The Chronicles of Foxton

Session 50 - Post-Mortem

13 Firelighting, after fight
The group returned to Dr Rothbury’s. As soon as they entered the good doctor’s lands, the Owlbears wandered off. Dr Rothbury administered the antidote to Damien to unparalize him. Quion “briefs” Dr Rothbury on what happened while Damien recovered.

Quion questioned Damien as to why he did not tell anyone about his brother. Damien let Quion know that he did tell the Baron. Damien told Quion that he believed that his brother’s presence was an effect, not a cause. Niamh suggested that perhaps this all had to do with the legend of Grenwold.

Gunn, Featherlight, Quion, & Cici returned to the woods to trace back were Circle of Iron became undead. Wythri, Niamh, and Damien returned to Grey Haven to report to the Baron. Hawthorne and her guards left to track the Circle of Iron.

14 Firelighting
Wythri, Niamh, and Damien returned to Grey Haven after a few hours of rest. After Wythri was settled, Niamh and Damien reported to the Baron. The plan became to try to talk to Damien’s brother. Niamh reported to Captain Stormwatcher.

14 Firelighting to 21 Firelighting
Quion, Gunn, Featherlight, and Cici started at the village that Robert the Half reported first. Gunn and Featherlight determined that the Circle of Iron came from deeper in the woods. They followed the trail for about four days. The weather had been getting worse, starting to snow. While looking for a place to camp, they came to a clearing. Both Gunn & Featherlight immediately noticed that something had happened here. There were a bunch of carcasses of the original chimeras. Quion deduced that the Circle of Iron had come upon a large nest of the creatures and chased the surviving creatures to this stop and killed them all. It seemed they had set up camp here. Quion detected a residue of black magic in the area. He determined that whatever happened was quick upon the fight with the creatures. They rest up and head back to Grey Haven.

17 Firelighting
Wythri recovered her senses. Eldamoth tells her that the Baron had been entertaining the elves. Wythri receives a message from her brother inviting her for dinner. Her uncle started with small talk and then asked her about the undead situation she told her brother about. After telling them about the encounter with the Circle of Iron, most of the group laughs. Wythri’s uncle insults the Baron and his linage (nothing more that merchants) and Brillis. Wythri manages to hide her contempt. After Wyrthri retorts that house Aureus are merchants also, the subject changes. After dinner, Wythri’s uncle tells Wythri that her brother has suggested that Wyrthri be welcome back into the family. Wyrthi is taken by surprised and her uncle tells her to think about it. Wythri finds a way to calm her racing mind.

22 Firelighting
Quion approached the Baron and inquired what else he has not been told. The Baron told Quion that Candiwyn was safe with the Baron’s people. The Baron also told Quion about Damien’s past. Quion hypothesized that whatever the necromancer was doing, it would come to a head at the Yule when the moon disappears.

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Session 49 - Ambush!

13 Reaping – Beaver Creek
Hawthorne and the group arrive at the village, and immediately order Mayor Smith to evacuate. It takes some small amount of persuasion, with Niamh helping to direct them as they gather to flee.

The group sets up an attempt at ambush. Gunn hides with the Chimeric Owl-Bears in a barn to set an ambush. Hawthorne, Niamh, and Damien (who is hiding) set up a front line with the four Chimeric Wolves. Featherlight finds a sniper’s perch, Wythri finds a place to hide. The group, before anything starts, brings up protective magics to help give them an edge against the much more experienced monster hunters.

The wolves begin to growl as most of the group senses the approach of the undead Circle Of Iron. As the stealthily moving figures get close to the village Featherlight fires an arrow and Wythri a fire spell into the figure of Lars.

As Wythri pulls back she casts a defensive spell on some of the group, Featherlight fires an arrow at Freia, the only of the enemy she can get a clear line on through the orchard. Quion takes the opportunity to move towards the back of the parties facing to check the rest of the village. The group waits for the enemy to show itself in the dying light of the day.

Featherlight takes another shot at the approaching archer, and is growing concerned that she hasn’t received any return fire. Quion spots several shadowy figures coming up on the rear of the group through the deserted town, using a Wizard’s Whisper he informs Cici of the change in tactical situations, who is able to get a warning to Niamh. The group hastily repositions itself to take attacks from two flanks. The Circle Of Iron opens fire when they realize they’ve been spotted. J, the sneak thief, had gotten close enough to stab Quion, though Quion is able to avoid getting more than a scratch. Freia and D, the mage, both fire upon Isobelle, the archers arrow bouncing harmlessly off her shoulder pauldron, the fireball not so harmlessly scorches both Isobelle and two of the doctor’s wolves with her. The exceptionally quick archer looses another arrow at Isobelle, nicking her in the arm.

Before Quion can retreat J delivers an especially vicious stab to his gut. Wythri quickly casts an Entanglement spell on the casters of the enemy, trying Englebert and D up in glowing ribbons and bows, the dwarf summons a Fire Elemental to burn through the magical ribbons while D simply turns into a ghost and steps away from the enchantment. Isobelle gets herself out of the line of fire of Freia, and fires a crossbow bolt into an advancing Lars. Damien, still hiding in the well, waits for the ghouls approaching from the rear to get closer, one of which lights a torch and tosses it at the thatch roof of the nearest house. Damien takes that opportunity to appear and nearly cuts down one of them in one blow. Gunn, on the side flank where Quion was trying to run to, attempts to Entangle the hard to catch sneak thief, though his spell does not work. The wolves with Niamh on the now rear flank of the group engage the ghouls as they get out of the cover of the orchard, Niamh herself is able to Dispel the dwarfs Fire Elemental before it is able to burn away Wythri’s own spell. Featherlight makes a leap from the building she was hiding in to the next one over, as her hiding spot is now quickly burning up from D’s fireball. Freia, spotting the green elf as she lands on the roof, loosens an arrow at the elf that destroyed her good bow, hitting Featherlight hard in the head, the green elf tumbles from the roof with a gash across her scalp.

J switches targets to the possibly more dangerous nearby Gunn, but is unable to hit the druid. Wythri casts another entangle on the ghostly D, this one affecting the ghost realm itself and holding him fast. In response to Wythri both D and Freia fire at her, D’s lightning spell misses and Freia’s arrow catches the elf in the shoulder. Englebert brings up a blanket of fog to hide the ranged group of attackers from Wythri’s spells. Isobelle and her wolves concentrate on a single undead dog, as they respond by attacking the wolves, Lars moves into the melee but is unable to hit Isobelle. Niamh moves in and casts an enchantment on Isobelle’s blade to help against the undead. Gunn is able to dispel the dwarf’s fog cover, as Quion staggers over, and causes D to fall down from his position by pulling out a loose stone from the wall he is perched on, dropping him into a pile of rubble, and yells at Gunn to throw him the vial of pheromones. In the rear near the orchard Damien dispatches the ghoul with one last blow, the wolves continue to tear another apart as the last two move into to fight them.

Freia looses another arrow at Wythri, striking true. Only Wythri’s protective spell prevents the arrow from actually embedding itself in her head, the elf is still stunned and injured from the blow, losing concentration on the defensive spells she had cast over the group. Cici quickly pulls the dazed elf down behind the full cover of the stone wall.

