Crusader Days and Knights

October 11, 2015
In the Beginning, Part 1: The Gathering Storm

In the Spring of 1192, Richard the Lionhearted made a call for all of those who were worthy to fight against the infidels in the Holy Land.

The Baron of Aquitaine, Robert DeVeraux, was named as the head of people gathering in Glastonbury – despite his noble status, his personal ties to Richard himself placed him in charge of this contingent. The sleepy village quickly grew to immense size as people from all over gather to board on ships in the upcoming week and sail off for the Crusader States.

Once the various campgrounds grew to immense size, a large party was held in celebration for the beginning of their journey. Robert thanks the abbey, as well as the mayor of Glastonbury. Then he lays down the few rules for the night – no fighting and behave chivalrously. In the meantime, the King had sent a gift of wine and spirits for all participants to enjoy, though the group will only receive the first half of the gift tonight, and the second half at a later time. On that note, he signaled the festivities to begin.

Everybody, even the children, began to enjoy the fine food and wine available. Even the servants managed to partake here and there as they served, including a young child named Sebastian – who ended up having a little too much and abandoned his job serving the party to instead indulge with some wine in a barn.

A beansprout of a young man, Finn, enjoyed very little drink, instead focusing on talking about the Lord to anybody and everybody that he could. Finding that the people there were more interested in Bacchus than Jesus at the moment, Finn instead went back to the abbey to focus on prayer.

Peter, rumored to be a representative of the Kingdom of Prester John, quickly became a favorite as soon as he arrived, finding himself in the center of the party with Robert himself. He regales everyone with tales, and receives great gifts in return. The papal representative eventually takes Peter aside and suggests that the two of them find some women – after Peter’s initial refusal, the representative clarified that they are to be with the women that he had personally brought, in which Peter accepted.

The knight’s table becomes extremely rowdy after partaking in a lot of drink, with a knight named Stefan in the middle of it. He suggests to another couple of knights, Adrien and Gideon, that they should check out the papal wagon to see what kind of items a man of important status would bring. As the group approaches the wagon, they see the papal representative and Peter go into the wagon, then various suggestive noises follow after that. Stefan, ever the troublemaker, suggests that they go up there and try to get admission so they too can enjoy some time with the ladies inside – when he does, the guards refuse him, but were nice enough to give the young knights a wineskin. They decide to head back to the knight’s campsite and continue the party there.

While the cooks did spend some amount of their night preparing the meals, they were surprised that they did not actually have to serve themselves, and in fact, had people serve them as well. One cook, Luc-Phillipe, was enjoying his meal quite well when he noticed a bunch of clouds emerging in the distance. Sensing that there was going to be a huge storm coming, he let the nobles know before retiring to a barn himself.

A huge storm sets itself on the town, bent on destroying anything not tied down to the ground. The knights have a hard time with their encampment outside, and they eventually gather their horses and head for more stable shelter for them.

Finn is also having a hard time with his own encampment in the Abbey gravesite. As he heads for shelter, he sees several lightning strikes and a strange assortment of black runes that are seemingly taking energy from them. As the lighting becomes worse, Finn instead rushes for a barn – while the people inside initially state that there is no room, Luc generally offers a spot next to him for rest that night. The storm continued for the rest of the night, and ended with one final thunderous clap before settling down.

Adrien wakes up the next morning and notices that there are way less trees than there were the night before, with the river being double the width than it was. Adrien slaps Gideon across the face to wake him up, then kicks Stefan, saying that all of this was his fault. Gideon looks at the area and notices the same thing,with the addition that the roads too, eventually lead to nowhere since the path disappears a quarter mile out.

Gideon rushes to the abbey to tell people about what had happened the night before. While the servant initially denied Gideon a meeting with the abbot, seeing how much the land has changed prompted the servant to go and wake the Abbot himself. The Abbot was shocked by the news, and began to wonder if maybe God has greater plans for them.

Finn and Peter both wake up around the same time with a major headache. The abbot calls both of them for a meeting to discuss possible courses of action. Finn relays what he had seen the night before, and the abbot becomes even more worried, in case there was some interference from the devil. Peter suggests that they should learn where they are – maybe send some scouts, and have a ship worker examine the sky. A shipman comes in to the abbey a short while later, saying that not only the ships are missing, but so is the rest of Plymouth.

It didn’t take long after that meeting for a rumor to spread, saying that the Devil has stalled the campaign.

Baron Robert comes out of the barn that he was staying in, and began to bark orders. He set up a bunch of scouting parties to figure out where they are, in which they quickly learn that it is as if the town was lifted and moved somewhere else. Anything outside of a quarter mile radius of the town had vanished, including many of the party members of the second crusade. There are no signs of other civilization around, except they did notice strange cattle-like beasts three miles out.

Curious about the beasts, Sebastian leads some other curious kids into the fields to check them out. Instead, they manage to find themselves face to face with a very large, scaled creature. All of the other children ran away screaming in one direction, while Sebastian quietly sneaked off in the other direction. And as he shuffled away, he heard their screams die off one by one. Eventually he made his way back to the village and regaled them all with tales of a “50 foot dragon” out in the tall grasses.

Several scouting parties are sent out to investigate the creature, and slay it for the village’s safety. It didn’t take them long to find the body of one of the children, which was completely ravaged by the creature. The body was sent back to the village for burial, while the others in the party are questioning how “big” this creature actually is – while large, it is not 50 feet, as original claims had said.

On his search, Luc finds a ford and a huge clearing where the cattle-like animals were. He looks at the dung and fur, realizing that this is an animal that he has never encountered before. He then makes his way back to the knights, and after seeing that they weren’t paying attention, he hits one of them in the head with a rock. He lets them know about the cattle heard, though the knights had their heart set on finding the lizard instead.

They lead Luc back to the site of the child’s body for him to investigate. He is impressed by the footprints that he found, as well as the blood trail that came from one of the dead children, at least he assumes. He leads them further into the grass, and as he brushes the grass aside, he comes face to face with the large creature. It hisses at him and starts moving in his direction, until he sees that there are a horde of people behind him and it turns the other way.

As Luc flees towards the knights, Adrien darts towards the creature, with Gideon and Sebastian following behind. The creature suddenly disappears, and the other two begin to look around to see where it went. The creature suddenly jumped out of the grass and bit a huge chunk out of Gideon’s horse. While Gideon manages to slide off just fine, Sebastian ends up flying off and landing face first on the ground. Adrien swings at the large lizard and it misses, while Gideon manages to damage its leg extremely badly before it fled. The other knights begin to chase after it as well, though they quickly lose sight of the large lizard, and due to the sheer number of horses on the ground everywhere, it covered the creature’s blood trail so well that Luc could not keep track of it either.

Meanwhile, Peter rose to great importance in the village due to his sheer charisma alone. People began to wonder if he had ever been in the situation before, in which he lets everyone know that while he has not personally been in it, the Kingdom of Prester John is both wide and wild. The knights come back to the town to make a report on the creature, in which it was decided that there will be watches both day and night, both on the walls and in the barns.

Peter also began to become worried about the farming situation in the area – while it was spring, which was good, they lost a lot of farmers and farm cattle, which makes planting difficult. He tells Finn to begin preaching about the glories of hard work and labor to the townsfolk, including the nobles and knights. While some are unhappy about the situation, the abbot himself is extremely happy that he has quite the adviser.

A couple weeks later, the creature attempts to go into one of the barns, sickening everybody inside with a weird gas from its breath. Adrien manages to do some damage to it, but gets bit and thrown unconscious by the creature. The crossbowman that was in the barn does get a couple hits into it as well before the creature deems it too dangerous for its survival and runs away. The creature was found a week later during a scouting patrol, completely dead with its head chopped cleanly off. The scouts examined the area and determined that it was killed by people – there were boot tracks in the area, as well as a type of large dog. The good meat and skin from the creature was picked completely clean, which came to a disappointment for many in the group.

A few weeks after that incident, farmers were killed and oxen were stolen by some men. Reserves were able to spot them in the distance. Adrien chases after them, along with Gideon and two other men. Arrows flew from the men, and one of them hit a horse that Sebastian was on, who was helping out a knight at the time. Sebastian went flying in the air and fell into the rocky soil below. Although he took some damage from the fall, he went running for the village to warn everyone about what was happening in the fields.

