The Æcyr Gréne Campaign 

Campaign Logs

Session Date: 7th March, 2005
After the Fire at the Inn

Recap ... At the end of the last session, our redoubtable heroes were standing in the courtyard of the burning Inn, the brigands dead at their feet. Cedric is not present, having ridden after the Merchants who had fled the inn at the start of the fight. Meanwhile, Cedric - having caught up with the merchants in double-quick time - has now dropped back to a safe distance and is tracking them, since they shot at him when he got close enough fdor them to see him.

Cardhu and Æðelred exchange glances as they watch Nibaldo rifling the pockets of the slain brigands. With the fire in the Inn spreading to the stables, their priority is now to get their mounts quieted enough to load their belongings onto their mounts. Ignoring Nibaldo and the fallen Brigands for the moment, the two companions quickly race back into the stables and get their animals free of the structure. Then as Æðelred steadies the mounts, Cardhu quickly lashes ther belongings to the animals. As the last couple of possessions are lashed to the mounts, towqnsfolk start to move around the street outside, from the sounds of it they are beginning to form a fire-chain to try and stop the fire spreading into the neighbouring properties.

Æðelred and Cardhu quickly discuss whether they should stick around to help the townsfolk - Æðelred being torn between pursuing Cedric and helping the townsfolk, and possibly enquiring after the identity of these brigands but Cardhu argued strongly that they didn't know how the town militia will react, and that he was not that eager to find out either. The two mount up - Cardhu turns to call to Nibaldo to tell him to mount up and sees him burying his hand-axe in the neck of one of the fallen brigands. Swearing loudly, Cardhu yells at him to “Leave them be and follow us”, and the three quickly ride out of the courtyard, scattering some of the townsfolk and three members of the Town Militia who were attempting to extinguish the fire in the main body of the Inn.

Leaving the burning Inn in their wake, they set off in pursuit of the headstrong young Cedric, whom they last saw following the mysterious/suspicious merchants. Their pursuit takes them down the main road heading northeast out of town, Æðelred claiming to successfully track Cedric’s course, while mainly guessing the appropriate direction. (Cardhu’s Elven blood enhances his sight sufficiently to cope with the limited illumination of the cresent moon - Æðelred’s lineage has no such advantage, and despite being a reasonable tracker, his choice of direction is really just based on an educated guess). After about an hour, Cardhu spots a lone rider in the distance. Assuming that it is Cedric, the three spur their mounts on to a gallop and cover the intervening distance quite rapidly. Taking no effort to mask their approach, the three soon catch up to Cedric, but when they do, he promptly berates them for spoiling his pursuit - he had been very successful in following the merchants without causing them to become more suspicious, but the arrival of the three companions has spooked the merchants again. The ensueing hard chase ends dramatically when the mount of one of the merchants stumbles, throwing the rider from his horse and breaking his leg.

The companions then approach the merchants, and after some rather tense negotiations they manage to persuade the merchants that they are on the same side. Æðelred tries his best to administer first aid to the injured merchant, and after some further discussions, they agree to travel together for a time. It is decided that they should probably look for somewhere to make camp for a couple of hours, and it is Cardhu’s sharp eyes that spot an appropriate camp site about half an hour later. They build a small fire to help while they tend the injuries most of them sport, and after a short time, they settle down for the remainder of the night.

The following morning the companions and the merchants rouse slowly, stiffness and pain taking the place of the adrenaline-filled buzz they had all been operating on the previous night. After the morning ablusions and while Æðelred prepares a meal for them all, the merchants discuss the recent events with Cedric, Cardhu and Nibaldo. they explain that they are members of the Western Merchants Coster, and that it had come to the attention of the Guild Hall that there was a pattern of purchases occurring in the western duchies that - when taken together - amounted to considerable evidence for the provisioning of an army. Their contacts with the western Lords being ‘of the highest calibre’ - they quickly realised that none of the western Duchies were either openly or officially involved in such a provisioning. This prompted the Coster to dispatch messengers - mostly Guildsmen of the Coster - to many of the more influential nobles in the West. However, several weeks passed, and it became obvious that these messages had not been recieved. At this point they had dispatched more messengers, and the merchants were one of these groups of messengers. The item that the rogues were probably searching for in the Inn was a case of scrolls and parchments detailing the evidence of the illicit provisioning in the West. The Merchants also reveal that in the papers they carry was documentary evidence of the complicity of certain nobles, including a certain Baron de Montfor of Gewisseðel. The Merchants confirmed that they had definitiley sent messengers to the Baron’s convocation that the companions had been present at, and were surprised to hear from the companions that no such evidence was presented at the convocation.

