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Story so far

Page history last edited by Adrian 10 years, 3 months ago

We've played 2 sessions so far and may come back to it when we get the chance. So here's what's occurred so far:

 

Character Concepts and Aspects

Gwynn

A middle-aged slave in the service of Aron's family, he originally hails from Garthmadrun and was sent to Dumnonia. As an experienced hunter and tracker as well as someone who knows the area, Gwynn is accompanying the expedition.

  • Natural Woodsman
  • Respected Slave
  • Fae Child
  • Divided Loyalties
  • Unnoticable
  • Blackouts

 

Aron

Son of a Dumnonian chieftain, Aron leads his family's warband alongside Cei's. He is oathbound to Arthur and looks to gain experience in leading men. Aron leads a warband of 50 Fair warriors from his father's lands and knew the three brothers Hywel, Owain and Talfryn as children, when they were fostered out to Aron's father's care.

  • Warband Leader
  • Subordinate to Duroc
  • Young Noble
  • Despises Christianity
  • Inexperienced Leader
  • Ally - Einion, an experienced spearman and Aron's trainer.

 

Duroc

A Dumnonian priest and ex-warrior and follower of Bishop Sansum. He represents Dumnonian's Christian interests in the expedition to Garthmadrun

  • Student of Sansum
  • Leader of Men
  • Suspicious
  • Inquisitive
  • Holy Healer
  • Calming Nature

 

Additional Non-Player Characters

Balig

Cei's second-in-command and present leader of Cei's remaining 30 Fair warriors. A nominal Christian.

 

Morwenna

An old pagan woman who was wetnurse to Rhys, Gwynn's twin brother. Believed Gwynn killed as a baby by the Druid Cadwg.

 

Olwen

Gwynn's aunt who remembers Cadwg's actions in separating the Cauldron's guardians. Knows Cadwg sent Gwynn in slavery to Dumnonia rather than have to kill him.

 

Cadwg

Now dead, Cadwg was a Garthmadrun Druid who received a prophecy that the people of Garthmadrun needed their pagan faith tested. He removed the Guardians of the Cauldron by separating them at birth and having one (Rhys) brought up by another woman, and one sent away as a slave (Gwynn). Without guardians, the Cauldron was unearthed by the Christian monks when they built their monastery on an old pagan holy site. Since then, disaster has afflicted Garthmadrun, and many believe the pagan people of Garthmadrun are being punished for their lack of belief.

 

Rhys

Recently killed in a battle with Talfryn's spearmen, Rhys was a Guardian of the Cauldron and identical twin brother of Gwynn.

 

Maelgwyn

A monk at the Caer Crochan monastery and assistant to Bishop Cythenian. A spiteful, cunning man, he hates Duroc for his associations with Cystenian's rival, Sansum.

 

Ysbaddaden

A surly giant of a man and a trusted warrior in King Morcant's royal guard. Currently assigned to guarding the monastery with 20 spearmen, he is a total pagan and resents his charges. Lately he has begun flouting the monks' wishes and he and his men openly gamble and drink at the monastery. For unknown reasons the monks turn a blind eye to his transgressions and he has hinted he has a secret hold on the monks.

 

Enid

Trusted servant of Queen Anwen, involved in arranging a private meeting between Anwen and Aron.

 

 

Session One

 

Prelude

Prior to leaving Dumnonia the warband was assembled and representatives from the Christian and Pagan religions called for. Duroc represents the Christians, but Myrddin did not attend and no-one came forward for the Old Gods of Britain. However, as the expedition set off a tall old man with a Druid's tonsure crested a nearby rise and nodded significantly at the slave Gwynn, causing gossip and speculation amongst the warriors.

 

Aron received his instructions from Arthur and his father, and was told to fulfil Dumnonia's oath to Garthmadrun but to avoid wasting the lives of spearmen that should be fighting Saxons. The oath needs to be respected but strategically Garthmadrun is unimportant and a burden to assist. Additionally, Dumnonia's Christian community has been clamouring for Arthur to assist Morcant, so something must be seen to be done to avoid civil strife.

