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Sunday was the day site for the Newcastle Branch of Fools and Heroes, the LARP system Lord A384 and I play (along with others like gelflingjo). We were out at the Forest Commission’s site at Chopwell Wood (along with the annual Christmas tree sales by the Friends of Chopwell Woods) and we had a cracking day. Not too chilly with reasonably firm ground underfoot (bar a few soggy areas and a mud swamp car park to negotiate in the dark), we ran two adventures for members of the Newcastle branch, with visitors from Tees Valley and Edinburgh.

But now, onto the adventures …

It was XI Midcold MXI and trouble was brewing in Berwickshire …

Player Mission: Trouble for Boxley-on-Tye

The teams were split in advance of the meet, partly due to the anticipated numbers and the need for a quick start to make the most of the light. I was placed on the first mission, a hiring by Baronet Quinn Dexter (of the Vortigan lands) which required the aid of bold adventurers to solve a small problem …

The hiring took place near Boxley-on-Tye, a settlement in North Berwickshire, and as the adventurers approached we were formally met with much fanfare, watching crowds, uniforms, banners – the works. Taken before the Baronet Dexter (a gentleman married into the Vortigan family, one of the noble houses of Berwickshire, holding the lands in trust for his young son) into a hall full of people of the town, the adventurers were filled in on the reason for the hiring and the mission – to find the cause for the strange searching behaviour of some local foul spawn and to put it to rights, thereby defending the local people and making them more willing to join the call for militia on a campaign to Llaminusia to free it from Tholon’s undead forces – Summerfest plot hint, anyone?

We were expected to conduct ourselves in a peaceful manner, upholding the good name and finest traditions of the adventuring community, and sorting out the matter to his lordship’s satisfaction.

Led by Knight Errant (Griffin Order) Stewart DePiercy (eldest son of the adventuring nobles recently come to Newcroft), the party consisted of Tobius DePiercy (second son of the family), Arthur Lightfoot the schoolmaster demonologist, a new elven scout, Drake the freesword, two Guildsmen Mercenaries who I’d adventured with before (and I still don’t know their names! This must be rectified soon!), Brother Enacus, priest of Kharach, Captain Nathan Jameson of the King’s Own Heavy Skirmishers of Foot, Mercy Blackstaff the Vleyborian Doctor of Newcroft’s Night Clinic (a recent post) and Brother Elohannonenitellagwaitheska the elven Vleyborian priest from Dunlirron.

We set off out of Boxley-on-Tye, heading out towards the lands that had been troubled by the foul spawn, Tobius filling in members of the party of another mission that had seen similar behaviour where the creatures had been looking for a particular ring. But lo, upon the path stood a number of orcs and hobgoblins, led by a troll. The two priests stepped out to try and dissuade conflict but to no avail. As the Knight Errant approached, the creatures attacked and whilst the elf was taken aside, Brother Enacus and Stewart were attacked. The party ran to their aid and sustained few wounds, though by a miracle of Lady Vleybor, Brother Elohannon was able to heal the Kharachian from afar, allowing Mercy to simply rouse him before tending to the others.

On we went to find a group of villagers who greeted us with cheers. The priests preached the good word and encouraged those amongst the group to consider joining the militia, that their lands would be safe. After a false alarm of members of the IPL being present which led to the elven members of the party to be watched carefully by their fellows (a point angrily challenged by Elohannon), a small matter of demons was raised and a woman’s seed for crops was blessed to help them grow in the spring.

Travelling on we encountered what appeared to be two orcs and an alshanti-like thing which the demonologist approached. The party unsubtly gathered together to discuss some point of contention (supposedly under the premise of Stewart telling all about some saucy wench he’s met the night before) which angered the creatures who attacked. It turned out that they were inhabited by demons which the party downed quickly before they vanished.

