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I take my title from one of the images a player put up in response to the call for the player/monster list up on our local board. But it fits perfectly with what was about to happen, so “Save the Georgies!”

This night site was a player led mission, called to save the Surgeon General from the dreadful fae creatures (according to popular national opinion) after her unfortunate disappearance in December or to save her player from being left out of the build up to National plot later this month.

So, on a relatively mild night in Deepwinter, the adventurers of Newcroft set out on their personal quest to bring Doctor Herald home …

The mission had been gathered together by Father Cornway of Tralda (though he could not attend due to “man flu” or routing those dastardly Sereklanites out of Newcroft), so the task fell to Captain-General Brack-on-Hill of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry, the elven Enchanter Master Solinarius d’Carranath, Doctors Leofryck Llew O’Kyle and Mercy Blackstaff, Master Finwe and Ned of the Scouts Guild, the alchemist Ethan Fairbrass and Primate Viviane of Vleybor (all “experienced” adventurers) who met at a recently abandoned pub somewhere on the Newcroft-Carlech road.

Leo had been told that there was a way into the fae realm that only worked under the light of a full moon by a group of Alshanti (seriously hardcore werewolves that you might recall from the mission in September of “Save the Alshanti”). But, of course, nothing is ever that simple. Out of the bushes came a number of menacing shapes that growled at us and whilst the one on the bridge listened to Leo, his companions crept closer. Things kicked off and we spent a long time trying to fend off savage werewolves, patch party members up and figure out a way into the fae realms – involving lots of running by those party members who had silver weapons. Finwe and Sol did us proud.

When we finally chased off the last of the creatures, up comes Ned with a strange creature with a love of hammers and shiny things who seems surprised to still see us there. They’re looking for a puck, a small orange-faced fae who’d given them the slip it seemed. Eventually the puck appeared and we began to tackle the problem of getting into the fae ways. Ned and Finwe went with the Cobbler, leaving the rest of us behind – followed by a number of antics of trying to follow the puck through the door and after making the puck promise to help us if we did her a favour (getting her unharmed to the Hobb Market), three of the party applied “juice” to their eyes and the other three of us linked hands and were pulled through.

After a quick physicians emergency after discovering that Sol was suffering from the onset of a form of Brain Fever (which a number of potions were mixed by Mercy to counteract the effects), the party hurried after the Puck who was skipping merrily on her way. Until we entered Red Cap country. The name sounds ominous, the description of the gateway was vile and we all knew, deep in our IC and OOC hearts that trouble was just around the corner.

The fae ways are known to behave strangely, shifting without warning and any strung out party could end up with members vanishing beyond the sunset, never to be seen again. This happened when we reached a crossroads in the fae ways, with the party splintering into small groups, only to be attacked by Red Caps, who wield venomed spears and dip their red caps in the blood of their dying enemies (Mercy has, unfortunately, contributed to their red stained head gear). But they were fought off, the party put back on its feet and whilst we were harried on our way, the Red Caps were soon far behind us as we approached the Hungry mountain.

Some small creatures came scampering around us, looking for food, attacking when nothing was offered up. Luckily a piece of travel cake (aka dairy milk chocolate) appeased the beasts and the party walked on unharmed. A series of these creatures crossed our path, pouncing on any fallen comrade and hauling him off to the Hungry Mountain and their “boss”. But the Hobb Market was just across the river and upon reaching the bridge, the Puck skipped off and we were alone again.

So we paid a visit, looking for directions to the Winter Court, and uncovered many things which are likely to have consequences down the road. First of all, we found that Georgina Herald had become the Princess of Winter. Then we watched a demon trade a human baby for a book – a book which appears to be Ambrose Glass’s mages book with his special mark inside which could be used to do any number of terrible things. We managed to rescue the child, who was apparently for Georgina in the first place (which made us all very nervous) and then Finwe had a go at the demon – because he’s like that.

