Black Watch Chronicles V: Hand of Fate

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The fifth in a series of adventures involving the Black Watch.
Scribe Notes: Session – Autumn 813

GM: Ben Taberner
Night: Monday night
Level: Medium.
Title:Black Watch: The Hand of Fate.

Party
Jerome Miller, an Animator and Puppeteer played by Andrew Withy
Edwin Lankard, a Dark moody boy played by Hannah Jackson

Alexander Dartane (GM Info), A Necromantic Squirrel played by Manu Erwin

Peter Smith (GM Info), A Paladin of Uriel played by Mandos Adventure Full


Employer
Seagate Guards
Mission
Pay

Scribe Notes

1st Fruit 813 WK

Honey is dead and life does not seem to have the meaning it once did.

I attempt to drown my sorrows but keep on throwing it all up!!

I took Honey back to Sunshine for burial, that was nice.

Must distract myself by adventuring again. Don't want all the tattoos I do to be of her lovely face!

I am dragged out of a pub by a knight Peter as I'm being a disturbance - must apologise to all involved - he takes me to the guild while I vomit all over him. I sober up on the way - thanks to my belly button ring - and clean up in a water trough, which is an easy fit for one of my size. A previous student of mine Jerry comes along (with his assortment of strangely moving puppets) and we meet Edwin at the guild. Peter advises some folks at the "fort" need assistance with "dark magics". A much needed distraction!!

I gather my adventuring gear on the way to the fort and already feel better, although I sense it will take some time for me to fully come to terms with Honey's passing.

At the fort we find a man with his eyes and hands removed and the local physician Milo working to keep him alive. A rag and bone man "Ormley" found the man in "Finagles Alley" so brought him to Milo as he looked well dressed (hint hint, perhaps a reward guvner?).

After being deputised as members of the watch, we head to Finagles Alley on foot - blood on the ground leads us to the single door - the whole place seems like an ambush waiting to happen. The door is unlocked, and we enter with Peter declaring us to be "on watch business". We frighten the elderly caretaker "Jebsun" who heard the the attack, I'm not saying anything as I assume he would be further frightened.

Jebsun appears to be a closet drinker while on duty, so I glare at him (not evily) and he starts tidying up the place. Marcus Candle is the warehouse owner who lives in New Seagate (at XXX). Edwin DA's the blood, finding it to be formerly living human and it seems after some investigation that the victim was restrained quickly with rope and then had his hands cut off. Very likely he then passed out for a couple of hours and made his way to the door. We find a longer than normal length of candlewick which seems very suspicious given the owners name!

Jebsun remembers (after prompting) a nice young lady selling wine at his door yesterday (maybe yesterday). She addressed him by name yet he hadn't met her before. He remembers her saying "compliments of Mr Candle" although he vaguely recalls paying for them. Mr Candle is reasonably well known for being a fair but firm landlord but removing hands seems excessive, Jebsun believes. Edwin and Jerry elect to "investigate the source of the wine", while Peter and I journey to the Candle residence in New Seagate and discover "Joseph" (one of Candle's enforcers) is missing, and appears to match the description of our mystery man!

Mr Candle will send his healer "Victor" to identify and assist "Joseph" who was last seen by the household staff last night. Peter does an excellent job describing everything and finding out things from Mr Candle. He promises his full cooperation in punishing the "near do wells". Ronald (the butler) finds the healer and we head to the fort. We find Edwin and Jerry on the way, who appear to have been investigating drinking establishments, and they say they've found out who the girl is. Apparently her name is like a yellow flower (Marigold, Daisy?) and she lives/works at "Smythes". Victor the healer confirms our mystery man in Joseph! And his hands were tied with candlewick!! After being brought around he tells his tale - some lady cursed him from an alley and he was blinded and then he was jumped on by some others (including possibly two females, one who is older). He can't think of any recent "enforcements" out of the ordinary although he mentions a group being evicted from Cobham Close.

We stop at the Rose and Crown for some food and drink and discuss things so far.

It's still early evening so we head to Smythes and it turns out they are in Cobham Close. A bunch of shabby hovels are here and as they may be potentially full of miscreants I put some defensive magic and then ascend to the rooftop to keep a lookout, while Peter keeps a low profile (in his shiny suit of armour). "Marigold" answers the door (she's in her teens), little Johhny in the corner and her parents Mr and Mrs Smythes. We have found the girl!!

