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The year is turning back towards Summer and the growing season, but as the nights begin to shorten the adventurers’ world seems to be growing darker. And so once more they walk the paths into the darker parts of the world, as the plot thickens …

If you know you took part in one or other of the missions but are misnamed or unnamed, please contact me on wolfish dot written dot author at g mail dot com or comment below.

Player Mission:  The Creature of Willow’s Rest

The Axirians in Berwickshire are making an audit of lands, preparing to mark areas of the region as restricted zones where none should enter. On the edge of DePiercy land lies Willows Deep and the Acenwode, and the family decided to clear the edges of their land of dangerous or suspicious activities that might force the Axirians to mark large swathes of their land within this exclusion zone around the Deep. Of course, this has nothing to do with making a foothold into the Deep for a upcoming venture by the DePiercy sons into the Deep to reclaim their family banner. No, this was entirely about clearing fertile farmland of the beasts of the Deep and ensuring the safety of the village of Willow’s Rest.

The adventurers, hired from the Griffin stronghold of the Deepwatch Keep, were also asked to investigate the rumours of a creature at the Southern Crags that overlooked the Deep – a creature that they knew very little about save for the rumours of the villagers. However as with all all things of legend, there is usually and explanation behind it, and the adventurers couldn’t resist going to investigate. Those that left Deepwatch that day were:

  • Ranger Ned and Ranger Brendan DePiercy of the Scouts;
  • Forester Rowan Tait-of-Amblevale;
  • Gaalen Iskarschrynn of the School of Thaumaturgy;
  • Doctor Leofrick Llew O’Kyle of the Physicians Guild;
  • Sir Dalon Berwick of the Knightly Grey Order; Holy Mother Madeline Blanchefleur of the Holy Rose Order;
  • High Father Benedict DePiercy of Crowa;

Before leaving the Keep Brendan DePiercy made it clear to all those gathered that they were not to mention to undead dragon Kolbara who dwells in the deep, nor his tainted minions that have appeared every now and then with black blood leaking from the eyes, nose and mouth – especially not when they had been informed about a group of Axirian militia who had travelled to the village with food supplies a number of days previously. So far Kolbara hadn’t caused any real trouble – save for the ensnaring of people and the destruction of their souls with it’s tainted blood – but he would be something that the Axirians would consider a threat and would probably increase the area cordoned off around the Deep, losing the DePiercys more land and a “safe” way in.

Setting out, they passed across DePiercy land heading south where they came across a group of noble militia trying to look unthreatening and peaceable. However, armed and wearing their Lord’s heraldry, the group were immediately suspicious and Rowan requested the name of their Lord and for their permits after checking with Brendan that they weren’t of a local noble family. A couple of hushed conversations, Ned and Brendan taken aside before Brendan requesting a quiet word with Rowan, it became clear that these were not local militia but were here in the escort of their Lord who had gone off into the Deep with his brother to deal with a little “problem”. Unhappy, but unable to arrest them all, drag them back to Deepwatch and continue on with their task with Brendan and Benedict agreeing that so long as they were all gone by the time they got back, everything was fine. And so, warning them next time to carry permits when they let their Lord’s lands, Rowan and the party continued on their way – though only after Ned arrested one of the scouts for not having a permit.

On the road they encountered a group of Axirian Mercenaries from Amnor, on patrol from Willow’s rest and full of a “tall tale” the villagers had of a dragon in their village. Quick to dissuade them of such nonsense, several of the party set about trying to convince the mercenaries that it was just a harmless hoax played on they by the Ithronian peasantry, whilst a smiling woman scanned the faces of the party and flinched as she met Rowan’s eye. Eventually she sidled off to one side with Sir Dalon, later to be joined by the DePiercys as Rowan listens to the Amnorians talk of slaves and ask pointed questions of Leo who stands in long suffering silence.

As the Amnorians continue on their patrol, Sir Dalon and Brendan fill the party in – the woman was one of Kolbara’s (a new development since the black blood leaking from eyes, nose and mouth had been the usual clues) and she gave them some information about the local area. She had not approached them directly as she was still hiding amongst the mercenaries, keeping her changed state from them, which seemed odd but plausible to the group. However, that would change …

On the road ahead they caught a man wearing the mark of the Morney family, distressed and angry, talking about peasants walking circles, an attack and other vile things, that his brother was dead, and so on. Then he saw Leo and became furious. As he tried to attack him, berating him for not taking his life before be became the cursed beast he was, Rowan planted herself between the two of them, pushing him away with her shield whilst warning him off, drawing her subdual stick just in case things got nasty.

