It’s summer and the season for weddings, and what is more delightful for a wedding than choice gifts that will bless a union? A group of adventurers are sent out to locate and retrieve a pair of silver goblets that may hold the key to lifting a long standing curse upon the bride’s family, whilst Brigit and Tungdil go looking for a pair of shipwrights and uncover a dangerous “cult” following a blended God of olden days.
Monster Mission – Finding Nemo
Merchant Joshua Herbert is a man much pleased – his eldest daughter is to be married to the second son of a baronet, establishing his family in the nobility for years to come. But the family have only recently had a string of ill luck and through hard work he has been able to buy back a family heirloom ahead of the wedding – two silver cups. But alas on the road from Lirron his men have been robbed and a more sinister plot is afoot …
The adventurers who went out to investigate the troubles were:
- Ranger Finn of the Scouts Guild;
- Guild Enforcer Christo Eadronhart of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry; Seamus O’Malley and Nancy of the Mercenaries Guild;
- Guy Lockless of the Blacksmiths Guild;
- Squire Ectar de Vymont of the Black Order; Squire Ivar of the Templar Order;
- Thomas de Vymont of Sidhe; Matilda de Vymont of Vleybor;
Setting out on the north road the adventurers met with a group of traveling players who had been hired for the wedding. Suitably impressed and nervous to be performing before nobility (the groom’s the son of a Baronet don’t you know?) the players begged the adventurers to tell them what they thought of the play they had prepared for the evening entertainment. The adventurers were not too happy to be stuck watching a play when there was trouble afoot, so the players quickly set about showing the “highlights” of the play – the tale of the Herbert Curse. Long story short a long long time ago Herbert was out on a journey where he encountered a witch and asked him to bless him with protections against harm. Unwilling to pay the witch for his services he had the misfortune of getting his wish – and cursed with infertility which would protect his family from the greatest harm through the loss of a child in infancy or the mother though childbirth. For many years Herbert and his wife tried for a child, but his wife decided to embark on a holy quest to seek answers. Long she traveled the land, fighting off monsters and finding many interesting things but nothing that would cure her childlessness, until one day she came upon a vision from Lady Vleybor and a pair of silver goblets. The couple drank from these goblets and the curse was lifted and they were blessed with many children – and so the silver goblets had been passed from generation to generation as a marriage gift ever since. The adventurers were polite if skeptical, examined the prop of the silver goblets to see if these were the treasure they sought, and traveled on.
A trio of elves greeted the company with a message for Finwe and bid the humans pass on their letter for them, before melting back into the undergrowth. Then they heard a cry from ahead and a “man” was seen fighting off dark elves. Rushing to “his” aid they realised that the “man” was in fact a young woman with a ridiculous mustache and beard drawn on with charcoal. Caught out, the young woman relaxed her masquerade and revealed herself to be Merida, daughter of the Merchant Herbert, out on one last great adventure before her marriage. She had hoped to find the missing silver goblets that her grandfather had sold during a time of great sorrow for the family, and knew her Father had scrimped and saved to buy them back ahead of her union – but since she’d been wounded so close to home she had little hope of being successful. The adventurers told her to go home, that they would find the cups, and Finn offered to come and help the future noblewoman find “safe” adventures upon which to embark upon so that she would avoid becoming “stuffy” – this being her greatest fear of marriage. Hurrying home to make up some excuse for her injuries Merida bid the company farewell.
They found the remains of the wagon, guard and bandits a little way off the road – one guard and one bandit barely alive. Tending to their wounds the party healed them both and heard what they had to say, though the guard was not pleased to find that the Vleyborian had healed up the man who’d killed his companions and robbed them blind. For a long while the caravans had been “attacked” and waylaid by members of Nemo’s bandits – often looking for a couple of pennies, a bit of a scrap, but doing relatively little harm. However recently Nemo has fallen into “bad” company with some Guidonese bandits who are especially keen to properly rob caravans of their goods, and the ex-member of his little group expressed a concern that they had been ordered to rob this particular caravan and look for a specific box. The bandit was allowed to wander on, the guard following him and Lady Matilda went after them to try and stop the needless violence that was sure to follow.
