With the death of his twin Albrecht, the growing danger that has overshadowed the two men since the feast of the Night of the Dead has become confused. Before it can truly fix its gaze upon the other half of two-born-together (which the fae believes to be as one soul) Conchobar and Brigit decide to complete the plan which the trio had, until Albrecht’s death, had been concocting to rid the county of a dangerous faerie and lift the danger overhanging the twin’s very souls.
The adventurers hired by Conchobar to help him bury his brother at the site of their childhood home, and to go fight the fae threatening his existence, were:
- Ranger Conchobar of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry; Ranger Finn of the Scouts Guild;
- Seamus O’Malley and Nancy of the Mercenaries Guild;
- Dr Krom Goodfellow of the Guild of Physicians;
- Fortescue Everbright of the School of Enchantment;
- Squire Ivers of the Knightly Templar Order;
- Mother Brigit Wooller and Supplicant Trevelyan of Crowa; Novice Valtr of Kharach;
Guided by Conchobar the group returned to his childhood home, startled on the way by random undead that seemed scattered through the area. Pathfinder Wulfric, who travelled with them to secure their exit point in case the Brotherhood came sniffing around, identified them as Guiadonese and determined these must have come ashore from one of the “plague” ships that been spotting along the coast. Arriving at the ruined cottage Conchobar dug his brother’s grave and several of Albrecht’s friends said their goodbyes as undead kept shuffling out of the undergrowth. A set of shimmering footprints let the company to a “glowing” path of magic that wound its way through the trees and slowly began to fade behind them as it led them to the faerie portal and their point of attack. As they approached a figure rose up from out of the portal and taunted Conchobar, striking fear into his heart and mocking him greatly. Then it vanished and Fortescue went to examine the fae portal and try and figure how to get in. From out of the darkness came a figure which Brigit recognised as Supplicant Trevelyan of Crowa, and she greeted him. Four members of the faith had gone missing from the area after being sent by the church to help clear out the local area should things go awry … Trevelyan had caught up with them as they had found the portal and watched as the four decided to go and “deal” with the problem themselves! They had lain down in the fae circle and thought on their nightmares before disappearing into the ground, leading them to assume that they had safely gotten into fae. The party split in two to guard both sides of the portal and Wulfric agreed to stay behind and meet them when they returned. As the first group went through, Brigit told the others how to cross the threshold, and then it was their turn. And after a brief confusion as Dr Krom was left behind the company advanced deeper into the fae realm.
They were forced to face their fears, or the nature of fear – the Knight of Terror revealed to just be a scared child-like fae if faced with courage, creatures of fear and pain advanced upon and destroyed with a weapon. Conchobar was taunted by familiar voices and faces – Tungdil, Pestopheles, his own Father, the Pathfinder – figments that seemed as real as any of the company until it was noted they were acting out of sorts. An emissary of the lord of the realm came and warned them that her Lord would not be easily defeated, urging them to succumb to their fear and kneel before her master. Eventually she faded into shadow, with the party urging each other to keep going, to ignore the apparitions, the voices, the doubts.
Up ahead they spied three figures fighting this air and at hearing them praise Crowa Brigit ran to their aid, only to collide with an unseen barrier. She flailed against it as she watched in horror as the Crowans succumbed to their wounds or their fear, the Father of the faith spreading his arms wide and calling on Crowa’s Final Battle. Brigit cried aloud with frustration and anguish as she felt her goddess reach out and touch him, knowing this to be true and real despite the dismissive comments of her companions. When the priest fell, the barrier lessened and Brigit rushed to their bodies to offer prayer and to mark the honoured dead. Fortescue hypothesised that perhaps they had been fighting enemies of the mind, but this theory was dismissed as the company was attacked by more fae. Overwhelmed by the numbers drawn to their fear and the fight, Brigit urged her companions on as Finn pointed out the far side of the magical area. With Trevelyan and Brigit holding the rearguard the others hurried on but a barrier came up between the two priests and their companions. Fearing the worst Brigit swiftly blessed herself and Trevelyan and they turned to face their foes. A red cap, numerous sorrows and anguishes tested them, Brigit taking on the red cap armed and blessed as she was, only for it to vanish before her and reappear elsewhere upon the path. It taunted her, called on its allies to distract them both, goaded her with her death and the death of her church members, but Brigit would not give in. Praising Crowa, preaching her faith, she blocked and fought her enemies, drawing most off her supplicant priest so that he not be overwhelmed now that he was on his knees. And Lady Crowa saw what she did and smiled upon her; blessing them both with Troll Strength, healing Trevelyan’s wounds, and whispered the knowledge in Brigit’s ear. Brigit and Trevelyan stood proudly in their faith and fought off their enemies and defeated the red cap. Brigit had completed her Quest for Troll Strength and proven herself in the eyes of her Lady, before collapsing to the floor in exhaustion as the barrier dropped. The party, cheered by what they had witnessed, took a moment of respite then continued on with uplifted spirits.
