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In Tisa Valley there is a wood in which no man goes, for in it dwell the dark elves and they do not permit outsiders. They have lived in relative peace with their neighbours until, one day, they suddenly left their wood in a great hurry and set up an encampment in a nearby village. Concerned this was a prelude for an attack, the local constabulary summoned adventurers to seek out the source of this new threat.

The adventurers who turned up for the hiring were:

  • Rocko of the Mercenaries Guild;
  • Wren the Blacksmith;
  • Ulric of the Physicians Guild;
  • Errant Gabriel Kingston of the Knightly Grey Order;
  • High Father Bill Burns of Longstor; Supplicant Jorah of Kharach;

The mission was simple – go see why the Dark Elves had left the wood and report back. As the adventurers left the town they met a group of peasants who asked them which side they were on. They themselves had taken no sides, but the growing feud between the noble houses has not gone unnoticed by the peasant folk who are beginning to wonder which side they should be on, or more accurately which of the factions are on their side. They could tell little of the dark elves, expressing ignorance of the recent change of events, and so the adventurers continued on their way.

They fought off a couple of groups of emboldened foul spawn and came at last to the village.

I feel I should now include a note on Rocko. Rocko is a half-ogre with an intense dislike of mithamese and dark elves, to the point where he becomes so enraged he attacks on sight – save for through great concentration upon an instruction from a lady, or when he is trying to have dealings with a Kharachian group of elves known as the Raven. So, picture the scene – a village filled with dark elves who already consider themselves under threat. Rocko enters the village and starts swinging, Wren desperately trying to call him back so she can attempt to communicate with the other elf-kin in her own tongue. The dark elves have none of it and put the players’ “pet” to the ground, refusing to converse with the adventurers until the “thing” be removed. After some negotiation Wren was able to start attempting to “heal” the stricken dark elves – only they weren’t wounded and as Rocko woke up Wren was stabbed.

As she lay there dying her companions tried to reach her or retrieve her wounded body so it could be tended and through an uneasy standoff Wren was saved. Only after dragging Rocko away and disarming was she able to speak with them and learn of their plight. Demons had come into their ancient homes ahead of men who had slaughtered their kin and set their homes to ruin. Wren offered to aid them in their return to their homeland if it would help them leave the human village and return to their own realm and stop other humans taking up arms against them. It took some convincing, but eventually the dark elves accepted Wren’s help but did not expect her human companions would help them.

Wren told them what she had learned, confirming some suspicions that the others had gleaned and told them she was going to go into the woods hunting demons. High Father Burns was not pleased that this and pointed out that the dark elves could surely look after themselves since they were armed and prepared for a fight. Wren pointedly ignored them and called those who would aid her to come with her and the rest could run away back to the town to collect their undeserved pay. At first Errant Gabriel and Ulric came with her, then the others decided it would be better to hunt demons than help dark elves. So, on they went.

At the edge of the wood they came upon a group of fighters attacking the dark elves, which Wren sought to stop though Rocko just plowed through the group indiscriminately. Wren spoke to the pair of dark elves and heard their tale, which matched what they already knew before Rocko told them of the tribe of Ravens and urged them to go to it if they were good. Wren learnt a little more of the Ravens which caught her interest, but she was distracted by the peasants who did not want them to go further into the woods because of the danger. The elf amongst them was adament Wren not go in, reminding her of the dwindling numbers of their kin which made her grit her teeth and get snappy.

They encountered their first demon in the woods, something foul that was carrying a crude picture of the Duke. It was followed by a larger demon which the party also slew, but the manner of these pair made Wren think – were they similar to the hunter/demon pairing they saw at the Eborshire Fayre?

In a clearing up ahead they came upon a grisly scene – bodies on the ground or bound to trees, horribly tortured and their souls in pain, along with evidence of crude tabards. Errant Gabriel recalled seeing one of the heraldries before and told them of an attack they had witnessed at Durholme where a possessed peasant had been acting the part of a feudal knight until the demon was lifted from him. Evidence of darker workings of this demonic stronghold? The tabards were removed from the scene and brought back with them lest they fall into unscrupulous hands, whilst Wren prayed over the bodies. Supplicant Jorah, through prayer, was granted the gift of Lay to Rest by Kharach who used his servant to free the tortured souls from their mortal frame. Wren prayed as he conducted the ritual and once this was finished the ever present buzz Wren had been hearing just out of hearing ceased and the priest seemed to breathe easier.

Turning back, the adventurers left the wood to bring their evidence back to the guard, but were attacked by foulspawn. The fight turned ugly and at the last only High Father Burns and Wren were standing – Wren and a goblin trying to shoot each other which dissolved into a brief goblin knife fight until Wren drew her sword and killed it. Then it was a race to bandage and heal the fallen, undertake armour repairs and mend Rocko’s broken shield using the small trophy in Wren’s bag.

Coming out of the woods they found the village abandoned, three dead dark elves on the gate and signs of a brief struggle before the remainder went over one of the back walls and escaped. Perhaps a demon come to finish what they had started? Or perhaps something that the elves could not handle so they fled. Wren does not believe that this matter is over, but the humans seem glad to know that the village is no longer a strong hold of dark elven kind and so they returned to the town to bring their findings before the one who hired them.

 

Sadly the second half of the day and the annual Tisa Valley tournament was rained off in the afterthoughts of Hurricane Bertha, so no monster mission to report on.

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