The Nail

An Ill-Omened Hunt, Part 1
The ugly side of politics rears it's head

A rider in a herald’s coat approached the party as they continued north out of the village of Wolsey, just a few days past Hunningdon. William smiled when he recognized the livery – a white bull’s head on a brown field.

“Your Grace, Lord William, I bring greetings from your faithful friend Lord Bullwythe! I have been set to watch for your passing these past several days as his lordship has information that bears directly upon your quest. As you are so close, he hopes you will take time to hear him, rest your mounts and re-provision before you continue.”

“We would be most honored. You may lead if you like, but I know the way well, sir.” William turned to the group and said, “Lord Bullwythe is a friend of long standing and a short rest for our mounts may aid us far more than continuing forward at our current pace. Besides, we stole a march with the aid of the Fey.” Everyone turned their mounts to follow a well-travelled track across well-maintained fields and headed towards Bulldon.

Meeting with the Fey
Agatha Christie meets the Feyworld

As the band rode away from the king’s hunting lodge, they pressed on into the night. “If we can press on,” said William, “we can be in the village of Hunningdon shortly after dawn. I’m sure we can find a bed there and rest.”

But the exertions of the night proved too much, and as men hale and hearty began falling asleep in the saddle, it was clear that they would have to stop and sleep before light broke. They found a sheltered glade, slightly raised and near a little spring. Guards were posted and everyone settled into camp. Cawdell was dead-tired, but volunteered for first watch. He patrolled the edge of the glade. That’s odd he thought. Fools cap mushrooms and tons of them. They almost make a perfect circle around the whole clearing. It was the last thing he remembered.

Bandits on the King's Road
How do you solve a bandit problem? A few murders.

“Be wary, milordships,” the cooper said as they headed north out of the village of Kingsley. "We lost both our King and Baron Daughtery in the recent fight, ( the Mercies reward their souls) and some unsavory men are looking to take advantage. I’d be cautious on the King’s Road, were I you."

A short discussion ensued, but everyone agreed that time was too short, and to leave the King’s Road would cost too much time. The men with martial skills armored for trouble, and they continued along the King’s Road into the shadowed depths of the High Forest, with Tristan scouting ahead.

Several miles in, Tristan was surprised to hear a voice. “Tristan? ‘Sat you? Ahh…thought it was. It’s me…Bili. I was about to put an arrow frou your froat.”

Requiem for a friend
Cawdell finds a little solace

More about our favorite delusional knight can be found here.

Leaving Can Be Hard
Some quests are urgent. Others, less so.

Cawdell Owain became aware pressure under his arms, the feel of his toes being dragged over cobblestones, a slight breeze in his face and heard the sounds of the city. This was slightly disturbing as in his last moment of consciousness, he had been passing out in an inn after surviving the effects of a rather vicious poison. He began to stir a bit.

“Hey now, he’s coming around. Let’s help him stand.” As Sir Cawdell became fully aware, he was being helped to stand by two men in the livery of the Earl of Chepstow. They waited and helped steady him until he gained full control of his faculties.

“Greetings, Sir Cawdell. Lord Marshall has summoned you to the palace immediately. We’re sorry, but we can’t really say why, sir.”

A Rude Awakening
The King is dead... ( I think)?

This excellent piece of scene-setting fiction has been moved to the Wiki with the other similar pieces. You can find it here.

Who Will Save the Kingdom?
The Initial Group is Gathered

“The situation is dire, milord. We’ve lost our king, his eldest wizard and advisor lies dead, and the next in line is missing. Similarly, most of the Royal Guard was found dead on the field, but their champion is nowhere to be found. Thank the Mercies that you are here to safeguard the capital in these troubled times.”

William Marshall, Earl of Chepstow, winced as he turned on his lame leg. He keenly felt the loss of Emyr Llwyd, a wise if somewhat cantankerous man. And Gedrych’s absence was disturbing – his power would be useful to keep peace. But most troubling was the absence of the champion. William would have bet his good leg that the man would die before leaving his king. “Guess this wound was a blessing in disguise then.”

“I’m not one to judge the Mercies’ ways, milord, but I’m grateful you are here instead of…I’m sorry. I forget myself. Let me just say that Ariadh is in good hands while you are on watch.”

The earl smiled, and was interrupted by a knock at the door.


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