The undead thief has a hard time getting to his feet amongst the rubble of the rock wall had used as a perch. The dwarf finally decides to simply hack at the ribbons with his axe. Isobelle and the remaining wolf both go after Lars, hoping to take down the master of the dogs, but they fail to coordinate and miss him Lars’ return strikes true, cutting Isobelle in the midsection.. Damien runs forward to join the other side of the fight as the other wolves finish tearing apart one ghoul and turn to set on the others, who are trying to take down the wolves themselves. The enemy mage uses a dispell of his own on Wythri’s binding spell, freeing himself. Featherlight’s arrow passes through the still ghostly D at the same time. Gunn and Quion work to outsmart the thief, Gunn pulls the top of the pheromone vial and tosses it to Quion, yelling at him to catch the healing potion, J catches it instead, laughing as the liquid spills over him. Meanwhile the undead dogs change targets to Niamh, biting into her as she casts a Destroy Undead spell on one of them. As the pheromone permeates the air the already agitated Chimeric Owl-Bears break free of the barn and two them immediately set upon J as Quion retreats behind cover.

Freia switches targets to the much more dangerous Chimeric Owl-Bears, and hits one nearly in the heart with an arrow.

J turns and retreats from the Chimeric Owl-Bears, who case him down and begin to rip the undead creature to pieces in their massive tentacles. Wythri raises up and lets loose a massive gout of fire at the building Freia was hiding in, collapsing the structure with a single blow. Meanwhile Isobelle is down from Lars’ attack, and the injured wolf bites into the nearly destroyed undead dog, Damien makes a reappearance from behind the building he’d used for cover and stabs Lars, who returns the strike easily. Gunn throws a druidic magic infused Blooming Seed Pod whose explosion of thorns does some damage to Lars and the dogs, killing one of them finally. The dogs continue to concentrate on Niamh, but to little effect, who stands defensively over the nearly unconscious Isobelle. Quion moves in and produces a packet of smelling salts to get Isobelle back into the fight quicker. In the rear of the fight the ghouls and pair of wolves continue to fight each other. D casts a spell that causes him and the dwarf to disappear.

Wythri blindly fires another spell of entangling into the area where the mages were. Isobelle rolls to her feet and strikes out at one of the remaining dogs, along with the other standing wolf, and nearly take its legs off as her sword is charged with a holy light. The last dog free attacks Niamh, who retaliates with another Destroy Undead spell. Damien and Lars continue to exchange blows, with Lars striking a hit. The stunned Chimeric Owl-Bear, with an arrow embedded deep in its chest, blindly charges forward into the fray, and lashes out at the last standing wolf, taking it out of the fight. From over where the wizard and cleric were is only Englebert’s yells of frustration, while the other two Chimeric Owl-Bears finish ripping the thief to pieces, and Quion retreats away from the melee. Gunn moves in and tries to toss the last vial of pheromones on Lars, only he trips on a rock, and in the confusion of the melee splashes it on Damien instead. At the rear the wolves and ghouls continue to fight, the wolves getting the upper hand.

Wythri attempts to cast a Dispel Invisibility over the area she threw the entangle, hoping to catch the mage and cleric. Isobelle is forced to cut down the enraged Chimeric Owl-Bear before it can do more harm to her allies. Damien changes tactics and grapples with Lars, hoping to rub at least some of the foul smelling attractant on him before the Chimeric Owl-Bears look for a new target, both of which lumber over and attack the grappling fighters. Damien is hurt by a lashing tentacle and Lars barely gets out of the way of a vicious bite. Gunn, realizing his error, charges into the melee, manages to rip the front of Damien’s tunic off and throws it in the general direction of the mage, or at least his last known location. The dog and Niamh continue to fight, it missing and her casting an effect Fire Elemental Arrow into it. Quion, having circled the burning house they were fighting near, attempts to pull a hurt and paralyzed Damien away from the fight. Featherlight’s arrow into the fight misses its target. Wolves and ghouls continue to tear into each other, the ghouls quickly losing the battle.

The fight has turned towards the Baron’s men as Lars, his dogs, and the thief are taken down, the wizard and cleric are nowhere to be seen, and Freia is either smashed and buried in rubble (unlikely) or fled with the others. . .

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Session 48 – World War Z

12 Reaping
P12: J disappears from site, Wythri casts a spell of Blur to make everyone harder to hit. Hawthorne instructs the others to guard one flank while she moves to the left, hoping they keep in cover of the trees. D casts a Fireball spell at the group, Wythri, Gunn, and Featherlight are caught in the blast, Niamh tries to jump but is caught anyway. Freja fires an arrow at Isobelle, but misses. Damien sneaks off into the trees. Featherlight and Gunn recover from being stunned. Lars waits for his dogs and all of them charge forward. Quion establishes a mental link with Cici, and orders her to get on her horse and run back to the Baron, and then takes cover. Cici flees the scene.

P3: Freja moves around all and fires another arrow as Isobelle, missing again.

P4: J is still not found, Wythri moves under cover and casts a Fleetfoot spell on the group. Hawthorne takes a chance and runs across the battlefield to try and take out the mage, slicing his arm. Aenglebold takes to the field and goes to attack Isobelle, missing as he casts a dark magic spell. D casts a spell to turn ghostlike. Lars moves to attack Damien, who goes on the full defensive. Featherlight draws a bead on Freja and hits her in the shoulder. Gunn casts an exploding seedpod at Lars, hurting him. Lars hurls a knife in return, bouncing it off Gunn’s chest plate. Niamh closes with Damien and casts an Enchanted Blade spell on him. Quion moves over to Wythri and gives her an herbal remedy to increase her stamina for the fight.

P6: Freja fires at Featherlight, who attempts to dodge out of the way. The arrow hits her in the arm anyway, and arrow at Wythri and Quion as well, hitting only Quion. Both are hit in the shoulder.

P8: J suddenly appears behind Wythri at cuts her grievously. Wythri retaliates with a Flame Spell, catching him whatever vital parts the undead thief has. Isobelle disengages the stout fighter and attacks Freja, missing. Aenglebold chases after Isobelle, casting a Heat Spell, her armor starts to glow hot. D casts a spell to raise some of the villagers up as zombies. Damien makes a sweeping strike against the undead dogs, hurting the first, killing the second, slicing the third in the face, and missing the fourth. Lars moves in to attack Damien personally, hitting him hard in a vital area. Gunn invokes his Druidic Gods, rebuking the undead abominations. Niamh grabs the wounded Damien and drags him away from the fight. Quion recovers from being stunned.

P9: Freja, shaken from the Rebuking, fires at Gunn, causing severe damage, nearly killing him.

P12: Wythri blasts J again, missing him as the creature moves out of the way. Isobelle attempts to Rebuke, but the heat of the armor and her own fear distracts her that she stumbles over her words. Featherlight fired at Freja’s bow, cutting it in half. Aengelbold casts a cloud of fog around him, catching Isobelle and Freja in the area. D casts another spell, a line of lightning erupts through the trees. Lars holds his action. Niamh casts Still Sound on D, missing the area she intended to hit, but catching the dwarf as well. Quion encompasses J in a palisade of magical sticks.

P3: Freja draws a blade and attacks Isobelle in the fog, hitting her, though most of it bounces off her armor.

