The Chronicles of Foxton

Session 29: Flynn’s Final Rest

11 Lightening to 17 Lightening, 960 RM
11 Lightening, 960 RM
Storm clouds had rolled in over night and the rain had already started to fall when Captain Hawthorne and Wythri left Gray Haven for the village of Golden. They arrived in Golden at mid-afternoon, drenched from the constant down pour. They stopped at Father Ethelred’s house to warm up and to learn what the state of affairs was in the village.

Father Ethelred reported that the village was carrying on as best as could be expected. Rich and Penn were still in the village, their parents never letting the boys out of their sight. Mayor Golden was performing his duties, but without the previous gusto he had exhibited before. Captain Hawthorne told Father Ethelred that she would be taking the two boys and Darla Golden to Gray Haven. When Father Ethelred asked if the Burleys would be protected also, Captain Hawthorne said she would look into that also.

Captain Hawthorne and Wythri then stopped at Mayor Golden’s house. The mayor agreed to allow Darla to travel to Gray Haven, but not without be accompanied by the maid. Captain Hawthorn promised to protect the girl as if she were her own daughter.

The two women then went to the Miller’s house. There, Rich apologized for Flynn’s death and agreed to submit to any punishment that would be appropriate. Captain Hawthorne told the Millers that she would be taking Rich to Gray Haven for protection and asked Rich to be at the stables at dawn. The same scene was just about repeated at the Smith’s house with Penn and his parents.

Captain Hawthorne and Wythri then braved the rain again to visit the Burleys. They found the couple in the field attempting to plow, but having a hard time with all the rain and the mud. When Farmer Burley saw Captain Hawthorne, he stomped over to her, cursing the whole way. He yelled at her to get off, and stay off his land. Captain Hawthorne just ignored him and went to speak with Mrs Burley. Isobelle told Mrs Burley, that she would make sure Flynn would find peace. Mrs Burley was still as timid as ever, but told Isobelle that Flynn had told her he would never hurt her. Knowing there was nothing else they could do, the two women returned to Father Ethelred’s house to dry off for the night.

12 Lightening, 960 RM
At dawn, the two boys arrived at the stables accompanied by their fathers. The two boys were instructed to behave themselves and do as Captain Hawthorne commanded. A short time later, Darla and her family arrived at the stables and the group started the trip to Gray Haven. The rain had not stopped from the previous day.

They arrived at Gray Haven just before dark. They were greeted by Mrs Walker, who took the children and Wythri into the kitchen for dry clothes, and warm food. Darla was confused as to why she and Marion, her maid, had been brought to Gray Haven; her father had not told her anything about what was happening. The two boys suddenly found that their food had their undivided attention. Wythri quickly tried to figure out what to say to the girl.

Captain Hawthorne found the Baron in his office next to the fire. The Baron invited Isobelle to sit next him and asked her if she had a plan. Isobelle explained that she did not think Darla had been told anything about what was happening and she would take the girl to Hawthorne Manor until the new moon. She also thought that the spirit would be drawn to the boys and she hoped the chapel would protect them while she destroyed the spirit. The Baron explained that some spirits existed in the ghost realm, which can touch this world, but not necessarily the other way around. He hoped that Wythri would be able to cast a spell that would be able to enchant a weapon so that the weapon could affect the spirit world. He would also like to talk with Wythri before the coming conflict to prepare the elf. Isobelle gratefully accepted the Baron’s help.

Captain Hawthorne returned to the kitchen and told Wythri that the Baron would like to speak with her. She then made sure that Mrs Walker had a place for the boys to stay and left with Darla and Marion for Hawthorne Manor. Once at Hawthorne Manor, Isobelle told Darla what had happened to Flynn and the other boys and explained why the girl had been taken from Golden. Darla told Isobelle that she had had several drams about Flynn. In her dreams, Flynn had returned home, having found his fortune, and they were walking in fields of golden barely. She never remembered how that dreams ended, just that she always woke up crying.

13 Lightening to 14 Lightening, 960 RM
Rich and Penn were kept busy working around Gray Haven while Captain Hawthorne kept an eye on Darla.

Wythri and the Baron talked and worked out a strategy for dealing with the spirit.

Captain Hawthorne enlisted the help of Quion, Gunn, Niamh, and Featherlight in dealing with the spirit. She also talked with Sergeant Thomas so he could be prepared for what would happen.

The rain continued.

14 Lightening, 960 RM, dusk, Gray Haven
Niamh arrived at Gray Haven just before dusk. The storm had slowly been building in intensity all day and as darkness descended, the full force of the storm was unleashed. Captain Hawthorne escorted the four children to the chapel and made sure they were settled as comfortably as possible. Wythri confided in Captain Hawthorne that she was a wild mage and that she was unsure if she would be able to keep her magic under control during the fight with the spirit. Captain Hawthorne reassured Wythri that she had every confidence in the young elf.

Baron du Clef and Featherlight took up positions on the balcony overlooking the courtyard. Wythri, Captain Hawthorne, Niamh, and Quion stood guard in front of the chapel while Gunn watched the back of the church. Wythri felt a cold magic current building in the area. Everyone in Gray Haven, both inside and outside was on edge.

Just before midnight, a guard informed Captain Hawthorne that there had been a knocking at the gate, but then had stopped. They could see no one outside the castle walls. Captain Hawthorne told the guard to open the gates if the knocking continued. As the guard left, there was a commotion in the chapel. Captain Hawthorne and Niamh entered to find the children terrified and Penn choking. Niamh examined the boy and told him there was nothing attacking him, he was just panicking and he needed to calm down and breathe because everything was going to be fine. Isobelle also talked to the boy and managed to calm him down. As Niamh exited the chapel, one of the guards told her that the torches at the gate had turned blue.

Outside, there was a bright flash of lighting and a loud clap of thunder. While the courtyard was illuminated, Quion saw a figure standing in the rain. The figured vanished with the fading light. Quion released a spell he had prepared earlier, in hopes that it would slow the spirit down.

A supernatural howl filled the castle, causing almost everyone to freeze in dread. Exiting the chapel, Captain Hawthorne drew her blades and challenged the spirit. Wythri cast the spell the Baron had taught that enabled Captain Hawthorne, Niamh, and Gunn’s weapons to glow with magical power. Baron du Clef also enchanted several of Featherlight’s arrows. Naimh placed a warblessing on Captain Hawthorne who charged the spirit, but missed her target. Gunn leapt into position to prevent the spirit from leaving. Featherlight let loose one of her arrows, hitting the spirit which caused it to stumble and disappear.

The spirit reappeared in front of the chapel. It touched Wythri, causing her to scream out in pain. Quion cast a ghost wall in front of Wythri to protect the elf. Captain Hawthorne attacked the spirit again, but her swing went wild. Wythri stood up and saw that the spirit had two forms, one was the boy Flynn and the other, surrounding the boy, was a dark shape of pure hate, rage, and anger. “Flynn, this is not what you are, I’ve seen what you are. This is not what Darla would love.” Wythri shouted to be heard over the storm. The spirit hesitated. Featherlight aimed another arrow, but did not release it. The Baron cast a spell that caused the spirit to become visible. Gunn cast a warblessing on Niamh, but she held her attack waiting to see what the spirit would do. Quion beseeched Flynn to let his pain go and pass on peacefully. Featherlight let loose her arrow, not realizing what Wythri and Quion were attempting to do. Her arrow hit true, causing the spirit to attack.

The spirit lashed out at Captain Hawthorne, who blocked the attack. Niamh cast a destroy undead on the spirit. Captain Hawthorne called on the power of Durom to smite evil and drove her sword into the boy’s heart. The spirit gasped, stepped back, and turned into smoke that blow away in the wind. The storm started to subside.

Niamh tended to Wythri who was drained by the spirit’s attack. Captain Hawthorne checked on the children in the chapel. They had started to calm down, but wanted to know what had happened. When Darla realized the full impact of what had happened, she started yelling and hitting the two boys. Isobelle pulled the girl off the boys and took them into the castle.

Quion found Cici and attempted to comfort her by explaining what had happened.

17 Lighting, 960 RM
Darla continued to be mad at the two boys, but Wythri talked to her, reminding her that it was Flynn’s anger that caused all the terrible things to happen. Wythri and Captain Hawthorn took the girls back to Golden and explained what had happened. The village was still on edge when they arrived, fearful the children had been harmed. They assured everyone the two boys were safe, they were still in Gray Haven, waiting to hear what their punishment would be. They learned that Farmer Burley had been found dead on the 15th. He had slipped and drowned in his well. Mrs Burley had so complete lost touch with reality, she had not noticed. Captain Hawthorne made sure Farmer Burley was buried properly and that Mrs. Burley was placed in the care of the church in Foxtown.

Penn and Rich approached Niamh and told her that they were ready to take responsibility for what had happened. Niamh took them to the Baron, who scheduled a trial to be held in the next few days.

Session 28: What is it with the tentacles?

26 Coolwater to 6 Lightening, 960 RM
26 Coolwater, 960 RM, evening, Gray Haven
Late in the evening, Master Gunn and Mistress Featherlight returned to Gray Haven with the Circle of Iron and the contents of the cart. Captain Hawthorne was summoned. After hearing (and smelling) what was in the cart, she sent for Quion and Baron du Clef. Quion quickly arrived and began questioning the monster hunters. Caption Hawthorne was informed that the Baron was not in Gray Haven and no one had seen him leave. Captain Hawthorne suggested that the Circle of Iron return to Foxtown for a much deserved rest (and cleaning) and a full report could be made in the morning along with their payment. The Circle of Iron demanded a receipt, which Quion provided and the group made a hasty retreat. Quion made notes on the creature: a very large bear with two sets of tentacles instead of forearms. Captain Hawthorne had Master Gunn and Mistress Featherlight remove the carcass from the castle and burn it in a nearby field. Before leaving for Hawthorn Manor, she asked the guards to inform her when the Baron returned.

Around midnight, Meghan woke Captain Hawthorne to let her know the guards had reported Baron du Clef had returned to Gray Haven, apparently in a good mood.

27 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
The last day of the trials for Court Mage started with Baron du Clef speaking with each of the candidates privately in his office. The wizards from Cli were called in first, followed by Rhonda Joslyn, and finally Sage Eldamoth. Afterwards, the Baron called in Captain Hawthorne, Quion, and Wythri. He explained to them that the judging for his court mage was based on several factors, but mostly on the candidate’s knowledge of the barony and it’s people; and they must keep the welfare and best interests of the barony in mind at all times. Two of the wizards from Cli he believed were spies, and the other wanted a place to do research. Mistress Joslyn was well trained, but considered this position a way to move on to better things. Eldamoth would have been perfect, but he could not pass any of the physical tests, although in his younger years he probably could have.

“Since you have rejected all the applicants,” Captain Hawthorne asked, “what is the next step?”

The Baron smiled, “I’m glad you asked,” he looked over at Wythri, “I am pleased to announce that Mistress Majaera has accepted the position (after a bit of convincing) and she and Sage Eldamoth will be moving into Gray Haven shortly.” He paused, “Now I have to go inform Mayor Hobbs. Wythri will officially begin her duties on the first. Now, what’s this I hear of a new monster in my woods?”

