The Chronicles of Etinerra

A Song from the Bards - 48th day of Winter
Heard around Yew...

It began on a cold winter’s evening:
He was the crudest elf around,
and she was the most beautiful witch.

She was his woman in a bar,
His beautiful woman in a bar,
His witch and he was Her Pig.

They danced so well together,
At first…
He wanted to drink together, around the world,
He wanted it all.

But then, in a flash, one big mistake
After drinking too much, together
A mispoken phrase, a careless brush of a hand.
It was wicked, so wicked.

What made him so foolish, none will know!
And then it happened:
Oh no! Oh no!

She a witch.
Alas, a witch!
His woman in a bar a witch.
It was dangerous, so dangerous.

The next day he knew his nose was different
He saw that he now had a tail,
His words, mere oinks to her laughter!

But still, she is in his thoughts.
Despite how it all changed that evening,
That cold winter’s evening.

And although his brave friends did save him…
He still pines for that lovely hair and one more dance,
When he thinks of that beautiful witch,
That beautiful witch and the pig of an elf!

Into the Thundersnow
Balto's Journal

What we’d learned on our first foray after Anastasia convinced us she was being held at Upland Keep. That strongpoint had a storied history, but in the years since the Doom, it had been abandoned for a short time. Marshal Constantina had begun to restore it, then it was taken by orcs, who handed it off to the Black Riders who had been plaguing Marshal Roehm.

After the Battle for Yew, as the orcs fled to the east, the Black Riders fell back to Upland Keep. When we’d liberated the slave farm, that cut off the Black Riders from their allies, the orcs.But Anastasia and likely other captives were holes up in the Keep with them.

So our party – Grel, Mazlor, Itsy, Sally, Fergus, Pyrea, Ceresei, Belaldur and I – gathered in Yew and kitted up with winter gear and bought supplies for the road. It would be a long journey – poor roads and worse weather. Willie and Josef, we left in Yew to help with the rebuilding of the town. Golub had left our employ, choosing to use his hunting and tracking skills to help feed the folk of Yew.

We stopped off at Carbaugh’s Keep before we left – wonderful food, and wonderful bedmates! Carbaugh allowed two of his fighters, Wynn and Oldac, to sign on with us for the adventure, giving us a bit more muscle in case we ran into trouble.

We sheltered at the slave farm, but found nothing much going on there. The snow was up to my chest by the time we stopped, but as we littlelings followed behind the party, my pony Gypsy and theirs (Hyssop and Red Perry) were able to pick their way in the path blazed by the big ones. The elves hung back with me, the better to avoid hearing about
Tangadorin, and speaking to Belaldur, I learn we share the same birthday – Winter 16! We make plans to have as grand a celebration in Yew as the circumstances allow.

The towns and farms along the way were looted and burned. Perhaps now that the orcs have been driven out, nature can reclaim some of these lands. As I thought this, though, we rode up on near a dozen Black Riders. We exchanged missile fire, then closed with them. I think all of us were injured in the fight, but we prevailed, slaying all of them save one, who I questioned.

Our prisoner, Inya, had ridden with this party out from Upland Hold, seeking supplies from the few populated villages left around here. She’d a hard-luck story but it boiled down to her seeking her fortune and fetching up with the Black Riders, led by a man named Lon. She was more inclined to look for opportunities than worry about law and chaos, so we got on fine – probably would have without the charm spell! She joined us – not without grieving for her lover and mentor, who’d led the band we’d slain – in exchange for her armor, sword (her grandfather’s, and horse. She led us to a nearby hamlet, Sheffield’s Fields, so we could shelter out of the wind and storm.

Grel may talk a bit much on his god, but he is quite personable. He got us permission to stay in the empty barn with our horses, and when the men of the household come out to greet us, convinced them we are no threat, and was invited back to the house to drink and speak of Tangadorin.

The next day, before we left, I gathered our party’s standard rations together and left them for the folk of the house. Mazlor created some food for them as well. Then it is off to an outpost of the Duchy, the village of Pincurth.