The Guild day crowds always include some out-of-town kids, and tips tend to flow better on a holiday, so I was performing some of the classic Punch & Judy scenes in Old Seagate when I see Master Alexander the Dark Squirrel being dragged through the streets by some holier-than-thou Knight. I volunteer that the Dark Squirrel should be taken to the Guild, and not to some local lock-up or torture chamber (I normally wouldn't interfere with a tin can zealot, but we animators tend to hand together, lest we hang separately). I tag along to make sure they don't 'get lost'.

At the guild, we run into my mate Edwin, and while we are catching up, the tin can -- who's called Justice Peter, or Peter the Just, or some-such -- gets an urgent message fro his Watch buddies to go down to the fort and bring some experts in Dark magicks. Well, I'm no expert but the other employers turned me down, so I did a bit of gentle selling, and voilà, we've got a job. No pay, mind you, but it's always good to be on good terms with the Watch, what with my stall license having run out a few months ago and all.

Peter rushes off. A good lunch and a gentle ride later, we arrive at the Fort, where the diligent Peter has already been investigating for an hour or more. Some patsy got his hands chopped off and eyes removed, all nice and surgical-like. The watch are sure its not just a debt-collector; its probably a bit neat for them, but I'm keeping an open mind. Edwin and I are deputised into the Watch, and then I point out if they can deputise a talking Squirrel like Master Alex, they can deputise a talking pantomime cow like ol' Bessie. She's absolutely chuffed to be a duly sworn deputy; and its a rare win for equal rights and an important precedent set by the establishment. I've even got a Holy Justice as witness.

We wander down to Finagles Alley, like Alexander said, and trace the blood back into a big wool storehouse (good sound-proofing). The trail leads back to a mess of blood in the middle of the floor, and the Iron-Shod Boots of the Law wakes the caretaker, old man Jebsun, who tries to scamper off, while calling for the Watch and claiming not to know anything. He's either guilty of something, or he's met the Watch before and knows what they are like.

Mr Smythe seems anxious and sends Marigold and Johhny away, in order to reveal that the people of the 'Close' asked her to take the wine to the "Joe Carter" (Candles enforcer). We should speak to Mr Riley. Apparently Joe was a little rough with Marigold which 'may' have caused her to help them. The folk of the close were quite happy to hear Joe had a seeing to, as Joe had been getting nastier over the past few months(?). According to Mr Riley (who is standing in the courtyard), Joe was roughed up and dumped somewhere, however he hides his hands which appear to be bruised, and damaged from fighting. A few weeks ago Joe turned up one day looking very tired and was unusually angry. Mr Riley accompanies Peter back to the fort, while Jerry and Edwin ask some other locals what happened. Some of the lads (XXX & YYY & ZZZ) left early, jumped Joe and left him near Finagles Alley to be found by his mates. Riley tells us they dumped him in the wool warehouse, tied him up to a pole and left him.

Riley tells us of only 4 other men who went with him, Joe stumbled as they called to him, and they jumped him.

We show Riley Joe Carter's current state and he is sick and obviously not the culprit. He tells us the four who helped him are Roolf (carpenter), Tim (ditches), Ryan (mason), and Alf (chandler). Marigold was nearby. According to him, Ted Smythe talks violently (stories) when drunk. We escort Riley home, then investigate Joe's local pub. The barman says Joe has recently become worse at skittles , impatient and a lot angrier. More evidence of his recent personality change!

We head back to the old fort and turn in for the evening. It's very early for me to be heading to bed so I lie awake for some time and around midnight Joe starts screaming! I shake the others awake (although Edwin may have already been awake) and flit towards the noise. There is a ghostly hand and eye where Joe's used to be, which Edin DA's as "Hand of Spite". I can see some sort of magical trail or link coming down through the roof, so I leap out the window to the courtyard and to the roof. I can see the faint magic through the roof and sense it may have come from the city not the water. I perform a thorough check of the rooftop and visually around the fort but see no one.

Peter senses and empathies something evil taking something from Joe, then prays for him. Edwin casts Strength on Jerry so he can heroically swing a sword he can still barely lift and chop off the ghostly hand, it vanishes along with the eye and Joe begins to calm down. We settle back to sleep for what remains of the night except for Edwin who keeps watch until dawn, then wakes Peter who who delegates a guard and goes to fix the broken gate at Cobham Close.

2nd Fruit 813 WK

Marcus Candle is there when Peter returns and advises the location of Joe lodgings and again emphasises his desire to right this injustice.