Captain Hawthorne and Quion described the creature and the limited report they had received from the Circle of Iron. The monster hunters were summoned and quickly arrived. “D”, the hooded man thought to be a mage, reported that they had not seen any signs of more monsters. He also reported that this creature might have had trolls blood as it continued to heal its wounds while they were fighting it. The creature also disliked fire. The Baron offered to continue paying them if they would search the woods and kill anything they found that was unnatural. The group agreed and accepted payment to resupply themselves. The Deadly Seven were also summoned and offered the same job, which they also accepted. The Baron reminded both groups that any infighting would result in any further payments being forfeited.

Niamh and Damien were feeling much better by late morning and the healers cleared them to return to Foxtown, which both did with great haste.

Wythri returned to Eldamoth’s shop to find the old sage very excited that she had accepted the Baron’s offer. He told her that during his talk with the Baron, he had told the Baron that he had thought she would be excellent for the job. He even started packing in preparation for the move to Gray Haven.

28 Coolwater, 960 RM, Draconian Headquarters
Niamh arrived at Draconian Headquarters before her shift started. She wanted a chance to speak with Captain Waggoner before she officially reported for duty. He was in his office working on reports when she knocked on the door. Entering, she apologized for her recent conduct. To her surprise, the captain dismissed her apology stating that he understood her to be under a curse and not in control of herself. Niamh asked if there was anything troubling the captain, as he had also seemed distracted lately. He informed Niamh that he would be leaving on pilgrimage to Crow’s Head Mountain in the morning. In his absence, Lieutenant Tower would in charge of the morning shift, Niamh would be moved to the afternoon shift, and Sargent Will would be placed in charge of the night shift.

1 Lightening, 960 RM
Baron du Clef called a meeting with his task force. The first item of business was welcoming Wythri in her new position as court mage.

The second item of business was the monsters and monster hunters. The big question was where the monsters were coming from. Master Gunn gave a summary of the Circle of Iron’s findings. Quion was instructed to provide both groups of monster hunters maps and pigeons so they could record where and what they found. They would also be asked to report in at least once a week. Wythri would ask Eldamoth to research what types of creatures were in the area so the monster hunters would know what to look for. Captain Hawthorne would send runners to the surrounding villages to inquire what news, if any, they had. Mistress Featherlight was assigned to keep an eye on Dr. Rothbury’s estate. The monster hunters would also be asked to keep an eye out of any ruins or current inhabitants with magical abilities.

The third item of business was Nobbin. It was decided that since there had been no sighting of him since the fight with the werewolves, he had obviously gone into hiding. There would be nothing to do until he made himself known again.

The forth item of business was the revenant in Golden. Quion had been unable to determine if the spirit was physical or incorporeal. Captain Hawthorn planned to return to Golden on the 10th to make sure the two remaining boys and Darla would be on holy ground between the 14th and 16th. Wythri agreed to accompany her.

The fifth item of business was the giants. Captain Hawthorn would leave after the business in Golden was finished. There was also a question as to the whereabouts of the taleweaver Bri. Damien would look for the missing Kalonese bard.

In closing, Quion still wished to do a survey of the Barony. The Engineers from Warford should be arriving later in the month. The Baron had a few projects in mind for them when they arrived, including a gatehouse at the Foxton Gate, a shrine at the massacre site on the Pilgrims Trail, and watchtowers into the hills and along the Pilgrims Trail. Niamh also report that Captain Waggoner had left on pilgrimage for Crow’s Head Mountain that morning. Wythri reported that Master Crown had bought Master Eldamoth’s shop.

2 Lightening to 5 Lightening, 960 RM
Over the next several days the monster hunters resupplied themselves and received their instructions as well as the maps and pigeons from Quion.

Allen Ethel and Ryan Casey, the two wizards from Cli whom the Baron suspected of being spies, left the barony after spending a few days in town complaining about the trials.

Wythri and Eldamoth finished moving into Gray Haven. Wythri was dong a final walk through of the shop when there was a knock on the door. Morris Adams, the third wizard from Cli, was there. He was interested in opening a shop in Foxtown, but wanted to know what the profitability and time constraints would be. Wythri spent some time with him answering his questions.

6 Lightening, 960 RM
Lieutenant O’Derry was on duty at Draconian Headquarters when a squad of five Draconians arrived. They were the combat engineers from Warford that Quion had requested. They introduced themselves as Lieutenant Rupert March, Sergeant Rance Stewart, Corpsman Andrew Cooper, Corpsman Cyril Gibson, and Corpsman Cordilia Foxglove. Lieutenant O’Derry offered to escort them to Gray Haven, which they accepted.

Captain Hawthorne was on duty at Gray Haven and met the engineers as they entered. Cici bounded up the stairs of Quion’s tower to inform her master, without pausing for breath, that new soldiers had arrived. Lieutenant O’Derry introduced the engineers to Captain Hawthorne and Quion. While Lady Hawthorne went to look for the Baron, Quion showed the new arrivals to their quarters and briefly explained the types of projects that had been planned.

Captain Hawthorne found the Baron in his greenhouse and informed him of the engineer’s arrival. The Baron greeted the Draconians and invited them to dinner. He also warned them about the possibility of encountering bandits, undead, werewolves, and giants. Lieutenant March was surprised at the last bit as he had heard that the Giant Wars had been over for many years.

Damien had spent several days looking for Bri, but did not find her. He did learn that she had left a few days ago heading toward the hills. She had been boasting that she was going to deal with the giants, as she had done so in the past. When Damien reported this to the Baron and Captain Hawthorne, the Baron decided that it would be safest to have the engineers start on some of the other projects before sending them into the hills where the giants might be agitated. Captain Hawthorne informed Quion of the change in plans.

During the dinner, Quion briefed the engineers on the plans for the gate, message towers, and the cemetery. He explained that the survey had been delayed due to the possibility of the giants being riled up and until Captain Hawthorne to further assess the situation; they would have to focus on the other projects. The purpose of the survey was to better map out the lay of the land to assist in finding bandits, investigate the upsurge in undead activity, and facilitate the improvements needed for the Barony.

Niahm and Isobelle: Infirmary Visit

27 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
Lady Hawthorne entered the infirmary the following morning to see how Niamh and Damien were recovering. Niamh was sitting up in bed. Some color had returned to her face, but there were still dark circles under her eyes. When she saw Isobelle, her eyes dropped to her hands folded in her lap. “Thank you.” She said in a soft voice. “I know you felt uncomfortable deceiving us, but I’m grateful you did.” For a moment it seemed as if there was more she wanted to say, but instead she just pursed her lips together and continued looking at her hands.

Isobelle took a chair and sat next to Niamh, “I don’t regret it. But I’m not happy I had to abuse our trust to fix the situation.” She said, her voice tired. “I’m afraid that at least some of the blame for this mess lies with me.” She sighed, “Well, I feel it does at least.” She looked at Niamh’s face, “How are you? Really?”

Niamh thought for a few moments, still refusing to look at her friend. “I feel as if something has been ripped out of me leaving me feeling weak. Unsettled that I didn’t, couldn’t see what was happening and not really wanting to stop it. It was so … exhilarating.” She shook her head, “I’m surprised I wasn’t suspended again, not that I would have cared if I was.” She finally looked at Isobelle and smiled a little, “I don’t see how any of this could be your fault though.”

A look of concern appears on Isobelle’s face, it is gone in a moment, “I shouldn’t have left the group in the fight with the wolves for one. I feel some responsibility for Nathaniel’s appearance here, whether I’m to blame or not. And without his presence we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” She tried to give a reassuring smile, “As for suspensions, I don’t believe you would be so nonchalant about it to not care. You were under influences outside your control. I would hope you would defend yourself from undue accusations.”

“You were the only one who could have stop Nathaniel. I was just hoping to be able to enchant your blades before you engaged him.” Her smiled widened a little, “Although, it seems you found your own strength to defeat him.” She shrugged, “Foxton is one of the few places in Demoria a werewolf pack could function; and I doubt he could have known you were here until they saw us on the Pilgrim’s Trail.” Her face fell again and she sighed. “How much of my actions were the curse, or was it just an outlet for something already there? That’s what scares me, losing control so easily. How do I justify that to Caption Waggoner and Lieutenant Tower?”

“We would be fools to assume we don’t all have base desires.” Isobelle’s voice was quiet, “The curse strips our humanity away. Believe me when I say there is no act you performed that is worse than what I’ve already seen the curse do.” Her eyes were very distant for a moment, “Don’t worry about Captain Waggoner, I’ll make sure he understands.” She gave a reassuring smile, “As for Tower, well, he’s a petty little coward and I wouldn’t worry overly much about anything he has to say. You’re an asset to the Draconians, they need more people with your courage.”

Niamh actually laughed, “You forgot pompous and arrogant. But don’t tell him I said that, he still outranks me.” She slumped back into the bed, her energy suddenly gone. “It just seems that every time I seem to make some headway, I fall backwards. Sometimes I wonder why I keep trying.” She closed her eyes, her face relaxing, “Perhaps we need to just let this all go and move on. I think Baron du Clef is right, it’s going to be a long year.”

“We keep trying because it’s worth it. It’s who we are.” Isobelle stood up, “It’s going to be a very long year I suspect. You should get some rest, I have duties to attend. Let me know if you need anything.”

Session 26 & 27: Escapes, More Monsters, and Chess

15 Coolwater to 26 Coolwater, 960 RM
15 Coolwater, 960 RM, evening, Golden
Lady Hawthorne arrived in Golden just as the sun was setting. She stopped the cart in front of Father Elthelred’s house and got out. The villagers slowly started gathering around the cart, their faces somber and grief stricken. Several men retrieved shovels and headed for the graveyard, while a few of the women and Father Elthelred took the bodies of Jeb and Jar Hostler into the church to prepare them for burial. Lady Hawthorne was struck by the air of fatalism that permeated the village.

The funeral was held early the next morning with Father Ethelred reading from “The Chronicles.” After the service the villagers returned to their homes, except for Ethelred. “How many more?” He asked Lady Hawthorne, not meeting her eyes. “None, if I have anything to do in the matter.” She promised. Lady Hawthorne then returned the horses the twins had taken when they fled the village, but the stable master did not meet her. She also left the cart with them.

Lady Hawthorne then spoke with Mayor Golden, who also did not meet her eyes. She explained that for whatever reason, a revenant had come to the village. They would be safe until the next new moon and she planned on returning to destroy it then. When the mayor asked her why this was happening, she explained what had happened to Flynn and that the current thought was that his spirit was the one haunting the village. The mayor would not believe that his son would have been involved in such an act and Lady Hawthorne was unable to convince him otherwise. Disappointed with the mayor’s attitude, she left the village after letting Father Elthelred know she would be back before the next new moon.

