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Early Thawing MX, a mild morning with the promise of spring but the bitter bite of winter still lingering. After a night of personal contemplation, meditation, fighting off sleep and thinking on the coming morning Ravenna Corvidae rose from her cramped position on the floor of the Firebridge Chapel, donned her armour and put on her new tabard to take a knee before the Head of Order and her Knight-Master at her Knighting Ceremony. Upon reciting her Honour Kills, making her Oath upon her sword, and being knighted by the Head of the Black Order she rose, saluted the two senior knights and left to travel towards Newcroft and the hiring arranged by an aide of Baronet Auklish.

That’s right – my Black Knight character made it to Knight and now has the right to call herself Dame, wear the symbol of the Order openly on her chest and carry her Honour Sword. This major milestone in an FnH Knight has been reached, the long slog through being without armour or seeking things to kill alone over and done with, and no more should she be confused with the Griffin Order! Thank you to those who made this little moment special on the weekend, and to those who turned up from far and wide to come and game with the local branch. You helped make the day what it was!

If you were there and find yourself misnamed (or missing) from the lists below, don’t forget to comment below for corrections to be made, or contact wolfish[dot]written[dot]author[at]gmail[dot]com.

 

Player Mission: The metal men under the mountain

The aide of Baronet Auklish hired the adventurers who gathered to head towards Willows Deep where a group of villagers had claimed to hear noises coming from the hills in the region, odd rumblings and groanings, and that their neighbours had vanished suddenly. Assuming them to just be errant villagers the aide had been instructed never the less to hire brave folk to go investigate, and to see what had become of a pair of the Baronet’s roving militia and a Berwickshire Medium Scout who had gone to take a look. The adventurers who set forth upon this task were:

  • James and Geralt of the Mercenaries Guild;
  • Kestrel of the Scouts Guild;
  • Krom Goodfellow of the Guild of Physicians;
  • Jouneyman Albrecht Crowe of the Mages Guild;
  • Sir Haydon de Bastonne, Head of the Black Order; Dame Ravenna Corvidae of the Knightly Black Order; Mother Enjah Ironhowl of the Holy Order of Roses; Sir Duncan Talloch-Artair and Esquire Vincent of the Feudal Knights;
  • High Father Andre of Rolbor; Mother Elandowyn Atariel McCrae of Tralda; Sister Arrianna Dawnbreaker of Sidhe;

Setting forth some of the local adventurers brought the visitors up to speed on the local dangers of Willows Deep – a dark crack in the land near the Akenwode bordered by Firebridge and Deepwatch, from which a number of threats have come in Berwickshire history, such as Deepspawn, Dark Souls, the Black-blooded of Koh’Barah, Agonwei and more – when they came upon a group of Dark Elves preying on a pair of Dwarves. These Dwarves were looking for the town of Ember (to the south of Carlech) and after listening to their bleating Ravenna instructed the scout to send them on their way. More Dark Elves in the woods watched them as they came upon the pair of roving militia men and the dead Berwickshire Medium Scout who told them that they’d been attacked by Dark Elves and hadn’t found the source of the local trouble. One of them seemed to have a skin complaint, but upon closer inspection it looked like he had orange skin stuck on his face which struck members of the party quite odd. Sister Arianna was horrified to learn it was hobgoblin skin! Sir Haydon laid the soul of the Scout, a member of their faith, to rest which put both the Kharachians and the Berwickshire Medium’s priest Andre at ease. But they could do nothing else and they sent the Militia on their way before continuing on the path. They came upon more dark elves and were able to learn that the Dark Elves were fleeing something from their cave – metal men and humans.

Up ahead they heard more of the same as the vocal Matriarch raged at them, claiming she had called powerful friends to her aid and they would smash the metal men and take back their sacred circle. As they stood staring at each other, Ravenna was told that a number of the dark elves were tainted with touches of Sharda. Were they demons? The priests could not give her a firm answer and she told the dark elves to get out of their way or be cut down, and to send their “friends” back where they belonged. Regardless of what the creatures wanted, the adventurers were going to see what was going on and if they smashed up the metal men, it did not mean they had helped the dark elves. Ravenna wanted to avoid spreading the needless killing which would spill onto the defenceless locals, regardless of the loud mutterings in her ear by the Sidhean priestess. The dark elves eventually parted and Ravenna urged the group through, preparing themselves to get stabbed in the back.

