There have been murmurings of rebellion in the Tisa Valley for nearly nine months. Some of the lesser families have even been vocal about their dissatisfaction with their Duke, his grace the Duke Du Conyers. To stop the escalation of violence becoming an outright civil war the Duke has invited those parties who are most aggrieved to come to “talks” hosted by the Templar Order where they can air their problems and come to some form of amiable accord.
The adventurers have travelled to these talks to offer aid should things go awry …
Thank you Tees Valley branch for organising and running this last invite of the year. We had a wonderful time with this engaging plot that left just enough room for plenty of self-generated character froth. To all the organisers, referees, plot writers, cooks and those who contributed their time and effort to this – you made the event possible. To the players and crew who were involved, you made the event with all your role play. Thank you.
List of adventurers
- Rocco and Wade Goodbread of the Guild of Mercenaries;
- Ranger Al, Ranger Redfern, Percy Thrower and Bogdan of the Guild of Scouts;
- Ember, Quincy Loom and Gemma Brady of the Alchemists Guild;
- Forgemaster Arthur Mason, Speid and Nikolai Grigori Sandrakken of the Guild of Blacksmiths;
- Dexter Brady and Serge Torstein of the Physicians Guild;
- Archmage Stanley Middlebrook and Schoolmaster Grahorn Shipsail of the School of Enchantment; Witchfinder Barnaby and Master Mortimer Lowe of the School of Necromancy; Schoolmaster Malabayn Bogaert of the School of Demonology; Miss Woodbury, Morgan Corvidae, Bedect and Grey of the Guild of Mages; Lady Astra of the College of Battlemages;
- Squire Edward Wentworth and Squire Stafford de Bayard of the Knightly Griffin Order; Squire Ravenna Corvidae of the Knightly Black Order; Sir Sergei of the Queensmount; Sir Archibald Stone and Ser Rufus Crowe of the Duskwater Militia; Errant Isabella Staunton of the Feudal Knights;
- Mother Evangeline de Winter and Novice Ted of Vleybor; High Mother Anne Turner, Father Harry Braithwaite and Father Devotee Finwe of Longstor; Duncan Lathander of Crowa;
(If I’ve made a mistake, misnamed or forgotten you, please leave a message in the comments and I’ll make my corrections!)
The adventurers gathered at the Templar Keep where the talks were to take place, offered food to quell their hunger and drink to quench their thirst as they mingled together and discussed what was going on amongst their fellows. Representatives of the baronets involved came and walked amongst them, discussing their complaints and gauging the reaction of the adventurers. Ravenna, having already walked the perimeter with Stafford de Bayard of the Griffin Order, found a corner where she could view the room and ignored the uncomfortable looks people cast in her direction. To have a Black standing silently observing seems to make anyone uncomfortable.
Sir Sergei, the representative of the Duke as one of his feudal vassals, met and spoke with many of the representatives, but midway through the evening members of House Egremont, Merrick and Bulmer issued a challenge to the Duke in the old manner – from a time where the dissatisfied members of a Ducal court could cast out an inadequate ruler if bested in combat. They would return within 24 hours to set the terms, but for now they would leave the gathering. But Bulmer suddenly pitched the floor writing and frothing at the mouth. Poison! As de Bayard went to block the door and prevent anyone from leaving, Ravenna watched carefully as the physicians and alchemists rushed to the aid of the nobleman, purging him of his complaint only to have him writhe again when awoken. Someone mentioned seeing something similar before and the adventurers continued their work as one of the alchemists took up his tankard and gave it a wary sniff. Definitely something he’d drunk, or else he’d been quaffing alchemy all evening. Tucking the tankard under her arm, Ember toddled off to have a closer examination of the object.
The nobles left after Bulmer was saved and the adventurers began to question what was happening. Sir Sergei was aware of this old rule of challenge, but did not know the details, and the Knights and the Witchfinder urged that he find someone who could furnish such details to see whether it was a valid law or not. As Sergei left to travel to Stocktown and seek out a cleric or Knight Librarian, the adventurers came under attack by Templars. They were acting strange, unfeeling and after being knocked out and examined it was noted that they had burn marks on their flesh where their holy symbols should be, and torn cords around their necks as if they had plucked the symbol from their breast.
A group of adventurers went off into the dark to try and track down where these Templars were coming from, and those who remained met a strange individual in red who, after having a word with the Witchfinder, was identified as a potential demon. As the two griffins tried to attack it, it sent them running away, or had Ember stab them. Eventually they were able to get rid of it, but not before it had writhed in pain every time it was hurt – something not normal for a demon.
The adventurers eventually returned from the main keep with a local Knight Librarian in tow, speaking of hearing strange things out in the dark, of whisperers.