To: Baron Mathieu du Clef of Foxton; Captain Uriah Waggoner; Lady Isobelle Hawthorne
From: Lieutenant Niamh O’Derry, Epoptic Corp, Foxtown Draconian Unit
18 Coolwater, 960 RM
Subject: Natalie Sharp’s Escape

When I returned from patrol at dawn on 17 Coolwater, I was informed by Officer Jones that Natalie Sharp was not longer in her cell. He had checked on her three hours previously, but when he went to take her breakfast, he found her cell door open, the back door to the station opened, and on of our horses missing. I immediately sent Officer Silverstone and Trainee Jameson to the Foxton Gate to try to stop Natalie Sharp from leaving the Barony. I also sent Sargent Will and Officer Barechest to inform his Lordship of the situation. While Officer Jones studied the cell for any clues, I inquired of a contact in the Glooms to see if he would let me know if Miss Sharp had hidden herself in that part of town.

I then reported to Captain Waggoner, who suggested questioning the remaining contingent from the College of Cli as they would be the only possible friends she would have in the Barony. Officer Barechest and Officer Jones accompanied me. I first spoke with Prefect Francis who was overseeing the remaining three wizards, six swordarms, and twelve staff. Prefect Francis assured me that they would not hid Miss Sharp as her actions had brought shame on the college. Questioning the three wizards, Journymens Ryan Casey, Allen Ethel, and Morris Adams, I learned the same thing. Officer Jones also confirmed that the missing horse was not in the College of Cli’s stable nor had the stable boys seen anyone leave or arrive. Prefect Francis assured me they would let the Draconians know if they heard anything about Miss Sharp, Master Chaumer, or Billy the swordarm. I then dismissed Officer Barechest and Jones and made my report to Grey Haven.

Master Rake hypothesized that the most likely accomplices to Miss Sharp’s escape were Master Chaumer (less likely as he probably would not have the needed skills) or more likely Billy the swordarm. Although the motive for her release was questionable, except perhaps to silence her as her trial was scheduled for that afternoon. Master Rake wished to examine the cell and so we returned to headquarters. Both he and Officer Jones concluded that the locks on the cells were picked minutes after Office Jones had made his rounds. The lock pick was a master as they were able to open the locks in a few minutes. The horse had been saddled and loaded with supplies and waiting when they exited headquarters. Also, Miss Sharp’s personal belongings were still in the lockers. Master Rake suggested taking one of the items to Mistress Majaera to inquire if she could locate Miss Sharp.

Mistress Majaera was able to determine that Miss Sharp was indeed to the east, heading out of the Barony. Mistress Majaera transformed into a bird and flew toward the Foxton Gate to try to prevent Miss Sharp from leaving the Barony. Unfortunately she arrived at the gate just as the sun was setting and was able to determine that Miss Sharp had already left the Barony.

I take full responsibility for Miss Sharps escape and will await his Lordships and Captain Waggoner’s decision on what the next course of action shall be.

Lieutenant Niamh O’Derry, Epoptic Corp, Foxtown Draconian Unit

18 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
Mister Gunn and Mistress Featherlight gather three trackers and head to Hill Rose to look for the Circle of Iron and the status of the chimeras.

Lady Hawthorne receives an invitation from Captain Waggoner to join him for lunch the next day.

18 Coolwater, evening, Derry Dale
Niamh returned to her home late. She had headed toward the Foxton Gate in an effort to recapture Natalie Sharp. When Wythri had told her Natalie had already left the Barony, she was torn as to continue the chase or return to Foxtown. She had reluctantly retuned and made her report. Exhausted, she collapsed into bed.

Niamh was running through the woods, tracking the escaped mage. She could smell the girl’s fear and she was enjoying this hunt. The fact that she was the one instilling such terror was exhilarating. As the girl ran, she tripped and fell down a ditch. Niamh pounced on the girl and tore her throat out, savoring the taste of hot blood on her lips. The girl tried to say something, but she died before the words reached Niamh’s ears.

Niamh woke in her garden. She was dressed, but barefoot. She was also covered in mud and was soaking wet.

19 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
The applicants for the Baron’s Court Wizard gathered at Gray Haven after breakfast. They included Ryan Casey from the College of Cli, Allen Ethel from the College of Cli, Morris Adams also from the College of Cli, Rhonda Joslyn a mage from a town outside of Warford, and Hugo Eldamoth. Wythri refused to be considered, much to Baron du Clef and Lady Hawthorne’s disappointment.

Baron du Clef explained that he worked for the people of Foxton, and by extension the Court Wizard would also work for the people of Foxton. The qualifications Baron du Clef was looking for in his Court Wizard were knowledge of magic, the ability to defend Foxton, provide the Baron with sound advice, know Foxton and its people, maintain the dignity of the position, and be loyal to Foxton.

The first contest was to test the applicant’s magical knowledge and combat ability. Mistress Featherlight had set up her archery field before she left for such a test.

19 Coolwater, 960 RM, Hill Rose
Mister Gunn and Mistress Featherlight and their team arrived in the area of the village of Hill Rose and called on Dr Rothbury to see if he had any information on the Circle of Iron and Nikki. Dr Rothbury served his cookies and tea, but was unable to provide any information about the missing Monster Hunters. He had not seen the Circle of Iron since one of their members was killed and he had not had the pleasure of meeting Nikki. He also reported that activity from the chimeras had decreased.

After leaving Dr Rothbury’s estate, the group went to Hill Rose. They saw that the mayor’s house had been rebuilt, the destroyed barns repaired, and a new Yule Tree planted. There was a circle of stones around the tree with the names of those who had been killed by the chimera. Riley Morgan, the mayor, confirmed that the Circle of Iron had passed through the village at the first of the month, but had not been seen since then.

19 Coolwater, 960 RM, Foxtown
Lady Hawthorne reluctantly left Gray Haven to attend her lunch with Captain Waggoner. She arrived at the Garden Café in the High Quarter to find Captain Waggoner waiting for her. He had a chess board set up and ordered them lunch. “Since we will be continuing to work together, I thought we should get to know each other better,” he explained. “I’ve been in Foxtown for a little more than ten years. When I made Captain, I volunteered to come here to help protect Crow’s Head Mountain. Why did you come here?” he asked Lady Hawthorne, making the opening move of the chess game.

Isobelle thought for a moment, “I came here to mourn the loss of my husband.” She made her own move.

Captain Waggoner coached Isobelle on the tactics of the game as they played and Isobelle found herself relaxing enough to let him about the death of her son.

Captain Waggoner expressed his condolences for Isobelle’s loss. “Chess is the only vice I allow myself to indulge in,” he admitted, “However, there are few people in Foxton I can play against. When I was learning to play, my teacher told me that the game was a metaphor for life. Did you ever know what your end would be, Captain Hawthorne?”

“Once, when I was a minor lady at court, and a mother. That was all I wanted.”

“I was born the son of a wagon maker.” Captain Waggoner explained, “I thought I would die no more than a mile from where I was born, but the gods had other plans.” His move captured another one of Isobelle’s pieces. “However, I do not believe anyone is a pawn. As paladins, we are on duty at all times fighting evil.” He paused, realizing how his tone of voice must sound. “I apologize for lecturing; it’s become part of my job.” He moved another piece, “Checkmate. Perhaps we can meet again?”

“I would like that.” Isobelle admitted, “Perhaps next time I will be a better opponent.”

Lady Hawthorn returned to Gray Haven in time to catch the end of the day’s contest. Ryan Casey had done the best, followed by Rhonda Joslyn. Sage Eldamoth had unfortunately not done well. After the applicants had left, Baron du Clef asked Quion, Damien, and Lady Hawthorne to devise tests for the hopefuls.

22 Coolwater, 960 RM, Hill Rose
Mister Gunn and his group then headed deeper into the woods, attempting to track the Monster Hunters. Moving through the woods, they did not find any signs of the chimeras, but also no signs of any larger animals such as elk or bears.

Toward evening, Mister Gunn and his team heard a group approaching them. Hiding under cover, they saw a group approaching pulling a large cart. One of the trackers with Mister Gunn was spotted so introductions were made. The group with the cart was indeed the Circle of Iron. They had cleared the wood of several nests of the chimeras, but then came across other strange tracks. Following these, they encountered and killed a new type of monster. They showed Gunn and Featherlight the body in the cart. It was a large bear, larger than any bear the two foresters had ever seen. It also had tentacles instead of arms. One of the Circle of Iron thought that the creature might have trolls blood as the wounds they inflicted seemed to heal as they fought the monster. They were taking the body back to Gray Haven to show the Baron. When Gunn suggested they let Dr Rothbury take a look at the creature, the Circle of Iron refused. They disliked and did not trust the strange man. They also had not heard of Nikki.

24 Coolwater, 960 RM, evening, the Glooms
Damien had been having nightmares ever since the Festival had ended, but he had always woken feeling exhilarated. When he woke this evening, the window was open and he had a feeling there was someone in the room with him although the room was dark and he could not see anything. He remembered closing the window before going to bed.

“Hello?” Damien called out. “I know you’re in here.”

“Hello brother.” A raspy voice answered. “It’s been a long time. I am happy to see you are doing well.”

“No thanks to you.” Damien retorted. “What happened to the house?”

The raspy voice sighed, “I was younger then and foolish. We are all the family that is left. As to what happened to the house, a group of soldiers arrived. They did not understand what I was trying to achieve so they burned the house down.”

“So what are you doing here?” Damien asked, suspicious of his brother’s motives.

“Something drew me here, something in the hills, something old. Imagine my surprise to find you here, alive and well.” The laugh chilled Damien.

“You will let me know what you find?” Damien inquired.

“Of course. It would be nice to have you in the family business again.”

“The family business being raising things from the dead?” Damien scoffed. “Do you still have my finger?”

The raspy voice sighed, “Sadly no. I kept it close from many years, but it is gone. Keep yourself well brother, until we meet again.” There was the sound of flapping wings and the presence was gone. However, the room remained freezing cold, even after Damien closed the window.

26 Coolwater, 960 RM, morning, Gray Haven
Lady Hawthorne was preparing to drill her men when a guard called out from one of the towers that “something” was approaching from the east. Lady Hawthorne climbed the tower to see what the “something’ was. As the “something” drew nearer, they turned out to a swarm of large wasps with Nikki astride the leader. Lady Hawthorne ordered her guards not to fire as the swarm landed in the court yard. Nikki announced that she had acquired all the ingredients to complete the potions and demanded Quion’s help, those infected, and her payment. Lady Hawthorne asked Nikki what had been agreed on for her payment. Nikki asked how much it would cost to purchase a boat, one that sails on the ocean. Lady Hawthorne told Nikki that while the druidess prepared the potions and those that were infected were gathered, she would find the answer for her.

Quion entered the courtyard, curious to see what all the commotion was. Nikki ran over to him and gave him a passionate hug. “Did you miss me?” she asked. “I missed you.” Quion defected the questions by asking why Nikki needed his help. She told him she needed him to help her unload the ingredients and carry them up to his laboratory so she could prepare the potions.

Lady Hawthorne sent runners to Foxtown to request the Deadly Seven, Damien, and Niamh come to Gray Haven for the werewolf cure. She then talked to Baron du Clef who revealed that he owned several ships and would be willing to give Nikki one, if she succeeded in curing those cursed.

