The Misfits Chapter 3 Evil rises.


 

During the last 11 months our misfits have been busy with many things all quite mundane, they have been on guard duty, escort to merchants and sat on a few trials guild and criminal, and they have met with Sir Robert and escorted him while he was home in the spring. They have heard about the theft of food and other supplies from villages and rumours of strange creatures walking with the looters. Just last month a horse was stolen from the near the manor but they lost the trail in the hills. Also there have been more sightings of that strange white wolf, each time its tracks have just disappeared in the wild, at least its not attacking people.

Each of them has had time to train and practice there skills and have each gained a little experience to add to that they already have.

The cost of living has been covered by there work around the manor and town and they have made 4Lt to save after church tithes and tax. They have also received a new suite of clothes from Sir Robert to replace the old ones they had which have become worn.

Each of them has also been involved in separate activities along with there normal duties. Sinclaire has been called away and the others do not know when they will see him again. Jules – has mainly spent time his in study and doing the books for the manor and others In town. Romeo – has been making stuff to sell, also making black powder for the government. He managed to end up with 400d of Alchemist powder,  also 2 pots of acid from making some for others during the year; as well as 1lb of black powder left over from making some for the king. Romeo is good at making sure he gets his extra cut from working for others a good merchant trait.  Peter – has been entertaining in the area, picked up various amounts of gossip and news, improving his standing locally by his actions and minstrel activities of telling stories and entertaining. Victoire – well other than the normal sewing, hunting and household chores she got to do some highway raids, her gain is included in her savings She managed not to get caught, lose her horse or get injured.

It is now late September and winter is approaching, the harvest is in, and animals are being readied for slaughter or winter stabling. Our misfits have been out and about helping and guarding where they are needed.  One day they hear that some sheep have been taken from there pen and they are asked by Squire Ghislain to see if they can find out who took them and were they have gone. Peter, Victoire and Romeo go to the sheep pens to look around and ask about how many and when. Romeo and Vic see scuff marks and a bit of rough cloth caught on the pen with smallish shoe prints in the muck outside.  They are told that 10 sheep are missing they can see that some sheep where led outside.  Once outside Peter, can see the tracks of the sheep and little feet leading out of the village, as he follows them Vic and Romeo head back to collect there arms and armour, horses and the Sheppard as well as getting Jules from his books. It takes them about an hour before they rejoin Peter.  Once out of the village Peter loses the trail but Romeo and Victoire manage to find it. The trail leads them across country for a couple of miles to a small hut in a small valley.

There does not appear to be any sheep near the hut that tey can see. It is a small 2 room hut with smoke coming out of its thatched roof. Our heroes observe the area and then move down following the tracks, which stop near the hut and become a mess and then lead off again towards the hills. This time the tracks are of 10 sheep, and a dozen men with a horse, checking around and seeing no sight they approach the door to the hut and Vic knocks on it.

With the others ready to draw there swords or daggers they wait, after a moment the curtain is pulled back and a old woman in her 50’s says ‘yes what do you want?’ our valiant group ask if she has see any sheep or people with sheep. ‘No’ she says, ‘we are a bit of the main track here to see others’ ‘can we come in?’ says Remeo. ‘Why do you think we are hiding the sheep in here?’ ‘No’ says Roemo ‘but we need to check’. After a few minutes of back and forth conversation, Anna shows them into her shall abode. Inside there is the usual, small fire with pots hanging above it, a pot steaming away on it and a few other mean items placed around. This is obviously not a well off woman; also in the room are two young lads of around 13. Romeo asks if they know anything about the missing sheep they shuffle around a bit and say they know nothing. Romeo make a side remark to Vic about the fact that they are old enough to hang as Vic looks at there feet and says they must be about the right size. Anna hearing this says ‘hang my boys, surly not!’ Romeo says ‘they are, if they can steal they can take the punishment.’ ‘But its not there fault they had to do it’. Romeo and the others wanted to know why they had to do it and the story came out. They were forced to steal to buy off some soldiers who threatened to kill her and take the boys with them. They collected them an hour or so ago and headed off towards the hills. Taking the boys with them our gang heads outside and mounting start to follow the sheep, they quickly realise that the boys will slow them down so they send them back. The tracks are easy to follow and a couple of hours later about 400yd ahead they can see a group of people one mounted with a bunch of sheep. The rider waves and the hero’s waves back.  After a quick talk about what to do and counting the sheep and getting the Sheppard to identify them, which he does, they ride closer to within 50 yards, sending the Sheppard away shouting loudly to the knights behind to come up.

Once within 50 yards they rein back and shout to those ahead, ‘these are our sheep where did you get them from?’ ‘We have knights on the way and don’t want trouble’.  In a short exchange the knight denies that these are they anyone’s sheep but his and they can’t prove it and he has ten people to swear they are his.  Also he will not give his name when they ask for it. Realising they are not going to get anywhere this way they ride off.

As they ride away Peter and Romeo discus what to do next, harassing, ambushing or leaving and returning home. They decide to circle ahead and find somewhere to ambush the sheep thieves. With midday coming around they find a scrubby hill crest and set up there to await the thieves. Victoire gets into a hide with three crossbows loaded beside her, while Jules waits with the horses down the slope and Peter also hides but knows he will need to jump up to shoot. Romeo waits a little down the hill to support them. While they wait Romeo uses his ability as an alchemist to create his flashing light so that he can try to blind anyone getting close.

About an hour later they see a group approaching around 500 yards away over a small crest, this seems to be the right group and once they get to about 100 yards Vic loses her bolt at the knight’s horse hitting it. Peter leaps up and loses an arrow as Vic shoots again, peter misses while Vic hits the horse again. The knight slides off the horse as it bolts from its wounds and the archers with him loose at Peter as he dodges back down the hill. One of the arrows lands near Peter but his dodging saved him from any hits. As Peter runs to the horses Romeo and Vic pick up the crossbows and move back towards the horses. As Vic gets up the bandits unleash a volley of arrows which fall around her, four getting very close.

Having reached the horses they ride off quickly before the thieves can close with them stopping 100 yards away to cover the crest. After a while they fall back to another crest where they repeat the earlier actions of hiding in ambush. They wait and wait but no one appears, actually the sheep rustlers have camped and wait an attack.  After waiting a few hours and with evening drawing on they remount and decide to circle wide through the woods to come up behind the thieves and with the manor behind them so as not to be cut off.

