The year turns colder as winter begins to dig in its talons, as the rich colours of the woods and moors turn from their autumnal splendour to the darker hues of the new season. But still, in parts of the land the reds contrast with the bare branches in a defiant way as the mists draw in and linger amongst the trees. The light fails early and the adventurers of Berwickshire continue their forays across the region to fight against its foes and explore its ancient places. Who know what they may disturb next …
Player mission: White Star hunting
With the White Star denied Amblebury, and the siege long broken at Carlech and Nelfarig, the Lord Nelfaril calls on adventurers to travel upon his lands, seeking out more of the White Star and their ilk and discourage any of their leaders from stirring up trouble.
Heeding the call for aid were:
- Ranger Wulfric Noname and Senior Guildsman Conchobar of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry; Guildsman Kestrel of the Scouts Guild;
- Junior Guildsman Morgan Corvidae of the Mages Guild;
- Errant Ravenna Corvidae of the Knightly Black Order;
Ranger Wulfric and Conchobar, both known to the lord of the town from the time of its siege, were familiar with the area and led the party west of Nelfarig to scout the original extent of the besieging horde. The group met with a pair of Lord Nelfaril’s scouts who were out on a similar errand and learned of a particular Orc leader who was still in the area. Perhaps if they killed this individual then the remaining foul spawn may disband or turn on each other.
Continuing on they quelled a group of foulspawn, including a spectacular shot by Kestrel that felled an Orc that popped out from behind a tree only to fall to the archer’s shot. As they continued on they came upon a clearing in the wilderness and spotted a lone man watching them warily. A local alchemist robbed of all his goods and generally roughed up and his paid bodyguard missing. He obviously wanted his goods returned and ideally the fate of his man discovered, and was willing to offer some compensation for their time. The party agreed after learning a rough description of the man (for the alchemist refused to pay for any peasant they collared) and continued on. More orcs and a hobgoblin blocked their path and beyond the party came upon a group of dark elves. Approaching warily both groups stood apart, keeping their weapons close at hand but it became clear that these dark elves worshipped or sympathised with the way of Kharach which eased Ravenna’s mind somewhat. All they wanted to do was ask why the adventurers were travelling through the area, themselves on a journey away from their ancestral lands. When asked why they spoke of a man in white teaching the way of the white lady to their people, some of whom sympathise. With these individuals now marked for death for their weakness, the group of kharachians decided to leave before they were forced to cull this weakness and kill their own kind. And so they wander looking for somewhere new to make a home. This alarmed Wulfric and Ravnenna as the dark elves could not say what symbol the man had worn which meant one of three options – it was an overzealous Vleyborian converting the masses, it was an Abraxian stirring trouble or it was something else twisting the teaching of the Vleyborian faith.
They came upon another group of foulspawn, though these seemed to be ill after drinking from vials and Morgan mused that maybe they had drunk too many of the potions that were once contained in the empty vials around. After putting them down the adventurers collected up the full bottles with the intention of returning them to the alchemist if they belonged to him. On the road they fought another group which were escorted a man, who turned out to be the missing body guard, though the fight was difficult and Ravenna and others fell to the creature wielding a sharpened blade. After they patched up their wounds and roused those who were unconscious the bodyguard gave some insight into why he’d been taken – “they said they wanted me to teach them to kill dwarves” – which confirmed Wulfric and Ravenna’s suspicions that Dun Mhurdo would soon be under siege. Wulfric leant the mercenary his sword so he could get back to Nelfarig in one piece, to collect it at a future date, and off the man went musing on whether he’d be able to continue working for the alchemist …
The adventurers at last came upon the Orc leader and Ravenna stepped forward to meet it in single combat. It goaded her, telling her she was weak and would be killed, that she had no stone. No stones? No, she had no stones, but she was still going to fight him. Big words for the Errant, for she succumbed to her wounds as the creature shredded her armour. With many of the party on the floor, Morgan proved to be a mighty mighty mage and Ravenna’s wounds were healed. She was awoken by Wulfric who also had a plan and as the pair of them advanced on the Orc which grew angry that she was still breathing. But before he could do anything else Wulfric sprung his trap, calling up his scouts who had been lying as if dead on the floor and they pounced on the Orc. It was put down, its minions chased off and Ravenna returned to keep Conchobar from cutting off the Orc’s head.
Before they left the area to return and report to Lord Nelfaril Wulfric laid the soul of the Orc to rest out of respect and they made their way home. The Alchemist was delighted to have his bodyguard returned along with his alchemy, which Ravenna had instructed to be passed to the Lord so he could determine ownership of the goods, and offered to give them some alchemy and a few coins a piece in gratitude atop their agreed pay.
