The Journal of Mon-Crulbagh

Most knighthoods in the southlands have an established household with long-standing traditions. One of them is a written record of events in the history of the foef, including wars and judgments but also more mundane developments such as good and bad harvests. The majority of these records do not make for very exciting reading! But in Mon-Crulbagh a combination of the remoteness of the foef and disruptions in the ruling line reveal a rich history among its line of rulers.

During the rebellion of Yula in 2001-2001 ADR, the last Crulbagh owner of the foef charged off to war and was slain at the Battle of Tor Perite. The seat stood vacant for several months, until a knight’s son of the house of Barleybane, the third son named Qerlak, bought the foef from its Greatknight overlord Torquem’l Beryllian. This foef is the scene of action in “The Plane of Dreams” as well as “The Test of Fire”, and there is a map on the Maps page showing the lay of the land.

 The Journal of Mon-Crulbagh is a massive folio measuring more than four feet tall and nearly three feet across, with thick vellum pages and a black lizard-skin cover on wood plates, bound in brass and opened by a key that weighs more than four ounces. The book is typically kept in the Castellan’s office, though it is the lord’s property and often removed to his chambers for entries and study. It appears that most lords of the foef preferred to enter their logs personally- only a few left it to others to do the job. What’s more, most of the lords treated the journal as a diary, rather than an official record; thus there are private thoughts sometimes recorded here that were not meant for the public eye.

 When not in use, it is usually wrapped in an oiled octopus skin that has kept it remarkably dry and whole through the centuries- yet some entries have eroded with time (and because of the haste of the writer, as well as certain inks that did not hold up as well as believed).

 General Chronology:

 c. 1425 ADR- reign of Aliatrake, the second lord of the foef as yet unnamed (succeeding his brother Mal-trak who inherited directly from the Emperor Viridian IV). Aliatrake is universally regarded with a combination of awe, honor and sadness among the inhabitants of the foef. Many can point to his efforts to repel incursions of Reptile Men, and almost all know about his long-standing treaty of non-aggression and trade with the jungle blacks. Some still recall the innovative arrangements for sharing power with a relatively wide segment of the population that he created- almost no one remembers why his reign ended in such horror, only that it was truly and literally unspeakable. A few songs allude to a love long sought and lost as soon as found, and there is at least one suggestion that he died at the wrong moment.

 c. 1500 ADR- the rule of the foef turns to the family Crulbagh, which gives the area its name.

 c. 1589-1634 ADR- reign of Bendon Crulbagh

 c. 1650-1689 ADR- region of Chalomar Crulbagh

 c. 1790-1799 ADR- reign of Cyllin Crulbagh

 c. 1815-1827 ADR- reign of Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

 c. 1828-1851 ADR- reign of Ramask Crulbagh

 c. 1943-1949 ADR- reign of Talstark Crulbagh

 c. 1977-1981 ADR- reign of Matrak Crubagh

 c. 1982-2000 ADR- reign of Distallin Crulbagh

 2001 ADR- Mon-Crulbagh passes into the hands of former adventurer and Pious Warrior Qerlak Barleybane, son of the Greatknight Barleybane of the Inmark, who purchases the title in the aftermath of the death of its former owner in the Battle of Tor Perite.

 ENTRIES OF INTEREST:

 Only selected entries from the Journal are shown here, separated by a double-line between rulers.

Date            Lord

4/2/1591             Bendon Crulbagh

… thus the inhabitants of Sluicehill village on the eastern border of the foef were reassured by their lord of his affection and concern. They received again replacement edge-stones for those that had been lost, and were confirmed in the right of muster, as was the case first granted by the venerated Aliatrake in 1463 (so the inhabitants attest). The newly-affirmed citizens began at once to celebrate and exercise in the time-honored manner, and Lord Crulbagh was greatly pleased at this augment to the welfare and defence of the land.

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Unknown             Unknown

{In a poorly-kept portion of the journal, undated but somewhere after the reign of Bendon Crulbagh, there is a short passage on a page that is torn and full of holes, in ink that faded with time and a scrawly hand to boot.}

 …nstant feuds and… dations such that their Greatknights in concert could not… thus the Lord of the Sun sent… who in adjudication set the boundaries along the riv… didst mark such with Stones of more than three meters in h… and thus to settle such matters for all time… ment to ensure that injustice would be faced down where’er it set… peace for a time.