Luckily, however, he was made to see reason and returned to his men after being reminded of the rules of militia and weapons now he was Lord Morney, though not before trading angry words with High Father Benedict and threatening Leo for good measure.

At the mention of a ritual, the adventurers continued on until they could hear the murmurings of many people casting a ritual, then they began to run and managed to disrupt whatever was happening. It seemed to be as if all the people were speaking and thinking as one … Kolbara! As they spoke in turn, one at a time or all in unison, the pale faced dark soul with a red stripe at the temple and black blood oozing down her face bargained and tested the party as they tried to save the woman at the centre of the ritual and the pair bound by the tree.

Eventually it seemed the beast could not be reasoned with and a fight broke out to leave the bodies of the folk bleeding on the ground. Rowan looked to the men bound by the tree as High Father Benedict set to cleansing the ground, to find that one of them wore the Morney heraldry – perhaps the brother left to die?

Rousing him, she was able to determine that he was the nobleman left for dead, that he seemed out to kill himself and that upon seeing Leo he became agitated and angry. Rowan knocked him out, Leo checked him over and asked that he be roused so that the pair of them could have a talk. Rowan, lingering nearby should she be needed to knock him out again, tried not to listen in as Leo gave the nobleman a talking to about the “curse” that afflicted him – but he made little headway even after pointing out that he was bigger and stronger than the other.

The Crowans eventually tried to “free” him from his “curse”, or show him it’s uses as a “gift”, even trying to cleanse him should it be a disease that had come upon him, but to no avail. It seemed the blood ran deep in his veins and unable to give him a blade as Rowan had leant her hatchet to the villagers returning to Deepwatch for safety. So off he went, to meet his doom and take as many creatures of the Deep with him, seeking his honourable death.

On they went, fighting off more of Kolbara’s minions before reaching the beginning of the Southern Crags – where a dark soul appeared out of the woods and spoke at length with Brendan DePiercy, who sent the creature back to Deepwatch to speak with Sir Stewart. It seems he had important information regarding the missing banner …

More of Kolbara’s rituals, more cleansing and a fight up the hill where Sir Dalon and Ned turned on the party at times before Kolbara’s commands could be lifted by Gaalen (one particular highlight was the command of “lead your party home” to Sir Dalon, who turned around but was convinced that home was the other way through the monsters because … and I quote … “I’m a scout and I say so”.) and up the hill where a ritual could be seen to be taking place.

As Gaalen blasted at one of them and the rest of the party plowed into battle with those protecting the ritualist, who held aloft a vial as he called down the powers that be. That is, to say, before Sir Dalon crashed into him and pinned him beneath his shield and Rowan killed him, snatching up the vial before it could hit the floor.

And the creature of the Southern Crags? Naught but an Oread, a mild maiden of stone who Sir Dalon freed from her golden chains and managed to escape from her charming advances. However, Gaalen was keen to accept her thanks and was pulled into her stone before Ned could stop him.

High Father Benedict cleansed the area, but unlike before as the black blood spilt upon the ground bubbled and sizzled away, something didn’t feel quite right – as if something small and toxic and very much against the cleansing had been at the heart of the circle … and the vial in Rowan’s hand grew cold.

Upon their return to Deepwatch, Rowan handed the vial over and began her search into the location of the Morney lands, hoping to uncover some of their history and what had brought one of their sons to the Deep to die …

Monster Mission:The Path to Ferecarth

Bold adventurers, where do you wander?
Bold heroes, where do you go?
Over the mountains,
Over the hills,
Down the elven road.

For the past month or so a pair of Dwarven brothers have been in Newcroft, telling of a mysterious key and a city of gold – spinning tales that catch the ears of adventurers and give them wild dreams of wealth beyond measure. Or – at least it would have, had not an unfortunate event occurred – the elder of the Dwarven brothers was murdered, the key stolen but his coin left behind, and the younger one left behind. Seeking the aid of the adventurers they had spoken to before, the Dwarf asks that they find the person who killed his brother and find out why.