Monster mission: Feracartha Revisited
Strange dreams haunt Frigg One-Eye so he sends scouts into the ruined city of Feracartha to bring him news, only for them to vanish. He sends another of his people to Carlech to seek experienced travellers to hunt for them and a number of adventurers meet with the tattooed elf. He explains that his chief needs their help and guides them through Feracuna forest to a gateway to the city and will await their return. The adventurers that went with him were:
- Guildsman Krom Goodfellow of the Physicians Guild;
- Master Albrecht Crow of the School of Enchantment;
- High Mother Anne Turner and Father Finwe of Longstor; High Father Andre of Rolbor;
The walls of Ferecartha are piled high with the bones and bodies of the dead, the ancient elves of this city interring their dead to act as guardians and protectors of their realm when their spirits flee this world to be born anew. Higher these walls have grown over the years until the city once was inpenetrable to all outsiders. But the wall was breached during recent times and the hole stands like an open wound in this barrier. But that does not mean it is unprotected …
As the heroes approach a number of guardians before apparent – scarecrows and a ragged form made of flesh and bone and magic – that acted as gatekeepers. Those not of the city could not pass, and the humans amongst the party were certainly not welcome. After destroying the creatures the party came upon a ragged metal automata being harassed by some undead, neither doing much damage in their battle. Mother Anne, Finwe and Andre destroyed the undead and the automata quickly, though Albrecht picked through the broken form with interest – how strange, he mused, the construct looked significantly newer than the city around it. But Mother Anne’s mace had caved in the chest and any inner workings were smashed to bits and he continued on.
As strange magical glow beyond a turn in the path made him curious and as he mused over it a metal automata began to walk towards them, trailing shiny metal and seeming to be almost “drying” before their eyes. It seemed brand new, apart from being smashed apart by Mother Anne and Finwe upon examination and the group came upon a bubbling pool of metal as they trailed the gloopy silver footprints back to their source. As they watched another figure arose from the pool, waded out and turned sluggishly towards them. More followed as they pondered what purpose it served. Was it dangerous? Was it natural? Should something be done? Mother Anne started to cleanse the area, the metal slowly beginning to solidify with each ritual before Albrecht examined the pool closer and was able to stop the magic that was keeping the pool bubbling away. As the metal began to harden Andre scooped up a bowl of the pure metal and tucked it in his bag and Albrecht continued his musings on the purpose it served.
Following the trail of the scouts they came upon a group of dark elves who watched them warily. One of them, the female, seemed to understand them and Finwe and she spoke in Elvish. Her people claimed the area as theirs, but seemed not to mind the humans passing through so long as they made no claim on the land. One of her kin “traded” his axe for Albrecht’s silver dagger which caused an outcry, but he was quickly instructed to give the dagger back. The adventurers passed on, puzzled but unharmed.
They came to a marsh where a scout met them, a half elf which began to lead them into the marshland. Magic swirled around them like a shallow sea, with its own tides and eddies, and from out of the mist arose skeletons and other forms of undead that broke apart into old bones and rank flesh. Something was playing with their minds and in the murk Albrecht spotted something and left the path. He vanished to the horror of the party who, after some debate of chasing after their missing companion, decided it was better for them to get out of the marsh and come up with a plan. However Albrecht returned, having spent a day somewhere else and was confused as to why they were still in the marsh.
Another pack of dark elves were not so pleased to see them and told them to leave. They would not listen to their reasons, looking for another of the scouts who the half-elf had said was only just ahead of him before he went back into the marsh, but their leader hissed that if the elf had come this way, he would be dead now. Finwe did not like the sound of this and when the adventurers refused to lead, the dark elves attacked. Albrecht ended up chasing one off into the woods much to the frustration of his companions, but luckily returned having stopped the elf from getting too far. When confronted with another group of dark elves Finwe asked to see their Matriarch, but the dark elves only attacked these intruders on their lands.
This was when they found the bodies of Frigg’s scouts – the one in the marsh clearly a ghost hoping someone would be able to send him on – and as they made preparations to move a figure appeared before them in black with a blindfold across the eyes. Finwe assumed she was the dark elf Matriarch but she merely smiled and told him she was not. Instead, she had brought him a Doom. She foretold the rise or fall of the High Elves by Finwe’s hand, told Andre that the choices he had left were becoming few and he would decide the fate of one he cared for by his actions or inaction, that the adventurers of Berwickshire would become a part of the fate Finwe was weaving and that one amongst them would be known for great deeds or fall into forgetfulness by his choices. When Albrecht stepped away from the group towards her she felt that he was the bearer of this doom and smiled.
Then she was gone and the party were left to ponder to words of this figure as they returned to Frigg One-Eye and told him the fate of his scouts in the ruined city of Feracartha.