Adrien and Gideon fight a rough and valiant battle – while one of their comrades did fall, and Adrien did find himself knocked unconscious again, they ended up in better shape then their assailants, who all ended up dead, save one who was also unconscious. Gideon tends to Adrien and applies first aid to him, waking him up. They finally have time to actually look at their assailants, who appear to be chunky guys with large jaws, covered in leather armor. While their bows are nice, they have cheap scimitars, as well as stone daggers that they assumed was for slicing the throat of their enemies. Adrien takes one of them as a prize, and then turn to the unconscious one.

They decide it is probably better to keep the unconscious one alive for some questioning. Tying him up, they carried him and his equipment back to the town.

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Gideon's Letters Home
#1

To my Stepfather and my Lady Mother, Duke and Duchess of Lancaster, and to my beloved sisters, the ladies Rebecca and Anya, I send you my love and warmest regards.

I fear that this letter may never reach you, given what has befallen the crusaders who’d gathered at the abbey, awaiting ships that were to have carried this noble assembly to the Holy Lands. Weeks ago there was a fierce storm that in God’s most infinite wisdom has blown us from England and left us lost in a strange and savage land.

Monsters roam these lands and we’ve had to battle one of the infernal creatures after it slew several children who’d been playing outside the abbey’s walls. We call it a dragon, but it doesn’t seems as fierce as the beast that St George had to face, not being flighted or processing of the ability to breath fire, praise be to God. It does emit a most foul gas, and those caught in the effects are often hard pressed to defend themselves.

Stefan and I faced the beast, but worry not my dearest mother and sisters, we were unharmed, due in no small part to the skill that you passed on to us stepfather. We have had to maintain watch over the horses and the livestock, since the vile beast had acquired a taste for horseflesh. Cisco was injured during our first encounter with the dragon, but we have since seen the beast brought low. We still remain vigilant should another of these dragons try for our steeds.

The last few weeks have been difficult as we are short on manpower. I’ve been helping the local farmers with planting the crops, and I have gained new respect for the work that they do on a daily basis. It’s harder than it looked from within the walls of Castle Lancaster, but Andros, Ilyan and Elena have been patient with me. It’s funny how much Elena reminds me of you Anya, though with her red gold hair and green eyes, she looks nothing like you, and is in fact rather shy, though she has warmed up to me a little. But there’s a sweetness to her that reminds me of you. When she sings, I feel like anything is possible, and it gives me hope that we will be reunited in this life rather than in the next.

I can write no more tonight, but God keep you all safe.
Your most loving son,
Gideon DeVanderies

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Glastonbury Council and an intriguing discovery.
In the beginning, part 2: Councils and Miracles

“ No one knew him but to love him,
No one named him but to praise.”

“ ‘Tis only noble to be good;
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.”

A warm spring haze fills the small village of Glastonbury. Her location known to none of her lost residents in this New World. It has been dry, very dry in fact. It hasn’t rained in weeks and one third of her people have become affected by the diarrhea. The odd village bustles with activity. It seems none of her villagers can escape the labors brought about by divine or perhaps devilish intervention.

Knights and Knight Errands are forced to survive by plowing and driving their beasts of war into beasts of burden.

Friars, priests, and monks have been sowing seeds frantically to catch up to what all have conceded to be “spring”. Bakers have been managing the fires constantly and the young have been helping in the kitchens to prepare and preserve food for winter in these lands could be harsh and might come sooner than anticipated.

All are preparing for a hard life in a strange and foreign land. All doing so on lowered rations. The quiet in the town brought on not by peace but by exhaustion tinged with fear and an underlying dread of what strange terrors might be lurking out there…
We turn now to the doors of an abbey. And to a meeting inside its walls. A meeting of Glastonbury’s best thinkers and doers. In attendance we find Robert Devaroux, Abbot William of St. Vigor, Charles de Maubrey, Addy Raimbencourt and his assistant Flavian, the young Fin McCloud, and others.

The Council at the Abbey

It is widely agreed now from pontiff to scholar to men of the range that it is mid May. It is noted that several of the villages best and brightest were not present at this meeting and were in fact in field directing some of the projects that required direct supervision. Others of less constitutional prowess were in recovery due to the illness which had beset itself upon Glastonbury.
We join the meeting underway as Robert is summarizing the great efforts made to plow and sow, preserve and sew, construct and dig, indeed all the laborious as everyone was put to task.

Scouts are taxed with exploring and hunting, gathering, in shifts from pre-dawn till dusk and called in from the wilds in fear of being lost to the Monsters of this ….place

Every hand has been calloused, blistered, or numbed…quite simply worked to the bone. All are exhausted from the collective efforts. Nobility might now come to be defined as, having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals, rather than belonging to a hereditary class of aristocracy.

There is a water contingency. It hasn’t rained in weeks. The water table is low here on the plains. And when wells are dug and water is drawn up it is murky and silty. It is difficult to get water from the river all the way to the farms and dangerous to do so because of what may lurk in hiding between the village and the river.

Peter Bakerson, Glastonbury’s mayor, is convinced that rain will come. He has faith that the Lord God will provide for them all if they are all faithful and respectful of God’s laws.
Food stores are running low. Every man woman and child have been put on low rations.

The knights and monks have been tasked with doling out fair rations to every villager.
The scouts have found little in the way of small game, Flavian surmises that it is possibly due to the dragon consuming all the small game in the area.

Scouts have yet to find a source for hard woods and little in the way of soft is available…though plenty of drift wood from the river indicates that there is definitely some to the North…but how far is not known…

The Smithy is idle. Not only supplies of combustibles are low, but ore, copper, and other heavy metals are nearly exhausted.

Bakery has been producing hard ration bread. The efforts have been great, reducing further the supplies of soft wood quickly.

Winter on the way – dung has worked for warming ovens and boiling water but the stench!!!
The moat project is put on hold. The labor has been redirected to baking of breads, sowing, hunting and gathering.

Baroness Alice St. George enters the council room and declares there is not enough material for new fall fashionable clothing. Though the counsel laughs, this could have long term problems for the village indeed, winter is coming…

Charles suggests that the people abandon Glastonbury and move where resources might be more easily retrieved but Lord Robert, Abbot William, and Peter Bakerson all protest against losing the resources provided by the village, the freshly plowed fields, and the partly completed Abbey.

Addy Raimbencourt and Flavian suggest putting efforts into Prospecting for resources.
The council decides to move on as an impasse between lords and scholars have become somewhat impassioned by this subject.

Next on the council agenda is to be discussed the fate of the captured aboriginal. Gideon and Adrian are of course officially praised by the Council and hailed as heroes.

During this harangue the captured primitive is brought in, in an unconscious state. He is still clad in heavy poorly tanned and assembled leather. No cloth whatsoever is upon his person. He is heavily muscled, with a heavy brow and strong Jaw. His stature is stout and broad. Truly a magnificently powerful creature this must be.

Bound firmly at the wrists with rope tethered to the ankles he comes round and immediately begins to struggle, its biceps and forearm muscles bulging in strained attempts to break free its bondage.

Its belongings and weapons are examined. An oddly furbished bone and sinew bow of very high poundage. A flimsy primitive curved blade is scoffed at, demonstrating that it is not much better than tin.

The suggestion is made to learn how to communicate with the man-like creature. Quickly agreed upon, the scholars set to it.

During the council meeting Fin is startled by Crazy Agnes the local “crazy cat lady”. Though she has been well respected in the past for her age, relative wisdom, and her knowledge of midwifery, many believe she might be a witch. She tells him and the council that he is destined for greatness and she nearly convinces the counsel of such premonitions.

Meanwhile…
Stefan visits Gideon and professes his love for the lady Roselyn

Adrien Dubois in dire condition after the battle with the aboriginals.

Luc with LeBlanc, Stefan, and several knights are tracking the aboriginal that made its escape. Luc finds tracks of a pack of very large “wolves”. It has become apparent that these primitive creatures are riding on the backs of some sort of wild large wolf like canine. The set off to track the great wolves. They are lead toward the river. And though it is difficult to stay in pursuit. Luc firmly believes these creatures to be intelligent as to have such acumen to throw its pursuers off their path.

