For a fortnight, members of The Brave Companions (Yr Cyweithiau Gwrolion – UR QUAY-thea GOOR-olee-on) have been spending their treasure. Erica and Atera Tuccianus have seen to the purchase and restoration of an old urban villa dating back to the Roman occupation years in Luguvalium. Iago y Crythor has used his treasure to see to the construction of his own private cottage and lands around Caer Gwyr (kayr GOO-r), where their Chief Gorwst ap Glew has set up his primary residence.
Things are going well enough in Luguvalium (or Caer Luel – kayr LOOL – in Brythonic). Erica secretly has begun decorating the place with Runes of power. Atera is trying to get as many workmen and craftsmen of skill to repair what they can… after cheap labor finishes with a good scrubbing.
In Caer Gwyr, Iago’s rustic farmstead begins construction, a mostly timber establishment.
The two weeks come during a lull caused by King Urien calling together his various Dux (war leaders) for a council in Caer Luel regarding the goings on in Britannia as a whole. Artos, Uther’s bastard, continues to work towards some kind of united front against the Saxons. The Saxons are being disturbingly quiet of late… unusual this close to winter and the traditional halt in hostilities. Nobody trusts the peace, it feels too much like the drawn in breath before the plunge.
At last Gorwst returns home to Caer Gwyr and a moderate feast is thrown for the occasion (of course, it cannot compare with the magically augmented feasts of King Urien… but it’ll do). The Apple Harvest continues and there are apples being distributed to storage everywhere and it’s being used in nearly every meal (one of the great advantages of Rheged… the old Roman orchards on the western coastline, no less fruitful for the wildness).
When the feast was wrapping up, Gorwst brought some of his concerns up to his closest confidants and kin. His thoughts are of the villagers of Pentrefbechan-ar-Twyn (PEN-truv-BEK-un ar TOO-in) and the Saxons that were marauding it a fortnight past. Though the people of Caer Gwyr and the neighboring Caer Derw (kayr DER-oo) have been skirmishing for at least two generations (until recently when a peace was finally brokered), it’s unlike their leader to leave his people unprotected.
Einion ap Dilwyn (EYE-nee-un ap DIL-oon) is, if nothing else, a proper Briton Chief. There’s even wild rumors of a whirlwind romance and wedding. So… Gorwst wants to know how, why, and what’s really going on.
So, if any of his people should decide they just happen to want to wander eastward along the Via Limes (VEE-a LIM-us)… he’s heard a “rumor” of a White Hart out in that direction… no not really.
Visiting at Caer Dyffryn
In the morning, the Brave Companions head east across Gorwst’s lands – taking the old Roman Road. They arrive by late afternoon at his brother’s fortress – Caer Dyffryn (kayr DIF-rin). They spend the afternoon and evening visiting and feasting, discussing rumors and news of what’s going on East of the border with Gorwst’s brother Dylan ap Glew. They learn nothing particularly new or noteworthy… again there’s talk of a wedding, and no further sightings of Saxons since The Brave Companions fought them at Ar-Twyn a fortnight ago…. they’re also discovering that the story of their battle with the Saxons has become a fairly popular one to retell.
In the morning, after seeing to their equipment, they push on to Caer Derw. They spend an hour visiting with their acquaintances in the border village of Ar-Twyn. The strong village wisewoman, Diseta ferch Dilys is getting things back on track. Andoc and his son Rufus were instrumental in the distribution of the Saxon “loot” back to its rightful owners (or at least original villages). Again, they ask about rumors, and for sure there’s talk of a wedding … but still nobody from the Caer has come to the border to even so much as check on them.
By lunchtime, they arrive at the stone walls of Caer Derw and sure enough… things are odd. There are certainly wedding-type decorations going up. They’re “welcomed” to town, or at least they’re not challenged by anyone that appears to be a guard. The guards point them to the quarters for the “bride’s party.”
As the heroes look around, they begin to suspect that the Tylwyth Teg (TEL-ooth TEG) may be involved… the Fair Folk… the Fae. There’s also an unpleasant smell…
As it so happens, Iago knows someone here in Caer Derw, an old friend Cadellus ap Cewyddus (kad-DEL-us ap KOOY-thus). He was of Romano-Briton stock and likewise married a Romano-Briton woman. His wife Maira had land here in Caer Derw from her father Ednyfedus (ED-ni-FED-us) and so he had moved from Rheged long ago.
Lunch with Cadellus
The Companions arrive at the farmstead and a very surprised Cadellus comes out to greet his old friend. The years have been good to him, he’s quite fat (difficult to do in these long, lean years) and all are invited to lunch. Once the stew is brought out, it’s clear why… Maira’s a good cook and a friendly woman.
Lunch is pleasant but they discuss the matters of rumors of a White Hart in the area and the strange courtship and impending wedding of their Chief, Einion.
