Episode 9 Path of Fog and Shadow

With the cold spring night, the adventurers all gathered up on the hill at the temple Monastery overlooking the bustling village of Creekstone. Tha’pop and Dro with the dead elf on the horse, find Adira, baby and Mort under guard at the entrance of the Monastery.

The militia escort talks to another guard who Mort (city guard wise success) recognizes this other guard as some sort of religious order soldier and not your run of the mill militia. They both converse and motion for the group to enter. Then enter a large long building and it’s lit nicely with alot of movement of both female priestesses, making this possibly a female monastery of sorts. A priestess approaches Adira and the baby.

“Good evening Lady Francois, sorry for this later hour, but you are most welcome to this place, and Mother Priestess would be honored if you would pay her visit at this time.” Adira, not flinching when called Lady Francois, realizes the wrong name she is called, as a possible assumption she is the Lady Francois of the letter she had on her, and the Militia Captain read upon her arrival at the bridge

“Thank you, and yes would be honored to see Mother Priestess” She is led down the corridor with baby, leaving the others in her party alone for the meeting.

The religious soldier now takes over from the militia escort and tells Mort to take a seat on a bench next to the wall, as a male rector approaches Tha’pop and Dro.

The rector speaks “ I apologize for your visit to Creekstone and our Monastery under these conditions. It is told to me that you have a elf body that needs tending and possibly burial outside?” Tha’pop nods and asks “ Do you know the ritual passing and custom for an Elf in this manner? The Rector bows and looks at Tha’pop, “ This is our first Elf passing, but am versed in the traditions upon my writings and would be honored to see him lay to final rest.” Upon a few more words to vet out the rector, Tha’pop agrees, as the dead wagon is outside now and Rector asks Tha’pop and Dro to accompany him, leaving Mort under escort inside.

Tha’pop and Dro see the dead wagon approach and also see another body in the wagon. Tha’pop (perc ob2 success) realizes the cloak the dead body is wearing is one of the Alabaster Brigade. The same human soldier unit that was involved in the ambush and hunting down of his son 10 years ago.

Tha’pop inquires about who the other body is. One of the grave diggers on the wagon states that his name was Corporal Lewis. Seems Corporal Lewis had rented a room in the Inn below in Creekstone and had been there for about 1 month. Before that another man in the same type of cloak had rented the same room for 2 months before. Corporal Lewis had no visitors, no employment at Creekstone, but room was paid 6 months in advance. The wagon starts up and goes around a corner of a building to start its way down to the village. Tha’pop and Dro follow them.

Around the corner Dro runs into the stable man, while Tha’pop follows the cart a little ways further. The Stable man tells Dro he will take care of his animals if he wishes here at the Monastery. Dro agrees and is told also the pack animals are in bad shape and need some rest. All the animals are in poor shape except for the 4 newer horses they have. Dro goes back to the wagon where the group gear is held and begins to help the Stable man turn over the pack animals to him. Dro decides to stay by the wagon with their gear, as he sees tents being put up by other travelers who are bottled up in this village, until the roads are cleared by the King’s men.

Tha’pop walks up to the driver of the dead wagon and motions him to stop. The wagon stops and Tha’pop pulls a coin and states he wants the cloak on the human body. The grave digger shrugs, jumps down, takes the coin, and gives him the cloak. The wagon proceeds on its way.

Tha’pop searches the cloak, finding nothing out of place. Walking back to Dro he tells him he’s taking a short trip to the village and will be back soon. Dro nods and grunts leaning up against the wagon.

