2 Ostara, 2020au
The Bordermen, along with their Crescentian companion, Hakmet ibn Damar, and Sir Garrett Mark and the survivors of his Outrider unit, traveled for two days across the plains of Gravemarker Field. On the third day, Sir Garrett sent his men overland, on a hard march for Tombstone Keep, while he and the Bordermen continued on to House Pillion’s seat of power, Saddler’s Wallow.
They arrived by nightfall, finding the walled city heavily fortified and encampments of Hawkmoor and Wolfe soldiers outside. As they approached, they took notice of a heathen altar just beyond the portcullis where a priestess, clad in white robes, was engaged in prayer. As Sir Garrett rode forward to gain them entry, the priestess, Seid Iouna Trask, rose and called out to the Bordermen.
“You have been in my dreams,” she said. “Placed there by the gods. They are watching you.” She drew closer to them. “One of you will die. One of you will be banished. One of you will feel regret. And one of you will find favor.”
“Be well and true,” she added. “We shall meet again.”
Brushing off their brush with prophecy, they entered Saddler’s Wallow, finding a bustling market. Byron bartered with a Crescentian bowyer, trading handcrafted bows and arrows for two vials of Purple Lotus and a craft bag. Edmund and Sir Garrett made purchases from a weaponsmith, but as the transaction ended, the party took notice of a shifty fellow watching them… then a crazed, stuttering woman came up to them carrying on about a missing earring. That’s when they noticed the shifty fellow had tried to give them the slip.
They followed him to the Crescentian bowyer… when he revealed himself to be Galen Morgan, the vbounty hunter Arenth Morgan’s sidekick. He laughed heartily about his ruse, then invited them for drinks after their business with the Baron.
The group wearily set off for the Pillion Mead Hall, baronial seat of Saddler’s Wallow. Approaching, Arthur recognized two Hawkmoor guards outside the entrance, alongside two Skalgrim axemen. Wolfe and Kilraven soldiers were huddled nearby, keeping watch (and throwing dice). The Hawkmoors were Arthur’s distant cousins. They passed along that their mutual uncle, Duke Uthric, was inside, and in a mood… Things were looking rather grim. Little did they really how much worse things were to get.
The Hall was filled with nobles. Earl Travis Morgan stood in the center of the chamber addressing Baron Raston Pillion. To the Baron’s right was Edmund’s sister, Lady Kora Stewart-Pillion, and to his left, Sir Nicholas Saddler, Pillion’s Master of War. Behind them sat the rest of the Morgan Bannermen: Baron Bother Knott, Baroness Laylah Virands, Baron Wyatt Mark, Baron Walther Cairn, Baroness Evelyn Trammels, and Baron Rust Staver.
The real power in the room, however, was standing in a small antechamber: Duke Uthrric Hawkmoor paced beside his chief advisors, Jarl Horik Thorinsson and, from House Wolfe, Prince Alik Kilraven.
The Bordermen were called forth to stand before the Baron and give an account of what transpired with the military engagement at Traitor’s Rock. Edmund was selected to tell the tale, but as he was just getting to the meat of it, Hakmet cried out, “Shooter!”
An archer, creeping up from a back stair, had taken aim at Duke Uthric and let a shaft fly, but Hakmet leapt in front of the missile, taking it in the throat.The Crescentian was dead before he hit the floor.
Arthur quickly brought up his crossbow and buried a bolt in the would-be assassin’s shoulder as Togo and Byron crossed the distance and sent the bowman to his death at the bottom of the stairs. Byron climbed down after to verify he was dead when more cutthroats burst in through a secret panel, severely wounding Fletcher, with a cries of, “For Kalibyrne!” on their lips..
More assassins entered via another secret panel on the northside of the Hall. Jarl Horik beheaded one, but the other two tossed flaming oil into the center of the Hall. The fire spread quickly, engulfing the wood structure. Nobles fled, many leaping through windows to escape, with Arthur coming to their aid.
Edmund, coming to help Byron, guarded the stair with his longspear. The two assassins hurled flaming oil upward, afraid to advance further. Edmund tried to block the toss with his spear, but the bottle exploded when the spearhead met the glass. He had more success with the second, hurtled the oil jar back down the stair and killing the arsonists.
Byron and Togo escape the incendiary explosion, but Edmund was trapped between the flames as the entire structure was going up like a tinderbox, while Arthur faced off against the last assassin as Jarl Horik helped more nobles escape into the night…
to be continued