The Misfits Chapter 2


The Misfits

Chapter 2

 

Of Wolfs and Routiers

 

Late September 1364 a couple of days before the full moon. Sir Robert has left again so our hero’s have had to deal with Squire Ghislan being in charge, giving them various jobs to do. Romeo manages to find a week to spend at Jeanette’s herbs and spices and uses her facilities to make 4 doses of a basic alchemy healing potion. One day they are all told to go to St Flour and see the bishop who was calling a meeting to deal with the wolf threat.

Bishop Pierre d’Estaing has been approached by the merchants who are fed up with there trade being disrupted by raids by Sir Jack’s routiers band on top of this the bishop can’t bring in the sliver plate he has had made for the cathedral. In addition his and other nobles sheep flocks are being ravished by a wolf pack under Old Yellow Fang. For decades the Massif has had legends about a huge Wolf that ignores traps, poison, ignores blows and hunts people and their livestock on a full moon. Folklore says it’s a cursed spirit who talks animal form when the moon is full.

Because of this and the inability of others to do anything Bishop Pierre has decided to organise a hunting party the public announcement will be that it is to find and deal with the wolf pack but secretly its main purpose is to deal Sir Jack a blow which will drive him away from the area. If it doesn’t then the town will have to pay him to leave there trade alone and this will be expensive. Sir Jack is holed up in a village [Segur] around 20 miles NW from St Flour in the hills. So the hunt will be in that direction. All loot will be distributed 1/2 to the Bishop and knights, 1/2 split equally between all the rest. They expect it to take 2 days to reach the village as they will not be heading directly towards it. A couple of the knights [Thadee & Armel] know where this manor is and know how to approach it indirectly

The Bishop has assembled a force of 5 knights; Thadee is a short balding 40ish knight who doesn’t like to take advice confident in his decisions even when they bring criticism; Vachel is a stout 50ish knight who takes offence quickly likes to give advice but will not make decisions; Wallace is a tall young red haired foreign, Scottish, Knight passing through, he speaks French badly and only a bit of Latin but is up for a fight;  Armel is a 20ish knight of renowned horsemanship, lacks experience of weapons though, who wants to show his valour; and Dorsey, another young local knight kind and gentle mannered, he will listen thoughtfully before supporting the majority position. He has also assembled 20 crossbowmen, and 10 squires and grooms. The Squire Ghislain has been asked by the bishop to add the players to this force as scouts.  Everyone will be expected to carry supplies for 7 days and be mounted. The supplies will be provided by the town, dried food, oats, wheat and ale. The bishop puts Sir Thadée  in command and expects everyone to obey him

 

To give the most change of surprising Sir Jack’s forces or finding the wolf pack the force will divide up into 6 groups, five of the groups consist of a knight, 2 squires and 4 crossbowmen with the misfits making up the sixth group. The groups will work into the hills about a mile apart moving at night and covering the sheep grazing areas. This way they will cover over 5 miles width and no force will be too threatening to the routiers and so scare them off. If a routiers group is seen the group spotting it is to skirmish with it while sounding a hunting horn to alert the other groups. Any group hearing a horn must repeat it and move towards the one they heard at speed.  Groups are not to follow the routiers group but just hold it off and fall back.  If the wolves are seen the group is to herd it towards another group using horns and shouting to allow the knights to have the kill.

As they were not going to leave before next afternoon our intrepid hero Jules asked if they can have some holy water from the bishop. “No my son, its is not for you to use.” Was the reply, so Jules joined the others in preparing for the coming hunt. Jules and Peter are given docile horses to ride and they prepare there equipment.  Next day before leaving town the whole hunting force is blessed in a service lead by the bishop. He tells them that God is with them and he has been told that they will be successful in dealing with the evil wolves troubling God’s people. After the service they share a meal the groups split up and head out to hunt down the Wolf.

That evening and night they see no sign of wolves but then they are still close to the town, as dawn breaks they camp and settle down to sleep. Peter, entertains the waking camp later as they prepare for there second night hunting. Jules takes a few hot coals from the camp fire so that he can light his lantern if he needs to and then they split up again. As it is a dry warm evening with a bright full moon, Jules decides he doesn’t need his lantern at the moment. The heroes are on the left of the line when Jules sees The Wolf pack attacking a sheep flock in the hills to there left. They decide to circle around carefully with Jules and peter dismounting as they are not good riders. Once they get upwind and within about 80 yards Peter and Victoire shoot with there crossbows, Victorie twice using a spare brought from town. Peter hits Yellow Fang, well they assume that the biggest wolf they have ever seen is he. Then with Romeo blowing the horn they mount and charge towards the group of wolves. The pack scatters as it detects them approaching, hanging around there flanks waiting to jump on any stragglers.