After their morning repast, the group mounts up and continues north west towards the barony of Actreo Holt, where the merchants had originally been headed. The journey is reasonably uneventful - the spring sunshine warming the companions as they travel through the rolling hills of western Fyrgeneðel.

The group remain at a high level of watchfulness all day, but except for a few cattleherds seen in the distance, they meet noone of the road that day. Towards evening, Cardhu and Cedric ride ahead to scout for a reasonable campsite, and in the distance they spot a small shady creek where they could set up a decent camp. However, as they observe the site, Cardhu spies a pony tethered to a tree near the creek, so the two approach the site to investigate. Getting closer, they can see the signs of a small campsite, not immediately obvious from the road, and as they approach catiously, they see a young girl - perhaps eigth of nine years of age - sitting on a log near the pony, with her head in her hands, oblivious to their approach. After checking around ofor anyone else, Cardhu enters the clearing, calling out to the girl, who starts up with a paniced look on her face and then flees. Cedric pursues her, catching her and speaking quietly to her he reassures her that they have no cruel intentions towards her. Looking around, they can see that someone has obviously gone to some effort to see that there would be provisions in the glade - a piles of firewood, stacked neatly near the fire (now just ashes - it looks like it was just alloed to go out), some bread and cheeselying out on the log where the girl had been seated, blankets and some canvas carefully laid out, but now in some disarray.

After spending some time listening sympathetically, Cedric begins to peice together that this girl - Ella - had been traveling south with her father from her village, to visit her uncle Bradan who owns an inn in the town to the south - and her description of the man unfortunately matches that of the innkeeper that they had left for dead the previous day. The girl went on to say that three nights ago she awoke to find her father gone, and the "stuff" neatly laid out for her. She went on to say that she accidently allowed the fire to go out that night and couldn't get it restarted, and now her food tastes funny too.

While Cedric is talking to the child, Cardhu spends some time scouting around the campsite, and down at the creek he finds a length of string fastened to an overhanging branch, holding several cheeses and preserved meats submerged in the cool stream. He also finds tracks leading back towards the northern trail. Following the track for a distance, they rejoin the track and continue north, along much the same path that the companions are planning to take. Cardhu decides to return to Cedric at this point. When he rejoins Cedric, the two have a brief word, and then - promising Ella that they will return as quickly as they can - the tow ride back to the others and bring them down to the campsite. Cedric asks Nibaldo to spend some time with Ella while they try to determine what to do about the child. Realising that they can’t leave her here, and that she does not seem to have the indepence or capacity to make it to the town by herself (not withstanding that they are fairly sure the person she was going to meet is now dead ...), they decide that they should encourage the child to travel with them back up north, at least to the next village. Also - by looking at the quality of the pony that he girl has at her disposal, it is clear that this child’s family has some money, and may be very thankful for her safe return.

Among themselves they deterimine a reasonable shedule for watches, and after a quiet meal, the companions settle down for the night. Towards the end of the second watch, as Nibaldo and one of the younger merchants sit peering out into the darkness, fighting their natural inclination to fall asleep, Nibaldo spots a glimmer of light in the distance. Leaning over, he shakes Cedric awake and points over to the area where he had spotted the movement. With is heightened senses, Cedric is able to see the form of a brigand approaching. He quickly motions to Nibaldo to quietly waken the others, while he strings his bow. fairly soon, Cardhu, Cedric and Nibaldo have their weapons readied, while Æeth;elred struggles to wake up and arm himself. All of this is done with as little commotion as possible, and Cedric carefully watches the approach of the brigand, his arrow nocked and ready. As the Brigand emerges into the dim light of the campfire, Cedric raises his bow and looses the arrow, dropping his foe as the bolt embeds itself in his shoulder. With that, all hell breaks loose. Arrows rain out of the darkness as three more brigands join the fray. Cedric is hit badly, but superior numbers, skill and a bit of luck eventually puts paid to the rogues, but at the cost of some pain - a broken arm for Cedric, and another chunk shot off Cardhu’s ear, which now looks like it has been chewed by a wolf. Cardhu’s displeasure at this is evident, and he takes out his frustration on the remains of the perpetrator, having first dispatched him in spectacular fashion.

