Fable of the violet haired Princess

Ulm Party - Episode 7 - Captives at the Monastery
But not so easy to restrain...

The elven spy, Jura, decides to gather information concerning the inscriptions on the magical map, in the monastery library. He reckons the library is huge, and decides to ask for help to brother Eldrip the wrinkly, expert in old languages. Eldrip is quite annoyed to be addressed in the sacred silence of the library, and under the suggestion of brother Luka, Jura decides to ask him for help later.

In the meanwhile Sheeba walks towards the inner yard, attracted by an evident commotion building up there. Princess Lilian is outraged that the crow trainers will not allow her to send a message to castle Windswept, while the monks defend themselves with empty excuses. But suddenly, Sheeba smells the rush of incoming magical power: a magical elemental wind turbulence emerges from the monastery corridors and rushes towards the princess. Sheeba has just the time to push Lilian out of the magic torrent’s way, but she gets caught in it instead. She feels heavily dizzy after that, and then she realises her own magic power is disordered, drained, messed up (at least temporarily).
After the magical rush fades, a serious monk with bushy eyebrows loses his temper, and accuses Lilian to be the cause of all this trouble, clearly stating that it would be much better if she left the monastery at once, with her entourage.

Somewhere else, Claret wakes up in a large, ancient vault, its walls littered with burnt runes, a huge empty brazier standing in the middle of it. She understands at once: she was captured while under the effect of the painkiller drug, and brought and locked inside here. A hole in the vault ceiling is the only source of light in the room. Of course no normal human would be able to climb up to such opening. But Claret is no ordinary human. This predicament actually reminds her of an episode of her teenage life, various years ago.

Some years ago….

Claret knew her previous gang fellows, and especially their leader, the Cap’N, would not like what she did, but it was the right thing to do and she did it nevertheless. She had realised that the gang was going to ambush one of the Hedra customers she was delivering merchandise to, and she tipped him off. Oooh, the Cap’N did’t like that. And decided to give her an exemplary punishment.
Now she found herself in the bottom of a well, to ‘season’ a bit before the gang sold her to slaver ships from the empire. Thankfully, the Cap’N himself was too busy to guard the girl himself, so he entrusted three younger thugs (Rat-Tail, the Slim, and One-eye) to see that she behaves until the trade is dealt with. Claret knows she has to try and escape now, or never.
The opportunity presents when the three thugs start having an argument, Claret manages to climb the inner well up to its edge, but at the last moment, as she tries to run for it, she missteps miserably and hits the dusty ground hard. The gang members approach her grinning, but they waste their time spouting empty threats, while she makes up a plan. Quickly, she blinds One-eye’s only eye with a handful of dust. Then she goes for the weak knee of Rat-tail (which he broke years before falling from a roof). She misses the shot, though, and the thug answers trying to shoulderbutt Claret down the well. Claret dodges successfully, and exploits the momentum gained by Rat-Tail to shove him down the well.
The Slim draws his throwing knife, barring claret from running with all his fat. She pick the bucket of the well and pushes it hard onto the head of the thug, where it gets stuck, blinding him as well. Clare then makes the best of the confusion to escape, and not be ever again in the radar of the gang.

This does not look so different from back then, except the vault walls are too smooth for anyone else to grab onto… anyone else but Claret. After some attempts, she manages to escape the vault from the ceiling hole. She is not far from the monastery: she has to warn her companions of the monks trickery.

In the meanwhile, Sheeba tracks the source of magical energy manifestation, and pinpoints a secret passage in one of the beer-brewing chambers. After distracting some young monks and seducing old brother Stout, she is able to enter unobserved the secret passage.The path goes down into the core of the stone pillar which the monastery is built upon. She has to halt when a small group of wise monks passes by her, going upwards. She manages to recollect some of her scrambled magical energies to transform into a badger and remain (almost) unobserved. Among the group of monks, there are the great Pika, and bushy-brows.