Finn, however, followed a path off into the bushes and found a bandit carrying a note and an obvious and elaborate trap. Bells hanging from rope festooned the path and after working her way through the web she found a box labelled “Sweet Sweet Loot”. Would the bells summon help if rung? Was the box believed secure? Who would leave such a tempting offering in the middle of the path? As members of the company puzzled over the text, which seemed to be some form of fiendish code, Finn nocked an arrow to her bow and fired it at the box. An ear piercing alarm began to sound as she knocked the box and from down the path came the sound of shouts and bandits came running towards them. But they were not a skilled martial group, the Guidonese amongst them urging on their reluctant companions who tried to flee seeing the armed and armoured party. They were put down quickly, one of them managing to escape and mutter generally at them in Guidonese-tinged Ithronian, and one of the wounded bandits explained under duress about a code that had been given to the patrols ahead. He couldn’t tell them the passwords but his words confirmed the suspicions of the de Vymont siblings.
Finn scouted on and found a roaming patrol who the group tried to avoid but ended up fighting, and then they came upon young Dingwall Castleton, the flamboyant and roguish second son of the baronet. He had been out a-questing for the silver goblets to prove to his future father-in-law that he was a good enough man for Merida, but alas he had fallen in a ditch, dropped his alchemy and grievously hurt his leg. After patching him up they offered to help him find the goblets since their aims were the same, and they could see the young nobleman in action. Huzzah.
More bandits, more Guidonese, more shenanigans. The bandits were either forced to attack or convinced to turn on their merciless new “allies” and the party were able to find the bandit “King” Nemo who was examining the silver cups he had recently “acquired”. After some banter the adventurers defended themselves from Nemo’s bandits and defeated them, secured the goblets and a letter from one Sonia Herbert giving strict instructions to Nemo to get the silver cups …
Who was this Sonia Herbert and why did she want the cups? Unbeknownst to them Joshua’s disgruntled cousin had been behind the whole thing after she had been written out of the family business by Joshua’s father. Content to steal the cups and end Joshua’s line through the curse she would secure her own fortunes, take over the business and have ultimate control of the family finances well into the future – all she needed was hired thugs to cause bother for Joshua and put pressure on his finances through loss of goods. Oh, the cunning schemes of this woman!
Returning to their hirer they were able to hand over the blessed goblets, learned the identity of the person responsible for organising the theft, and explained to Merida and Dingwall that they were each a perfect match for the other. It seems unlikely that the happy couple would become as dull and as boring as they feared.
Player Mission – How do you solve a problem like Colwyn?
It is rare that adventurers are summoned to the aid of a noted nobleman of Berwickshire so far from Newcroft. Traveling to Nelfarig they meet in a tavern and waited for several hours until they are met by their hirer and the need for discretion is soon made clear. Baron McTavish, uncle of the Thane and advisor of her court, has been waiting on meeting a pair of shipwrights from the continent to discuss trade and to purchase a number of new ships. However news of this meeting must not get out to the wider public and the shipwrights have gone missing on their way north. He urged discretion, the shipwrights found and those responsible either caught or dealt with. There were also reports of a Crowan priest having gone silent at a way shrine along the road – perhaps these events are connected?
The adventurers who set out upon this task were:
- Pathfinder Wulfric Treewalker of the Scouts Guild;
- Red Kent of the Mercenaries Guild;
- Dr Krom Goodfellow of the Physicians Guild;
- Fortescue Everbright of the School of Enchantment;
- Sir Blaise de Neville, feudal vassal;
- High Mother Brigit Wooller and Trevelyan of Crowa; Brother Robert Eddlemann of Sidhe; Brother Valtr of Kharach; Tungdil Stonehammer of Tralda;
Setting out from Nelfarig the company encountered a group of Abraxians who were scattering across the lands now their leader High Father Blanche was dead. They denied knowledge of the missing Crowan priest or the shipwrights. They didn’t survive very long once a fight kicked off, and the party continued on their way to find a man in red and white preaching at a group of confused locals. It seemed he was a follower of Abrowa, the God of War, and was preaching about the combined God. As he spoke on his beliefs Sir Blaise struck him from behind and killed him as Brigit threw up her hands in exasperation. The worried villagers hesitantly asked about what was happening with this combined god and Brigit, Trevelyan and Krom tried to set their minds at ease in their own way.