After some discussion, they dump the bodies of the brigands some distance from their campsite, and then tend to their own wounded before trying to get those last few hours sleep prior to dawn. In the morning, the group shares a quick meal of bread and cheese, before the majority of the group saddles up and rides out. Nibaldo and Cardhu remain behind and hang the corpses from a tree, treating them as common bandits (even though suspicions suggest otherwise). Cardhu left a note in (badly) scrawled Æðeleodisc pinned to the one he butchered, saying “I aet the reste...”

Riding for most of they day, they reach the village of Actreo Holt as the sunset colours the sky a beautiful shade of orange. As they approach the gates of the village, they are greeted by several of the villagers, one of whom stops them and introduces himself as Eric, Captain of the Baron’s Guard. Seeing that they are accompanying Ella, Eric looks at the companions carefully, and then suggests that they should follow him up to the Baron’s Keep on the hill overlooking the village - without ever acknowledging Ella or her presence. The companions happily follow the Captain of the Guard, and are escourted into the inner courtyard of the keep. Eric disappears into one of the door off the courtyard, and while the group dismout and wait for someone to arrive, a woman emerges from the main building and embraces Ella, and they retire into the house. Several minutes pass before a middle-aged man - Æðeleodisc in appearance emerges and introduces himself as Æðelhun, Knight Steward of the Barony. He greets them on behalf of the Baron, who is on business to the south but is due back within the week. He goes on to thank them for finding his daughter, who - he claims - had wandered off and become lost several day ago, and for whom he had been searching since then. Although this story does not gell with the story that the child had told them, the companions do not challenge this version of events, expalining instead that the merchants that had accompanied them had information of value to the baron, and that their personal experiences may also be of interest. Upon hearing this, Æðelhun invites them to dine with him later that evening, and arranges for some servants to tend to their needs in the interim. The companions - still concerned that the Steward is obviously hiding something to them and has already lied to them - cautiously accept his proposal.

Later that evening, after spending some time to wash, change into clean clothes and join the Steward in the dining hall, the companions share a modest meal with the steward. The conversation quickly turns to the topic of the activities of these unknown agents that have been causing problems in the Western Duchies recently, and how they can be connected to certain element of the Provencaréan Order of Tiras. From the demeanor and statements that the Steward conveys, the companions quickly realise that the Baron would be a stauch supporter of the Baron de Vichi, but that his brother was intimiately entwined with the Order of Tiras, and currently lives in the family’s holdings in Pæccelburga. As the meal progresses, and the tone of the conversation becomes less formal, the steward appears to ponder something for a time before addressing the companions, thanking them again for returning his daughter to him, but ging on to explain the circumstances of her situation to them. While the stewards admires and supports the baron’s stance in the political and economic arenas, he is very concerned about other elements of his personality. The Baron has a prediliction for younger girls, much preferring them not to have ‘bloomed’ yet - as this way it ensures thatthere is no chance of having any illegitimate offspring. As an officer of the baron’s court, any publicly voiced dissatisfaction of the baron would be potentially dangerous, so the people close to the Baron had always faciliated the quirk in this personality, often consiring with him to ensure that he had a number of potential friends nearby when he may desire such. However, this all came home to roost when the Baron recently started to take an interest in the Stewards daughters. About a year and a half ago, the Stewards eler daughter had caught the Barons eye. At the tender age of eleven, she had been unready for such attentions, and they had distressed her to the point of running away. When the Steward had finally found her again some weeks later, she had fallen to her death travelling through the mountains in the West. Now, it would seem, the Baron has started to take an interest in his surviving daughter. So far, nothing has happened, but the Steward had been hoping to move the child out of the baron’s reach. Unfortunately, when he had arranged to leave with the child, he had not initially realised that he was being watched by some of the other Baron’s officials. When, during the journey south, he realised that he was being followed, he had tried to ensure that Ella would have enough provisions to get to her uncle, and he returned to the village.

It is only at this point that Cedric realises that they had not told the Steward that the Inn where they had stayed in the town had been burned down by the brigands, and that they suspected that his brother had died in the conflagration. The sterward is shocked at this news, but after a period of silence he asks the companions if they would be willing to help him smuggle Ella out of the village and to bring her to the Sœcisc monastry two days north of the Baron’s keep. Unsure of how this would work, the companions agreed in principle, and it was suggested that the details of such a plan could be thrashed out the following morning. On that note, the steward retired from the room, and the companions had another round of drinks and then retired to be themselves.

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