As the other hunting groups arrive the wolves split and scatter and the hunting groups give chase. The initial chase break the pack up into 3 groups and the heroes end up chasing down Yellow Fang and 2 other wolves with Jules managing to track them. They eventually bring them to heel in a clearing in the woods after an hour’s hard riding.  Here Yellow fang will not run but turns and with the other 2 growls for a couple of turns. Fang after growling leaps for Sinclaire using all its natural agility to doge all attacks on its way in. As it charges Peter shoots and misses while Jules having dismounted readies his halberd to receive an attack.  As Yellow Fang reaches Sinclaire, Sinclaire swings his sword at the giant wolf but misses the agile animal.  Unfortunately for Fang all this action made him miss his bite and he ended up with a mouthful of Sinclaires shield instead of his flesh. The next few seconds become a flurry of claws teeth and blades, as Sinclaire, Peter and Romeo engage from three sides the furry demon. Yellow Fang fails to make any of his attacks contact any of them but suffers many hits himself. So Yellow Fang leaps over Sinclaire to attack from the rear this works and he rips Sinclaire’s back through his armour bringing him to his knees in blood and pain.

Lucky for Sinclaire this was the last attack of Yellow Fang as Jules swings his halberd and splits the wolf apart. As it falls dead the wolf changes into the form of a young slim sickly girl with brown hair, which shimmers in the moonlight and vanishes.  Jules and Peter see that this girl is wearing a sliver necklace in the shape of a wolf and a gold ring with the image of the moon in silver. Sunned by this event the group wonder what it means, but even learned Jules has no idea. Sinclaire in a bad state prays [fate] and takes a healing potion which seal’s the wounds but little else so he decides to risk a second one and peter lends him his holy symbol, blessed [another fate point] and drinks the potion.  As they watch Sinclaire’s wounds heal over and he feels much stronger, a miracle they cry. Romeo thinks that’s all the thanks I get.

About an hour later the other groups start to turn up, between them they have killed all the other 8 wolves and are surprised that the misfits have failed to get even one. Our heroes try to convince the other knights that they fought Yellow Fang but he went away, they even showed the blood, but no one believed them.    Moving away from this cursed area they all make camp together and share stories about the hunt, and our heroes talk together about the vanishing wolf and things to come.  During the morning sleep some of the man at arms on watch see a couple of horseman on the hills watching them. Next afternoon after lunch/breakfast they break camp and then circle towards Segur  the force comes together around 3 miles from the manor in a wood and camps and prepares to attack it next morning. Sir Thadee orders our heroes to scout out the manor as it gets dark so that he can order the attack at day break. He wants to know where the knights are so he can direct the attack towards them although he intends to approach through the village and to the gate. Which he expects them to open for his main force.

Before they go they talk to Armel about what he knows about this village and the forces holding it. Armel tells them that the village on the side of a hill in a semi circle around the manor with a brook beneath it. The manor used to have a palisade round it and woods on the hills. The village is known to hold 6 knights and around 30 men at arms as well as villagers and hanger-on’s.  They ask Armel if that is before the two they killed but he has no idea. So with a bit more information they ride off and dismount in a wood near to where they think the village is.  Moving carefully through the woods, as it grows dark, they keep an eye out for enemy scouts. They stop as they come to the wood edge and provide cover to Peter as he moves to the left of the village and then between the manor and the huts and back round the back to return the way he came. This two hour recognisance allowed him to find out the following info. The village is largely abandoned except around the manor, the manor has been fortified with a 4’ deep muddy ditch and an 8’ palisade with a 6’ high wall walk structure along it.  Within the manor is a collection of huts has a long stone hall, and a stone chapel with a tower. Peter looked hard but saw no one in the chapel tower or the gate towers. The palisade looked repaired in places but Peter thinks it might be possible to climb over the wall by the chapel. The internal walk way and the gate towers all appear to be new scaffold construction to improve the defence of the manor.

