Game Location: Oct. 17, 2014 at the Guild Hall’s Arena in Savannah.
James P.: Turpin deLoure – French Christian
John H.: Galien – French Christian
John S.: Celsus – Roman Christian
Josh K.: Romulus – Roman Christian
Robbie W.: Riorden O’Fergus – Irish Pagan
Rod F.: Jaufre – Occitanian Christian
Ron W.: Damahaut – Cymric Christian
William B.: Athras – Cymric Christian
Absent, but whose characters were still played:
Cody H.: Dragan – Occitanian Heathen from the County of Toulouse, Gaul
Kevin M.: Aengus MacManis – Irish Christian from the Kingdom of Connacht, Ireland
Tony G.: Donecus – Roman Jew from the County of Huntington, Logres
Concerning the various items reported stolen over the past two years, none of them have been recovered, and the thief (or thieves) has not yet been identified. No thefts were reported for the year of A.D. 497.
Squires were given the option to pursue Pure Companionship with one of the daughters of Lord Galadorn (at this time, these are the only maidens of noble blood in the area of the proper age for such endeavors with the characters). This year the following squires openly declared the following Pure Companionship relationships:
Athras with Joanette
Celsus with Claressant
Donecus with Solei
Turpin with Solei
Riorden with Willow
Keep in mind that this represents formal, open declarations of ones interests. Other squires may also be pursuing Pure Companionship through the secretive version of it. To review the rules regarding Pure Companionship, see the appropriately marked file in the “Files” section of the Savannah Pendragon League FB page.
Special Training with Sir Belfan
Sir Adam arranged for a retired marshal, Sir Belfan, to visit Beale Valet and give the Company of the Crimson Hawk intense weapon and combat training. Some of the squires elected to forego some of this training in order to pursue Pure Companionship.
The Mid-Summer Parade & Feast
The squires were given the opportunity to participate in a special parade and feast celebrating Mid-Summer’s Day. Each squire was given the choice to either go hunting in preparation of the feast, be a part of the Honor Guard (which escorted the Eucharistic Procession), or assist the peasants in parade preparations and then being a member of the parade’s Mounted Guard. Each task allowed specific skill rolls.
Galien and Turpin decided to go hunting. Later at the celebration they noticed that Solei looked approvingly upon those who helped provide for the feast.
Damahaut, Celsus, Dragan, Riorden, Jaufre & Athras chose to be part of the Honor Guard during the Eucharistic Procession. They noticed that Joanette looked approvingly upon those who elected to serve on the Honor Guard.
Romulus, Aengus & Donecus elected to assist the peasants and be part of the Mounted Guard. They noticed that Willow looked approvingly upon those who participated in such an artistic endeavor.
A Spooky Adventure in the Estate of Lonely Elm
(Inspired by the legends associated with the Lizzie Borden House)
This adventure took place in the County of Huntington, in the Village of Langster (although not on the game map, it is located between Beale Valet and Cambridge), at the Estate of Lonely Elm.
The History of the Estate of Lonely Elm, and the Fate of Sir Warrenus:
The manor house of Lonely Elm was built by Sir Warrenus & Lady Bella. He was a vassal knight who died under mysterious circumstances. The Village of Langster was being attacked by brigands donned in black cloaks who proved themselves to be powerful and savage warriors. They came to known as the Unholy Raiders. The headquarters of these raiders is secretly located somewhere within the vast Fens to the northeast. Despite several battles between the raiders and the local knights and men-at-arms, there is no record of any of the raiders ever being killed or captured. This has led to a widespread rumor that they live a charmed life, possibly being in league with the devil himself and are protected by black magic.
In A.D. 490, on Halloween, Sir Warrenus led a large band of soldiers into the Fens to find the raiders and kill them. Only three of the soldiers returned, all of whom were severely injured and terrified by what happened. According to their statements, Sir Warrenus believed (for undisclosed reasons) that the lair of the raiders was located on Ely Isle within the Fens. Dark water with mysterious currents and deep mud act as natural barriers between Ely Isle and the rest of the Fens. Several of the soldiers drown in quicksand while trying to find a ford.
Before they could find a safe way to cross to Ely Isle, their camp was set upon at night by the raiders. Sir Warrenus and most of his men were slain almost instantly. Only a few soldiers escaped the battle. Most of those who fled were hunted down by the raiders and ended up never leaving the Fens alive. Three survived to tell the tale. Because it was at night and the raiders wore black hooded cloaks, they did not get a good look at the villains. But they did notice that all the raiders wore a wooden emblem around their necks depicting a skull with a dagger thrust vertically through it.
