On the heels of the harvest, autumn has come to the Duchy and lives have returned to their own preoccupied rhythm. But, in the wake of the Battle of the Rowanwood and the decimation of the Korell Militia, the Baron has work for those skilled enough to do it. And so the heroes of Ithron once more set out to face danger in the wilds of the county.
Monster Mission: Holding the thin red line
With his militia spread thin, the Baron sends a representative to meet with adventurers to investigate reports of vast numbers of undead roaming his lands. Likely remnants from the dark elf invasion, he has sent a couple of companies of his own men into the area to no reports. The adventurers were to investigate, resolve if possible and report back – all in the name of militia duty.
The adventurers who signed up to this task were:
- Luther and Finn of the Scouts Guild;
- Aaron of the Mercenaries Guild;
- Hitoshi Masume of the Guild of Blacksmiths;
- Hector Price and Peterkin of the Guild of Physicians;
- Mistress Mara Brack-on-Hill of the School of Demonology; Maximillian Thorne of the School of Demonology; Jurgen Einarsson and Allister Rothe of the Guild of Mages;
- Tomas DeVaughn, feudal vassal;
Setting out from their hiring square it took the adventurers a day to reach the area of the first known camp. On the road they met a collection of people travelling the other way with disturbing news. The lands south of Lake Kelther had undead, but nothing northwards; baronetcies were being attacked but only the nobility, the villagers themselves being ignored. One man was convinced it was something to do with wearing the heraldry and he gave the Celther militia man a wide berth. Concerned our heroes pressed on, to be ambushed by feyunds, before arriving at the Korell camp. The sergeant and the quartermaster were glad to see them, having had no reinforcements in the last few days and a growing number of undead attacks that were relentless throughout the past few nights. The adventurers remained at the camp until night fell and witnessed it for themselves – first a few, then more and more until it was a flood with a deathknight in old heraldry commanding the engagement. Once these were destroyed the remainder of the night passed quietly until dawn broke and the quartermaster arranged for repairs to their armour before sending them on their way. Some supplies had left the camp for a forward post several days ago but had not returned – maybe our heroes could look into that?
Climbing up the ridge they found the supplies tumbled in a bag beside a dead militia man whose body and companions were providing good feeding for some feyunds and a ghast. Fighting these monsters off the party retrieved the supplies and pressed onwards. They encountered a militia man who had fled the forward camp, rattled by the events of the Battle of the Rowanwood and the near constant attacks by the undead at his posting. He refused to return with them, so the adventurers continued on, attacking a pack of undead from behind as the shuffled towards the camp, and storming out of the woodland to the relief of a wounded militia man fighting off two undead monsters alone.
It was clear things were in a bad way here – the attacks were near constant, the militia man was badly wounded and nothing could be done to save her leg, and the lack of supplies had tested them sorely. After patching themselves up they heard her report and left the supplies with her, Hector Price promising to get her back to a proper physician and rest soon. A Korell scout had found a possible source of the undead some way off into the woodland, but had been unable to investigate – so off our heroes went into the undergrowth.
They found a man in Vortigen heraldry talking to a deathknight in the heraldry they had seen earlier, issuing instructions to the undead that were in the process of digging up the graves at the burial mound. Surprised by the arrival of the adventurers, the noble cowered before the deathknight and pretended to be a victim of some vile sorcery, but the adventurers were unconvinced by his act and after destroying his allies they turned their attentions to him. Given the opportunity to quietly come clean as to his activities he tried to weasel his way out of it, but he did not get far. Frozen and knocked unconscious, some letters were recovered from his person for future investigation and he was dragged back to town to stop him causing more mischief.
What as this scion of the Vortigen House up to? Only time can tell …
Player Mission: Pain and a mission of peace
A young nobleman of the Vintner family has received a request for peace talks from the dark elves that have been living on his lands. During the recent elven war he was ordered not to interfere with the actions of the dark elves, leading to the slaughter of an elven village on his lands. But he has received an invitation to meet with the Matriach to discuss an accord to quell any future fighting between their peoples, and the lordling has decided it might be worth a try. Summoning adventurers to act as escort, their journey into the woods would hopefully bring about a stable future for his people.
