Session 21: 26 Birdsong, 960 RM
Master Gunn continued his recruitment drive by finding the Wisdom Brothers, Chuck and Tam. He found them in the woods with a poached deer, named “Norman.” In exchange for not arresting the two brothers for poaching, they agreed to help hunt down the werewolves. Master Gunn then returned to Grey Haven and enlisted the aid of Featherlight Yewstrong, the green elven Mistress of the Hunt. Featherlight was delighted to have something to do as the current Baron did not seem interested in hunting at all. Featherlight said she would work on making silver arrowheads. Master Gunn then headed toward Hill Rose to find another hunter he had heard about.
27 Birdsong, 960 RM
Master Gunn found his next recruit in the woods by Dr. Rothbury’s house. Robert the half was dressed in a well-made camouflage cloak dragging a deer back to Dr. Rothbury’s house. Dr. Rothbury’s servants seemed to know the hunter and let him enter the house unimpeded. While Robert was cleaning his kill in the kitchen, Master Gunn went to find the good doctor. Dr. Rothbury was surprised to encounter Master Gunn. Master Gunn requested the services of Robert and some of the chimera’s poisoned barbs to help hunt the werewolves. Dr. Rothbury agreed as Robert was not actually in his employ, but he was not sure how effective the poison would be on a werewolf’s metabolism. In exchange for the poison, Dr. Rothbury requested that he be allowed to study any samples or werewolf carcasses that survived the battle. Master Gunn agreed and Dr. Rothbury produced a small vial of liquid. Master Gunn then collected Robert and the two of them headed for Gray Haven.
Quion was overseeing the set-up of the fairgrounds when he noticed the druid Nikki watching him from a distance. Curious as to what she wanted, he approached her, but as he drew near, the druid transformed herself into a whirlwind and disappeared. This happened several times during the day, so Quion eventually gave up trying to talk to her. At midafternoon, Niamh found Quion and inquired how his investigation with the Circle of Iron had gone. Quion related that the member that had been killed was a Doomsinger and that the creatures had purposefully attacked her. The only other connection was that Dr. Rothbury’s letter of recommendation was from the same mercenary group. Niamh replied that it was a pity that they had missed the opportunity to have the former Doomsinger authenticate the letter of recommendation. Niamh then related her finding from her and Wythri’s trip to Golden. Quion agreed that the four boys should be separated for questioning. He also wanted to do a survey of the wells in the area to look for any remains of Flynn’s body. Quion’s attention then turned to the Baron’s fear that there was an informant for Nobbin’s gang in the Draconians and how to best investigate that matter. Niamh thought that the annual reviews should be coming up soon at that could give her an excuse to review the personal files. Quion suggested looking for any signs of debt, although Niamh pointed out that the force is extremely well paid. Quion also suggested looking into any family ties or other areas for blackmail. Quion also expressed impatience at not being able to begin his survey of the surrounding area yet and that he might not get the chance depending on Candwyn’s response to his letter. Talk then turned to the Baron’s ball and after a moment’s hesitation, Niamh asked if Quion would be willing to be her escort. Quion agreed if Niamh did not have any other more suitable options. Niamh assured him her options were actually quite limited and he was her best choice.
Niamh then reported for duty and was informed, quite unsurprisingly, that she and the Irregulars would be on night duty for the Festival and would be pulling extra hours for the duration. The positive side of the assignment was that there would some time during the day they would be able to attend the Festival off-duty.
Damien was finally able to inspect his house in the Glooms after the workers had finished the repairs from the damage caused from the fight with the demon Leth. As before, the exterior was a façade of a rundown building hiding a very well maintained and comfortable interior. While making sure everything was in place, and nothing missing, Damien found his family’s signet ring on a table in the hall. This surprised him as the ring had never been in his possession before, having belonged to his elder brother. Baron du Clef had told him that his brother had been found to be practicing the dark arts of necromancy and presumed dead in the fire that destroyed the manor house. Damien tracked down the foreman to ask him if anyone other than the workers had been in the house. The foreman replied that he had not seen anyone enter the house that was not supposed to be there when the work was going on.