The Tracks led the party toward a herd of beastly bovidious mammals. The cleverness of these creatures is confirmed by their deliberate plan to lead its pursuers directly into the herd. As Luc moved closer to the shaggy maned beasts. They became aggressive, posturing to charge at the young scout. Snorting, and lowering their curve horned massive heads was enough to force the party to give them wide berth and the group was forced to move around the mass of hulking unshorn beasts.

This lead to the loss of pursuit of the aboriginal creature and its pack of great wolves. The herd of “bison” left behind a wounded herd member. It had been wounded by the passing wolves. A welcomed feast for the village to be sure. The knights and scouts cleaned and collected the offal, meat, and hide and made journey back to Glastonbury

Fin has been spending more time with Crazy Agnes. He finds that a monk seems to be keeping watch, and taking notes about the feared woman.

Adrian Dubois’ condition has worsened. His fever and infected wound are not responding to treatment. It is learned that the infection came from getting hit with a native sword that had feces on it.

Prester peter discovers that Skag- the captured aboriginal, is speaking a very broken form of Arabic.

Fin has been witnessing nothing short of delusional witchcraft or divine power represented by a shimmery glow around certain people of the village. He keeps this information to himself…for now.

Two political views have begun to arise in Glasonbury. The opposing views of Charles de Maubrey and his wishes to pursue and destroy the enemies of God, and all evil; and that of Robert Deveroux, who’s plan is the steadfast and firm rooting of which they have already begun to establish. Lord Robert desires to stay put and continue what they have begun. Having faith that The Almighty will provide for them if they are devout enough and forward thinking enough, making preparation of food, sundries, and shelter for the winter.
Fin has become very concerned with the health of Dubois. He enquires with Agnes for advice, who knows for certain that it is time for action!

McCloud decides to ask the individual with the strongest glow (actually a halo!!), Brother Robert to pray over Dubois, but Brother Robert is already at the Abbey.

Brother Robert locks himself inside while Fin remains outside the chambers and prays throughout the evening on bent knee. A youthful bearded man appears before the young Fin. Walking toward him with palms up and displayed for him to see the signs of Stigmata. Fin takes this to be a herald of the Divine Maker. He who seems to be Yeshua asks Fin if he can pass. Fin bows low and allows the Holy Ghost to enter into Dubois chamber. The igniis fatuus passes through the door as if it wasn’t even there.

Fin awakes in the morning to a healthy Dubois opening the door. Brother Robert is asleep in the room. Adrian is famished and wishes to eat. They head to the kitchens/mess hall. All present are taken aback and begin to rave that Dubois has made a miraculous recovery.
Meanwhile Brother Robert is floating in midair, out the window in some dreamlike state. He is hauled down and woken by a slap from….

The abbot “asks” fin to NOT tell Prester Peter about this event…though word has spread through the village like fire through a dry grassy field on a blustery day.

Brother Robert also prayed for rain…and a mighty rain fell on the second night.

A decision by the council is made regarding staying in Glastonbury. A contingent is called to assemble.

Membership of the contingent consist of the young prospector Flavien, a cartographer, several scouts including Luc-Philipe, the aspiring Scot priest Fin McCloud, several crossbowman and a small Knight escort led by Andre Leblanc and Stefan Alvaraz. It was agreed to the best of their scholarly knowledge, to head North.

After travelling much of the day they came across a cold assumedly spring-fed river. They followed its banks further north into the beginnings of a valley. A forest of new growth was an inspiration as it lead to older and older trees.

They were now approximately 15 miles from Glastonbury and planning to set up camp somewhere soon.

The group came across the ruins of what appeared to be a castle on a hill across the river.
It was here in this valley they found the leftover campsite of some nomadic hunter gatherers…fire pits etc.

The consensus was to explore the ruins and find out if it might make a suitable and defensible place for encampment.

Scouting ahead, Luc learns that this is no castle but a well-built stone watch tower.

On the way up the valley hill a mummified body hung in their path from a wooden post. A warning perhaps? Who’s to know? By the grace of God…it’s been there for years mummified and bound in leather.

Fin seems to take a deeper notice, something others do not upon the body, and records on parchment notes in strange symbols.

The tower though once great, now lays in ruin noticeably destroyed by multiple sieges of stone battery and fire. It is estimated to be Perhaps 80-100 years old.

The masonry and metal hinging and fasteners are of the finest quality and craftsmanship Flavien has encountered and finer yet he guesses than anything he’s has learned about. Not even the slightest corrosion or rust touches any of the metal.

A few of the party are tasked to gather some of the metal and stone for further research in Glastonbury.

Camp is set up and the soldiers draw lots for watches.

Fin wakes and …and notices a Burning Man heading uphill toward the tower ruins. “To arms!” Battle ensues.

Andre laughing fights…Hit hard and goes down

Luc disappears into the wood folding into her protective darkness.

Swords seem to have no effect upon this hellish aberration. Though Luc’s well placed arrows cause it damage and seem to enrage it.

Stefan gathers the horses and tries to lead them over rubble down the hill to escape from the flaming terror.

Fin falls into the gorge of rocks and rubble …and disappears underground…

Falls into storage underground…

Luc tracks him down much later…

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The exploits of Luc and Finean

Luc found Fin scrabbling up from a hole in the earth and rubble. Reaching down to offer young Finean a forearm, he helps the ginger haired boy from the darkness. Fin has a dangerous looking head wound which Luc treats immediately with bandages and clean water.

After rummaging about Fin managed to recover what remained of his spear; a charred blackened speartip. His shield was in better shape, minor scuffs, scrapes, and nicks. Nothing a bit of planing couldn’t take care of.

Resolving to retreat the area Finean hears the low rumbling snarl of a large canine. He silently warns Fin and the two hesitate holding breath to surmise where the growl came from. Through the trees they can make out the very same stout and heavily muscled aboriginals that they have encountered before. They appear yet a bit smaller than Skag and others that were described to them.

Luc leads Finean downwind of the pack of beast riders. They move well through the thick brush quickly to escape the unwanted attention of the marauding hostiles. The Great Wolves have undoubtedly picked up the scent of Luc and Fin, but by the Grace of the Creator the riders seem to be focused on something else, driving the wolves up the hill toward the tower and more importantly away from the elusive pair.

Luc and Fin make a weighty agreement to quickly and quietly traverse the gelid river. When they break from the cover of the treeline they notice almost directly across from them stands on the riverbanks a troubling sight. Two persons, one tethered by chain. The latter holding tight his bonds.Luc hunkers down to observe the situation. The one stout and far heavier in build holds in one hand thick iron chains which are affixed to an iron collar clamped about the others long neck. He keeps an deliberate distance from the prisoner. The subjugated man towers over his captor. He is of dark features, and thin, and shys timidly along the riverbank. He walks with one peg leg, though seems well adjusted to his false appendage as walking across the rocky riverbank causes no impediment. The bright red tunic he is wearing is tattered and draped loosely over his gaunt frame.

The pack of beast mounted aboriginals breaks out of the tree line up river behind Luc and Finean. The two make a break for it rushing into the river chancing their encounter with the odd pair opposite them rather than standing ground against multiple mounted foes. Luc loses his balance as he dashes into the icy flow, diving into the strong current. He strongarms the water bearing down every stroke to catch up with Fin, who is already half way across. Luc fearing for Finean’s safety crashes on through the current.

The wild mounted inhuman brutes launched several volleys of crude arrows hissing by Luc while several arrows sprouted from Fin’s wooden shield. The boorish look upon the faces of the barbaric beast-men appeared aghast that they did not strike either target.

Finnean trudges icy and sopping from the swift current drawing his weapon. He finds himself facing a savage snarling beast who already has set upon him savagely gripping his curved blade. His off hand clutching tightly the chains of the restrained lanky red garbed man. Fin springs at the brute lunging with all he has but misses as it dodges aside. The bulky armed brute hefted it’s curved blade and slashed wildly at Fin tearing through his leather it’s edge finding flesh.

Luc came measuredly at the two engaged in their skirmish. He drew his hefty cleaver in a flash and advances on the beast-man to make his attack. Just then the gaunt captive drops his facade of timidity and wraps an arm around the beast and drags something very sharp across the beasties throat. To the monster’s horror his blood came showering out splattering both Fin and Luc. A confused look was upon his cloddish face as he dropped his blade and chains grasping at his wound attempting to hold in his sanguine fluid. Luc and Fin were taken aback by the sight and looked to their grim ally. The tall man urged them to make flight. Without hesitating the two broke for the bush of the new growth forest. Luc leading the way lead their pursuers astray and the two made their escape.