Many of the buildings are damaged, but the stone temple at the center of the village stands strong and proud. We were challenged as we come up by the militia, and Mazlor set off unarmed to talk to their leader, a priest of the Light named Geralt. Ordained in Enonia, Geralt knew Jorann, Mazlor’s superior in the Enonia Temple. References checked, we were all allowed into the village. I caused quite a stir in the village, so I quickly checked to be sure my armor is not revealing anything untoward. But no, it is only that my people and the elves have not been seen in these parts for many years and we are nearly forgotten. Still, they remembered to check their purses as I ride by.

We found a couple of fighters who had been serving in Upland Keep (just a day’s ride away) when it fell to the orcs. They had escaped by following a creek through the caves under the castle, then out a crack in the keep’s foundation. The news that Yew had been liberated brought great cheer to the village, and hearing of our battles with the orcs and Black Riders – and the freeing of the slaves – stiffened their resolve to hold out for the Duke. We returned to Yew, bringing with us the women and children of Sheffield’s Fields, and intelligence to guide us in our rescue of Anastasia.

Aftermath and Anastasia
Balto's Journal

We returned to Enonia from Winwright’s Keep and Steltin. Mazlor emerged from a meeting at Enonia’s Temple of the Light with grim news of the spreading strength of the Light Bringers, and considering ways to counter their influence. Meanwhile, Fergus, Belaldur, and I learned that Anastasia Roehm had still not been found. The last anyone in town knew, she had ridden into battle at Yew, then disappeared.
Mazlor called on two other clerics to come with us, and we planned to head to Yew via Jakar’s Rest, so we could pick up Willie and Josef, and Golub. First, though we stopped at the keep to talk to Anastasia’s family. I made a good impression on her younger brother, Alaric, but the Lady Sara was a bit alarmed when I suggested I could give him my spare dagger. Belaldur and I also connected with Milos, the keep’s weaponsmith., Mazlor, Fergus, Belaldur, and I kitted up and set off to find Anastasia.
We stopped at Jakar’s Rest and talked with the elves we had protected. They had truly been sorely used, but a season’s rest with good food and care should put them back on their feet. Willie, Joseph, and Golub Then on the road, we stopped by the Abbey of Dame Heather. Mazlor entered the Abbey with Sally and Isty, while the rest of us lunched on what the Abbess sent out. The next day, we reached Timbragh, where we saw the field where the Damned stood had been fenced off. The following evening, we were in Old Fawn. The refugees had moved on, but the militia was returning to town, and supplies for Yew were passing through, as well as the normal commerce.
We stopped the next night at Carbaugh’s Keep. Good food and good company. I’m not sure who all shared the bed with me, but everyone and everything fit! We heard of how the littlelings fought in the fight for Yew. I shared the stories of our adventures. And then Carbaugh told me a littleling folkmoot West of Enonia was planned for this winter!
Marshal Roehm had set up his headquarters at the town hall. Ynnivax told us Anastasia was with a force that had flanked the orcs, then got hit by Black Riders from Upland Keep. He welcomed our plan to search for Anastasia. I tracked down one of her men, Marcellus, in a bar and he agreed to show us the battlefield before he passed out.
The next day we saw where Anastasia had been taken. Marcellus joined our party, and we headed out along the path to Upland Keep. In the early afternoon, we come across a load of lumber – and in the distance, a set of skills. I sneak up, see dozens of emaciated humans, guarded by orcs and goblins, and a construction site. An orc patrol, oblivious, rides by me. I go back to alert the party.
After a short battle, we kill eight goblins and nineteen orcs, capture nine hoses, and then convince the fifty slaves that they are freed. We give them food and drink, and gently question them. Anastasia had been here, they say, but only overnight. And Mazlor finds her sign, showing she was there and the direction she was going – to Upland Keep. We are definitely on her trail.
But these newly freed folk could not be abandoned. We needed to get them safely back to Yew. It was a long walk, with the weakest on horse. We were getting ready for a short meal break when I saw something in the woods. I, Fergus, Mazlor, and Belaldur investigate and find these shapes are armed skeletons! We summon more of the party, leaving Willie, Josef, Golub, and Marcellus to calm and protect our charges. Mazlor destroys many of the skeletons; Sally turns more. We destroy all that stand in our way and find a great treasure, almost too much to take with us. We enter Yew and give some of the treasure to the Marshal and some to the Church to help deal with the displaced persons.
There are so many enslaved and abused by the orcs, streaming into Yew seeking help. And Yew is stripped of food and the buildings are in ruins. So some needs to think what to do, as more of the land and people are liberated.

