The Misfits Chapter 1
Our heroes are at West Manor, which is the centre of Sir Robert’s land holdings in this area near to St Flour. Each of them is hear for a different reason, some as part of there ongoing training, some because they work for Sir Robert, others seeking safety and the chance to further there own aims and some as hostages for others good behaviour.
The Squire Ghislain looks after this manor and oversees the others while Sir Robert is away, as he is at the moment, and the misfits are supposed to give him every respect. However they tend to find him a bit officious, its not that he can not be nice as he is generous to his favourites, but he just gets on your nerves, he is always trying to find work for idle hands, particularly there’s, from writing out the manor accounts to repairing defences etc which interferes with them practicing there weapon skills and other things they would rather be doing. Although they know it’s there lot in life they had hoped for better and long for the day when they have earned enough to buy there own manor and be in charge. Even Victoire has to work on sowing etc when she is not trying to encourage Pierre to help her in freeing her husband or go hunting. Our misfit group have all been here for a while now and have come to know each other well forming a strange bond as only misfits can.
Today has brought some excitement, a merchant caravan under Olaf, Pierre, and Tristan has come to the village on its way to the summer fairs, and is in need of an extra few guards for there onward travel to the next town, Issoire on the Allier river, after St Flour where it is stopping next. Squire Ghislain has added our heroes to its number till it can reach safety at Issoire [around 4 days north of St Flour] as it will have to pass though areas under Router control. So he decides to attach the misfits to the job. Not that that they mind it will get them away from him for a while. However he does make it clear that they are now under the orders of the merchants and are to return back as soon as they realise them from the job. From Issoire they will have to pass Pont-du-Chateau, held by routiers and the only crossing place other than Moulins or Brioude over the Allier, to get to Moulins. Pont-du-Chateau could well be a trouble point for them as it has been to many merchants over the last few years; it is likely they will wait until there is a big enough group to make the trip safer. Victoire’s husband is being kept there, at Pont-du-Chateau, or at least he was when she last heard.
Peter is sent as the scout, Jules is sent, because although bookish which gets on Ghislain nerves, he is a tough little fighter, Romeo to keep him away from his daughters, and Sinclaire is sent as the natural leader of the small group as he is known to like protecting travellers, however he like the rest of you are still under the orders of Olaf and the others. Victoire asks if she can go along and as Ghislain wants to keep her away from his son and daughters he agrees, as he is not sure what to do with a married tomboy when Sir Robert is away.
He also gives them the following individual instructions.
Romeo is to go and inspect the books of Madame Bardot’s fine clothing and cloth; The Bridge Stew; and Jeanette’s Herbs and Spices, all part owned by Sir Robert, also remind them that there taxes are due after the fair.
Victoire is asked to purchase some buttons, and ribbons from the market for his wife Mary and the girls. She is given 2Lt to do so.
Sinclare is given a small heavy chest to give to Bishop d’Estang, [holds 2,0000d the church tithe].
Also he wants all of you to pick up the weapons and armour Sir Robert and the town council has asked the garrison at Issoire to supply, they will fit on a couple of pack horses or a cart.
The caravan consists of 10 ox wagons and drivers; 3 merchants a horse with 3 servants on the wagons, and 4 guards [Baudoin, Bonaventure; Carol & Edouard] all a horse. It is carrying spices and cloth from the coast towards the channel. The four guards carry crossbows and swords as well as wearing a mail shirt under there tunics. The whole caravan can all speak French with various regional accents. The misfits ask to take 2 pack horses for all the weapons they have to pick up.
