Once more adventurers of Berwickshire are called to travel the wild ways of the county, to brave perils and face dangers, to see to the safety of the county or to line their own pockets with gold. Two hirings investigating missing scouts call for the attention of brave heroes – one to the wild mountains north of Dun Mhurdo, one to the ancient city in the elven lands.
Player Mission – Praise be to Tralda
The way north to Barra is now “open” though the road has long been lawless and many opportunistic individuals prey upon those who might dare to make the journey. As such members of the Black Sword company and some other mercs, guards and foresters have taken upon themselves the task of patrolling the stretch through the mountains and the passes in the hope that the rebuilding of Barra might lead to fruitful futures. But people have been going missing.
The adventurers hired to travel the wild roads were:
- Ranger Wulfric and Conchobar of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry;
- Tungdil Stonehammer of the Mercenary Guild;
- Roger the Blacksmith;
- Dr Krom Goodfellow of the Guild of Physicians;
- High Father Andre of Rolbor; Novice Brigit Wooller of Crowa;
Setting out from Carlech the merry band headed north along the Barra road into the mountains. They met a scout who told of her companions being attacked by organised foulspawn – the White Star – and being taken away by the brutes. It seems they were back to their old tricks of learning the ways of the scouts and mercenaries from their captives, and Ranger Wulfric was not going to let this continue. They fought some foulspawn that already seemed to be using their recent training and rescued a lone scout from certain death. A hobgoblin in a forester’s tabard showed that the missing members of the law were also being taken hostage, and after a brief scrap the adventurers took up the tabard and headed deeper into the wilds.
They rescued a trio from their foulspawn captors – including the forester whose tabard they had liberated – and heard news of a possible camp keeping the captives prisoner. However, they took a brief detour to a Traldan fete that had been set up around a small shrine.
Here the company met with a holy creature of the Goddess of Luck, who asked them riddles, had their fortunes told by a wizened dwarven follower of the Lady, and tried their hand at games of chance and luck. Reluctant to leave the hospitality of these generous and friendly people, who were holding a party in honour of Longstor’s holy day, the company moved on when they spotted a goblin scout who had been observing them. Dragging Tungdil with them, they headed back into the wilderness but hoped to return to that joyful place later that day.
More foulspawn led to more fights until they startled an escaped prisoner who had endured appalling circumstances. He told Brigit how the prisoners were being treated and how he had escaped after the group leapt to his defence as another patrol of foulspawn came upon them – one in a guard’s tabard. Bandaged and bruised the party were reluctant to leave the people prisoners to the White Star, so on they pressed up the hill to engage with the foulspawn and liberate the captives.
A goblin shaman cast a wicked spell on Wulfric to trick him into attacking his party, but with quick thinking High Father Andre put him to sleep before Dr Krom and Conchobar dragged his sleeping form out of the way into the woodlands. As the others set to freeing the prisoners, Brigit kept an eye on Wulfric and roused him with a dagger pressed to his throat should he prove to still be under the bewitchment, recalling that night two weeks prior where Kestrel had tried to bite Krom after being roused from unconsciousness whilst his mind was not his own.
They escorted the freed captives back towards the Black Blade’s camp and the Traldan fete, where Brigit and Krom looked over their wounds, and they spent an evening merrymaking and enjoying the joyful hospitality offered to them, before returning to Carlech early the next morning to make their report.
But if the White Star are still capturing mercenaries and scouts for their training, how many more languish in chains in need of saving?
Monster Mission – The King is Dead
The loose alliance with Kestrel and the two tribes of Ferracunan elves has stilled the open war between the elves in the Ferracunan forest, but the city is as yet unclaimed. Kestrel, desirous to see the city returned to its former glory and to see himself set upon its high seat as its leader, has chosen to return to the city to seek out other claimants of the title and seek further alliances. Word had also reached others of a group of missing scouts who had been sent into the city, and so a group of adventurers set out to see what they could find.
These brave souls were:
- Ranger Kestrel and Ranger Finn of the Scouts Guild;
- Mistress Ember of the Alchemists Guild;
- Albrecht Crowe of the School of Enchantment;
- Errant Vincent Savage, Feudal Vassal of Berwickshire;
- High Mother Anne Turner and Father Finwe of Longstor; Novice Gideon of Kharach;
Travelling towards the outer edge of the city shrouded in the soulfire storm they came upon a dark elf ambush. The dark elves have laid claim to the uninhabited city and guard it fiercely from all outsiders. Trying to convince them to pass took some time, and only after stumbling upon a dwarf who was hiding from the dusky skinned elves, did they manage to speak to a “leader” who spoke a little elfish. The attacks were called off, but a pair of dark elves continued to stalk them – openly watching them from the road and the treeline.
They came to the scouts encampment where they met with four of the five scouts, each giving a brief report of what they knew. A fifth member had gone off into the city but had not returned, and they asked for aid in finding him. They spoke of a treasure cache guarded by dark elves, of a number of dark elves in the company of undead and strange creatures, of a woman doing rituals accompanied by a metal man, and of a strange mix of folk down one of the winding roads that skirted the edge of the city. With the soulfire storm calm for a time, there was a chance to get into the city and complete a number of tasks, but there was always the risk that the storms would waken once more at any time.
With news of undead in the area the Longstorians were adamant that they must deal with that problem first, with Finwe and Kestrel wishing to find the dark elf Matriach who led the dark elves in the city. They tried to get a message to her using one of their observers, but there was little chance the message would reach her in time.
Fighting undead they kept to their promise – killing only the undead and driving the demons from the dark eves possessed by them, to patch up the dark elves in the hope that this gesture would earn them good favour with the Matriach. But upon arriving at her gates they were met by a demon that was commanded to keep them out as the imperious “queen” continued her business with another of her kind. During the fight she was seen to permit her companion to slay one of her kin, but the adventurers were battling against her unnatural Shardan guard and her protectors. As she turned to face them it was clear she had a demon inside her and as she was struck to the floor she began to bleed. Finwe saved her as he fought off her allies in the hope they could discuss her terrible life choices, but in amongst the fighting Kestrel, the self-proclaimed Lord of Ferracartha, was slain.
The party was torn between trying to maintain the delicate alliance the elven archer had been trying to build, and simply slaughtering the Matriarch who clearly could not be trusted – having resisted a question asked under truthtell. Some turned on their companions in their anger and grief, whilst Finn battled to be heard as the voice of balance and Sidhe’s will. They eventually decided to take the dark elf back to a safe location to be spoken with, but on the way Errant Savage left – taking Kestrel’s body with him, the soul already safely passed on to Kharach’s Halls.
They left the Matriach with the scouts they had met earlier as they defended her from being rescued by her kin, and stumbled upon the cache of loot these creatures had been moving after all the noise that had been made with the fighting that had already occurred. They then decided to go look for the fifth scout and headed down a long path where they encountered more undead and a monstrous creature that seemed to think little of their skills in combat.
Battered and bruised they managed to leave the city just as the storm closed in around them and returned to Frigg One Eye’s camp, where the elven chieftain was crowing over the capture of his hated enemy the Dark Elf Matriarch. But with Kestrel dead, has the dream of retaking the city and making a home for all elven kind in Berwickshire died? Or will another true claimant rise to take the seat of the city in his stead?