When Sir Sergei returned it soon became clear what was going on. When the Templars were given the land to rebuild the old ruined Templar Keep they had, by disturbing the foundations, disturbed the seal on the prison of an ancient evil. This creature, a demonic entity known as the Whisperer had been slowly spreading its influence over the region and was likely to be behind the strange behaviour of the nobles. With this threat at hand the objectives of the weekend became clear – stop the outbreak of Civil War by proving the Duke’s worth on the battle field and destroy the Whisperer. The challenge the nobles had issued was valid, and as such Sir Sergei hired the adventurers to act as the Duke’s muster that weekend, to show the nobles the calibre of men the Duke could call to his banner in the defence of his people.
The first objectives were clear – someone had to go and see if there was any truth in the complaints made against the Duke by some of his nobles, whilst another were to investigate the tomb rumoured to be in the side of the landmark Sidhe’s Seat. And whilst the first group set out with Witchfinder Barnaby, the second group made their preparations. More of these possessed Templars came out of the tree line, falling upon the shields of the Feudal Knights before the party set off along a section of the Pilgrim’s way to Sidhe’s seat. They were challenged to a duel by a member of the Black Order to judge the character of the forces rallied by the Duke and Ser Rufus bested him before he was healed by Mother Evangeline.
They were approached by a man who was clearly hearing voices in his head. When Ravenna admitted she was a Sidhean he questioned her truthfulness and, half to himself, said “You might be Sidhean on the outside, but what about the inside?” before slashing down her back to start digging around her insides as she crumpled to the floor. The rest of the party stopped him and bound his unconscious form up as they tended to Ravenna’s wound, before debating whether to leave him alone in the woods. However, their problem was solved when they came to a village who told them all their healthy young men and women had been drafted by the Templars two days prior and that the Sidhean of their village had gone mad and had been hearing voices. His brother apologised for the hurt he had caused and promised to go and watch over him so that he would not harm anyone else.
The adventurers fought off a group of undead on the climb to the tomb and cleared the antechamber where a ghost appeared before them. Indicating three Templar tabards laid over the desiccated bones of their owners, the ghost explained that the Knight Marshall, the Knight Hospitaller and the Knight Librarian had vowed never to truly rest lest the Whisperer, the great evil of their day, returned and their aid was needed. Learning the Whisperer was abroad the ghost turned to rouse his allies but found the sacred items they had carried in their offices had been removed. Three chambers lay beyond, three challenges relevant to the three arms of the Order. The travellers could only enter one chamber each to face the challenge and they must reclaim the items beyond to be able to awaken the ghosts of the Knights and speak with them.
Ravenna volunteered to protect the Vleyborian Priestess as she entered the chamber of the Hospitaller along with Harry Braithwaite, and they stood guard as the members of the Duskwater Militia braved the Chamber of the Marshall. Whilst they were inside the party were beset by undead that came from another chamber beyond and through the walls themselves, littering the ground with shards of bone and fetid flesh. After facing the beast for the second time after fleeing the ferocious roar of the guardian, the two feudal knights and their mage companion returned dripping in core and sick to their stomachs but clutching the shield of the Marshall. After a quick cleansing and drinking some potions, they were cured and the healers took a turn. Inside the chamber were three statues holding stone cups and inscribed with a riddle. Trialling several options they were able to recover the bandage by saying they would apply a heal body to the cup of blood, and their vials of purge poison were refilled after they attempted to determine what the contents of one of the cups was – the Father of Longstor being struck down with poison three times before they completed the challenge.
The third chamber was of the Knight Librarian which the Archmage, Schoolmaster Demologist and Squire Wentworth attempted. The floor was littered with metal shards which stopped the mages from using their magics but they were able to tackle the puzzle and retrieve the candle of the Librarian, whilst those outside the chambers were beset by undead. All three of these artefacts were placed on their respective tabards with a prayer from the Sidhean follower who had accompanied those on the challenge and the ghost of the Knight arose. But they were unable to give more information on the Whisperer until all three of the brethren were awake, but the Knight Marshall and Knight Hospitaller lent their aid to the defenders as the undead came at them. When the candle was placed and prayed over, the Knight Librarian stood before them – not as a ghost but as flesh.
He seemed alarmed when he was told that the Whisperer had returned and lamented that his brothers had disturbed the seal on its prison, but never fear, here were some artefacts that would aid them in their battle … right? Alas no, something devious had spirited the box away and destroyed it long ago. Giving of themselves the ghosts crafted new amulets of Sidhe’s grace to give insight into the machinations of the Whisperer by the bearer. But such gifts come with a promise, a price. Many of the party would not take up this oath, so Sir Archibald asked if it would be possible to take more than one, to carry the amulets out of the tomb to bestow upon others. This was agreed, but the promise was changed and so Mother Evangeline and Father Harry found themselves under a pair of Sidhean sins for the duration that the gift would be of use. The three Sidhean knights took up the remaining amulets and were bound under Sidhe’s gaze to the sins of his devotional followers – a pair of sins Ravenna intends to carry on beyond the events of that weekend.