It was apparent to Luc that the 14 year old Finean needed to rest. The signs of exhaustion palpable. Luc doubled back to check on their pursuers and found that their tracks lead away turning toward new pray, the hoof tracks and footprints of the knights and their party.

After their brief respite Luc and Fin hiked their way through the underbrush southward toward Glastonbury. The two happened upon what might be a beast-men village.

Doubting the outcome of what could happen the two they try to quit the area as they heard “voices” rather close.

As they follow a trail away from the noise a beast-man steps in front of Luc but behind Fin. Fin rushes back to place himself in front of Luc naively thinking to protect the older more experienced fighter.
they dispatch it quickly and run again but Fin takes another wound. Things are looking bleak for the youth. A quick flight returning to the river jumping in they float away from any further dangers.

It is now late afternoon. Fin is in bad shape. Luc forces them to rest again.

Fin opens up to Luc and tells him of his visions and of a spirit he saw. He shows him the bag of bones and charges Luc to swear upon yeshua’s name to bury it if he doesn’t make it.

Back at it Luc discovers the trail of patrol….something about a termite mound?

A battle had been fought in the area…large group of beast-men did not fare well against the mounted knights and crossbowmen.

Heading back to Glastonbury and kept to riverbanks. Constantly pushing them, Luc again realizes Fin needs to rest. His injuries are taxing upon his stamina. They make camp for the night. Luc camouflages the camp and covers fin making him near impossible to discern and then he leaves Fin to run a quick patrol of the immediate area. He notices in the moonlight a small stone building near by. He stealthily observes it. After he is comfortable Luc moves in for closer inspection….

After his examination of the “building” Luc returns to Fin and dozes off waking before dawn. The two rise and make ther way back to the Fields surrounding Glastonbury.

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In the Beginning Part 3
In search of allies

By dawn, after escaping the burning man and his hell hounds, the survivors are exhausted, stumbling along barely able to walk. After losing our pursuers, the group tried to get some much needed rest. Gideon and Laurent were on watch, but as they were also exhausted and they fell asleep on watch. Charles de Mowbray kicks the young knight awake, muttering that there is something in the woods watching. Gideon, while trying to maintain watch, falls asleep again and is kicked awake by Laurent.

Scouts are sent out in an attempt to gain information on who the watchers are, how many of them there are, and what their intentions toward us are. The scouts return, some injured, reporting that the watchers are more like the captured Skag, and that they’re preparing to attack. Charles de Mowbray has a plan however, to defend the party against that attackers. The scouts on the forefront of the group, the Mercs just behind them, and the knights prepared to charge once the Mercs have taken their shots, focusing on the wolf riders, and anyone who seems to be a leader. The group is slowly retreating, the squires using the extra horses to trample the grass, preventing any of the attackers to sneak up on us, though the thick tall grass.

When the natives attack and the Mercs use their crossbows, taking down many of the attackers, but there are many more of them than of us, and they just keep coming, almost as if they’re determined to throw their lives away. When the knights make their attack, Gideon charges for the one he believes is the leader, hoping to take him out and protect his friends. He strikes his opponent in the head, but incredibly it manages to stay on it’s feet. After the charge, seven of the ten knights have come through and stay standing. After losing his lance, Gideon charges into the fray, fighting with his sword like a man possessed in defense of the scouts, who were in danger of being overrun.

Laurent also charged into the fray, throwing knives trying to take down the wolves being ridden by the creatures. He is badly hurt by the wolf he’d targeted. Charles de Mowbray went into a frenzy, and attacks, killing the leader’s wolf, and beheads the leader in single combat. Gideon ends up getting unhorsed, and is slightly wounded. Stefan attacks in his friend’s defense, just before he too is knocked from his horse by a wolf. He ends up unconscious, Gideon leapt in to try and rescue his friend. In a short, brutal fight, Gideon killed the wolf, saving Stefan.

Scouts are sent out again, and they quickly return with the news that there are two more large groups of these creatures headed this way. The party leaves immediately, making our way back to the Abbey. The sun has just started to set by the time we arrive safely back home, after a long day for forced marching.

Skag reveals that his people are called Orcs and that they are fighting a war against invaders, whom he names Elves from the hills to the north. He also reveals that storms have brought other strangers, people that are like us, in their wake. If the Orcs have no use for these people, they are killed.

Luc and Fin have also returned, bearing tales about the Elves, who can do magic, but who have been all but wiped out by the Orcs.. Luc also tells of a strange place, filled with booby traps. He also mentions an Elf who managed to sneak up on one of the Orcs and slit the creature’s throat, before indicating that the two men should depart. Upon his return, Fin begins to spend more time with the village midwife, an elderly woman known as Crazy Agnes, rumored to be a witch. Unbeknownst to the rest of us, Agnes gives young Content Not Found: null small wine skins filled with a strange liquid.

Prester Peter suggests that a small group be sent to seek out the Elves in hopes of forming an alliance with them. Much to his dismay, Prester Peter is selected to accompany Gideon, Sebastian, Fin and Luc. The small force sets out the following morning Luc leads them back to the strange booby trapped building Closer examination reveals that the traps do not seem to be set up to keep people out, but rather to keep something in.

Luc leads the group on, taking care to avoid the village he’d seen earlier. As the journey continues, we begin to encounter more and more groups of Orcs, and we’re hard pressed to avoid them. We find the remains of a 6’6" body at what we believe to be the border between the Orc held lands and that of these Elves.

Luc and Sebastian are on a scouting mission when they are captured by an Elven patrol. Bound and blindfolded, the two young men are carried to the Elven encampment. The others have started to worry when Luc and Sebastian do not return on time. Shortly afterwards, the Elves come and take the rest of us to their encampment. After some discussion, we are taken to another fortress in the hills. We end up being taken before Ikeshia Queen of the Elves, an incredibly beautiful woman despite the scars on her face and body.

All elves wield magic to some degree and their fortresses and cities are overflowing with beautiful and ornate building and items. The elves test the humans, finding them wanting in the realm of magic but are surprised to discover that the humans, through constant practice and greater physical strength, can match the elves in combat. Gideon even dueled with an elven swordsman and beat him although the opponents were evenly matched. Prester Peter did his best to negotiate with the queen but she was contemptuous of the humans, feeling they would be outmatched and overwhelmed by the Orc numbers. Prester Peter also discovered that the Elves have their own religion but that did not seem to bother him very much.

Elves ride Rathorns in combat and are contemptuous of horses. Ikeshia eventually gathered the humans to her and explained what she had decided to do. She had ordered an Orc to be captured and told that the Elves have a new ally, the humans of Glastonbury. The Orcs will predictably create an army to wipe out the humans. If the humans survive the attack the Elves will consider them worthy of becoming Elven allies.

A few Elves joined the humans as they returned to Glastonbury, apparently against the will of their Queen. The battle will be soon and many preparations need to be made before then.

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In the Beginning, Part 4
Attacked from within and without

The party, along with the small group of elves, returned to Glastonbury with the news regarding the Orcs and the Elves.

The elves stopped dead in their tracks once they entered the village, their eyes settling on Skag in front of them. Prester Peter asks them if there’s actually anything special about this guy, since he did claim that he was a prince. The elves tell him that they’ll decide that after the orc is dead, and drew their bows and killed him. Afterward they decided that he was an ordinary Orc.

Peter then calls a council on the immediate leadership, relaying the news. The leaders are a little freaked out, especially since they weren’t quite done with questioning Skag yet. Peter reminds them that the elves’ assistance in the upcoming fight will be worth it, and it’s better to be on their side.

The leadership began to devise a plan. Scouts will be sent out to learn more about the enemy, so that they can better prepare themselves. Sebastian, due to his innate talents, was given a position on the scouts and was called to assist, along with Luc. Giuseppe was ordered to work with the elves on marksmanship, while Gideon is to be a part of the Knight’s line. De Mowbray plans to constantly work the knights in various formations to prepare them.

Prester Peter then brings up the elf spirit that is bound under the barrow, and if it is more likely to attack orcs than elves. The elves let the group know that it’s an unknown factor and its most likely that the elf spirit will act indiscriminately. They put it off as a possible nuclear option instead.