Once back with the rest they discuss what Peter has seen, and start to wonder about what they can do, from firing the thatched roof of the chapel to trying to open and hold the gates. With no real idea of numbers and unsure of any exact time of attack over than  day break they have a lot to work out before they report to Sir Thadee and prepare for there part in this battle.

Battle of Segur Manor

For the next few hours are heroes discuss there options, many ideas are talked over and discarded as impractical eventually they decide that they must take out the gate guards and prepare to hold the gates for the morning while trying to delay are response from  the main hall where they assume the knights are. After some hours sitting in the cold woods they are agreed and send Jules back to Sir Thadee with this verbal message, the manor has a ditch; the knights are in the hall; the walls and gates have been repaired so bring ladders and a battering ram; the village is also occupied. Jules headed off into the dark woods on his journey to find the camp and report, not being a fast man on his feet it will take him some time. Interestingly they never once thought about asking for a few extra men to help in there task, after all there were crossbowmen and squires in the main force and a few extra men might have helped. With Jules on his way Romeo asks the others to leave him along for an hour as he prepares a ‘flash’ for the coming encounter. So he moves a little away from them and starts to concentrate on mixing the various elemental elements he had to create a ball of dark purple light which he can hold for the next 5 hours until he needs to cause it to flare into a flash to blind his enemies. He choose a dark light so it would not give his position away and he knew that the effect of a flash of total darkness on the eyes of the targets would be the same as bright light. Once he was ready and with only a few hours to dawn they started on the infiltration phase of the operation.

So with Romeo hanging back as not being as nimble as the others Peter led the way towards the north-north-east corner of the manor palisade with his makeshift rope ladder. Peter slowly moved forward with Sinclaire and Victoire following behind him. Making there way carefully in the dark avoiding the areas where the moon illuminated the ground the reached the ditch in front of the palisade. As Peter looks he sees that the ground is soft and a mist covers the ditch, so he prods it with his bow staff to make sure it is safe to cross. Once sure of his footing he takes a short run and leap and crosses the four foot deep four foot wide ditch in one bound, using the momentum he leaps up to grab the top of the palisade and pull himself over but fails. So checking for any sound of discovery he tries to climb it failing to find any holds at first he moves slightly until he does and quickly scales the wooden wall and pulls himself on to the walkway behind.  Checking there was no guards nearby, Peter lowered the rope ladder and Sinclaire and Vistoire both quietly climbed up onto the walkway. Peter pulled up the ladder and lowered down the inside so that Sinclaire and Victoire could get down to the ground between the two huts either side of where they were. Peter followed by lowering himself down after collecting up his ladder. With all three of them in the shadow of the two huts, but with no idea what was or who was in them they kept very quite. Moving cautiously and slowly they now moved towards what they thought was the halls kitchen and the east side of the hall, noticing the stables to there left on the eastern side of the manor when they heard a horse neigh after Victoire stumbled.

Once at the bottom corner of the hall they looked towards the gate area, around 50 yards away, to see if they could see any guards, Victoire with her sharp night eyes, from her night hawking activities, saw that there was a guard in each, makeshift, tower leaning over towards each other and presumably chatting. Peter and Victoire sneak towards the nearest tower the left one and once on the ladder to the wall walk and tower wait for Sinclaire to approach. After about 5 minutes, timed by doing a part of his rosary, Sinclaire moved boldly out towards the gate, as he got close he was seen by the guard who is wearing a wide brimmed hat and thick woollen clothes, who say’s, ‘sir, what can I do for you?’ ‘Just checking the guard’ Sinclaire says back, ‘is all well?’ ‘Yes’ said the guard. ‘Good, I am just coming up to check’. So Sinclaire climbs up to the right hand tower. During all this Peter and Victoire are waiting to pounce on the guard above them.