The Deadly Seven arrived a short time later, and Lady Hawthorne had to prevent them from attacking Nikki’s wasps. Nikki gave the potions to all of the monster hunters save Brandwyn, who assured everyone that she had gotten nowhere near the werewolves and Lady Hawthorne confirmed her story. Randall handled the potion the best, but poor Errol was violently sick after drinking the vile drew. Before the group returned to Foxtown, Brandwyn reminded Lady Hawthorne that they had not been paid for their assistance with the werewolves. Lady Hawthorne assured her that she would make sure their payment would be forthcoming.

The messengers sent to retrieve Damien and Niamh returned and informed Lady Hawthorne that both had refused to heed the summons stating they were both busy with other duties. Lady Hawthorne and Nikki discussed the situation and devised a plan. Nikki dismissed her wasps and left the courtyard as a whirlwind. Lady Hawthorne requested the use of the Baron’s office, the assistance of three guards, and the Baron’s help in sealing the door. Baron du Clef agreed, but only after Lady Hawthorne had made sure his furniture had been safely removed from his office. Lady Hawthorne then sent another message to Damien and Niamh requesting their attendance at an emergency meeting the Baron had called regarding the aftermath of the werewolf potions and the departure of Nikki. Grumbling, Damien and Niamh prepared to attend the meeting.

Arriving at Gray Haven, Damien and Niamh are escorted by Lady Hawthorne to the Baron’s office, and locked the door after she entered. When the two see Nikki sitting in the Baron’s chair, they realized they had been deceived. Lady Hawthorne explained that the potion was a test to see who would refuse to take it. Those who refused were the ones infected. Niamh and Damian reluctantly agreed to submit to the ritual Nikki would perform. Niamh agreed to go first, but became defiant when Nikki unexpectedly slashed her wrist and gathered the blood into a chalice. She gave Niamh some herbs to stop the bleeding. Niamh did not recognize the herbs and cursed when they burned as she placed them on her wound. Nikki started chanting, calling on the Druidic gods for their blessing and help in removing the curse. As the chanting continued, Niamh felt herself becoming tired, weak, and sick. Damien grew increasingly uncomfortable during the ceremony. The ritual lasted close to an hour culminating with Nikki’s hand transforming into a talon, which she plunged into Niamh’s chest. Niamh screamed in pain as Nikki pulled something out of the Draconian, something that struggled to remain in Niamh. Nikki prevailed and opened her hand to release black smoke. Niamh passed out, her face pale and covered with sweat, her hair matted, and her chest covered in blood. Lady Hawthorne took Niamh to the infirmary while Nikki repeated the ritual on Damien. When the ritual was completed, Damien was also taken to the infirmary and Nikki collapsed into the Baron’s chair. “Now where’s my payment?” she demanded. Lady Hawthorne smiled, “I believe you said that your payment would be to know how much a boat would cost to purchase.” Nikki glared at Lady Hawthorne, ready to take issue, but Lady Hawthorne continued. “Baron du Clef has already made arrangements and will discuss them with you now.” Baron du Clef escorted Nikki down the kitchen.

Lady Hawthorne went to Draconian Headquarters to let Captain Waggoner know Niamh would not be able to report for duty that evening, but encountered Lieutenant Tower instead. Lieutenant Tower was not pleased that Niamh would be missing her shift again. Lady Hawthorne assured him that Niamh was indeed sick and not shirking her duty. As Lady Hawthorne was leaving, she overheard Lieutenant Tower making a comment about “morning sickness.”

A few hours later Damien and Niamh woke, but they were still weak and sick. Quion also visited them to see how they were doing and offered to bring them chicken broth. At that moment there was a loud explosion, which signaled Nikki’s departure from the barony. Baron du Clef had given her the deed to one of his merchant ships which she had accepted as payment.

Master Gunn, Mistress Featherlight, and the Circle of Iron returned to Gray Haven with the remains of the new monster they had killed.

Damien: The Freedom of Natalie Sharp

Then door slammed shut behind her as she entered the dark room. Natalie settled onto the bunk in her holding cell, with only her trial to look forward to. Sitting in silence she wondering where her life went so wrong. Why had it all come down to this.

“Ms. Sharp.” A voice came through the wooden door of the cell. There was something vaguely familiar about the voice but she couldn’t place it.

“Ms. Sharp.” The voice called again.

“Yes.” She tentatively responded.

“I have a proposition for you. One that would be in your best interest.” The man’s voice whispered.

Mustering her courage she tried to hide the fear in her voice. “I’m listening.”

“I need you for an important mission. You will be my eyes and ears in Cli. Your mission is simple. Let me know who perpetrated this crime against Rake. Agree to do this for me and I will get you out of here. No trial. No sentence.”

Her mind reeled with the prospect of getting out of this whole mess.

“All I have to do is find out anything about who was responsible for Quion’s death?”

“Yes. It is that simple.” The voice said soothingly. “Of course, if you fail me, I will have to finish what I should have done when I caught you.”

The sudden realization of who she was talking to sent a cold shiver down her spine. She felt like crying all over again.

“I won’t fail.” She said through a sob.

“There is a horse out back with supplies.”

The door whined gently as it slowly opened a few inches. Looking out the door Natalie saw no one around. The back door of the holding area was also ajar.

Session 25: More Tragedy for Golden

7 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
Lady Hawthorne returned to Gray Haven just before dawn, having gotten little rest the past few days. She was greeted by Archbishop Tully, Baron du Clef, and Captain Waggoner. The four entered the chapel and Archbishop Tully opened the ceremony by welcoming the dawn and asking for the blessing of the Trinity on those assembled. He then commanded Lady Hawthorne to kneel before him holding her sword point down. Lady Hawthorne drew the Hawthorne family sword that Sir James returned to her a few hours earlier and knelt before the Archbishop. After taking the oath of a paladin, the Archbishop blessed her and the four exited the chapel.

Lady Hawthorne was surprised to see the full contingent of the Baron’s Guards in dress uniform standing in formation. Sergeant Thomas of the Gate called the men to order and presented them for Captain Hawthorne’s inspection. Overall, Lady Hawthorne was pleased with the state of her men and dismissed them to their duties.

Baron du Clef presented Lady Hawthorne with a tooled baldric and scabbard as token of his pride in her commitment. As Lady Hawthorne was preparing Night to return to Hawthorne Manor, Captain Waggoner approached her. His countenance was sad, but he smiled as he saluted her, “I misjudged you Captain. I thought you to be a spoiled rich girl playing at being a soldier. I now see you have truly earned your scars.” Lady Hawthorne returned the salute and returned to Hawthorne Manor for some much needed rest.

Quion spent the day studying the piece of cloth Niamh had found at the site of Stew Golden’s death.

8 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
Baron du Clef called his advisors together for breakfast first thing in the morning. After the group had finished eating Baron du Clef began. “I assume you all have heard about the story of the giants the one eyed man told a few nights ago?” Even Niamh nodded, Benedikt and Randell had told her about it during their dinner with her. The Baron continued, “The last thing I need is a group of Monster Hunters disturbing the peace we’ve had for the last thirty or so years. Captain Hawthorne, you have not had much of a chance to put your diplomatic training to use here, so now’s your opportunity. I want you to lead a group up into the hills and deliver my well wishes and continued offer of peace to the giants. This is not an immediate issue, so in the next few weeks.”

“Secondly, has anyone seen the Druid Nikki?” Everyone shook their heads; no one had seen her in the past five days, not since she and the Baron had discussed the need for the lycanthropy potions to cure those that had been bitten during the fight at the mining camp. “Thirdly,” The Baron continued, “My call for a Court Wizard. The College of Cli has proposed several journeymen, but the College is not on my good side right now (that does not leave this room!). I would prefer someone with a single master and who has ties to the area. If any of you know of anyone, please let me know. I will be testing all the candidates to find a good match.” Both Niamh and Lady Hawthorne suggested Wythri, which caught the elf by surprise. “Me? But I’m just an apprentice!” When questioned as to if Sage Eldamoth would applying, Wythri was unsure of her master’s intentions. “Well then,” the Baron sighed, “Is there anything else?”

“Golden.” Niamh ventured. “The new moon is but a week away and I would prefer that a third death not happen to prove the pattern. I also believe that another death would not be taken well in the village.” The Baron nodded, “I’ll leave you to handle that Lieutenant. Make sure you and your team are in Golden no later than the 14th.” Niamh nodded, “Nobbin and his gang are also still at large, and it is uncertain if any of them were infected also.” Since Nobbin and his gang had not been heard from in the last few weeks, it was determined they were not an immediate threat.

“Has anyone heard from the Circle of Iron?” Quion asked. Again no one had seen them since they left the town to hunt down the chimeras after the death of one of their fighters. Mister Gunn and Mistress Featherlight were assigned the task of checking to make sure the chimeras had been taken care of. With all business addressed, the group dispersed to their other duties.

10 Coolwater, 960 RM, Draconian Headquarters
Lady Hawthorne and Barrister Barr interviewed Natalie Sharp. Barr spoke to the young lady first. He told her that since Quion Rake had been murdered and she was an accomplice, unless she cooperated with Lady Hawthorne, she could be tried for a capital crime. Natalie agreed to tell Lady Hawthorne what she knew. Natalie told Lady Hawthorne that Chaumer had been courting her, which she liked as he was older and from a noble family. She had heard what Quion had done to Candiwyn, Dean Donnely’s daughter, and how Quion had used his family’s influence to escape justice. When Chaumer had asked her to help him she agreed, but now she realized that he had just been using her. She did not know if Chaumer had been working for anyone, but he was one of Dean Donnely’s prize students so that would be a place to start. After speaking with Natalie, Lady Hawthorne asked Barr what he had offered her, since she had cooperated, Barr was sure there would be a speedy trial and she would be sentenced to a few months of labor and then released.

11 Coolwater, 960 RM
Quion’s research on the cloth Niamh had found where Stew Golden had died revealed that the cloth was of common sack cloth, very old, and he could not detect any magic. Quion asked Niamh to take the cloth to Wythri to ask her if she could determine anything else.

Niamh took the cloth to Wythri and explained what the cloth was and what Quion had found out and asked her to attempt to learn more. Wythri said she would work on it over the next few days.

12 Coolwater, 960 RM, Quion’s Tower
Before the contingent from Cli left Foxton, Otiluke found Quion in his tower. Otiluke promised Quion that he would do everything in his power to make sure his letter would reach Candiwyn’s hands. Quion thanked him for his help and requested he continue the deception of his death. Otiluke agreed, pleased with the joke.

13 Coolwater, 960 RM, Draconian Headquarters
Captain Waggoner was surprisingly accommodating when Niamh asked permission to return to Golden. However, Niamh and Lieutenant Tower got into an argument during the shift change.

Niamh invited Benedikt to dinner again, which Benedikt readily agreed to.

