great honour for Heffa and his Guild, an honour that he was glad to repay.
Despite the controversial beginning, Heffa’s tenure saw him advance progressive legislation around trade, defence and even cultural matters, and his links to the south certainly did come in handy even if they cost him some respect from his peers around the table. Rumours suggest that at the end of his career he departed the Senate under suspicion of embezzlement, but this author having known the honourable nature of the Stonemasons in general and Heffa in particular, ridicules such suggestions as spurious efforts to mar yet another hardworking Senator’s reputation in order to better effect a vote in favour of its abolition.
Rath Ashald – The Everything Senator
Here ye folks, come one and all, of a great man this one sings.
Everyman should know his worth, and the good joy that he brings.
It’s time for every man and wife, each boy and girl be called,
So they can hear the greatness of a man named Rath Ashald.
Always true, always wise, his leadership is strong.
So listen clear, and know ye well, the subject of this song.
Never once has Peltarch seen a man so great as he:
Always helping those in need, such generosity!
Keep well the knowledge of this song, be always ye enthralled.
Everything is better when it’s done by Rath Ashald!
I need tell you no more of Rath Ashald than the lyrics above, for his full story demands its own record, but I will adopt his entry as my conclusion, for he was the last Elder Senator whose era I have suitable knowledge in. I would call upon bards and historians to complete my efforts with a follow up volume, documenting the downfall of the Senate of Peltarch to strife and monarchy. Having been the victim of a false claimant to the lineage of the Fisher King, as detailed in Tidus Clodpin’s entry, this author is naturally sceptical about the rise of ‘royalty’ in Peltarch.
Perhaps there may be poetry in it, if like the true Fisher King, this new one has risen up to save us from destruction at the hands of wicked masters such as Hoarsgate, or brutal tyrants such as the Fire Giants of Ignismons. That said, as the reader no doubt knows, Peltarch has indeed been assailed by many grave threats, and one questions whether our so-called King numbers among the scores of brave heroes that rose up to defend her.
This record pulls no punches; the Senate of Peltarch certainly harboured some mediocre men, on rare occasion even some villainous ones. But in every Senate, in every era, there sat the heroes of Peltarch. Even in the darkest times of Vaster Ashald’s avaricious grip on power, there were heroes sent by our people to our Senate. I also note Vaster Ashald never sat upon the Senate personally. If a villain, a monster, such as he existed today...from where would the heroes come to bring him low? Not from the throne room, in this author’s considered opinion.
One must also ask, what kind of men will occupy the Throne of Peltarch? Unlike the Senate, where heroism was ever a feature, a throne is a lonesome edifice, and does not lend itself to consistency. Of course, the reader must make up their own mind on this topic.
All this author asks you to do is to cast a cold eye on those who scorn the legends who haunt these pages. For weal or for woe, they once were the lifeblood of Peltarch.