With word of the banner party having successfully led the undead away, the Fideli elders approached Krondal with a suggestion. (They were not completely knowledgeable of the results, and did not properly weight any information about the undead not being destroyed, the ogres organizing or wierd, cloven-hooved tracks – probably mounts—being found in the lands of the powerful Sigmar tribe.)
“Chief Ludwig…it is time you threw an appropriate celebration, both to celebrate this victory and to cement your position with your new tribesmen.” Krondal kept a smiling face, but inwardly cringed. There are so many other more important things to do…but I have to honor some of their traditions.
A ranger approached Felix as the village began to mobilize itself for a party. He brought up the fact that the rangers had covered a pretty significant portion of the valley, yet so far no evidence of cities had been found: no stone, no paved roads, nothing. Felix tasked the rangers with spending more time looking for such evidence during their patrols.
Gina took the opportunity to try to ingratiate herself with the tribe, seeking out Lyrces, an elderly widower and influential elder who some were considering to be losing some of his reknowned wit as he aged. She managed to play upon her close relation to Krondal and convinced the elder that she could help make sure the entertainment would be especially pleasing to the new chief.
Krondal set a contest for the celebration, asking to hear entertaining stories of Fideli lore where tribes merged without bloodshed. While this puzzled the hearers a bit, they were enticed by the honor for the best story: the best storyteller would be named “Voice of the Ludwig” and be able to speak with Krondal’s authority between the two tribal locations. (Krondal had decided not to merge the tribes as tradition dictated, but would keep two locations…the beginning of an Imperial-style state.)
While preparations were underway, a messenger came to ask for Ageron or his representative. Felix went to speak for him. The messenger reported that Chief Kohlberg was fearful of the outsider Krondal and his clear bloodlust and desire for power. As he had no daughter to marry to the Ludwig headman, he could only be deposed by death. This interefered strongly with his desire to die as a much older man, peacefully in his bed. (This is a most un-Fideli-like attitude.) He offered for his entire tribe to go Unnamed, and submit themselves to the protection of the Empire. Ageron jumped at the chance.
The day before the official festival was to begin, an Imperial party with Ageron, Felix, Holtz and Borgash met the Kohlbergs. The Fideli Kohlberg renounced their tribal affiliation and immediately swore to the Empire, forsaking all their old prejudices, friends, enemys and enmities and exchanging them for those of the Empire and New Verland. Not all the tribe was as enthused to be giving up the old ways, and Felix cleverly persuaded a large number of the warriors to join his rangers to protect the vale at large. (He gained 60 Fidelii, tripling the size of his force.)
Holtz surreptitiously scanned the assembled crowd with his Magesight, hoping to find a potential apprentice. He found no Gifted among them, but a surprising number showed an odd aptitude to be trained that he described as “Marked”. (It is unknown to him, but the Fidelii have strong potential to learn magic, but also have a high chance of being corrupted by it.) It is a puzzle to him, but he reported some general information about this fact to the other Imperials. He did not identify any specific individuals.
Ageron fumed a bit about so many warriors volunteering for the Rangers, but he instructed the Kohlberg to stay in their village and fly his flag as a sign of his protection. With that, the Imperial party returned to the former Franz village to prepare for the festivities.
The party was a great success, and Gina managed to get Krondal to tell a rollicking story of monster-slaying that showed the new chief in a positive light for the new tribesfolk. It also raised Gina’s stock significantly among the Fidelii. Felix worked the crowd, looking for any disaffected members of Krondal’s new conquest, seeking to further increase the Rangers ranks, now that he knew about the tradtion of going Unnamed (or becoming Nameless). He found a likely candidate, but did not persuade him to leave his new tribe so soon. Meanwhile, Holtz again scanned the crowd and found a couple Gifted individuals, as well as a number of Marked ones again. For Krondal’s contest, most of the stories were as expected – telling tales of intermarriages. Yet one storyteller told a story of a chief swearing to a great hero upon witnessing his heroism in slaying a fearsome monster, becoming a “sub-chief” – exactly what Krondal was looking for! Krondal honored the best storyteller as “Voice of the Ludwig”, but the man with the unusual story won his attention.
As the night ended, Krondal had to face some gentle displeasure from his original tribesfolk – all of who had abandoned their northern village to make it to the party – for the short notice he gave them. Ageron left before the night was complete, citing his need to go see to his new citizens and manuevered Krondal into a few corners, before beginning to dig his own hole. Luckily, his minders extracted him from the situation before too much damage was done, and the night ended with a dramatically changed political situation in the northern part of the vale of New Verland.