As they head along following the trail they enter a dark dank forest, not one they have been through before. As they move in deeper it gets dark as the foliage above cuts out the weak sunlight, it also gets wet as the recent rain falls from the wet leaves. Suddenly 4 short greenish creatures break cover and shoot at them from the cover of at the other side of a small glade.  3 of the four arrows hit Victoire although only one hurts her as the others are stopped as she calls upon a saint to save her. Having shot there bows all four rush towards Vic but Peter drops one with his bow while Vic drops another and Romeo gets another. In a moment there is only one left jumping up at Vic on her horse and she hits that one with the stock of her crossbow. After they have dealt with the four green creatures they disappear and it happens again only this time 6 little greenish creatures arrive and shoot and then charge, however now they can see also see a translucent ghostly figure around 4’ tall just behind them smiling in a cruel way at them. The six shoot at Romeo causing him to turn to a saint for protection, then he and Peter close with them and start to hack at them. Vic shoots at the ghostly figure and her bolt passes through it. As Jules slowly moves towards the fight Romeo and Peter with Vics help using her crossbow drop all 6. as the disappear 8 more replace them. With Romeo and peter struggling to deal with this many and taking many hits Vic takes a risk and spurs her horse into a gallop. Within the 10 yards she gets the horse was stationary to full speed and then makes it jump over her friends and the green creatures and towards the ghostly form. Leaping from her horse Vic stabs with her dagger using all the motion of the horse. She passes straight through and feels as if her mind is ripping the form apart, an amassing feat of ridding which could have gone so badly wrong.

While Romeo and Peter fight the little green creatures Vic and Jules stab and slash at the ghostly form feeling that this is a mental attack even though they are using weapons. Quickly after a couple more hits the form vanishes and leaves behind a small black stone which Vic sees on the ground.  They also notice that all there wounds disappear as if they had not happened, and maybe they hadn’t and it was all in there mind. Giving the stone to the cleaver Jules he decides that it might be the heart of the creature based on some old myths from the east. They decide to have the blacksmith destroy it when they get back even though he thinks it is a mystical energy store.

As evening draws in our intrepid group attempt to find there way out of the forest, luckily Jules has a good sense of direction, at least this time, and finds the right way to go with them all holding onto a rope so as to not lose each other in the darkening forest. Once out in the open away from any night spirits which might roam the forest our heroes’ make camp. Just as they are doing so however they suddenly think that if they climb a nearby tree they might be lucky to see the camp of the sheep rustlers. They do see a dim light faraway which might be the bandits. So mounting up again, the four of them plus the Sheppard, ride in the dark night towards the light.  It takes them around two hours of riding, listening to the howl of wolfs and the sound of the night, to get near and by then they have had two accidents when Victoire’s horse misses its footing stumbles and breaks its leg, Victoire manages to leap clear and so doesn’t hurt herself. Romeo spends five minutes or so running his hands over the horse while chanting and sprinkling powder, and as he does so the horses leg heals before there eyes, it seems he can bring healing to animals as well as Gods people. As they continue on there way Jules the worst rider amongst them losses his seat when his horse stumbles, the horse is unhurt but Jules falls and hurts himself a little.

As they reach a ridge Jules tells them that the camp should be just over it, so they dismounts and move forward slowly on there hands and knees. Peter, the scout/minstrel, and Victoire, woman of the night, both move forward slowly to explore the camp. No guards can be seen on duty just a bunch of sleeping forms huddled round a fire and covered in blankets. Peter closes to within a handful of yards and circles round and sees no sign of horses or animal sounds. Having managed this without to his knowledge being noticed he heads back to Victoire and then together back to the rest of the party.

After a short quite discussion they hatch a plan, a plan with some risk as they want to check that this camp is the bandits before they start to kill and slay. As they have not seen or heard any sheep they are wary.  So they decide to leave Victoire on the crest with 3 loaded crossbows as well as Peters ordinary bow to act as a fire support point, while the Sheppard looks after the horses. Then with Peter leading Romeo and Jules following just in sight behind, the others creep in echelon towards the camp from Victoires left side.  Once Peter has them just out of visibility of the camp he leaves the others and moves forward on his own knowing he has support. As Peter moves closer he can see the feet of the sleepers and using a bit of cord ties the legs of the first person he reaches together, even though they don’t look like a mans legs. He then moves inwards making sure not to stand on any of the close packed bodies. When he reaches what he things is the head of the person whose feet he tied he holds his hand over there mouth and the point of his blade to the throat. “We are not thieves, we are godly, and who are you?” he whispers into the ear. “Whisper, who you are your life, depends on it.” He continues, removing his hand from the mouth. An old deep reedy scared voice answers, do not kill us we are just women and children heading to St Flour.

Letting the woman sit up, Peter unties her legs as the rest of the camp starts to awaken with shouts and screams. Peter calls Romeo and Jules in and as they move in Jules calls on Victoire not to shoot. After some minutes a white haired elderly lady, Agnes, and there story is told. The village, in the bishopric of St Flour but without a current effective lord, nestled in the hills, was attacked some days past by armed men. They killed or took the men along with the youngest women and burnt the huts around us. We grabbed what we could and have been walking towards St Flour for the last 5 days. St Flour is at least 2 to 3 days away for them, as they appear to have no food and are quite weak. Jules asks about how many men attacked and Agnes says around a dozen. With all the children in the camp now crying Peter starts to sing a lullaby to calm them down and put them back to sleep. With the 15 children starting to go to sleep, Romeo decides that they all ought to camp together so gets Victoire and the Sheppard with the horses to join them and they set a guard while the 18 adults and the heroes sleep.

Next morning the camp awakes as a noisy hungry place.  Our heroes share out the little they have and wish they had more; just then Sinclaire rides over the hills towards them. He had arrived back at the manor and headed out to find the others and help them. As fate would have it he has a weeks worth of iron rations which are shared around. Once everyone has had a little to eat, Victoire says she will lead the refuges to the manor where they can get the help they need to get to St Flour. While the others help to get them moving and agree with Victoire that they will leave markers for her to follow when she comes back to be able to find them, Romeo is trying to recruit workers to the cities cloth industry, much too many peoples annoyance, so much so that Agnes and others will not talk with him at all. With the refuges ready they move off with Vitoire guiding them and with each of our good and generous god fearing heroes giving a Franc each to support the refuges when they get to St Flour and thereby fulfilling there religious requirement to help the needy.

With Peter again in the lead our group mount up and ride off to find the bandits, heading towards the place they had ambushed them and picking up there tracks. Following the tracks they ride quickly and after two hours they see a group ahead with sheep. Hoping they haven’t been seen they drop back into cover. However they had been seen and the routiers prepare while continuing on. Our group of misfits decide quickly to follow till nightfall and then decide what to do.  So the day passes with Peter making sure that they don’t lose sight of the sheep stealers at the same time keeping out of sight. As night draws in the bandits make camp lighting a fire and cooking over it while the sheep wander around nibbling the grass. Once they are ready to go to sleep they leave two on guard and quite falls over the area. Peter sneaks forward to check out the camp, and see’s that other than the two guards all the others are wrapped up round the fire. This seems to be the right group and Peter moves away back to the others. As the night gets darker they discuss what they are going to do, and decide to wait till just before dawn when they will attack. Having decided on a course of action they camp without a fire and get what sleep they can.

