A Game of Dice
Artell Family History
The Artell family have a long, though often controversial history in the service of the realm. As the hereditary Earls of the Westfold, they hold the title to large swathes of undeveloped land. However, their main title is to the land of the Barony of Fellwalk, on the border of the realm. Included in the title is the village of Woodpig. As the main border barony, a large force of guards is maintained, as well as a local militia, and all are well drilled against emergencies. It’s also very far from the capital, with news taking many weeks to arrive.
Holding the frontier of the realm is a task that has drained even the best of the family. Maintaining the garrison against the efforts – and suspicions – of court nobles is a further challenge, and many view the Westfold as an expensive waste of resources. All Artell children are tutored locally, rather than taking tutelage in another noble house to cement alliances.
Earl-Marshal Terek Artell, Commander of the Guard, was the grandfather of the present character. He served the King loyally, travelling as diplomat to other courts while his brother oversaw the estates. He was given the title Marshal in recognition of his faithful diplomatic service. While on a diplomatic mission to Easthall, the Earl came across a near-feral child in the hills north of the road from Woodpig. The child, a half-elf who he named Vallyn Wildborn, was raised alongside his son, and the two enjoyed a strong friendship once they got over their initial rivalry.
The next Earl, Egros Artell, married late to a lady of the court. He had only one son, Terek, but didn’t enjoy so close a relationship with other nobles, perhaps due to spending most of his time on his estates holding the borders. Not used to the ways of court intrigue, he failed to learn the tact and secrecy needed to influence policy, and soon found himself relegated back home, where he continued to criticise the king more bitterly. Controlling a large contingent of the King’s soldiers, the borders soon became known as a politically suicidal posting for most officers, leading to less capable men replacing the more astute.
Egros was killed in an attack by unknown assailants a few weeks ago, together with, it is believed, all his family. His son, now the rightful heir, was seriously wounded in the attack, and escorted from the estate by some of the household. In the three weeks that have passed since the attack, the king has installed a more tractable, though less martially competent Baron. Having recovered, the party arrive in the village of Woodpig, initially seeking information on the attackers…