Songs of the Bards - Winter 5, 59th Year AD

The Inns and taverns were full of celebrations, while town squares and city parks hosted feasts and games in celebration of the Harvest Feast day on 45 Fall. In Yew, the day was especially celebratory, despite the devastation from the Orc occupation. Thanks to Mazlor of the Light and the Heroes of the Duchy, almost a thousand gold crowns were donated for both the celebration and to assist the refugees and freed slaves. The Heroes had gone north in search of Marshal Roehm’s daughter and had freed fifty humans still held by the Bestials in captivity. They found a great treasure during this adventure and generously shared from it to help those in need. Praises are still being sung of the Heroes and of the priest of the Light, who cured a man of blindness, fed slaves from prayer and miracles and helped the Heroes as they bravely fought back dozens of orcs and goblyns.

Winter has come to the Midlands of the Duchy and as the farms and towns settle down for the cold, the Marshal has returned to Enonia. He has left his trusted commander, Sir Ynivax, in Yew to continue to oversee recovery as well as fortify the town and surrounding villages for a possible counterattack in the Spring. Sir Reynald has been sent to Draycott and the lands just south, to oversee the investigation of recent Bestial raids on mines and towns to the south.

There is sadness among some in Enonia. The tavern keeper of the Eagle’s Alehouse – Avael Guntin – died from a strange accident. It appears that she died after the Harvest Feast celebrations when beer barrels fell over on her in the cellar of the tavern. As Avael was not married, the tavern has been closed. After an investigation by the Merchant’s Guild and Enonian constable, it has been ruled that the death was an accident.

A Restless Night
Balto's Journal

On the road north to Old Fawn, I and Belaldur and Boraen discussed our philosophies. From very different backgrounds, we all still hold remarkably similar outlooks. We hold ourselves as trusted allies, and we won’t be stealing the bread from each other’s tables. Those we don’t see as friends or kin, though…

And as we rode, we discussed the prospects for mutual profit in checking out the jeweler’s shop and house in Old Fawn. Belaldur had dealt with him, and is sure he hides something. I asked to check the place as we headed to the Hound and Nixie; my initial survey lead me to think a rear entrance would give the best chance for success. We decided Belaldur and I would try getting through the back window, on the shop level, while Boraen held our horses. We’d do a quick smash and grab, ride for the woods, come back and carouse in the bars to throw off suspicion.

Alas, what the jeweler was hiding was that he is well-connected with the Old Fawn Thieves Guild. A warning was writ, for those with eyes to see, so Belaldur and I aborted the break-in. Talvi gained, though – I’d been ready to charm a guard dog, so had a hunk of fresh meat in my pouch. Hoping Talvi may remember I may have the stature of a child, but I’m not her dinner!

Boraen and Belaldur did stop in and pick up the proceeds from the sale of all the armor and arms we;d left with Amifrey – except a couple of bows he’d not been able to fence. Boraen took those back. We rode to Enonia, and glad I was that Boraen held the gold. No one was likely to accuse him of skimming the take.

