In the Kingdom of Corenth, the city of Jasquon, not every title holds land. The five highest nobles do, however. Called the Ducal Circle, they each bring with them a voting bloc in Parliament. For centuries now, King Roger Lionsblood has overseen the balance between these five Dukes and Duchesses. He's diminished one when that one took advantage, or propped another up so that they would not be lost. They form the core of his rulership, and the military might they represent is very real.

Then one day the Duke of Kingsgate died and did not leave an heir.

Oh, to be sure, it was *thought* the Duke had an heir. But the High Priestess of Corenth tested the young man, and found him wanting. Squabbles ensued, court suits were levied, duels were challenged and when all was said and done there was no Ducal heir.

The custom was that the King inherits any lands lacking of an heir but there was one problem with that. The King could not simultaneously rule Jasquon (the Capital) and Kingsgate due to their distance apart. And Kingsgate was a very important fief, for it was the only thing separating Corenth from the Army of the Faithful in Amishka across the barren wastes, and it earned a lot of revenue from caravans plying their trade up the Sandtown Road. The largest standing army and the biggest of the gryphon mews also lay at Kingsgate.

The Duke of Kingsgate was powerful, and would have to be puissant, diplomatic, hearty and most of all canny.

The other four Ducal Seats each had a suggestion as to whom should fill the spot. Each one sought advantage over the other by putting in the seat their favorite. With such a proxy in place, they could sway the Kingdom Purse and sway opinion in the Circulum Parliament.

Of course, this would never do, King Roger knew this.

King Roger had no idea what he was going to do until his son, Prince George, came up with an idea for him: hold a competition.

George, a friend of enchanters, mountebanks, and artisans, would have a jeweler commission a treasure, a beautiful prize. The Royal Wizard would enchant the thing, making it difficult to find, and then hide it. And whosoever found the treasure would be the new Duke or Duchess.

Thus was made a beautiful golden jewel which, if found, will give the bearer riches, prestige, and military might undreamt of.....and anyone may claim the prize, be they low born or high, foreigner or native. Anyone.

The citizenry of Jasquon, being the most sharp-witted and curious folk, were in love with the very idea of it.

And so, when on the day of the summer Sunstanding the Royal Wizard Maelion appeared on the Royal Balcony, very nearly everyone in the city stood near in the great square to watch him. He produced the beautiful glowing thing in the shape of a many-colored hare.

Even at a distance it was easy to see the thing had rubies for ears, onyx for eyes, citrine for paws and chest, emerald for rear quarters and feet, a flawless pearl as a tail, and finally a spot of glowing amethyst in the middle of it like a thumbprint.

With three claps of his hands, Maelion caused the golden rabbit to become alive, and it quickly ran away, trailing at first a shimmer of golden sparks, but vanishing just as soon as it hit the shadows.

Though Maelion claimed that it was enchanted so that it would not leave the city of Jasquon, no one could find it.

Not for days. Not for weeks. Not even for months. Frustrated, King Roger sent Prince George, the youngest of three, to Kingsgate to hold the castle in his stead. George was not happy, because all of his friends were in Jasquon. Roger was not happy because the Ducal Circle had become even more difficult to manage. And the people were unhappy because the thing would just not be found!

When Roger demanded that Maelion cast a spell to find the blasted thing, he just shrugged his shoulders, because he had made the thing right: even he could not recover it once it was released, and no magic either of God or Mage would locate it.

Soon the only folk still looking for the Cloistered Hare were adventurers. Freebooters and ne'er-do-wells, opportunists and social climbers, courtesans and rogues, in other words: the bold, the daring and the strange.

And this story is of how the Cloistered Hare was found, and what happened next.

Sample Natures:

Dashing Rogue
Foreign Envoy
Crypt Raider
Minor Noble
Poor Knight

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