The Witch's Wood


  • Judge

    There's still a chill at night and in the morning this early in Spring.

    The smell of fire and seared meat fill your nostrils, Sir Ganuf. Your squire, Bheard, has finally got the breakfast fire going and you smile recalling when you were chided for not being able to get the fire going quickly when you squired. What is the name of the knight you squired for?

    Breakfast will be ready, shortly, sir.

    Five days on the road now and you've traversed into the Easterlands. The wooded foothills give way to rocky passes and deep, narrow valleys; the birch and pine to larch and ash. The Spring thaw has caused the high frosts to melt and as you enter into the vale numerous tiny waterfalls spill over high precipice and rocky thresholds. Occasionally, a tinkle and splatter from one of them spatters your face. It feels refreshing.

    Unlike the sortie escorting the Lady Elsibeth, you have no baggage cart. You're traveling lighter, scouting ahead, and your supplies are limited to what you can carry in saddlebags.

    You've camped down in the bottom of a narrow valley near a brook, mostly large flat stones now, but you imagine starts to babble near Spring's end. There's something you appreciate about a bivouac as a hedge knight that has spent many knights on the road that some of these castle-borne knights don't quite get.

    Around the camp, the retinues are stirring from their sleep.

    Sir Albrecht, your squire Knappe Ramung has begun the shove you awake. Is that something you told him to do or something you'll have to scold him for? Much like Sir Ganuf, you are a hedge knight used to the rigors of the trail. You took first watch -- the best watch -- and have slept through the night.

    Sir Albrecht, Sir Brandyn has not returned from his watch. Should we go look for him?

    What do you do?


    Sir Brandyn, you had the last watch. The barking of dogs, though distant, stirred you to investigate, so you headed deeper into the forested valley, upstream. You still have sight of the camp from your perch, and they are within shouting distance, but you did not bring your horse as the climb up was treacherous. Did you bring your squire? Any men with you?

    Your perch is a wide slat of flat rock jutting out from the valley wall. It's steep up and down from here. Moss has already begun to creep across the rock and you gather by mid-Spring it'll cover it entirely.

    There they are. Those dogs.

    Two hunting dogs bound through the forest near the brook. They are chasing a deer. It has an arrow sticking from its side and they are gaining on it. Not far after, a sleek piebald riding horse follows. A woman sits astride it, her long, braided golden hair bounces and flows in the rhythm of her steed's stride. She seems born to the saddle, a skilled rider in this uneven terrain. She has a hunting bow and looses an arrow that takes down the deer.

    As far as you can tell, she is alone, though there is a horn on her hip. She'll smell the cooking fire if she comes closer.

    What do you do?


  • Knight Apocalypse Martian

    Knappe is the German word for squire. His name is Ramung.


    Albrecht rolls over as Ramung shoves him awake, listening intently to his squire's explanation of the situation. Standing, he quickly pulls on his hose and shirt before grabbing his aketon. He turns to Ramung, "Raise the alarm. Tell one of the men to alert Sir Ganuf then fetch my armor, boy."

    Once armed and armored, he heads towards the middle of camp to meet Ganuf, "I find it unlikely Sir Brandyn would abandon his post in the night. Should we set out to find him?"


  • Knight Fauxrunner Scyther

    The Knight that I squired for was Sir Hulfnier of the North. He was a "castle bound" knight, but spent much time on the road, questing.


  • Adventurer

    I did bring my squire and two men at arms with me, leaving the others behind at the camp at rest.

    From my rocky overlook, I say quietly to Gareth, my squire, and instruct him. Return to the others, and inform them of my position. We three shall make contact with the lady and determine allegiances. But leave my shield boy! For I may need it.

    Sir Brandyn, having enough wits of battle to not desire to disclose his camp’s location to an unknown party, will remain for a brief moment and survey.

    What time is it roughly?
    Do I recognize the lady’s heraldry?
    What other weapons does she carry?


  • Judge

    It is early morning, just after dawn. She bears the sigil of House Gordayne; a frog, leaping across a golden field, though the colors are red and purple instead of the traditional orange and green. You presume they have lands in this region.

    She carries a simple hunting knife, but no other weapons beyond her bow.


    Aye, sir.

    Gareth heads off carefully down the side of the slope toward camp.