A scout warily approached us from the woodland, talking about circles and demons, leading to a confrontation between Captain Jameson and the Knight Errant which Mercy tried to dispel. The scout mentioned some strange behaviour up ahead and the party saw a number of orcs and a woman in white up ahead. Hurrying on, the party spread out and concerned, Mercy lost her temper, much to everyone’s surprise.

The woman in white turned out to be a priestess of Vleybor, out attempting to still the savage heart of the foul spawn and she greeted us warmly as the party asked about the goings on in the area. She said that a foul spawn war leader, named Red Fang, was stirring up trouble, but it was only in recent times that things had begun to get ugly. We thanked her for her time and as we turned our back on the creatures we were attacked – which was put down quickly with few injuries and the survivors encouraged to move on.

During all this, we had discovered the foul spawn were hunting for a spider ring, something which seemed to ring a bell with Tobius who began asking quite pointed questions of those hunting for the ring. Perhaps he knows more than he lets on?

We pressed on until we reached a bridge where a creature in a hooded robe called down to Tobius, demanding the ring. A stalemate was reached which allowed the two to talk, something which enraged the two priests and some bargain was struck where Tobius would do some investigations for the ogre and the ogre would stop mucking around with demons. That seemed to be the end of the matter until, as we trudged back towards Boxley-on-Tye, our work done, we stumbled across several demons around the priestess. The fighters in the party, along with the Vleyborian priest and his blessed staff, fought them before Mercy and Elohannon rushed to the aid of their sister in faith and together got her back on her feet. We advised the blessing of her staff and whilst we could not convince her to come with us, she accepted our concerns for her safety and she agreed to be careful.

More demon inhabited creatures attacked the party, dropping several of the party until Nathan Jameson, having retrieved his wits after being feared along with the Knight Errant (and whilst Nathan had been caught by Tobius and Elohannon mid flight, there had been no way for Mercy to stop the Knight as he charged past), doctored his blade with poison and laid into the creatures, saving the party and allowing them to lick their wounds and save those who were near death. Mercy fended off some creatures from several of the wounded before patching them back together and luckily other members of the party managed to hold the freesword together long enough for her to treat his wounds.

It was at this point that we decided we must report what had happened to Baronet Dexter and we picked up the pace, only to meet someone else on the road.

Upon first glance, she appeared to be the Surgeon General and Mercy greeted her with confusion, as she was supposed to be in Newcroft and Mercy thought she was managing the situation well. Except the woman kept talking about a ring and when Mercy asked why she had come, she evaded the question. It was then that Mercy realised this was not the Surgeon General and she tried to tell Arthur and Tobius what she had determined. But they were already ahead of her and whilst none of the party had blessed or enchanted weapons upon their persons, they retreated away from the creature.

The Crowans of the party were willing to lay down their lives to save the party, with members of the faiths standing behind, unable to let a demon live and whilst the remainder were ordered to flee, Mercy encouraged those with her to stand back, but not to run. Only if the front line failed would they flee to a shrine to obtain a blessed weapon to destroy the creature, but running away was not something she could allow them to do – running attracts attention and she did not want to leave her friends.

But the demon did not attack and made a bargain with Tobius – something to do with the ring he had found before, that was currently on the Longstorian shrine in Newcroft. It appears that this is not over and this was reported to the Baronet when the party returned.

The party were invited to stay the night, which many accepted, and upon the morning, Mercy returned early to Newcroft for reasons that will become clear after the Monster Mission below.

——

I got to use Mercy’s double bandaging skill for the first time (yay for being a Doctor) as well as adventuring with a large balanced party. I also had several sermons given to me by Brother Elohannon which were fun. Supposedly I need to lose my temper more …

——

Monster Mission:  All for love …

After a quick lunch (the first mission had overrun a tad which meant that the daylight was soon to fail) the second mission went headed out.

