The Baronetcy of Wark is to the north of the great west road betwixt Newcroft and Carlech, the only crossing of the North Thane for miles around. Split between three hamlets the baronetcy controls this crossing point and much trade within the region, but with the death of the previous baronet the lands are at risk. The Thane has sent several candidates into the area to prove their worth, and has called for adventurers to lend their aid in deciding the matter.
Travelling out of Newcroft, the adventurers who answered the summons of the Thane were:
- Nancy Ivers of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry; Athryn Vinyar of the Mercenaries Guild;
- Tobias Penwood of the Guild of Alchemists;
- Dame Ellen Ivers of the Knightly Templar Order; Judith Tirel, Feudal Vassal;
- Father Robert Eddlemann of Sidhe;
On the road they met a trio of local men who were talking about the three nobles who were hoping to become the new Baronet of Wark. Idle banter, but it was clear that each man had his favourite, and whilst Arthyn went to speak with the elf who appeared out of the woods, the others listened to the tales of the nobles’ “great” deeds. Continuing on to the crossroads and the bridge they were met by the Thane’s attaché Calcius Regular. Introducing them to the three candidates he told them of the Thane’s wish – that they travel to the three hamlets where the candidates had done their great deeds and judge the worthiness of them and the outcome.
First they travelled to Lower Wark, a hamlet that had been beset by ogre magi and foulspawn, which the Alchemist Gregory Ordely was sent to save. His hope of securing the baronetcy to care for his family and to begin his noble line. He boasted of killing ten ogre magi single handedly! The adventurers were waylaid by a group of bandits who, eventually, told them of their misfortunes. Their land bought from them by Ordely and them being turfed out from their homes. Unhappy at this misuse of the people, Judith was concerned for what they would see. The villagers in Lower Wark told more of the tale, of how Mr Ordely swept through the village with his men and fought off a number of local foulspawn and went off to fight the ogre magi. His men came back battered and bruised, but Mr Ordely had not a scratch, having “fought off” ten ogre magi and was victorious! The truth however was not quite so grand, as the adventurers found a group of foulspawn gnawing on the corpse of an ogre, and an ogre magi investigated the death of its own kind. Talking about how it intended to settle in the area and make a place for its brethren, boasting of the evils magics it had done and the people it had killed. The adventurers, concerned at the threat that such a creature presented, leapt upon it and its allies to finish the job.
Returning to the crossroads they continued on to High Wark, where Lord Commodus Farron had sought out a rogue witch and corruption that was believed to be in the village. The local healer, a man called Ben, had been caught and burned for his sins and the Lord had considered the matter at an end. Alas, all was not so. Travelling along the road the adventurers were ambushed by undead that seemed to crawl out of the earth. Fending them off they came at last to the village where a pair of villagers were trying to build a rough thicket wall as defence against the horrors of the night. They told the story of Ben their healer, who in their eyes had done no wrong by them, who had been plucked up in the night and burned alive by the Lord and his men. But in the days that followed there came the restless dead who had besieged the village, led by one with glowing red eyes. Leaving them to their work, the adventurers came to the village square and read the papers posted on the notice board, and attempted to lay the soul of Ben to rest. But the soul was already gone. Perhaps more answers could be found amongst his belongings … Heading out of the village the company hoped to cross paths with the militaman left behind as a guard, but found only a corpse outside the emptied hut. Concerned that more was afoot the adventurers tried to press on, taking up some of the militaman’s equipment to arm themselves, agreeing if there was a wraith about then they would beat a retreat and return another day to render it all undone. And lo and behold there was a wraith, and the company were pushed back through the village and out to the other side.
As they headed back towards the crossroads they were met by a villager who came with a warning, who they in turn warned about the undead in High Wark. Pressing onto their final village, they crossed the river and met a pair of villagers who were concerned about the troubles they were having. Some strange rat-like creatures had invaded the shrine, which Sir Lascelle Hightower the Griffin Knight had bravely fought off with his men. The shrine cleared, Sir Lascelle arranged for a group of Kharachians to tend to the shrine. But within days they had begun to behave strangely, taking one of the villagers who had ventured near the shrine and becoming more aggressive. Pressing on they found the bodies of the Roden, and a group of Kharachians who threatened them. It seems they had been granted a vision and they believed their Lord required more souls. And in their own defence the adventurers granted them their desire. After finding a scroll with instructions from their Lord, the adventurers picked their way through the traps and defences designed to test the supplicant to the shrine. Crawling as a penitent sinner, averting their gaze from Lord Kharach, triggering a wounding trap within a tunnel and voicing the commands of the God in regards to the demons and undeath Judith, Ivers, Nancy and Arthyn hurried on towards the shrine. After fighting off two more of the faithful, they heard the sound of a scream. The Kharachian had sacrificed the villager! The adventurers were not having this! Dashing to his aid they fought off the murderous Kharachian and dragged the bleeding body away from the shrine before bandaging him. After paying her respects, Judith spoke with the lad to learn of the truth of Sir Lascelle’s claims whilst Nancy was granted insight into the vision of the Kharachians, before they returned back towards the bridge.
Speaking to the nobles, they were each offered the chance to justify the state they had left their quests in. Sir Lascelle was shocked at the truth behind the villagers complaints of the Kharachians he had left there, whilst Lord Farron immediately expressed his horror and vowed to deal with the problem. Seeing these reactions, Father Eddleman decided that Lord Farron was the best choice of the three. Stunned, Sir Lascelle expressed his disgust at the decision. Dishonoured and shamed he could not return to his wife and daughter as he was, and so he demanded a duel to expunge the dishonour – a duel to the death. Judith refused, thinking such a thing extreme, but Dame Ivers agreed and beat the Griffin Knight. His honour restored, the matter was settled, though Nancy dragged her wife aside for a stern word!