Captain Christo Eadronhart has been seeking a purpose – specifically the one related to the late Catherine Brack-on-Hill, his old commander in the Mercenaries and Berwickshire Medium. But, at last, he and his fellows have discovered a possible location amidst the faeways that exist within and in parallel to Berwickshire. And so, calling together an adventuring party, Christo and companions set out to find this purpose and perhaps the lost sword of Catherine Brack-on-Hill. But are they prepared for what awaits them in the highways and byways of the fae?
Monster Night site – What makes a hero?
Gathering near the city of Durholme, Christo greeted the company and discussed their objective, to travel into the Fae and seek the purpose to end the hunt that has been his focus these past months. They had been given a map to a possible gateway into the fae and with his best scouts on the job they set out on the road in earnest. Those that traveled with the Berwickshire Medium were:
- Captain Christo Eadronhart, Berwickshire Medium Infantry;
- Ranger Wulfric Noname and Senior Guildsman Conchobar, Berwickshire Medium Infantry;
- Master Mortimer Lowe, School of Necromancy; Master Albrecht Crowe, School of Enchantment; Guildsman Daniel, School of Thaumaturgy;
- Brother Ezekiel Wheeler, Church of Vleybor;
When they came to the place marked on the map there appeared to be a closed gateway that did not yield to their attempts to step through. Puzzling over it the members of the company examined it closer and found nearby a riddle. Whilst some continued to examine the doorway, others considered the riddle and eventually were able to open the doorway into the fae. Stepping through they had the uncomfortable sensation of travelling at great speed over great distance until they stepped out into a place shrouded in shadow and lit by moonlight.
Standing in the moonlight was a figure crying and as the party caught their breath from their swift passage into fae. The crying figure was an Ellyon with her butterfly mask. Brother Ezekiel asked her what was wrong and amidst sobs she told them that she couldn’t find her way home, for there was no point that it was so dark and so sad and so cold. She had been looking for bits of paper – one of which she showed them – because she liked the markings on it. At this the adventurers crowded round to take a look, another clue in the puzzle they were here to solve. Surprised she handed over the piece of paper after Brother Ezekiel offered to take her home, to some groans from the gathered group, and Master Mortimer demanded she tell them all she knew of the purpose. At this the creature burst into tears and was inconsolable for a time.
Eventually they got moving, travelling through the shadowy woods following the sound of the river. At times the scouts were sure something was following them until, out of the darkness, a pair of figures came cavorting. Confused, the adventurers paused, trying to understand what was before them and the creatures attacked. The party scattered as the Sorrows cast fear at members of the party, trying to fend them off and the Ellyon, struck, began to wail. After they had fought off the Sorrows and found the weeping Ellyon cowering under the shade of a tangle of trees, they continued on at the scream of another creature out in the darkness. Another Ellyon under attack by Sorrows and Torments! Dashing to its aid the adventurers set to and rescued it. It warned them that the sadness of the place would get into their minds if they didn’t keep happy and uplifted. It escaped back to its home near the Glade of Ages after “paying” for their aid with another scrap of a letter, and the party continued on to their Ellyon’s (which they had called Sunny) home. As they approached, over the roar of the river could be heard the roar of a fire and the wailing of a baby. Horrified that there was an infant inside the adventurers attempted to get inside the burning building to rescue the child, only to be beaten back by the choking smoke. The Ellyon looked on, frozen with horror at her home afire – but she seemed unable to hear the wailing of the baby, confused whenever any of the adventurers asked her of it. Christo, using a powerful artefact in his possession, teleported himself into the midst of the fire where he thought the child would be but was unable to find one, being forced out by the heat and the smoke. Then, all of a sudden, the raging blaze was no more, and the wailing of the child vanished as if it never was. The Ellyon, confused, rushed into her house to see what was amiss and finding nothing wrong thanked the adventurers, giving them the promised note with marks on it before getting back to counting her collection of buttons. Conchobar warned her to be wary, repeating the advice of the other Ellyon to keep happy and uplifted lest the sadness get to her. She assured him she would be quite happy in her house and bid him farewell. But the smoke had done something to the travellers, and they felt a sadness seep its way into their hearts and a lethargy settle into their bones.
Crossing the river the adventurers came to a wide bridge with a small box nestled against the wall. But the box was protected by a series of wards that lashed out with powerful and dangerous magic. As they attempted to recover the box’s contents they were attacked by more Sorrows and Torments until they decided to leave the treasure alone for it was not worth the risk. Master Mortimer bewitched Captain Christo to get him to leave, and no one’s yet told him what changed his mind …
On the road they were “ambushed” by a Red Cap and a small group of Torments and Sorrows who appeared out of the darkness, finding another of the pieces of paper on the road. A tormented Werewolf held the group up for a long while, snarling and growling in agony at the pain inflicted by its bleeding wounds. Brother Ezekiel eventually put it out of its misery by placing it in Deathsleep until someone could return to heal its ailment, pained by its suffering.