P4: J shatters his way out of the Palisade, though he is nowhere to be seen. Wythri blasts a spell in the general area he was standing, J screams in pain. Isobelle backs out of the fog, thankfully going in the right direction. Aengelbold simply maintains the armor-heat spell. D casts a Force Storm spell, catching most of the group in it, tossing them around. Lars jumped to his feet and joined the zombies, who advance. The rest of the group recovers from being stunned, or lie quietly on the ground unconscious.

P6: Freja moves out of the fog.

P8: Wythri casts a Dragon Wheel spell, a wheel of fire that rolls at Freja and D, burning both of them. Isobelle moves over to Gunn and Wythri, picking up Gunn, and orders a retreat.

The group pulls away from the fight into the woods, where they regroup and licks their wounds. They make haste to Dr. Rothbury’s instead of spending the night in the woods with the undead monstrosities.

13 Reaping
They reach Dr. Rothbury’s around noon the next day. They shout for one of his minions to come forth to lead them back to the house.

Niamh borrows the Dr.’s surgery room to fix up the others while Isobelle talks with the Dr. about his owl-bear chimeric guards. She asks how many he has, and if she might borrow them to put down the adventurers.

She also asks to take part of his healing while Niamh works on the others. His remedy comes as a chemical that burns, though the drugs in the tea alleviate her caring, if not the pain itself. Niamh also partakes of this healing once her spells finish with the others.

They talk about intercepting the adventuring party along their path, a discussion ensues. Isobelle sends a note off to the Baron explaining the situation.

Dr. Rothbury lends Isobelle three of the owl-bear chimera and some of his dogs.

They start to look at plans to intercept the undead Circle of Iron. Isobelle requests Quion find the spot they’ll most likely to be able to intercept the Circle, hopefully before they start slaughtering the village. Quion points out that the source of their undeath might provide helpful information – which Isobelle rejects due to the immediate threat of dying innocents. Quion also points out that the Circle’s activities may be a distraction tactic, again Isobelle acknowledges his words, claiming that is an excellent distraction and that she still can’t let villagers die without knowing the actual threat, if any.

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Session 47 – The Calm Before the Storm

25 Reaping
On the way down the mountain Isobelle explains what they know about Candawyn’s disappearance. A discussion ensues as to Quion’s next course of action over that information.

1 Firelighting
Isobelle gets the report of the lich attack from the previous week. Isobelle asks Damien to find anyone that Adams was working with in the area, and to question them. The Baron is informed that Quion is aware of Cadwyn’s missing state.
Wythri goes to find Eldamoth in the library to make sure he is alright, and then goes to have a hot bath.

2 Firelighting
Quion goes to talk to the Baron about the Necromancy problem in the area. He then solicites the help of Wythri in studying the black mud found up in the hills.

The mud stays cold, even in warm environments. It’s oily, difficult to wash off, absorbs energy applied to it, like absorbing a fire, though it does dissolve. It also has an acrid smell. Whythri finds it absorbs her magic, dissolving as she fuels it.

There is a theory of the negative plain, which this substance may come from. It’s assumed that it is similar to the elemental plains. This substance may have leaked through from it, possibly in a spontaneous portal opening between the two plans.

3 Firelighting
Wythri informs the Baron that she is not amicable to hosting the Elven entourage when they arrive. An argument ensues over the matter, mostly it involves Wythri saying no and the Baron saying yes. The elves are due any day now, making Wythri uncomfortable with the situation.

Quion does an autopsy on the corpse of Adams. He determines the man was killed by someone chewing on his intestines, all the other wounds appeared to have occurred after he was undead.. The body is later burned and purged.

5 Firelighting
Damien is called to the Baron’s presence. They discuss the theory of a necromancer in town, the Baron reminds Damien of his brother’s presence a while back.

Damien goes to visit Hawthorne, and inform her of his knowledge, and possible connections.

Hawthorne inquires if Wythri had anything personal if she could track the Necromancer. Hawthorne then retrieves the Family Signet Ring from Damien, and gives it to Wythri to do her magic. Hawthorne finds a quiet place to sit with a bottle of wine, while Wythri casts.

Wythri finds Damien, and then a faint signature of a mind near Crow’s Head Mountain. She tracks it out magically, finds the source and makes a note to tell Hawthorne later. She goes back to her studies and preparing for the Elves arrivals.
Everyone is a bit on edge with each other due to various topics, conversations are stressed at best.

8 Firelighting
The contingent from Aigialia arrives, as the weather worsens. There are seven in the contingent with a small number of staff.

Simimar Maejestros is Wythri’s uncle. Oriana Aureus, his apprentice and lover. Filvendor, Wythri’s brother, and younger of twins. She is unaware of who the other four guests are, Akia Aureus. Haldius, Dionisis, Belatrix Caltha.

The Baron holds a full court to welcome the elves to the Barony.

After the initial greetings the court mingles, Filvendor goes to great Wythri with a friendly hug. Catching Wythri off guard.

Wythri does note is that none of them look to be surveyors, farmers, or anything that may be leaning towards cultivating the land. The do appear to be closer to an adventuring party, not even a diplomatic mission.

Wythri gets Filvendor off alone where they talk about the real mission of the Elven request for the lands. Simimar requested a specific parcel of land, though he doesn’t know what Simimar really wants. Wythri informs Filvendor of what they found when she went up there, to warn him.

9 Firelighting
One of Dr. Rothbury’s men comes to the castle to deliver a note. It reports that he found the population of a village south of the gate missing. Hawthorne assembles her team to go investigate.

Gunn goes ahead to Dr. Rothbury’s estate to talk to him about the letter. As he approaches he notices something ahead in the bush, bringing his horse up short. An owl-bear with tentacles for arms comes out of the bushes, Gunn immediately turns and leaves the area.

Isobelle requests the others to go ahead and then goes to talk to James, asking him to try and find out why the elves are really here.

She then goes after to meet the others who are already on their way.

Gunn meets the group on the road as they travel out to the Gate.

The others get to the gate to talk to the others, they know nothing at there.

Hawthorne arrives and is told of what’s going on, she has them head towards Rothbury’s estate. When they get there one of the large servants meets them, an Owl Bear comes out to investigate, and appears to act like a guard dog, and goes back into the woods when the servant looks at it.

Dr. Rotherbury greets them at the door and invites the group in. Robert the Half is also inside, severely drunk. They get the story of the village from him;

He was in the area fishing and went to the village to get a place to sleep for the night, he found the village deserted with signs of violence. He followed some tracks out and found the villagers, he did not describe the carnage.

Hawthorne ordered him sobered up, and wanted to leave immediately. The others requested they wait until morning, since it was now dark. Hawthorne agreed reluctantly.

10 Firelighting
The next morning they get up early to go investigate, Robert leading them to the village.

The village is small, maybe thirty people maximum might live in it. They look through the village for clues. Doors have been kicked in, blood is in and outside the houses. Magic seems to have been used in the fight, there are burn marks that do not match what a torch could do. Quion determines whomever did this was quick, and killed everyone within about ten minutes.
Robert leads them to the bodies, he does not go any further. Hawthorne goes first, there are a number of bodies in a hollow. It appears they were burned. There are maybe two dozen bodies here, close to the whole village.