14 Coolwater, 960 RM, Golden, Dawn
Niamh, Lady Hawthorne, Quion, Damien, and Mister Gunn gathered to leave for Golden. Wythri arrived late, agitated and shivering. She told the group she had cast a spell to see where the cloth had been and saw nothing but darkness; she felt bitter cold, wetness, and a great pressure weighing down on her. This corresponded to what Father Ethelred had told them about his dream. Niamh did not want to upset the village by having a large group of people enter, so she suggested Lady Hawthorne and Damien talk to Rich, Penn, Jar, and Jeb while the rest of the group searched the lake by where Alfie the younger’s body had been found.

As Lady Hawthorne and Damien entered Golden, they found the village in an uproar. Father Ethelred explained that Jar and Jeb had stolen a pair of horses before dawn and left the village heading east. Penn and Rich were at their homes being guarded by their parents. Lady Hawthorne asked Damien to try and track the twins while she went to talk to Rich.

Quion, Mister Gunn, Wythri, and Niamh headed toward the “Fishing Hole” which was a good sized lake outside the village. Wythri cast a spell that allowed them to communicate when they split up. She cast another spell that allowed Niamh and herself to breath underwater and not be bothered by the cold. Meanwhile, Quion and Mister Gunn searched around the lake for any clues, but did not find anything. Wythri and Niamh spent a few hours searching the lake before Wythri found an old potato sack filled with rocks.

When Lady Hawthorne and Damien rejoined the group, Lady Hawthorne told them that Rich had finally confessed to what had happened. Flynn did attempt to leave Golden last fall, and went to see Darla one last time. Alfie found out about the visit and he and the others intercepted the boy to teach him a lesson. According to Rich, Flynn went down and did not get back up. The boys weighted the body down with an old potato sack filled with rocks and dropped it into the lake. Damien reported that it looked like Jeb and Jar where headed for Foxton’s Gate, but would probably bypass Foxtown itself.

Lady Hawthorne had Rich, Penn, and their families stay at the church until she returned. She also assured Mayor Golden that the village would be saved and the twins returned home. Wythri cast a spell to increase the horses’ speed and the group returned to Gray Haven in record time. They exchanged horses and continued on toward Foxton’s Gate.

As night passed, a storm suddenly came up bringing with it a bitter cold wind and hail. The horses were slowed to a walk until the storm passed them a few hours later. Just before dawn, the group approached the village of Lafayette and spotted two bedraggled horses. Mister Gunn had a hard time calming the creatures, but finally learned that the riders had fallen off in the woods when the horses had encountered something scary. Tracking back, the group found Jar and Jeb lying in the woods with their necks broken. It looked as if the boys had been knocked off the horses and killed by the fall, but Quion found what looked like bruising around the neck in the shape of hand prints. The bodies were taken to the village and Lady Hawthorne procured a cart. After a few hours rest, the group returned to Foxtown and Lady Hawthorne continued to Golden to deliver the bodies.

To: Baron Mathieu du Clef of Foxton; Captain Uriah Waggoner, Theologic Corp, Foxtown Draconian unit
From: Lieutenant Niamh O’Derry, Epoptic Corp, Foxtown Draconian unit
15 Coolwater, 960 RM
Subject: More Tragedy in Golden

It is my unfortunate duty to report that the village of Golden has lost two more of its young men. Jeb and Jar Hosteller were found just outside the village of Lafayette after dawn today. Master Rake determined that the boys died from a broken neck. The twins were apparently thrown from their horses during a storm. According to Mister Gunn, the two horses had been spooked by something in the woods and the two boys had fallen off. Master Rake also noticed that there seems to be bruising around their necks, as if by hand prints. Captain Hawthorne has continued to Golden to return the bodies.

Before tracking down the boys, Captain Hawthorne had interviewed Rich Miller. Rich told her that Flynn did attempt to leave Golden last fall, and went to see Darla Golden one last time. Alfie the younger found out about the visit and he and the others intercepted Flynn to teach him a lesson. Flynn went down during the fight and did not get back up. The boys weighted the body down with an old potato sack filled with rocks and dropped it into the lake. Mistress Majaera and I had searched the lake bottom and indeed found an old potato sack filled with rocks, but no body.

If indeed these deaths are the result of Flynn’s death, I am at a loss on how to prevent any further tragedy. Our best efforts failed to prevent the deaths of Jar and Jeb. There are still several unanswered questions: Why do these deaths happen around the new moon? How is the storm we encountered, and that was reported last month, related? If these deaths were the result of Flynn’s death, then why did Big Pete confess to murdering Alfie the younger? Where is Flynn’s body, the cold water of the lake should have preserved something. How do we protect Rich Miller, Penn Smith, and Darla Golden? Again we are left with more questions than answers. Fortunately we have another month to try to work out the answers.

Lieutenant Niamh O’Derry, Epoptic Corp, Foxtown Draconian unit.

Isobelle: A Conversation with Sir James

, 02-11-2011
By the time the party had started to wind down Isobelle was beyond exhausted. The entire week was not one she ever cared to repeat. The elation she felt through the evening was a combination of finally making her will known, expressed in words, and being awake far longer than was reasonable. It wasn’t until everything was over and they were in the carriage heading back to the manor that she became a little more somber. “I need to apologize for earlier this evening.” She started, “I was a little more forward than I should have been.” Her normally bright blue eyes had darkened with fatigue and the suddenly serious tone of her voice.

“I should say so,” Sir James replies in an icy tone. Then he sighs and rubs his eyes tiredly. “Perhaps I should apologize as well, Isobelle. I should not have sprung my intentions on you quite so abruptly. But you should know, I never intended for your exile to Foxton to be permanent. Anyone could see that you were heartsick, broken, and slowly going mad from grief and rage. I sent you here because… because I could not stand the idea of losing you to madness and despair. I thought the country air would be restorative. I had no idea just how right I was.”

There is exhaustion in James’ voice, and a touch of bitterness as well. But no anger, none of the fury that Isobelle saw in him earlier this evening.

Isobelle took a moment before speaking, “I don’t think I expected to stay. I certainly didn’t expect to want to stay.” She was speaking quietly, “But I can’t leave. Not now.” She sighed, “I’ve lost too much to go back.” Her eyes had a deep sadness in them, “Everything I was, everything ever asked of me is ashes and dust.” She looked up from where her gaze was on her lap, and into James’ eyes, “I no longer have who I was, and I can’t be that anymore.” Her eyes held an unspoken need for him to understand.

“Isobelle…” he hesitates. “You aren’t the only one who has changed. When Nathan…” he shakes his head, whether in anger, resignation, or sadness, Isobell cannot tell. “Everything is different now. I just pray that whatever it is that you are looking for, when you find it… if you find it… you will come back home.”

“James…” Isobelle was at a momentary loss for words, “I promise I will return home to you when the time is right.” She said finally.

Session 24: The End of the Festival

5 Coolwater, 960 RM, afternoon
After Lady Hawthorne left his tower, Quion disguised himself in a pilgrim’s robe and made his way to Derry Dale. He had a plan in mind and needed Niamh’s help implementing it. Arriving at Derry Dale, he found Niamh cooking. Quion told Niamh that the man who had assaulted him the previous night was a man named Ward Chaumer from the College of Cli. Chaumer had aspirations of joining the Draconians and was convinced he would be readily accepted. Quion suggested that Niamh enlist Chaumer’s help in investigating Quion’s “murder” under the pretense of assessing his readiness for the force. Quion also hoped that Chaumer would try to implicate whoever had set him onto Quion, probably Candiwyn’s father or betrothed. Quion feared that any direct accusation against Chaumer would lead to the student being “thrown to the wolves” so to speak. He also presented the letter he had received that had led him to the ambush. Niamh assured Quion that she would put his plan into action as soon as she reported for duty, which would be shortly after the evening meal.

Quion returned to the crime scene in an attempt to gain any evidence that had not been obliterated since the attack. Quion determined that there had been three people waiting for him, but not for very long. The woman he had mistaken for Candiwyn was the same size as his former friend, she had been standing in the road. Chaumer and Billy had hidden in the bushes beside the road. Billy was a large man, probably a Swordarm acting as a bodyguard for the wizard. After he had finished his investigation, Quion went to Draconian Headquarters to play dead if Chaumer wanted to study the “body.”

Lady Hawthorne attended the festival to try to relax after delivering Quion’s description of his attackers to the Draconians. While wandering the fair grounds, she spotted Archbishop Edmond Tully also taking in the festival. Lady Hawthorne offered to accompany the Archbishop and the two engaged in a long conversation. Archbishop Tully studied Lady Hawthorne for a moment, “If I may be so bold as to make an observation, Lady Hawthorne. When you first arrived at Crow’s Head Mountain, you were a lost soul. When you returned with the wounded man, Richard, I saw that the fire had returned to your soul. Now, I see that you have changed yet again, your faith seems to have fully returned.”

Lady Hawthorne nodded, “My faith has returned, even stronger that before.”

Archbishop Tully, “Then will you be taking the oath to serve the gods?” This was a very serious question.

Lady Hawthorne paused for a moment, “I believe I will.”

The Archbishop looked into Lady Hawthorne’s eyes, “This is a very serious oath you understand. You are not only dedicating your life to the service of the Trinity, but to the service of your fellow man.”

Lady Hawthorne smiled, “This is the first duty I will committee to under my own choosing.”

The Archbishop also smiled, “Then it would be my honor to perform the ritual for you if you so desire.”

“I would very much like that,” Lady Hawthorne stated, “Would you be available the day after the Baron’s Ball, Elfday?”

”I would. Where would you prefer to have the ceremony take place? In the town or Crow’s Head Mountain?”

“The chapel at Gray Haven actually.” She continued when she saw the surprised looked on the Archbishop’s face, “I have found that to be my place of solace.” The Archbishop agreed and they spent the rest of the day talking about the barony.

Wythri was tending the booth she and Eldamoth had set up in order to sell charms and potions. The business they were doing was quite good. Eldamoth resupplied the booth when needed while Wythri made the sales. Eldamoth approached the booth mid-morning quite excited. A courier from the castle had arrived at the shop requesting both Eldamoth and Wythri’s presence at the ball the following day. Baron du Clef had an important announcement to make and wanted both of them to be present. Wythri had already been planning to attend and advised Eldamoth to acquire a new robe of the occasion. She also assured him that she would speak with Master Wraithchild to find an appropriate escort for her master.

Damien Wraithchild had received Quion’s descriptions of his attackers from Lady Hawthorne and was watching the pavilion that housed the Collage of Cli. He had no trouble spotting the Swordarm Billy, but Chaumer and the woman were not among the wizards entertaining the festival goers. After several hours he went to find Lady Hawthorne and was stopped by Wythri. Wythri asked Damien if he would be her escort to the Baron’s Ball, which he agreed, and since he knew several “ladies” if he could find a suitable escort for Eldamoth. Damien said he would try, not sure if Wythri understood the type of “ladies” he knew. He found Lady Hawthorne talking to the Archbishop so kept his distance.

Benedikt of Crom and Randell Stowes of the Deadly Seven spent some time before their dinner at Derry Dale making themselves presentable. When they arrived at Niamh’s house, they found she had prepared a dinner of stew and fresh bread for them.