As Sheeba rushes outside to tell her discoveries to the princess, she meets Claret instead, just came back to the monastery. They are approached by bushy-brows, who introduces himself as brother Iasuo, and some lackeys. He tells the girls that Lilian is sick in bed, in her chambers, and she demands the presence of her entourage. The girls decide to follow, but Lilian is not in her room, and as soon as they enter, Iasuo locks them inside, leaving a monk to guard them. Claret is starting to be sick to be captured over and over in one day.

Iasuo comes back to the bedroom a few minutes later, and after having the guard-monk open the door he tries to knock him out. He succeeds only in dazing him, but then claret kicks the door open sending the lackey monk and Iasuo down on the floor. She is about to beat the crap out of the bushy-browed monk, but then he suddenly transforms into a blonde girl. She introduces herself as Alouette and proves her good intentions by explaining that she intended to free Sheeba and Claret, as she actually did. They will have to believe her for now, because matters are pressing, and they need to rejoin with Jura and find Lilian.

Jura in the meanwhile is trying to process the red leaves collected in the Mere of the Dead men into a powerful drug. In that moment he is approached by his contact of the Lotus order, a young female monk.
She feeds him important information: an important figure from the empire is visiting castle Windswept at the moment. Despite the identity is not known, she/he is very influential, and Jura figures out the king sent the Princess away from palace to protect her.
She tells him that they are all in danger here at the monastery, and they should leave at once. Jura does not need her to repeat herself. But as he is about to leave the hebalist lab, he is surrounded by a trio of monks asking him to follow them. They look willing to fight, would he not cooperate.

Ulm Party - Episode 6 - Curtains of Shadows
Memories and dreams wrapped in darkness

A sudden gust of wind slams a couple of windows in the refectory room open. General commotion builds rapidly, while the tomato soup splashes in the face of Princess Lilian. Some monks hurry to shut the windows, but they don’t seem scared of what just happened. Sheeba the druids tries to follow the elemental presence in the inner yard. She is able to follow its magical shape until it pulls into some pipe-shaped stones emerging from the rocky ground. As if the mysteries were not enough, Lilian feels a strange tingling sensation as she walks past one of the doors in the monastery corridors.

As the night passes by in the monastic grounds, Jura the spy tries to find the secret contact of the Lotus Order hidden among the monks. His minds travels back in the past, to the days when he was still a purposeless elf scoundrel in a human city…

50 years ago….

It is a cold, dark night when the old smuggler Giovanni asks Jura, a young elven homeless boy, to follow him in his house. He needs a trusted person to stay in the shadows of his hut, and witness whatever will happen next. Jura is scared, but he trust Giovanni, who helped him in several occasions.
A group of shady armed thugs make their appearance, to conduct some business with Giovanni. They are expecting some untraceable poison from him, “to make sure the angels fly no longer” they say. One of the thugs almost spots Jura, but the boy is clever and manages to divert attention from himself.
The thug leader, in the meanwhile, suspects of Giovanni, and in order to prove the poison’s effects, he forces Giovanni to drink half the bottle (which also has the convenient effect to silence him forever). Giovanni dies a painless, but nevertheless murderous, death. Jura is almost paralysed by fear.
After the assassins left, Jura recollects himself: he searches the house for more samples of the poison to use as a proof with the authorities, but instead he finds some old, well hidden documents, all marked with a lotus sigil. Jura already saw this symbol, in a Hedra company warehouse near the docks. Using a secret code found in the letters, he is able to enter the secret lair, but then he is restrained by several hands sprouting from the shadows. He quickly tells the spies about Giovanni’s murder, and about the assassination plot planned by the thugs against the local noble house. After checking on his reports, the spies acknowledge him as a potential ally, and so the enrolment of Jura in the ranks of the Lotus order begins.

So many memories… but Jura wastes no time and uses the secret code of the spies to alert his local contact at the Monastery, which turns out to be one of the few female monks. The night is not calm for Lilian, who has troubled dreams. The morning is not helpful either, since a brief audience with the Great Pika, monk leader, provides little information to the group.

The true Great Pika then reveals itself to Alouette, who was actually posing as him in front of Lilian. He decides to share some advice with the girl, having understood that she stands as third party in the upcoming troubled times between nations.

Claret asks the help of the healer monks to have her wounds treated, but the process is really painful. And after she agrees to assume a herbal painkiller to feel better, she intimately passes out, and is nowhere to be seen anymore.

