Othwic, Maud Balliol, Jarl The Lame, Hob The Bastard, Konrad, Alys and Baine
Current Date: May, 1012TR

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Chapter One: The Road Goes Ever On...

Date: Morning, May 8 to 2pm, May 10.

It was the day after the May Day celebrations in Coggershall and most people were nursing back hang-overs. Konrad had gone with a random bar wench, while Jarl was presumed to have wandered off and fallen in a ditch somewhere.

Maud arrived at the Rising Sun with a spring in her step - as she had left the celebrations early with the Baron and his daughter, Sabrina - and surveyed the detritus of humanity before singling out her friends: Othwic, Alys and Hob.

Instead of helping the village to dig ditches and plough fallow fields, these youngsters had decided to pursue a rumour they had heard about treasure in a mysterious ruined castle just over the border in the land of the Malte Volk.

Maud purchased a horse from Wulfgar the blacksmith, which soon turned out to be a bit of a broken down nag, but that didn't slow the group's walk to the small village of Ducksford, half-a-day north of Coggershall.

They stayed there the night, as floors were offered for rest in exchange for stories. Unfortunately they didn't win any friends with their rather weak tales and as soon as they'd eaten breakfast in the morning they headed off.

Crossing the border into Baron Cenred's land they encountered an old tree adorned with offerings and this caused a minor bit of confusion - until Othwic concluded it was some kind of offering site for a nature god (although not his).

However, as they were discussing the possible meaning of the tree, Maud spotted a strange, winged cat leaping out of the long grass and taking flight. Unfortunately no-one else saw this and her descriptions became increasingly wild as she attempted to explain what she had seen.

They were making for the Iron Door inn, at a crossroads of cart tracks, and were welcomed by innkeeper Cleere, with tasty food and pints of the local stout - Ol' Evil Eye.

Maud was quite openly mocked for her assertions about the "bat-cat", as she called it, but the others, chatting to the friendly guests in the inn, including a midget delivery-cart driver called Tifford (who brings the regular supplies of Ol' Evil Eye to The Iron Door).

Despite his habit of twitching and cussing in ways that made Maud blush, he shared tales of 'Cleere family curse' (apparently the original Iron Door had collapsed because of the fairy magic) and the origin of Ol' Evil Eye (it uses water from a nearby spring which is frequented by hideous looking creatures called Catoblepas - hideous, twisted bovine beasts whose very gaze means certain death).

Bedlo The Bard
When it came time to go to their rooms, the two woman shared one (and got a great night's sleep), while the mean shared a second. Hob was out like a light, because of the vast amount of Ol' Evil Eye he had consumed, but Othwic was disturbed by a noisy neighbour, crashing furniture, shouting and singing.

When he went to complain he was greeted by the grinning face of Bedlo the Bard - who happened to be both very drunk and totally naked.

He invited Othwic in to share some wine and the forester took a seat and began to share stories and songs with the boisterous bard right through to the crack of dawn. 

While Othwic stayed in bed, Maud, Alys and Hob set off to the east to explore the ruins of the previous Iron Door (having learned that Cleere's sister had been kidnapped and replaced with a bundle of twigs and it was somehow connected with the murder of a dryad). The place was overgrown and very little remained - it having fallen down nearly a decade ago.

Maud was contemplating a divination spell, while Hob was jumping up and down in the middle of the ruins (hoping to activate some kind of trap one can only assume), when Alys spotted a rider on the horizon watching them. When he realised he had been spotted he rode off to the west.

Before the trio could decide what to do, the heaven's opened and a thunderstorm erupted, causing Maud to freak out, jump on her horse and ride back to the inn. The other two slowly trudged back through the mud, arriving at the inn as Othwic came down for breakfast.

Having secured her horse, Maud ran upstairs to her room and hid until the storm passed...

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