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.