Mine Disturbance
A few days later

Date: Moonday, 1 Winnowing, 1106 I.R.
Time: About an hour past Tierce (around 10 AM)
Location: The Orc’s Head Tavern

“Where are Rolen and Goobs?” Nymmeria asked, taking a quaff of her small beer.

“I think Goobz is on duty in the woods this morning” said Theren. “Or just off being a Goobz, as usual.”

“I believe I saw a very drunk Rolen staggering home with a dragonborn girl last night after the Harvest Festival” responded Japhrimel, “though she was awefully short.”

Bjorkreig grunted, taking a large drink of stout. “She was really ugly.” he said.

Nymmeria frowned at the minotaur but just then one of the Reeve’s men came in and posted a notice on the door.

Mine Dsturbance

By Order of the Reeve of Devynshire
a bounty of 20 silvers per kobold tail
is offered to any party or parties
to clean out the Devyn silver mine of
its vermin infestation.

“Hey, we could do that!” said Nymerria

“It’d be worth some coin” said Theren.

That afternoon they small party set off for the mine, pitching camp a few miles way and waking early to arrive just at dawn. As they approached the mine, they noticed a person, stripped nearly naked with hands and feet tied to a pole behind his back. Near him was a pile of equipment.

“Hmm. We could probably take his stuff and sell it” said Japhrimel.

“It’s a trap.” said Borkrieg.

“Maybe we ought to talk to him first…” said Nymmeria.

“Yeah, he might be valuable to rescue.” said Theren.

As they continued to discuss their options, kobolds popped out from behind several trees and ran to attack them.

“Infidels” said the kobold leader yelled in draconic.

The Rowan Society
One year later

Date: Stormday. 26 Harvestmoon, 1106 I.R.
Time: Just past Vespers (about 6pm)
Place: The Orc’s Head Tavern

The taproom of the Orc’s Head Tavern was bustling, all the tables were filled with activity. The harvest was in, and there was a festive mood in the air. With a single exception, a table of young people in the corner, seeming to be subdued. There were two half-elves, a dragonborn, a minotaur and tiefling.

They were no longer children. They had left the abbey school last spring, never to return. The dragonborn Nymeria, and the Minotaur Bjorkrieg were part of the city guard now. Japhrimel, the Tiefling, was studying at the Conlegium Arcanum. The Half-Elf Theren was working in his father’s business, travelling to nearby towns to arrange things. He had even been as far as Ardon. The other Half-Elf Rolen was in demand as a minstrel, and had also been studying at the Conlegium Arcanum.

The last of the little group, the Elf who went by Goobz McGee was late, just walking in the door from a shift as a Bounder, patrolling the borders of the shire. He went straight to the table, dumping from within his tunic several bunches of rowan berries. At the sight of these, the young people at the table grew silent, lost in their thoughts.

“All is quiet at the grove?” Japhrimel finally broke the silence.

“Aye,” said the elf, “There is some evidence of goblins passing a few weeks ago, but nothing since.”

“We haven’t heard any reports of goblin sightings.” said Nymerria, Bjorkrieg agreeing with her silently.

“We need to be vigilant,” said Japhrimel, “the creatures of the Faewild do not forget soon. That hag will be back.”

“We need a name.” said Rolen. The others looked at him puzzled. "You know, all cool adventuring companies have names. Like that Hawthorne Society from Coryn a few years back.

“Well, we can’t be the Hawthorne Society” said Theren, “That’s already taken.”

“How about,” Nymerria said, picking up a cluster of rowan berries, “The Rowan Society.” nobody said anything for a time, looking at the cluster of berries the dragonborn twirled between her fingers. The Minotaur rose from his seat, towering over everyone.

“To the Rowan Society”, Bjorkrieg said, lifting his oversized tankard of ale. “And to Sister Catherine.”

They all stood and raised their cups in silent toast.

An Incident in the Woods
Bound by death

Date: Stormday, 26 Harvestmoon, 1105 I.R. (Imperial Reckoning)
Time: Just after Sext (about noon)
Place: The Weald a few miles from Elsbury

It was a cool, crisp day late in Harvestmoon. The harvest was in and it was the days leading up tothe big harvest festival and Fair at the grounds next to Elsbrook Abbey. It seemed a fine day for Sister Catherine, the herbalist at Elsbrook Abbey to take a group of older students into the nearby Weald for a bit of a field trip. This was probably the last year she would have these particular charges in tow and they had become dear to her.

They are all outcasts in some sense, all of them part of the non-human minority. There were the two hald-elves, cousins by all accounts, one, an outgoing boy named Rolen with an ear for music, a quick wit and a sharp tongue, the other, Theren, a boy with nimble hands and a penchant for knives and small blades. Another was an elf, who followed after his father’s footsteps as a tracker and forester. Unfortunately, his mother thought Eladrin names were prettier and didn’t realize the name she gave him was rather effiminate. He introduces himself as ‘Goobz McGee’.