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 10/11/1657       Chalomar Crulbagh

Got into an argument with one of my manor-holders today which turned out to be instructive. I was touring the southern fringe to inspect reports of trouble with the blacks, and I came across the fellow preparing to cane one of his peasants, with a group of his angry fellows standing around and shouting. I’m a military man and I don’t make any bones about it, but I figured this was one fight I should break up. Those manor owners are a frightful touchy threesome to handle, though- I was in deep before my mount had stopped moving. Note to self- the castellan can continue to speak to these walking thorn-bushes. First he sounds upset that I’m interfering- next, when I respond and fail to use his “proper title” of Ballister, he nearly fires off like a dropped crossbow. On me! His liege lord- it was all I could do not to give him the back of my gauntlet.

 Finally, apologies sorted out on all sides, we get to the matter of dispute- and it’s about crops! My good Ballister wants to repeat the barley crop just harvested, no doubt hearing the prices are going to be good at market northwards, but the peasant is stubbornly insisting it isn’t “customary”. He says it needs to be wheat, or even corn (the manor-man turns a shade of purple at that, no money in corn these days). My tithing doesn’t change with the crops, and the price doesn’t make such an impact once the damn bankers are through with it, so it’s a fig I care. But the peasant impressed me a bit- standing there, ready to be caned rather than dig his hand into one seed bag rather than another. And for what? I questioned him, and he spoke the name of Aliatrake- him, this dirt-handed yokel whose grandfather most likely never saw the man. “It’s the first lord” says he, like I’m not even standing there. And the rest of his fellows, when they hear the name, all doff their caps like they’re in chapel: they bowed to me but kept their felts on when I rode up. “It was the first lord, Aliatrake, who showed us the way to keep the soil rich- take care of the earth and it will take care of you. What are a few stripes on my back, so long as the soil stays well?” Even my fair Ballister has nothing to say to that, so he storms off, and this peasant, his fellows all crowd in and clap him on the shoulder like he’s won a wrestling match.

 It all smells like marsh-gas to me. But I’ve got peasants with long memories, I’ll say that. Aye, and a bit of backbone it seems. Maybe I should make this fellow a Ballister. I asked him his name and he said Jeromy… Treddingwater, I think it was, or Treadstream, no matter.

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  16/2/1753                   Moss Crulbagh

Rain for the fifth day. Buckets. Everyone depressed, starting to slack my orders. Butler laid up for weeks from the result of his surliness; replacement a dolt. No word from Beryll. Not surprised. To say so little provokes doubt: to say enough would have brought disbelief. So we are all alone, as I should have known, to face this outrage. The men murmur, say the Bright One controls even the weather. The donjon is full with gabblers on discipline-confinement, and still they talk. The waters are so high the swamp vipers can nearly swim over the walls: lost another man on forage duty yesterweek to the demon snakes. Oh, for three days of hot sun!! Then we’d rip the bastards from belly to chops, and heave the carcasses back into the mire.

Stopping now. Too much already about problems that shouldn’t be spoken of… hell, that don’t exist. They don’t.

Castellan says rain tomorrow.

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 23/7/1796                   Cyllin Crulbagh

Harvests coming in well, a good year for rice and lotus. Clay shipments out last month, so profits due in days. Castellan reports a strange accident among the clay-reapers yesterday; seems a rich lode discovered in the deep Morteissk was guarded by a lizard who had made his home in the sun-warmed hole. He was a Freezer, or Basilisk as the Sages call him; held three of the men, and almost the fourth before he got him with his clay-spade at the back of the neck. The three men are being carried back now, alive but all stiff as planks; people are scared. We are not sure about a cure, if there is any, but the local farmers say that Old Piyate would know. Records indicate there was someone holding in the Deep Morteissk, free from tithing by Lord’s Permission going back further than we can know in the histories. Probably too much trouble to get out and collect what little tithing he’d have: and the stories of his blood-drinking and moon-singing are none too comforting. The locals say he’s got “Swamp Sense”, and would know the cure. Whether he’s sane, or will treat for us, we don’t know. Probably cost us four men in getting out to cure three, but the peasants will talk if we do nothing but keep three statues around the place. Argens knows, anything would be better than the one we have, creepy thing. Will set out at first light, and try to get out of the DeepSwamp before night.

 24/7/1796                   Cyllin Crulbagh

Back from Deep Morteissk. No one lost to swamp beasts, by the grace of the Forger. Piyate lives, if you care to call it that… the frozen men are both fine.

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 6/6/1832            Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

War with Pritaelseran! The bastards tried the old land-claim game, as if they knew I’d diverted peasants to freeholds against the swamps. Blast the fiends, on both sides! But we’ll fix them yet. They’ve outguessed me, and now I’m backed up in a siege thinking to take the entire foef. But I didn’t buy into this cursed Swamp just to lose out in my first year. I’ll crush the bastards at any cost. It’s a strong place, and I’ll hold it if Argens himself comes against it.