As soon as Sinclaire reaches the guard peter leaps the ladder and stabs the guard, his dagger sinks into the guard drawing blood but does not finish him, Victoire follows also leaping up the ladder and stabs with her dagger but hits the guards scale jack. As soon as this happens Sinclaire grabs his guard tries to bring him to the ground but the guard breaks free. The next half minute is a whirl of daggers, swords and bodies as Sinclaire wrestles with his guard, and Peter and Victoire stab at there guard while he tries to defend with his sword and try to get a cry out of his blood filled mouth. Eventually Peter and Victoire manage to finish there guard off and while Peter goes to help Sinclaire, Victoire reloads the bolts which have fallen from hers and the guards crossbows. Peter runs across the top of the gate into the other tower and stabs at the guard Sinclaire is fighting with, but hits this ones jack as well. Sinclaire helps by turning the guard so that his back is to Peter, and he is underneath. After a couple more ineffective stabs Peter tries to miss the armour and two good strikes later the guard is dead. With only a couple of weak gurgling shouts from the first guard it seems they have got away with this part of the operation. Now all they have to do is let Romeo in and wait for Jules and the dawn without being seen and the alarm being raised. They need Jules as he still has a small amount of gunpowder on him, from when he made it for Sir Alan and they intend to use it on the hall entrance to delay any exit from there.

After are heroes have claimed down, reloaded all the crossbows and taken stock and with Dawn a couple of hours away Peter and Victoire sneak down to check out the two huts either side of the towers 4 to 5 yards away. They start with the one to the right and carefully look and listen at the door and the shuttered window. They can hear nothing but they can make out a dull glow of a fire through a crack in the door. They then move carefully to the left hut and do the same, this time they can also hear snoring as well as seeing a dull red glow from a fire.  While they are doing this Sinclaire is keeping watch on the left tower. Meanwhile Romeo having waited a while at the point they climbed the palisade heads of to the left around the outside past the chapel area to get round to the gate and hopefully be allowed in. as he moves carefully, or as best he can, past the area near to the chapel he hears a shout. ‘Who’s there? Show yourself’. The shout seems to come from inside the manor and probably from the chapel tower. Romeo holds himself very still and starts to bleat like a sheep, trying to bluff whoever called out. Staying very still and listening hard he eventually hears breathing and then a gentle snoring and so moves slowly off on around the manor towards the gate.  As he reaches the gate Victoire hears something and calls out ‘who’s there?’ Sinclaire quickly calls out ‘joke!’ and hopes anyone who heard will think it was a bad joke. Unknown to them one person in an adjacent hut is woken.

Jules meanwhile having reached the main force and passed on the message to Sir Thadee returns and finds that the others are no longer in the wood. So he also moves around the left of the manor to the left edge of the village and waits for dawn trying to watch the gate area nearly 100 yards away. Sinclaire and Peter move down to the gate leaving Victoire on watch, the double gates are wood with leather hinges holding them to the main palisade. There is also two U’s on each gate holding a crossbar stopping the gates opening inwards. The idea is to move the bar and open the gate to allow Romeo in. just as they are looking at the bar they hear the sound of a door opening nearby and see a man walk towards the palisade away from the gate. He stops and they hear the sounds of him having a pee, Peter and Sinclaire start to talk to each other and the man joins in as he comes back saying he is glad he is not on duty tonight. After a few moments he stretches yawns and heads back to the hut and sleep.

Waiting a while for him to fall back to sleep peter & Sinclaire slowly move the bar back to open one gate and let Romeo in the three of them take the bar totally off and stick in in the ditch outside pushing it down into the soft muck as best as they can. Going back in they close the gates and use a rag looped over a couple of U’s to keep it from moving around making a noise. Romeo now gets his saw from his medical kit out and starts to use it on the leather hinges on one side of the gates, so as to leave it hanging and just needing a push to bring it down. As time goes on the sky starts to get lighter and the local cocks start crowing and the dogs bark, the area is starting to come to life. Jules moves back into the shadows and listens hard so as not to be surprised.  With dawn on its way our heroes in the towers decide they ought to deal with the church tower guard so leaving Romeo at his work the others walk boldly to the chapel door.

Getting there they enter the chapel a a 12 by 8 yard space with a altar at the front, they all bow there heads and pray the find the door behind the alter to the right and pass in to the priests room. This is a small 12 foot square area with a bed a chest and a ladder up the wall to a hole in the wooden roof.  As the trapdoor is open they head up with Sinclaire first then Victoire then Peter holding Victoire’s crossbow. Up they climb through the trapdoor and on up towards the roof of the tower. Reaching the next trapdoor also open to the roof Sinclaire quietly climbs through the hole onto the roof top, he see’s the guard hanging over the side towards the hall resting his crossbow on the parapet as he leans.  Sinclaire moves out of the way of the hole to let Victoire up, hearing the guards tummy rumble  as he does. As Victoire comes through the hole and starts to move to let Peter up the guard turns having heard something or sensed something and shoots his crossbow hitting Victoire with the bolt sinking into her. Sinclaire grabs at the guard but fails to hold him as the guard draws his short sword.  As Victoire pulls herself away from the trapdoor Peter climbs up and reloads the cocked crossbow while Sinclaire draws his bastard sword. The guard swings at Sinclaire and misses while Peter shoots and hits with the crossbow and then Sinclaire cuts him in half with a mighty stroke which breaks his sword.  With the guard dead Victoire drinks the potion Romeo made and withdraws the bolt with a prayer seeing the wound close up.