Next day a few hours before dawn they awake and prepare, eating cold rations. Peter ties a bolt into each of two crossbows on a quick release bow and strings his own bow and puts in his quiver. He then leads Sinclaire, Romeo and Jules who have put on there armour and taken hold of there shields and weapons, until they are around 100 yards from the enemy camp where he leaves them, they are to count to 100 and then move forward 50 paces. Meanwhile Peter sneaks closer until he is within 20 yards of the camp and the guards he takes one of the crossbows frees the bolt and aims at a guard. Peter pulls the trigger and releases the bolt which hits a guard and penetrates. Quickly Peter drops that crossbow takes the other one releasing the bow string and raising it to his shoulder quickly loses at the other guard as he looks round at his mate staggering around. This bolt also hits and penetrates, with both of the guards badly injured and crying out the camp starts to come to life and the 3 heavy fighters start to lumber forward at a very slow speed due to armour, shields and Jules not being able to move very fast.

Peter swaps to his bow and starts to loose an arrow every 6 seconds, missing twice as the camp comes to its feet. He soon releases that he will be on his own for a while as it will take nearly a minute for his support to arrive unless they break up and arrive singly. The man at arms in charge of the bandits, whose horse they had shoot before, expecting trouble had gone to bed in his armour and is now advancing on Peter to cover the archers still getting themselves organised. As the leader runs towards Peter he laughs at the bad shooting and Peter replies “got your horse though”. Once the bandit leader is within 20 yards of Peter he stops and calls to his archers, “on me men” before moving forward at the run again. Peter turns and runs as well opening up the range again as he a lot faster even though he couldn’t keep it up for as long. With the range opened again and the bandit leader seeing the others approaching in the dawn he stops and waits for them falling slowly back on to his men. Peter now starts shooting at the bandit archers while they shoot at the oncoming heroes. For the next 20 seconds the shooting continues, with Peter once having to dodge away, Peter hits two of the archers but also has his bow string slip slowing his shooting rate. The archers manage to put hits onto the advancing heroes but most of the arrows fail to penetrate either Romeo’s tower shield or do more than a cause a few lights wounds on the other two. With the range closing Sinclaire charges in swinging his long sword at the man at arms, and misses while the leader swings back but has his blow turned at the last moment. The fight is now nearly over, as Peter hits two more enemy archers causing them to flee with 3 badly injured Sinclaire and the bandit leader exchange blows both parrying with there shields while Romeo and Jules close in as well. The bandit leader is having the better of the fight but not managing to get past the blessed Sinclaire.  Then all at once with the extra blades, of Romeo and Jules making all the difference they all attack together with Jules and Sinclaire hitting and Romeo missing the bandit tries to parry but fails this time and Sinclaire’s blade cuts into him snapping off and killing him.  Peter quickly chases down the 3 injured bandits and finishes them off as they are guilty of sheep rustling the other 5 get away.

 Setting the Sheppard to work herding the flock our four heroes loot the bodies particularly the leaders for his armour, Sinclaire takes his sword to replace his broken one. They manage to collect the damaged full scale and lamellar armour, a small shield, a parchment in Latin, 3 Francs and 67d from the leader and 6 simple bows with 30 arrows, 20d and 5 axes as well as some food. With all this loaded onto there horses and the sheep following along they head back towards the manor. With the sheep in tow this journey will take a couple of days and they arrive the day after the refuges having met Victoire on her way back to them. Once back at the manor they all have there wounds tended to and a weeks rest before they have to get back to the normal chores of manor life. They find that there heroism is the talk of the area particularly there care of the refuges. Even sour Squire Ghislain thanks them for the return of the sheep and there Christian treatment of the women and children, they have gained a lot of respect in the eyes of the peasants and there peers.

Parchment in Latin

My dear Sir Landry Lord of St Flour and all its manors, it is with much pleasure that I agree to your idea of an alliance.

I hope that this be the start of the decline of the Bishops and Kings power in the area and the start of My king Edward’s renewed rule.

Please let us know by one of the usual routes of the date of your action and we will move to support you and those who are in league with you. Bear in mind the time it will take us to move from Gascony to you. I presume that this will not before next spring as it will be hard for all to do anything during the winter months.

 

My God and St George bless you and grant us success in our venture

Your faithful ally and friend John G.

The Bows and arrows are put into the armoury along with the axes for when they might be needed. Squire Ghislain offers them the armour or 5Lt, the armour will need 4Lt of repair as well as 4Lt to have it fitted this will have to be done at St Flour and will take a few weeks. They get to keep the 3F 87d but also have to pay 10% for maintenance of there armour and shields. They decide to keep the armour for Jules to wear, as he doesn’t have the money for the repair and fitting the others give him what he needs and he has the armour sent off to St Flour for the work to be done.  They discus who is Landry and who would make the better Lord of this area, Romeo points out that Gascony is closer than Paris and the King after all and might make a better ruler. They decide anyway to give the letter to Sir Robert for him to pass on. So they give it to Squire Ghislain to pass on to Sir Robert.

Twelve days later and its early October, are heroes are still at West Manor when Squire Ghislain rushes up to them all at morning meal, and says one of the out laying village huts was attacked, earlier, grab your weapons and deal with it.  It appears a large very tall devil creature broke into the hut last night and took off the parents and one child after smashing there heads in. The other child has only just picked up the courage to raise the alarm and told us about it. Talking to the child is out of the question as she is in shock and it took an effort from family to get that much out of her. So grabbing there horses weapons and armour they head out following the tracks from the hut and having a dig at Romeo’s valour and fighting ability. Following the tracks is not hard as they are wide & deep and off the main track’s, however once they get to the wooded valley with  low hills they lose the trail. They know that this wood has an old hermit living in it and wonder if he will know anything about this creature. So they set out into the forest following the track until they reach a place where it crosses the stream, after an hour, at an old wooden bridge.  They check underneath in case a troll lives there then dismount except Pierre Sinclaire & Victoire who stay mounted. Peter crosses first checking out the area as he went then the others cross on foot leading there horses to spread the weight while Pierre and Victoire ride across with the bridge creaking a bit.

Riding deeper into the forest for another hour they come to a junction where the path also goes left. Pierre prays about the right way to go while Jules throws a die and decides to go left. Is this an answer to prayer? Following the path for around an hour and a half they travel deeper into the dark forest. All around them they can hear the sounds of animals and the rustle of the wind in the branches. Eventually they see a glade ahead bordered by the forest on three sides and a stream on the fourth. The path leads through the glade and around a small log hut, which is surrounded by a vegetable and herb garden, this must be the hermit’s home. Pierre offers up a prayer of thanks and they approach the hut having got Peter to scout around it first. As Pierre goes to knock on the old door, as they have decided he will be the best to talk to the hermit, the door opens and there stands a stooped grey man holding onto a staff. ‘Yes what can I do for you this fine day in the forest?’ he says. Pierre explains about the attack of the devil to Istacon the hermit, as he does Istacon invites them in for a gooseberry wine and bread. After hearing they tale he say that he thinks there best bet will be to go to the pool in the standing stones which is now scared to St. Francis of Assisi with an offering he is sure that they will get an answer to there prayer. These stones are to the north of here and they should be able to follow the track to find it.  With a final blessing of farewell they part company wondering about the strange man who talked to them as though they were animals themselves.