Armed with new insight and knowledge into the creature, the adventurers set out back to their camp only to have their way blocked by Templar Knights and a figure in red come to speak to the Schoolmaster Demonologist. The Schoolmaster made an agreement with the Whisperer so that he would remove his influence upon the nobles and the Schoolmaster would take no hand in the upcoming battle. With this agreement made, the Templars attacked but were cut down and their bodies moved off the path to try and stop any nefarious persons from interfering with their trapped souls.
Returning to camp the two groups traded notes and passed the remainder of the amulets amongst the gathered adventurers who would bear them, explaining how they were to be used and the promise that had to be made to Sidhe to bear the items.
That afternoon another two groups went off to investigate some more. The first went after some alchemical golems that had been sighted with the Bulmer contingent, which ended up with a trio of adventurers kicking over the alchemy lab and suffering the ill effect of their actions until late in the evening. The second group were approached by a seer who had received a vision from Tralda about a great disaster about to befall a village. In stopping this calamity and proving their worth, the adventurers would be gifted with a spell to aid them in the battle against the Whisperer.
They crossed the river by the ferryman and paid their way through gambling and the promise of future work, encountered a village living in fear of their ex-Elder and his vampiric servant before the adventurers went and hunted down the mage and his “pet” to stop him from causing more disaster.
Victorious the party returned to the camp and later that evening the Gods gave insight into the ability to craft weapons to harm the Whisperer in the fight the next day.
That evening they were beset by more of the Templars and the nobles gathered to discuss the terms of their complaint. Some withdrew their complaint, having had a change of heart, whilst others were fixed on their goal. Vleyborians were considered to be neutral unless they acted against their foes. Ravenna and de Bayard stood on duty much of the evening and luckily missed the debacle with a dead man, an invisibility potion and the covering up of the deed. Very lucky for them.
Gemma, Arthur and Wade were eventually cured of the vile alchemy that was boiling inside them through a Vleyborian and Longstorian cleansing, though not after the three of them occasionally dropping to the floor to writhe in pain as the alchemy inside them mixed and poisoned them.
Sunday Battle 1
The morning battle was against the nobles, and the adventurers faced Guidonese Mercenaries, the Lady Ballais and her entourage along with members of the Bulmer party with their alchemical golems. The demons only took to the field in force after the Schoolmaster interfered with a pair of the Whisperers demons and was punished for breaking his agreement. But it was too late for the creature to interfere with the nobles on the field and so the adventurers proved that their lord the Duke was in the right according to the terms of the challenge, securing for him his duchy once again.
Sunday Battle 2
The afternoon battle was pitched against the possessed Templar forces that came in waves. Forced to act in skirmish order rather than in pitched defensive lines they adventurers were able to defend themselves against the foes with the aid of Mother Evangeline, Ember, Serge and all who carried bandages and alchemy. The Whisperer eventually took to the field with one of the Templars from the first night leading the Templars. When this individual was brought to his knees the Whisperer emerged in true and terrible form and nearly crushed the party, but armed with consecrated blades they were able to bring it down and it was destroyed. For added measure it was laid to rest (or at least attempted), cleansed by a Vleyborian, burned and the ashed cleansed by a Longstorian. The other demon that took the field was carried away for further study by two of the apprentice mages, much to Witchfinder Barnaby’s exasperation.
The Templar had been healed of his wounds, but between this act and the end of the battle he had been stabbed in the side and died. As the Witchfinder contemplated what to do with the body she made an alarming discovery – that his soul was shredded, almost completely destroyed. Whatever he had done was so vile that she did not want to know and at Ravenna’s request his soul was laid to rest with the others without attempting to speak with it. Some dark deeds are better left unsaid.
And so the Valley was saved of the great evil and the Duke retained his command over his vassals. Peace was returned amongst the noble houses and with thanks Sir Sergei offered all gathered his Lord’s gift of thanks – their pay and the improved social should they attend any hirings in the Valley for the next year and a day.
Ravenna travelled south to the outer edge of the Valley, to take up the Pilgrim’s road north through the Valley to Sidhe’s Seat and on to the Cathedral at Durholme in a journey of thanksgiving for Sidhe’s aid in their victory and in preparation to take up the mantle of Errant. The next four months will be her test of Knighthood and she has prepared herself for the challenges ahead …