The bodies of Sir Warrenus and the other slain men were never recovered. Despite the success of the Unholy Raiders, for some reason they ceased their raids on Langster after this point.
The son of Sir Warrenus, Sir Wymark, inherited the Estate of Lonely Elm. His family is composed of his wife, Lady Duriana, and their two daughter, Lady Mariel & Lady Ester. Mariel is the eldest child.
The Haunting of Lonely Elm:
Since the death of Sir Warrenus, the family and servants of Lonely Elm have come to believe that the estate is haunted. Eerie things have occurred both within the manor house and around the grounds. For example: Phantom children heard laughing and playing and there are sudden hot and cold spots. Willow wisps appear and disappear, and unexplained footsteps are sometimes heard upon the stairs.
The most striking phenomenon is the annual appearance of what is called the Phantom of Lonely Elm. Each Halloween night, the ghost of Sir Warrenus appears, all bedraggled and covered with dripping muck from the fens. Those who witnessed this apparition say that the phantom slowly raised his hand and pointed at them accusingly.
According to the stories, the Phantom of Lonely Elm is likely to appear anywhere inside the manor house or on the grounds surrounding the house. Very few people have spotted it because, presumably, there have been Halloweens when he appeared in a spot where there were no witnesses. The few people who actually saw it do not know what the phantom does after he points at them, because they ran in terror.
On Halloween of A.D. 496, Sir Wymark and his family decided to solve the mystery of the Phantom of Lonely Elm. That night they spread throughout the property, determined to observe the ghost of Sir Warrenus and bravely witness all his actions. However, the following morning brought a discovery of unimaginable horror. The bloody body of Sir Wymark, who spent the night staked out in the garden maze, was discovered with his head smashed in. His wife, the Lady Duriana, was found in the master bedroom, likewise butchered. The only survivors were the two daughters, Mariel and Ester, and the servant girl, Simona. None of them reported seeing the assailant or hearing the murders.
Sir Allagard, the sheriff of Langster, determined that Wymark and Duriana were probably killed by an axe, but the murder weapon was never found. No other evidence came forth to help determine the killer or the motive.
This was the last straw for Mariel, Ester, and Simona. Simona returned to her family in Ireland, and Mariel and Ester moved to the estate of Sir Haberlet (also in the Langston area). Earl Dafydd has appointed Sir Haberlet as their guardian.
Mariel has inherited the Estate of Lonely Elm, although the manor house is unoccupied, and the peasants no longer work the grounds.
The Quest for the Company of the Crimson Hawk:
The Lady Mariel is now 23 and is unwed. Because she is the owner of a haunted estate, finding a proper suitor is problematic. The Lady Ester is now 20 and the family tragedy has likewise had a negative impact upon her. People speak of a family curse.
Sir Edam is cousin to Mariel and Ester. He wants to bring a resolution to the mystery of Lonely Elm. If the hauntings cease and the manor house is once more livable, then perhaps the stigma attached to the sisters will likewise cease, allowing them to find good husbands. Sir Edam theorizes that the Phantom of Lonely Elm is at the center of all the supernatural phenomena. If someone can witness the apparition and be brave enough not to run away, then perhaps the phantom will reveal some sort of clue that will unlock the mystery of the haunting, and allow the estate to return to normal.
Sir Edam gives the Company of the Crimson Hawk this task. In order to make sure the Phantom of Lonely Elm is encountered, the squires must spread out to cover all the rooms and the outside yards (front, back, east side, west side). Sir Edam will not actually be joining in the quest due to a prior engagement.
What Happened on Halloween Night, A.D. 497?
Each squire was stationed in a specific area, and had to spend the night alone. Nightmarish supernatural occurrences afflicted them all!
Damahaut was stationed in the Great Hall. The floor seemed to become like quick sand, with skeletal hands reaching up to drag him down. He was able to slog his way across the room to safety.
Aengus was stationed in the master bedroom. The corpse of a knight (whose face appeared smashed in, as with an axe) appeared in a rocking chair and stood up to do combat with him. Aengus was slain by the undead knight, but he woke up the next morning in full health.