The first day takes the group to St Flour, the local town; they pass through the lovely green and fertile lands of the manor and those manors nearer the town. they see the mountains rising in the distance and follow the men and women working in the fields bringing the harvest. As they approach the town which is built on a volcanic outcrop above a river and is walled they see the smoke raising from the homes within and without the walls, as they get closer they see the spires of the churches of Saint-Sauveur, Saint Pierre and Saint Flour and the abbey tower of St Flour piecing the skyline between the smoke. The group moves closer and come to small hovels outside the walls, homes to the very poor and the town farmers. As they all enter the town gates the guards check the wagons and the merchants pay the entry toll. Our heroes are all warned about causing trouble and told to check all missile and heavy weapons at the town hall and pointed in the direction of the market square the centre of the summer fair. The smell of the town hits there noses as does the lack of space with buildings reaching out to touch each other above the street. The market square is near to the abbey where the merchants will set up shop for a couple of days, they will have to watch the goods, and one of them with one of the other guards will be here at all times doing a 3 hour stint. Meanwhile the others while they are here can spend the nights at the town’s inns spending some of there savings and seeing some of there friends. St Flour main trades other than the various food ones are glass, cloth and tanning. The town does have an herbalist and a couple of weapon smiths and armourers who can repair or make basic weapons or armour. It also has a bath house the Bridge Stew, where weary travellers can get a hot bath and good food and drink in female company it costs around a shilling a time.
Jules and Sinclare set up in the market to act as notaries, they pay the 12d market fee and take turns manning the booth between doing there guard duties. Over the next couple of days they take 84d in fees. Meanwhile Peter does some Barding work at the Bridge Stew making 65d in tips. Romeo calls on the various businesses and finds that Madame B is keeping a small amount, when he mentions it she offers a bribe of 1Lt for him to over look it. He asks why and she says she is doing this to give it to the poor weavers who supply her a bit extra as some of them haven’t been able to work. Romeo politely points out that that is not a good idea but doesn’t take the bribe and warns her rather than reports her actions. Sinclare drops the box of tithe money off at the bishop and spends a little time there in prayer.
While they are around town they hear about a young man who has gone missing while visiting some of his family in a village further down river a week ago. It is presumed he is dead or captured by Routiers. His family have offered 1 gold franc for information on him, he can be recognised by a birth mark on his head and his name is Francis. The officials do not have the time or inclination to investigate themselves. Also they hear that a local routiers band has been preying on merchant caravans and small villages north of the town. There are also the stories of the wolf Old Yellow Fang, grey misshapen people roaming the wilds and taking sheep, bats with flaming green eyes and the dead walking at night, particularly those not buried after the plague hit them. As to more general news it seems that although the treaty with the English is holding tensions are rising again. Most people just do not want war to come again, as they have only just started to recover from the passage of the great companies after the last bout of fighting.
During the next whole day of the fair, Peter is on guard by the stall when he hears the hue and cry ring out. Running towards him is a young man, poorly dressed, with a chicken in his hands followed a way back by 3 men with drawn daggers chasing after him. It looks like the man will pass within a short distance of Peter heading for a side ally, but there are lots of people around and between him and where it looks like the man will pass. Peter decides not to leave his post and ignores the chase.
Also during the day Jules is approached by a woman, Delores, her son is being taken to court by a neighbour who says that he or her family stole a broach worth £10 from them. Delores swears it was not him but can’t prove it and the neighbouring family, the Nicholas’s, have found a witness who swears that he saw Delores son, Pierre, steal the item. Delores wonders if you can help her family by standing up for them in court tomorrow. Pierre is in the gaol at the moment awaiting trial. Jules goes to see Peter and getting him off guard duty and send him to find out about the two families by asking round. It turns out that The Family of Delores is not wealthy and work mainly as labourers and piece workers; the Nicholas’s are craftsmen and have some money. But asking around Peter finds out that Delores family though poor are well thought off while the Nicholas family is well known for dishonesty and slyness as well as owing money. They find out that the witness was a certain Jervace who turns out to be a known thug with a small gang. Romeo and Victoire are sent to see if they can find merchant with the broach. After going round the gold and silversmith stalls asking for a particular design they find one with just the item on sale for £15, the stolen broach, however it turns out that the merchant was sold it by a woman who looked like she should own it. With no other lead than Jervace, Peter starts trawling the town for info on where he might be. Eventually he finds that he is holding out in a back street of town in the upper story of a 3 story tenement. They are all in one room with a window on the back lane side. So Jules and Sinclare head for the building and arriving outside the door knock. “Go away” someone shouts from within. Jules kicks the door in and as he strides in hits the first thug he sees with his quarterstaff. As that thug falls back away from him the other four throw a dagger each at him with three of them sticking into him but not hurting him at all, after all he is tough as nails. In replay Jules and Sinclare hit another one each with Sinclare breaking the arm of his target. Jules finds out who of the five is Jervace, and eventually gets the truth out of him. He had been paid to say that he had seen the boy even though he hadn’t. Jules said they were not to turn up as a witness or else and they believed him. Sinclare gives them 90d to heal the broken arm and tells them forcibly to change there ways, reforming people is what he does as a prospective Knight of Christ. As they leave Jules gives the four daggers to the neighbours and warns them about the thugs who he says will be leaving.