The adventurers who set out upon this task were:
- Aidan of Prudha’s Ridge of the Scouts Guild;
- Aiden Lockwood of the Mercenaries Guild;
- Red Kent of the Guards;
- Master Guy Lockless of the Guild of Blacksmiths;
- Sir Ectar de Vymont of the Black Order; Lady-Knight Judith Tirel, feudal vassal;
- Chaplain Robert Eddlemann of the Templar Order and High Father Thomas de Vymont of Sidhe; Mother Evelyn of Vleybor; Sister Isabelle of Tralda; Father Finwe of Longstor;
Travelling out on the road towards the meeting place the adventurers surprised the militia on duty with the appearance of their Lord. They were unaware of his intentions to make the journey and a little nervous, warning that the dark elves had been seen lurking in the woods. They encountered a group of dark elves stalking them who seemed relatively peaceable, though they did try to attack the party and some were slain. Another group barred their way, with some revealed to be Bequifisian, and a fractious infighting was soon revealed between those who wanted peace and those who did not.
At the village Judith urged the young lord to speak to his people, to show them that he had their best wishes at heart and to help him be ‘seen’ by his people after he had demanded to be permitted to enter the village at their head as if he led the company. This had been part of the agreed escort, and Judith and Sir Ectar begrudgingly permitted the noble’s whim but only if they flanked him closely in case some meant him harm.
After they left the village a member of the Vintner men-at-arms caught up with the company and asked to speak with Judith privately. Whilst they spoke on a concerning matter, confirming the general assumption that the meeting was a trap, the adventurers surprised a group of dark elves and the young nobleman was wounded and poisoned. Having failed in her protection duty Judith found a purge and Finwe patched him up, conducting an examination of the boy in the process. The information passed to them by the household guard confirmed, Judith broke the news to Sir Ectar – the boy was a half-elf, a human-dark elf hybrid. Unaware of his heritage, Judith did not think it wise to tell the nobleman what they had learned, but that the two knight and Father of Longstor would keep the information in mind should a trap be sprung.
They were met by a group of dark elves who were part of a different faction within the elven clan, who wished for peace and to be rid of the Bequifisian priestess who was their Matriarch. They warned that her mind was set on a long held vengeance and that her plan was soon to come to fruition, which set the knights’ teeth on edge as the jaws of the suspected trap came into view. The young noble listened to the adventurers’ advice and decided he would hear out what this other faction leader wished to speak of before making his final decision. Onwards and more Bequifisian dark elves crossed their paths and were cut down, before they arrived at the meeting point and met the central core of the clan.
The Matriarch, dressed in red robes, demanded to see the nobleman who had come for the meeting but was stunned as the young man stepped forward. She called out to her followers to stop, to not attack the boy, but her Goddess reached down and excommed her. In her agony and confusion one of her clan stabbed her and the balance of power reshuffled. The adventurers were confused at the swiftness of events and a little rattled Judith, Finwe and the lordling turned to the young woman claiming leadership of the clan in light of her mother’s death and began negotiations. They eventually came to an agreement with the two current leaders of the council – Finwe acting as translator at times, Judith acting as an intermediary between the two parties and counselling both in the terms discussed; but eventually they realised that both sides of the agreement were happy with how things stood and shook on the matter.
However, things nearly came undone with Judith realised that the Bequifisian priestess and one of her acolytes were still alive under the care of Mother Evelyn – whom Red Kent was vexing as he kept trying to poison and kill both heretics. She pleased for Judith to help her resolve the matter, Lockwood having already tried, but Judith was unable to give her the answer she wanted to hear. Trying her best to do her Goddess’s work Evelyn pleaded for the lives of the dark elves to be spared, but with the old Matriarch alive the peace accord would not be viable and the clan would tear itself apart between their allegiances to the two Matriarchs – the old and the new. The matter was suddenly settled when the dark elf Necromancer, having tried to explain the situation to the priestess, cast her away in fear and Judith and Lockwood went after her to stop any harm from coming to her. It is likely that the two dark elves were killed as soon as the Vleyborian was sent away, but the corpse of the Matriarch was brought back with them to examine why a rite of Lay to Rest did not work on her. Heartbroken Evelyn did not agree with what had been done, but Judith tried to explain that it was probably the only way and that more lives would be saved by avoiding dark elf aggression through the deaths of those two priestesses.
The young lord was returned to his manor with a bandaged stab wound and a peaceful accord to be discussed again next autumn so that humans would not forget the agreements made. And Judith was happy to have another round of escort duty completed.
But there is a dark secret she now holds for the young lord and the new matriarch of the dark elves – twin half elves born of a tryst between the old Baronet Vintner and the dead priestess who had been plotting vengeance all these years. One raised a noble, one raised a dark elf; both unknowing, both in positions of power within the land.