Comprising of Captain-General Brack-on-Hill, Finwe the Scout, Ned the scout, a blacksmith, a llaminusian longstorian, Brother Johnny Slayback and Mother Anne of the Longstorian Church, Father Cornway of the Traldan Church, Doctors Leo Llew O’Kyle and Georgina Herald (the Surgeon General), Master Sol and his apprentice Johnny Test the enchanters and several mercenaries, they were hired by the Thane of Newcroft who had had concerning rumours of missing land, missing people and general wierd goings on.

As they headed out they encountered a body who Mother Anne was sure had just fallen from the sky though the rest thought he looked like a man who had been kicked by a horse and died. Whilst they were checking the body, the scouts came upon some peasants tending their fields for winter crops under attack by foul spawn  and when a young woman came screaming their way, the rest of the party caught up. Concerned for their village of Millford, the peasants went on their way. The party continued and found that despite the unseasonably warm weather, green wood and good soil, three men had frozen to death huddled together for warmth. Concerned, on they went where they were ambushed by more foul spawn and then they came to the village of Millford, who were complaining of lost farm land.

As they spoke with the village who were praising the bounty they were having, a strange woman came wandering out of the woods, declaring that her lady was gone. When questioned it eventually came to light that she looked after a Dryad, one of Longstor’s holy creatures, but she could no longer find her and she was most distressed. After yelling and screaming at the Elder’s son, blaming him for the dryad’s disappearance the party came to understand he had struck a deal with some fae for the good weather in exchange for the dryad. It would later come to light that the fae was the King of the Summer Court, who had fallen in love with the dryad and had taken her away to be his wife.

It was at this point that the party split – with a number being taken away on another mission through the fae ways to be reunited with the party, it having something to do with Mother Anne’s changeling status that was inflicted upon her during the run up to Summerfest.

The party (which I monstered for) then went looking for the dryad’s tree (which was no longer there), encountered some more foul spawn and then came upon a bridge which a Cobbler (a fae creature) was proudly polishing. He had made this bridge into fae and once the party crossed it, they entered into the fae realm.

Here they found red caps and two types of human children – some who wished to be faeries and some who were known as sorrows who were battling the humans under the “faeries” thrall. There appeared to be a war going on and whilst they did not attack the party, they did attack each other.

They were reunited with the missing members of the party and caught up with the things that had happened to each, before they came upon a fae knight who barred their path to the fae court. They didn’t seem to have much difficulty in overcoming him and the group entered the fae court.

Sitting at a gaming table were two crowned kings, one in summer green and one in winter furs, playing an odd game of draughts vs checkers. The party were announced by the steward to applause from the surrounding fae court, who were watching the game avidly and by a tree stood the dryad in summer green. The party went to investigate the game whilst the Longstorians went to plea with the dryad to return to her tree, as her absence was causing an unbalance in the cycle – the truth of the matter was that the King of Summer did not want his new wife to sleep the winter through and he was currently battling his counterpart for the right to keep Summer all year long. But this was affecting the dryad who was confused and lost, and whilst loved by her Summer Lord, was basically a prisoner to his will.

Gradually, Finwe coaxed the memories out of the dryad and the more he helped her remember, the more confused she became until she realised the tree she was “attached” to was not her own and her mind cleared. With the help of the Longstorians (and a few prayers) she left the court, telling the Steward that she no longer belonged to the King of Summer and that he should give way to the King of Winter to keep the cycle in balance – which of course angered the King of Summer and he began to cheat (the pieces being human lives they were playing with).

This led to a chase down the hill back to the bridge which once crossed stopped the party from returning to the fae realm. The dryad was returned to her tree and as they spoke the temperature turned from being unseasonably warm to cooler night as the light faded – the King of Winter proving victorious in his game. But the rest of the party were still there and somehow all but one managed to escape the collapsing faeway, collecting their wounded along the way.

Only the Surgeon General stayed behind.

—–

This led to Mercy returning to Newcroft to find the guild house in uproar (something which she almost sensed IC) and all sorts of fun stuff to be happening.

Hopefully the Surgeon General will be returned to Newcroft soon … ?

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