When they eventually leave St Flour the next day they head north towards the Allier River and Issoire, watched on there way by various towns people especially children. There route takes them though more farmlands and past happy peasants working them. The caravan passes through a few villages and there manors passing the time of day with the locals. At the end of this day they camp outside a fortified [wooden palisade] village, Woodvile, buying ale and food from the villagers as this is the last good village for a while. They warn about the armed band of Sir Jack who has been coming down from the hills lately.
While spending the night at Woodvile Peter the minstrel and Romeo entertain the locals, with Romeo using his alchemy skills to create lights and manipulate them while Peter supplies the music. Next day they leave the comfort and safety of Woodvile and move on, with Peter scouting about 100 yards ahead on foot. Victoire riding behind him in front of the wagon train, with Romeo riding on the front wagon and Jules on the last one. The merchants are riding along with the wagons, with Sinclaire and two guards on the left and the other two guards on the right, of the wagons. There journey starts to take them in to less hospitable terrain. More rocky and crossed by many brooks, which make progress slow also they no longer see peasants tending there fields instead they pass deserted villages and overgrown fields. Ahead is a more a more densely wooded area, and Peter comes across a crying woman on the trail not far from the woods. She is dressed as a peasant and looks very poor.
Lilly, for that is her name; says to Peter “I have lost my child, we were gathering nuts and fruits in the woods edge when I heard an unnatural noise, investigating I moved a little away from Rose. When I turned round Rose was missing, I looked around and called out but could not find her. Please help me?” Peter listens to her and gets a description of Rose from Lilly, as the wagon train catches up with him and continues on its way with Victorie taking over point position. With none of the others deciding to Help Peter goes with Lilly to where she lost Rose. Finding out that Lilly and Rose come from some small farms in the hills, they are not attached to any manor and pay the routiers in food to leave them alone. Peter finds Roses tracks and follows them into the wood, she was running erratically. Going slowly and looking around every 50 yards or so he heads deeper into the trees. As he follows Roses tracks he see’s another set with look like a 2 legged deer these are covered by Roses but are heading in the same direction. After going some 400 yards Peter see’s a old broken down well ahead and Roses tracks led up to it, the funny two legged deer prints led away from this old well. Peter can see a body in the dark bottom of the well and so ties his 30’ of rope to a tree and climbs down, however he finds that he is 10’ short of the bottom so climbs back up and collecting some vines ties them on to make his rope longer. Back down he climbs and can see that Rose has a broken bleeding leg and is lying in a small amount of water on top of a pile of gnawed bones both animal and human. Grabbing her around her waist he ties the end of the rope around her and climbs back up. Then he proceeds to pull the poor girl up behind him.
Having rescued Rose Peter picks her up and runs to catch up with the merchants, collecting Lilly on the way. When he catches up Olaf give’s him a right mouth full for deserting him and the others. The other merchants say nothing but Romeo gets of the wagons helps Peter with dealing with Roses broken leg, Romeo spends an hour to cook up a poultice to heal the wound and splits the leg. While this is being done Sinclarie prays for Rose and gives 10 pennies to Lilly for any other help they might need and 30 towards the church to pay for Romeo’s aid. With that done they wish Lilly and Rose all the best and run and ride, in Sinclarie’s case, to catch up with the wagons. They then all continue there journey towards Issoire. When camping later by a stream Jules being told about the deer prints and searching his memory remembers hearing about forest dwellers using deer skins and hoofs to avoid being found in the woods. They settle down for the night with the wagons in a circle and keeping a guard of two at all times. This means they will have 4 guard watches each of them taking one excepting the lady of course. After a quite night they awake to Day 3 and continue there journey, this takes them into more barren wooded hilly rocky areas, but the wagon train is still following the river bank as it moves along.