With the chapel secured they all head back to the gate towers taking the short sword and crossbow with them once back at the gate they load the five crossbows they now have and prepare for dawn and the attack. By now Romeo had finished working on the hinges and the left hand gate was ready to fall when pushed. As dawn breaks the village starts to come to life as does the manor with the first people starting to move around heading into the stables and such. Suddenly not long after dawn they hear a trumpet sound bold and load, all heads turn and those in the village head back into the huts. In the distance you can see your allies approaching down the hillside along the road heading for the manor. Romeo gives the gates a big push and it swings down as Victoire and Peter take aim at the hall doorway with crossbows.  Jules seeing people move back into the hut he’s near positions himself to strike with his halberd anyone going out. One of them does and Jules hits him and draws blood forcing him to fall back screaming. Jules quickly moves to another hut door.

Back at the gate towers Peter and Vic see 2 men leaving the hall and shoot hitting both and they fall back with the door shutting behind them. A minute or so later the allied knights enter the village scattering the looters and Jules cuts down another one. The allied crossbowmen are following behind into the village ready to clear out the enemies and protect the five knights back.  As the knights arrive at the gate Peter calls out, ‘Sir Jack has betrayed us’ loudly.  As the knights enter they head left to engage the group of Routier that is coming from that direction. So to the left we have the five knights charging into one routier knight and 4 men at arms all on foot supported by four crossbowmen. To the right Sir Jack with another knight four men at arms all on foot and four crossbowmen move to engage the heroes at the gate. Jules is still in the village moving to support the crossbowmen and engage the looters there.

Battle is joined; Victoire and Peter start shooting and fail to penetrate the heavy armour of the knights or men at arms so start to shoot at the crossbowmen instead. Romeo stands at the top of the stairs to there tower and blocks the way with his tower shield, ready with his falchion to hit anyone trying to get to them meanwhile Sinclaire is reloading for them. While this is happening Jules is in trouble 6 looters move in on him with there spears in a epic fight he moves to put his back to a hut and starts chopping. Jules drops two of the attackers before they bring him down bleeding from multiple wounds, and there we leave him dying….

Back at the tower, Romeo resists a push shield to shield from a knight who has climbed up. As Romeo pushes him back down the stairs Peter and Victoire hit crossbowmen with there bolts. The attacking knight moves back down to get a lance to thrust past the shield and as he joins the others Romeo sees his chance and fires of his dark light flash. All ten enemies are caught in the flash but non are blinded and only one is effected by the fear of magic and throws himself at the shield. Romeo strikes at the man at arms hitting him the man at arms tries to push and strike  but fails taking hits from Romeo which eventually force him to retire dear dead. As another man at arms starts up the stairs Peter see’s that the main fight is going badly for the routier and then see’s Sir Jack and the other knight heading for the stables. The man at arms starts hacking at the tower shield with Romeo striking back. Unfortunately as he strikes Romeo’s sword slick with blood flies out of his hand and lands amongst the three enemies at the bottom of the stairs. The man at arms then tries to pull the shiled out of the way dropping his sword to do so failing as Romeo draws his short sword and forces him back. Meanwhile Peter is covering his blanket with oil and then hanging it over the gateway and he and Victoire prepare to shoot at Sir Jack if he the knight make a run for it on horses.

By now the crossbowmen have cleared the village and found Jules, barely breathing, and the charge of the knights has broken the left hand force. The Routier being on foot, were no match for the mounted knights. So with the battle for the manor over except for Sir Jack and his companion. Peter lights a torch and prepares to fire the gate area if they head that way. A little while later two horsemen charge from the stables towards the gate and Peter lights the blanket while Victoire and Sinclaire shoot, she misses while he hits and downs Jacks horse. Jack nimbly jumps from the falling horse, while Peter and Vic shoot the other knight as he drives his horse past the flames and through the gate. Both hit the horse and it falls with the knight jumping clear. Sir Jack and the Knight both realising its all over present there swords to the attacking knights. Meanwhile Romeo and the other go and find Jules and with a prayer pour the last of Romeo’s potions down his throat. Miraculously Jules wounds seal and he stops bleeding, he will live after all a miracle.