Over breakfast in Enonia, we heard the news from the South, pretty much all bad. Fergus and I had left a travelling companion locked up in a keep somewhat past Draycott, where Lord Winright was concerned about trolls raiding his mines. Wikton, this companion was, a cleric of some god of metalwork. He had few manners and less patience. Fergus and I talked Ostlen, Belaldur, Boraen, Ragar, Grel, and Pyria to head to Winright’s Keep, where we could check on Wikton, the trolls, and rumors from further abroad. Galub resigned with Belaldur to continue training us in tracking, to which Ragar raised an eyebrow, and Wille and Josef accompanied us, continuing to learn fighting and tactics and a bit more, if the noises from the room they shared with Fergus meant anything! I’ll not begrudge them their fun – the innkeeper’s son in Draycott was happy to see me again, too. The rules against rishathra protect us littlelings from entanglements with the big folk, but it is hard to resist Klaus’ cooking and caresses.

Delayed a bit by some pilgrims on the road ahead of us, we arrived midday at Winright’s Keep to find Raelin’s Roughnecks ranged around. Wikton had been sentenced to work in the mines, but at least he’d kept his head attached. Is it possible he’d learned some tact? But the trolls had continued to raid, and Raelin had not been able to stop them – or do much more than harm the men she threw at them. Promised a substantial reward by Winright, we essayed to do better and set up our smaller camp on the other side of the castle.

First watch that night, Ragar and Pyria rouse us as a group of terrified and emaciated, abused elves darts along the edge of the forest. Pyria callms them and gathers them to our camp. We give them food, and hear of the capture of Coralton and their enslavement by a force of orcs of the red eye – or was it fist? – and allied trolls, goblins, and men. When shown the ore, they told us that it was used to make the deathsticks some of our company had heard of and seen. The elves were exhausted, though, so we settled them in for the night.

I took watch then with Fergus. I heard mounted horses and orcish muttering. Talvi alerted and growled early in the shift, which woke Boraen, who shook awake the rest of our force. He asked Willie and Josef and Galub to keep the elves safe. The rest of us prepared for battle with the 8 orcs who emerged and tried to take back the elves. Night battles are confusing, but I called on the land to limn the enemies by me with faerie fire, which I think helped the archers’ aim. Pyria cast sleep on the center of the force. Talvi raced for the right flank. Those orcs not yet engaged tried to flee, but missiles – magic and otherwise – were flying, and I called on the plants to rise and stop the escape. A couple got away, but Ragar and I dispatched those who had fallen asleep – bloody slavers! Boraen and Beladur tried questioning the one prisoner, but he didn’t survive long enough to tell us anything useful. We gathered in 8 horses, though – enough for the elves to ride back to safety in the morning. I was ready for sleep, and handed the watch over to Boraen, Talvi, and Belaldur.

We weren’t done yet, though – a couple hours later, the trolls showed up. I had already used my spells, but archers with flaming arrows dispatched them. In the morning, bleary eyed but triumphant, we returned to the keep. Much was made of the elves, and we received our reward, but mostly we wanted sleep. The next day, our hirelings began the trip back to Jakar’s Rest, via Draycott and Enonia, with the elves. But the rest of us decided to scout out Coralton, to see what danger was on the other side of the woods.

A longer ride than we’d expected, we came to appreciate Ragar for putting food in the pot – well, me perhaps more than the others. Some three days from Winright’s, we came upon a large human fortress, overrun by orcs. A large patrol surprises Belaldur and Ragar, but they lure the orcs back to the rest of the party, and we use missile and spell attacks to take out most of the force. Boraen jumped on one, Talvi devastated two, and Belaldur neatly stabs one in the back. Pyria slits the throats of those she’d put to sleep, but securely binds one prisoner, with whom we return to Winright’s Keep. Belaldur, Fergus, Boraen, and I ride through Enonia to look in on Jakar’s Rest, and see how the elves and our hirelings are doing. We will need to think on how best to protect all these peaceful folk, and keep the orc taint out of the land. And I will seek out the peace of those goblins Jakar and I rescued.

Songs of the Bards - Fall 35, 58th Year AD

With the Harvest season nearly over, the inns are full of weary farmers and workers preparing for Winter. The harvests continue to look bountiful which bodes well for the Duchy of Irecia and the Kingdom in general. Marshall Roehm continues to restore order to the lands around Yew recently won back from the Bestials. Merchants are starting to reopen in Yew in small numbers, as are some refugees returning home.