The violet haired Princess again feels the strange tingling when passing past the door to the beer seasoning cellar. Puzzled by the occurrence, she conjures the metallic key she got from Claret, and uses it to open the door once again. Magically, the door now opens on an underground cave filled with unusual minerals, flora, and especially fauna. Lilian indeed finds some creatures in the underground ponds that she recognises from her studies to be larvae-stage water fairies. What a discovery…

Ulm Party - Episodes 3-5 - A Mere Crossing

The giant spiders speak a wicked, nasty tongue to Sheeba. The heroes quickly dispatch them with deeds of might and cunning. Jura shows his smarts by wrapping a spider within its own web. None of the fellows gets seriously wounded but Claret’s ankle is still bleeding.

The adventurers and the Princess then decide to head towards the Yellow Monastery, to hide from the bandits search raids, find some respite and eventually gather knowledge. They have to cross the Mere of the Dead Men, though, a flooded plains infested with undeath. As they become surrounded by dread zombies, they stay strong and push through the menace by hacking and slashing limbs and bodies.

Beyond the Mere, a new landscape appears: huge rocky formations sprout from the ground, one of them hosting the whole monastery on its topside. Sheeba flies upwards to ask the monks for a safe way to climb the rock together with the party, but she is welcomed with surprise and suspicion. As she polymorphs from a crane into a naked woman in front of the monks, they start doubting whether she is a witch, a demon, or a messenger from their goddess Lujiall of Air. She is not getting any help from the monks, so after climbing down the rock, she joins the party to walk along the path to enlightenment.

The princess and her companions complete the tasks of the path, and are accepted into the monastery as guests. Brother Luka is showing them the monastic grounds, until it is time for dinner.

Ulm Party - Episode 2 - A party is born
The princess is not alone

There is only short time for introductions between princess Lilian, the Hedra courier Claret, and the elf hunter Jura. More bandits are rapidly approaching the busted caravan.

The delivery girl thinks the best strategy is to split and distract the bandits, so she dashes back in the thick of the forest. Together with the brave child Elisa, the princess sets up a trap with the bandits’ net. Jura notices that the only other passenger strong enough to be effective in a fight is the horse thief, so he breaks him out of his cage and gives him a shortsword. Lilian promises the thief amnisty if he defends the caravan against the bandits.

The elf bandit has spotted Claret running through the bushes, and he aims his crossbow to shoot her down. The runner tries a quick turn manuever to disorient the sniper, but she trips on a rock and a bolt pierces her right calf. The shooter aims again to striker her down, but an arrow shot by Jura disarms him.

Three bandits reached the wagon, and two of those are caught in the net. The horse thief triest to charge the third bandit, but he appears so be such a clumsy fighter that he loses his weapon and gets caught by the bandit, who puts a knife at his throat and uses him as a hostage. The princess gently asks the bandit to release the hostage and take her instead, but she is actually distracting the bandit, who shows his back to Jura, open for a backstab. Jura fumbles though, and he falls upon the bandit, who falls upon the thief, who falls upon the dagger and starts bleeding visibly.

In the meanwhile Claret is crawling away from the two brigands chasing her, and she recognizes one of her previously placed traps around, what a luck! She carefully positions herself, and the elf bandit is struck down by the spikes of her sling trap. The second bandit is angrily approaching her, she would be done for, if it wasn’t for a black panther leaping out of the trees and knocking down the brigand. Claret and the feline make short work of him.

Somewhere else, Jura is chocking the bandit he fell upon, driving him unconscious. The two other bandits, trying to escape the net, decide to retreat, but only one manages to escape. The battle is won.

The group manages somehow to stop the horse thief bleeding and patch up Claret’s leg (the goose girl and the horse thief will fall in love eventually, but this is another story). The panther reveals herself to be a druid, Sheeba is her name. Claret delivers the package to the princess, sadly discovering that she is stuck babysitting Llian for a while. In the package Lilian finds:
- An old, large brass key, with runes all over it.
- A map, of an unknown land, with no letters but the same runes as the key.
- A magic quill, made out of an iridescent feather, with slowly moving colored pattern.
She looks puzzled while she reads the letter. Then she decides to split from the caravan, as she understands that by staying there she only puts the other passengers in danger. Jura, Claret, and Sheeba decide to follow her, and they are on the move.