Lieutenant O’Derry arrived at Draconian Headquarters in the best mood she had been in since transferring to Foxtown three years ago. She enlisted Sergeant Will’s aid in Quion’s plan and the two of them approached the Collage of Cli’s tent. Niamh introduced herself and asked to speak with Ward Chaumer regarding an investigation she was conducting. She told Chaumer that she had learned that he had applied to enter the Draconians, and since she was investigating a murder with possible thaumic connections, one of the victim’s last words was something like “Chamer,” she would appreciate his help. She could also observe him and write a letter of recommendation for him. Chaumer hesitantly agreed so Niamh lead him to the murder site. She explained that the victim was Quion Rake, a clerk in the employee of Baron du Clef so she was under pressure to find the killer quickly. Quion had also been a student at the College of Cli but had since left the school. She produced the letter Quion had given her to see if Chaumer recognized the hand writing and had any idea who “C” could be. She also told him that the other word Quion had uttered before his death was Candiwyn. Chaumer told Niamh what had happened between Quion and Candiwyn and that Quion was acquitted because the level of spell used in the potion was considered above Quion’s level of learning. He also told Niamh that Candiwyn was still in Drache. Niamh asked is perhaps Candiwyn’s family was behind the attack, but Chaumer denied any knowledge. Sargent Will had been watching Chaumer throughout the conversation and noticed the student getting more and more nervous as the questioning continued, especially when Candiwyn was mentioned. He also noticed that two people, a young woman and a large man, were following them. Arriving at the North Gate, Niamh asked Chaumer if he could detect any residue magic in the area that might help them learn more about the murder. Chaumer tried three times to cast a spell, but after failing, he simply teleported away to his companions and they fled the area. Convinced of Chaumer’s guilt, Niamh sent Will back to Draconian Headquarters to report to Quion while she returned to the Festival to look for Lady Hawthorne and Damien.

The final round of the Taleweaver Competition was beginning as Niamh, Will, and Chaumer left the Festival. The finalists included Emmit’s Jug Band, a local band with lots of enthusiasm; the Crystal Sisters, also a local duo; Raul Reyes, a guitar player from Kidbod; Brandwyn Wright from the Deadly Seven; and the one-eyed man from the previous evening who told the tale of the giants. Bri was in a sticky situation when the last act failed to come to the stage! After all four groups had performed, the crowd could not choose between Raul Reyes and the Crystal Sisters. Baron du Clef was then called to the stage to award the prizes. He presented the Bronze Metal to Emmit’s Jug Band, the Silver Metal to Raulo Rezz, and the Gold Metal to the Crystal Sisters.

Niamh returned to the Festival and quickly found Lady Hawthorne and Damien. She related Quion’s plan and what she and Sergeant Will had learned from Chaumer. At Lady Hawthorne’s request, Damien collected Baron du Clef from the company of the Crystal Sisters. After hearing Niamh’s report, Baron du Clef ordered Ward Chaumer and his associates arrested for assaulting Quion. Niamh gathered up several of the Irregulars while Lady Hawthorne changed into her uniform and collected several of the Baron’s Guards from Gray Haven.

The two groups approached the College of Cli’s pavilion while Damien stealthily approached the back of the tent to prevent the suspects from bolting. Niamh announced the warrant for the arrest of Chaumer and his associates, but Damien came riding around from the back stating the three had already taken horses and fled. Lady Hawthorne quickly mounted her horse Night and the two pursued the three fugitives.

The Draconians returned to headquarters where Niamh gave a quick report to Quion before she and the Irregulars joined the pursuit. After hearing Niamh’s account of the events, Quion went to the Festival grounds and asked for entry to the lead representative’s tent. Quion entered and was greeted by Otiluke the Merry, a member of the Council of Nine consisting of the most powerful wizards in Demoria. Baron du Clef was already there meeting with Otiluke. Quion apologized for the upheaval he had caused, but Otiluke stated that he was the one who should apologize for the attack on Quion and promised that the offenders would be punished. Quion expressed his thoughts that Chaumer and his associates were merely pawns and the person who directed the attack be found. Quion also requested that if at all possible his letter to Candiwyn be delivered to her as was originally intended. Otiluke promised he would see that Candiwyn received the letter, so Quion rewrote the letter. Baron du Clef also added his support to Quion. Quion then returned to Draconian Headquarters to await news from Niamh.

Damien was able to catch up with the woman who was the slowest of the three riders. He jumped from his horse onto hers and stopped her horse. After binding her and leaving her for the Draconians, he and Lady Hawthorne continued the chase for the two men.

6 Coolwater, 960 RM
Lady Hawthorne, Damien, and the Draconians arrived at the Foxton Gate at first light. The guards there told them that two riders had passed through a few hours earlier. With much trepidation, the group stopped to rest their horses and have breakfast before returning to Foxtown.

Returning to Draconian Headquarters, Niamh placed the woman, Natalie Sharp, in a cell and informed Quion the other two had managed to leave the barony. Quion returned to Gray Haven and was assaulted by Cici’s babbling about her time at the Festival. It was not until she paused for a breath that she noticed her master was injured.

Lady Hawthorne returned to Hawthorne Manor and quickly prepared for the Baron’s Ball. She met Sir James in the parlor. They both apologized for not being able to spend more time together. “When I had first heard that you had accepted the position of Captain of the Baron’s Guard, I had assumed the position to be a ceremonial one and that you would not be placed in any danger. So I did not object at that time.” Sir James told her, “Recent events have proven otherwise and so I have requested that Baron du Clef release you from your duty.”

Lady Hawthorne frowned, “Have you now? I assure you that Baron du Clef has my safety and that the barony in the foremost of his mind. I am also well aware of my duties as Captain of the Baron’s Guards and I believe I will continue in that duty. I will also be taking Nathaniel’s place in service to the church in the morning. I believe I will be of greatest service staying here in Foxton in the proximity of Crow’s Head Mountain.”

Sir James frowned, “Then there is nothing I can say to dissuade you from this course?”

Lady Hawthorne smiled, “I believe not.”

Still frowning, Sir James offered his arm to Lady Hawthorne and escorted her to the carriage that was waiting to take them to Gray Haven.

Niamh, Damien, Wythri, Eldamoth, and Mistress Kane arrived at Gray Haven. The castle was lit up both inside and outside. Music from the ballroom spilled out into the courtyard as the carriage arrived. Quion meet Niamh at the entrance to the castle and escorted her in. The ballroom was filled with visiting dignitaries, Mayor Hobbs, Captain Waggoner, and members of the town council. Quion told Niamh what had happened during his meeting with Otiluke and surprised her by dancing with her.

Sir James and Lady Hawthorne arrived and Wythri noticed the attitudes between the two. She and Damien greeted the Hawthornes and were introduced to Sir James. The contingent from the College of Cli arrived, led by Otiluke the Merry who was dressed in outlandishly bright, clashing colors. Sir James excused himself from the conversation with Wythri and Damien to get some wine for himself and Lady Hawthorne.

Baron du Clef entered the ballroom room announced by a trumpeting fanfare. He welcomed his guests to the ball and reminded everyone that an important announcement would be made at the end of the evening’s festivities. He then approached Lady Hawthorne who told him that Ward Chaumer and Billy had fled the barony. Baron du Clef assured her that this issue could be tabled for the moment.

Wythri met Otiluke and was confused by his manner and learned that he knew the Baron while he was a student at the College of Cli. Quion talked with his former classmates and learned the latest news from the College. Lady Hawthorne also was introduced to Otiluke and was amused by his manner. She also kept an eye on Baronet Percy Lelander to make sure he did not get too far into his cups. Quion introduced Niamh to Otiluke who recognized her as a witch but did not have the typical reaction she was used to.

At the end of the Ball, Baron du Clef announced that he would be looking for a court wizard this month. All applicants would have to pass a series of challenges and he would announce his decision by the end of the month.

Otiluke and a slightly inebriated Wythri ended the Festival with a magical fireworks display, each trying to outdo the other.

Session 23: The Stirring of Echoes

2 Coolwater, 960 RM
Damien regained consciousness to see the wolf and man that had attacked him lying dead next to him. He thought he sensed someone standing over him, but he could not move his head to get a better look and quickly lost consciousness again.

He woke again to see the full moon above him. He also felt the cold steel of a scimitar at his throat and Nikki’s angry voice hissing in his ear, “Tell me how you did this!” Managing to sit up, Damien first noticed the smell of rotted flesh and then saw the bodies of his two attackers desiccated and rotting away as if they had been dead for several days not hours. Damien assured Nikki that he had no idea what had happened and the last thing he remembered was being killed. “I should kill you right here, but I’m trying to be better about that sort of thing, so I guess I’ll let your Baron deal with you.” Damien agreed that would be a good idea, but he was still too weak to walk. Nikki used her magic to enlarge two ants to the size of mules and had them carry Damien back to Gray Haven. Before they left, Nikki blasted the two bodies with a wave of fire, reducing them to nothing but ash, “I would not have them following us.” She explained to Damien.

The two giant ants caused a great deal of commotion passing through the fair grounds on the way to the castle. Arriving at the gate, Nikki demanded to be let in, but Sergeant Thomas of the Gate refused to let the Druid and her creatures into the castle. Quion arrived at the gate a short time later, having heard the argument from his tower. Quion persuaded Nikki to return the ants to their normal size and then assisted her in conveying Damien to the infirmary where his wounds could be tended to. Nikki refused to use her magic to heal Damien, explaining to Quion what she had found. Quion reassured Nikki that to his knowledge Damien knew no Necromantic magic so there must have been someone else involved. Nikki finally agreed to heal Damien, but only because Quion had made the request.

3 Coolwater, 960 RM
Damien woke around noon to find Baron du Clef checking in on him. Damien explained what had happened, the condition of the bodies of his attackers, and the possibility that his brother might still be alive. Baron du Clef was disturbed by this news and had Damien report to the Temple of Durom to have his wounds better tended to. Archbishop Edmond had arrived in Foxtown from Crow’s Head Mountain and would be able to tend to Damien.

Wythri and Eldamoth had set up a tent on the festival grounds and were making some money selling charms and potions to the festival goers. Wythri spent most of the time tending to the booth while Eldamoth resupplied the charms and potions that were sold. After the booths closed for the evening; Wythri attended the Taleweaver competition, saw a few of her boyfriends, and generally enjoyed herself.

Lady Hawthorne’s bedraggled hunting party limped back into Foxtown just as the sun was setting. The Deadly Seven returned to the Huntsman’s Inn to drown their injuries and rest. Mister Gunn and Mistress Featherlight returned to Gray Haven. Lady Hawthorne escorted the wounded Niamh to Derry Dale and made sure the wound Draconian was tucked into bed. Lady Hawthorne then stopped at Draconian Headquarters to let Captain Waggoner know Niamh would not be reporting for duty that evening, a probably the next evening as well. Lady Hawthorne retrieved her horse from Hawthorne Manor and rode to Gray Haven. Mister Gunn, Mistress Featherlight, and Lady Hawthorne arrived at Gray Haven about the same time. Baron du Clef and Sir James Hawthorne met them in the courtyard. Lady Hawthorne reported to the Baron that the threat she had been sent to deal with had been taken care of. When he saw the battered and bloody Isobelle, Sir James started to say something, but the Baron stopped him and suggested he return to Hawthorne Manor. Buster, the Baron’s valet, escorted Sir James to the stables and saw the man on his way. The uninjured Featherlight retired to her quarters. The Baron ordered Lady Hawthorne and Mister Gunn to the Temple of Durom to be healed. Mister Gunn was to report back to the Baron in the morning. Seeing that Lady Hawthorne was in distress, the Baron asked if she was well and Lady Hawthorne assured him she was fine. He also told her that Damien had returned the previous evening and was having his injuries tended to at the temple.