As they go along with Peter in the lead, he see’s as he goes round a corner, 3 mounted warriors, one with a white flag on his lance, ahead of him. He runs back to the wagons without shouting a warning. As he does so one of them, with a white flag on his lance moves forward.
Stopping he motions to them to come and talk, so Peter moves back towards him while the wagons stop. He says “you have come into the territory of my master Sir Jack Pole, if you wish to pass you must pay 1LT per wagon and 12d per person in dues [£11-5-0] or suffer attack.” Peter moves back to the wagons and gives them the message as well as telling them that he has seen men hiding in the rocks around them. While they talk about what to do and Olaf says that what he brought the misfits along for to deal with this type of threat, Peter tries to negotiate on the price. Romeo luckily finds ten Italian Arbalests in the wagon he is in [used a fate point] and hands them out to be loaded. This is very fortunate as these are much better than the lever crossbows they have with them. They were part of the cargo and no one had realised that. The loading takes around ½ a minute so to buy time Peter shouts “in the kings name we demand the right of passage”. The routier Knight laughs and blows a raspberry, then waves his lance removing the white cloth. This is a sign for the 12 crossbowmen in the rocks to shoot. Peter hears the click of there triggers and dives into hiding. As he does so Victoire being covered by Romeo and his pavise fires her arbalest at the rider and gets a good hit [exploded] which punches through his armour of Scale and severely injures him. The 12 bolts from the bandits then hit home three of them at Victoire, all fail to hit or penetrate the defences of her and the others with an arbalest. With all the crossbows empty except the one Roemo hands to Vic and the one Jules has Victoire shoots at one of the hiding bandits 50 yards away, but the bolt bounces off the rock. At the sound of the knight being wounded the other two start there horses towards a gallop and round the corner at the trot. Sinclarie and Vic hold there shooting until they get closer as they are not sure they will hit at that long range. Romeo says hold till they get closer as they only have the two shots left. The knights speed up coming within 30 yards at the gallop, as they get there Romeo throws some elements into the air and creates a ball of light with floats towards the riders and flashes blinding them both knights and causing half the crossbowmen flee in terror. Also fleeing are the merchants and guards with some of them shouting “demon fire he’s a devil”. With two blind riders on galloping horses the fight is over, one crashes into the ground killing man and beast the other Sinclarie luckily grabs the horses halter and drags it to a halt, while Victoire shots the injured knight and finishes him off. Once all the fleeing guards, servants and merchants have claimed down and returned they collect the bodies and strip off there equipment. They have two warhorses in poor condition, with saddles etc. 3 full mail suites, and 3 long swords. Olaf gives Sinclarie one of the warhorses and all of them 1gold franc each and keeps the rest to sell on as is his right as there current lord. Olaf also says that they can not kill the routier knight as he will need to be tried and executed as a lesion to others.
Victoire gets Jules and the two of them go to interrogate the prisoner, she wants to know where her husband is. He doesn’t know but gets his teeth broken by Jules hitting him a few times before they believe him. Trying him to a wagon they move on camping in the wilds near a brook, not far from the battlefield, the night is cool and dark as the moon is covered. They are encouraged to keep a guard all night by the merchants. During the night around midnight the guards hear a terrible howling coming from the hills. Realising it might be old Yellow Fang, they have no intention of going to look. Nothing happens, and eventually they all drift back to sleep. A few hours later Jules is on duty and fails to see a zombie shambling towards him until it tries to bite him. Jules tries to shoot but drops his crossbow, so draws his short sword while using his shield to fend the monster off. Eventually the zombie the dead knight no one buried managed to get its teeth into a bit of unprotected flesh drawing blood and ripping a piece of flesh away. Just then the other guard arrives from the other side of the wagon circle and shoots hitting the zombie in the head killing! It. This time they burry what is left of it properly as they do not want it raising again. Jules refuses any aid from the evil alchemist and hope to have time to recover once they reach town. When they wake again in the morning they notice that there are very large wolf tracks about 100 yards from the camp by the brook as they are collecting water for the oxen and horses.