And so off they went, on another wild goose chase to who knows where –

  • Captain-General Catherine Brack-on-Hill, Christo Eadronhart and Ronan Eadronhart of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry;
  • Senior Guildsman Jonathon Goodfellow of the Scouts;
  • Senior Guildsman Sorely Brewerson of the School of Demonology;
  • Surgeon-General Georgina Gris, Lady Mayoress of Norham and the Physicians Guild;
  • Defender Lucius Aquarius Rhade of Vleybor; High Father Cornway of Tralda; Brother Thomas Charnock of Longstor;

They made their way westwards towards Carlech, turning north towards the dwarven city of Dun Mhurdo and passed through the mountains to enter the woodlands rumoured to contain the ancient elven realm of Ferecuna and its dwarven crafted city.

But as they entered the woodland they came across a group of goblins who were not as easily scared as normal, and further into the trees they were stalked by a group of elves and half orcs with ashen marks on their faces and a murderous intent.

Further along they fought off more of these ashen elves as their leader tortured a stone mason for information regarding the ancient artefact that had been taken from them. After a close brush with death, the adventurers continued on to find a group of slain elves in blue woad – just as more arrived in the company of a monstrous figure. Accusing them of slaying his allies, the Cyclop’s sought to bring vengeance upon them, until the party were able to prove that they had not killed the elves. Agreeing to listen, the Cyclops spoke of the evil Ravens clan who work for the Basran, paint their skin in ashes and lived beyond the Spirit wall. Those with him were the Spirit Eye, followers of Frigg One-Eye, who fight against the Ravens to stop their evil ways and to protect the Mara from their evil counterparts – the Mara and Basran being groups of Cyclops with opposing views on the world. Separated by the spirit wall they rarely meet, but something had drawn the Ravens through onto this side – something ancient that they sought to do great evil with.

It became clear that this item could be the key and would not only unlock the gate on the fabled city of Ferecarth, but potentially unlock a greater treasure hidden within that was connected to the land. At the thought of what the Basran might do if they had access to this “well” of power, the Maran Cyclops grew sorrowful, but the adventurers agreed to stop this terrible thing from happening.

But the Raven tribe were not going to make it easy for them, as another hunting party crossed their trail and fought them to pick over their corpses for the item they sought. But, fighting on, they eventually came to the Spirit Wall, where they were attacked by creatures of flesh and spirit before they passed through this mystical barrier onto the other side.

There they heard the sounds of battle, to find a group of Ravens tribe fighting a Rolborian devotee who praised the Seven when she saw the heroes come to her aid. After fighting of the elves, the adventurers learned she was travelling with a Father Telgast, a member of the Monastery of Ilse and its famed library. A seeker of knowledge, he had spent his life searching for the city of Ferecarth, and had hired the dwarves to obtain a key that could show him the way. But he had gone on ahead when his followers had fallen back to fight off the disgruntled elves, and she was the only one remaining.

As they climbed a hill, they met the Father of Rolbor standing aghast as he took in the sight of the city, whilst his scout was urging him to leave. As the party tried to understand what had happened and how he had gotten the key, it became clear that something involving the Rolborians had happened to the elder DunSzarn brother, though Father Telgast swore he had paid the dwarves for their services and the key was his – though not according to the remainin DunSzarn who wanted it back.

It was at this point the party’s demonologist slipped away down to the city, unnoticed by his companions. Who knows if he’ll be seen again …

But their raised voices caught the attention of another creature, and from out of the gathering twilight strolled another Cyclops. Except he seemed very different to the one they had met before as he drained several magical items for fun (and because they are delicious and tasty) and the adventurers realised this was the one who was after the key. And thus began a long fight – picking up the fallen, rousing the sleeping, running away from the Cyclops to dash back ot heal those wounded by his swinging blows – and all the while trying to keep the special magical items safe and the key hidden. Eventually the Father of Rolbor was convinced the flee the scene to await the others by a track the scouts had spotted through the undergrowth, and all seemed lost as the adventurers hared up the hill after the Cyclops.

But – unexpectedly – they slew the foul beast and were victorious (though battered) and they limped home back to Newcroft having found a hidden path to the ancient city of Ferecarth. Who knows what truly lies in its heart, or where the key might lead the adventurers in the coming days …