Half an hour later they come to a cross roads but continue northwards rather than turning off right or left, as Jules is sure that that is the right way to go. About another half hour they come to a Y junction, the left hand path looks like an easy one with little undergrowth and reasonably straight while the right hand path looks twisty dark and overgrown it will be slower to travel this way. Our heroes have a theological discussion about the merits of the two paths. After all believers are told that the path will be made straight and easy for them but then there is also the fact that the path can be difficult for those who believe. Peirre prays foe guidance and the 23rd psalm comes into his mind, he decides that this means that they need to follow the path of shadows and so go right. Dismounting as it looks like it might be difficult to ride along this path they continue there journey. About four hours of walking through a dark twisting overgrown path they come to a junction, presumably with the other path and then a set of stepping stones over the stream. Jules with his bad balance skips and gets wet as they cross the stones and then after a short uphill walk they see the stones ahead of them.

In a clearing just ahead is a megalithic stone table on two squat legs, the legs are around 5’ high and the table is 9’ by 15’ and a couple of feet deep, as they ride up to it they can see that in the middle of the rough stone table is a depression with water in it making a pool of around 4’ across and 6” deep.  Having found the pool and with night drawing close they discuss the offering to make.  Jules offers bread, while Romeo promises to heal the next 5 animals, who need it, he comes across and Peirre says he will treat his horse better for a month by giving it better food etc. They then sit on the table edge and pray as the clouds make the night dark. As the night draws on the clouds clear and they all see in the pool a picture of a cave and then a five star constellation, which Jules looking up see’s in the sky to the North West. So they are looking for a cave NW of here. As they see this vision Romeo also feels a blessing come upon him as he feels the presence of the saint.

Getting of the table they sleep the rest of the night away and as dawn breaks have breakfast. They then head off NW further into the forest going along the valley slope, as there is no path they walk and lead there horses rather than risk injury. as they go along they come across a fox in a thicket with a broken leg crying in pain. Romeo goes across to it and with claiming word tries to claim in down and then remove it from the thicket. He then proceeds to make a herbal poultice to ease the pain and aid recovery. With the fox over Jules shoulders they continue on there journey.  After around 4 hours of walking and with midday approaching they see a cave at the end of a small gully, Jules wants to have a closer look to make sure that this is the one. And leaving the horses and the fox they move forward to have a look. Jules becomes sure that this isn’t the right cave and rather than get distracted they back up to the horses and move on again. As they continue on they see the stream south of them through the trees it seems to be getting closer. Then after around two hours they reach the source of the stream and there see a cave mouth which looks like the one in the vision. Peirre feeds his horse while the others tie and hobble there’s and put the fox in a save place, Romeo creates his ball of light from his elemental powders and Jules lights a torch. Then they all carefully move forward to have a look.  Ahead of them they can see a small 4’ high 2’ wide cave mouth it is dark and they can see nothing inside.

Romeo sends his ball of light into the cave and Peirre follows it in sword in hand, ‘what are you doing in my home?’ rings out a steady voice, ‘I have you covered with my bow, who are you?’ I am Peirre Sinclare responds Peirre and there are more than me here we come in peace and wish you no harm. After a little more questions and answers the occupant says that he is John Hunter and that he lives here. With time to look around Peirre sees that the cave is a triangle around 12’ a side and 7’ high, the mouth is at an apex and the floor is covered with dry rushes and leaves. Over in the far left is a small stone enclosed fire with a pot on it and a sleeping area is in the other corner, rabbit skins hang from the walls.  John goes out with Peirre and talks to the whole group, ‘well what do you want of me?’  he asks. Jules explains about the devil attack and that they had been guided here. Romeo wants to know who Johns lord is and is not taken with the answer that he has no lord he is his own man. Romeo suspects that he is a poacher. Jules asks if John has any information and John says he saw a large creature last week around 10’ tall and he followed it to see where it lived but gave up after a while although it was heading in the direction of the old tower. ‘Can you take us there?’ they all ask, ‘no! its easy for you to find just head south from here’ replies John. John refuses to buch on this until Jules blackmails him by saying they will tell others about his being here if he doesn’t help them.  John gets them to give there word they will keep him secret if he guides them, they all so swear and he says ok and leads them off south having been promised a crossbow and bolts as his reward.

Around two hours later around mid afternoon, they see ahead a ruined stone tower, ‘that’s the place’ says John ‘I will wait here with your horses’. So leaving the fox and horses with John our heroes move forward towards the tower. This tower is over 300 years old and has fallen down to its bottom levels, leaving just the ground floor and part of the first. It is around 25’ across and circular with the door way bigger than you’d expect at 7’ high by 5’ wide with rough tooth edged stones at its edges. The first floor is just a low rough parapet of stone which means they can not see if there is a floor. Moving slowly through the rough undergrowth which appears flattened in many places they approach the door way with Romeo on the left and Pierre on the right with Victorie and Jules behind them. Peter is preparing to climb the wall with Romeo’s acid pots, he makes the climb easily enough due to the age of the stones and finds a floor to stand on with a open area where the spiral stairs come up from below.

The other four seeing Peter climb over the wall move forward to the entrance way and look in. all they can see is darkness so Romeo uses his still floating ball of light to illuminate the area, he kept paying mana to keep it alive. Inside they can see a semi circular room with another doorway directly opposite the one they are at. This area has leaves and other blown debris on it. Moving slowly forward in formation they reach the inner door way and look in. again it is dark and Romeo’s light supplies the only illumination except a little coming down the stairs. This semi circle area is full of gnawed bones and other debris and they can see the spiral stairs across from the entranceway. Moving in a little so that they can see the rest of the room they can see in the upper corner a pile of furs and sheep skins moving up and down as well as  some big iron pots.

Our heroes try to move forward quietly but the bones and stuff beak beneath there feet, suddenly they hear a roar and the skins move as a large creature stretches and wakes. They move forward and swing left to face the monster so that Victorie can shoot at it from behind there swords and shields. Victorie shots with her crossbow and hits barely damaging it as the creature stands up to its full 9’ tall and takes a step forward to swing its big lump of tree used two handed. Unfortunately the sweeping blow is deflected by a lucky parry by Jules halberd and hits the roof. Victorie shoots again with her second crossbow and gets a massive hit piecing the devils shoulder.  The three fighters step forward together so as to engage in combat with there weapons. All three of them hit but hardly scratch the devil it then swings again this time badly due to its wound. This blow is parried by Pierre and then hits Romeo’s tower shield which buckles under the strain. Victorie, moves away to get the third crossbow, while Romeo, Pierre and Jules all strike together at the monster. Romeo hits again hardly breaking the monsters skin as does Jules but Pierre moving to the right to gain some room gets a massive blow in which breaks his sword, yet again, which snaps off in the devil and slays it. As the monster falls to the floor with a crash they realise the fight is over and they have won without any damage. Pierre gives up a prayer of thanks for the protection of St Francis and the end of this terror to the locals.