What will our misfits encounter next?
More undead? More bandits? Or something equally strange?
What will happen when news of the sorcerer gets around?
See next time.
After breaking there fast they mount up and continue there journey to Issoire, which they reach late in the day. As they approach Issoire they find it is surrounded by partly burnt out and deserted villages the outcome of war and plague. Issoire is another small provincial town and has little that they can not buy at St Flour. It does however hold a small royal garrison. The town is dominated by the royal castle shinning white on the hill with the town beside it. As they enter Olaf pays the tolls and as they reach the Inn, Olaf and the others thank them for there aid and give them each 20d a small pouch of pepper for there own use and enough good blue cloth to make one good tunic each, and tell them to enjoy the drink and girls of the town. By next morning they have spent or gambled all of the money away. Jules finds an herbalist and buys the herbs described in his book and using the Inns kitchen successfully knocks up a simple healing salve which works on his wound over night. Having found he could do this the next day he buys more herbs and tries for the more complex salve which he also manages and which takes effect during the day, these two potions heal him of the damage the zombie inflected on him. All the others stay overnight at the Inn which costs them 20d each, they also realise that keeping the warhorse will prove too expensive for them and so decide to sell it next day before leaving. So the next day while Jules makes his salve Romeo and Sinclair head off to sell the horse.
After wondering round town and finding that the inns and such don’t want a warhorse they realise that they should try the castle particularly as they have to pick up the weapons for the trip home. So collecting Victoire and Peter, they head to the castle and at the castle gates the bored guard sends them to the keep to ask for Sir Alan DeProst the commander, the keep guard gets a servant to escort them to the hall. Sir Alan is gracious to Victoire and offers her a set at his right hand and then orders nibbles and wine for the group. During the next hour or so Peter the minstrel plays and sings pleasing Sir Alan who gives him a gold franc for his efforts. Sir Alan realises that Romeo, who boasts about driving the bandits off with his flash, can make special things and asks about Greek fire. Eventuality they and Sir Alan agree that Romeo and Jules will make black powder for the castles defence and when Sir Alan decides to deal with the routier groups he will call on them to make a trebuchet to lob the powder at the enemy walls.
A week later having been given board and lodging in the castle and Jules and Romeo given a house in the town next to the castle walls to work in, the inhabitants having been thrown out, with a bit of luck and the use of another of Jules’s books they have 2 barrels of black powder made. The others start a shooting competition with the garrison. In the first round 5 of the garrison fail and the rest move on to the next round. In this round all the players fail as do another 6 of the garrison, Sir Alan gives the eventual winner a Franc. After a demonstration of the black powder to Sir Alan he is pleased and wish’s them well on there journey home giving them 2 francs each for the horse and there work. Before they leave Peter gives his pepper to the church and they all go and get a blessing for themselves and there weapons and feel from the reading during the 2 hours service that they should return home a different way.
Mounting up and leaving Issoire they pass through the town gates and head home. During the first two days journey homewards the weather changes and it starts to rain occasionally and it feels colder, they camp each night by a brook and eat and drink together while telling stories. This is a nice change from the boring day to day routine at the manor. It is a Time to please themselves, a time when they are not being constantly chassed by Ghislain, trying to find things for them to do around the manor.
