It was a stormy weekend and Wren decided it was time to take a wander south. On a cart travelling down towards the Vale she hitched a lift with a view of seeing something new, and came at last to Stocktown. From there spins a tale of daring do …
Or just another mission write-up from an out-of-branch trip. Thank you Tees Valley branch for another pair of fun missions despite the opportune downpour at lunch.
Monster Mission: In search of an absent priest
With work on the Templar Keep nearly complete, the Sidhean Church of Dunholme sent a priest with relic to bless and consecrate the new shrine for the Order but on the road he simply disappeared. Fearing for what may have befallen their brother, the priests hired a group of adventurers to travel the Axirian Road and discover what had happened to him. Those that signed up at the hiring were:
- Wulfric Nolastname of the Berwickshire Medium;
- Mardknockiln of Stanroc Clan;
- Lady Astra of the School of Necromancy; Robert Chopper of the Mages Guild;
- Sir Stewart DePiercy of the Knightly Griffin Order; Errant Gabriel Kingston of the Knightly Grey Order; Errant Archibald Stone and Esquire Reginald Rowan Raskelle of the Duskwater Militia;
- Defender Johann Tullson of Vleybor; Supplicant Uther of Sidhe;
Arriving at the city of Dunholme they were presented with the usual permit checks by the city guards, accompanied by a devotee of Sidhe discerning the faith of all those entering the spiritual heart of the region. A man in a knightly tabard stepped ahead of the adventurers and after turning aside the weapons checks with claims of nobility, he caused the devotee to scream aloud “Demon!”. Unmasked, the creature attacked the devotee and the adventurers sprung to her aid. Bringing the man to the ground they were able to dispel the demonic possessing his body and tended to his hurts and those of the devotee before learning what had occurred. They learnt that this was common on the gates of the city, though rarely had anything tried to slip through, and were assured that whilst they were not permitted to bear blessed or enchanted arms in the city, there were many around who were as servants of the shrines. After submitting to the checks, they continued on their way to meet with a priest of Sidhe who told them of the task they were to set upon and gave directions.
Leaving the city the adventurers headed for the main Axirian road and passed into a small settlement where a trio of peasants were administering their Lord’s justice upon a pair of branded “illegal” blacksmiths in the stocks. Questioning what had gone on, they learnt what had befallen the honest merchants and through some Vleyborian assistance the men were freed to the outrage of the locals.
An encounter with foulspawn who had been told not to let anyone pass on the road then led to meeting a group of travellers who admitted to seeing a distressed priest passing by late the previous day. They had offered him food and shelter which he had declined and one of their men had followed him to see him safely along aways, but he seemed to be managing fine and they let him go on alone.
The adventurers then came upon another town, fresh in the mourning for their village elder and his wake the night before. Whilst learning a Kharachian priest had already seen to the body, they also discovered that no strangers had been seen the night before – and whilst the village had been awake, they had been grieving for the loss of their leader, so perhaps they were not as welcoming as they might be. But they saw no one. The priest had not come this way.
So, back down the road and to the rescue of the travellers from a pair of demons which confirmed that the priest had not been since he passed the group the night before.
They found him dragged off the road in the hands of a man in service of the Whisperer and his accompanying demons. The adventurers leapt to his aid, freed him from his bonds and tied up his captor before trying to salvage the tainted relic before it was too late. Through vigorous prayer and a cleansing they were able to slow the damage done and were able to complete their journey to the Templar Keep where through a display of Sidhean virtues (through a duel) and prayer the shrine was blessed.
On the road back to Durholme they came upon a pair of militiamen escorting a trio of Bovireths (cattlemen) back home and their “lord” – a bizarre oddity at the end of another hiring.