Quickly searching the mess our heroes find 3 headless bodies belonging to the villagers, and five large iron pots with nasty stuff in them. They clean out the pots and hang them from there horses as well as tying the bodies to the horses so that the family can burry them. Meanwhile Peter comes down from upstairs having quietly pocketed the 27d he found up there under a stone. They give John his crossbow with bolt’s and thank him for his help before he disappears back into the forest. With everything ready they move off themselves heading home, after a few hours they camp for the night making a fire to keep animals away and Romeo uses the last of his elemental energies up to heal the fox using his alchemist talents.  Two days later they reach the manor to much praise from the peasants who welcome them back. The bodies are taken for proper Christian burial and our heroes have a good well deserved rest. Again they have protected the manor from evil and upheld the honour of Sir Robert.

[With acknowledgement to White Dwarf and the Ogre Hunt]

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2 weeks later in late October

Our group are in St Flour with Sir Robert, who has returned to his holdings here from northern France for the winter. He and his ward Lady Catherine are in his town house along with other members of his household, they and our heroes are staying with him. He has brought news of the wider world to them as well. John V has been recognized as Duke of Brittany after a long war, surprisingly, the new duke declares himself as a vassal, not to the English king Edward who helped him gain power, but to our king Charles V of France. There are rumours of a great defeat for Tamerlane, beaten in the east by Khoja as the two barbarian armies met to control Cathy. Also in the east the Turk Murat I has successfully campaigned in Thrace obliging John V, Palaelogus, to recognize capture of Philippopolis and Adrianople, and to agree to become a Turk vassal. While nearer to home King Peter of Cyprus has been recruiting troops for a crusade. He also has news of the defeat last year of a invasion of Normandy by Charles of Navarre forces trying to regain control. At long last the kingdom is at peace and the king can now try to deal with the various Routiers bands around.

Sir Robert also says that he is thinking of going on a crusade to fight the pagans to the east of the Holy Roman Empire in a year or two to prepare his soul for death.  But he hopes to go to Italy and show his support for the pope moving back to Rome as well.

Pierre uses this time to tell about his journey, earlier in the year, to the town of Tomar in Portugal the seat of the Knights of Christ. He went to finish his training and induction and now he has to wait for Pierre d’Estaing his local bishop to decide when he is ready to join. He will become a cleric but not one to run a church, when he is ordained he must be blessed in a holy festival by the bishop and except the rule [emphasised by a simple life of poverty, chastity, obedience to the king and church, work, love, prayer and self-denial] then he can don a white mantle with a hollow red cross filled in sliver and will be under the order of the church. The Bishop will present him with a Sword with a sliver cross on it and with a red gem in its pommel, indicating the blood of Christ. However at that time he must also give up all of belongings to God, he can expect any religious group to feed him and his horse as well as give him shelter but all goods he receives belong to God now.

Romeo finds out that the refuges, they rescued,  have all managed to find homes and most have started to work for the guild as day labourers, it is expected that this will increase the amount of cloth made from the local wool for export, thereby increasing the cities wealth as well as the wealth of its merchants.

In a few days it will be November and the festival of St Flour and bishop Pierre d’Estaing and other clergy are preparing for it as are all the towns folk this will be when Pierre will be ordained into the Knights of Christ. Just before dawn they awake to shouting and wailing in the streets outside, listening they hear people shouting we are doomed, God has forsaken us; the town will fall without the bishop…..   Once they have dressed and go outside they see that the area of the bishop’s new partly finished palace is on fire and people are trying to put it out. A cleric they recognise from the bishops household approaches then and begs for there immediate help. “Devils have raided us! They attacked the palace and have kidnapped the Bishop. He must be found and the devils slain, can you help?” Another man – older with greying hair and angry eyes, wearing the clothes of a hunter – steps forward and holds out his hands to you. “If you want to follow those fell creatures, I can track them for you. One bunch of the town guards has already gone off looking but they have taken the wrong trail they are following some others also involved in the attack. I can show you how to find them. My name is Janner and I want to help. My son lies dead from there attack.” His voice breaks as he points into the distant hills where the creatures have gone.  “I believe that they are based in the mountains as I have seen signs of them when I have been gathering in the sheep for the winter. It will take around 2 to 4 days to reach the area I think they have come from.”

 

When the group ask around – the devils are described as very tall and broad with a black looking skin carrying a large flaming axe. The gates seem to have been opened from inside and there where people working with these devils. Sir Robert also has decided to send two of his spearmen join them in there task. Janner waits while they gather there equipment, they requisition 2 pack horses and a riding horse for the bishop to go with the ones Pierre, Victorie and Romeo have. Onto these they place food for 70 person days as well as drink and then fodder for the horses. Pierre Sinclare borrows a sword as he hasn’t replaced his last one, while Romeo finds a medium crossbow from the city guard and 50 yards of rope. Then after some hours are ready to set off. Janner then walks out of town heading into the hills. They all follow Janner at a slow walking pace as he traces a trail [DL 11] – a blood stain here, a tuft or material or hair there, some heavy inhuman footmarks in damp patches. After a three days of climbing upwards across valleys and over hills always towards the snow capped mountains around mid morning, Janner stops, and points to a trail, covered with a light covering of snow, which you can see and follow. “There follow this trail into the mountains ahead I will wait here for your return, leave your mounts here if you wish I doubt they will be much use up there.” however our heroes have no intention of leaving Janner and the horses behind and convince him its best if they all stay together.

They march on warily keeping a careful watch with Peter and Janner scouting ahead and following the trail. Up into the rocky snowy mountain they go and then ahead of them, they see a mound with an unmistakable narrow dark entrance with a flickering light coming from it, around which there are signs in the snow that someone or something lives here.  There is smoke spiralling out of the top of the mound from various places so there must be holes up on the top. They are about 100 yards away and there are a lot of rocks and brush between them and the cave mouth. They are sure that they will be able to get a lot closer without being seen. Jules takes the two guards and moves the horses back out of sight line and hobbles and stakes them in place. Peter and Janner scout out the area, checking if there are any other ways in or if it is possible to block the smoke holes. After a couple of hours doing this they report back. By that time Romeo, Pierre and Jules have spent some time talking about why the bishop has been taken and that it might be for a sacrifice. Pierre decides to pray for Romeo’s soul as he seems to be taking to much interest in the practices of demon worshipers. Once the two scouts return they find out that there doesn’t appear to be any other way in to this old drift mine for that is what they have decided it is.