The search for Roehm’s daughter, Anastasia Roehm, has come up short – no body found and no sign of her among the wounded, and only possible sightings of her being taken by the Black Riders during battle. The Marshall is said to be in great anguish over this.

The news from the village of Draycott is more hopeful. The Heroes of the Duchy, having found the path that the strange trolls have used to raid Lord Winright’s mine, not only defeated a small group of trolls, but also rescued elves who had been enslaved by the Bestials! The Heroes have taken the freed elves to unknown locations, but rumors have it that two have been seen with the pagan priestess Jorann in Enonia! Rumors abound that the Heroes found the last battlefields of Marshall Ormin and his army, as well having sighted the now-occupied Castle of Chorlton!

The “Winter’s Edge” celebration at the Chapel of Light has begun, with pilgrims all over the Midlands journeying to the Chapel to pray at the crystals made during the year. As always, the many crystals made in the Chapel are available to Pilgrims to take with them as talismans and decorations to use in their homes to remind them of the Light.

Somber songs and stories are being told of events down south in the Duchies of Southron and Pisces. No news has come directly from the Piscean lands, since the Orcs captured the vital land bridge between the Duchy and the rest of the Kingdom. Some merchant ships which have sailed to other ports have brought news that the Piscean armies are massing for a counterattack. Good news also may be coming from the Southron Duchy that they will also be attacking the Orcs holding the pass.

A New Friend?
Life of Pyria

It is early Fall 58 AD and I receive notice that there is a package for me at the Merchants Guild Hall. Going there I find a sealed box waiting for me, intrigued I take it home and carefully open it. Inside is a scroll using magic script. Well nothing ventured, nothing gained…. Reading the scroll I find it is a letter written some time earlier in the summer, the date is our true date, no 58 AD here.

Reading through the letter it seems news of my adventures with the group has reached a secret society of Mages, such that they invited me to join them. They call themselves the Keepers of the Flame of Knowledge. They fought against Chaos and the Dark Magicks during the Shriving, based upon what they have heard they believe I have promising abilities and am on the right side! How could I not take them up on the offer?

A little over a week later, after we return from Truebrugh I receive a visitor, “Joseph”. A short, busy sort of character, constantly moving and shuffling. Letting him into my room I am a little taka aback when he starts to inspect everything and then asks to cast some spells….. Acquiescing, I see hime take two small beads of a wax of some sort, he puts one on the window and one on the door. The spells he casts makes it sound like he and I are having just a normal, mundane conversation… interesting.

We sit down and he tells me about the the Keepers. They are the remnants of the Guilds who went into hiding and continued to fight Chaos the best they could, sharing knowledge and looking after each other. Those who follow Chaos are called Viridi Viola, Joseph called them Vivis, I think that does not conjure up the fear that I believe one should have when dealing with them. How could I not agree to join them, he seems happy with that and tells me to visit him daily throughout WInter at Parabellum’s shop and he will teach me, he thinks he can learn from me too!

There is much to look forward to, but this may limit the amount of adventuring I can do if I have to be close to the shop for daily visits. Still, this may be a small price to pay for the skills I will learn.

Village of the Damned
Balto's Journal

While the Marshall marched on Yew (and scored a decisive victory), I learned some important information about the Damned. They can be cured, at least if they have not been sick too long, and if they have strong constitutions. They have no memory of their time under the domination of the disease, and I don’t know how long they must recuperate, but they can be restored.

I get ahead of myself. I tend to do that – and to ramble, my uncle would complain. To the beginning, then:

As we waited in the small settlement now called Jakar, the Marshall and Lord Reynault were moving on Yew. Some of our number had heard the village Truebrugh was besieged by a company of the Damned. Knowing we would be too late and too few to affect the combat with the orcs and black riders, our company (Mazlor, Grel, Boraen and Talvi, Fergus, Ceresei, Pyria, Beladur, and I) rode to the village’s aid.

