The Æcyr Gréne Campaign 

Campaign Logs

Session Date: 4th April, 2005
When simple missions get messy ...

Distraction Tactics

Following on from the previous night’s deliberations, the companions find themselves discussing how exactly they can continue treating the current Baron of Actreo Holt as an ally when he was so obviously a complete toad of a human. Possibly thinking something similar, the Steward asked the companions to speak to him again the following day, and over a light lunch, they spoke about these topics further. In discussions with the Baron’s Steward, they agreed again to take his daughter, and any other children who might be at risk from the pederast noble, to the nearby monastery. Cardhu expressed some disgust at the perverted nature of Corandyn society, noting that in Dynndh lands the Steward could call challenge on the Baron and run a blade through his miserable gut. Perhaps as an attempt to direct thoughts away from the Baron dying in a ‘hunting accident’, the Steward asked if they could investigate some unusual reports that a couple of his shepherds had provided - thus killing three birds with the one stone ... it would ensure the companions would stick around for at least one more day; they would be kept out of trouble and away from most of the people of the manor; and most importantly it would give him a chance to think ...

Æðelred, Cardhu and Cedric agreed, and after getting a flask or two of water, they headed up into the folling hills to the south of the manor where these unusual sightings had been reported. It wasn’t long before they found the first sheep, torn asunder by some terrible beast. As they explored over the next few hours, they noted a pattern - each animal that had been attacked had been near a small copse about three leagues south of the manor holding, and in each case, when they searched the soft earth in the eaves of the copse, a set of strange tracks could be seen leading into the woods.

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Maybe we should examine those tracks a little closer?

Following the tracks, they came into a remote part of the woods, where Æðelred spotted a house. This led to some confusion, as Cardhu and Cedric could see nothing of interest where Æðelred pointed, barring a non-descript glade, and a couple of facinating caterpillers. They decided to wait until nightfall, when Æðelred would have poor vision, but Cardhu and Cedric’s elven blood would still allow them to see. As it turned out, this was not the wise decision that it might have seemed at the time...

As dusk approached, and the shadows started to lengthen, Cedric went scouting and after some considerable difficulties managed getting there. every thime he felt that he would be getting close, his sense of direction would become distorted, and he would end up completely disoriented, and well away from the original target. Eventually, he realised that if he walked backwards, endeavouring to keep Æðelred and Cardhu in a direct line of sight, he would be able to approach this mysterious location. Having succeeded in getting to the edge of the Glade, he was able to guide Cardhu and Æðelred. From there, the companions could see a cottage clearly nestled in the clearing, yet once again their perceptions of it differed. To Cedric and Æðelred, it appeared to be a derelict building, its roof caved in, and whose meager garden had been long since overgrown with weeds. In contrast, Cardu could see a moderately well maintained and inhabited cottage, with grimy windows behind which he could spot some indication of movement. The three companions argued for a while over the best course of action, but eventually, Cedric volunteered to get closer and to try and look in the window. Peering through the thick encrusted grime on the window, Cedric could see a scene that truely terrified him. Although he was not able to make out any great details, he could see that there were at least four figures in the building - one, standing in the shadow, but who obviously stood some seven or eight feet tall, and whose massive girth and physical stature dwarfed the others. Of the others, two were strange, mis-shapen creatures, with whose figures bere bent and deformed. The central figure - in one respect the least remarkable, was clearly the most influential, and appeared to be casting some form of ritualistic magic.

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A hasty plan is a good plan ... right?

Returning to his companions, they quickly came up with a plan of action, involving Cardhu setting the hut on fire after toppling the water butt informt of the door to imprison the occupants, while Æðelred and Cedric snipe the helpless cottage occupants. At first, everything seemed to go to plan. They succeeded in lighting a torch, and then Cardhu approached the cottage unobserved by the occupants. Then as he threw the torch up onto the roof, he manged to topple the water butt over infornt of the door, trapping the occupants inside. Then it all started to go horribly wrong. Cedric and Æðelred’s attempts at archers were entirely ineffectual - bouncing off some sort of protective field in front of the window. And then things went from bad to worse. A deep animalistic roar bellowed from within the cottage, and the huge figure strode towards the door, only to be stopped by the weight of the water butt. Undeterred, the thing just turned and smashed it’s way through the wattle ’n daub wall of the cottage. Cursing their decision to leave their armour behind (they had assumed that they would just be hunting some wild dogs), Cardhu started to back off, desperately trying to avoid the massive two-handed axe being swung by the huge figure - a giant of a man standing almost eight feet, and wearing some soft of animal pelt and face mask. Cardhu muttered something about all Gods being bastards; he had brought a new longbow along because he didn't want to fight anything hand-to-hand on this trip. The longbow was on the ground, thirty feet away ... and here he was - no armour, no shield, and just a puny sword to hold off this mountain of an opponent.

Even as he backed off, two more creatures emerged from the burning cottage. These were nothing like anything any of these guys had ever seen before. Short - barely breaking the five-foot mark, they are truely demonic beings, with strange, leathery skin; tusks protruding from their lower jaws; oddly long arms and short, bandy legs; glowing red eyes, and wickedly sharp blades in each hand.