 13/6/1832                   Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

Fully invested now. I had the wits to upkeep the walls immediately on arrival this spring, or we’d be stormed out of the bailey at the least. How the last lord mine uncle could leave it so unrepaired is beyond me, curse him! They’ve pulled up around three walls, and they’ve got a cloud of retainers; I drink in satisfaction every time I think of his war-chest on payday. He can bring his four hundred… he can bring a thousand, we’ll repel them all until the new year, and still collect tithing! We pushed off his first assault with little loss; he was just feeling out the place. Yes, it’s a tough nut, isn’t it, you uplands scum! You’ll use blood for dishwater before you storm Mon-Crulbagh. Even now he tries to manhandle the engines up the soggy path, and my scouts tell me his men are panicked by the sight of ordinary riding lizards grazing near the west flank! He’ll see worse, before he’s through. The Lizard Squadron here is still well appointed; I shall wait until his first serious assault on the towers before sortying with them. But I can hardly wait…[drink stains obliterate writing]… two score of the thundering beauties, and his men trapped there, with faces agape. I cannot wait, can’t… [drink stains]

 14/6/1832                   Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

Lights from the swamp. The hell with them, if the swamp itself isn’t already hell! They have to come through Pritaelseran, if they want to bother me. A toast, to my enemies fighting each other!

 15/6/1832                   Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

Four dry days in a row. The engines are making progress, damn the Forger. Another day and he’ll be dropping rocks on our heads like stones thrown at frogs. Damn! Where’s the weather when you need it? Some confusion in their camp last night, on the western flank: vipers, I hope, or maybe a band of RMs looking for food! HAH!

 16/6/1832                   Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

[Drink stains]… with my bare hands. Gore all over the shelves in front of me. Need another drink. Who’d have thought…[drink stains]… two of them, at once, no weapons. One, I could have been pretty sure of, the slimy bastards. But two I’d not like to try again. Called the butler to clean up; whip him later for the security breach. How did they get in? And why no weapons? I’m hallucinating, but I swore one of them tried to talk.

Why am I still alive?

19/6/1832                   Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

[Most of the passage obliterated by drink stains, the rest contains shaky handwriting of questionable veracity]… Had to do it. Again, right in my most private chamber… too quiet to yell for help… promised rain… I promised… Damn the swamp bastards! Engines in place… can’t take another week of this… promised… again, right in front of this desk… taking to a, a thing of blasted monstrosity… Argens Forges promises for his good little knights… right as rain, here in the swamplands, they say… bargain, a steal, do it again in a second…blast the demons! Blast Pritaelseran! His life for my soul? A bargain… right in my own room…

 22/6/1832                   Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

Third day of rain. Buckets. The men can see three of Pritaelseran’s engines sinking below the winches into the mire; they’re as good as firewood now. Morale is very high. Confusion and fighting on his western flank so constant now that he has diverted men to throw up earthworks against the swamp; but the rain eats them down, and if he sends out men to cut swampwood for proper barricades, they are attacked by RMs. Now he’s under siege. Supplies over two-thirds down within, but we’ll make it. Extra wine for the men tonight; make a note to import an extra brace of casks when this is over; can’t imagine not needing plenty this winter.

 Walked the walls all last night; screams from the bed-chambers unbearable. Still thought I could hear echoes in the rain outside… [drink stains]… think I hear them still.

 Blast the demons!

 30/6/1832                   Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

We’ve won. Pritaelseran sent today demanding tribute; that means he’s out of food. We count nine-score casualties from swamp and weather, probably more out at the far earthworks. He’s through. I presented the messenger with a half-wagon of Lizard strips, our last; we can afford a little more hunger for show. Said we won’t need it anymore, and I wouldn’t want my neighbor to leave without sampling my hospitality. He curses me, says I’m in league with the demons of the murk… But he’s already dismantling his camp by twilight.

Doctor reports that she will recover. Bribing him heavily… paying myself with wine.

 1/7/1832            Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

Pritaelseran and rain, gone. The men celebrate our victory, and I let them. Soon, we can begin to work. Time for another harvest, though not rice. Barley, most likely, that will set up the soil for next season…

 10/11/1832       Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

My wife is showing greatly; the doctor pronounces publicly that twins are expected, the people prepare for a double-gifting. Privately, he has again demanded more money, and had been wise enough to dodge the Lith I’ve been plying at him. Blast! By the Forger’s privates, I won’t… [drink stains] … won’t!

 17/12/1832       Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

She’s due any day now; then they’ll come. I’m ready. Last day of drink today. Need my arms and eyes steady.

 29/12/1832       Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

Labor pains begun at noon. Doctor guesses more than a day’s worth, but what does he know. Hard to be accurate, eh doctor? Better for you if you’d taken up the axe; only need to know where to aim.