Alice St. George puts her two cents on the table, wondering what will happen to the women while the men are off to war? She believes that there needs to be a plan B, since the women who will be left behind will be defenseless in case there was a separate attack on them. Baroness St. George calls for spears for the women, and eventually the blacksmith starts working on them. It seems that the blacksmith was conspiring with Addy Raimbeaucourt on something as well, since the latter continues to leave the forge with a smile and snicker on his face.

After the meeting, Abbot William asks to see Prester Peter alone. Once nobody else is around, the abbot tells Peter about a document that was found in the scriptorium that will allow them to gain God’s favor, in exchange for a sacrifice. Peter says that he would be interested, and William found himself a little disturbed by how readily he said that. He goes on further, saying that the document speaks of dark things, but the response would be good – the sacrifice would better protect the troops on the field.

Peter says that they are the only Christians in the land, if they no longer exist, then nobody would be around to spread the word of God. The abbot relents, thinking that he is speaking wisdom. The general population is not to know about what it is to be done though – they need to find a young child, the more innocent and beloved, the better, in a holy place. They make plans to prepare for it and look into possible children if the Scouts come back with bad news.

Rosalind St. George comes up to Stefan in the field, and wishes to speak to him about “pointy things” and if he can teach her and her friends about them. He deflates a little when realizing that they’re actually talking about spears, and that they’re interested in learning to defend themselves. She is beet red when she tells him all of this, saying that they’re a danger to themselves if they don’t receive the help. Stefan eventually relents, and tells her that both him and Gideon will help. The two of them end up staying back from the scouting mission to teach them.

Sebastian and Luc go out with the scouts and they both managed to safely make their way into the encampment. They estimate that more than 700 orcs have gathered to the camp, though out of that, only a small portion are wolf riders, and the archers that are there are very poor at it. The orcs also seemed very disorganized, and prone to infighting. However, they did manage to recruit a new type of orc that they had never seen before – ones over seven feet tall, extremely angry, yet they looked none too bright. The two of them, along with the rest of the group, managed to make their way out of the forest again with no troubles and then relayed the information back to the town.

A war council was immediately called. While the orcs have over 700 in their ranks, the village has just a little over 300. Giuseppe makes his move at this point, saying that it’s clear given the numbers and behavior that the scouts observed, that they should stay on the defensive and let the orcs fight themselves until they have thinned themselves out a little. De Mowbray stands forward, saying that their Knights have two impressive advantages – discipline and lances – and the enemy has nothing like that. Giuseppe disagrees, saying that it won’t make up for their disadvantages.

Addy comes forward with his newest invention, and throws some caltrops on the table. He states that if they use the caltrops, it will help break the orcs’ formation as they come through, and can assist with them taking out the leaders. Giuseppe states that taking out the leaders will not break them much, since it seems that they’re much less disorganized in general, and that they should be on the defensive. De Moubray points out that they do need to protect the crops, and with a siege you need to worry about sickness, which is not something they can really afford. Since they have better leaders and equipment, they need to be mobile. Stubborn, Giuseppe states that at least they can set the grass on fire beforehand to make it more difficult for the orcs as they come through. The elf leader chips in, stating that they do need to meet them as far away from anything that they love as they can, since the Orcs have a tendency to poison the well and salt the earth of their enemies, ruining everything that they hold dear.

A young woman approaches Gideon as he prepares to ride off, giving him a reason to live for – a short experience, if he may. Turning beet red, he passes his code of chivalry and tells them that he is to be somewhere else. Sebastian and Luc finish their own preparations and head out first as a part of the scouts, to set fires and put the caltrops down, managing to throw off the opposing scouts’ scents the whole time.

Brother Jean-Pierre was going to retire to his room for the evening, and encounters Brother Robert with a dagger in his back. He applies first aid to Robert’s wounds, and Robert let him know to protect the children – twelve children went missing, and the women who were watching them were dead. Jean-Pierre put him in a room to rest, then went to look for the Dutchess. He lets her know what happens, and the women of the village went cold.

Groups of them split up to look for the missing children, and then discover the Abbot and Prester Peter beginning a ritual in the basement. Peter, due to his immense amounts of charm, was able to persuade them to let them have at least one of the children, in order to protect the warriors on the field. The Dutchess and her group leave the room afteward, to leave them to the act. As the ritual went forward, Peter realized at the last moment that the Abbot was performing a demon ritual, and Peter attempted to bind the demon to himself. The situation went awry, and the demon ended up inhabiting the body of the child instead.

The battle begins, though the Orcs found that they were having difficulties rather early due to the traps and the marksmen. Robert begins to send the calvary after them, and they blast a hole right through the opposing calvary. Due to heavy losses, some Orcs have already begun to retreat. The elves were laughing since they had never seen Orcs run with their tails between their legs before, Gisuppe shot a dirty look at them and yelled at them to no effect. Once the orcs were out of the way, Gisuppe goes over there to talk to them – when you beat an enemy, you continue killing them, instead of letting them run away.

A separate battle happened in the village, though the women found that they were able to handle themselves readily against the attacking orcs. They definitely had assistance from the demon child, who was pointing at Orcs and having fun watching them blow up. It didn’t take long for the Orcs to retreat from there as well. Jean-Pierre took one glance at the child as he was being held by the Abbot and immediately began to make plans to perform an exorcism.

After the warriors came back from the battle, the Abbot announces that the “lord and savior” of the town has come forth, and was responsible for their easy victories that night. People with the “sight” were easily able to see that there was nothing good about the child at all, and instantly felt uneasy. The elves noticed this too, and told Giuseppe that they were leaving immediately.

Jean-Pierre and Laurent come across Brother Robert who was attempting to make an escape from his room, though wasn’t going very far due to his injury. He let the two men know that he needs to be taken to Crazy Agnes as soon as possible. The two of them carried him to the cornfield, where it seems that all of the other people with magic in town are gathering as well – besides Agnes, Finn and Elena made their way to the field as well.

The demon child tells the Abbot and Peter that Brother Robert is a danger to them, and commands Peter to go and get him. Peter asks the secretary where Robert was, and the secretary was surprised that he was gone – the hemlock coated dagger that he stabbed Robert with should have taken care of him. Peter asks around and eventually noted that certain members of the community has gone missing. Peter goes back to the Abbot and says that these members should be announced enemies of the community and send the peasants to do the work of looking for them instead. The abbot agrees with the plan and tells Peter to relay the information to the child. The baby is overall pleased with it, and tells him not to fail him, otherwise Peter is his next target. Prester Peter then announces to the town that these people are enemies of the “town savior” and that if anybody sees them, they should be reported.

Sebastian is taken to the room to meet the demon child directly. The demon seems pleased by his presence, and the Abbot told Sebastian that the child requires something from him, and that Sebastian should hand his personal items over to him. Sebastian manages to pull out an astonishing number of items from his person, though tried his best to keep his prized potions on him. Unfortunately that seems to be what the child was looking for, and due to feeling a knife against his back, Sebastian reluctantly hands them forward. The baby claps and then immediately consumes them. Angry about the ordeal, Sebastian left the room, thinking of various ways to plot his revenge.

Meanwhile in the cornfield, Jean-Pierre and the others discuss what is to be done about the child, who is an abomination. He tells the others that he is practiced in performing exorcisms, but Robert receives a vision from God that the required bible that is needed had been burned already. They decide that their best bet is to maybe see if the elves have any assistance against the baby. However, they don’t have any sense of direction, so they need a scout to assist them. Since Elena is the least likely to be noticed missing, and Laurent could come up with a good excuse to his disappearance, the two of them went back to town to fetch someone.

Due to their history, Laurent relays it to Luc, who believes they need some protection in case they run into some trouble on the road. He and Elena go to meet with Gideon. While Gideon was tough to convince, due to him wanting to go to De Maubrey first, Elena managed to convince him that it was important to leave that night, along with Elena’s brothers. The group meets up with Jean-Paul and Finn back in the field, and set off – Brother Robert is too injured still to come with, though Agnes promises to take care of him. Prester Peter makes a pact with the child that night as well, and was bestowed special powers by him.

The next day, Prester Peter hears no news on the missing persons, and it seems that they are out of the demon childs’ reach as well. Peter goes to Deveroux about these people, calling them witches who need to be punished. Deveroux calls for the likes of Luc and Gideon for the party to hunt them down, but immediately finds them missing. He manages to put a scouting party together regardless, with Sebastian as a part of it. Luc successfully hides their tracks from the scouts, and Sebastian comes back with a negative report. The demon child lashes out at him, using magic to burn his back, telling him to do better next time. Miffed, Sebastian tries to take something on his way out but manages to get caught and gets a lash on his hand as well.