Praying to the Gods for guidance, Cedric and Æðelred loose their arrows - Cedir’s shot striked the towering figure deep in the chest, but he keeps coming, unfazed. Æðelred’s shot clips one of the strange demons, but only slows it slightly. Dropping his bow, Æðelred runs to help Cardhu, while Cedric keeps up a rain of arrows. Cardhu, dispite desparately trying to parry the massive blows from the great figure, is unable to block on of its great blows, and is sent flying through the air; ripping the belt from his trews. Lying there stunned, with his trousers are at half-mast, Cardhu struggles to regain his footing, while Æðelred suddenly realises that he has three terrifying beast attacking him. The giant figure pursues his sparring partner, and Æðelred succeeds in felling one of the stunted demons with a lucky thrust with his spear, but is injured by the other before Cedric can fell it with a lucky shot.

Catching a glimpse of the spell-user, Cedric lines up for the perfect shot, and with the very luck of the Gods, manages to pin the guy to the burning wall. Meanwhile, Cardhu manages to shake of the ringing in his head in time to meet the next assault, only luck (or Fate) allowing him to survive the round. His counter-attack starts full of good intentions but the requirement that he hold up his trousers with his left hand makes it all too difficult and he fumbles, giving himself a nasty cut. Cardhu calls upon the fates to aid him and launches a heroic all-out attack on the beast-man, an upward sweep of his blade that shears through the thing’s breastbone in a welter of gore. It topples to the ground beside him.

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Sending for reinforcements ... AFTER the fact?

Looking at the carnage around them - and the merrily burning cottage - the three companions decide that they need to fetch the local priest to banish the essence of the demons they had fought, and Cardhu volunteers for this duty. As Cardhu disappears into the darkness, Cedric looks over to Æðelred, and points to the cottage -
“If there’s anything interesting in there, we don’t have much time to find it”.
They quickly search the building and through the burning timbers, Æðelred spots an ornate chest lying open with a bunch of scrolls, books and papers scattered about near the area where the magus had been preparing his ritual. Working as quickly as they can, Æðelred gathers as many of the items as he can into the chest and drags it out of the building, while Cedric rescues the body of the magus. Their gambit - while rather foolish - is successful (barely), and as Cedric exits the building, with Æðelred in close pursuit, the burning timber frame of the building starts to collaps inwards, sending burning roof timbers and wattles shawering into the building. As the two of them sit there, the entire cottage collapses and is consumed by the flames. Looking at the body of the magus they had slain, Cedric gets a sinking feeling in his gut - the man looks remarkably like the pictures of the Baron’s brother they had seen in the Manor House that morning. The burns, bruises and other injuries the two had sustained over the last half hour were starting to take their toll on the two, so as Æðelred begins to bandage his more serious wounds, Cedric attempts to utilise a healing spell that his father had shown him years before. To his immense surprise, he does manage toease some of the discomfort he is in, although this unpracticed use of power, on top of the pain and tiredness from the late hour, exhausts him.

Seeing the glint of something metalic lying in the gaping wound in the massive creature’s chest, Æðelred moves over and retrieves a strange-looking amulet, nicking himself on a jagged shard of rib. Ignoring such a minor wound, he proceeds to examine the amulet. A strangely intricate design, it appears to be almost woven from fine strands of some sort of black metal, probably iron-based, looped and curled into what appeared to be very fine chains binding a stylised heart. His facination with the item merely increased from what he could see of it in the poor light, he determines to look at it closer later, and quietly slips it into his pack at the edge of the clearing. He then starts to build a pyre for the great beast (it is too heavy to drag back over to the burning cottage). Before he can complete this task, he hears the sound of approaching horses, and quickly moves to find his spear. To his immense relief, it is Cardhu who enters the clearing.

Cardhu returns with the Steward, some men-at-arms and a friar. After hearing the description of the night’s events, the friar’s expression becomes creased with concern. His first order of business, in conjunction with the Steward, is to direct the men-at-arms to build a formal funeral pyre for the former brother of the Baron. After performing the traditional funerary rites of the Æðeleode, he also takes pains to bind the spirit of what he calls the ‘Shape-stealer’ demon to which he attributes the unusual behaviour of the former noble. While this is going on, he also directs some of the available men to dispose of the two small demons by tossing their corpses into the still-burning remains of the cottage. However, before they do this, he invokes the powers of Gods to bind and banish any remaining demonic spirit that is still associated with the corpses. Finally, he turns to the last body - the massive beast-like warrior. From his expression and attitude, the companions soon gather that he seems to be surprised that such a being would be found associating with the abominations they had destroyed. After some prompting from Cedric, he explains that this corpse appears to be that of a "Wild-blood" - something he had never seen before, but all of the lores he was aware of spoke of them as being the champion-servants of the Dynndh, created by the most powerful of the Dynndh Druids - the Gorsedh, known as the Glew Bocaré by the Æðeleode. he asks if any of the companions had seen if the Wild-blood had been wearing any sort of unusual items - a chain or amulet - through which it might have been being controlled. The three companions all intially denied seeing any such item, but then after thinking back on his battle with it, Cardhu recollected seeing the amulet that Æðelred had removed from it’s corpse. As Æðelred had been the main person to handle the Wildblood since the battle, the other two turn to ask him if he had seen any such item. At first, he continued to deny it, but when the friar suggested that it might have a corrupting influence on the bearer, he reconsidered and handed the item to the friar. Looking at the item with distaste, the friar proceeded to wrap the item in several layers of cloth, before securing it in his belongings, promising to bring it to one of the other members of his order to be disposed of correctly.

Accompanied by the Steward and some of the men-at-arms, the companions return to town, feeling rather the worse for wear, considering they had left that morning expecting a relatively easy hunting trip ...

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