……………………………………………….

For the rest of the day the victor’s collect up the loot and the defeated, while tending to there injured. Romeo starts work on making slaves for the 2 wounded knights, the 10 wounded crossbowmen and the 2 injured horses.  He works for 20 hours making the salves as some of them don’t work out right. Meanwhile the 31 non noble captives are strung up on trees and left to swing in the wind till they are dead and rotten. For the rest of the day there are sops and moans from these unfortunates.  The collected loot, 9 horses’ arms and armour etc, comes to around 550Lt which means the heroes get 9 Francs each although Sinclaire takes a long word in place of one of his francs as he broke his sword earlier.  Next morning the force breaks camp leaving the dead swinging in the wind and pulling there non walking wounded on stretchers behind the horses. Three days later they reach St Flour and arrive to a heroic welcome

The bishop has prepared a service of thanks in the cathedral and a party in the streets. The heroes along with the knights are given pride of place during these celebrations. After all it is obvious that the whole action turned on there opening and holding the gate. As a reward the town presents them with a set of livery and citizenship.  While this is going on Jules retires to the cloisters for healing as he is still in a bad way.

After the celebrations has died down our heroes spend there time doing more mundane things. Victoire stays in town improving her ability to dance and move with coordination, while Sinclaire retires to the cloisters to study and pray, Romeo decides to restock his life giving potions and manages to make 4, one of which seems to be above average quality, in between he continues his womanising ways. Romeo also decides to order a good green velvet lamellar suite of armour for Victoire, as he is fed up with her not having any good protection, this will cost him 2 ½ Lt and be a month or so before it comes.

2nd week of Oct 1364.      The Stone Circle Witch

They are called into see the bishop and the town council one morning a couple of weeks later,

‘Good morning friends, this is Albert, an older man, from Grisols’ says Bishop Pierre, ‘I want you to help his village with there trouble I leave it to him to explain and your resourcefulness to sort out, you may go.’

 

Albert recounts the following story. Over the last few months we have lost 3 children, [boys] and have not been able to find them. Also the village has been attacked at night by strange creatures of the dark they have taken livestock and food stores but nothing else. We believe that this is the work of a witch who is camped in the old stone circle near the village. However when we have tried to approach we where driven back by plants and animals.

 

The village is about two days walk away or one day by pushing a horse, it is in a wooded valley and the stones are on the top of a wooded hill near by. It only has 20 families living there and they are farmers and charcoal makers.

 

With this information Victorie go’s off the buy food and drink for a week, needing to get good wine for Romeo as well as fodder for the horses.  Sinclair goes to pray and inform Jules and Peter of what they are doing, getting Jules to pray for them while they are away. Romeo goes round his women and kisses them goodbye. They decide not to push there horses and so the journey takes a day and a half  travelling in the wet with a cold north wind blowing they arrive around midday. The village is as stated 20 huts surrounding an open green, with some cleared farmland around them. The main thing they notice is the smoke rising from the many fire pits where the charcoal is made and the carts loaded with it for transport to St Flour.

They are welcomed by all the village with the all of them asking what are they going to do about her and will they recover there children?  Once some order is established our heroes are shown to the families who will be feeding them and shown to the small wooden church they will be sleeping in and then urged to start the search as soon as possible.  Once they have unpacked there mounts and prepared they leave there horses behind and head out.

The stone circle.

About a mile from the village up a wooded hill is the stone circle, this is around 100’ across and most of the stones have fallen down or were never raised. As they walk up the hill and into the wood they  feel a presence as well as being disturbed by the unnatural noise from the animals and wind, this is not a natural place it almost seems alive. The trees seem to move in the wind deliberately flicking cold water at them while at the same time trying to hit them with there branches and roots. The wood has been ensorcelled by the witch and the roots do try to trip them up and the branches wipe at there bodies. By the time the get to the end of the trees they have all taken wounds from this treatment.  When they reach the end of the wood they see ahead the stone circle on the top of the hill. There are 4 big upright stones, 6 big flat stones and around 50 small irregular stones between them. In the middle is a small mound with a hole in it. As they leave the woods a flock of blackbirds, raise up from the trees and swoops in to attack them and the ground shakes making it hard to them to stand.