Gunn determines that whomever did this headed back towards civilized lands. Five or six people and some large dogs.

Quion investigates the bodies – some were killed by arrows, some were hacked, some were gnawed upon (both by dogs and humans). Gunn talks to one of the crows in the area to get some better information. He learns that there five or six people, and a few dogs with them.

They send Robert back with a message to the Baron and then head off to follow the tracks.

12 Firelighting
Approximately another day and a half they come across another village. This village attacked approximately the time they reached the first village. They rush off to track the attackers quickly, Wythri casts a spell to make the horses travel faster, Quion gives the direction of the next closest village.

Towards nightfall they start to smell smoke and see an orange glow up ahead. They hear screams as they approach the village, and make haste.

They see someone come screaming out of the village. Hawthorne vaults off her horse to try and protect or catch the woman, but misses, Niamh does catch her. Wythri sees someone silhouetted by the fire launches an arrow that kills the commoner.

A woman’s voice says “We have company, the Baron’s men.” Four more figures come out of the flaming village. A warrior, an elf, a man in a robe, and a dwarf, with four dogs. They are the Circle of Iron…

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Session 46 – Mr Adams You’re Undead Arrest

21 into 22 Reaping
Candor is at the Baron’s gate after dropping James with the church. Another cop from a different shift joins her, and gets a description of Mr Adams. Other cops join the group at other gates as well. And a few show up at the sewer. Stormwatcher shows up at the sewers as well, with sword-arms.

Candor hears an alarm at the church, and leaves the officer behind to mind the gate as she races off. There is a great deal of commotion, one of the acolytes tells her to follow him. She meets Father Crispin in his chambers, he appears pale and shaken as Candor arrives.

Crispin awoke to find someone in his room, he claimed to be injured and required healing. It turns out it was Mr. Adams, Father Crispin finds his fatal wound. Adams insisted nothing was wrong and the wound in his stomach was fine. He attacked the acolyte who came in and then fled. They discuss the events of the night so far, Candor finds out that someone saw him fleeing towards the High Quarter from the Church. Candor fires off a cantrip-flare for the High District and heads that way. The Church closes up to prevent further entries.

Niamh arrives at Greyhaven, and is let in immediately. She is taken to the main manor house. She finds that Eldamoth and The Baron have been studying the book that belonged to Mr. Adams – it turns out it is a history book of the Necromancy, on Grenwode. He was the first lich, becoming the Lich King. Finally defeated by St. Cuthbert. The book reveals that the Lich King fled to the Platinum Hills, even before the elves were here. He was finally defeated in this area. Lt Niamh tells them that Mr. Adams has come back form the undead, retaining his personality.

There is an afternote, stating that whatever happened to Grenwode caused a rift in the veil that fluxuates in and out of power. He believes right now that it is at a low point, and that it will get worse with time until it suddenly snaps back to normal, unless someone does something to make it permanent.

Niamh then goes on to explain the events around Mr. Adams.

Back in Foxton, the cops start to gather in the High Quarter. They discuss his possible routes. Candor believes he is operating on instinct, and since he usually heads out the Pilgrim’s Gate. They split off to search both the gate and the High Quarter. Will, Candor, Uri, and Tunnelmouse head to the gate. Liam and Lucas continue to search the High Quarter.

Liam finds a body in an alley, he has the livery of one of the wealthier merchants of Foxton. His guts have been pulled out of him. Liam and Lucas go investigate the merchants yards which are just on the other side of the alley. The back of the alley has a door leading to the stables, Liam goes in to see if any horses have been missing. One has, and he uses the Wizard’s Whisper than Candor had cast to warn the others.

Lucas finds that there is a wall in the hole of the city. He warns the rest using the Whisper spell, and he and Liam go out to track him. Candor meets up with them and a few other officers, while Will takes the rest and goes off to Greyhaven.

They all get the general idea that Mr Adams is heading towards Greyhaven and they head that way.

The Baron leaves several guards with Hugo and the book. HE goes out with Niamh to meet the oncoming soldiers and lich. The Baron cast a spell on the door, a protection spell. “I have no idea what this going to do but I’m sure it’s going to be nasty.”

When they arrive Will gives Niamh an update on the situation. They are pretty sure that the lich can’t teleport. Candor checks with a cantrip every now and then to see if any necromantic magic is approaching.

She sees a presence, it came through the gate and is on its way to the second gate.

Niamh sent some officers to the library, warning them not to touch the door. After they leave she realizes one of the officers saluted with his left hand. She immediately runs after them. The others suddenly realize Niamh doesn’t bolt, and give chase as well.

In the inner gate, they find two officers on the ground bleeding, magic holes in them. The door into the manor house is sealed off with a sticky gooey stuff.

Candor and Niamh teleport through the door and Uri and Liam chop through the magic webbing. They rush up towards the library. At the top of the stairs they see Adams cast a spell, yells damnit, turns around and sees the cops, and yells damnit again.

Candor takes a moment to cast a Wizard Armor spell on herself before they engage.

“Stay back, I’m warning you, I don’t want to hurt anyone else!” He shouts. “I can’t stop it,” And Adams casts a Wizard Bolt, hitting Candor in the chest. She shrugs off most of the damage. Niamh casts a Destroy Undead at Adams, hitting him solidly, singing him.

Adam’s strikes back at Niamh after Candor botches a spell. Niamh’s manual dexterity and reaction time slow down. The reaction time causes Niamh’s next attempt to cast Destroy Undead to fail. The rest of the team manages to rush to the area.

Lucas Valmont reaches the top of the stairs, and attacks Adams, hitting him in the arm with his sword. There is no blood in the wound. Tunnelmouse throws his pie at Adam’s face, blinding him with lamb. Candor regains her senses and casts an Enchant Weapon on Uri’s sword. Will bull rushes Adams in an attempt to knock him away from the door, though Adams doesn’t move more than a few feet. Liam rushes into the fray and slashes at Adams with his sword, putting a nasty gash in his mid section. Adams lashes back out at Lucas with black magic, draining life away. Lucas falls over, in pain.Uri charges into the fight and strikes him with his enchanted sword, striking him in the face with a mighty blow.

Lucas gets back into the fight and strikes out with his sword at Adams, taking him down to the ground after stabbing him in the foot. Candor holds Tunnelmouse back a moment, and casts an Enchantment on his sword, Tunnelmouse then charges and attacks the prone Adams “You don’t eat my pie!!” striking him in the face. Will draws his sword and hacks down at Adams, but misses. Liam slashes down and hits Adams in the stomach. Adams attempts to cast a spell through the beating, but fails at the casting. Uri smashes him in the face again, causing more damage. Niamh casts another Destroy Undead spell, burning away his arm, finally causing the undead to fall still.

Will searches him for jewelry that may be taslismans, a necklace with an aquamarine, a gold ring, and a pouch with herbs, some cash, nice belt buckle, and nothing else. Only the necklace is magical in any way. The Baron asks that the Draconians keep the body for Quion to investigate when he gets back. They also gather the stableman’s body and take it back to headquarters as well.

Candor believes the magic on the necklace is an imbuement, probably a mana-stone that stores magical energy for later use.

