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.