Lady Hawthorne kept herself busy with training the new recruits and reviewing Quion’s reports that had piled up during her pilgrimage. When she returned to Hawthorne Manor that evening, Sir James accused her of purposefully avoiding him, which she denied as she was just attending to her duties as the Baron’s captain of the guard. Sir James announced that they would be holding a welcoming ball the first day of the festival to help entertain the many distinguished guests that would be attending the festival. Even the College of Cli was sending a delegation. Caught off guard, Lady Hawthorne retired to her office and continued reviewing Quion’s reports. While reviewing the interview with Rich, she came across a description of Nate, the newest member of Nobbin’s gang and Nobbin’s new confidant. This description deeply disturbed her. To clear her head, she saddled her horse and found herself riding toward Gray Haven. She sought solace in the chapel and spent the night at the castle.
28 Birdsong, 960 RM
Very early the next morning, Quion spoke with Lady Hawthorne and advised her to have someone trail Master Gunn’s group when they left for their hunt. Since the Deadly Seven were buying silver weapons in town that could alert Nobbin’s mole of what was going on. Lady Hawthorne thanked Quion for his advice and told him she had a plan.
Baron du Clef was surprised to see Lady Hawthorne at the castle so early and invited her to join him for breakfast. The Baron let Lady Hawthorne know he would be attending the ball that Sir James was hosting the next day. He also asked her to join him on the hunt that he would be leading the first day of the festival for the nobles. He was not excited about the activity as he was not an avid hunter himself, but he was expected to provide entertainment for his guests and would not disappoint them. He related a story of a hunt he attended in Kidbod in which it was customary to hunt monsters and for some of the hunters to be killed. After breakfast Lady Hawthorne sent for Damian and Master Gunn.
When Damien arrived at Gray Haven, Lady Hawthorne asked him to recount the description of Nate he had received from Rich. Lady Hawthorne instructed Damien to watch for anyone following the party when they left to hunt the werewolves. A commotion at the gate draws their attention. The druid Nikki was demanding to be let in as she has the ingredients to make the cure for Damien and Master Gunn. Lady Hawthorne directed Nikki to Quion’s tower which had the proper equipment she would need. Damien was sent to find Master Gunn so they could try Nikki’s cure.
Quion returned to the tower from the fair grounds for lunch and found Nikki working in his laboratory. The two talked about lycanthropy with Quion being oblivious to Nikki’s flirtations. After studying the process, Quion determined that he could repeat the process except for the blessing at the end. Master Gunn and Damien took the potion and managed to keep from throwing up the vile brew. Damien spent the rest of the day in the Baron’s library.
Lady Hawthorne gave the recruits the afternoon off from training, but had them start cleaning the grounds in preparation for the Baron’s ball. She then travelled to Foxtown and found Niamh preparing to report for duty. Niamh told Lady Hawthorne that she was in charge of the night duty during the festival. Lady Hawthorne requested Niamh’s presence when the hunt for the werewolves began. Niamh would need permission from Captain Waggoner to be allowed to change duty and Lady Hawthorne told her she would have an official request written by the time they would be ready to leave, probably the second day of Coolwater.
1 Coolwater, 960 RM
The first day of the festival dawned clear and bright. The nobles and some of the wealthier merchants gathered a Gray Haven for the start of the hunt. Mistress Featherlight informed the Baron she had spotted several deer and a boar suitable for the day’s excursion. For his part, the Baron apologized for not keeping his mistress of the hunt more occupied. During the hunt, Sir James Hawthorne queried Baron du Clef in the particulars of the barony, what and how much crops were being produced, the productivities of the mines, and so on. Baron du Clef was able to answer all the questions without hesitation, surprising Sir James. Shortly after midmorning, Featherlight and Lady Hawthorne spotted a pack of wolves pacing the hunting party. Lady Hawthorne ordered Featherlight to keep the hunting party together and make sure there were not any stragglers. The hunting party was successful in bringing down several deer and a boar. By the end of the hunt, the wolves had departed.
