7 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
Lady Hawthorne returned to Gray Haven just before dawn, having gotten little rest the past few days. She was greeted by Archbishop Tully, Baron du Clef, and Captain Waggoner. The four entered the chapel and Archbishop Tully opened the ceremony by welcoming the dawn and asking for the blessing of the Trinity on those assembled. He then commanded Lady Hawthorne to kneel before him holding her sword point down. Lady Hawthorne drew the Hawthorne family sword that Sir James returned to her a few hours earlier and knelt before the Archbishop. After taking the oath of a paladin, the Archbishop blessed her and the four exited the chapel.
Lady Hawthorne was surprised to see the full contingent of the Baron’s Guards in dress uniform standing in formation. Sergeant Thomas of the Gate called the men to order and presented them for Captain Hawthorne’s inspection. Overall, Lady Hawthorne was pleased with the state of her men and dismissed them to their duties.
Baron du Clef presented Lady Hawthorne with a tooled baldric and scabbard as token of his pride in her commitment. As Lady Hawthorne was preparing Night to return to Hawthorne Manor, Captain Waggoner approached her. His countenance was sad, but he smiled as he saluted her, “I misjudged you Captain. I thought you to be a spoiled rich girl playing at being a soldier. I now see you have truly earned your scars.” Lady Hawthorne returned the salute and returned to Hawthorne Manor for some much needed rest.
Quion spent the day studying the piece of cloth Niamh had found at the site of Stew Golden’s death.
8 Coolwater, 960 RM, Gray Haven
Baron du Clef called his advisors together for breakfast first thing in the morning. After the group had finished eating Baron du Clef began. “I assume you all have heard about the story of the giants the one eyed man told a few nights ago?” Even Niamh nodded, Benedikt and Randell had told her about it during their dinner with her. The Baron continued, “The last thing I need is a group of Monster Hunters disturbing the peace we’ve had for the last thirty or so years. Captain Hawthorne, you have not had much of a chance to put your diplomatic training to use here, so now’s your opportunity. I want you to lead a group up into the hills and deliver my well wishes and continued offer of peace to the giants. This is not an immediate issue, so in the next few weeks.”
“Secondly, has anyone seen the Druid Nikki?” Everyone shook their heads; no one had seen her in the past five days, not since she and the Baron had discussed the need for the lycanthropy potions to cure those that had been bitten during the fight at the mining camp. “Thirdly,” The Baron continued, “My call for a Court Wizard. The College of Cli has proposed several journeymen, but the College is not on my good side right now (that does not leave this room!). I would prefer someone with a single master and who has ties to the area. If any of you know of anyone, please let me know. I will be testing all the candidates to find a good match.” Both Niamh and Lady Hawthorne suggested Wythri, which caught the elf by surprise. “Me? But I’m just an apprentice!” When questioned as to if Sage Eldamoth would applying, Wythri was unsure of her master’s intentions. “Well then,” the Baron sighed, “Is there anything else?”
“Golden.” Niamh ventured. “The new moon is but a week away and I would prefer that a third death not happen to prove the pattern. I also believe that another death would not be taken well in the village.” The Baron nodded, “I’ll leave you to handle that Lieutenant. Make sure you and your team are in Golden no later than the 14th.” Niamh nodded, “Nobbin and his gang are also still at large, and it is uncertain if any of them were infected also.” Since Nobbin and his gang had not been heard from in the last few weeks, it was determined they were not an immediate threat.
“Has anyone heard from the Circle of Iron?” Quion asked. Again no one had seen them since they left the town to hunt down the chimeras after the death of one of their fighters. Mister Gunn and Mistress Featherlight were assigned the task of checking to make sure the chimeras had been taken care of. With all business addressed, the group dispersed to their other duties.
10 Coolwater, 960 RM, Draconian Headquarters
Lady Hawthorne and Barrister Barr interviewed Natalie Sharp. Barr spoke to the young lady first. He told her that since Quion Rake had been murdered and she was an accomplice, unless she cooperated with Lady Hawthorne, she could be tried for a capital crime. Natalie agreed to tell Lady Hawthorne what she knew. Natalie told Lady Hawthorne that Chaumer had been courting her, which she liked as he was older and from a noble family. She had heard what Quion had done to Candiwyn, Dean Donnely’s daughter, and how Quion had used his family’s influence to escape justice. When Chaumer had asked her to help him she agreed, but now she realized that he had just been using her. She did not know if Chaumer had been working for anyone, but he was one of Dean Donnely’s prize students so that would be a place to start. After speaking with Natalie, Lady Hawthorne asked Barr what he had offered her, since she had cooperated, Barr was sure there would be a speedy trial and she would be sentenced to a few months of labor and then released.
11 Coolwater, 960 RM
Quion’s research on the cloth Niamh had found where Stew Golden had died revealed that the cloth was of common sack cloth, very old, and he could not detect any magic. Quion asked Niamh to take the cloth to Wythri to ask her if she could determine anything else.
Niamh took the cloth to Wythri and explained what the cloth was and what Quion had found out and asked her to attempt to learn more. Wythri said she would work on it over the next few days.
12 Coolwater, 960 RM, Quion’s Tower
Before the contingent from Cli left Foxton, Otiluke found Quion in his tower. Otiluke promised Quion that he would do everything in his power to make sure his letter would reach Candiwyn’s hands. Quion thanked him for his help and requested he continue the deception of his death. Otiluke agreed, pleased with the joke.