On the third day in the late afternoon, the sky has been slowly darkening all day, and the smell of rain has been thick in the air. Now it has finally begun to fall, accompanied by loud peals of thunder that seems to roll across the landscape. The sun is hidden behind massive storm clouds, and a cold wind blows from the north. As bolts of lightning begin to slam from cloud to ground and large cold pieces of hail begin to strike the earth, the need for shelter becomes obvious. God appears to be smiting the ground and all hell is released. Ahead in the distance, a large hill rises from the ground, its form illuminated by the occasional lightning bolt. It seems rocky and solid, and though climbing it in this weather would be folly, it might have some outcropping or small cave that would provide safety from the storm. The only alternative is to endure the weather. Once they get within 20 yards of the hill, with the horses getting more skittish by the minute. They can see that the massive tor, for that is what the hill is, towers above the surrounding country. A few narrow ledges offer scant protection from the elements, but a closer inspection reveals a massive, arched entryway at least 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide, set into the side of the hill. The rocky ground just outside it slopes away from the entranceway, directing the falling water out and away. Given this fact and the sturdy nature of the hill, whatever space lies beyond the entranceway should be both dry and safe from lightning and hail. The construction seems quite sturdy, so the likelihood of collapse, even in severe conditions such as these, is remote. After Peter has scouted the entrance way out and realised that the rocks around it come from the cap stone which broke a long time ago, they all enter with Peter and Sinclair lilting a torch each. The stone chamber just beyond the entrance measures at least 50 feet square is dusty and with webs in the corners. Peeling paint and broken scrollwork suggest that it was once decorated with some care, but now only dust remains. Three massive stones block three exits —one each to the left and right, and one directly across from the entrance — all of which must lead deeper into the tor. The one straight ahead has a red liquid running from under it and into the cavern slowly making its way out of the entranceway. Once in and having looked around they secure the entrance with the packs with a couple of tents over them and another two outside collecting water. They hobble the horses and feed them and then using some wood they had collected during the day build a small fire. They find all load there crossbows and string bows and arrange the order of entrance guard before they rest around the fire. Jules checks out the red liquid and decides its water mixed with blood, Victoire tries to look under the slab its coming from but can see nothing and only hear the thunder and the sound of water.
The sound of hissing rain, pounding hail, and howling wind from outside is interrupted only by the occasional loud crack of thunder which spooks the horses. Still, this chamber seems stable enough for the most part. Even when the thunder seems to shake the very ground not so much as a mote of dust filters down from the ceiling. The stone doors leading into the tor, however, do show signs of weakness, seeming to tremble with every thunderclap.
Suddenly, in conjunction with a particularly loud thunderclap and a bright flash of lighting, all three doors split open at once, falling in two parts from their doorways into the room with a great cacophony. Seconds later, the sounds of squeaking fill the air as a pack of black rats swarms in from the furthest doorway. The rats break into two groups and head for the nearest bodies which turn out to be Peter and Romeo. Sinclare on guard can do nothing and Jules and Victoire move away and prepare themselves. Romeo deftly swings his Falchion and cuts 5 rats in half while Peter uses a torch to burn one. The rats start to jump up at them both and Peter jumps up and away so causing them to miss while Romeo uses his short sword to skilfully block each jumping rat flicking them away from him. With the advantage of having blocked the rats Romeo strikes back and skewered some more with that the remaining ones flee out though whatever exits they can find, still hungry. With the passages now open with some reluctance they decide to check them out going left first. With Peter in the lead, followed by Jules and then Romeo, with a glowing light on his sword, and Victoire side by side and Sinclare being up the rear they enter the 4 to 8 foot wide corridor which winds ahead of them. After going one hundred or so feet they enter a chamber.
The only object’s of interest in this dusty chamber is two lines of statues. The dust swirls slightly in a cold gentle breeze, there must be a hole somewhere. The statue’s resembles a sarcophagus standing upright with a craved head. The statue at the end seems to have a distorted head and seems to have tendrils instead of hair. A pair of batlike wings extends from its temples. Suddenly, its eyes open, revealing the glow of green flames, and the head flies forward to attack, opening its distended mouth as it goes and letting out a terrible shriek. This shriek causes Jules and Sinclair to go into the foetal position on the floor. [ Jules and Romeo both use fate to help them resist the sound, Jules still fails] as the flying head demon closes on Peter it ejects green fire from its eyes at him but he dodges just in time, as he does so Victoire shoots her crossbow and puts her bolt right though the rapidly moving creature. [a double exploding die] pining it to the wall. Peter now takes the opportunity to search the tombs and loot them, putting what he finds into a bag to give to the church. He finds a fancy gold ring in the now headless statue and within the other 7 statues there are decaying bodies and various amounts of simple but pretty jewellery.
