The months since the carnival passed on, the kingdom quickly returning to some semblance of order. Tolixan was put into place as steward of the nascent barony, but the dramatic loss of Trajana so early in the barony’s youth caused ripples of doubt about the kingdom’s viability to spread. Grimm moved into position as the Magister, replacing Stehlen. The kingdom’s economy took a slight hit during this transition, the iron fist of the previous magister having been replaced by the chaotic meanderings of the goblin, and there was initially a fair measure of trepidation on having a goblin placed in such a high position of power. This too soon settled down to mild unease as the populace learned that Grimm has no desire to mold the kingdom into a more chaotic state. They even learned to ignore the odd explosions and smells that occasionally came from the castle.
Representatives from a tiny mountain kingdom called Sezmar approached the leaders of the barony with a deal: Trade between the two nations, food for ore, to be magically transported. After some discussion an accord was reached and the deal struck. The lead envoy, a man named Salvar, oversaw the transaction.
Soon after the establishment of the embassy, the barony celebrated the end of its somewhat troubled first year. Directions from the swordlords of Restov arrived via courier, congratulations on the accomplishments to date and instructions to continue exploration and expansion in the area. The leaders of the barony suited up once more and set off to explore, accompanied by the Sezmarian Salvar and an odd creature known as Morpheus that Byzalte had met.
Shortly after setting out, the group came across a band of gnomes in distress. They had recently fended off an attack from some kobolds, but one of their wagons had been pulled by the frightened ponies into the middle of the river and was in danger of being washed away. The group leveraged their abilities and extracted the wagon from danger. The leader of the expedition introduced himself as Jubilost Narthopple and after some discussion he grudgingly admitted that he was creating a map of the area. Further discussion ensued, with the chaotic gnome haranguing the straight-laced Salvar enough that the human challenged the gnome to a duel at dawn, despite the fact that the details of the map had already been secured for a price.
The duel commenced at dawn, but it was hardly a match. The gnome completely and utterly humiliated Salvar, beating him to within an inch of his life before declaring himself the victor. In an uncharacteristic show of evil generosity, Byzalte offered to donate a cask of cursed ale to the gnomes so they could celebrate their leader’s absolute triumph over the cocky cleric. Over half of the gnomes fell victim to the dryad’s brew and began to root themselves in place. Jubilost and a few of his cadre that avoided this fate instead fell victim to Phuralq’s slumber and were slaughtered as they lay helpless. The leaders claimed the equipment of the fallen gnomes as their own and returned to their city to turn what they could not use into something more suitable.
In the city, judicious application of power netted a good return for the gnomes trade goods. Morpheus, however, nearly got the group tossed out of the weapons shop before Byzalte managed to convince the proprietor that it would be much less expensive to take the deal than otherwise. Flush with cash, the group decided to spend a few days enhancing their equipment magically before setting out once more.