Peter decides to scout towards the entrance after Janner says he can see at least two guards there only occasionally looking out. Peter reaches the cave mouth and looking in sees that just in from the cave mouth is a 30’ square cave with an illuminated tunnel leading out the other side.  There is a small fire just to the right of the centre and round it sit 3 bandits keeping warm while occasionally keeping watch outside, to the left is an area where 4 riding horses are tied a young groom is tending to them the horses aren’t in good condition. Peter decides he can deal with these himself and aims at the guard facing him as the other two have there backs to him. Twang, a crossbow bolt slams into the guard punching right through his furs and into his heart killing him quietly. Ducking down Peter starts to reload his medium crossbow which will take him around 20 seconds. While he is doing that he hears the other two guards asking what the trouble is with Joe, why aren’t you moving what’s that blood. They decide after a quick look outside that someone has shot there mate from inside the complex and one of them heads off to find out whom and report. The other one bends other poor Joe and it is there he falls as Peter aims again and kills him with a single bolt. By this time the others are making there way slowly forward at a very slow place due to Jules not being very fast and Romeo carting his tower shield with him. Peter moves forward into the cave and then the tunnel moving a few yards till he comes to a four way intersection.  Once in there he can smell cooking and the musky smell of people as well as hearing the sounds of various voices from ahead and to left as well as the sound of combat from ahead.  Peter then falls back to the cave mouth as the others arrive, the small boy, Groom, says “don’t hurt me please”. Peter tells him to just go, and so the groom flees past the phalanx of the others arriving.

Peter returns to the four way junction and heads to his right towards a small cave area, this area holds stacked barrels, around 10 holding grain and fodder. Peter decides to return to the cave mouth where the others are waiting and dons the furs and hat of one of the dead guards so as to look like them. After a hurried whispered chat they all move up to the junction where Peter leaves them to scout ahead and draw the enemy onto there spears and crossbows. Moving boldly as if he belongs Peter moves away from the entrance ahead of him he comes to a right turn with a torch on the wall, with a cave just ahead of him. Looking into the cave Peter sees a large cave which is dry and has a raised slatted floor on which barrels and sacks stand, around 50 plus. The sacks hold oats, grain and root crops the barrels contain ale, salted fish and cured meats. A squire is here cleaning the area and watching over the supplies he has his own torch. When He sees Peter he calls out what do you want, Peter replies “Onions for the kitchen”. Help yourself they are over there, which Peter does and then moves on. Going to the right Peter moves down a corridor realising that so far all the walls are rough but partly white washed to aid lighting, passages are around 6-9 foot wide and 6-8 foot high with reasonably smooth floors from wear but very rough ceilings from odd cave ins. Caves are around 8-12 foot tall and again very rough. All the cave areas have large amounts of shadow and blind spots.

Ahead the tunnel opens out into a large cave with a outcrop sticking out into it, as he moves into the area to his left and right he sees doors set in wooden frames, while ahead he can see then men either practicing with axe and shield or shooting bows down a passage way, this seems to be a training area. leaving them to there practice Peter listens at the two doors the one to his left first.  At this door he hears talking in a strange style of French, going to the other door he can hear snoring and chat about a game of die. Deciding to see what is behind the first door he moves back there and opens it. What do you want?” comes the reply from him opening the door, as Peter sees that the cave has a make shift bed with thick furs on it at the far end with two grubby pallets to left and right of the entrance way. There is a small fire by the back wall making this area quite smoky, there are also 2 torches supplying light. Some smoke is spiralling out through the ceiling. There are 2 wooden chests by the bed. There is a man at arms and a squire in here with the squire cleaning equipment while the henchman is sharpening his sword. Again the armed man says “what do you want?” Peter replies by explaining about the incident at the entrance, the man at arms tells Peter to go and tell Landry, this name rings a bell and Peter remembers the letter they found. “ I will go and have a look” says the officer, for that must be what he is. So Peter leaves the room and heads back towards his friends stopping at the junction by the storeroom and taking his crossbow aims down the passageway.

The officer grabs his weapons and shield and leaving his room calls to the men practicing to follow him he heads towards Peter. Peter wastes no time and loses his bolt which strikes true and the officer falls back injured behind the rocks. Peter then runs back towards the others at the junction with the bandits following behind him. As the bandits round the corner Victoria loses her crossbow and missing one of them they respond by stopping and preparing to return fire with there bows even though they will not all be able to do so.  After four of them return fire which all hit Peirre but fail to penetrate his defence of shield and armour, Peirre charges ahead of the others to close with the bandits who drop there bows and draw there axes to engage him.  Now the battle becomes quite confused as Peirre fights on his own while waiting for the others to close up and support him. Peter grabs some acid from Romeo’s pack and runs forward to throw it at the roof to splash it over the bandits, but his aim is off a bit and it hits short splashing Peirre as well, all of those hit suffering burning from the acid falling onto there skin through there clothes. Meanwhile Victoria has reloaded and loses again this time hitting as does Peirre with his sword, but this time due to the pain of the burns he has just suffered the person he nearly bits is Peter, who manages to avoid it by shear luck. Peirre and Peter both fall back and fall to the ground as Romeo, Jules and the two guards march into combat walking over them. The bandits rotate fresh fighters into the fight allowing the injured to fall back. After a couple of swings and jabs the two groups and well into the conflict when Peter back on his feet throws his onions at the bandits shouting at the same time, the bandits thinking its more burning stuff turn and flee shouting “Onions burn”.

With the enemy fleeing our heroes throw any caution to the wind and give chase at there slower speed. As the go our heroes argue about who is to blame over the acid incident. The bandits disappear round the corner and our heroes follow till they reach the practice area where they can see them ahead. Just then they are charged from right and left, from the two doorways, and the two guards find themselves engaged by the officer and two bandits and Jules is attacked by a handful of bandits. The fight now breaks down into three separate scraps, the two guards against the officer and the men with him; Jules quickly added by Peter against the bandits and Romeo moving to cover the front and engaging the four or more bandits moving to join in.  As the fight develops one of the guards falls to the officer while Jules supported by Peter manages to drive off those facing them while Romeo drives two off and the last two hack at his tower shield trying to destroy it. Eventually Victoria reloads her crossbow and fires into the melee at the officer hitting him in the head and killing him. At this the bandits throw down there arms and surrender, most have been injured and a few killed leaving 16 prisoners. They have been unable to use there numbers due to the limited space and the heroes better armour and weapon skill eventually told. Our heroes look into the two rooms finding that the non officer one is a barrack with 30 beds and 6 women curled up in the corner. They usher there prisoners into it and intend to leave Janner and the remaining guard to watch over them, they do ask where is the bishop and are told that Landry has him and he’s in the other part of the mine..

