http://www.lythia.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... en#p133822
With the re-release of Qualdris, and my own recent efforts to work up a scenario for the disappearance of Earl Sedris Meleken, I thought I might bring it up again.
Castles of Harn was my first Harn purchase, back when I was in high school. Qualdris has always been one of my favorite castles of Harn, possibly because the layout looks a bit like some of my favorite Welsh castles. Ah! and Earl Sedris — Where could he possibly be? What could have possibly happened to him? [Aside: RL, nice update to Sedris . . . mostly to his hairstyle which, per my girlfriend's reading-over-my-shoulder quip, was "so metal"]
The new Qualdris adds mention of 6 men-at-arms who accompanied the earl in pursuit of the manslaughterer, Keldirian. So now the disappeared number at least 7. That adds a bit to the prerequisite for any explanation of Sedris' disappearance, let alone the one I've been working up, which I'll now outline, absent the additiional 6.
Special thanks to Arthan_Heavy_Fist for this idea, used below
. . .Arthan_Heavy_Fist wrote: ↑Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:05 amhttp://www.lythia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9878
One of the men sent to talk to the subject falls from his horse during the tussle and is killed. The subject mounts up on the horse and flees.
The other two men look to thier fallen companion and return to the Earl with the body, who then sets off in a hasty pursuit.
Keldirian is a go-between for the castle's head cook, Myran of Galzath, who is spying for the Earl of Neph, and his handlers, who receive Myran's communications via Keldirian at an abandoned mine in the hills north of Qualdris. One day, with said communications on his person, Keldirian stops off at The Pig & Whistle to deliver firewood, and have a drink.
The earl, accompanied by a man-at-arms, has been out touring the village on horseback. The man-at-arm's horse has not been eating well. An infected tooth is suspected, but the earl bids his man-at-arms to have the ostler at the inn give a 2nd opinion. Meanwhile, the earl is going to pop in for a visit with Tommas of Cuke, down the road.
In the inn's yard, the earl's man-at-arms remains mounted and calls out to ostler Terrance to have a look at his horse's mouth. The horse is not at all in the mood to have its mouth examined. It is at this moment that, as the ostler and the still-mounted man-at-arms try to cajole his irritable horse into being examined, Keldirian emerges from the inn. His presence, directly behind the horse, spooks it, such that it rears sending the man-at-arms head-over-heels to crack his skull on the stone around the inn's well wall.
Keldirian panics. He has an incriminating letter on him. But he also has riding skill (picked up via some backstory I have yet to create). He grabs the reins of the recalcitrant horse, vaults into the saddle, spurs his stolen mount out of the inn's yard and on down the road, north, out of town.
The earl, about to enjoy a nice Tierzoni wine with Tommas of Cuke beneath a trellis in the mercantyler's garden, easily identifies the horse galloping past, but not it's rider. Of course, he thinks nothing of mounting his own white charger and going in pursuit of the horse thief.
Keldirian proves to be a surprisingly good rider. He has just enough of a head start on the earl, and sufficient tricks up his sleeve to remain one stride ahead. At some point he leaves Nubeth road and heads up the bank of the Siloryne, and then perhaps up another tributary. (I hadn't firmly decided where he was going, but he certainly knows the route better than the earl.)
The chase leads to an abandoned mine, where Keldirian can finally call for backup. Two or three mercenaries under the command of Keldirian's handler manage to surround and dismount the earl. He may be seriously injured at this point, but certainly not dead. At first he would be held prisoner at the abandoned mine, but later perhaps transferred somewhere else, further afield.
. . .
Nobody involved ever wanted this! They're all just supposed to be gathering information on the earl, not taking him captive. Now they're really screwed. Do they inform the Earl of Neph, who may likely be just as taken aback by this turn of events . . . if it were ever traced to him. Might he hire another set of agents, to eliminate the fist set of bunglers, and anonymously free the earl? Or might he in fact figure out some way to ensure the earl's safety, but anonymously ransom him all the same? Almost a year has past. If he even knows about the whole mishap, he'll need to act soon.
. . .
I had been very pleased by the way I've satisfied claims made in canon, but not literally. Canon states that the earl "left Qualdris in pursuit of a freeman . . . who accidentally killed one of the earl's men-at-arms". In my scenario, Keldirian is VERY accidentally involved in the death of the man-at-arms, and is mostly just a horse thief. The earl may not even know that anyone has died, just that his man-at-arms' horse has been stolen . . . and he fully expects that he can overtake the thief. (No need to bring anyone else with him)
The addition of 6 men-at-arms accompanying the earl very much changes the scope of his disappearance. There's been considerable discussion of various world-traveling scenarios to explain the earl's disappearance. Such explanations could easily deal with an additional 6 men. My preference, however, is to keep this whole affair very mundane. One can still do that with an added 6 men, but it seems that either Keldirian must be much more than meets the eye (more than a surprisingly good rider) and/or there is a much larger conspiracy/power-play afoot against the earl.