Austin the Namer for the watch arrives and performs a divination that reveals he has been cursed half a dozen times in the past couple of months, with things like clumsiness, hallucinations, and most recently blindness. The curses seem to have been cast through a proxy, and Hand of Spite is a ritual that started with his hands being removed and was attempted to complete last night, however was interrupted (guess who did that!). Austin says the ritual occurs at midnight and fears Joe's soul may be lost if the ritual completes, so we take Joe to the Powers of Light church in Old Seagate for healing and protection. We then check out Joe's lodgings (owned by Candle) and after a strangely cast spell a voice tells me to be wary of under the bed, and we find an evil doll tied under Joe's mattress that looks similar to the ones Marigold makes!! Edwin tells us the power behind the doll is "Undying Sorrow" and it's called "Soul Chain".

INSERT DETAIL ABOUT HELLHOUND AND MAYBE ITS CONNECTION TO MARIGOLD.

Peter investigates in the library only to find no one is known in the area to perform this sort of ritual and we turn up a similar lack of information at the guild pub. Austin uncovers further information about the ritual however, revealing that Hand of Spite always works due to it's mechanical nature. Scary!!

The doll's divination turns up as a spell range extender, enabling the spells/dolls creator to cast spells at the target from a distance as though they were very close. The spells energy seems to be coming from a place on this place and seems "newish" (within 200-300 years). We can say the name safely. Phew! The spell was cast recently by someone without a complete college, and has been used to channel 8 minor curses over the past ~2 months. We've never DA'd Marigold or any of her family!!

Putting on armour seems wise before we see her again so head back to the fort, don our protection (as well as protection magics) and consider ourselves lucky as we encounter a hellhound near the Close chasing a young man!! Peter smites it a fair bit such that it takes us seriously for awhile, allowing time for the young man to make his escape, however it soon manoeuvres around us towards the alley and continues the chase. Jerry leaps into close with the hellhound screaming "no" and grabbing it's tail to slow it down. I cut the roof top corner but don't quite manage to cast a wall in front of it, so I elect to get in front of it again, however lose it as it too fast for me.

We catch up to at the docks, too late to save the young man from having his throat ripped out. My Spectral Hand inconveniences it and Edwin finishes it with a single mighty blow. Edwin manages to recoup enough energy before it vanishes in a puddle of icky.

We ask 20 questions of the young man's corpse, his name is "Andre Fluter", is dressed like a thief, has lock picks in his pocket and a snuffbox of candles. He has six gold pieces on his purse which is possibly made by Marigold. Later I think I saw Honey on a boat in the harbour called "The Black Rose".

We know about Andre's fence and head to the Close to talk with Marigold. When we get there the fire has been put out and everyone is packing and Edwin discovers they are under the influence of "Community Spirit" although not the mother. The father isn't letting us inside to talk Marigold so Jerry "knocked firmly" on the door with a spectral hand. We discover Marigold talking to the ?dead? Ma Creba, who was the local witch women of the village Marigold and her family (and some of the Close people) were from in Brasta, is called "Coles Bend". The "Community Spirit" controlled folks of the Close come to protect Marigold so we pushed out of the Close through the mob with Peter holding Marigold holding her in his cold Iron armour. We make it to the fort although left the dead which behind.

Marigold has been passed to Milo the healer who has put her to asleep, while we shackle her to the bed with iron. Edwin wings his way to the guild to find some namer, while we head back to the Close. As we near the Close we spy a number of local militia seeking hellhounds and generally causing confusion and anxiety. At the Close the wagons have been mostly hurriedly loaded and the residents are about to leave eastwards. Edwin obtains the duty namer by enticing him with powerful dark magics (flight). "Adolphus" greatly enjoys crashing into the sea, and he and Edwin head to the Close to meet us. The body of the dead witch is gone so I stay to guard the room until Edwin arrives, and Peter and Jerry head to the caravan to get the dead witch back. Peter advises Mr Riley we need "Ma Crebers" body for our ongoing investigation. He says they can't go home without her body although seems a little confused as to why they need the body.

The folks in the caravan also seem confused in general, however Peter persuades them after lengthy discussion to relinquish the body. They all seem to be under the influence of a spell or something as the town they wish to return to no longer exists and would require a lot of work to rebuild. The body is returned to the Close about the same time that Edwin and Adolphus arrive. Adolphus is surprised to find that she is a "living human" who I detect is clinging to life through sheer force of will. This is very similar to Honey's state while we journeyed to Sunshine, so I step outside to get some air. Her highest ranked magical ability is Damnum Minatum and she has an old severed pact. There are some other dolls here, some appear older and worn, while others seem to be made by Marigold. One doll looks like Ma Creber and has the Soul Chain ritual on it targeted on her with the last spell as "Harm Entity". Peter surmises Ma and Marigold are being set up by someone out. We grab a late night pie while Adolphus performs a divination on Ma.