That evening, Hawthorne Manor was bustling with guests feasting on the labors of the hunters. The dinner was uneventful, although Baron du Clef seemed distracted during the conversation. After dinner, Sir James and the Baron continued to talk about the land with Sir James interested in increasing the productivity. Baron du Clef was caught off guard when Sir James asked if he would be holding a service at Gray Haven’s chapel for the visiting nobles. Sir James was not impressed with the Baron’s lack luster enthusiasm to hold such a service. Lady Hawthorne did her best to try and keep one ear on the conversation held between Sir James and the Baron while mingling with the other guests, including someone from the College of Cli. After a while, the Baron and Sir James retired to the balcony to continue their conversation in private. During the men’s absence, Lady Hawthorne overheard some of the other nobles diplomatically stating how pleasantly surprised they were with the sophistication of such an out of the way barony. Lady Hawthorne attributed the pleasantness to the proximity of Crow’s Head Mountain and assured the visitors that the Pilgrims Trail would be reopen if not by the end of the festival, shortly thereafter. It was only after the two men returned from the balcony that Lady Hawthorne was able to speak with the Baron and warn him about the Hawthorne families’ service to the church and requested permission for Niamh to join the werewolf hunt (Quion had already prepared the paperwork). Overall the hunt and the ball were considered a success.
2 Coolwater, 960 RM
First thing in the morning, Lady Hawthorne arrived at Draconian Headquarters to collect Niamh who was just finishing her duty shift. Lady Hawthorne also sent a message to Damien letting him know the party would be leaving soon.
At the festival grounds, Master Gunn was assembling his hunting party. The Wisdom brothers and Robert the half were already there, but the Deadly Seven had not arrived yet. While they were waiting for the monster hunters to arrive, Master Gunn heard someone yelling at him. Master Gunn ignored the man until he felt a scabbard being poked into his back. Turning, Master Gunn recognized the man as Baronet Percy Lelander, a former employer. Lord Lelander started calling for the guards to arrest Master Gunn for dishonoring his family. Niamh intervened, asking Lord Lelander, who is very much in his cups, for a full accounting of the charges against Master Gunn. Lord Lelander told Niamh that Master Gunn had insulted him and his family by abandoning the lord and his men in the woods and stealing their horses. Master Gunn retorted that the horses were delivered safely to the appropriate stables.
Meanwhile, Lady Hawthorne encountered the Baron who had arrived to enjoy the festival himself. Lady Hawthorne told the Baron that the party was ready to leave on their hunt and that she believed that the Nobbin’s new cohort was her husband. Baron du Clef ordered Lady Hawthorne to return with her party safely and Lady Hawthorne assured him that the bandits would be brought back to receive their justice. Their conversation is interrupted by the disturbance between Master Gunn and Lord Lelander. With Lady Hawthorne’s arrival, Niamh turned custody of Master Gunn over to her as Master Gunn was in the Baron’s employment. Lady Hawthorne assured Lord Lelander that she would see to Master Gunn’s discipline. That was not sufficient for the drunken lord who insulted Lady Hawthorne and the Baron. The two sparred with Lady Hawthorne holding her own and ended when she conceded the battle after disarming Lord Lelander. Lord Lelander was not one to back down from a fight, so it took the combined efforts of his colleagues and Baron du Clef to calm him down. The Baron reassured the lord that Master Gunn would be properly punished and suggested the man retire to rest from the previous evening’s festivities. Master Gunn apologized to the Baron for causing such a scene and the Baron promised to speak with Master Gunn after the hunt was concluded. He also commended Lady Hawthorne on her skill and restraint in the duel.
The Deadly Seven finally arrive and the Baron sent the party off with his blessing and strict orders to return safely.