13 Coolwater, 960 RM, Draconian Headquarters
Captain Waggoner was surprisingly accommodating when Niamh asked permission to return to Golden. However, Niamh and Lieutenant Tower got into an argument during the shift change.
Niamh invited Benedikt to dinner again, which Benedikt readily agreed to.
14 Coolwater, 960 RM, Golden, Dawn
Niamh, Lady Hawthorne, Quion, Damien, and Mister Gunn gathered to leave for Golden. Wythri arrived late, agitated and shivering. She told the group she had cast a spell to see where the cloth had been and saw nothing but darkness; she felt bitter cold, wetness, and a great pressure weighing down on her. This corresponded to what Father Ethelred had told them about his dream. Niamh did not want to upset the village by having a large group of people enter, so she suggested Lady Hawthorne and Damien talk to Rich, Penn, Jar, and Jeb while the rest of the group searched the lake by where Alfie the younger’s body had been found.
As Lady Hawthorne and Damien entered Golden, they found the village in an uproar. Father Ethelred explained that Jar and Jeb had stolen a pair of horses before dawn and left the village heading east. Penn and Rich were at their homes being guarded by their parents. Lady Hawthorne asked Damien to try and track the twins while she went to talk to Rich.
Quion, Mister Gunn, Wythri, and Niamh headed toward the “Fishing Hole” which was a good sized lake outside the village. Wythri cast a spell that allowed them to communicate when they split up. She cast another spell that allowed Niamh and herself to breath underwater and not be bothered by the cold. Meanwhile, Quion and Mister Gunn searched around the lake for any clues, but did not find anything. Wythri and Niamh spent a few hours searching the lake before Wythri found an old potato sack filled with rocks.
When Lady Hawthorne and Damien rejoined the group, Lady Hawthorne told them that Rich had finally confessed to what had happened. Flynn did attempt to leave Golden last fall, and went to see Darla one last time. Alfie found out about the visit and he and the others intercepted the boy to teach him a lesson. According to Rich, Flynn went down and did not get back up. The boys weighted the body down with an old potato sack filled with rocks and dropped it into the lake. Damien reported that it looked like Jeb and Jar where headed for Foxton’s Gate, but would probably bypass Foxtown itself.
Lady Hawthorne had Rich, Penn, and their families stay at the church until she returned. She also assured Mayor Golden that the village would be saved and the twins returned home. Wythri cast a spell to increase the horses’ speed and the group returned to Gray Haven in record time. They exchanged horses and continued on toward Foxton’s Gate.
As night passed, a storm suddenly came up bringing with it a bitter cold wind and hail. The horses were slowed to a walk until the storm passed them a few hours later. Just before dawn, the group approached the village of Lafayette and spotted two bedraggled horses. Mister Gunn had a hard time calming the creatures, but finally learned that the riders had fallen off in the woods when the horses had encountered something scary. Tracking back, the group found Jar and Jeb lying in the woods with their necks broken. It looked as if the boys had been knocked off the horses and killed by the fall, but Quion found what looked like bruising around the neck in the shape of hand prints. The bodies were taken to the village and Lady Hawthorne procured a cart. After a few hours rest, the group returned to Foxtown and Lady Hawthorne continued to Golden to deliver the bodies.
To: Baron Mathieu du Clef of Foxton; Captain Uriah Waggoner, Theologic Corp, Foxtown Draconian unit
From: Lieutenant Niamh O’Derry, Epoptic Corp, Foxtown Draconian unit
15 Coolwater, 960 RM
Subject: More Tragedy in Golden
It is my unfortunate duty to report that the village of Golden has lost two more of its young men. Jeb and Jar Hosteller were found just outside the village of Lafayette after dawn today. Master Rake determined that the boys died from a broken neck. The twins were apparently thrown from their horses during a storm. According to Mister Gunn, the two horses had been spooked by something in the woods and the two boys had fallen off. Master Rake also noticed that there seems to be bruising around their necks, as if by hand prints. Captain Hawthorne has continued to Golden to return the bodies.
Before tracking down the boys, Captain Hawthorne had interviewed Rich Miller. Rich told her that Flynn did attempt to leave Golden last fall, and went to see Darla Golden one last time. Alfie the younger found out about the visit and he and the others intercepted Flynn to teach him a lesson. Flynn went down during the fight and did not get back up. The boys weighted the body down with an old potato sack filled with rocks and dropped it into the lake. Mistress Majaera and I had searched the lake bottom and indeed found an old potato sack filled with rocks, but no body.
If indeed these deaths are the result of Flynn’s death, I am at a loss on how to prevent any further tragedy. Our best efforts failed to prevent the deaths of Jar and Jeb. There are still several unanswered questions: Why do these deaths happen around the new moon? How is the storm we encountered, and that was reported last month, related? If these deaths were the result of Flynn’s death, then why did Big Pete confess to murdering Alfie the younger? Where is Flynn’s body, the cold water of the lake should have preserved something. How do we protect Rich Miller, Penn Smith, and Darla Golden? Again we are left with more questions than answers. Fortunately we have another month to try to work out the answers.
Lieutenant Niamh O’Derry, Epoptic Corp, Foxtown Draconian unit.