Up ahead, down by a mire, was a group of dead foul spawn who had been dead several days, some skinned, others cut open, others with the muscles peeled back from their bones. Horrified Ravenna asked the physician if it was safe to move the creatures and he guessed it was probably safe given how long he estimated they had been there. Others helped Ravenna pile the bodies together before Sir Haydon laid the souls to rest.

Up on the rise the party came upon a pair of scarecrows and some twisted mess of flesh that did not seem to be affected by many of the weapons drawn upon it. Shields were cleaved, weapons damaged, but eventually the creature was brought to the ground as it was surrounded and mobbed. The party’s wounds were tended to, the physician investigated the mess of flesh and gore that had been the creature, and the priests did what they chose to repair weapons and prepare blessed weapons. Then on they went where they came upon a strange sight – stone, metal and wooden men clearing the woodland. Kestrel was furious and struggled to contain himself but Ravenna wanted to see how the creatures would react to them. Then, working on the assumption that the individual who had made these creatures was bad given that people had been going missing and the dark elves had been forced from their area and little had been made of this fact, that the automata should be destroyed – thereby keeping their scout from either getting himself killed by charging them alone or from abandoning the party in frustration. But, she urged caution and instructed the party to target the automata one at a time. They cut through the group in short order with the advice of suitable weapons from Albrecht, moving from one to the other until all were destroyed and on they went.

They came to a cave entrance guarded by the automata that seemed to start up whenever anyone approached them, so these too were destroyed and the group went inside. There was something on the floor but as they approached many of the adventurers found themselves stuck behind a barrier whilst overs could get closer. As they examined the box on the ground more automata came from further in the cave system and Ravenna ordered a shield line to form beyond those investigating the box when Mother Ellen was struck and the physician was unable to get to her without risking wounds himself.

What followed then was wave upon wave of the creatures, the knights and Mother Enjah taking up a defensive formation beyond the group, Krom scuttling between those needing his aid with the help of a mercenary to drag the wounded to him or fetch and carry mixes and brews to those who were on the front line. Their armour took a pounding as the elven members of the group started to solve an ancient puzzle as the cave entrance sealed itself, with (helpful) comments passed on by the ex-Enchanter (recently returned from his minor case of death), but they did their best to stop the automata from getting too close to those focusing on the puzzle. There was one that seemed to glow that could shatter weapons (cue the Black Order drawing their Honour Swords when it appeared the second time) and seemed to appear behind the front line when threatened. The puzzle was eventually solved and Kestrel stood for a moment bedecked in robes and a crown with a look of utter confusion on his face, before the glamour faded as he left the circle. The cave entrance opened and the party began to move towards it when the Dark Elf Matriarch returned. She screamed at them, furious that they had defiled her people’s sacred circle (which no longer glowed with power as those who had solved the puzzle had picked up some items scattered in the dust and the contained in the puzzle box) even though she was glad the metal men were now broken under heel. She attacked the party with fury, cutting through them like a warm knife through butter and would have killed the entire party had High Father Andre not put a stop to her with a few well placed blows of his hammer. Then it was the race against time to patch up the wounded and the twitching but all were saved!

And so battered, bruised and aching the party returned to Newcroft, made report to the Baronet’s aide and the loot discussed and divided between the party – the hunk of blessed Ghoril entrusted to the care of the Rolborian priest to be shared fairly between members of the party. But Ravenna was not going to let those Dark Elves slip away, and so she turned to the local Scouts to aid her …

 

Monster Mission: Catch a hobgoblin you say?

The Berwickshire Medium have decided to take out one of the leaders of the White Star, the hobgoblin “Fixer” whose alchemical/healing brews have been causing havoc for those facing the White Star currently holed up in Dun Mhurdo. They have a vague idea where it could be and with what little plan they have (grab him, bag him, stop him from doing whatever he’s doing) they set out from Carlech heading towards the Dwarven realm of Dun Mhurdo. With Ranger Wulfric and Conchobar called away on other urgent business, Captain Christo Eadronhart called together other friends and allies of the Berwickshire Medium and set out, lest he lose precious time to put an end to this problem before breeding season starts …

Those who went out to hunt the Fixer were:

  • General Colt Garrison, Baronet, man of many titles and Head of the Ithronian Mercenaries; Captain Christo Eadronhart of the Berwickshire Medium and Guild Enforcer of the Ithronian Mercenaries; Captain Seryn Nivan of the Mercenaries Guild; Ronan Eadronhart of the Berwickshire Medium;
  • Ranger Finn of the Scouts;
  • Master Ash of Stocktown and Aoife Murphy of the Guild of Alchemists;
  • Dr Leo Kyle of the Guild of Physicians;
  • High Guildsman Morgan Corvidae of the School of Demonology; Apprentice Meror of the Mages Guild;