Having cleared this room of al valuables they could find the group moved back to there campsite in the entrance chamber. And leaving the bag of loot there they headed across to the other lateral corridor. Following a curved corridor you arrive at a room around 20’ square and about 50 foot high that is empty save for dust and a single, small, stone chest in the centre of the floor. Evidently no one has disturbed this chamber for many years. Peter and Jules both check the room out and think it is safe with nothing hiding. Jules then decides to use his nice long polearm to try to lift the top of the chest as it looks like it can come off. With a mighty effort he flicks the stone lid off, as he does so they all hear a dull click and a hail of needle flints drop from the ceiling all around the chest. It is lucky that they used the pole arm or they would have been hit by this lethal shower. Once the flints stop they check out the stone chest, inside they can see a simple leather headband studded with small iron rivets in the shape of animals, two pearls, and 20 various gem stones. Jules scratches his head as he looks at the headband but it is Victorie who says it’s an old magic thing, it’s a Headband of the Stout Heart. It grants its wearer the ability to heal daily instead of weekly. However as its old magic they all decline to try it on. Again they collect the loot and put it into a bag, moaning about treasure that isn’t gold or sliver that they can trust rather than old heathen artefacts.
So they head back to there fire again and head in to the other corridor following the red stream into the darkness following a long dark curving passage narrowing to around 5 feet wide. As they move down it the smell of rotting flesh assails there noses. The passage is lite by the glow of Romeo’s sword and the torch Sinclaire is carrying. The long stone hallway ends in a 35×45 foot stone dusty chamber furnished only with cracked, mouldering tables on which lie rusted implements of iron and the carcase of a sheep bleeding slowly. Around the room are bones and benches as well as some sort of bedding? This is made up of rotting sheep skins and brush and there appears to be enough for 4. Rain falls into the middle of the room from a shaft in the ceiling that must run all the way to the top of the tor. This rain is mixing with the blood from the sheep and flowing slowly to the now open doorway. From the bottom of the shaft dangles a rope, swinging slightly. Peter stops at the entrance to this area and looks around,
Suddenly, from a dark entranceway on the far side of the room charge two burly humanoids. Each stands more than 6 feet tall and has feral eyes and flat facial features with long teeth and a greyish green skin. With a roar, they throw a spear each and charge into combat, thrusting there spears at Peter as they reach him. Peter avoids the thrown spears by diving under Jules halberd and staying at his feet. Jules is to slow to prepare to receive the charge and the fell beats both look like they will skewer him but one hit the wall and breaks his spear while the other one does hit and inflects a gash to Jules. In the next moments there is a flurry of combat as Jules takes more hits or just avoids them from the remaining spear armed brute, while Victoire fires her crossbow and then Romeo’s to pierce the other brute twice. Romeo getting past Victoire comes in swinging his two swords a falchion in his right and a short in his left, and hacks into the brute she has been shooting at. With that one felled he and Peter move to help Jules against the other one. Eventually with the others providing a distraction including Peter on the brutes back trying to stab into his neck Jules manages a good hit and chops its leg off bringing it to the ground dying. With both fell creatures down they chop off there heads and burn the bodies just to make sure. Meanwhile Sincraire has headed back to the camp area to check that the other two creatures haven’t got at the horses, but all is well and they must be somewhere else.
Taking the sheep and some of the old wood and bedding they return to the camp fire and Sinclaire, there Jukes bandages his wounds and having taken a number of wounds is feeling the worse for wear. He declines Romeo’s offer of a poultice as he does not trust his magic, its ungodly. Using the rubbish they brought they make a small fire in the corridor to hold back any more fell beasts which might be down there, while they cook some lamb on there fire. After an hour and with full warm bellies they decide to finish exploring the corridor, leaving the wounded Jules to watch the animals the others go back down towards the area of the fight. Once there they move into the tunnel the creatures came from and again follow a curving path till they see ahead of them in the dim light they have, a tunnel going off to there left as well as the one they are in opening up ahead of them.