Player Mission: Find the Baron
Hired from the Stocktown Pavillion, a tent erected to conduct hirings of adventuring folk outside the walls of the city of Stocktown, the adventurers learnt that the Baron Pilkington had been abducted and a ransom demanded – but no ordinary ransom: a large sum of gold and the Duchess Du Conyers, the Baron’s niece to deliver the ransom. This was not acceptable, so the adventurers were instructed to find the Baron and deal with the kidnappers. The Baron had last been seen at his hunting lodge outside the city, so off the adventures went. They were:
- General Colt Garrison and Rocco of the Mercenaries Guild;
- Apprentice Alchemist;
- Wren of the Blacksmiths Guild;
- Lee Thorne and Daniel of the Mages Guild;
- Sir Sergei of Queensmount;
- High Father Bill Burns of Longstor; Suppliant Jorah Morgan of Kharach;
They encountered a group of nobles having an argument over an accusation – one family swore the others had made off with one of their sons, the others swore they had not and accused the first of lying. The person in question, Mallory, was a close friend of the Baron’s, so the adventurers promised to look into the matter as they went about their business.
They stopped a group of foulspawn from going about their task of destroying the Stocktown Pavillion, then pressed on into the woodland and the hunting lodge. They spoke with members of the staff and the head of the woodsmen who said that many people came to the lodge in recent days. With a bit of careful wording, Sir Sergei and General Garrison were able to determine that the Baron had been present, and the staff had assumed he had moved onto another lodge – and that young Mallory had been with him.
They took the road to one of the Head Beater’s homes to speak with the man, fighting off some demons and disturbing a Tholonese mage at work, and with some Longstorian negotiation were able to speak with the beater face to face (High Father Burns forcing his way in after striking up a conversation). One of the men led Colt away from the others and Wren, distrustful of their leader going off alone, followed to keep an eye on his for treachery. The man led him to a notorious place used for the settling of personal matters, and there Colt found the body of Mallory with a distinctive knife through the heart. Wren was given the dagger for safekeeping after a decision was made that they head to the next lodge and see what they find before attempting to locate the owner with magics.
A group of peasants having a go at a pair of local militia caught the group’s attention, the rabble nearly rising to a riot, but with stern words Colt and Sergei were able to talk them down and assured them they, as notables of the region, would take their grievances to the Duke regarding the recent taxations. But Lee Thorn spoke with one of the rabble and learnt that they had been paid by a stranger to speak out against the taxes and gather in that place – something sinister afoot perhaps?
On the road ahead a pair of men suddenly ran off, with several of the adventurers giving chase at this suspicious behaviour. One got away but the other was caught and questioned. Though he swore blind him and his mate had only run because of the adventurers being scary blokes in armour, he was not believed and the adventurers pressed on cautiously.
Alas not cautiously enough, for Wren discovered the first trap by stepping through it into a deep hole. Luckily her armour took the brunt of the blow as she struck the ground and she was only stunned. Colt jumped in after her and helped her to her feet before giving her a leg up out of the hole. As she was thrown out she landed on Daniel, the mage from Newcroft, almost flattening him. As Colt was hoisted out of the hole a group of bandits taunted them, telling them to go away. Colt then discovered the second trap as a log came swooping out from the shadows and knocked him into the wall, at which point the adventures dashed to his aid and fought off the bandits who threatened them.
Through the tunnels they came upon a group who had the Baron captured and fought to free him. But as they cut his bonds, another group arrived claiming to be coming to his rescue – Mallory’s family. But they were told their aid was not required and to go, but Wren got an uncomfortable feeling that the woman clinging to the nobleman’s son was not quite what she seemed and was shocked when one of the others casually stated that the woman was a ghost. Angrily Wren chased after the nobleman and his retinue and a group asked him what he was doing with the ghost, why she was even walking at all. It seemed that she was some ancestor of his, and that her body had been disturbed and moved meaning her spirit was no longer quiet. Wren asked why he had not consulted with the Church of Kharach for aid, then remembered the supplicant priest was present and turned on him, demanding he do something.
But there was nothing they could do, so the nobleman went on his way and the adventurers escorted the Baron back to Stocktown. Wren returned the Baron’s dagger and was rewarded with a similar one made by his smiths – a prized elkhorn dagger made with skill and good skill – and the adventurers were paid for their successful mission.