As they set out from Carlech they were accosted on the road by a couple of “Ogres” – read goblins with a “horn” on their forehead – that had been sent by their shaman to stop a terrible thing that was to happen at the place of stone. They had a map and everything! The party listened to them but thought nothing of it after they killed them – clearly goblins high on whatever their shaman had wafted under their noses. Further up the road they encountered a group of Grant’s Men hunting hobgoblins. Grant, a Crowan mercenary, has been obsessed with killing this creature, and they told the party of their plan to draw the creature back to the area – burn his alchemy stash and wait. Alas, one of their party had been overcome by the heat and had fallen, but he would be remembered.

On the party went where they came upon a group of angry orcs and assorted foulspawn. These were members of the White Star and were pissed that some humans had kicked over their alchemy stash and brewing apparatus. Here were some humans, and they were clearly responsible (clearly!). A fight followed and after the adventurers dusted themselves off and continued on they could smell the distinct smell of smoke on the breeze. And what was that? Was that … chemicals? Master Ash stormed into the smoke, intent on bringing the raging alchemical fire under control before it did too much damage, though not before stabbing up a goblin pottering around other fallen goblins and a dying mercenary, and taking a deep lungful of smoke. Things went a little hazy as he tried to snuff out the fire – dousing it in water, closing the burning box, breathing in the smoke. Some of the other adventurers tried to come to his aid, but he told them to clear off as he dealt with matters of his trade, his apprentice trying to determine how badly things were going from a distance. Coughing he managed to move the box away from the trees, but was unable to douse the fire with water and his apprentice eventually smothered the fire with dirt and leaves. But plenty of the party had inhaled the smoke – some became distracted, some felt great, Captain Christo was struck dumb and his brother keeled over twitching and writhing as the toxic brew on the wind took effect.

After patching the injured up and dosing those suffering from ill effects of the alchemical vapours, the party pushed on into a group of White Star who gave them another good scrap.

On the road ahead they came upon a battered group of Grant’s Men – his “elites” who were licking their wounds with their Crowan commander noticeably absent. As they told the party what had happened, how Grant had been so consumed by his obsession over killing the Fixer that he ran into the heat of battle when his men were wounded, bleeding and dying that they now had no idea where he could be – one of their number cried out in pain, beset by a vision from the gods. As she tried to babble out the sights before her eyes, the group’s mage took Captain Christo aside, recognising the symbol of the Berwickshire Medium, and told him frankly what they had seen. Demons. Demons that Grant had been ill-equipped to deal with. They were returning to their paymaster and hoping their boss might reappear one day but they were in no mood to linger, so she offered what little power she had left to help the better equipped adventurers get past the demons they had seen. This reminded Christo of something he had heard before – were they near stones or ruins? Why, yes, yes they were … Christo groaned, realising what the “ogres” had been talking about and told the mage where he wanted her power to go. Once she was done, and after the rest of the Grant’s Men had ambled on (splitters!), the adventurers continued on their way.

They came upon a strange sight – Orcs and red-veined demons having a discussion about where they were – both groups trying to get the other side to make sense. Here was stones, but not the stones they were looking for. Demonologist Morgan Corvidae instructed one of the demons to do his bidding and the party were able to get past with minimal damage, but they espied a strange sight up ahead. Was that … a gathering of demons? Off Morgan went to have a look-see. He stumbled into the middle of what could be classed as a sales pitch, with a number of powerful demons amused to see a human demonologist turn polite in their presence. Some discussion was had – why were they here? Could they not just pop off home? – and all the while the rest of the party got more and more concerned at the time Morgan was in discussion with this group of demons. Eventually General Garrison decided he’d had enough and approached to fight with one of the demons spoiling for some fun. Another demon had a go, and another which tried to create a distraction when it instructed one of the adventurers to attack the General. Luckily for him Captain Christo saw his brother step forward and struck him unconscious before dragging him off to the side. More of the demons had a go at the General until all that was left was a wolf-head which ambled off before making a run for it, vanishing into the woodland when the party realised that “going home” didn’t just mean back to Sharda.

More White Star led them to Grant, trying valiantly unto his last to get after the hobgoblin, spitting a torrent of hatred and rage at the party before he died, and then they came to the Fixer. They tried to grab the creature but alas it was able to evade their best efforts  and vanished into the gathering twilight to the Berwickshire Medium’s frustration. Maybe they had put a stop to its brewing efforts, maybe they hadn’t but they would get that Fixer one day …

 

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