They get Peter to quickly check the side corridor and he says he can see nothing to threaten them so they move towards the chamber ahead. A long, stone table dominates the centre of this chamber, and bright bits of sliver wink in your torch light from within the dust that covers the floor. Upon the table lies the well-preserved but dusty corpse of a tall humanoid wearing a tabard and belts of a knight but of very old style. Suddenly, the corpse sits up, lifting an old, rusted mace in one hand and a javelin in the other with a small shield on its back. As it climbs off the table, its mouth opens to loose an eerie moan. At this sound all of them flee even though two of them called on the saints to protect them. Once back at the camp they realise they are being silly but then the thought of that sound chills there blood. Talking to Jules he says it sounds like an Alan, a knight type solder of old Rome. Deciding to deal with this unholy monstrosity Victoire and Peter plug there ears with scraps of material while Romeo says its not scientific and can’t hurt me, Sincarie relies on his faith to protect him this time. So they return to the chamber of the knight.
As Peter enters the room again the knight moves of the table and moans, Sinclaire again runs and trips as he runs back to the camp. The knight throws a javelin at Peter who has thrown a torch with Jules oil flask tired to at the knight. Again Victoire shows her skill and hits the monster twice with bolts, both of which go straight through it. Then Romeo gets in close with his swords while Jules keeps darting in and out to distract it. Then the fire catches and the things burns up quickly till the only thing left is a shiny sword lying on the floor. Peter collects all the shiny coins on the floor which turn out to be old roman ones 358 of them while Romeo picks up the sword and fines it is well balanced as well as having a sliver inlay blade and gems in its hilt he decides it must be worth around 20Lt and being so well balanced will be easy to swing.
With this threat dealt with they head down the side passage to check that out. At the end of this narrow hallway is a small chamber whose wooden door lies on the floor. The smell of dust pervades the air, and the sound of thunder is muted here. Numerous body-shaped lumps are visible through the doorway, each wrapped carefully in layers of grey thread like woven mummies. Deciding they need to be carful Romeo turns his light into a beam and with Peter moving into the doorway prepares to scan it across the room and the walls. However as Peter moves into the doorway he becomes stuck in a nearly invisible web. Just as he realises he is stuck a big spider with a 2 foot body drops onto Romeo’s back and injects poison into him. Tough Romeo throws off the effect of the poison but suffers a little blood loss from the bit. Victoire shoots her crossbow and hits the spider and kills it, however the bolt goes through and causes another wound to poor Romeo.
With the spider dealt with and Peter freed from the web they check the area out and find among the various mummified corpses, of literally hundreds of rats plus various humanoids some human and others not, numerous rusted weapons and tattered clothes, all of which are worthless. They also find a wooden staff around 18 inches long with a pear on its top and sliver inlay along its shaft. There is also a small rotting leather bag which when touched falls apart and spills 75 roman deniers out. Again they collect the loot and put it into another bag. Setting fire to the cocooned bodies they leave this area and head back to there camp.
Back at camp Jules fails to make a salve for his wounds and they rest while waiting for the storm to abate. Next day the storm abates and they can continue there journey home even though it is still raining. The one good thing of the rain is that it conceals them so that they can see no one and nothing disturbs there journey until they get close to St Flour when the rain stops and the sun starts to come out. The last hours of there journey is made in warm sunshine and is most pleasant. Once back at St Flour they drop of the armour and weapons collect the ribbons and buttons and Jules buys some healing poultices from the herbalist, however only one seem to be effective.
Heading on back to the manor, they present the Squire Ghislain with the items they have found, telling him they will investigate further the ring, staff and head band with the church in case they are corrupted. He thanks them and says he will make sure that Sir Robert knows that you found it for him. “Have a few days off to recover from your trip and then I will have work for you all to do”. They use this time to pay for the repair of there armour and shields and sharpen there weapons ready for next time.
Once sir Robert returns he gives them each 480d as there share of the treasures, he confirms they did the right thing with the other goods and that the bishop has disposed of them in a holy church like manner. He thanks them for the wonderful sword they presented him with and says that they have proved there worth to him.
What dangers will the future bring? Catch up in the next chapter.