The group fleeing to the Elves has some problems when a wolf rider team tracks them down. They fought valiantly against the wolf rider and guards and do take them down, though Elena’s brothers end up disabled. Eventually five more wolf riders catch the sent of their blood, and come ever closer to them. Fortunately elves were in the area and shot a volley of arrows against the orcs. The elves then take them back to their encampment, and the travelers speak of their situation. Unfortunately, the Elves do not know anything that would help due to the fact that their belief systems are different.

Jean-Pierre’s intuition went off that they need to meet back up with Brother Robert, so after spending some time at the encampment, they set off again. The two of them are drawn together due to their faith, and Robert is doing much better. He also managed to get his hands on a bible that they can convert over to something that can work. The two of them pray over it and it eventually became workable. The group then began planning on what to do next…..

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In The Beginning, Part 5

The party manages to safely return to the outskirts of Glastonbury with little fanfare, and begin to prepare a plan for one of the biggest fights of their lives. They discuss what the best plan would be, and settle on splitting into two groups. Gideon, Content Not Found: null and Brother Portier will be the ones sneaking into the castle, while Luc, Finn and Andre will be the ones creating the distraction outside. After hearing the commotion from the latter group, the former will take their chances and break for it.

Before they leave to enact their plan, Finn speaks to Crazy Agnes who ominously tells him to find Baroness Alice. He keeps it in mind as his group leaves to create some commotion.

The group makes their way to a barn with some horses inside, when they heard a woman’s scream inside. Andre comes up to the two guards at the entrance, who tells him to move along so that he doesn’t get hurt. Due to his previous leadership skills, he managed to convince the guards that they’re better off standing down, so they let him inside.

He was surprised to see the condition of the horses, which looked worse for the wear. As he began to release the horses, he gets hit in the back with a dagger. He turns around to see an infantryman holding the blade, who states that he needs the bounty that’s on Andre’s head, and that he cannot let him free the horses. Andre manages to gain the upper hand in a quarrel and knock him off of his feet, injuring him. As the man tries to escape, a naked woman descends from the ceiling and kills him outright in a rage, seemingly for the events that happened before they entered the barn. Andre, Luc and Finn manage to free the rest of the horses and they begin to make their way to the town proper.

Hearing the commotion a few miles away, Sebastian took the initiative to lead the priest and Gideon through the abbey wall with no difficulties at all. It wasn’t until they were crossing the grounds where a monk stops Sebastian, believing him to be someone who lives on grounds, and asks him for water. Sebastian goes to get some and slips some sleeping potion into the water as he tries to give it back to him. Unfortunately the monk got a good look at his face and realized who he was, though Gideon managed to hit the monk over the head before he was able to cast any magic. Gideon managed to hogtie him and pull him out of the way.

Sebastian and the group notice a large hole in the ground in front of one of the buildings, but felt that the need to get into the abbey proper was too important to investigate, so they move forward.

Once Finn gets into the town, he dons a monk’s cloak to go and find Alice on his own. He found it suspicious that the peasants are trying to avoid him for some reason. Once he gets to her home, he finds it completely destroyed, which was highly unusual. He takes one of the spears that was hanging from the walls, and then goes to the gates of the abbey. The two guards are blocking the way, and tell him that they are not allowed to let anybody in or out until breakfast. They do get a glimpse of his face though, and once they recognize who he is, Finn breaks into a sprint and chase after him, yelling that he is here.

As they run through the village, the peasants seemingly try to defend Finn by attacking the guards with cooking utensils and whatever else was on hand. Prester Peter looks outside of his window at the commotion and recognizes Finn as the chase takes him into the fields. Thinking this would be a great chance to get rid of him, Peter shoots a fireball at Finn’s direction. Unfortunately his aim was a little off the mark and only caught his back. Finn doesn’t even take notice until the fire burns a little too hot against his skin, so he takes the time to drop and roll. Peter throws another fireball though due to the distance, his aim was off even further and hit a nearby roof instead. To try and put the fire out, Finn runs to the nearest well and was shocked in horror to find that there was a man crucified there. Finding that his well-being was important, Finn began to tend to him instead.

Sebastian definitely knew his way around the castle very well, and only ran into one encounter – he was able to mimic Deveroux’s voice well enough though to distract them, which allowed them to get all the way to the demon child’s room. The three of them bust down the door. Gideon goes for the secretary immediately, while both the priest and Sebastian bum rush the baby as soon as they spot it. Once the crucifix was plunged into the baby, the resulting screech knocks Sebastian out immediately, while the Secretary had enough composure to shoot fire in both Gideon and the priests’ direction.

Gideon was steady enough to be able to grab the baby and run out of there. Due to the commotion, Peter made his way towards the door and blocked Gideon’s escape. The two of them begin grappling, but it wasn’t until the priest slammed himself into Peter so that Gideon can escape completely. Peter hit Gideon with an acid spell on his way out. Weakened, Gideon attempts to take the health potion he received from Agnes earlier out, but the secretary at that point was able to cast a spell that left both him and the priest stunned.

The baby’s mortal form at this point was dying due to being hit with the fire spell from earlier. The demon inside begins to attempt to jump into Gideon’s body. Peter suddenly finds himself losing control of his own body to the demon inside of him, which goes over to Gideon and asks, “Who is the boss now?” The secretary looks confused and stunned at the whole scene.

Luc comes into town on a horse with Agnes and runs through the guards on the path to the abbey. Behind him is Brother Robert, who is seemingly glowing, and the peasants go down on one knee as he passes. After attending to the man at the well earlier, Finn tries to clear the way as well against three spearmen – two give up rather easily, while the third engages in combat. Finn manages to jab the spear into the man’s side and watches him fall over. Stefan runs into Finn and asks where Gideon is. Finn lets him know that he’s taking care of business in the abbey. Stefan goes straight there, while Finn lets him know that he will be right behind him.

Meanwhile, Sebastian comes into consciousness and assesses the current situation in the abbey. Believing that Peter is the most dangerous one, Sebastian stabs him in the leg with another crucifix. Peter’s body lets out a demonic scream as the demon is blocked. Peter pulls out the stake, but manages to have enough power to cast a willpower spell on Gideon before he passes out. The demon tells Gideon that he needs to submit.

Luc’s horse runs through the abbey doors and up the stairs. He sees Gideon at the end of the hallway, but was shocked to hear a different voice coming from the body, saying that he needed to “prepare to die”. The horse was hit with a burst of flames from Gideon’s hands, throwing the beast out of control. Agnes gets off rather gracefully, Luc less so and ends up injuring himself. As he tries to dodge the horse bucking around, the creature suddenly vanishes due to what seemingly was divine intervention.

Agnes reaches into her bag and throws powder over Gideon. He manages to avoid inhaling it before throwing another fireball at Agnes’ direction. She dodges the fireball, and Gideon passes out from sheer exhaustion.

Stefan shows up just as Agnes stabs Gideon’s body with a cross. Stefan knocks her out of the way due to the fear of her injuring his friend. Finn finally catches up to him, saying that the person in front of him isn’t really Gideon at the moment, which stops Stefan in his tracks. The secretary begins to summon some magic, but Brother Robert shows up in time to stop him.

Brother Robert begins the exorcism, successfully pulled out the demon’s souls and trapped them into a rock. The rock was then promptly thrown into the river, hopefully never to be seen again. The group explains to Lord Deveroux what had happened, who was simply overwhelmed with the information. He was shocked that even the abbot was involved with the demons, and needed some time to completely understand the impact that the events had on the sins and sinners of Glastonbury. They then explored the basement of the Abbey and found some artifacts of seemingly extreme importance, though for what exactly, they need to take some time to find out.

Finn, Gideon and Luc decide to travel back to the Elves to deliver the news. On their way there, they see that mummified corpse near the tower was removed. It wasn’t until they reached the Elven Kingdom that they learn the tower really does belong to the Elves after all.