Then there were the ‘monsters’, though nobody called them that to their face. There was the tiefling Japhrinell, scion of a cursed race, marked by a diabolical taint, but surprisingly wih a strong connection to the brighter creatures of the Faewild. There was a dragonborn girl with a strong connection to the primal spirits of nature, a slight disappointment to her mother who was a member of the Order of the Sun, a holy Paladin dedicated to Mithron. Finally, there was Borkrieg, a hulking minotaur, saddled with his own connection to the primal spirits, channelling the bestial rage within his kind as best he could.

Together with Will, a lay servant from the abbey wearing a red tunic and carrying a stout club, they set off into the Weald.

A short distance into the woods they came across a circle of rowan trees, all in ull fruit this late in the season. For some reason, the sunlight seemed weaker here. A stillness lay over the grove.

“It’s too quiet here…” said the elf.

“There is magic afoot!” declaimed Rolen.

“I sense a connection to the Faewild here,” said Japhrimel, “someplace not very nice…”

Across the circle, a figure appeared,a beautiful young woman with elfin features clad in the briefest of diaphonous tunics. She smiled at the group and the boys stood as if stunned. The dragonborn Nymerria narrowed her eyes, unlimbered her shield and picked up a heavy fallen branch.

“It’s a trap.” she said and stepped towards the woman, partially blocking the view of the boys. The woman pouted prettily at the dragonborn, but Nymerria continued forward steadily, the boys following as if on strings. The woman’s face transformed into a rictus of rage, and she shrieked, shredding her disguise, revealing a hideous had in her place.

KILL THEM!” she shouted the words seeming to echo magically, stunning everyone briefly. Suddenly from the woods errupted a screaming horde of small, vicious, green-skinned creatures, goblins, almost as ugly as the hag they obeyed.

“You are extremely hideous and have a poor sense of fashion,” Rolen mocked the hag. The words imbued with magical force rocked the hag back on her heels. The other boys sprang into motion as well. The elf unlimbered his bow from his back and shot two arrows in quick succession at two of the goblins, taking them through the throat. Japhrimel pulled a short rod from his sleeve and shot a greenish bolt of energy at the hag. Theren, drew a pair of wickedly sharp daggers and wove into the fray, stabbing a goblin who was trying to engage with Nymerria from behind. The minotaur, Bjorkrieg, picked up a huge fallen log, his eyes flashing red. He roared in rage and waded into a group of goblins.

Three goblins surrounded Wil, valiantly trying to protect Sister Catherine layed about him with his club, but he was overwhelmed and the goblin spears took him in the chest. The goblins then turned to the nun with evil gleams in their eyes.

“Noooo!” shouted Nymerria, and a wave of power seemed to emenate from her, drawing the goblins in to her instead of the sister. She stood, firm as a rock, defending the Sister as more goblins joined the others. She suddenly opened her mouth and bolts of lightning issued forth, catching them all and felling the evil creatures.

The hag shrieked at seeing so many of her minions slain and a bolt of darkness shot forward from her fingers, striking Nymerria in the chest, felling her. Bjorkrieg seeing this roared and swung about him with mighty blows, slaying three goblins with each swing. Japhrimel pressed the hag more strongly, his eldritich green blasts stinging and distracting while Theren slipped in behind her and sliced a dagger across her leg, hamstringing her.

“I’ll get you my pretties!” she shrieked and vanished, leaving only a foul stench behind. The woods went quiet again, and they all turned to the fallen members of their party. Will lay in a pool of blood, and was clearly gone. But Nymerria was lay peacefully, without a mark on her.

“Saint Alasha aid me,” Sister Catherine murmered as she knelt beside the dragonborn, placing her hands on her chest. A faint rose-gold light escaping through her fingers. “Saint Urion, let her fate pass to me.” she whispered and a dark green light joined the rose-gold. Nymerria took a breath and Sister Catherine collapsed on the ground beside her.

“Wh-what happened?” Nymerria asked. She cried out and turned to Sister Catherine, rolling her over. there was not a mark upon her, except for a stain of rowan berries on the white of her scapular.

“Be true to each other, children,” the sister whispered, “You are bound now, and Saint Urion has marked you for something. Be good to each other. The greatest force in the Universe is…” The nun gasped one last time and was still, a faint smile on her face.

The Earl of Wealdshire’s Bounders found them a few minutes later, shocked at the bodies of goblins scattered around. It was with heavy hearts, and many questions that the party returned to the abbey that day.


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