 

After crossing the sea to Garthmadrun the warband was ambushed by Oengus Mac Airem's Blackshield Irish. Cei had scouted ahead to explore some farmbuildings with a small portion of the warband when the Irish pounced. More spearmen appeared on the surrounding ridges and moved to surround the Dumonians with a force of 350-400 warriors. As Aron was about to move to Cei's assistance the warlord waved him back, telling him to save the men and fulfil their oath. Aron did so, although some of Cei's men tried to join their Lord. The majority of the warband escaped while Cei and 20 of his men fought a desperate rearguard in the village. The remaining 80 spearmen made it to Caer Crochan, battered and bloody and with low spirits.

 

Arrival

As the warband move through autumn leaf-fall in the dusk a mist begins to form. A sense of being watched and shadowed dog the expedition as they moved down a shallow valley. As the warband hurry towards nearby Caer Crochan thoughts turn to home...

 

Duroc flashbacks to a meeting with Bishop Sansum where he's advised Bishop Cystenian may need taking down a peg, and it is hinted that perhaps the pagan artifact would be less dangerous and better utilised back in Dumnonia...

 

Gwynn recalls a fresh nightmare of standing in a candle-lit, skull-adorned cave amid chanting. A huge bowl sits in front of him and he's toppling into it, seeing a reflection of his shocked face in its bottom as he falls.

 

Back in the valley, the mist is thickening and there are certainly figures out there. Gwynn begins to lead the warriors out of the valley onto a ridge while Aron and Balig order their warriors to prepare for attack, slowly climbing the valley walls in locked-shield formation. Gwynn breaks away to scout around and comes across a silent warrior with a crescent/cup-shaped device on his shield. Haggard and pale, he stands motionless and silent while another warrior joins him, neither communicating.

 

Meanwhile Duroc and Aron come across a ritually-strangled sheep hanging from a tree as a curse. Restoring the warriors' confidence, Duroc cuts it down, blesses and burns it before kicking the carcass away. Gwynn rejoins them, spots a possible ambush site ahead and they move to avoid it.

 

Caer Crochan appears out of the mist, torches burning on the ramparts. As the warband nears it a small group of warriors attacks the rear, whooping and throwing a handful of spears and trying to draw the spearmen into breaking ranks and pursuing. Aron keeps order (an 'Inexperienced Leader' compel, resisted) and the warband escape casualties, in part thanks to Gwynn's foresight and Aron's leadership.

 

The warband is challenged and they meet Gareth ap Menw, Morcant's champion and warlord. He welcomes them into the caer and explains the situation in brief. The caer's warriors are divided between the King's guard, well-armed and trained, and the rest of the force, able spearmen but nothing special. Pagans and Christians are divided, clustering in small groups away from each other, and the warriors are unnerved by recent strangeness. Shown to their quarters, Duroc organises a sermon and successfully bolsters the spearmens' faith in Aron's leadership, Christian and pagan alike. He inspects one of the spears throw at the warband by the stalking warriors earlier and receives a vision of a pale hand reaching out to grab him. He drops the spear in alarm before reassuring the shaken young warrior who had been carrying it.

 

Meanwhile Aron speaks with the guard and learns more of the region's news and the discontent over Morcant's conversion and new wife. Gwynn receives a strange reception and is turned away from the meadhouse with anger and fear (a 'Fae Child' compel, accepted). A mob awaits him, which he manages to avoid before locating an old woman inciting the caer's population against him. Following her, he manages to talk to her in her home, learning she believes he is Rhys back from the dead, a restless spirit who must be laid to rest again and have his foot chopped off to prevent further wandering. Morwenna refuses to believe Gwynn is anyone but Rhys, but is eventually convinced he's a benign spirit and agrees to call off the angry pagans in the caer.

 

The monks from the nearby monastery arrive and Duroc speaks with the Bishop. As they pass an ill-favoured monk (Maelgwynn) scowls and spits in his direction.

 

Together, the three protagonists enter the King's hall and talk with Gareth, learning more of the kingdom's troubles.

 

The King's Welcome

 

Aron, Duroc and Balig attend the feast, with Einion as Aron's shieldbearer and Gwynn attending to his master's needs. Also present are Morcant's most trusted warband leaders, including Gareth, and Bishop Cystenian, Maelgwyn and a handful of other monks.

