The Original Concept as written on holiday one afternoon.
This changed a little/lot during rewrites and actual gameplay
Queen needs friends at court to counter unreasonable King and his policies. The PC’s are the Queens own lancers. The Queen is also part of a secret magical society that is accepted in her homeland. These are considered monks or holymen. The Lancers are for show only but the queen has them turned into hard fighting men by her own appointed captain. Her lady in waiting is also a Mage of some power and experience.
Lost city is found after earthquake in mountainous region of the kingdom. Magical society has premonitions of a great evil released from its prison associated with the rising of the city. Queen seeks crown of that fabled cities king as is is said to protect the wearer from mind affecting spells.
Sends unit of 10 lancers and a priest to ruins to find out what is there. find large crack in the eaarth and an almost complete city within. city is already filled with treasure hunters and grave robbers. When they find the throne room they discover many dead bodies well preserved. Beside the King is a large set of three toed prints burned into the rock some inches deep. Floor has been engraved with symbols in a circle around the King. Search room but cannot locate the crown or the kings sword. As night forms a dark mist forms in one corner of the throne room, it swirls until it appears solid then it spreads from its centre point revealing a moonlit sight beyond an arching bridge. A hooded figure appears to be standing at an altar and a bunch of creatures rush across the bridge from around him. As the PC’s fall back it is obvious that the creatures are searching the bodies of the dead.
PC’s return with the news but they found that all the Queens lancers have been sent from the capital. King has started to distrust the queen and sent her and her lancers to the winter palace. The marraige was political not love and when King found out and asked about her lancers being sent to fabled city she was evasive and when pressed she claimed they were on a mercy mission. King became furious and claimed that the lancers were her personal army in his midst and sent them and her to Winter Palace so he would feel safe.
Summoned before the King he appears clammy skinned and has a yellow tinge to his eyes and teeth, he asks them what they have been doing. Sent to the queens chambers where a large wooden screen starts to mist up and then snaps into focus revealing the Winter Palace under attack by the same creatures as before. Find Winter Palace mostly destroyed and many lancers dead, looks like an inside job. Someone close to the Queen is setting her up for execution. Her father would declare war on the kingdom.
Notice that the moons of Abbanol are alligned differently on the other side of the bridge, there is a time difference of around 2 hours.
On arrival there are footprints of a single female who went to the king, knelt and then left again. (The queen was specifically excluded from the effects of the ritual binding circle.)
everything including the bodies are remarkably preserved. They have been locked in time by the binding circle. The earthquake broke the enchantment.
One of the sigils on the wall of the old throne room bears a resemblance to the symbol used by the first sister of the Sisters of Mercy and yet another resembels that used by the Brotherhood sworn to protect them.
Old King died around the time that the Sisters of Mercy were created. (The Queen left the palace and took her knight protector and set up a new home, one that took in orphans and widowed women. She changed her name to Adrianne an amalgamation of the names of her first two children both lost in the war with the Fey)
The Brotherhood tell a story of the first sister and her gardener, the gardener it was who defended the convent and trained the boys in the arts of war and magic. It was his crest that the boys used as their standard.
The creatures used in the attacks are lower trolls and are common in lowland Tollholme. Nocturrnal creatures of low intelligence.
Admiral Samos is able to narrow down an area as to where the site may lie. On poducing a map they discover a bay on an island that has what looks like an eagles beak above the serpentine form of a snake.
Brother Cardwell translations
Old passage in book refers to the King crossing the bridge to B’en Shiin but no such place exists on the old maps. Enemy has access to object of power that allows travel from B’en Shiin (garden of solitude) to the winter palace and the throne room of the lost city._
Another passage mentions the King going to the Winter palace in the morning via a bridge and returning before nightfall.
B’en Shiir – lies to the west between heaven and earth. (actual translation is between the lizard and the eagle).
Pc’s sail to the bay and find a safe harbour for the night as it looks somewhat treacherous. Captain Subodai of the Queens lancers has them swim after the boat as exercise. He makes sure they are well warmed and fed afterwards. See a medium galley approach and make its way into the bay, it is using lanterns on the island to make a safe approach. On the island there is a small community who are decended from the servents of the king. They have a large meeting house that has a portal leading to the kitchen in the garden of solitude. Crew of the galley are setting up a permanent camp on the beach. After a fight the Tesephone crew overcome the galley crew. Take survivors into the house. Man walks out of the wall carrying soup and bread for the sailors.
He tells the story of the King and how his people got here, he also tells of the arrival of the strange man then his troops. He has been using the gate in the garden of solitude to send trolls to different places. Keeps trolls in cages during the day. He is preparing to send more trolls on a mission tonight and has 12 men with him up on the rock.
Get to the pillar of rock via the portal and see the Mage, he looks exhausted (Kings mages are trying to close the portal and he is trying to keep it open). The gateway collapses. After fight realise that Mage is House Diadne, thought extinct after a Wizards March against them for dealing with demons and blood magic. find a letter from the Kings hawk master (access to pidgeons-messages) but on arriving back in Abbanol they find that the hawk master is dead and that Brother Cardwell is dead and his translations of the times before and during the great war are missing. Pidgeons in the hawk masters cot have all been fed to the hawks. Pc’s are forced to translate the originals themselves and discover that Brother Cardwells translations are somewhat interpretations.
It is far too far to B’en Shiir to rely on pidgeons as a means of communication, it must be someone much closer to home who is relaying the messages.
Part translation on the work table is of a report by a Knight who’s company was wiped out when the ground came alive and attacked them. (Actual translation describes how it appeared that the ground had come to life).Hawk master has a coven within the city and is hiding among them. He has arranged for a creature able to blend itself into its surroundings to be smuggled into the city. He has been performing rituals and human sacrifice to allow him to control the creature.
You may note the reference to house Diadne and wizards march. Originally I had intended to run this as a Ars Magica campaign. In the end I chose to go with Rolemaster but I did change the PC’s from Lancers to the Queens guard, who were a triad of mages assigned to her protection. In a world were magic is almost lost the little magic they knew still made them movers and shakers in the kingdom.