We arrived and the local gentry filled us in on the problem. The Damned mostly stayed where they had arrived in the fields, but sometimes rushed in at the village. The crops were untended, and those few farmers brave enough to face down the damned had been recruited into their number. The rest of the villagers mounted a watch from the highest buildings and gave warning if the Damned stirred – and some had seen a black rider apparently directing the attacks.

Mazlor was determined to save the villages amongst the Damned through some ritual of healing. Ceresei, who also was a druid, and I took turns riding out with Fergus and Boraen. They stretched a net between them to trap and bring back each of the villagers. Taking each in turn to the local shrine (“consecrated ground,” or so Mazlor insisted), the healing ritual was essayed several times. Almost, I caught the sense of what Mazlor did, but it seemed twisted up in superstition. I think I could manage a cleaner – and thus maybe more successful – call on the healing powers of the land. Still, he saved a few of the villagers; the others were not strong enough to take the shock of the illness and sudden cure.

Having remanded the healed but yet weak villagers to the care of the friends and family, we rode around the remaining Damned to seek out the Black Rider who had been directing them. We hid in a copse and were able to surprise her when she rode up, unsuspecting. While at first loath to tell us much, she succumbed to Pyria’s charms and spilled her secrets.

To wit: There was a significant force of black cloaks nearby. They had been controlling the Damned with a skull on a staff, but that had been claimed by the orcs and taken back to Yew. There had been a major defeat for the Black Riders and the orcs at Yew, and her fellows were cut off from the command structure.

We left the woman with the lord in the village and then teamed up with the town militia to take out the black cloak encampment. Again skirting the Damned in the field, we crept up on them in the night. Boraen sent Talvi ahead to spook the horses, so both we and they would be on foot for the battle. I was amazed at the ability of the villagers – someone’s been hunting! Our archers took out most of the Black Riders, including their magic user. Boraen defeated the captain of the black cloaks in personal combat. We collected the horses and arms and armor and went back to Truebrugh.

Some of us headed for Old Fawn and a decent tavern, and took the arms and armor back with us for sale. The captured horses we stabled in Jakar.

Songs of the Bards - Fall 27, 58th Year AD

Hail adventurers!

The Bards have been singing the praises of Marshall Roehm and Duke Reynald since the victory at Yew ten days earlier. The Marshall has been quick to try and restore some basic services and provisions to those who were left. He has also been securing the area around Yew to try and prepare for both a counter-attack and for the coming Winter.

The news of his missing daughter is not welcome to any, though. She is missing and neither ransom or fate is known. It is said she was either taken by the orcs or the cowardly humans in black armor, but it is not know for sure who has her.

The harvest is going very well, and the Enonian markets have filled many of the streets and surrounding fields outside the wall, as animals and produce come by wagon-fulls to head into the other parts of the Duchy and kingdom. It would appear that after 2 years of poor harvests, the Light has blessed the Duchy with plenty.

Dame Oriolt and Marshall Kelvin have invoked a centuries old rule allowing them to declare any worship of deities or religions outside of the Light to be “heretical and treasonous, bringing discord and disobedience to law and Man and therefore illegal in the eyes of the King and His Agents.” They are basing on a local interpretation that any worship outside the Light is “heretical and treasonous.” This has never been done before, and is considered controversional, especially when being done as locally as by a regional priest and a Marshall of a Duke. It is not known what the position of the Church and Duke will be, but the Dame is a strong and well liked priestess in the southern center of the Duchy. She has also declared that the activities of the Lightbringers to be Lawful in the eyes of the Marshall. It is said that several small gatherings of worshipers of old gods have been arrested.

Several bards sing of a strange story of trolls attacking a mine that lies between Enonia and Stouton. The mercenary captain, Ralen Gold and her tough group of men at arms, currently under the employ of Sir Chaddius Reynald, fought the foul creatures and prevented them from a raid, but the rocks they were found with are considered a strange haul. It is not known why the beasts were after a what is considered a scrap ore, instead of the valuable iron that the mine produces.