 

The King is brought in on a litter and needs much assistance to be helped into his throne. He is troubled by a nagging wound to the thigh received in battle against his rebellious sons that doesn't seem to be healing. He's joined shortly by Queen Anwen, easily the most beautiful woman the characters have seen in a world of pox-scars and hard living, with flawless pale skin. Morcant invites his guests to introduce themselves, Duroc leading the way but supported by Aron.

 

Afterward Morcant outlines the situation, lamenting the strife in Garthmadrun and seeing the arrival of Dumnonia's warband as God's benevolent hand. He stresses that the three brothers have no legitimate claim to the throne, having been the result of a pagan union no longer recognised. Cystenian supports the King, but seems a little nervous when the King enquires after the Cauldron, requesting it be used to help heal his wound. The Bishop prevaricates, claiming the Cauldron is not yet sanctified, but something else lies beneath his unease. After prayers the meal is set to and the King retires early, followed by Anwen.

 

Aron and Duroc stay on after the King departs, Duroc feigning drunkeness in the hope of overhearing something from the monks. Apart form being clearly worried by something, they don't fall for the ruse. Aron talks with Morcant's warriors, finding them sceptical of their King's claims about his sons and pessimistic about the future. Most would cross to the other side, were they not bound by their oaths to Morcant.

 

Gwynn is approached by two servants nervous of him, yet reverential. In whispers they ask him to lead them to victory against the pagans, informing him that the people are ready to rise in revolt and take back the Cauldron from the monks by force. Gwynn promises nothing and goes in search of the truth...

 

Top

 

Session Two

 

A Message from a Queen

 

A servant, Enid, hands a sealed parchment to Aron early next morning. The message is from Anwen but is sealed anonymously, without her royal seal. Aron opens the parchment and pretends to understand, despite not being able to read. Enid waits for a reply, but Aron tells her he will be back in contact later.

 

He takes the message to Duroc who reads the Latin. It requests to meet Aron this evening for a private conversation. After discussion, they send a reply back to Enid telling her they will meet this evening in the bower garden, Aron bringing along Duroc and a trusted servant, Gwynn.

 

Morning Prayers

 

Hoping to catch Morcant alone, Duroc visits the King at 3am for prayers. After gaining admittance he finds the King already on his knees in prayer with Bishop Cystenian. They welcome Duroc and all three pray, Duroc taking the opportunity to get a better look at Morcant's unusual wound. He isn't given the opportunity, however, as the Bishop expects him to leave when he does, waiting in confusion while Duroc considers. He decides not to make an excuse to stay and leaves with the Bishop, agreeing to visit the monastery later that day.

 

Prophecies and Guardians

 

Gwynn decides to find out more about his role in things and follows Morwenna, the old woman to a hut where she meets Olwen. Eventually Gwynn learns that Olwen is his aunt and remembers him as a boy hunting nearby. She explains that Cadwg, a now dead Druid, received a phrophecy telling him to separate the Cauldron's twin guardians who had watched over the Cauldron before anyone could remember. Separated, the guardians are unable to fulfil their task and the Cauldron is vulnerable. Cadwg envisioned it as a test of the peoples' faith: if they were found wanting then disaster would befall Garthmadrun.

 

Cadwg separated the newborn identical twins, handling Rhys to Morwenna to care for. Morwenna believed the other twin killed at birth, but Cadwg didn't have the heart for it and had Gwynn sold to a Dumnonian owner to prevent the two twins ever meeting. Olwen knew this, but has kept quiet all these years, while Morwenna has a hard time believing Gwynn survived. Without the guardians the Cauldron was discovered and unearthed by the Christians and released disaster upon the faithless kingdom.

 

Parley with Hywel

 

Aron sounds out a few of Morcant's warriors and secretly arranges a meeting with the eldest of the brothers, Hywel through one of the loyalty-torn spearmen. The meet is agreed to and early next morning Aron rides out on the pretext of supervising the riders leaving in search of Cei. Instead he heads to a secret grove to the Old Gods, a forest clearing of surrounded by old stones with ribbons and scraps of cloth stuffed into niches as evidence of prayers made. Hywel respects the parley and he and Aron embrace then get down to discussing the situation.