They walked a path that was protected by fearsome rocks and trees – Conchobar drinking phials of firm resolve and generally wrecking the area until his party could pass by without fleeing – before coming to an open glade. Making preparations, Fortescue and Finn examined a strange soft blackness that extended up a path which seemed well travelled, and the others checked supplies, blessed weapons or caught their breath. Flapjack was also consumed …
The shadows veiled the sight of all those who stepped within them, with no end visible from where the company stood. Once inside the shadows voices would call to the adventurers, pulling at their clothes or limbs, untying ropes or lifting equipment from their belts. After trying to find the other end of the effect unsuccessfully – sending Nancy and Conchobar out on the end of a line, people walking in alone or linked in a chain – it was decided that they would brave the tunnel together. Krom set off ahead of the rest to draw the voices away, and the others took up a place on the rope or linked arms and stepped across the threshold together. It was an unnerving experience, Brigit struggling to make any headway as something got in her way or pulled her away from the others. She lost her grip and called out to the rest, only to find them far away and her own sense of direction turned about. Trevelyan found her fumbling in the dark and together they crawled back to their party. When they found the light once more the extent of the faerie mischief was clear – hats had been swapped, swords taken from one scabbard and dropped into someone else’s, pockets opened, bandages untied, the rope line almost undone from the back of the leader’s belt. But all their gear seemed to be present and after some swapping and sorting, everyone was as they were. The light seemed to come from the glade ahead, a pocket of light in a grim swirling mass of darkness, with two red caps spoiling for a fight.
The party engaged with them and several were downed by the reach of the poisoned spears. Fighting one off and wounding the other, they were able to tend to their companions. But as they did so Nancy was swallowed up by a pool of darkness and vanished. The same happened to Conchobar and the lit glade suddenly began to shrink. Finn and Fortescue spied a magical path that led off into the gloom towards Nancy’s voice and the company began to walk it – doubling back as one or other of the party were grabbed by the gloom and carried off the path, where undead lurked in their shuffling shambling states. Eventually, after several rescue attempts and liberal use of Brigit’s holy water, the companions reached the far side in one piece and found the last of the missing Crowans lying face down having been stabbed to death. Valtr laid his soul to rest as Brigit took his holy symbol to return to the Church, and a gloom once more descended upon the company. The oppressive nature of the place was beginning to weigh heavily upon them.
They came upon a wide bridge that was shrouded in some form of magical aura. A bag seemed to lie in the centre and Conchobar went to take a look, but before he got three paces he succumbed to the urge to sleep. Brigit went in to fetch him back but was taken by the urge to sleep and as her party hauled her back to their side of the bridge, Conchobar faded from view until he was gone. Roused and puzzled, Brigit joined others as they tried to cross the bridge at speed, trying to hook the bag up as they passed. But they failed and the others soon joined them in sleep as they were caught in the trap. Time passed.
They came to tied and chained in a dingy prison, separated into two rooms. Brigit’s head pounded as she tried to see where they were, only to shriek as their jailer cast magics upon her. Taunting them, promising pain and a slow death, the anguish paced back and forth between Ivers and Brigit, and Fortescue and Finn, as the sounds of screams came from behind a locked door. Ivers worked on the knots binding hers and Brigit’s chains together as Brigit tried to keep the monster’s attention on her, with Finn and Fortescue finding their feet and strength to rush the creature. Somehow the others got free and were able to liberate the keys from their jailer, Finn and Fortescue were able to kill the jailer in their own chamber, Ivers untied hers and Brigit’s chains so that they could at least try to work themselves free, and the keys were passed through a narrow window and the chains and locks were undone. They heard a cracking sound in the room above, and a yelp, and realised with horror that Conchobar was not with them.
As the company armed themselves with what few weapons remained to them, Brigit undid the lock binding Finn and Fortescue’s feet, and began hunting for the key to unlock the main door. When she found it she shoved it open and a sorrow fell dead at her feet as Conchobar snuck up behind it with a devious grin. Finding their weapons, rearming and checking their gear, the company wondered where to go next. Ivers had a strange feeling, a sign from her God, and her and Finn were able to sense where a great evil was lurking nearby.
They hurried on, Krom finding a circle of writhing pain into which he and Nancy fell before they were dragged twitching and screaming out by their friends, before approaching a great rock in the middle of an open field. The dark shape rose up, mocking and challenging Conchobar, taunting him with his brother’s death, and the party realised they had come to the final challenge. Fighting off his minions Brigit cast courage upon Krom to protect his mind, Conchobar drank another vial of firm resolve and the pair of them rushed the Hanged Man. Conchobar slew it with his enchanted spear and the rest of the company slew the rest of the creature’s minions, before turning their attentions upon the rock and the magic flowing between it and the corpse of the Hanged Man.
Brigit cleansed the rock and was told the magic was lessened, so did so again, but Fortescue was able, after some study and thought (and plenty of space by most of his companions), to sever the bond betwixt the Hanged Man and it’s source of power. Robbed of its source the creature died and the realm around them faded and they were returned to Berwickshire victorious.