The Rise of Sarranda

Date: 01/20/2012 at 03:09
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: The Rise of Sarranda

Somewhere within the dark walls of Sangre Keep, sealed away from the
outside world, the Baroness of Petra brooded. It had been years since
her execution and martyrdom at the hands of Ashtan, and the time was
nearly ripe for her to set in motion the next part of her scheme.

~ ~ ~

While most of the exiled noblewoman's activities have been veiled in
layer upon layer of secrecy and misdirection, not everything has been as
concealed as she may have wished. It is known that Sarranda du Luiois
rode into Petra upon her white palfrey, singing merrily in a voice of
unearthly beauty. Villagers flocked to her side to hear her message:
they must forgive their rightful lord, Baron Batlin Karrella, of his
past crimes and cruelty. He never meant to bring harm to his vassals,
she claimed, only prosperity and power! Astonishingly, the Petrans
agreed - even Karrella's successor, Strowan Adarsh, agreed to abdicate
his position once the true baron was able to return. Word quickly spread
that, wherever he was, Karrella would be welcomed home to Petra.

Not far from the village, in the gleaming tower of the Ivory Mark, the
champion Atlantia had discovered an imposter within her ranks: none
other than the exiled baron of Petra. How long had the loathsome
hypocrite been hiding among her exemplars, pretending to champion the
weak, staining their reputation with his foul history? Furious, Atlantia
called for justice... surprisingly, Sarranda echoed the call, treating
with Caliph Quoren of Shallam and the esteemed Sentaari Najara
Sa'Rithven, making them aware of the situation.

Nakoruru of the Order of Justice was called upon to adjudicate the
situation; ultimately a fine was set, and promptly paid, for the baron's
release, and Batlin returned to Petra amidst disconcerting celebration.
A light punishment for his cruel, murderous past, some might say. Others
might speculate that the outcome was swayed by the mysterious power of
influence Sarranda seemed to wield... but if that possibility crossed
anyone's mind, it dwindled, unvoiced.

In the following days, rumours began to spread about the notorious
countess Belladona, also an exile of Ashtan, whose followers were
growing in both number and strength within her secluded stronghold.
Alarmed by the rapid consolidation of power, the Goddess Mithraea
herself descended to the keep, fires burning in her wake, to settle a
score with the ancient vampiress. Once the captor of the priestess Dawn,
who ascended to become the Goddess of the Sun, Belladona would have been
doomed, had she not been forewarned of the incoming attack by some
unknown source. Instead, she escaped Mithraea's divine fury, fleeing
into the Granite Hills with a mighty army... and soon began to form an
alliance with her aristocratic peer, Sarranda du Luiois.

Not long thereafter, a decree came from Sangre Keep that Sarranda de
Luiois and Batlin Karrella were to be wed. The suddenness of the
decision surprised many, including the suspicious Ashtani, who took
swift and decisive action. Before the wedding could take place, a small
army of Ashtani breached the walls of Sangre Keep, slaughtering Karrella
and the Petrans that surrounded him. Furious, Sarranda declared that by
the terms of their engagement, she was now Baroness of Petra, and would
exact vengeance upon Ashtan for this affront.

In preparation for war, Sarranda sealed Sangre Keep with the remaining
Petrans inside, and from that day forward, no news came from within the
impenetrable, frowning walls of the Keep. All the outside world could do
was wait and hope that her plans for an alliance with Belladona and an
invasion of Ashtan would come to naught. Years passed, then decades, and
the world began to forget about Sarranda and Sangre Keep...

Penned by My hand on the 11th of Aeguary, in the year 587 AF.