After having her wounds tended to at the Temple of Durom, and assuring the priests there that the Baron would make a substantial donations for their services, Lady Hawthorne sent word to the Deadly Seven that they could have their wounds tended to at the temple also. Arriving back at Hawthorne Manor, she was met by a livid Sir James who demanded to what had happened and what “this Baron” had her doing. In response, Lady Hawthorne handed Sir James the Hawthorne family sword she had taken from Nathaniel’s body and told him that the evil that had been masquerading as her husband had been dispatched. Sir James was struck dumb by the revelation that his brother had been in Foxton. Lady Hawthorne also told Sir James that “this Baron” had her protecting the Barony, which was her honor to fulfill. Sir James retorted that he would have words with Baron du Clef first thing in the morning. Pushing past Sir James, Lady Hawthorne told him they would talk tomorrow. After cleaning herself off and writing in her journal, Isobelle cried herself to sleep.

4 Coolwater, 960 RM
Lady Hawthorne left the manor early in the morning. She arrived at Derry Dale to check in on Niamh. Niamh, having been awaken by Isobelle, invited her join her for breakfast. Isobelle advised Niamh to stay off duty for a few days so she could recover. Niamh shook her head, “We are understaffed already because of the festival. Every able body is needed as much as possible.” Isobelle frowned and told Niamh that while she admired her dedication, the wounded officer could not afford to be in another fight. Niamh promised Isobelle that she would assign herself desk duty for the duration of the festival which should ensure she stayed out of trouble. Before leaving Isobelle told Niamh she could seek further treatment for her wounds at the Temple of Durom per orders from the Baron. Niamh promised Isobelle that she would do so later in the day.

After finishing his devotions, Mister Gunn reported to Baron du Clef for his punishment as ordered by Baronet Lelander. Gunn found the Baron in his garden uncharacteristically restrained. The Baron confided in Mister Gunn that although he loathed giving Baronet Lelander any satisfaction, in this matter, he was forced to subject Gunn to some sort of public punishment. The two agreed that Mister Gunn should spend the day in the stocks. Vesper Kirsch and Gervaise Lothaire were summoned to escort Mister Gunn to the stocks and to make sure nothing worse than rotten vegetables were thrown at the forester. A few hours later, Baronet Lelander approached the stocks with several of his followers, but Kirsch and Lothaire prevented him from doing anything worse that glaring at Gunn. Wythri passed Mister Gunn on her way to her booth and inquired why he was there. Gunn told her it was because he had gotten a local girl “into trouble.” Wythri made sure Kirsch and Lothaire got food during the day.

After leaving Derry Dale, Lady Hawthorne went to the Temple of Durom where she encountered the Deadly Seven. While the monster hunters were having their wounds tended, Lady Hawthorne requested they remain in town so that those that had been bitten by the werewolves could be treated with Nikki’s cure and so they could receive their payment. She then spent some time in prayer and meditation before reporting for duty at Grey Haven.

Damien, feeling much better after having his injuries tended to, attended the festival and spent some time talking to Wythri. During their conversation, Damien told her about what had happened. Wythri asked if could analyze Damien to see if he had any lingering Necromantic effects about him. Damien agreed and Wythri was able to assure him that although there was a very faint and fading aftereffect, he was clear of any dark magic.

Niamh arrived at the Temple of Durom as the Deadly Seven were leaving and invited Benedikt and Randall to join her for an early dinner the next day. She then had her injuries attended to by Archbishop Edmond.

Lady Hawthorne arrived at Gray Haven and had Sergeant Thomas debrief her on what she had missed. Sergeant Thomas told her that the recruits were continuing their training and that so far no major incidents had happened during the festival. Lady Hawthorne inquired as to the whereabouts of the Druidess Nikki. Sergeant Thomas told her that Nikki was last seen early this morning talking with the Baron but then disappeared in an explosion of fire. Thomas also warned Lady Hawthorne that the Baron was in an uncharacteristically bad mood. Lady Hawthorne took her damaged chainmail to the armorer to have it repaired and then found Baron du Clef in his garden. The two of them talked for some time.

That evening during the Taleweaver competition, Brandwyn told the tale of the Deadly Seven’s battle against the chimera, but her voice was still strained from the fight with the werewolves and so did not do as well as she had hoped. She was followed by two local sisters that were surprising good. After them an old one-eyed man took the stage with a battered lute. “Me voice ain’t so good at singing,” he croaked, “But I can still tale a yarn as good as any of ye.” He then told the tale of the giants that once roamed this land before people settled here. But as humans started settling in this area, they were driven deeper into the woods and further into the hills. Then Nonsra united all the giant clans together and lead them in a battle to retake their land. The current Baron’s father put out a call for heroes to battle these giants. A group of heroes did arrive, a large man who would later be called the Giant-Slayer; a hawk-faced wizard from the sun-scorched deserts to the south; a mysterious thief called the Black Rat; a paladin who the people learned later was the crown prince of Demoria; and a woman as beautiful as the dawn who was quick with sword and spell. These heroes did battle with Nonsra in his own keep and destroyed him. It was known that Nonsra was a collector, but his was not just any collection. Nonsra collected magical items. One of the items in his collection was said to be a magic lute once owned by Doss, the founder of the famed Bardic College. It was said that this lute could charm the birds from the trees. The heroes did not bring this treasure back with them after the battle, so the lute is still out there, somewhere. During the old man’s tale, all chatter had stopped within the audience as all had been captivated by his tale. Lady Hawthorne remembered that Niamh had told her a similar story about her grandmother during their pilgrimage. Errol Wanderfar got a familiar gleam in his eye hearing of a lost magical treasure.

After the competition, Quion returned to his tower to find a note waiting for him. It simply read, “I need to see you. Meet me at the North Gate alone. –C” Quion stared at the note for several minutes, not sure what to do. Finally he gathered his courage and left for the North Gate. He arrived there to find three people waiting for him, a woman and man he did not recognize and Ward Chaumer, a fellow student from the College at Cli. Quion remembered that Ward had disliked him while they were students. Ward waved Quion’s letter to Candiwyn under Quion’s nose, “You won’t escape justice this time Rake.”

“Are you in the habit of reading the lady’s mail?” Quion quietly asked.

“You had no right to write to her!” Ward sneered back.

“That did not answer my questions.” Quion repeated. “Are you in the habit of reading the lady’s mail?”

“I’m in the habit of protecting her.” Ward answered.

Quion raised an eyebrow, “You failed the first time.”

Ward’s face grew purple with anger, “Billy,” he indicated the hooded man Quion did not recognize, “teach this slug a lesson.”

Billy’s fists and feet pounded into Quion’s flesh without hesitation and Quion refused to defend himself. After several long minutes of brutal pain, Ward leaned over Quion’s bloody and broken body, “This is just the beginning of what I’ve got planned for you.”

Quion spat out blood, “I am surprised you managed to plan this far ahead.” He croaked.

Ward replied by shooting several painful magical bolts into Quion’s battered body, but stopped when he heard the whistles of the Draconians approaching. He and the others fled into the Glooms. Officer Candor Silverstone and Office Uri Barechest arrived at the scene and quickly stabilized the wounded Quion. Sergeant Will, Officer Tunnelmouse, and Trainee Jameson arrived a few minutes later. While Silverstone and Jameson took Quion to Draconian Headquarters; Barechest, Will, and Tunnelmouse looked for clues about the assailants. Tunnelmouse found a piece of vellum that had once had writing on it, but the piece of paper had been dropped into a puddle and the ink had smeared. Arriving at headquarters, Niamh sent Silverstone to fetch a priest while she set Quion’s broken bones and treated the cuts and bruises. She and Jameson used their healing magic to begin the mending process, but the priest from the temple did the majority of the healing and advised Niamh not to move Quion until the morning. Niamh sent Silverstone and Jameson to tell the Baron what had happened, and Sergeant Will and Tunnelmouse to Hawthorne Manor to inform Lady Hawthorne. Both groups returned with word that the two nobles would arrive first thing in the morning.

5 Coolwater, 960 RM
Lady Hawthorne left the manor before dawn, not even waiting for the servants to prepare breakfast. When she arrived at Draconian Headquarters, Niamh told her what was known; Quion had been assaulted outside the North Gate and the assailants had retreated into the Glooms. The only piece of evidence that was found was the piece of vellum. Lady Hawthorne then went to Damien’s house and requested he find who ever had attacked Quion, but not to confront them, she wished to speak with them herself.

Returning to Draconian Headquarters, Lady Hawthorne found Baron du Clef sitting beside Quion, who pretended to be asleep. Niamh provided the piece of vellum and Lady Hawthorne took it to Wythri to see if the elf could restore the writing. The Baron requested that Quion be left to rest and despite Niamh’s request that someone watch Quion, he was left alone. Quion signed himself out of custody and returned to his tower.

Lady Hawthorne found Wythri before she had left for the festival and asked her if could restore the writing on the paper as that might be a clue as to why Quion had been attacked. Wythri was able to use her magic to restore the writing. “Wow! Master Rake was in love?” Wythri muttered after reading the letter.

“Apparently.” Lady Hawthorne agreed.

“That explains a lot. Love must hurt.” Wythri observed.

“You have no idea.” Lady Hawthorne muttered. She thanked Wythri for her assistance and returned to Hawthorne Manor to copy the letter before the spell faded. After she locked her copy in her desk she returned the original garbled letter to the Draconians where she was informed that Quion was no longer there.

Arriving a Gray Haven, Lady Hawthorne found Baron du Clef in a heated argument with Nikki. Lady Hawthorne interrupted the argument to request a dozen werewolf cures from the Druid. Nikki reluctantly agreed, but only after telling the Baron it would cost him dearly. Baron du Clef agreed and the Druidess stormed off as a whirlwind. After Nikki had left, the Baron and Lady Hawthorne retreated to an unused watch tower and Lady Hawthorne told the Baron what was in the letter. The Baron was not pleased that one of his friends had been attacked and Lady Hawthorne assured him she would make sure Quion’s attackers were brought to justice. The Baron let Lady Hawthorne know that Quion had returned and was working in his tower.

Lady Hawthorne found Quion alone working at his desk and requested a description of his assailants. Quion requested that the matter be dropped as no good could come of persecuting his attackers. Lady Hawthorne adamantly disagreed and Quion reluctantly gave her Ward’s name and told her that he was from the College of Cli, and a description of the other two people he had not recognized.

Lady Hawthorne gave one copy to the Draconians and the other to Damien.