Meanwhile Peter checks out the officer’s room, using an axe on the two locked boxes. These contain clothes of various sorts, furs and 95d as well as three gold engraved sliver cups and a sliver cross, slightly damaged by the opening of the chests. Romeo spends some time with the injured trying to use his alchemy to help heal them, having failed to heal Jules after 16 minutes of rubbing and chanting. Meanwhile Peter, with Jules and Victoire hanging back behind him, scouts towards where he thinks the kitchen is. Moving back to the cross junction Peter leaves his two supports and moves on taking the passage which would have been left from the entranceway. Following the downward curving right passage he comes to a junction with a passage on his left and the curving passage he is on moving upwards. He continues along and finds a door in a short passage on his right and can still hear the sounds and smells of a kitchen coming from ahead of him. Peter checks out the door and listens hearing the sound of someone cleaning, he gets Victoria and Jules to join him so that they can watch this door and he moves on. He comes to another door in a passage to his right and ahead can see that there is a passage to the left, which he thinks id the kitchen, judging from the smells, further ahead the passage bears right.  Peter moves up and checks out the door again hearing the sounds of someone inside. Moving on he enters the passage to his left which is a busy area full of smoke and the smells of food; a large fire with pots over it is at the far end with a hole above. There are 4 women as well as a couple of bandits here, the woman are preparing and cooking food, while the 2 men watch.  Peter looks for a couple of clay pots and moans in general about officers and then leaves. He continues down the passage and turns right and seeing another door to his left in a wooden wall listens at it but hears nothing. Peter continues on down the passage which turns left ahead and then comes to a door. Listening he can hear many voices some female most male, mainly talking in French with some Latin. Some of the chat is suggestive the rest is mundane. Peter heads back to where he left Jules and Victoire  and they all head back to where the others are.

During this time Romeo has managed to heal some of Peirre’s wounds. Now together again they fill peter’s pots with Jules oil and rags to make fire weapons, while preparing Romeo’s black powder the same way. They then eat and drink and prepare to find Landry and the bishop. With peter scouting ahead followed by Peirre and Jules side by side, with Romeo and Victoire behind them they set off. They get to the first left passage and this time Peter goes in to have a look. This badly lit cool area is not whitewashed and has an underground stream running though the top end; where it creates a small pool of swirling water.  There are buckets and casks here as well as one woman filing them. At the end nearest the entrance are a few carcasses hanging from hooks in the roof. They are not bleeding having already been bleed out; they appear to be here to keep fresh.  Peter leaves here and urges the others forward leaving them to watch the first right passage door while he spreads a little olive oil around the floor of the next door. He then keeps watch while the others prepare to deal with the occupant of the room.

With Victoire aiming at the door area with her crossbow Jules, in front with Pierre, uses his halberd to knock. ‘Yes’ comes the replay, ‘Food my lord’ Victoire says. ‘I am not a Lord but bring it on in’ a male voice replies. Vicoire pushes past and opens the door losing her crossbow as soon as she sees a person sat there. The bolt hits and kills the squire in one easy flow. As the others check out the room she reloads her bow.  This area has a make shift bed with thick furs on it at the far end with two grubby pallets to left and right of the entrance way. There are also 2 torches supplying light. There are 2 wooden chests by the bed each locked. The squire in here was cleaning equipment, sliver cups engraved with gold and a sliver cross.

While they are doing that Peter is still keeping watch, unfortunately he doesn’t notice one of the men leaving the kitchen area, this guard who is out checking torches for replacement, decides that he doesn’t know this person hiding by a door way and coming up behind him strikes with his axe. Shocked but still quick Peter turns and fires his crossbow driving the bolt right through him. Peter gets the others and they intend to repeat the trick on this door. They knock and Victoire says ‘supper’. The replay is ‘I don’t have the key’ so Vic replies ‘no one told me I have your supper, I will leave it here and go and get a key’.

Leaving that area they head to the next door at the bend, as they get into position in front of this door Peter and Victoire move towards the back wall and the floor falls from under them. Victoire hardly flinches and regains her footing while Peter manages to grab the edge and pull himself up only losing his crossbows bolt. They knock on this door but receive no answer and when they check it they see it is locked with a bar and padlock. Peter manages to pick the lock and he enters the room, which is small and has only a bed and chest in it. The chest has an odd complex looking lock and he decides to leave it alone.

Moving on the round the corner to the last door ahead of them, peter with the black powder and a torch in hand leads the others to the door. He listens again and it is all quite except for some murmurings. With the others behind covering him and Peter ready to lit and throw, Peter opens the door. This is a large area, which is well lit, with a brazier supplying heat in the centre. At its far end is a table with a tapestry behind it. There are people in here 10 men, 5 girls, and a grey skinned 6’ tall and quite broad humanoid with a flaming two handed axe. They are all behind a barricade made of trestles and benches in the middle of the area.  Peter lights the black powder and lobs it at the bandits behind the barricade landing it where he want to. [Romeo uses up some of his fate to make sure that the fuse works and is short] Meanwhile Victoire loses her crossbow at the biggest thing there the devil, and hits. This enrages it and he charges round to strike at Peter who dodges back out of the way. The black powder goes off with a load bang and Victoire loses another bolt froma crossbow given to her by Jules.  This hits home again into the grey skinned devil and it drops to the floor with a look of surprise on its ugly face.  As Romeo moves forward to strike at the laying creature Landry tries to steady his men, who have just been hit by a strange force and noise and seen the devil creature slain.

Romeo takes this opportunity to try to negotiate for the bishop. Eventually after a time of discussion they agree that Landry and his people can leave but they have to leave any good already found and one of Landry’s chests. He tells them that the Bishop is down below with Morphee a demon worshiper they are allied with. Landry lets them chose which chest they want, which they do by tossing a coin and after he gives them the key they find they have various fancy buckles and broaches, 120 page book on siege equipment; 40 page book on swordsmanship, and an illuminated bible. Landry and his people those who can walk leave for Gascony the other 6 are left behind to die from there wounds.

Our hero’s decide that if they are to go down to find the bishop they need to rest and recover from there wounds, so Jules starts to make some poultices, Romeo fails to heal again as he is so tired.  For the next two days they rest, while using poultices to heal Janner and the one remaining spearman as well as some of there own hurts. Romeo uses his alchemy to heal Jules with a lot of supporting prayer this time. By this time they have also collected the following loot – chest with an odd complex looking lock; clothes of various sorts [noble and merchant 10LT]; 210d; furs [5LT]; 6 sliver cups engraved with gold [ worth 200d each]; sliver and ruby broach [320d]; ten barrels of grain; 50 sacks and barrels of food and ale; sliver cross [300d]; various fancy buckles and broaches [4Lt]; 120 page book on siege equipment; 40 page book on swordsmanship, illuminated bible.

After these two days with them all feeling rested and ready our hero’s head behind the tapestry to the below, leaving Janner and the spearman behind. They walk down a long downward sloping tunnel which is dark and with rough edges around 2 to 8 yd wide and about 6’ high. There are signs of passage in the damp slightly muddy floor. The whole journey starts to leave them with a sense of fear as the damp chill air gets at them in the darkness which is only broken by the light of Romeo’s light ball moving ahead of them and the torch Victoire is carrying.  Eventually they come to a place where the passage opens up cave with water dripping from stalactites in the ceiling; some of these nearly reach the floor. In the gloom they can see bones on the floor, two flying heads and hear the scratching of rats. As Peter sees this, the two flying creatures flap towards him opening there distended mouths. Peter looses his crossbow and hits one driving it off as the other shrieks causing Peter to fall to the ground in fear. It then fly’s forward, to unleash its green fire from its eyes on to Jules the beam misses and hits a  stalactite [use of fate] and Victoire looses her crossbow and spits it.