We travelled on, encountering a form of fae called a Sorrow which was a human child that had been trapped in the fae realms and hurt so much that it chose to inflict pain on others (the opposites being called Aelions and wear butterfly masks and are all about befriending or charming people), avoided a pile of treasure because we knew it would be booby-trapped and likely to give us grief and then we encountered a woman washing by the riverside. The Captain-General went to talk to her and then, suddenly, she vanished.

The party, one member down, continued to follow the directions Sol had been given, with more experienced travellers of the fae ways warning us about a place called the glade of ages (a bad place! Very bad!) where Finwe did battle with some fae knight thing and we stepped onto a bridge. And on the bridge, the sun rose high in the sky and set – a day passing in a matter of metres.

Quickly the party refreshed any physicians supplies they carried and continued on into the glade of ages. Ethan, Sol, Ned and Finwe spoke with a raven that gave them some information – though Sol had to keep stopping to command Mercy to drop her staff as his magic was being affected by the place, and we crossed over another bridge to a dwelling, looking for someone we had been told could help us.

Sat on the step inside was an Aelion dressed in Georgina’s clothes, giggling merrily to herself. The party were disheartened – we thought we had failed, but Leo’s nose told him that she was not Georgina and when asked directly, the faery girl told us she was getting married. We hurried on – avoiding some chained beast – the party who were confident on their feet had found it and decided that they would not let the Vleyborians see it and hurried us on – continued up the path through a tunnel into the Winter Court.

And clad in wedding day finery was Georgina, about to pledge herself to the King of Winter.

What then followed was a game of stop the wedding, with Ethan trying to distract the Winter King, those closest to Georgina tried to talk her out of it (though we seemed to be too late as she had thought she’d been there for many years and had thought we’d abandoned her) and the Vleyborians stood watching it all in confusion. Upon the advice of her Primate, Mercy approached Sol to tell him that they should just let the wedding go ahead, which he could not do and the Steward of the Court called for the ceremony to begin. There came the part where a challenge could be offered and Sol immediately challenged the King on behalf of Georgina’s husband – a challenge of wits. This displeased the King, who cut him down. Finwe leapt into battle and they hammered each other back and forth, both combatants delivering many blows. At some point Finwe was wounded and with a yelp went down in the bushes, the King returning to walk his bride round a tree – in the manner for a fae wedding. Mercy dashed to get Finwe up, who charged after the King calling him a coward and a cheat, which angered the King further and he continued his battle.

Somehow Finwe and others managed to bring the King to his knees and in his dying breath; he did something to Georgina and cursed the rest of the party and their children. And as he died, he changed and before us stood a new King of Winter. This one declared that he did not love Georgina as his forebear did, but he would uphold his agreement with her – gifting her memories and diminishing the effect of the curse after the Captain-General pleaded for her own daughter. He also offered a gift to the party members as per a prior agreement of the last King and Georgina and then returned the players to Arda.

And that was when we learnt the nature of the fae ointment. Sol had been cured earlier in the game, Captain-General Brack-on-Hill had refused a cure to keep one member of the party with an eye in fae and an eye in real life, but Ethan had dosed both his eyes and whilst he had seen wonderous things in Fae, he was now basically blind. So before we packed up for the evening, Mercy whipped up a cure and made him drink to stop him complaining loudly about the fact he was blind.

Things will now settle down, though Georgina will have to adjust to having “years” of memories in the fae realm, and Mercy is no longer the acting head of the Newcroft Guild House. And the war in Llaminusu is drawing ever closer and other things are sure to come our way.

Things we learnt/gained from this player led mission:

Mercy learnt never to use smelling salts on Leo – he doesn’t like that and he might bite.

She has a mysterious benefactor (aka the Summerfest Boon) from her Night Clinic work.

She now has a shiny fae brooch which gives her 1 pt natural active (aka 1 resist) for a few months and no curse on her or her future family.

Dairy Milk chocolate is a first aider’s friend.

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