    The woman is dismounting and drawing her knife to tend to the fallen deer. Her hounds roam sniffing about.

    Deeper in the shadows of the morning forest a fog lingers still, uncut by the morning sun. Figures move toward her. She does not seem to notice, nor her hounds... yet.


  • Judge

    Sir Ganuf, just as Sir Albrecht finishes asking if you should set out to find him, Sir Brandyn's squire comes running into camp.

    Sirs! There's a lady ahead. Sir Brandyn wishes your presence!


  • Adventurer

    Matthias turns and whispers, tightening his grip on his spear, "More from her hunting party, sir?"

    Perhaps, Brandyn says. We know not the lay of the land here. Best we make contact and keep an armed party away from the camp. We shall make our way down and keep our presence hidden as long as possible. Stay a spear's length in line behind me always.

    Having heard whispers of the Old Ones before, does anything give off that vibe here?

    NO GUTS NO GLORY! We scamper down the other side towards the valley


  • Judge

    Yes, this place, this wood is ancient and things dwelt here long before man ever stepped foot in these lands. The figures in the shadows seem like twisted versions of men, in fact. Sunlight passes over one of their disfigured faces and it looks like a cross between man and beast, blackened with fur and gnarled like the knot of a tree.


    You are moving down there now? Okay. Let's give time for Sir Ganuf and Sir Albrecht to respond to Gareth.


  • Adventurer

    @Mike

    Yes. Edited the post and we are moving in.


  • Knight Fauxrunner Scyther

    @no1raddad said in The Witch's Wood:

    Albrecht rolls over as Ramung shoves him awake, listening intently to his squire's explanation of the situation. Standing, he quickly pulls on his hose and shirt before grabbing his aketon. He turns to Ramung, "Raise the alarm. Tell one of the men to alert Sir Ganuf then fetch my armor, boy."

    Once armed and armored, he heads towards the middle of camp to meet Ganuf, "I find it unlikely Sir Brandyn would abandon his post in the night. Should we set out to find him?"

    Let us aid Sir Brandyn. Something is amiss if he has left camp. Our squires and retinue should maintain camp in our absence.

    Bheard, watch camp until we return.


  • Judge

    Who all goes?


  • Knight Fauxrunner Scyther

    @Mike said in The Witch's Wood:

    Who all goes?

    Only me, Bheard is staying at camp and I have no retinue in tow.


  • Judge

    Sir Albrecht, are you following or staying at camp?


  • Judge

    Sir Brandyn, as you and your two men-at-arms begin down the side of the slope, the hideous figures from the woodland suddenly sprint out into the clearing. They're headed right toward the young woman! She has no clue and her dogs do not yet seem to notice the creatures.

    What do you do?


  • Judge

    Sir Ganuf, are you riding ahead on horseback in the bottom of the valley or climbing up on foot to meet Sir Brandyn?


  • Knight Fauxrunner Scyther

    I'm riding on horseback, I'm terribly clumsy on foot to be scurrying around.


  • Judge

    Sir Albrecht, you see Sir Ganuf leap on his horse and tear off into the wood.


    Sir Brandyn, you hear the heavy hoof-fall of a warhorse stomping through creekbed and forest floor toward your direction. The figures in the shadows seem to hear the sound as well. They are alarmed and start to creep back into the shadows of the forest!

    The woman's dogs start barking at the sudden commotion. She looks up and readies her bow.

    What do you do?


  • Knight Apocalypse Martian

    Albrecht leaps on to his own horse and snatches his lance from Ramung, "Gather the men and follow!" Albrecht doesn't wait for an answer and wheels about, charging after Sir Ganuf.


    Ramung and the men-at-arms will follow on foot behind the two knights.


  • Adventurer

    Stay behind me, and be wary of those....things, Brandyn instructs the men.

    Sword sheathed, but shield strapped, he heads out to the clearing, right arm raised in parley, if he sees no more signs of any of the creatures. Charging madly with sword out while shouting about monsters would surely brand him a madman.

    Milady! Take heed! You were nearly beset by beasts of the wood, and our meeting is fortuitous! Stay your bow and hounds against me and my men.


  • Adventurer

    Not the William Wallace/Stephen the Mad King of Ireland scene I thought it would end up.

    Unless these creatures are exposed and now seen by all, in which case there’s going to be a different chain of events.


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