With the two demons driven off or destroyed, our heroes start to look around and see that the bones scattered around are forming into warriors which advance on them. All ten skeletons are destroyed in quick order, but Sinclaire is hut many times and badly hurt when he steps between the skeletons and Vicoire.  Romeo spends 16 minutes praying and working his alchemy to bring healing to a praying Sinclaire, meanwhile the others look around the cave seeing just the two exits to left and right, with only the right one showing signs of use.

With Romeo’s light still ahead of them they move down the corridor and enter a cave, at first they can not see all of it but Peter moves in and Romeo keeps the light ahead of him. It turns out that the cave is L shaped with the long arm round to the left from the entrance. Once they move to a point into the cave they can see rank upon rank of sitting skeleton warriors in this part of the cave. Deciding to leave this area as they can see no way out and not wanting to disturb the dead they go back and try the other tunnel.

This winding corridor leads to a 30×40 foot cave which appears to have a dark rippling floor. Deciding that it might be water they get Jules to test its depth with his halberd. Jules pushes his pole into the water and it turns out it is, and stirs it around finding out it is only about a foot deep. while he is doing this the 6 foot long 6” thick leech on the ceiling above reaches down with its mouth to bite him. It misses and is killed by a crossbow bolt and Jules’s halberd. A second one then rises from the water and again fails to hit Jules and is then killed by Sinclaire who breaks yet another sword in the process.  Sinclaire borrows Jules short sword as it’s the only spare weapon. They then check out the water filled cave, ending up wet and cold but finding no way out other than the small ingress and exit for the water.

So they head back slowly to the cave with all the skeletons searching carefully as they go, during this time Romeo has to supply more mana to his light to keep it going, he does not have much power left. They decide that the holy water they have might work on these devil skeletons and so with the others lined up to support him Peter runs toward the mass of skeletons and tries to sprinkle them with the water. He manages to hit two of them which fall apart, but the others all activate and start towards our heroes. With 18 of the bony warriors advancing on them and trying to get around there short line the fight starts. Romeo uses his tower shield to push against the press in front of him smashing it down on them destroying some while Sinclaire tries to protect his left. Some of the skeletons go down but more keep coming. Romeo has some trying to pull his tower shield away while others try to strike at his open left and right, with SInclaire and Jules trying to protect him. Peter and Victorie both use there crossbows but have little effect on the fleshless creatures. Eventually some of the skeletons reach Jules and Victoire on the flank and they both start to dodge, becoming like the mist never quite where you think they are. Eventually with the use of the remaining holy water by Vic and the others weapons they smash the creatures down with the last few going down to a mighty sweep by Jules with his halberd. Which takes down three at once, but snaps off at the top in so doing, he then uses the haft as a staff weapon to finish the last one and breaks that in half as well.

So all the skeletons are gone back to dust, and Jules reclaims his short sword from Sinclaire who has to use a dagger instead. A search reveals a creak in the wall behind where the skeletons sat and this opens to reveal a passage. Moving slowly down this long passage Sinclaire breaks out into song to lift his spirits, this wakens the guardians further on. At the end of the passage it opens out into a small cave with a door on the other side, in it are five sleeping pallets with a chest by it. Standing round the cave facing the passage are five alert around 6 foot tall creatures with feral eyes and flat facial features with long teeth and a greyish green skin. These at least do not have a flaming axe but are armed with throwing spears and a rusty sword. Peter reacting quickly shoots one in the head with his crossbow, killing it instantly. The creatures respond by throwing spears 3 of them hitting Jules dropping him dying to the floor, as Victoire also hits him in the back of the head with her crossbow bolt. With Jules down the creatures charge with there other spear and would have skewered her if fate had not taken a hand. Romeo then fires off his light ball which blinds two of the creatures.  The remaining two are quickly taken down particularly as one of them trying to swap his spear for his sword threw it away.  With all the creatures quickly dealt with but Jules unconscious and Victroie injured and slowly running out of weapons they move up to the door.

Peter listens at it and hears noise from the other side, he quickly opens it and fires at the figure he see in the room. His bolt dissolves just before it hits the man standing there. Peter quickly dodges back behind the door as Morphee fired off two energy blasts from his fingers. While the heroes think about what to do next Morphee is heard talking and the door explodes in a fiery blast, as fate would have it the flames and splinters miss them all. Fearing that standing around will lead to death Peter leads a charge of himself Romeo and Sinclaire. Romeo is the first with a weapon to arrive and prepares to be hit by the wizard’s staff but instead the staff glows and the wizard shimmers and vanishes.

A search of the area reveals a bedroom with a secret door as well as two in the main room. The bedroom door leads to a passage which comes out in the main room and in it chained to the wall is the bishop. After freeing him they explore the last secret door and find a passageway which they decide not to explore. They have the bishop who using the last of the holy water and some prayers blesses the alter, covered with demon symbols and burns the scrolls in the brazier. With the mission a success our heroes head home with the bishop and there loot.

Loot – chest with an odd complex looking lock [Inside are a lot of papers in Latin. Explain about the needs of the Lord below Morphée [he who shapes] and an agreement that has been signed with Lord Landry [master of the land] to take control of St Flour and the surrounding area. There are also contracts with other groups here as well including a Gascon band from across the border. There is also a bag of Franc coins [20] a bag with gems [7Lt] and a bag with 2 fiery red stones]; clothes of various sorts [noble and merchant 10LT]; 210d; furs [5LT]; 6 sliver cups engraved with gold [ worth 200d each]; sliver and ruby broach [320d]; ten barrels of grain; 50 sacks and barrels of food and ale; sliver cross [300d]; various fancy buckles and broaches [4Lt]; 120 page book on siege equipment; 40 page book on swordsmanship, illuminated bible. All in all they end up with 60LT dived between 5 = 12LT each, plus a reward from the bishop and town equal to 10Lt each giving them each 22Lt.

Jules recovers and Sinclaire gets his service ordaining him into the Knights of Christ receiving his new sword. This is a well made hand and a half sword well balanced for him with a red gem on its pommel and a sliver cross engraved in the blade. [worth around 15Lt and with a break of 40 and plus 1 to use.] He is now a Knight of Christ and must obey the church and has to give his share of the loot to the church. He also receives his mantel a white one with a hollow red cross filled in sliver. Now back at St Flour Sinclaire becomes part of the cathedral chapter while the others go back to working for Sir Robert, who replaces Jules halberd.

What adventures will the future hold for our heroes?

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