Traveling on they found tracks leading down into a dell. Lying on a rock was a Crowan holy symbol Brigit recognised, and as she raised it up there was a flash of religious power and a group of Abraxians attacked the company led by Brigit’s brother. Brigit attacked him herself, hoping to wound him and patch him up later, but as she struck him he vanished much to her distress. Only a few days earlier Brigit had received word that her brother, having taken Father McColic’s death badly, had left the city of Newcroft to undertake a job, hoping to return so that his sister could welcome him into the faith. Seeing the discarded holy symbol and him standing before her with an Abraxian holy symbol led her to assume the worst and she was devastated. They found a letter that seemed to indicate the traders had been advised not to leave Newcroft without a particular mercenary.
They spotted a child watching them from behind a bush and Krom ran after him. But as they crested the rise they found a group of people in red and white blocking their path. They were Abrowas, ordered by their priest not to let anyone pass. Renounce the faith, join them, they said, and you could go through. Brigit tried to speak with them, to understand what would drive a Crowan or an Abraxian to deny their faith and follow the combined God, but before she could get an answer her companions charged and slew them.
The next group they found said similar, holding a woman hostage. Wulfric tried to reason with them, but reason failed, and the adventurers cut through them and saved the woman. Brigit spoke with her as Wulfric scouted ahead and learnt that the woman was one of the shipwrights who had been traveling to a meeting with the Baron. The rest of the company pushed on without her and Brigit learned that the shipwrights had been advised to wait for a particular mercenary called Woolly who was subsequently grabbed by the bandits who had been holding her. Brigit felt her heart stop – this was all a setup, another setup to get at her brother. Hurrying after her fellows she found that they had been in another fight as an Abrowan got away. They rescued a frightened woman from being burned, then pressed on towards the small wayside shrine. Colwyn seemed to come towards her, unable to speak, wearing a Crowan holy symbol – but he too vanished as she reached for him. There they found a group of Abrowans protecting the way to the shrine and guarding the other shipwright – and as Brigit approached one of the men cried aloud to Abrowa and she felt the wrath of two gods descend upon him as he was excommunicated. Horrified Brigit didn’t notice the Crowan hant that swept through the company until after she had been awoken from it’s sleeping touch, promptly dismissing the ghostly remnant of an excommunicant.
They tried to reason with the protectors but to no avail, the recently turned Abrowan sneering at them and telling them how his father was now leading them in the true faith, having turned aside from the Crowan faith. Father Jacobs, the tender of the shrine, had fallen, and that their champion was with him in the Shrine. They cut down the heretics, rescued the other shipwright and set off down the path. A “true” champion could only refer to Woolly, the one who seemed to be trapped between both the Gods Crowa and Abraxis.
They met with an apprentice of Kyra’s at the shrine who willingly passed on what information she knew about Kyra and Niels, and the Crowans knelt at the shrine to pray to their Goddess before hastening after the priest. As they came down the path Brigit was spotted by her brother who called out to her to stay back. A priest in a red and white scarf was conducting some rite and Brigit hurried on towards them only to see the scroll in the priest’s hands torn asunder and the feeling of something being torn in two. Colwyn dropped to the ground and two spirits seemed to rise from his body – one with an Abraxian symbol and one with a Crowan symbol.
The pair of them began to fight each other and the company seemed helpless to aid them or intervene. Brigit’s friends put down the Abrowans and went to tend to her brother, and Brigit began to preach at her brother’s Crowan spirit and tried to reason with her brother’s Abrowan spirit. She placed herself between them and had a spectral spear thrust through her chest, and began to give up hope until Trevelyan asked her if she still had the Crowan holy symbol. Kneeling beside her brother the Crowan church called out to Colwyn, Brigit urging her brother to choose the Crowan faith. She could not bring herself to put the symbol over his head, but as her brother weakly reached for it Trevelyan helped him put it over his head and Colwyn tried to rise to his feet. Brigit tried to cleanse him but he stepped out of her circle as she prayed to her Goddess and he stepped between his fighting spirits and embraced them both. They vanished and Colwyn turned to the adventurers – the whole thing was over, Colwyn was Crowan and the hold of the Abrowan church had been lessened in the area.
Returning to Nelfarig they informed the Baron of what they had found and were urged not to disclose the meeting with the shipwrights to the general population. But Brigit, exhausted from her journey and the emotional anguish of losing and finding Colwyn yet again, found it hard to properly celebrate her brother’s new faith, and so she retired to Newcroft without delay.
All that remains is to use the knowledge found about Kyra and Niels to find them and remove that threat from Berwickshire once and for all.