 30/12/1832       Palomay Corellin-Crulbagh

Both dead, and the thing too. Dipped in the blood of captured RM weapons; now they’ll come, and I’ll take as many with me as I can. Damn the world! My foef! My land! Damn the Bright One!

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 7/5/1844            Ramask Crulbagh

As if things not bad enough with this accursed drought, we received reports of an attack of Bugs on Bultarr-r the previous evening. Right in the middle of a feast, no less, when I was trying to look well in the eyes of milord Beryl, and in pops this lackwit townsboy, screaming “Bugs! Bugs in Bultarr-r!” at the top of his lungs. Milady wife fainted dead away- I nearly dropped my wine-cup myself. We had heard rumors of a nest somewhere in the Telser Deeping east of the town, but there had been no reports in my rule, nor my father’s nor his. I had hoped the evil hive had died out. I must away with my levy to address this- the pike should spit those foul chitterers, if they can hold their nerve when they see them.

 12/5/1844                   Ramask Crulbagh

Not again, not for a bag of rubies with Pritaelseran’s head at the bottom!

 I marched double-time on Bultarr-r, with the whole pike levy, just to show them I cared for their welfare. My Castellan mumbled something about a “muster” but I couldn’t make heads or tails of what he meant- I must examine him when he’s calmed down. But sure enough, the tales are true- the horny devils can tell when large groups approach, and we never caught sight of them on the first day in town. But there was plenty left to see- wrecked fences, doors bashed in like paper, great bulges in the iron gate where they had forced their way in. And as for the people, I don’t know whether my men were more revolted by the ones dead, or those still alive, but in pieces. We helped burn the dead, shored up the gate, and that night I held council with the locals. We decided to take one young lad with us as a guide, and set out with just four retainers and myself, to hunt them more quietly. Praise the Forger, that wizard had my man take a Fire Scroll- and he with the sense to read it. We found the Bugs alright- alien men with two extra arms, low rending mounts like horned beetles the size of an ox; and everywhere, those waving, flailing antennae. I still shiver when I write of it. We hacked and slew them like men, and they seemed to come on with no more thought of turning than a wave headed to shore. Still, it would have gone hard without that scroll: I wouldn’t have thought anything could make that summer hotter than it was. We took a few heads back to town to prove we’d done it, and the healer says he can do nothing for my man’s arm. He’ll pension out, and train the new militia, he says- but no more Bugs, and I don’t blame him.

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3/8/1947            Talstark Crulbagh

Border war with Pritaelseran; it’s almost as regular as rain in the spring, you’ll have blood and fire in the fall. He came on across the southern decline, where his roads are better, and headed for the river’s ford at Sluicehill. I have considered putting a wayfort there, but manning it is just too hard unless I pull men from the main castle. If the Reptile Men would just stay quiet… my castellan keeps yammering at me about some way to increase the men under arms, but I mistrust the average levy. If that damned fool Beryllian would leave off the rebellion plots, I could have kept the tithing lower! But I’ll never have the knights those cursed uplanders bring, that’s certain. Still a few tricks up our sleeves…

 I maneuvered to block access to the ford, having pressed the men to arrive at fastest possible speed. Still, with our mounted bow allies not yet up with us, it was a near thing, and if he had the balls to press the attack we’d have been outnumbered almost three to one, and him with more knights. But if we had slowed our speed, he’d have crossed the Sodsluice and maybe taken the village, and I couldn’t have that. There’s a slight rise southeast of town and a copse of trees nearby- perhaps next time if I get the jump I can march through the village and secure it, and then meet him there. A nice ambush from the glade, if I can draw in those proud metal boys of his.

 As it was, we played them off with setting a few fields on fire, and marching in the dust to confuse him for our size. By the second day after contact, he was finally onto our tricks and pressed home: cursed flat ground too, perfect for his lancers. My pike stood in and it was a gambler’s throw for a quarter-hour, even with me and the personal guard shoring up the center: but the mounted bow came up at last and got to his flank. It was bad enough, they can drive a shaft near as well as a foot archer, but their sheer appearance! That shook the drylanders, you could tell: most of his foot turned and ran at the first volley, and those retainers who held their piss long enough to turn and charge were met by their heavy squad, which has some scale and spears, enough to stand a pass. And of course, you could never match their horsemanship! I laughed through the dust and the wound over my eyes, to see them withdraw in such confusion. We took nine horses and seven suits of armor for ransom- four with men still alive inside. My master-at-arms swears he kept the levy in hand, but I know they’re a vengeful bunch when it comes to their lands being threatened by armor-clad nobles. Come to think on it, so am I.

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