The Traitor’s Stone
It is said that an angel gave the Traitor’s Stone to good King Stephenson. They say that those who lay their hands upon the stone and speak in truth are safe – verily, healed of ailments and debilities. Those who speak in lies, however, become frozen as stone, embraced by time in a single moment (and placed in the Royal Garden to be enjoyed during parties)
What they say is true, but what no one says (for few know, and fewer still would risk mentioning it aloud) is that the adviser Shineous Palamore holds watch over the stone for the King, bringing it out when he ‘suspects’ someone in audience with His Majesty of subterfuge… and that Palamore pursues plots of his own. The cur has destroyed the lives and reputations of several of the King’s most trusted vassals by seeding falsehoods in their thoughts and tricking them into swearing to them later. For the Traitors Stone cares nothing for the beliefs of men, but only objective truth, and will hand out it’s “justice” to the pious but mistaken and spare the wicked deceiver who stumbles on fact.
(Possible Portents/Front material follows)
– Another adventuring party, contracted by The King, goes missing after successfully completing their taskings. Their bodies are later found within the Royal Garden. Those who live in The Keep live in fear of that stone and the box Palamore keeps it in, and may be… convinced… to explain the new ‘statues’.
– The King sends out a call for heroes to slay the Basilisk that froze an entire town a day’s ride from his capital. The bodies are not stone, but frozen in keeping with those in the Royal Gardens. A mighty conflict and great rewards do greet the heroes within the ‘Basilisk’s Lair’, a cavernous system of tunnels nearby… but no basilisk, or evidence of a basilisk, is to be found. On a related note, Palamore has seemingly been gifted with prophecy, for he has gone through the town making people swear to future events in order to see which will, in fact, occur.
– Those formerly closest to the King have begun to be frozen. They no longer reside stickly within the Royal Gardens but are scattered throughout the Royal Keep, as the Gardens will not hold them all. The Good King has locked himself away, alone, speaking only to his most trusted Shineous Palamore.
– Palamore regretfully announced that The King is dead, poisoned by a traitorous cook. The whole kitchen staff of the Keep is thrown from the parapets. Palamore, laying his hand upon a stone RESEMBLING the Traitor’s Stone (or, from an elevated speaking position, mearly within the empty box which usually holds the stone) and swears that The King told him in his dying breaths that Palamore should take up his mantel and rule the Kingdom.
– Things go pearshaped throughout the land as a reasonable monarch is replaced with a narcissistic dictator.