Tha’pop walks the 5 minutes down to the village, which is teeming with travelers all setting up camps and sleeping under eaves for the night. The streets,usually bare and quiet, are now noisy and full. With the military cloak around him he makes his way to the only 2 story building in the village and walks into the inn. The Inn is overcrowded and people are seen sleeping against the walls as well as the stairs. Nobody paying attention to Tha’pop as he climbs over the sleeping tenants to the upper floor and discerns which room is still empty and probably the dead soldiers he saw earlier. Opening the door, he sees no one and closes the door behind him. The room is sparse with a table, chair, few items scattered around and a bed. Walking over to the only window looking outside, (perc ob5) sees marks possibly from a dagger or something slim that appear to have jimmed up the windowsill from outside. He searches the room and finds nothing of value and about to give up when he steps on a loose board in the corner of the room. (Perc ob6) finds a loose board and lifts it up to see a small niche in the floor, but empty of any contents it might have held. His eyes catch the underside of the floorboard he removed and sees something burned in the wood. Stenciled in the wood it says, Black roof by the wall, Dressa. He replaces the board carefully and goes to the window again, looking for a black roof, not seeing one. Dressa doesn’t mean anything to Tha’pop as he sees the key in the door lock from the inside. Takes the key, leaves the room and locks the door. He heads back up the Monastery.

Mort sitting on the cold bench finally is summoned to a room. Upon entering he sees a chair facing a table with 2 men sitting behind the table. One other religious soldier is in the room and he gestures to Mort to take a seat. One of the men behind the table has the look of a soldier with a spear propped up against the wall behind him.The other man is a priest of some sorts from his attire.

{ In this game of Burning wheel, I have decided to have my players also play npcs when their other players are not present. This helps with involving all people and not having to wait a long time before they can interact in the game. Also is crazy fun seeing players as npcs involved with the group. In this scenario, the soldier and priest are being played by Tha’pop and Dro players. These 2 players are actually characters I folded in from their Hochen storyline they played last year. }

Avisse the priest asks Mort if needs something to drink. Mort declines and looks at both Avisse and Liam the Soldier. Eyes meet and both sides size up the other. Avisee tells Mort that they are helping Mother Priestess in learning more about the massacre and strange dealings around this village and surrounding countryside as well. Mort asks why he is singled out from his group to talk to them. Avisse looks at him and Liam leans over, cracks a couple tree nuts in his mouth and says, “ You look alot like someone we have been following, so just curious as to who you are and what you have seen”.

Mort decides to tell them his story with the group, figuring the faster he does the faster he can some food and sleep. Mort tells them about their expedition, leaving out the sword they found. Leaving out the Titan lair and Great Wolf encounter also he tells them the little he knows about the massacre they found. Also tells them about the 4 bandits they killed 1 day out who he thinks was involved in the massacre.

Upon hearing about the bandits, Avisse motions to the standing soldier, tells him to send a message to Mother Priestess, militia captain and the arriving king’s men calvary who have yet to arrive about this information.

Liam motions to his hand and asks about his injury, still wrapped in bandages. Mort tells them about the black icor in the bottle he found, but not the note he found. Both Avisse and Liam perk up at this part and ask to inspect the bottle. Mort tells him where to find the baggage on the wagon, a messenger is sent and the bottle retrieved. Both Liam and Avisse look at the bottle and a silent agreement of understanding is seen.

Avisee then tells Mort they have been chasing someone or a group calling themselves Gortrung. This icor is pure evil, which Mort raises his bandaged hand to say I know. They both have been tasked in finding out more about this Gortrung and deal with it if possible. The dead priest Mort found was being followed by Liam and Avisse in hopes of leading them deeper into the organization. Both Liam and Avisse need to investigate some more, and tell Mort he is free to go.

Mort goes out to the corridor and is met by a Priestess who asks if they can change and care for his wounded hand. Mort smiles at his hideous face and lets them. The young priestesses ask Mort alot of questions, since they don’t get much information from the outside because of their duties to the god and Monastery.

When the party separated earlier, Adira and the child were ushered into the presence of Mother Priestess. Mother Priestess gives wine and lets another Priestess hold the child as the 2 chat before a welcoming fireplace ablaze.

“You are most welcome to our humble monastery Lady Dubrois. Please make yourself and your child at home as best you can. We can give you shelter here for you and your child. We cannot give it to the men in the party, since this is a female Monastery.” says Mother Priestess.

“Thank you for that, and we will take you up on the offer, most kind” Adira says.

