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A newspaper article from the Aventurian Herald that reads:
Aventurian Herald, Peraine 1030 BF
Striding to Action with Ardo
On Travelling in Middenrealm
Travel reports always enjoy widespread popularity and so this time we want to spirit our so inclined readership to the roads of Garetia in Kosh. Ardo of Boarstock, scion of the Koshian noble Boarstock family and Burgrave of Oxenblood, relocated to his resplendent city residence in Ferdok this past spring. Read for yourself how in the course of his travels, His Highness freed a village from a plague and lifted a curse - essentially while merely passing through. The tradeswoman Anlove Emer Kettlestone graciously let us use her account for this report. "[...] It goes without saying that I joined the brave Burgrave's traveling party when my father requested me to bring the Koshian bills of exchange to Ferdok. For every knows how unsafe the roads and routes are and furthermore, there are recent reports of robber bands in the area around Ferdok, who are as greedy for your last thaler as a donkey is for a carrot. Burgrave Ardo has traveled far and wide, you have to know, and who hasn't heard the story of how he bravely rode into the ogre battle, how he fought at Trolls' Gate or how he was sorely wounded before the gates of Gareth, when the sky crashed down on the heads of the capital city's populace? At least most of those stories were not known to me, but today I can tell any of them as well as Burgrave Ardo. For I heard them often enough during our journey. I got my first fright in a small hamlet in the Rubreth lands, as the knight decided to leave the Imperial Road, in favor of the beauty of the countryside and travel to Ferdok along the floodplains of the Rakula. "Don't worry, Maid Anlove", Ardo said in fatherly fashion, through his beard, in which some remains of breakfast were still to be seen, "You are traveling with Knight Ardo." The worst thing that ever happened to him was that the Galotta Fortress once fell on his head, but nothing else! And should the robbers outnumber us, then I'll cover your retreat!"
The Curse of Nordingen
Thus we came to the hamlet Nordingen, in the middle of nowhere, far from civilization. The villagers were already rushing out to meet us. But it was not a greeting they brought, but a warning: We could not enter the village by using the bridge at the old mill. We would inevitably fall from the footbridge into the cold water, be covered with warts and then break our necks even before we could even get angry about the warts. The Burgrave listened to the farmers' shouting, meanwhile harrumphing into his beard. Then he thrust his lance toward one of them, his helmet with its sadly bedraggled feather tuft toward another, and dismounted. "Good people. You say a witch has placed a curse on your bridge? We'll see about that!", he exclaimed and strode straight to the rotting bridge. Upon my soul: That bridge didn't need a curse to be a danger to life and limb, every single plank was so decrepit! Yet without blinking an eye, without any concern at all, the Burgrave stepped on the first plank, and then the others. He was across faster than it took me to hurry towards him. Once on the other side he turned around, squeezed his eyes shut and stood still - the villagers just stood there, mute and staring expectantly - and he barked! "Woof, woof!" he growled, and then laughed out loud so heartily that the farmers were startled. "See, my fine farmers! That's how quickly Knight Ardo can lift a curse. Now all of you just come over here, it's not dangerous anymore." The farmers did as they were told and the real miracle happened then: Not a single one of the rotten planks broke, even though they all creaked very menacingly. "You should know, Anlove", the Burgrave explained to me later that evening in the Arms & Castle Inn, "that I know all about curses and ghosts. I've been living in the Oxblood Castle's drafty gate house since Bloody Hugo of Rude's shield drove me out, for the castle has been occupied by foul spirits for more generations than I have fingers on my hand. So a decrepit footbridge over a brook is nothing by comparison. Nothing at all!"
The End of the Brown Vale Cutpurses
Beyond the Rakula we reached the Kosh lands and the village of Brown Vale, which lay in an unsightly - you can already guess - brown valley. These villagers greeted us as the last ones - with apprehension, and at first they thought the Burgrave was a robber baron because of his scruffy appearance. But when he introduced himself personally as a valiant hero and relative of the good nobleman Blasius, their confidence grew: Some weeks before, a band of swaggering louts had exchanged their scythes for swords and were robbing travelers and villagers of their money and possessions. The Burgrave didn't like hearing this news at all and harrumphed into his matted beard again. So we waited, then, until the frightened villagers announced the arrival of the highwaymen. Burgrave Ardo girded his sword, put on the helmet, took the oxslap in his right hand and went towards the band of thieves. Alone! I crept along behind him - as did the rest of the village - but not to back him up, no, but to get a better look at the scene. There they stood: 10 young lads and lasses equipped with pieced together armor, and a motley assortment of stolen weapons that in sum were not worth more than my grandfather Adhemar's rocking chair (which not only killed him but he also died in). "Zounds!", the Burgrave exclaimed. "May the cave dragon egg strike me! You are hardly more than a bunch of lice-ridden children!" He placed the ogerslap in my tender hand with his iron-gloved one and strode purposefully toward the group: A mountain of a knight, the royal boar on his chest, and acting very much like the previously mentioned cave dragon. Two of the boys drew their swords, the others stood rooted to the spot. But the Burgrave didn't break his stride, but twisted the sword out of the hand of one, grabbed the weapon of the other and flung them through the air in an arching curve, boxed a number of ears more resoundingly than the Anvil Dwarves had seen in more than eight generations and sent the robber band packing: "Away with you miserable buffoons! Go straight back to your parents' houses! Your mothers will be careworn, the fathers shedding tears because you are stealing the Lord Priaios' best days! Make haste! You, too!" The Burgrave ran off the robbers just like I used to chase the chickens in my childhood, and he freed Brown Vale from its scourge. There was no more excitement for the rest of the journey to Ferdok, but I memorized the stories well so that I could laugh at the right moments, and bid a polite farewell to this remarkable man upon our arrival.
chest on the Top Floor of the Town House