The birds swoop into attack splitting into 3 groups of 6, Victorie shoots into one group but hits nothing as she didn’t aim at any individual bird, Romeo hands his crossbow to Vic after she has shoot while Sinclaire awaits the diving birds. The birds strike twice not causing any damage but pulling at odd bits of cloth. As they swoop  in and out Vic shoots again and downs one and then dodges, Romeo and Sinclaire parry and strike both hitting and downing birds, but Sinclaire managing to throw his sword as he reached to hit a bird. After there 2 passes the birds fly over the circle and drop the bits of cloth they had gathered. Just as they start to recover from the attack of the birds a pack of wolfs attack from the circle. These 6 wolfs break into 3 groups and head for the 3 heroes. Victoire quickly reloads her crossbow while Romeo pours a potion into her mouth as she is more injured that the others from the forest journey. Vic gets her crossbow ready and shoots hitting a wolf, a general melee then takes place with Vic dodging around using her new dance steps trying to avoid being hit she unfortunately does take one bit. Sinclaire and Romeo also both get bit but between them drop 5 of the wolves while the last one runs off. Sinclaire did drop his shield but still managed to avoid being hit more than once.  Now the circle lies ahead, they can see that 3 of the flat stones are red, with blood and they fear for the lost children, and that there is a small mound in the centre of the circle.

As they approach an old women crawls out of the hole in the mound and staggers to her feet. ‘Yes what can I do for you my dears?’  As Snclaire try’s to keep her talking Romeo and Vic load there crossbows, seeing this she mutters and waves her hands as thou trying to keep her balance. Using the bits of cloth, from the birds, she casts mass curse on our heroes. Realising that they are not feeling right Romeo calls on St Matthew and the others call on God to protect them, [burn fate point] and the feeling of evil leaves them. They also realise that they seem to have missed some time. The witch had cast ‘lost moment’ on them before the curse to give her time to do so. Now right in front of them the earth moves and takes form as a humanoid shape of rock and earth. It strikes at Victorie hitting her hard with its rock arms, but again she calls on God and the monster seems to do no damage to her after all. She now dodges for her life while Sinclaire and Romeo charge at the witch. However they are brought to a halt 9 feet away from her and find it impossible to get any closer. She has cast repulsion on herself earlier and they can not overcome its power even by calling on God for help [another fate point gone].

Now a game of cat and mouse plays out with the earth creature trying to catch a nimble hero and them trying to stay out of reach. Then Vic and Romeo realise that if they run far enough they can load there crossbows and then move to shoot at the witch. So this is what they do but as the move to shoot she summons another earth creature to stand in front of her. So Romeo and Vic move apart to flank her and leave one of them with a good shot. As the man, Romeo, looks more hostile the witch keeps the earth between her and him leaving Vic with the change to shoot. Meanwhile Sinclaire was baking up in front of the creature just keeping out of range, but then he lost a moment again and the creature caught up and hit him but Sinclaire managed to get his shield up in time to block the attack. He then struck back hitting the creature but was not sure how much damage he did thou. So he turned and ran to open up the distance again and is hit in his back and he did so. But now he can again fall back in front of the creature again.

Victoire now has a clear shot and shoots, a hit! No wait luck comes into play for the witch and the bolt wobbles in flight and misses [lucky devil and a fate point]. Vic reloads and shoots again this time hitting slightly drawing blood. The witch again try’s to cast lose moment on Sinclaire but this time it fails and she throws her arms out and says ‘I surrender dears, I am now free from evil possession’. However Romeo uses this chance to run in and kill her anyway, it seems the force stopping him has now gone. The bad news is the two earth creatures don’t disappear but after moving a little stop and slowly become a firm statue shaped tall pile of stone and earth.

With the witch dead the heroes check out her hole and find it has very little of value just 3 small skulls and some food. So it looks like the children were killed but at least she has been dealt with. Picking up her body and the skulls they all return to the village and burn her and bury the children’s remains.  Romeo also collects the 5 wolves and skins them for there pelts. So that night they share there food and drink with the locals, all of them enjoying Romeo’s good wine and the villages fresh food. Next day they head back to St Flour feeling good with themselves.

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