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Session 45 – Into The Mines

24 Shadows
The mine has one entrance, and three shafts. Little D became sick soon after they sunk shaft three. Private Green finds the mine was operating within all laws, and good practices. Quion finds a black clay substance on the top of the tailings, a substance he’s never seen before, neither has Private Green. Quion takes a sample of the bitter smelling substance in a glass jar.

Damien goes down about twenty feet to the first tunnel, he finds no immediate signs of the undead, though the tunnel goes further than her can see. He does inspect the ground and finds some black ichor, possibly from the ghoul that was shot in the stomach. Before Hawthorne goes down Wythri casts a Farspeaking spell so all of them can communicate. Gunn follows after, Wythri next, and Green last. Husher stays up top with Quoin and Cici. The ceiling is only about five and a half feet, and very narrow. Quion gives the group two shrinking potions, Damien and Hawthorne take them to make moving in the tunnel easier.

After a short period there’s a branch to the right, Damien checks where the blood trail goes and finds it goes off in both directions. Hawthorne sends Damien down the right to check how far that one goes. Damien sneaks along the tunnel and finds it widens out into a natural cavern. As he stands in the entrance he feels water dripping on him, after a moment he realizes it’s not water. He jumps back and looks up, finding the remains of a mule shoved up into the crevice. He finds nothing else.

They continue forward down the main tunnel. They come under an air shaft going straight up. There is a slight moaning sound from the tunnel, and asks Green if that’s normal for an air tunnel, and verifies if it’s windy at the surface of Quion. They keep going. It splits to the right again, Damien inspects the tunnel, fading into the shadows. As he goes forward he steps on a board, which cracks, which causes the ceiling to shift, he is caught partially under the collapse. As Wythri runs to help Damien she hits another boards that collapses, hitting her in the back with a rock as she dives forward. Private green gets hit in the shoulder as she tries to avoid the rocks, Gunn simply stops short and doesn’t get hit..

A ghoul attempts to sneak up on Hawthorne, but she hears it coming and successfully parries its attack. Private Green recovers from being stunned, while Gunn casts Hostile Foxfire, causing the ghoul to glow. As Hawthorne prepares to make her second attack the second ghoul leaps out at her, she successfully parry’s that blow at the last second. Meanwhile Wythri starts dig out Damien.

Rock, who is glowing, goes after Gunn, biting him in the arm. Eddie continues to go after Hawthorne, but misses. Gunn attempts to Rebuke Undead, causing the ghoul that is attacking him to pause. Hawthorne strikes with her sword at Eddie, invoking Durom to bless her blade, the sword itself doesn’t seem to do a lot, but the holy effect of her Smite Evil causing a lot damage. Wythri casts a Teleport spell on her and Damien to get them out of the caved in area. Gunn strikes out with an entangle spell to hold Rock fast. Eddie gets Hawthorne in the stomach. Rock gets out of Gunn’s roots. Damien rushes out and strikes at Rock, hitting him in a vital point. Gunn casts Greenwood Blessings on Damien. Hawthorne recovers from the attack. Wythri casts Fae Glamour, which creates exact copies of Hawthorne around Eddie. Rock goes after Damien, striking him in a vital area in return. Eddie ignores the illusion and strikes Hawthorne in the chest, but to no effect. Green attempts to attack the one on Damien, but misses. Gunn cast Barkskin on himself.

Hawthorne strikes out and hits Eddie in the leg, staggering him backwards, again calling upon Durom’s aid to smite the evil undead. Wythri casts a fire spell on the ghoul, blowing it back several feet. Eddie stands up and goes after Hawthorne, missing. Rock also misses Damien. Damien stabs Rock in the face, dropping it to the ground, apparently dead. Green makes sure Rock is dead. Gunn lashes out at Eddie with his spear, aiming for the top half of him, just missing him.

Hawthorne drops the lantern to the ground and draws her second blade, and strikes, cutting off Eddie’s hand with her holy strike. Wythri draws forth her magic and creates a wall behind Eddie so he can’t run. Eddie turns back and lashes out at Hawthorne, missing her. Damien goes after Eddie, slicing off his head.

Gunn checks everyone’s wounds and tends to them, casting some healing magic. They get the bodies back up the shaft.

They go further to inspect the final shaft, the possible source of the sickness. Their tools are in the area, and more of the black clay. They lower a lantern down the final shaft. The shaft has icy air coming out of it, colder than any other air in the area, and the pungent smell as well.

Quion investigates the corpses while the others are down investigating the final shaft. He assumes that the miners would be covered in the black clay. He burns the bodies and then joins them in the hole. Quion investigates the tunnel to get a personal look, with Cici. Wythri casts a spell to see the bottom of the shaft.

The shaft goes down thirty-five or forty feet. Water is dripping out of the walls. She doesn’t find much else of interest, water is starting to fill up the bottom again. They close the mine by covering it with boards from the shed.

They start to return home, the weather continues to be bad as they follow the watershed down as best they can. They arrive home on 29 Shadows.

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Session 44 – The Hills Have Undead

23 Shadows – The Hills, evening
The going is slow as the group encounters bad weather, freezing rain and snow hound the group up into the mountains. They reach the camp about twilight, a small shack, with a donkey pen. Private Mary Green scouts ahead to check the place out. There is no smoke coming from the chimney, and the remains of two mules in the pen. They appear to have been torn apart by animals.

Damien and Lady Hawthorne inspect the house, finding it quiet. Gunn watches them from the outside. Inside they find the frozen corpse of one of the miners. Something ate out the right side of his chest. Outside Wythri heats up coffee.

Quion comes in to investigate, with Cici in tow. The bite marks are what killed him, and something continued to eat him as he bled out. There are no signs of a struggle. He determines that this is the brother of the boy found down in the town. He finds supplies and food in the shack, and takes samples of each, though most of them are unopened. Tucked under the mattress where the body is Quion finds a journal.

Outside Hawthorne splits the group in half, Gunn and Private Green go left, while Hawthorne and Damien go right. Private Alan Husher stays with Wythri outside the house.

Gunn and Green investigate the animal pen for animal, or other, tracks.

Wythri casts a sight-spell to see dark magic. She suddenly cries out, spins around, and falls over, babbling incoherently in Elvish. Hawthorne comes running back as Husher and Quion yell for her. She snaps Wythri out of her babbling and finds out that the entire area is awash in dark magic.

The journal describes how Rock died, then came back, and acted normal. The journal ends after that. They put the body in the pen with mules and start a fire in the shack.

Dark has fallen.

The group decides that resting for the night is the better course of the action.

The frozen rain starts up again, the shack is windy, though the fire provides some warmth. On the second watch Damien and Green hear something knocking and scraping at the door. Hawthorne gets everyone ready, and opens the door.

A tree branch is scraping against the side of the house. Hawthorne stalks out to cut the branch off the tree, annoyed at being woken up. Green goes out with her, and the dead man they threw out into the animal pen earlier is stalking out of the dark. It lunges at a very alert Private Green and misses.

Hawthorne attacks the creature, but misses. It retreats into the darkness, and charges out. Hawthorne barely sees it coming, but doesn’t roll out of the way in time and is bitten hard on the shoulder, stunned and wounded. Damien comes out of the shack and stabs the zombie in the upper body. Private Green lunges at the creature, but does no connect in the frenzy of movement and darkness. Gunn comes out of the shack and casts a Rebuke Undead Spell, and he brings a lantern with him. Inside, Quion casts a nightvision spell and Wythri a defensive spell.