Queen Ikeshia met with them to learn of the fate of their town. As she passed each one, she noticed on Gideon’s soul that his had been damaged by some sort of entity. Finn and Luc describe their previous heroic adventure as well, on how they saved the remains of the elven girl and performed the correct rites for her burial. The elves were quite appreciative of the gesture. They gave the group some truth potions for their time, and also a bit of information that may interest them. They recently heard of a group of men far to the west, calling themselves Burgundians. The men were so strong that despite the odds against them, they managed to beat the Orcs so badly that they actually came crawling to the Elves for help. Ikeshia had the Orc emissaries killed, for better or worse she decided to side with the humans.

With that in mind, the group returned to the village to share that information, as well as to use the truth potion on the remanding key players in the Abbot’s circle. Peter especially was found guilty of his many lies and was sent to the elves to live out the rest of his “life” – apparently, the Elves had been quite curious on the inner biology of humans for quite some time.

The people of Glastonbury resumed what they could of their new normal life, and continued to plan and prepare for what could possibly happen next for them.

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Neighbors, Part 1

The village continues to knit itself back together after the previous events with the demons. Lord Deveroux feels ashamed over what had happened, and he begins to consider quitting, reconciling what he had ordered during that time with his basic nature. Brother Robert offers counseling and listens to confessions from the townsfolk during the day, though its common knowledge among the monks that there is crying from his room at night. Brother Robert eventually confides in Finn his sorrows – he had a higher image of human nature that was lost over the course of events, and needs time to reestablish trust levels.

The group goes to meet with the elves in order to relay what had happened in their village and solidify an alliance with them. Many of the elven folk are impressed with what they had heard, except for the Queen who kept a cool facade.

The group asked about a one legged elf that they had seen on their way to the elven kingdom, who seemingly was working with the Orcs. She nods and says that they know him well. His name is Soren, who is a tragic case. The tower that he was spotted by was one of theirs, Tower Kithorn, which fell to the Orcs many years ago, with Soren being the only one who survived due to being away during the event. He was determined to find the remains of his sister, though eventually became enslaved to the Orcs and have been for 75 years. He tends to run away every time the elves try to help him though, back to the Orcs. The elves say that the group can try to help him, though they believe that he is a lost cause.

The group agrees that they can at least give it a shot, and the elves tell them a little more – Soren belongs to the Bloody Fang tribe, and gives their general location. The only assistance they are willing to give though for this endeavor is rations – they don’t believe that elven bodies are worth the risk anymore.

Before leaving, the group discusses trading goods with the elves. The two groups settled on receiving hardwood, iron and coal in exchange for bison meat.

The group begins heading in the direction in which Soren is believed to be. Along the way, they find abandoned encampments with some leftover coal and bronze, marking it on a map to come back to these locations later. As they get closer to the camp, the group encounters seven warrior orcs and engage in combat. The group seemingly had an off day though, and one by one, they fell to their opponents, except for Sebastian who escaped up a tree early in the fight.

Instead of killing each party member outright though, the orcs instead tie them up and drag them to their encampment. Once there, each one of them were slapped awake, as the Orc Chieftain watched on. Once they were all conscious, the chief smirked at them and asked, in poor Elvish, if they were “white meat or dark?” Finn, being how he is, corrects him on his pronunciation and immediately is kicked in the ribs. Becoming more serious, the Chief asks outright why they are there if they are not warriors. Laurent says that they are looking for hardwood and coal, Finn honestly states that they’re also looking for Soren.

The Chief calls for Soren, and tells him that they group came for him. Soren simply says, “their loss”. Finn mentioned his previous encounter with his sister, and how he and Luc helped her to rest by burning her bones. Hearing that put some fire in his soul as Soren begins to act up and attack the Orcs before being subdued. The Chief turns his attention to Finn, saying he doesn’t know whether to thank or hurt him – for awhile, Soren has been useless with no spirit, though Finn’s words revived some of that. The Chief tells him that he needs that spirit to make magic weapons to help the Orcs in battle. If Finn and the group help break Soren, they will trade all of the wood and coal that they have.

Gideon unties each person while Finn and Laurent were talking about what to do. The Chief notices that Gideon’s weapon was not peacebound, and Gideon instinctively draws his weapon out. Laurent quickly says that Gideon is one of the best fighters that they have. The chief laughs and says that he will let them go if Gideon is able to beat the Chieftain’s bodyguard. For now, if they promise to give up their weapons, he will let the group heal and rest.

The group agree to these terms, and spend the next couple days in the encampment. While they were allowed to walk around, they were always accompanied by a pair of Orc bodyguards, which especially irritated Gideon. He was extremely uneasy without his weapon, and was finally allowed to have it under supervision the night before the fight, so that he can prep it for the upcoming battle.

Laurent and Finn entertain the Orcs that night with stories of humankind and how great they are. Andre demonstrates the might of humans by swinging his sword against the tree. The Orcs were in an uproar over it, with one of them grabbing their weapons, swinging it against the tree, and watching it shatter. The Orcs then turn to the Chief and ask why they even keep Soren around if he makes such poor weapons. The Chief simply takes out his own weapon and slides it nicely against the tree. Putting it back in its sheath, he says that this kind of weaponry is what he wants for his whole tribe. The Chief states again to the group if they help break Soren, the Orcs will forever be in debt to them.

Laurent at one point mentions Skagg, which immediately caught the Chief’s interest since that was actually his son. He hears the story on him, and once he learns of his son’s death to the elves, he beats on Soren. Gideon helps Soren up, then the elf asks in perfect French if Gideon can win the fight after all. Gideon tells him that he’s quite confident about it, and Soren tells him that there is a way that he can make Gideon stronger. He then asks Finn what happened to his sister, and then he got the full story on the encounter that Finn had with her. Soren says that he has their thanks, and he will aid them for treating his sister so well.

After everyone had went to bed, Sebastian finally comes out of his hiding spot with one mission in mind – to take the Chieftain’s shiny sword. He did so well that not only was he able to switch Andre’s sword with the Chief’s, but he managed to take everybody else’s weapons as well before sneaking right back out. Sebastian noticed that the magic sword sung a sweet song of battle as he held it to admire, though didn’t think too much of it as he put it in back in the sheath.

Gideon and the Orc Bodyguard go at it the next morning, with a little magic help from Soren on Gideon’s side. The young knight takes a groin shot early on in the battle, receiving many a wince from the audience members, yet he kept on going. After some impressive feinting on Gideon’s end, he took his sword and was able to cut the bodyguard’s head clean off. This caused a huge uproar in the encampment, and Gideon immediately took to limping off to meet with everyone else. Andre rushes to his side to help him move faster, while Luc and Finn grab Soren and make a break for it.

Sebastian saw this as his chance to take an aimed shot right to the Chieftain’s face. The arrow struck him square in the eye, only furthering his anger. He pulls out his sword to yell, “kill them all”, then noticed that his magic sword was missing. The chief then let out a battle cry and led the charge to chase the party down.

It didn’t take long for Sebastian to catch up with the rest of the group. With a wink, he gives the party back their weapons, saying that they owe him one. What he forgot though, was that the magic blade was in Andre’s sheath, and when the old knight drew it he was immediately entranced by the battle song. He turns around to fight as the others were able to run. They had received word that Andre was able to kill many of the orcs with the sword but does eventually fall victim due to the sheer number of them. His sacrifice did mean that the rest of the party managed to get to the river safely and ride it down to the village.

When they returned to Town Square, they saw one of the Elven diplomats speaking to the townspeople. Soren, recognizing him instantly, grabs the diplomat and begins punching him out. Gideon pulls Soren off of the other elf and holds him back. The diplomat, Analieth, tells them that they lost three good elves trying to rescue Soren, and he’s surprised that they have him at all. Soren tells him that he was on a mission, the humans completed it for him and now he is in debt to him. Analeith gets up, saying that Soren is beneath him, and walks away. Soren lets the group know that Analeith was the one that persuaded the Queen to stop sending people to help him. Either way, he says, he is unable to go back, and is willing to settle down with the humans for at least a year to pay off his debt before he returns to the wild.

That night, a huge storm comes rolling in, passing the village to the north by several miles. The lightning violently strikes the ground multiple times before ending the storm.

The end of the storm meant bad news for the village though, as they quickly find out – the unfortunately side effect is that the river completely dried up.

