The mechanical imagination of the Clockwork mind never ceases to amaze me.
As the town gathered today outside the burned remains of the Town Hall for the funeral rites for those who died in the previous days, the Lion told me of their new idea of a “will”. After the mass killing in Chuton during the Festival of Forgiveness, there was a level of confusion among the families of those slaughtered as to who would get the belongings of the departed. Lion suggested the drafting of a legal document whereby a living person would decree how their worldly possessions are distributed after their death. Genius!
Lion engaged my services to document each “will” and the first person it wanted me to assist with possibly drafting a “will” for was Ruby the midwife. While the Lion was questioning Ruby to gain information for the “will”, I thought that I sensed a dark energy coming from Ruby and I’m not sure what it was at this point. I might be overly sensitive due to the recent happenings in town so will just observe from a distance as I might be completely wrong.
Shortly following that chat, we spoke with the coffin maker and she seemed quite keen on the idea of the “will” so I must remember to have a follow up conversation with her. The fee is only 1SP which I will share with the Lion.
Mayor Izzy came forward and spoke briefly and handed over the funeral proceedings to Huve. She has a very difficult role to step in the place of Father Bert who was such a charismatic and kind soul, but Huva’s message about community unity after such a horrific disaster was inspirational and well accepted. A true testament of her faith in the New God.
After she spoke, we heard a report from Vert, the Rusty Crown’s barman (now proprietor) who told of several surly characters that he observed connecting with Rusty, who we found was involved with the Festival Day Massacre. The townsfolk split into five groups each investigating the whereabouts of those who Rusty was seen speaking with. My preference would have been to stay at home in town to contemplate my new-found abilities, however the Lion suggested I come with it to Ashborne.
The Lion, Owen the Blacksmith and I started to travel the road to Ashborne to follow a man wearing a wide brimmed hat and a mask, when a young orcish girl called Raya decided to follow us. Lion rightfully challenged whether or not the child of only 12 years should be allowed to accompany us, however as it was established she had no local family, it would be ok. I am even still uneasy with that decision, even moreso after what I witnessed that child do.
When we arrived at the river crossing a very foreboding sign awaited us, the wooden planks of the bridge had all been removed and stood in a criss-cross manner along the river bank. I tried to sense in the shadows if I could see anyone but it appeared to only be us in the area. Carelessly, the child plunged into the river and quickly swam to the other side. Owen tossed over his rope to the child who tied it to a bridge post, and while this was going on Lion lept across the river. After tying down the end of rope on our side, I watched Own make his way across by climbing the rope hand over hand and then, reluctantly, I scurried across as well. Again, I scanned the shadows and although I didn’t see any forms, I had a feeling we were being observed.
Rather than take the road on to the town, we followed along the river and found a path leading up to the edge of the city. When we were in view I concentrated a moment to clear my mind and tried to sense any thoughts the area. Moving closer to the entrance to the town where the road entered I could feel that there were a few people there. We moved closer and saw a caravan and decided that Owen, being the only human among us, would approach the group of people. He did so, and must have been successful in his communication as the next thig I knew, Owen signalled for us to join him.
We met Suzanna, the mayor of Ashborn who told us of her city’s demise. Their village was being destroyed by vines (which ended up being the same type of vines used in the ritual that raised the shadow creatures at the Festival) and a Mr Attwood, who ended up being the man we were looking for, was acting as an emissary for a Fey who told them that they had to depart town or all die. Suzanna decided to take the villagers to another town to seek assistance to fight the faery that took over their town. She also asked us to bring Mr Attwood, a prominent villager and owner of the mill, back with us so he wouldn’t be left behind. We agreed, for a price negotiated by Lion.
The four of us decided to not head through the middle of town as it was slowly being decimated by massive vines growing through the buildings turning them to rubble and we followed the treeline on the outskirts of the city. We found an entrance that lead towards the mill which seemed to be the epicentre of the vine activity, and where Mr Attwood was meant to be. As we started in towards the mill I had a feeling of unease as the vines started to part before us making a clear path to our destination.
When we approached the building the doors slammed open and we could see some forms inside. I cleared my mind once again and tried to sense how many people were in the building before us and there seemed to be only two intelligent lifeforms inside.
As we entered, the Lion used her chest light to scan the building and we saw a majestic oak with red leaves coming out of the middle of the mill floor, and seated next to it was a human form. As Lion’s light passed over what appeared to be Mr Attwood we noted that a huge thorn seemed to penetrate from the back of his skull through his mouth.
Frighteningly, Mr Attwood ‘waved’ at us and seemed to speak and asked what we were doing there. Obviously, his animated form was controlled by what we thought was a tree but was a powerful Faery.
The rest of the time spent in the mill confounded me. Each of my companions struck bargains with the Fey, whom we found was nicknamed “Red Leaf”. I was so troubled by the fact they were sharing secrets or gaining favours with Red Leaf that I have blocked out most of what transpired. I do remember sensing magic on some trinket given to the Orc child, and also some further information on who the ancient Fey really is which I must research further. Lastly, I remember Owen and Lion thinking they tricked the Fey by agreeing to burn a body of one of the villagers in return for information, knowing that we’d be returning with Mr Attwood who was obviously dead and using his body to fulfil the requirement. Don’t they know you can’t trick a Faery and this one is making claim to lands she says belongs to her, the entire land that is and was the Soldier Forest!
We were granted leave and took Mr Attwood back to entrance of the town and there were four men waiting as the caravan had left. One of the men had wandered over to the wood’s edge so Lion and Owen presented the body of Mr Attwood to the remaining three and advised that they needed to leave immediately (I remember now that “all the villagers must go” was part of the requirements Red Leaf stated). They were hesitant to follow on and so I decided to try something out and cleared my head and focussed on projecting a voice of the faery into the mind of one of the men saying, “I told you that you must go and now my vines will rip through your body and you will suffer a painful death”. Needless to say, he turned and ran down the road and the other two seeing him bolt left quickly after. There was still a bonfire going so we placed Mr Attwood onto the fire, may the profit guide his soul.
I turned to look towards the man who went near the woods (maybe he was relieving himself?) just in time to see what appeared to be the Orc child smashing into his skull knocking him to the ground. I feel that the words of the Faery somehow got to the child and I will not be involved. I do not trust this child.
We quickly caught up to the slow-moving caravan and Owen and I went to see Mayor Suzanna by ourselves as Lion felt obligated to follow the Orc child who went running off.
We advised what happened to Mr Attwood and requested payment for returning him as requested. Suzanna wasn’t pleased he was dead and refused. We spoke of the deal we struck and in turn she acquiesced. Because of this the four of us returned to Chuton with a gold coin that we have decided to donate to the rebuilding of the town hall.
Out of the five groups that travelled off, I had to follow the one that encountered a damned faery! I didn’t want to even go in the first place and now I must deal with the nightmares that will likely ensue. I escaped the clutches of the fey after they cut my horns off only to be confronted by them again. I chose Chuton as a quiet place to seek refuge from my past and I hope the recent problems are over soon as I don’t want to have to search for a new home. Why did Father Bert need to die, he was the only one who I truly trusted after what happened in Burxton three years ago.