Hawthorne recovers from the attack. Wythri moves to the doorway and casts an Armor Spell on her. Damien slashes at the creature again and hits it in the stomach. Green slashes and hits it in the leg to little effect. Husher comes out and takes up a defensive stance next to Wythri. Gunn stabs the ghoul with a spear and hits it in the stomach. The creature continues to claw and chew on Hawthorne, she is barely hanging onto consciousness. Another creature attacks Wythri from the roof, but misses as she falls back into the shack. Husher turns and stabs at the ghoul, but misses. Hawthorne draws upon her faith and casts forth her own Rebuke Undead, to great effect. Wythri calls forth a green soul-fire spell, tossing into the new ghoul’s chest, blowing it back nearly ten feet. The monsters flee into the darkness, and head for the mine. Damien chases them and watches them dive into the mine.

While the part rests, Quion pulls out the journal and puts together a map. About a week before Little D got sick they had suck a new shaft, pumped water out of it, and started the new tunnel.

21 Shadows – Foxtown
Tunnelmouse and Candor are patrolling the Silver District, the see a light on in the sages house. Tunnelmouse sneaks up and peaks inside a window, inside he sees a candle lit. He recognizes the man inside, and is pretty sure it’s the missing sage. Candor goes and knocks on the door to talk to Sage Adams. He claims to have just returned from being out of town, and reports his books, personal notes, stolen. He claims to have been out of town several days, but has taken his horse.

Candor casts a Detect Magic spell, and detects a powerful magic surrounding the sage. He thinks this is still 17 Shadows, Candor takes him back to the station to question him further and find out what’s going on. Tunnelmouse keeps an eye for blood leaking out of the Sage, and quietly look him over. As they walk, both officers notice he is limping, though he is covered in heavy clothes, not unusual for the time of year.

Candor brings the sage to a room to talk to him, and keeps him distracted while Tunnelmouse runs out to find another cop. He finds Noah and James to let them know Sage Adams has been found. They all return to HQ.

While waiting for the others to return, Candor attempts to cast a Dispel Magic. It fails, she attempts to keep him calm. He stomps out the door just as Lt. O’Derry arrives onsite. James tries to distract him while Candor relays the information gained to Niamh. He refuses to cooperate, and Niamh tells him that the police have the books and they are part of a murder investigation. Niamh finally threatens to place him under arrest as a suspect in the attack, if he doesn’t cooperate in questioning. Niamh wants to examine his leg, he is refusing.

He attempts to leave, by forcing his way past Niamh who places him under arrest. Tunnlemouse knocks him down. Candor attempts to confuse him with a Perplex Spell, but it has no effect despite being successful. Adams using magic to knock Niamh out. James strikes him in the arm, to no effect.

Tunnelmouse strikes Adams in the arm again. Candor casts a Flash Spell to blind him for a short period. Adams reaches out and strikes James with a Drain Life Spell, nearly killing him. Niamh stabs Adams with her spear in the foot. James backs away a few steps and throws up an Officer Down Flare. Benji joins the fray and smashes Adams with his sword, but misses his swing.

Tunnelmouse delivers another blow with his truncheon to the back of Adams head, to little effect. Candor casts a Wizard Arrow at Adam’s hand, putting a hole in it. Will and Uri see James’ flare. Adams’ casts a spell that opens the ground and drops into it, the ground closes around him.

Niamh gets a horse to go to Greyhaven. Tunnelmouse goes to wake the captain. Candor helps get James to the Church. Will goes to lock down the city blowing his whistle to wake more officers, and are told he has escaped to the sewers. Uri and Will head for the Sewer outflow.

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Session 43 - The Death and Rebirth of "Little D" Wade

17 Shadows
2-3 in the morning, bitterly cold out, we find the Regulars out on patrol. The High Quarter, James and Niamh here shouting, and rush scene. The Church, Father Crispin and several accolytes are standing out in the cold. One of the accolytes reports hearing someone out in the grave yard, and saw someone out there. Niamh and James go to investigate, the yard is dark, still, cold, with a slight mist rising off the ground. As they patrol the grave yard they don’t find anything, until… at the back near a copse of trees, James trips over a dug grave. James is pretty sure that someone dug themselves out of the grave, the name on the stake is ‘Little D Wade’. Candor and Will arrive on the scene and do a permiter check. When they reach the area outside where Niamh and James are they find blood on the fence.

Suddenly something jumps out of a tree and attacks Niamh as she examines the name-stake. The thing shrieks loudly as it chomps into Niamh’s chest. Will rushes over and attempts to grapple with the creature over Niamh. The creature continues to attack Niamh, knocking her out as it gnaws on her. Candor casts a Blur Spell on Will. Niamh recovers a little from the attack. James rushes over and smashes the creature on the back, hard, causing it to vomit blood and meat.

Uri and Tunnelmouse start to arrive on the scene at the Church. Will pulls out a truncheon and smashes the creature in the thighs. Niamh gets her truncheon in place so it’s next attack bites down on her weapon. Candor drops her Blur Spell from Will and casts a Might Spell on James. James, with his new found strength, over reaches his strike and breaks his truncheon on a nearby headstone, his arm numb from the shock.

Uri and Tunnelmouse run through the graveyard to the scene of the figtht. Will continues to hit the creature, getting it in the stomach. Niamh casts a Destroy Undead spell upon, burning some of it away. The Creature changes tactics and goes for James, catching him the vital area, drawing blood. Candor casts a Wizard Arrow at the creature, catching in the vitals in return, casuing severe damage. Uri continues to run through the gravetard with Tunnelmouse in his backpack. James recovers from the attack.

Tunnelmouse hops down and attacks the creature, but misses. Will attemps to trip the creature to knock it to the ground, but misses as well. James attempts to get out of the way of the creature, but isn’t fast enough and gets bitten in the thigh. James falls unconcious and is bleeding. Candor casts another Wizard Arrow at the Creature, catching it in the stomach. Niamh casts another Destroy Undead spell and catches it in the heart, the creature falls back into the grave.

Candor uses her First Aid skills on James to stop the bleeding, but is unable to take care of Niamh’s wound. Uri returns with Father Crispin. Niamh casts a Sunshine Spell so the group can see the area better. The priests bring out a stretcher to take James into the hospital.

Little D Wade died a few weeks ago, he was brought down from the hills, suffering from a malady that was untreatable. A terrible cough, fever, nightmares, yellow eyes. He was brought down by his brother Eddie and partner Rock. They mine Barley Rock Mine.

The team argued over who was going to deliver the body to Grey Haven and who was going to notify Hawthorne.

The guard at the gate stops the three police officers. Candor takes over explaining the problem to the guard from Uri and Tunnelmouse. Candor leaves Uri and Tunnelmouse to guard the body in the gatehouse while she accompanies the guards inside. One of the Guards goes to wake Quion. Candor explains the situation to Quion. Quion examines the body, Candor assists, Cici is also woken up to assist. Uri and Tunnelmouse are dismissed. Candor is warned by Quion that the infection of undeath can be spread through grievous wounds, and that they should keep an eye on James and Niamh.