And finally, the bards are telling of ominous tales from the beleaguered Duchy of Pisces. It is said that the entire “neck” of land between the Southern Sithasten Mountains and the Callisto Seas has been overrun by orcs. This land bridge connects the Piscean lands with the rest of the kingdom. The Southron Ducal council is supposed to convene to determine their next course of action, as they have not received word from the Duchess of Pisces, Duchess Childress.

Letter to Marshall Roehm
Belàldur's message to the Marshall

My Lord Marshall Victor Roehm,

Greetings and may this letter find you in good health. Let me first congratulate you on your victory at Yew. I know the price was high, but I feel the tide is turning at last, and humans are beginning to push back the darkness in their lands. I’m writing to tell you news of the so-proclaimed “Heroes of the Barony” – Mazlor, Grel, Børæn, Pyria, Fergus, Balto, Ceresei and myself – and our actions in and near the village of Truebrugh.

We arrived in Truebrugh on the 16th of Fall, and no sooner than we had dropped anchor we were met by the village leader, Lord Alden Wagner, no doubt responding to the commotion our arrival had started with the townsfolk. He gave us a grave report – around 100 of the afflicted creatures known as the Damned were outside the village in a tightly-grouped, but unmoving force, and 10 of his own villagers lie either dead or Damned themselves between the town and that large force. Grel and Mazlor had claimed that the Damned might be inflicted with a disease that could be cured, so we made a plan to ride out on horseback and catch one of the 10 in one of my old fishing nets. We managed to haul one back to town, where Mazlor had prepared an area to work a ritual of the Light. I don’t know what magic he did, but It worked – the Damned girl we’d brought back was fully restored and healthy as a bull shark, amazing! We repeated the process, one at a time and sometimes with the help of magic or brute strength to hold the Damned in place, and although some were either already dead or didn’t survive the process, we did save a few more.

A rider had been spotted before we’d gotten there by someone in town, so we decided to ride around the large group of Damned to have a look. We found a large group of tracks the Damned had made, and camped nearby to see if the rider would return. It was soon after that when we hooked our biggest fish yet, one of the Black Brotherhood! Thanks to Ceresei’s quick thinking, we soon had her held under a number of spells and I brought her off her horse with my lasso. This was a lower-rank member of the Brotherhood, and of course she wasn’t quick to talk with us, but an enchantment by Pyria soon loosened her tongue. She told us the location and numbers of the Black Brotherhood crew nearby, and she let slip that the Damned had been controlled by one of their leaders – with the use of some powerful skull artifact perched atop a staff, he or she had been able to make them march on command! The Brotherhood force numbered around 35, including a spellcasting priest and a champion swordswoman, and I thought we’d have no way to beat them, but some of the others wisely asked Lord Wagner if he could put together some of the villagers into a militia, and soon he’d assembled 3 units – including an archery unit – and we were off to battle.

As we approached, we successfully dispatched with one of their sentries which gave us a chance to catch them by surprise. I still wasn’t sure of the odds of success, so I tied on the headband of a fallen friend of mine, to honor him if things went badly. Fortunately, we were able to catch them away from their horses, and had a large wolf at hand to bravely run in and panic the steeds. As a battle commander, you have no need for me to tell you what a big advantage it is to engage cavalry off their mounts! After a few volleys from our arrows, the Brotherhood crew was either dead or in full flight away from us. All except their champion that is, who chose to challenge Børæn to a duel, a decision that proved to be unwise. I believe the Black Brotherhood may have abandoned this ship and most likely will not soon return to the area around Truebrugh, although the Damned still lie silently outside the village. We still hold the Brotherhood woman captive.

I hope that you can make use of this news. If you have powerful clerics under your command I believe the knowledge that the Damned can be cured will be most helpful! Also, be warned that we don’t know the whereabouts of that skull, and the enemy may still have the ability to command the Damned to do their bidding. If you have any news for us about the current situation, or any instructions on how we might best help, please send a messenger back to me at the Hound and Nixie Inn located in Old Fawn.

Your ally in dire times,


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