Out of the silver bathed darkness there came the warm glow of candlelight, with a figure stood before what looked like a Shrine, weeping. As the group approached the sobbing increased until, hesitantly, Christo addressed it directly. It raised its shrouded head to reveal a sackcloth face which tore in two. Where one Sorrow had stood two now stood and as the adventures watched in horror, another of these tore in two and began to limp towards them. Scattering with fear the adventurers were beaten back as the Sorrows slowly were cut down or split again until they seemed to dwindle in number and the adventurers were able to clear the area. Confused by the “Kharachian” Shrine the adventurers consulted with Brother Ezekiel regarding its true nature before lifting the piece of paper from before the skull. Reading through the notes they began to wonder if perhaps they were connected to lifting the despair upon this place, perhaps having something to do with the reason they were here for. But whilst the mages pondered over the Shrine in the fae realm and Brother Ezekiel gave it a thorough cleansing, Master Lowe made preparations to protect all the party from affects upon their souls and Christo began to act strangely. Putting aside his weapons he rolled up his sleeve and began carving names into his flesh. As the blood dripped down his arm Conchobar noticed something was amiss and challenged him. With this called to Wulfric’s attention he called over Albrecht and taking his staff from him smacked Christo soundly across the head. Rendered unconcious Christo crumpled to the floor and the Ranger was able to tend to his wounds and puzzle over the reason why he would do such a thing. For the despair of the place was beginning to wear him down …
Travelling on the adventurers came upon a single Torment that lurked in an area of the realm where armour and magic had little meaning. Robbed of their equipment and powers the adventurers had their first brush with real fear but were able to overcome it and kill the creature before making a hasty escape from the area. More than a few people were relieved when the effect was lifted and their remaining reserves of strength and armour returned.
Down the path there came the soft whistling of the wind which carried voices in its breath. Voices which cajoled, warned and mocked each, preying on their deeper fears. But some replied defiantly, shaking off the malaise that threatened them. But some tried to ignore the whispers and were struck, falling to the floor bleeding. As their friends patched them up and tried to rouse their spirits, they continued on into the darkness. And from out of the darkness came a voice demanding that they say its name. They ignored it, pressing on and the sadness crept a little closer.
They came upon someone from the Berwickshire Medium’s past, or at least something clad in his guise, who warned them that the sands of time was running out. It was willing to trade for a jar of dust it possessed, in which they found another of the notes, but did not want material goods in exchange. In traditional fae manner it wanted services or promises or obscure objects like the colour of eyes or happy memories. The adventurers were willing to trade and obtained the jar to the satisfaction of the creature.
On the road came a group of marching fae that vanished. Another wave, then another, and just when the adventurers became confident they were safe they were attacked by Sorrows and Torments. Fighting them off they continued on their way, patching up their wounds as they went. And then, upon the road, surrounded by bodies, stood the figure of Catherine Brack-on-Hill as Christo remembered her. But then she was gone and the bodies were standing up and attacking them, and the party was scattered up and down the length of the road. Once they had regrouped and tended to the wounded they came to a gateway that looked similar to the one Catherine had been trying to close when she died nearly 2 years ago. This was it, they were nearly there. Passing through they came onto a path which led to a clearing. A clearing in which “Catherine” stood. But her tunic was tattered and torn, her armour rent, her face bloodied and marked by tears. As she challenged them Brother Ezekiel attempted to calm the situation by preaching the word of his Lady to her from the Book of St Gris, creating a pact between them. “Catherine” circled the priest, telling him to leave her be, as he praised his Lady, trying to remind her of the importance of life. Exasperated of the priest Christo struck him, knocking him out mid sermon. Lady Vleybor was horrorstruck at this, and brought her judgement upon him later.
At this many entered into a fight with “Catherine” and the Sorrows that came, drawn to the despair that emanated from the sword in her grasp. For it was this sword, her old blade, that was the cause of the sadness that filled this place, built from memories of the blood that it had spilled with no recollection of the reasons why. For this was the question – what makes a hero? The answer? The reasons they choose to fight.
Eventually Christo fought against the memory of his old commander single handedly and was able to remind this shadow of the reasons why she fought – reciting their code, recalling her duty, reminding her of her child Hope. As he did so he gripped the sword in her hand, easing it from her grasp. And as he did so the memory suddenly stopped, smiled and thanked him. Then she let go of the sword, stepped back and vanished. A portal opened and drew them back into the realm of man, Christo’s hand still grasping the sword. This purpose, this focus, had been found, discovered through walking the path Catherine walked in life. What he does with this knowledge only time will tell.