Master Gunn is called in by Quion to track the blood that was found on the fence outside the graveyard. He takes a few hounds to help him track the hours old trail.

Seargent Will goes to tell Lady Hawthorne of the incident. She dismisses him with thanks, and waits for Quion’s report.

18 Shadows
Hawthorne goes to get information from Quoin’s investigation.

Gunn goes to track the blood, some priests are cleansing the area when he arrives. The blood goes through the high quarter, and loses the trail as it enters the silver quarter. He informs the police of where the trail ends.

Candor stays with James the first day of his recovery, he will be staying in the hospital a few days for observation. Quion arrives to talk to the priests. Quion investigates the grave site while the priests are cleansing the area. He finds, in the gress under a tree, more blood that did not belong to the fight. He hypothosises that someone else was in the area that was bleeding out. He thinks the ghoul had grabbed another person and killed and eaten them. Either the ghoul disposed of the body or it got away as the Draconians interrupted it. He looks around for a hidden corpse.

Hawthorne talks to the Baron and informs him of the undead incident, and talks to him about the winter.

Niamh talks to Captain Stormwatcher about the problem. He requests that they get some of the Baron’s Guard to help them. Starting with the High Quarter, moving onto the Silver Quarter.

19 Shadows
The group heads up into the hills, the weather starts to turn bad as snow comes in.

Meanwhile the Draconians patrol the streets. Candor and Tunnelmouse are in the Silver Quarter and respond to a scream. They find a maid, Betty Mae, in the street in shock. She points to a house, the one formerly owned by Wythri and Eldamoth. Tunnelmouse goes inside while Candor questions her. Inside he finds blood everywhere, Candor takes Betty across the street to calm her down. The house belongs to Master Adams, a sage from Cli.

They go inside to investigate further. The blood is dried, not fresh. They find no one inside.

Questioning the neighbors they find out the Sage is not home very often. He’s been known to disappear for days, but when he’s home he takes customers as expected. Tunnelmouse goes to find the ledger. He finds a secret compartment under the floor, there’s a small cash box and a couple of books. There is one untitled book that has a lock on it, the other two are personal journals. Candor looks through the journals while Tunnelmouse opens the locked book. The journals are filled with page after page of pictures of the Baron’s Gate, surrounded by alchemical runes. The runes are from the school of Imbuement. It is cyphered, so she can’t read it all. The entire locked book is in cypher, there are a few maps of the hills, and some magical notes.

Niamh arrives and checks the room out. She determines that someone was hit with an upward strike to splatter the blood, and then dragged out the door. Candor checks for magic and finds residuals of dark magic around the attack. They leave an officer behind to guard in case the sage returns. Candor returns with the reports to headquarters. They do find that his horse is still there, and hasn’t been fed in a day or two. The last time someone saw him was two or more days ago.

20 Shadows
James returns to work that evening. In the morning Niamh takes the book to Grey Haven for Eldamoth to investigate them. She runs into the Baron, and let’s him know what happened the night before.

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Session 36: The New Captain

End Of Reaping
Lady Hawthorne has been off working with the young giant Patl, running him to the Foxton Gate and back to Grey Haven. Patl is very eager to please Hawthorne. The younger giants are picking up reading and writing, but Patl has trouble so Hawthorne takes that up also.

Damian gets a letter from Natalie Sharp, through Madam Risha. Natalie tells Damien that Candiwyn Connely had disappeared. Duke Raoul had several ships in port, many men in town, and on campus. Rumor says duke Raoul had kidnapped Candiwyn, but Natalie had seen the dean talking with Raoul’s men and the dean was not happy so she thinks Raoul also does not know where Candiwyn is. Billy and Ward had not been seen. The Council Of Nine were gathering and rumor states they will be electing a new member.

Damien shares the information with Hawthorne. Isobelle and James have a conversation about giants, bees, and the Baron.

3 Shadows
All the Draconians are called into Headquarters that late afternoon, for an emergency meeting. Captain Waggoner leaves his office followed by a hobbit in an officer’s uniform. Waggoner calls the unit to attention and introduces the new captain, Cornelius Stormwatcher, an old friend. Cornelius has a great respect for Waggoner and considers himself just a place keeper until Waggoner sorts his business out. Cornelius has been in the Draconians for thirty years and started in the espionage corps. Lieutenant Tower and Lieutenant Niamh enter the captain’s office to meet Captain Stormwatcher. Niamh briefed the captain on the town and recent events, and introduced him to Captain Hawthorne the next morning.

After Gunn returns from his trip with Wythri, the Baron lets him know the poacher is still active. The area the poacher has been active is to the west of town, close to the road. A recent kill revealed a broken moonshine jug, an arrow head that pointed to a local poacher and moonshine runner, named Chavez. Gunn set up watch around the poachers hut. Gunn watched Chavez, but the worst he found was a deer kill, that wasn’t mutilated.

Wythri has a few weeks to do research on the Black Elf city before her kin arrives. She and Eldamoth found information on an artifact called a Chaos Cannon. Eldamoth also expressed concern about the elves being possessed. Wythri reports to the Baron, she believes that her kin are not planning anything nefarious. She and the Baron believe that probably know about the city, but not about the phantoms. She suggests they tell the elves about the phantoms. The Baron’s main concern was also the phantoms, this is the third instance of undead in the Barony this year, after Flynn and the ghouls in the sewers.

A meeting is called at dinner with the senior staff. Item One – Wythri explains about the elves and phantoms. The priority became finding the source of the undead instances. Quion and Wythri would do research on how to detect necromancy and ghost realm. Hawthorne would talk to the priests.

Damien returned to his home to find his traps disarmed and his old master waiting for him. His mentor told him about a job regarding a Kidbod noble arriving. Damien told his master that he had been ordered to protect the noble. His master reminded Damien that there was a lot of money to be had. His master was disappointed that Damien would have to work against him.

Quion received word that his aunt and niece (the family of Cici’s assassin) had boarded a ship flying the flag of Kidbod, and left with most of their possessions and wealth. Quion did research looking into the elven city and water sources. He also talked to Cici about staying as the apprentice of a clerk or a Quaesitor. Cici chooses to stay with Quion.

The next day Quion asked Hawthorne to teach Cici how to fight.

Stormwatcher plays the part of a trainee while on patrol, while learning the city. He also turned the desk away from the door and put up a pine board with pictures and string attaching each other with Nobbin in the center.

Isobelle takes James to dinner in the town.

Several Weeks Pass
Quion learns that there is a legend that when the undead arrived there was a series of terrible tidal waves that killed hundreds of people and those people rose from the dead. It was learned that the waves were caused by an island rising from the sea. This island is called Hel after the goddess of the undead.

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Niahm: A Social Call

I think this takes place the same morning Isobelle was talking with James.
-——
After leaving Mr. Lloyd’s shop, Niamh returned to Draconian headquarters to update Captain Waggoner on the new developments she had learned. Once her report was complete, she still desperately wanted to talk to Isobelle, but by this time the Captain would be at Grey Haven and Niamh felt her energy quickly fading. Returning to Derry Dale, Niamh found it hard to fall asleep, and when she did sleep, she dreamed of Thomas. She was surprised how vivid memories from ten years ago could be.