Apparently three weeks ago, a Romano-Briton Lady named Tanwystla (TAN-oost-la) of the Gens Balbii arrived. Then, things proceeded quickly from there. Two weeks ago Einion and Tanwystla were seen doing picnics, hunts, etc. and about that time members of her family began arriving. A week ago the wedding was announced and even more of her strange kin arrived. Allegedly the wedding is at noon tomorrow.
They also ask questions about the Chief’s family, and discover that he has an only son of his first and only wife – Mathonwy ap Einion. The boy is not yet officially a man, but is of a respectable age and is well loved. The son even was present at the Battle of Verulamium when he was but 14 guarding the “baggage” (the supply train towards the rear). Allegedly, when some Saxons came through following their defeat looking to scavenge; he wounded one of them and put the rest to flight.
So after putting Ronan and Corryn to “work” helping with a few of the heavy things around the farm … they head back to the Caer itself. They also ask about where to find Mathonwy. They are informed that Nona’s public house would probably suit… Nona’s has the best tasting ale of the two public houses in Caer Derw… the other belongs to Gwenfor and has the strongest ale (which has an appeal all its own to be sure).
The head to Nona’s and talk about various topics and confirm that Mathonwy intends to come by that night (Nona isn’t sure, but assumes that’s the case). Erica and Iago also set up an arrangement to play and perform that night. Nona readily agrees, cackling gleefully about how with live music she’s sure to rub her success in Gwenfor’s eye tonight! So with lodgings and food for the night arranged (one way or another, for surely Cadellus has a comfy piece of floor he could provide), the Companions head out.
They follow their noses… to the main stables. It clearly hasn’t been mucked out for about two weeks. The peculiarity to the smell is the additional filth that’s been added – vegetable matter and fruit (all rotten). After using his Second Sight, Iago has some fairly solid idea of what it might be… Bwgiau (BOOG-ya – Boggart), or more precisely Bwgiau Ysbwriel (BOOG-ya IS-boor-yel)… “Trash Boggart.” Likely of the Summer Court no less.
Lacking any other name, I simply pressed an oldie but goodie into service “Boggarts” or Bwgiau in Welsh (BWG = Bug, -iau = diminutive) … then I stuck “Trash” on in the Infinitive “simple” genitive to form “Trash Boggart” … as far as I know I am making that name up for this game.
Feel free to use it. I totally stole the idea from Season 2, Episodes 5 & 6 of the Merlin TV Series (2009) … so gross, so awesome.
Suspecting that something interesting may happen if they clean up the stables (now turned into some kind of nesting den) Corryn and Ronan start mucking out the filth. It doesn’t take long and two of the odd looking fellows shows up. They try (unsuccessfully) to convince the Companions to stable their horses outside the Castrum walls, at the stables that are already clean. The heroes “insist” on cleaning up the stables and successfully infuriate the “strangers.” Battle begins… fists are thrown.
It goes quickly enough, and when it’s concluded they bind up the two creatures and wake them up… to ask questions. It probably would have gone well except that Corryn managed to tell a direct lie … woops. The one to whom Corryn told the lie, begins to cause excruciating pain, trying to extort freedom – instead Erica puts an iron blade into it quickly.
Marquess of Queensberry rules … wait, what?
Pretty straightforward fight using just punches, grapples, and “non-lethal.” The only interesting Mechanic we liked was that we had Corryn put one of the critters into a grapple. I allowed the surplus Spin over 3 to go directly to the other PC that was delivering the knockout punch (the idea being the grappler moved the target into the path of the punch). We actually really, really liked this as a table. Seemed very cinematic and logical.
Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies
Borrowing the “don’t lie to the Fae” Trope from Dresden Files RPG I had the Boggart start turning the screws of Glamour-ed pain (create illusory sensation – pain). The critters were already “Knocked Out” (Taken out to use the Fate term with which we are more familiar)… so when Erica decided to kill it, I just allowed it outright with no additional dice roll.
They try to resume interrogating the other… it simply clams up. Well, after delivering a rather disturbing promise/threat at Erica anyway…
“You killed my cousin. Best kill me now – for if you not, I shall seek vengeance against you and your lineage until the end of time.”
… safe to say she’s a bit disturbed by the idea. However she keeps her cool – in spite of several of the Companions agreeing to simply do exactly as the critter advises.
Erica negotiates a new set of terms… freedom in exchange for information and a promise to NOT pursue vengeance against her, her Companions, or their lineage and to leave town immediately speaking to no others. It seems like an okay deal until it becomes clear that the Boggart is under a previous oath to reveal nothing about what is going on at Caer Derw. Several unsuccessful attempts at questioning yield nothing…
Then, after making it clear that “is” was the verb used… Ronan asks, “What WILL happen here tomorrow?”
The Boggart ponders, grins, and says “My mistress will marry the Chief and afterwards, press to be made sole and only heir…. then kill him.”