 

Hywel assumes Aron has come to convince him to give up the fight, and points to a fresh tattoo as evidence of his new oath: he and his brothers are swore to defeat their father and take his throne, then divide the kingdom evenly between them. He mkaes it clear it's not a religious struggle for him, but one of honour against his father's betrayal of Heledd.

 

Aron surprises Hywel by not attempting to convince him of this at all, but instead suggests he feign forgiveness and openess to conversion to Christianity, then use the opportunity to get close to Morcant and kill him and finish the matter once and for all. Hywel rejects this proposal as dishonourable, which Aron concedes and asks to meet with him again, along with his brothers and mother. Hywel tells Aron he hasn't seen his mother much lately, but she is obsessed with vengeance against Morcant and only Talfryn spends much time with her lately.

 

When asked about the strange warriors that attacked Aron's warband, Hywel knows nothing much - they do not bother him, but nor does he know anything about them.

 

They agree to meet again late that night in the deeper forest not far away, where Hywel will attempt to bring his brothers and Heledd along.

 

Investigation of the Monastery

 

Duroc heads to the monastery with Balig and two spearmen to talk with the monks and sniff around. They are met by Ysbaddaden, a huge warriors in Morcant's royal guard commanding 20 spearmen guarding the stoutly-built monastery. He interrupts his game of dice and treats Duroc with surly disregard and insists the warriors leave their weapons with one of his men. They do so, and Balig and the two spearmen chat with Ysbaddaden's men while Duroc enters the chapel.

 

Inside several monks notice Duroc and Maelgwyn scowls. He is rude to Duroc, who inspects the area and finds the Cauldron's resting place. It sits in the centre of the chapel in a partially-completed stone sacophagus-like receptacle. He doesn't see the Cauldron, but this is clearly where everyone believes it is kept.

 

While he looks around a young, strong monk accosts Duroc at Maelgwyn's order ('Student of Sansum' compel, accepted)and tells him to leave. Their hostility to Sansum's man is such that conversation does no good and a fight breaks out, which Duroc wins with ease. Giving the man a bloody jaw, Duroc leaves the chapel with a twirl of his staff, followed at a respectful distance by the other cowed and curious monks.

 

Duroc rejoins Balig and learns that Ysbaddaden is surprisingly confident about his position at the monastery, despite his dislike for Christianity and repeatedly flouting their observances by gambling and drinking heavily. Ysbaddaden hinted that he knew something that meant the monks couldn't touch him and was using it to intimidate them and act as he pleases.

 

Around this time Gwynn arrives, using his ability to avoid notice to enter the chapel unseen. He pretends to pray and investigates the Cauldron's stone box but cannot detect any hint of its power through the stone. Apart from some general residual power in the area, attesting to the hill's significance as a pagan holy place, the box seems empty.

 

Gwynn goes in search of the Cauldron, sneaking through the monks' dormitory area with the exception of Bishop Cystenian's chambers and the monks' private cells, but finds no magic trace of the Cauldron. Gwynn leaves and encounters Duroc and they leave together discussing the situation.

 

Later, Gwynn and Aron talk, then all three get together to plan. There is some suggestion that King Morcant be assasinated, or that Queen Anwen die to prevent civil war and return the pagans to primacy, but nothing is decided.

 

The Maimed King

 

Duroc returns to Morcant's chambers and finds him alone with his body servants. Duroc offers to inspect his wound and change the dressing and finds it very strange: there is no evidence of it healing or deteriorating despite being several weeks old and it looks as if he had been wounded by a spear only hours ago. It bleeds a little, but not enough to be life-threatening and bandages stem the flow well enough.

 

Calling upon his God's power, Duroc attempts to heal the King. Summoning all his faith in conjunction with his healing skill (Invoking his 'Holy Healer' aspect), Duroc manages to perform a minor miracle and heal the wound. While the wound remains, it will heal normally from now and the King is overjoyed.

 

Top

 

 

Unfortunately, that's all we had time for but I hope to continue the game where we left off at a later date.

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