Search for a Sword: Part I
Bogged Down Pursuit
The heroes, after accepting the task of recovering Calumbais’ sword, head south as swiftly as possible, in pursuit of the necromancer Virsast.
They soon realize that they will not soon overtake their quarry. He has a 2 days lead already, and if the accounts of town guardsmen can be trusted, Virsast is summoning mounts and then riding them to death, in haste to deliver the sword, and news of its owner, to his master in Waelund. Fiona had said she’d heard him summon a mount before departing the tower, and this confirmation disheartens the heroes, but it does not daunt them. They simply trust that they can follow Virsast’s trail and track him down wherever his final destination may be.
Along the road, they encounter a group of monks in need of escort. These monks were abandoned by their knightly escort when the man fell ill, and left them unprotected. They are taking the body of one of their brethren back to the place of his birth, Blathe Thorpe, for burial. The party, although hesitant to slow their progress further, eventually decides to do the right thing and see the holy brothers safely to their destination.
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Just as the group approaches Blathe, they discover that the little lord Dor, grandson to the lord of the Thorpe, Sir Osbert, who had been called away to Fallowdown by the Baron, his cousin. As their knight was also called away, Reeve Cloverfield beseeches the party, obvious of noble mind and spirit (proven by their kindly escort of the brothers), to rescue the lordling from the clutches of a terrible, huge monster.
As it happens, the boy stumbled into a small sinkhole which proves to be the lair of a sizable black bear. Dor was able to climb atop a rocky plinth and out of the bear’s reach. Our heroes descend into the sinkhole and rescue the child, killing the angry bear in the attempt.
The Lady of the manor, Edna, receives the heroes with delight and a lightened heart. She rewards the group with a feast in their honor and a small purse of coin. She also has the bearskin made into a cloak, as a reward for Nicola, who was the true hero. It was Nicola’s efforts that slew the frightening beast.
Upon departing the Thorpe on the following morning, Fletch was approached by an old crone, the goosewoman of the region. She grabs Fletcher and cries “Beware the crying lady’s orb! The thirty slices… oh those thirty slices… Beware the crying lady’s orb!" The prophecy is a conundrum to Fletch and the others, and it isn’t until they reach Fallowdown that they realize the import of the odd woman’s words.
Just as the group returns to their Inn, which happens to be the night of the full moon (the crying lady is Myraginee, and the full moon is her orb) Fletcher is arrested by the local guard for presumably stealing thirty silver. The whole party is taken to the gaol, detained and questioned by an abrasive Captian, Roland Rowellyn. Being outnumbered, and innocent, the party acquiesces with the charade. They soon discover that the good captain was simply using Fletch and his friends to recover a stolen item, blackmailing them with the threat of incarceration if they did not serve his purpose.
Rowellyn intends for the group to pose as buyers, negotiating to fence the stolen item (a valued family portrait of Rowellyn’s father – stolen by the local Red Cloaks because the captain had persecuted the thieves despite the bribe they paid him). The party has little choice but to do the vile captain’s bidding, acting as patsies in a ruse for setting up the Red Cloaks to be arrested by Rowellyn later that night.
After agreeing to the inane bargain with the captain, but before the midnight meeting with the Red Cloak agents, the group discovers that Baron Fallowdown has had the southern gates to the city closed for a number of days. It seems he heard word that an assassin was looking to slay his cousin, Lord Sir Osbert Blathe, which was why the old man had been called to Fallowdown, and subsequently escorted back to Blathe Thorpe under heavy escort. It was this very morning that the Baron had opened the gates. The party were now only a few hours behind the villain Virsast, who’d obviously been trapped within the stronghold.
Having to wait until after the event at midnight was now out of the question. A terrible storm was sweeping into the region and time was pressing. They could not let the villain escape, being given this reprieve. Fletch decides to be the sacrificial lamb, and goes to Rowellyn with an offer. He would go alone, and also owe the captain another favor, or even willingly be imprisoned once the painting had been recovered, if the party were allowed to be released from the bargain. Returning to the party beaten and demoralized, Fletch states that he indeed bought their release from the agreement.
The party prepare themselves and flee across the Stone Way into Waelund before the gates close at dusk. They ride hard, entering the dark wood across the border, and directly into the terrible storm!
Cillean’s Journal Entry