An urgent notice was tacked to the hiring posts around Newcroft on behalf of Lord Nelfaril of Nelfarig, calling adventurers to travel north at dawn by boat to the coastal town. The town, in the grasp of the White Star had been quiet for many months and the adventurers only learnt the extent of the siege when they were fired upon as they passed through the cliffs at the shore. Hurried into the Lord’s office they faced the grim reality of the siege as the nobleman, still in battered armour, rose wearily to greet them.
Would they help him with breaking the siege upon his city and help reclaim the southern road so that troops and supplies could once again pass into Nelfarig? They would do their best and die trying.
The request was put to them – that they would travel up the coast and beach at a small inlet north of the city, then travel southwards towards the known White Star camp where their leader Gorebag Meatspitter was known to be residing. They may find help of their way, but they were also asked to try and locate a Blacksmith and his wife who were known to the Lord. Stop Gorebag, demoralise his troops and Nelfarig may stand a chance before crumbling under the strain of foulspawn at her gates. The adventurers agreed and those who set upon this task were:
- Wulfric Nolastname and Conchobar of the Berwickshire Medium;
- Wren of the Blacksmiths Guild;
- Master Ash of Stocktown of the Alchemist’s Guild;
- Sir Tomas Garrax of the Knightly Templar Order; Sir Peter Sabloir-Flessan of the Knightly Griffin Order;
- Novice Uther Raindrake-Gold of Sidhe;
Disembarking, Sir Peter set the task into perspective – the two scouts (and Wren) would do their jobs, whilst the others would sweep behind them as they moved quietly and with haste towards the camp, going via the Blacksmith’s hamlet on route.
They surprised a group of foulspawn and killed them all before the goblin runner was able to escape, having been warned that the groups of orcs had been spotted with messengers travelling with them who would run off at the first sign of danger. Another standing order from the Griffin – get the goblins before they could get away.
In the bushes off the path a woman’s voice called out to them – a Rose in armour and badly wounded who had been looking for her sister. They learnt that her sister was the Blacksmith’s wife, a noblewoman disinherited from the family for marrying a commoner, but that her father thought only of her safety and wanted to bring her out of danger. But, having met with foulspawn and being wounded, the Rose was unable to complete her task. With a bit of physicianing from Wulfric and Tomas, and a split crafted by Wren, they were able to help make her mobile and help her hide away to await their return. As they were working on helping her, a stranger approached the group. Narrowly avoiding being killed by Wren he spoke with Ash and revealed he was a member of a nearby family known to have “connections” who might be able to assist the party – however the scouts had already pushed on and surprised other members of this group, with the knights moving on to talk to these people.
They learnt more about what had been going on during the last few months, and warned that there was a “haunted” tunnel up ahead which was difficult to negotiate but would take too long to avoid. Approaching the tunnel they encountered a weeping ghostly form that lashed out at them with its pain and grief before they were able to sidle round it warily. Praying to Kharach Wren learnt that the body and soul were corrupted and could only be freed through a lay-to-rest ritual before Kharach could take the troubled soul on into his Halls.
More foul spawn in the darkness eventually led to a branching of roads where the adventurers stumbled onto a fight. Conchobar was chased away into the darkness and when he did not return Wulfric and Wren went after him fearing to find him dying in a bush. But they were surprised by an orc and attacked, Wren running screaming back for the knights as Wulfric was wounded and the adventurers turned on the orc and killed him. Assuming Wulfric had managed to escape further up the path, they were met by Conchobar coming the other way and he had not seen his senior guildmate. They began to search the undergrowth and only by a brief glimmer of moonlight was Wren able to see the hatchet amidst the undergrowth and find Wulfric’s wounded body. Sir Tomas ministered to his hurts and the experienced scout was soon on his feet, though a little woozy from loss of blood.
Up the path they found the family the other group had told them about and learnt more about the situation, trading for bandages and alchemy and other aids, though Wren and Sir Tomas were horrified to discover the open practise of Necromancy amongst the peasants. Taking it upon himself Tomas destroyed the corpse to the anger of his maker and all business was stopped as the family closed ranks amidst the anger of their necromancer. An agreement was struck for the slight Tomas had caused and the adventurers were free to continue on their way.
Crossing the river they climbed up to the forge and slew the foulspawn there to free the Blacksmith from his captors. But it was not bonds of iron that held him, but bonds of love – for Gorebag Meatspitter had his wife and he feared for her safety should he leave his forge and escape. After some persuasion and agreements by the Knights, the blacksmith helped with some armour repairs and Wren took the time to do emergency patch jobs with her toolkit.
Then off into the dark they went.
They encountered more patrols, cutting their way through, though Wren was surprised by a goblin attack from behind, before they came down to a crossing of roads where one of Nelfaril’s scouts waited to meet them. He passed on what knowledge he had for them and passed on some news of the Rowanwood to Wren before taking his leave to try and arrange an escape upon their return.
They climbed up into the hills around the camp, fighting through another picket line and through a stealthy ambush that Wulfric almost did not catch save for the sudden breaking of a twig which set his nerves on edge. As Ash pulled his alchemical light from his coat five pairs of eyes shone out of the darkness before they set upon the adventurers. Somehow a few were still standing by the end – the Knights having fought back to back and Wren crouching in the brush to fire arrows out into the night. They purged their fallen comrades and swiftly bandaged wounds before hurrying on.
They found the source of the Orc’s venom – a blind medusa – who they rescued from her captors and convinced to flee the area down towards the river where they may meet again. Another scout gave them information on Gorebag’s camp and the location of the noblewoman, and then the adventurers reached their goal.
The fight was long and bloody. Early in the fight Sir Tomas was wounded and Wren tried to heal him before she herself was wounded. As she lay atop the dying man she was saved, but he was not, and when Wulfric came to his aid he was wounded before he could finish tying the bandage. Many of the adventurers lay bleeding as Sir Peter challenged his foe and relied on Novice Uther and Master Ash to get his comrades up and aid him. Eventually Wulfric, Sir Peter and Master Ash were able to kill the monster which his allies lay dead at their feet and they could turn their attentions on their wounded people, but for Tomas it was too late and he breathed his last. When Wren had been shaken awake she found his cooling corpse by her side and prayed for Kharach to take him, before she scrambled away to aid the others in their fight, then instructed the lingering scout to cut the Orc’s head from his shoulders as she began her grim task of assessing the armour of the fallen to see if anything was salvageable to remove from the hands of the orcs. For this instruction she was punished by Kharach in his anger, and now must serve penance for her mistake.
Escorting the Vleyborian noblewoman back to her husband led them through more patrols which they fought off and eventually they came down to the river where a boat, the elves and an unconscious blacksmith waited for them. They all leapt aboard and were taken downriver, only stopping once to find the Medusa was happily setting up a home in the abandoned forge, and then back on down to the sea and Nelfarig. The head of Gorebag was delivered as proof of their grim job, the body of Tomas was left in the keeping of the Sidheans and Wren took her booty to the forge to repair and sell on to split the costs between the companions. Sir Peter led a rescue party to recover the Rose, Wren set to work assisting with repairs for the city militia and the Berwickshire Medium who had been manning the walls and defending the city, and the scouts rejoined their unit’s efforts to clear the road to the south so that much needed supplies could once again enter into the city. It was a hard won victory, but a victory that left a bitter taste in the mouths of the adventurers and another brave soul left this world of woe.