by Barnaby Blackthorn could feel the tension as soon as he entered the room – it hit him as a strong wave might strike a ship, temporarily giving him pause. Gathered before him in one of the meeting rooms of this new castle, his new castle, were the remaining nobles and leaders of Britannia. Most were good men and women, some were not. Their character mattered little, though, in the face of their failure to come together on the problems that beset the realm. Protests. Violent riots. Crime. This was not the Chaos that Blackthorn had championed for all those years, but rather something darker, bordering on a dangerous anarchy where few looked out for any interests save their own. Temporarily lost in thought, he almost didn’t hear when one of those gathered spoke: “The last time we were summoned to a castle by a man wearing robes, things didn’t go so well,” a rather severe looking woman in her middle years stated accusingly. Blackthorn studied his dark robes briefly, recalling that not long ago someone professing to be a healer helped to establish a new Council in order to try and control it. “Surely you recognize me though, Lady Constance,” he replied to the noblewoman from Minoc. Before she could speak, another replied, “Ah, but that is the problem, is it not? You appear to be Lord Blackthorn. Yet you do not look the same as the last time you were seen. You will understand if we don’t quite trust you,” this from a thin, balding man clothed in pure black. “Of course,” Blackthorn nodded, his jaw only a little clenched. “I had hoped that Dupre would explain my situation to you before I arrived, Halabi.” So prompted, the Knight stood from his chair at the long dark slate table that the group was assembled around, “The Vizier is well aware of the situation with Exodus, and your imprisonment. He simply seeks to try and show his power by implying that his trust is even desirable – he has a tendency to forget that he is merely the emissary of the Sultan of Nujel’m and not the Sultan himself,” Dupre growled. Halabi’s retort was cut short as another stood from his seat and spoke, palms out as if to ward off an attack, “I believe what Vizier Halabi means to say, in his own way, is that deserved or not, you are seen as a villain in the eyes of many. There is much discontent among the people as it is, and the sudden appearance of a new Castle Blackthorn and the rumor of the return of its’ Lord has not been met with joy by many. I think it would be best if perhaps you explained why you summoned us, and what your intentions are now that you have returned.” “Very well. But first let me say that I am happy to see you still living, Sir Andrew. I remember your exploits as a knight very well,” Blackthorn smiled as the old knight chuckled. “As you have said, there are those who would sooner see me dead than see me reclaim my title and noble responsibility. I understand this. I also understand that our land is troubled. I want to end these troubles. I will not do it as Lord Blackthorn, however, but rather as you see me now – a Healer. I shall leave tomorrow evening on this quest across Britannia. I will visit the various towns and attempt to understand the problems that plague them, and endeavor to find the solutions to those problems. This will not be done as a noble sending edict from on high, but rather as a man who will listen to the concerns of the people, for their problems are his as well. Perhaps then, I will be rehabilitated in the eyes of those who hold doubt.” Blackthorn finished and studied the faces of the others, attempting to gauge their reaction. Some wore their skepticism overtly on their faces while others looked as though they were at least willing to give him a chance. He nodded, and left them to discuss his words amongst themselves. He had preparations to make. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ During the coming days Blackthorn will be walking across the Britannian mainland, ending in a town each evening.These encounters will be centered largely on Role Playing opportunities.Keep an ear out for news from Town Criers regarding his current location.His journey starts late in the evening on October 20th.