Romulus was stationed in the chapel which had a stained glass window depicting a scene from the Garden of Eden. A stained glass serpent in the window animated, slithered out, and fought with him. Romulus killed the crystalline beast.
Dragan was stationed in the basement next to a door to a storage room that was always locked because the key had long been lost. During the night he noticed that this door was cracked open, and the sound of children giggling was heard inside. Upon investigation, he found the storage room filled with old toys, including a baby doll that opened its eyes, looked at him, and said, “You are going to die!” Then a man-sized clown doll shambled from the corner wielding a mace. After heated battle, Dragan defeated the murderous clown doll.
Riorden was stationed in Mariel’s old bedroom, which included a mirror on the wall and a shelf of decorative bottles, each with a different symbol. Something caused painful, burning scratches to appear on his back, and he felt that he was slowly blacking out. Examining his back in the mirror showed a star and something written in Latin. Robbie elected to use a Victory Point to read the writings, which seemed to be giving him a clue concerning which of the bottles to drink from. But he did not properly unlock the clue and Riorden ended up drinking from the wrong bottles, which poisoned him. He woke the next morning in full health, with the scratches gone.
Turpin was stationed in Ester’s old bedroom. Down the hall he heard the faint sound of children singing the following song: ""Lady Ester took an axe, Gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father 41." And then loudly at the door he heard the voices say, “And you get 42!” Then the shadowy form of a woman with a hatchet burst through the door and attacked Turpin. It was a valiant combat, but ended up slain by this psychotic apparition. Despite getting “42 whacks”, he woke the next morning in full health.
Athras was stationed in the attic which had a full-sized looking glass. At one point during the night, the door to the attic vanished, although it was still visible in the mirror. Seeing as this was the only way out, Athras attempted to enter the mirror, and, indeed, he was able. But before he could make it to the mirror room’s door, he had to fight his own reflection. He prevailed in combat with his doppelganger, exited the mirror door, and ended up back in the actual attic room, with the attic room’s door restored.
Galien was stationed in the kitchen & pantry building, where he was set upon by some enormous spiders. They wanted to feast upon him, but he slashed them to pieces with his sword.
Jaufre was stationed outside in the garden maze, the center of which has the elm tree that the estate gets its name from. During the night, the pathways of the maze changed and there did not seem to be a way out. A raven appeared in the branches of the elm and spoke a single word, “Toad.” Finding a huge toad statue in a fountain in the maze, Jaufre climbed through its gaping mouth and was magically transported to a dark swamp. He discerned some light in the distance and correctly maneuvered his way to it. The light enveloped him and he found himself back in the garden maze, with the proper paths restored.
Celsus was stationed outside in a Romanesque portico containing a number of statues covered in ivy. Suddenly, some of the vines grabbed him and dragged him towards the clutches of a statue of Hercules. Despite trying to free himself from the ivy, the statue eventually grabbed him and crushed the life out of him. Celsus woke the next morning in full health.
Donecus was stationed outside on the lake shore. He saw ghostly images of armor-clad men underneath the dark water, and heard the voice of a woman singing from the depths. The voice promised all kinds of rewards and successfully mesmerized him. Donecus waded into the lake and drowned. Nevertheless, he woke the next morning on the grassy lawn, in full health.
As you can see, there were 11 stations, each containing a squire. Some of the squires succumbed to the supernatural attacks and were effectively rendered unconscious for the night. The GM, randomly determined which location the Phantom of Lonely Elm appeared, and naturally it was hoped that it would be in an area where one of the squires was conscious and able to witness it. Alas, the ghost of Sir Warrenus was fated to appear on the lakeshore, where Donecus was down for the count. But the GM invited one of the players to sacrifice a Victory Point to change fate, and have this apparition appear in his location. Ron immediately offered to do this, and therefore the Phantom of Lonely Elm ended up coming into the Great Hall. It raised its hand and pointed at Damahaut, but Damahaut made his Valor check and stood his ground. The ghost then passed through the squire and glided next to the wall. It turned out that when it appears each Halloween, it is not actually pointing its finger accusingly at people, but rather using its finger to trace a symbol. Therefore, Damahaut witnessed it tracing such a symbol on the wall, and then it vanished. The squires were able to discern that the symbol was the Ogham rune for the letter “ohn”, which pagans associate with an ash tree.
The Company of the Crimson Hawk now has a clue to work with. But will they be able to dispel the hauntings of the Estate of Lonely Elm? That is an adventure for another day!