Adolphus reveals Ma is the nexus of "Community Spirit" which is keeping her alive and is also acting on something at great distance. We search the Close and confirm no one is left behind. It's getting close to midnight! Adolphus finds a magical rock on Ma's body which has "Pending Renewal" which may be keeping her alive? Jerry warps the door closed and we take Ma's body to the fort. We find Austin has been knocked out, the guard killed and Marigold has escaped. After Austin comes around he confirms Marigold made the Hand of Spike ritual. Edwin picks me up and we speed our way with his wings to the temple, with Peter and Jerry following behind on foot. Joe is okay in the crypt and midnight passes without any sign of the Hand of Spite taking effect. The temple healer heals us and we head back to the fort on the assumption Marigold will go back there. The guards nose was cut off which the captain recognises as the signature of a footpad who hanged himself in this cell. Seems she borrowed something from him or had him kill the guard like Adolphus advised she is able to converse and somewhat control the dead. Milo transfers fatigue to Edwin and we get underway to the caravan.

3rd Fruit 813 WK - 1am

Edwin, Jerry and I fly out while Peter leaps on a horse with a lance. We fly for about 20 minutes without spotting the caravan so decide to zigzag back either side of the road until we see Peter, coming on the road towards us. At that moment we hear an eeringly familiar ghastly howl in the direction of a nearby spinney of trees. Per our original plan we split up to approach from all sides and I land in one of the trees, Jerry veers off to the side to avoid crashing, Edwin lands just outside the trees and Peter begins to charge in. I backfire my spectral hand spell, Peter charges down Marigold and disrupts the circle.

Peter holds Marigold to the ground and keeps her contained while the others direct the circle of the villages with amulets so the hellhound cannot escape, however direct it back towards the portal. Suddenly what appears to be the hellhound's mother reaches its head through the portal, snatches its child away and the portal closes. We take Marigold and the villages back to city, the villages are very confused, and Marigold is put into custody. We find out that the village still has people there however they are in suspended animation of the protected our hints the original packed. And so we go to the village to make sure they are okay.

3rd Fruit 813 WK

The Urielite Sir Peter Smith spurs his destrier to trample through unarmed peasants, shouting "I'll free the Hellhound ..." We 'evil wielders of dark powers', sworn to obey his military commands, look on in disbelief as he smites peasants left and right with his lance, and then his 'self-blessed' bastard sword. The necromancers prefer non-lethal subdual and dispersion tactics, while the skinny teenager leaps onto three of the peasants to stop them from harming themselves or anyone else. Sir Peter orders me to draw a blade and smite the milling refugees, and then commands the squirrel to scratch out the eyes of a terrified prone teenage girl. Praise be to the Church and the aristocracy, who protect us from harm.

Edwin and I manage to free three of the villagers from a spell-binding. When I look up from this task, Sir Peter dragged Marigold over to feed slowly to the Hellhound. The demon wants to eat its prey on its own terms, but Peter is having none of that, and after some tug-o-war between the two, the Hellhound lets Marigold go and turns to flee. We rearrange a couple of the stunned and confused villagers so that their wards allow it to retreat to the opening portal, but not easily escape into the countryside. It turns this way and that, seeking escape, and finally a HUGE set of jaws appears, filling hte 30' wide portal, and seize the Hellhound pup in its jaws to drag back home. The portal shuts after the pup's mother(?), and we breathe a big sigh of relief.

The villagers slowly recover from their bewitchments and fear-induced trances. WE get them back to their wagons with nice hot sugary cups of tea. Alexander guards the crumpled unconscious body of Marigold on the far side of camp. Edwin and I flit across the countryside, spotting fleeing and cowering folk, and then directing their ground-based relatives to find them and return them to the camp. Shortly after dawn everyone is wearily on the road again, this time heading back to Seagate.

We reach Seagate shortly after noon. Ted Smyth and Riley accompany us to the Fort. We hand over Marigold, who is still wanted for murdering a guard. We discover that Ma Creber died overnight. TBC

Party Info

Addendum

Spells and Enchantments

Magic Rk Effects Dur Peter Edwin Jerome Alexander
XYZ ?? ??? ?? ? ? ? ?

Scribe Notes Style Data

Peter


Jerome


Edwin


Alexander