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Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.
In the service of the lord... wherever

My situation seems to have changed. No longer will be overseeing the transfer of wealth from one lordship to anther, instead the divine has seen fit to bring me, my client, and the castle itself to new lands.
There are some Christians here, brought for the same unknown purpose. But for each friend I am told we have 10 enemies, heathens who do not know gods laws.

My task has not changed, to defend the worshipers of the one true god. There is no temple here but with these Christians and with the land beset by sin I see a need for a new temple.

This is not the holy land, my senses seem fit to call it the unholy land, but even such is reachable for gods power.
I have work to do.

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Neighbors, Part 2

Not long after the group returned from their last adventure, Laurent was on a walk when he noticed a certain crazy old woman approach a certain old elf‘s hut. She notices him and instead makes a beeline towards him, asking Laurent seemingly out of the blue if he’s ever felt pain before. Laurent, remembering the battle that he had participated in, tells her that he knows quite well, and doesn’t want to experience any more. Agnes tells him that if he doesn’t want to experience true pain, he is not to tell anybody about what he has seen here, before letting him go and hobbles back towards the elf’s hut.

Naturally, Laurent goes back and tells everyone about what happened.

Fin goes to visit Soren at the blacksmith’s to see if he can help get the ore and other materials from the orc camps. Through their conversation, Soren becomes converted to Christianity. He then tells Fin about the history of Orcs and Elves and how things came to be. Orcs and Dwarves are natives to the world, the Elves are not. The Elves came thousands of years ago and tried to reconcile the difference between Orcs and Dwarves, but got drawn into the argument that Orcs are by nature destructive, Dwarves are by nature creators. Elves and Dwarves are more similar to each other so they are natural allies, but due to a falling out they part ways. The dwarves went up north and fend only for themselves.

Soren also says that he is cursed according to the elves and needs to be burned as soon as he dies or else his ghost will kill everyone.

Anlyth then shows up and gets into an argument with Soren over what he can and cannot say to the humans. Soren says that he is no longer an elf and the diplomat holds no sway. Fin pipes up and says that Soren is a Christian now, and the diplomat gets disgusted and leave. Fin tells Soren about baptism and how he will be reborn, and the elf cries a little.

Soren wants to tell Fin about Queen Ikeshia and why she hates orcs, though they couldn’t say it in front of everyone. He then tells Fin to stop by later sometime, and he’ll have many things to share.

Later, Agnes stops Fin and talks to him., mentioning that she hates religious practitioners. Fin’s personal religion has one thing she likes though – it seems to works for people. Fin has showed Soren kindness and he can continue tell Soren about religion as long as he doesn’t screw him up. Fin describes his preaching as spiritual healing as she is surprised, believing that its exactly what he needs. She then warns him that the elf queen is crazy, before taking her leave.

Curious on Laurent’s story from earlier, Sebastian sneaks on the roof to listen to Crazy Agnes and Soren. While he doesn’t get much, he does hear the both of them talk about their rage and how hard it is to quell. Agnes also talks about her shoulder and doesn’t want it to be healed, though she doesn’t mention why. They also mentioned the queen’s scars but to Sebastian’s disappointment, they didn’t go into further detail.

Fin stopped by Soren’s hut and learned more history from him the next day. It seems that they ignored the Orcs for so long that the Orcs quickly grew too strong, went on the attack and drove the elves from their homes. Ikeshia’s husband died on the battlefield, driving her so mad that she went after his body. She was captured and was made queen of the orcs for awhile. The king of the orcs married her and forcibly took her as his wife, tortured her as they made love, and put scars in her flesh. Luckily for her, she was able to kill him one night when he became too careless. Ikeshia made her way back, and immediately went into battle. She never let the scars be healed, and will not take a new husband or lover. Soren describes her as a rathhorn, dangerous and deadly. Thanking Fin for his time, he then gives him a good map of the area with where the ore deposits were.

A large storm hit the village the following evening, where it caused the river to dry up. An expedition to find out what happened is launched the following morning. Twelve miles up the river, it is clear to see how that could have happened – a castle had suddenly appeared, and the river water is being streamed into the moat that came with it.

In the castle, a templar by the name of Heinrich is being blamed for the missing mountains by a man simply known as “Pompous Maximus” by his fellow guardsmen. The templar shrugs it off completely, instead taking in his surroundings. After thinking about it, he then tells the panicking Earl in the room that they must have been brought to the Garden of Eden. The earl wonders how, and Heinrich says that they must have been chosen – rapture, if they will. If they had angered the Almighty, they surely would have been in a worse situation than they are already.

This seems to calm the Earl down a little bit. He still wants to send out an expedition though. Heinrich is to take some men to go to the south, and the other captain must go to the north, to check things out. Heinrich delivers the news to the guards, who seemed to refuse the orders. After all, since this is a new world, the old order doesn’t have to apply. While Heinrich made a rousing speech, the words failed to reach the ears of his fellow guards. Heinrich drawing steel immediately changes their minds though, and they accompany him on the journey south.

The Glastonbury group see Heinrich’s group from a distance. Deciding it is better to be safe than sorry, they send Laurent forward as a diplomat while the others hide. When everything seemingly is safe, the rest of the group join him. Laurent tells Heinrich’s group where they are from, which alarms the templar – he has heard of Glastonbury Village, and the reason why that they had disappeared is because they are demon worshipers. He says that the group must immediately come back to the castle so that they can be interrogated further.

The earl and Pompus Maximus meet them at the door, hesitant to let them in until they hear that they are from Glastonbury, then they immediately brings them in. The Earl asks the group if there is a way to return, Laurent let them know that they’re still working on it. In the meanwhile, the villagers from Glastonbury have been working on keeping alive, planting crops and converting others to Christianity. Laurent also tells them know the story of the demon possession, as well as the orcs and how dangerous they are. As they were talking they heard that the expedition from the north is coming back, except that there’s only one out of the ten, and he is running.

The group of ten found the burrow with the sealed door. The nine of them went inside to check it out, while the one guard kept watch. Shortly after, he heard screams, telling him to run. He never stayed around to find out and ran away immediately. Heinrich asks the Earl what they should do, he says that they should investigate.

The group has to go to Glastonbury to update the village on what has happened. Heinrich is really impressed with the cathedral and is thinking that it’s a much better defensible position than the castle. Analteith hears about the burrow door opening and immediately puts his head between his knees and heave, while Soren is simply surprised about it. There is no precedent on what to do, at least no record of it, due to the elves being very careful and burning their bones.

Soren tells them that the wraiths are very hungry for a body and will suck the warmth out of body with touch. They are buried with armor and weapons, and will be equipped with them. Physical force won’t have much of a chance, but magic will. Unfortunately, there are no spellcasters in the group that could bind the soul into the burial mound, but Soren suggests that maybe Anlyth could help. The problem is that he is a coward, so they need to find a way to make him willing to serve that role.

The group decides to hold the information on the queen against Anlyth and blackmail him into helping the group. He becomes immediately distressed over the information, asking who knows about this. Laurent tells him that the village heroes know it only, so he goes to find Fin and asks him what can he do, if anything, to help keep a secret. Fin suggests helping seal the body back, and Anlyth tells on how he helped the Orcs seal it the first time, though another problem is that he was sealed with his Rathorn.

Anlyth believes that they need to act quickly before the queen finds out – she might find that the wraith is an advantage for the elves against the orcs and the humans. Anlyth thinks that she wanted to open the door herself just to see what happens, which is worrying. He asks Fin to help him up, and then takes up his offer to pray with Brother Robert.

The group heads back to Castle Penbroke, and they immediately hear that the wraith was around, floating several feet in the air the previous night. Pompous Maximus demanded that the templar knights stay with him, Heinrich allows it. The group asks if Heinrich himself is willing to help though, since the more the merrier, and he agrees.

Anlyth needs to set up to perform some ritual, and asks assistance – he needed a small rabbit due to the shamanistic actions of the ritual, then also needed Fin at hand during the middle of it. That night, he begins the ritual closed off in the room, though he weakly stumbles out in the middle of it, borrowing Fin’s strength to finish it off. The screams of a small rabbit is heard shortly after he closes the door again, which continues into the early morning.

Anlyth emerges, tired, with a small pouch. He gives Sebastian the pouch and tells him to try and get into the burrow as far as he can to drop it off, and hopefully the magic resonating from it will be enough to draw the wraith back into the burrow. The group begin planning for their attack, in which they need to finish as quickly as possible before things get out of hand…

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