“Where is your husband, Lady Dubrois? Mother Priestess fills her glass again.

Adira thinks fast, “ He was killed on the expedition”

“I’m so sorry to hear that, and you having this child on such a journey, what a terrible loss and joy you have had these months past?”

Adira replies, “ Yes its quite a loss, as my husband Peter was a craftsman and a good husband”

Trying to change the subject Mother Priestess asks “ I see you’re a lady by name, and probably a lady of the court. Of which court did you attend?”

Adira’s mind whirling says, “The court of King Henry.”

“What a beautiful girl to be brought into the world, what is her name?” Looking at the infant girl swaddled and being dawdled over by at least 3 other priestess now.

Adira thinks, “ She is called Vutton.”

“hmmm , quite a strange name for a child. Vutton sounds familiar, but I can’t place it just now.”

One of the priestess looking at the baby makes a small gasp and points to the bottom of the baby’s foot. Turning the baby foot towards Mother Priestess and Adira, a birthmark ,which looks like a perfect painting of a Red Raven is seen. Adira is as surprised at the find as all the others present, but does not react.

One of the young Priestess reaches out and touches the mark, and a loud crack is heard and the Priestess is flung 20 feet in the air to fall against the fall wall. Everyone freezes for a moment as everyone is in shock. The child is given back to Adira, and the others run to the priestess who is stunned but otherwise okay. Mother Priestess motions for everyone to leave immediately leaving the Adira, child and Priestess.

“Well, do tell, what just happened Lady Dubrois?” the Mother asks.

“ I am not accustomed to being questioned like this, and feel threatened by this question.” Adira says, trying to change the subject.

Mother Priestess raises an eyebrow “ I would hardly consider what just happened here as normal. This is a place of worship and devotion to the god Tudamon. You are safe here daughter, however I need to know all this is true in this matter. If you are so inclined, please.”

“ I am not at this time and tired. That mark is …a mark of protection, and that is all I’m going to say at this time. May I retire for the evening, as both myself and my child are tired”.

“Most certainly, but let us continue later when you are refreshed. A dinner perhaps tomorrow would suit? Let one of the priestess escort you to your room. “

Adira and child now escorted down the corridor, meet up with Mort as he has a new bandage, and Adira silently motions for Mort to follow. Adira is shown a small room used by one of the Priestess, which is unoccupied at this time and her escort leaves. A knock on the door a minute later and Mort enters the small room.

Both exchange what happened during their chats and Adira fears that they are deliberately being separated and fears for the child. Adira confides to Mort she lied to Mother Priestess about a number of things, and probably best if they meet up with the group and leave. Mort merely grunts and leaves quietly for where the wagon was outside the Monastery.

When Mort left the interview, Avisse asked the soldier to find the horses the group arrived with. Few moments later, they are found to be in the possession of the Monastery stable for the night. Avisse and Liam go to the stables and the stable man points out the pack animals. Avisee (sorcery 6 passes Ob 2) using the spell Low speak, talks to the horses. Avisee finds out the group did indeed see the remains of the massacre. He learns the 4 horses from the bandits were not involved in the massacre, but involved in killing women and babies in the surrounding areas. He learns that a dog and raven also were part of the company. Leaving the stable, Avisee comes to the front of the Monastery and finds a black raven perched on a wagon with a dwarf nearby. They approach and Avisee using the spell talks to the raven. Liam laughs and tells the dwarf that the priest likes birds and is fascinated with them. Avisse learns from the Raven that the dog is really a Great wolf and across the river. Also learns the group found a baby at the massacre site. Avisse and Liam pass Mort, Adira and child as they enter the Monastery and other groups leave.

Outside by the wagon, Dro tells Mort and Adira about the strange Priest and his interaction with the raven. Tha’pop arrives and then the group compares their dealings. They decide to put Tha’pop and Adira and child in the room protected and the Dro and Mort to stay in the wagon for the evening. They all escort Adira and child to the upper room of the Inn with Tha’pop standing guard, and Mort and Dro leave again to stay at the wagon on the hill at the Monastery.

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