Her shift that night was thankfully quite, although she had a hard time focusing due to the lack of sleep. As soon as she was off duty, she headed for Hawthorne Manor, hoping she would be able to speak with Isobelle this time. Arriving at Hawthorne Manor, she knocked on the door. An older woman opened the door, “Is Lady Hawthorne available, please?” Niamh asked. The woman sighed and led her into a small room to wait. Niamh found herself pacing the room while waiting to hear word from her friend.


Lady Hawthorne was about to step out for the day when Laurel stopped her, “M’Lady, Lieutenant O’Derry is here to see you.”

Isobelle smiled, “Thank you,” And went to meet her friend, the smile fell a little when she found Niamh pacing the room, “Niamh, a pleasant surprise, Is everything alright?”


Niamh relaxed a little when Isobelle walked in. “I,” she paused, trying to find the right words, “just need someone to talk to.” She sat down on the edge of a chair to stop herself from pacing more. “I learned yesterday that an old…” acquaintance? friend? “lover, was murdered in Tallhill last month. Part of me wants to go there to find out what happened, the other part is wondering why I even care. I just don’t know what I’m feeling right now.”


Isobelle frowned at the news, “I am sorry for your loss.” She brought a chair over and sat next to Niamh, “If you wish closure you should go, it is not good to let these feelings linger.” She spoke with a more subdued authority than normal, “You care because old friends, and lovers, still hold a place in our hearts.” She smiled, “I suggest you go,” She stood up, “Duty calls, but, if you decide to go and wish company I will make myself available.” She put a hand on Niamh’s shoulder to assure her friend.


A strange expression came across Isobelle’s face in an instant, before Niamh could respond, “No, this will not due. I treat everything as a duty to fulfill, it is bad for the stomach,” She undid the belts holding her swords on, “Come, we will spend a morning on more frivolous activity, you can tell me about your lover. That will help sort your feelings.” She draped the swords over the back of a chair and offered an arm with a smile.


Niamh smiled back and took Isobelle’s arm, a little bit of her energy returning. As they walked outside, Niamh found herself opening up, “Arwyn and I were in Tallhill when I turned sixteen. I knew mother was preparing to move again, so in an act of defiance, I enlisted with the Draconians. She was disappointed, but wished me well. The Draconians, on the other hand, didn’t know what to do with me. A witch had never joined the force before. I obviously didn’t belong in the Theologic Corp, witches are not technically priests. Since I could do some magic, they put me in the Thaumaturgic Corp. I had a hard time there though. The way they taught magic was just not the way my spells worked. Then another trainee, Thomas Brown, offered to tutor me. He was a few years older than I was. He had curly black hair, sky blue eyes that you lost yourself in, a sly smile and surprisingly strong hands for a wizard. He had a way of working out the knots in my shoulders whenever I got frustrated. I had never had that kind of attention shown to me before. I had always been teased, or ignored. He taught me a great deal, not all about magic.” Niamh found herself smiling, and blushing a little at the memories. “Several weeks after we had become lovers I caught him in bed with another trainee. During the argument that followed, it came out that the only reason he had offered to tutor me was to try to get me into bed.” Niamh sighed. “My first lover and first heartbreak.” She stopped and looked at Isobelle. “It’s the fact that he was murdered that I don’t understand, and right now it’s impossible for me to try to go to Tallhill. It’s a least a month’s journey, that’s riding long hard days. With Captain Waggoner resigning, I can’t be absent for the few months it would take. Besides, I haven’t seen him or talked to him in ten years, so I wouldn’t be much help to the investigation. I’ve sent a request asking for any updates, but it can be a few months before I hear anything new.” When she finally stopped talking, Niamh felt the exhaustion wash over her again, “I just don’t know what to think or do.”


Isobelle had steered them towards town as Niamh talked, “We always carry the good memories of the ones we love. Especially when they hurt us.” Isobelle smiled, “He was careless with your heart, and by accounts perhaps with the hearts of others. Well, if you cannot go, not without leaving your post here. Perhaps we can enlist the help of those who can.” She had a bit a sly smile, “We are on good terms with a group who can be trusted, I believe. But first, perhaps some tea, relax your nerves.” Isobelle suggested.


Niamh raised an eyebrow, “The Deadly Seven?” she shook her head. “I don’t think it’s worth the fee they would ask for such an errand. There’s just no possible way to get any new information any quicker. I’m just going to have to be patient and wait for the report from Tallhill.” They had entered a café and had sat down to drink their tea. “How you doing? Is Sir Hawthorne helping with dealing with what happened with Nathaniel?” She bit her lip and looked down at her tea. “I’m sorry. Don’t answer that. I shouldn’t pry.”


Isobelle smiled, “The monster hunters are belligerent, uncivilized brutes. But they’re also honest, and good at what they do.” She shrugged.

“As for Nathaniel,” She sighed and paused, “I am as well as I can be, I’ve been in mourning for a year now already in some ways. Or longer. The Nathaniel I married was not the man I met in the hills that day.” She looked sad for a moment, “James is also coping with the loss. We are becoming a little more comfortable with each other.” She sipped her tea, “He is being kind considering the situation. He is a good man, but I may be a little more, forward that he’d wish.”


Niamh nodded knowingly, “It takes time for two people to adjust to each other. I also know how long it can take for the heart to heal. If the two of you can support each other, the healing will be a little easier.” She looked out the window, her gaze focused elsewhere. “That was the mistake I made when Arwyn died. I shut everyone out, even the person I was closest to.” She looked back at Isobelle and smiled. “Thank you for taking the time to listen. I’ve never had many friends, so I very much appreciate your friendship.”


“Any time you want to talk, I’ll be here.” Isobelle smiled back, “I’m glad we’re friends, I don’t have many here. It feels good to be open and relaxed with someone.” She relaxed slightly in her seat, “James and I will be fine together, as these things go. I could do worse than him or this family.” She put her cup down, “But, back to the Deadly Seven. If you wish I will inquire to a price to find out information. I feel they will be far more reliable, and truthful in what they find, than most.” She said in a casual, if slightly persistent, manner.


Niamh considered the offer for a moment. Would the Deadly Seven be able to find any new information that the Draconians would not send to her? For that matter, would the officers in Tallhill send her any information at all? Was it really important for her to know the details of how Thomas died or why he was murdered? Finally she sighed and nodded. “As long as the fee isn’t too outrageous, I suppose there is no harm in asking. Part of me thinks it’s silly to even pursue this, but there’s also the feeling that something is just not right. Or perhaps I’m just too tired to think clearly.”


“As long as it’s going to be on your mind, you might as well put some of the thoughts at ease.” Isobelle nodded, “There’s nothing more aggravating than a question you can’t get the answer to. Trust me. Well, if you’re as tired as you look I should let you get some rest.” Isobelle said, “Unless you had more on your mind?” She paused, “Otherwise I can talk to the Deadly Seven and arranged for them to send back some information.”


Niamh shook her head. “Thank you, I appreciate your help.” She smiled as she stood up and stretched, “We should do this more often, and invite Wythri next time.”


“Absolutely." Isobelle agreed, standing up “Next time we’ll plan ahead as well.” There was some mirth in her tone, “Anytime you wish my help or to talk I am available.”

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