A Hunting We Will Go

Session 22: 2 Coolwater, 960 RM
Damien Wrathchild watched Lady Hawthorne and Master Gunn’s group leave the fairgrounds, heading west. A few minutes later, he spotted two men leaving the fairgrounds in the same direction the others had left. Damien tailed the two men and was sure they had not spotted him when a sudden burst of wind raced along the trail and the druidess Nikki appeared beside him.

“Why aren’t you with Master Gunn?” Damien asked the red headed woman.

“I wanted to observe you.” She replied, rather loudly.

“Why me?” Damien asked.

“Because you were infected. The other one wasn’t, but it was amusing to watch him try to keep the potion down.” Nikki laughed quietly, “I want to see if you transform.”

“I thought the potion was supposed to have cured us.” Damien was starting to dislike the woman.

Nikki shrugged, “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, tell me about that tall drink of water working for the Baron.”

Damien was confused, “Which one?”

“The pale one that works in the tower.” Nikki explained, “Does he like women?”

“Quion?” Damien shrugged, “It’s never come up one way or the other.”

“What about that blonde hussy that works for him?” Nikki’s eyes narrowed.

“Cici? She’s just a kid. Quion might be creepy, but I don’t think he’s that creepy.” Damien began to doubt Nikki’s judgment in men.

“Good.” Nikki smiled, “Does he like bugs? I like bugs, especially the stinging ones.”

Damien shrugged again, “He catalogs all sorts of things. Damn, where’d they go?” The two men he had been following had slipped off the trail at some point.

Nikki looked around and shrugged, “I’ll be watching you.” Another guest of wind rose up and she was gone.

Damien just shook his head and continued up the trail, he heard someone stepping on a twig so he blended into the shadows. The two men he was following stepped out onto the trail from either side. “We know you’re here.” They yelled, “Better come out.” Damien stepped out of the shadows and faced the two men. “Well, well, well, what do we have here? The Baron’s pet assassin!” The two men chuckled, “I think his Lordship is going to need to get a replacement.” The two men drew their swords and moved to flank Damien.

Damien drew his daggers and maneuvered from out between them, thrusting one of his daggers into one of the thugs vitals, but the other thug managed to slice Damien. Suddenly Damien found himself facing the meanest, blackest wolf he had ever seen and barely managed to dodge as the creature lunged at him. Damien stabbed the wolf in the chest with the silver dagger he had just procured, but the wolf tore into his shoulder. The pain from the wound was so terrible that Damien lost consciousness. Damien regained his senses in time to stab the wolf standing over him in the face. The first thug Damien had stabbed attacked him striking him in the stomach and Damien’s world went black.

The hunting party left the fairgrounds and headed west. Featherlight Yewstrong suggested they start where they had seen the wolves the previous morning and try tracking them from there. With Keinan Murdoch’s assistance, they found the trail they believed to belong to the pack of wolves that had followed the Baron’s hunt. The trail led up into the hills with tracks coming together and then splitting apart again. During the trek into the hills, the Wisdom brothers kept arguing over their grandfather’s spear (which they claimed was blessed by Mitra). Close to dusk, the Wisdom brothers lead the party to an old abandoned mining camp that they could spend the night at. Arriving at the camp, Niamh determined that the camp had been abandoned for many years. The party set up camp in an old house that was mostly falling apart, but would keep out any weather. The Wisdom brothers left the camp to gather firewood.

Errol Wanderfar, Randall Stowes, and Tatianna of the Deadly Seven stood first watch. It wasn’t until half way through that they realized that the Wisdom brothers had not returned. Tatianna slipped into the shadows to go look for them. She easily followed the two men’s trail to just outside of the mining camp. She found wolf tracks, the brothers’ broken spear, and copious amounts of blood in the area. Following the blood trail, Tatianna suddenly found herself surrounded by wolves, she fled for a tree but the wolves managed to severely wound her as she climbed to safety.

When Tatianna failed to return within a few minutes, Errol woke Lady Hawthorne, Featherlight, and Brandwyn Wright. He explained what was happening and Lady Hawthorne asked Featherlight to look for the impetuous green elf. The rest of the party was awakened to prepare for the attack everyone expected to happen soon. Featherlight also followed the trail and found the broken spear. As she returned to camp with the pieces, they heard Tatianna scream in pain. Lady Hawthorne sent Featherlight to assist Tatianna.

The party positioned themselves for the coming battle and Errol cast a spell to illuminate the area. No sooner was the area filled with light then a pack of wolves appeared at the edge of the camp. Lady Hawthorne gave the order that all the wolves be killed. Keinan spent the battle firing his bow at a wolf that attacked him. Brandwyn took cover in the stables and began chanting a song of protection to bolster her companion’s defenses and did not stop until the battle was over. Robert the Half used his crossbow to fire at a wolf that attacked Master Gunn. The first attacks by the wolves mostly missed, except Gunn was hit. Benedikt enchanted Brictius’ spear and Randall used his fighting skills to help protect Niamh.

Lady Hawthorne slashed the wolf attacking her in the chest, and then spotted a man standing by himself just inside the camp. Although the man was unkempt and dressed in wolf skins, her eyes narrowed in recognition. Brictius used his speed to alternate attacking the wolf fighting Gunn and two wolves attacking Bendikt. The wolves’ attacks were successful against Randall and Gunn. Niamh enchanted Randall’s sword and Randall was successful in hitting one of the wolves attacking him in the face, stunning it.

Lady Hawthorne advanced toward the man, “Nathaniel, you will answer for your crimes in the king’s court, or Durom’s, I care not which.” The man just smiled and drew his own sword. The wolf attacking Keinan was the only one to make a successful attack, but Keinan was not injured. Errol cast a lightning bolt and hit the wolf Randall had already dropped, ensuring it would not attack again. Featherlight shot one of her silver tipped arrows at one of the wolves attacking Niamh, driving the shaft into the creature’s vitals.

Lady Hawthorne closed with Nathaniel. “I have been watching you for some time, Isobelle. I can smell your anger and fear. You deserve to know the truth, even if it kills you.” His sword swung toward her, but she parried the blade. Niamh and Gunn were slightly injured by the wolves attacking them. Errol shot another lightning bolt into the wolf attacking Randall and Randall cut off the creature’s leg, dropping it. Featherlight shot two of her silver arrows into the same wolf attacking Niamh, driving the shafts deep into the creature’s pelt.

Lady Hawthorne and Nathaniel traded blows. Brictius was attacked and injured by the two wolves that had been attacking Benedikt. Keinan was injured again. Benedikt used the reprieve from having to doge the wolves to enchant his mace. Errol fired a lightning bolt at one of the wolves attacking Niamh. Featherlight continued to fire her silver arrows at the same wolf. Randall moved to assist Niamh.

Lady Hawthorne moved behind Nathaniel, knocking his legs out from under him and striking him in the shoulder. Nathaniel kipped up to a standing position, “I did it to save him,” Nathaniel explained, “The curse is carried in the blood, the first born son of each generation. I did it to spare him from this.” His swing missed her. The two wolves attacking Brictius followed him as he attacked the wolf on Gunn and injured him again. Gunn was slashed in the vitals by the wolf attacking him, and he lost consciousness. Featherlight fired at the wolf that had attacked Gunn, hitting the creature in the stomach, dropping the creature.

Lady Hawthorne attempted a feint to disarm Nathaniel, but the man was too strong. “I thought I could avoid the curse.” Nathaniel continued, “I devoted my life, my soul to the Trinity. I thought they would protect me, but they didn’t. It was all a lie.” His swing missed Isobelle. “Caleb’s death still haunts me to this day.”

“Then surrender to justice.” Isobelle pleaded.

“There is no justice.” Nathaniel retorted.

Brictius ran back to Niamh and stabbed one of the wolves attacking her in the stomach, dropping it. Keinan was bit in the shoulder, stunning him. Niamh was doubled-teamed by a pair of wolves, taking critical injuries to her shoulder and vitals and she lost consciousness. Benedikt quickly moved to stabilize her with his healing magic. Errol and Featherlight attacked one of the wolves that had injured Niamh. Randall moved to protect the fallen Niamh. Robert the Half pulled Gunn from the fight.

“You are a liar and a coward.” Isobelle attempted to disarm Nathaniel, but failed to loosen his grip on his sword.

“It is not a lie and you know it,” Nathaniel’s sword pierced Isobelle’s chest, drawing blood, “Just like that night, you have learned nothing.”

Brictius attacked the wolf that had stunned Keinan. The wolves’ attacks injured Brictius and Randall. Benedikt re-enchanted Randall’s sword since Niamh’s spell faded when she lost consciousness. The combined attacks from Featherlight and Randall felled the wolf that had attacked Randall. Gunn took a moment to catch his breath after being pulled from the fight. Robert the Half tried to convince Gunn that discretion was the better part of valor.

Keinan repositioned himself while the wolf that was attacking him was occupied with Brictius, and shot the creature in the face, dropping it.

Isobelle shook off Nathaniel’s blow, “Your crime was not enough that you had to create an entire pack?”

Nathaniel sneered, “It’s all a lie, everything we believed in is a lie! So why not bring it all down? After I kill you and these idiots, I’ll kill your effeminate baron.” He stepped away from her, readying himself for her next attack.

The last two wolves attacked Brictius, causing him to fall unconsciousness, but not before he managed to wound one of the creatures in the chest. Benedikt quickly stabilized the fallen Brictius. Gunn moved to where Brictius had fallen and picked up the grey elf’s spear. Randall hit the wounded wolf in the chest, drawing lots of blood. Robert the Half hid in the abandoned mine.

Lady Hawthorne put all her strength into her next attack, drawing blood on his arm. “Is that the best you can do? Is this all the Trinity can send against me? The Baron? The whole of Demoria? Weakness and depravity!” Nathaniel’s swing caught Isobelle on the arm, but failed to draw blood.

“It seems you are not at your best either.” Isobelle retorted.

The last two wolves were brought down by the combined efforts of Benedikt, Errol, Featherlight, Gunn, and Randall.

“I do not believe you ever had faith.” Isobelle’s swing caught Nathaniel in the leg.

“This will heal.” Nathaniel indicated the wound, “but what will happen to you…” but his attack did little damage.

While the two Hawthorne’s dueled, the rest of the party finished dispatching the wolves, making sure they would not regenerate. The healers tended to the wounded while Featherlight searched for Tatianna.

As Isobelle and Nathaniel continued to duel, Isobelle felt the cold certainty of the outcome of the duel. Someone was watching over her and she felt the warmth of the Trinity spread from her heart through her arm and into her sword. Her next blow cut deep into Nathaniel’s leg, causing a wound that would not mend itself. Surprised by the wound, Nathaniel’s attack did not pierce Isobelle’s armor. Isobelle drew on her faith and drove her sword through Nathaniel’s chest, killing him. “I told you that you would fall.” She whispered. Taking off her gauntlet, she removed her wedding band from her finger, and dropped it on her husband’s body. She knelt in prayer over the body before taking the family sword and ordering the party to dispose of him with the rest of the wolves.

It was dawn by the time the bodies had been burned, and the wounded cared for as best as could be managed. The party wearily started the long trek about to Foxtown.


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