The group stops in a meadow, to take a short rest and decide where to go next. A few ideas come out:
- pushing to Fort Gossamer could reveal more about the King’s plans, but more bandits are probably camped in the area.
- trailing to the Yellow Monastery in the south is a good option to stay hidden while dabbling in ancient knowledge, but the undead-infested Mere of the Dead Men is in between.
- moving to the Bloomsdale Market could provide lots of useful information, although they should cross the Ashencliff Creek, home of a frightening beast monster (apparently a giant alligator).

They are still thinking where to go, when they hear a scream from the trees: it is the princess, stuck in mid-air. A second glance reveals that the got herself trapped in a spider web, and it is bound to attract giant spiders in a few moments. Be careful, Lilian!

Ulm Party - Episode 1 - An ambush ambushed
The guards are actually bandits... ?!?

The story begins on a passengers caravan slowly trailing along the Eastern King’s Road through the Ashencliff Forest. Lilian, violet haired princess and heir to the Blossom throne, is disguised as a commoner and stuffed among the other passengers.

Strange people are on the coach this day: among them, an old limping guy, a brave girl with her mother, a young female farmer with her goose, a spices merchant, a yellow monk, a meek slim boy, and a horse thief in a cage. The princess hates being stuck with these peasants.

Suddenly the caravan stops, one of the few guards dropping down dead, stuck by a crossbow bolt. Bandits jump out of the woods, threatening the remaining guards, forcing them to drop their weapons. Once the guards are tied, the bandits start unloading the passengers, they are surely searching for something… or somebody.

Lilian of the violet hair knows better: she knows they are looking for them. She quickly assesses the situation and comes up with a burning idea…

Because not everybody knows that in her hair she had a couple of flasks of alchemical fire. She managed to snatch those from the castle armory at the age of 12. She had to cry heavily in front of her father, and win an argument against her governess, to funally put her hands on those flasks. But it was totally worth it.

She throws the burning oil bottle against one of the bandits, setting him on fire and frightening the horses, who dash carelessly onward on the road. This reveals to be a risky move though, since the coach is dangerously going to crash against a large tree trunk!

But here is where the princess displays her bravery: she jumps gracefully on the horses (even forfeiting his shoes), and softly tames them into a halt before anybody gets hurt, although a wheel of the carriage breaks in the process.

Four bandits have been chasing the coach, and are quickly gaining ground. So the princess commands the passengers into tending quick repairs to the cart, she will distract the bandits in the meanwhile.

But it is in that moment that a counter-ambush takes place. A knife dropping from a tree branch stabs a brigand on his back. In the meanwhile a girl with a spear rushes out of the bushes, distracting the bandits and creating an opening for Lilian, who knocks out one of the enemies with her crossbow. The third bandit is struck by an arrow, and the fourth decides to flee to his fellows.

Seems that the princess just found two allies. But who are they, she wonders?

Once upon a time...
Prologue of the fable

Once upon a time, there was a young princess with long, beautiful hair, of a brillant violet color. They were more violet than purple, almost indigo. With little of red, and more of blue. Violet, all in all. Those were special hair indeed, and not just for their color. Rather, because they were imbued with powerful magic: their ability was to hold and secretly hide any objects, for as long as the princess wanted.

She lived in Windswept, capital of the Blossom Kingdom, toghether with her father Simon, her sister Rosemary, and their servitude. Thanks to many years of good trade and profitable diplomatic relationships with the Empire of Cendre, the Kingdom had met a long time of prosperity and peace. Thus, by liiving a peaceful life full of entertainment, education, and her unique magical gift, princess Lilian had everything a girl her age could want (except maybe a husband, but that’s a story for another time).

Her life, however, was inevitably destined to change dramatically, at the age of 19. Suddenly, Lilian and her improvised allies, got caught in a spiral of events which will influence the future of the Kingdom and its citizens altogether.

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