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Monday March 2nd - Late Summer 1217 to Spring 1218.
While practising round the back of the Inn in late Summer 1217, several of the grogs began to get a feeling of unease. Tomas spotted movement in some bushes and bows were promptly drawn. The movement turned out to be a boy called Martyn, seemingly about 14, although it emerged later he was only 10. When questioned, it turned out he was just watching the warriors practice. He proceeded to comment critically upon the warriors and turned out to have exceptional natural talents in many skills, including tactics, swords, and knife throwing, though he showed no particular talent with a bow. He also had an extremely imposing presence, which had particular effect upon Tomas, who was absolutely terrified of him. Deunan talked to the boy, during which time he naturally resisted an attempt to peer into his mind.
Martyn proceeded to practice with the grogs over the next two seasons, many of which found themselves strangely afraid of him. His face also seemed oddly familiar to many people. His skills were quite exceptional - B, watching him train, commented that if he wished he could easily kill 10 grogs before being taken down by an archer. Dimitri talked to his parents and investigated his background, finding they were moderately prosperous peasants and somewhat afraid of their son. He didn't play with the local children anymore following an incident some two years ago where, after a mock fight, he and his side had inflicted various nasty injuries, including the removal of fingers, burns, and so on, upon the other side. When Briareos' son Hector attempted to bully him, he also held Hector down and deliberately broke his arm.
These events caused Deunan to propose that she ask Martyn not to come to the covenant any more. The covenant children had largely formed into a gang under Martyn, with a few exceptions who were deadly afraid of him. Deunan's son Toren was in Martyn's gang, a major motivation for Deunan to get rid of Martyn, being the overprotective little soul that she is. The motion was seconded by Gwyntar, supported by Revan and Vitenka, and opposed by Dimitri. Philippa also opposed the motion, but chose not to exercise her veto.
Surrounded by almost all the grogs, Deunan asked Martyn to leave. Martyn objected, claiming that his breaking of Hector's arm had been to teach him a lesson and that, not only would Hector never bully anyone else, but the arm would heal stronger than it had been. However, he eventually left. The covenant children, however, continued to go and train under him, even when strongly warned against it by their parents. The gang had mottos along the lines of "The world is strong, is tough; be stronger, be tougher," and "Scarred flesh heals stronger." An attempt by Suldana to use her enchanting music to wean the children away from Martyn failed.
(NB: at this point Ryan took over the session) On the spring equinox, the children were taken out for a picnic, as part of a program of events designed to distract them from Martyn's gang. While they were picnicking, along with some of the female grogs and wolves, as well as Deunan, the glade they were in was surrounded by elaborately dressed faerie horsemen led by a figure clad in black armour, who identified himself as Lord Catharsis and demanded the children for his lord. Deunan attempted spellcasting only to disappear in a blaze of golden light along with Toren - she ended up safely back at the Covenant. The rest of the grogs were then enchanted and the children taken by the Fay. All this was witnessed by Akillina, hiding in wolf-form in the bushes.
Akillina returned to the covenant, where a rescue party was quickly prepared, including all the Magi present. The faeries were easily tracked to another clearing, where Gwyntar used ReVi to open a gate through to the level 5 Faerie Regio on the other side. This turned out to be a long valley, with gates into the mountainside at either end, and also containing two small woods, each with a clearing in the centre. The kidnappers were standing in line before one of the gates.
Dimitri approached the faeries and demanded the release of the children, only to be refused by Catharsis, upon which a fight broke out. It was discovered during the fight that Catharsis' weapon was a tulip and that the faeries were more concerned with dignity than survival and hardly noticed physical damage. Other notable incidents included a furious Philippa landing on Catharsis with a griffin-sized flying horse, which caused him to vanish, and Philippa's shrinking of many of the fay horses, causing the riders to flee as their coats were now dragging in the mud. At one point, an illusion of Tomas created by Vitenka was run through by a lance, at the same time as which both Tomas and Dimitri clutched at their chests, feeling a stabbing pain.
After the fay knights were defeated the party passed through the gate, finding themselves in Arcadia and near a large castle. Vitenka created a castle which moved along with the party. This proved useful when the fay, led by a dandelion wielding Catharsis, attacked again, this time from great ice ships and using ballistas. Vitenka's creation of defences for the castle, along with Philippa, Revan and Dimitri's melting of the ships, drove them off handily. Catharsis' dandelion proved to have sleep inducing powers, strangely resisted by Tomas and causing Dimitri to feel two Mentem effects slam into his Parma.
Arriving at the castle, the party was again met by Catharsis and a skeletal guardian. The path to the castle was turned into ice and the party forced to play ice hockey against the guardian. While Philippa performed an extremely impressive skating display with her flying horse, it was Varya, a female grog, who scored the shot and won both a crown and the magical hockey stick.
The party was then led in by Catharsis and introduced to the lord who had stolen the children, De Fain. It emerged that De Fain was the faerie equivalent of a child and was easily persuaded to release all the children except one, Dimitri's Gifted child Lucas. Fortunately, De Fain was puzzling over a riddle given to him and his sister, De Fail, by the Faerie Queen's pet jester, who we believe to be Tytalus, known to have gone to challenge the Queen in the Maddenhoffen woods. This riddle was "Which came first; the chicken or the egg?" De Fain favoured the chicken, his sister the egg, and this had been the source of a long war. Gwyntar proposed the solution "The rooster," and De Fain agreed to return Lucas if this solution was taken to his sister.
The party travelled back through the valley, leaving Vitenka there to guard the children, and went to the other gate, where a strange voice recited limericks about the group at them and refused to let them through unless they provided a limerick. Philippa did so and they gained admittance. They then journeyed on a magical train, meeting an old lady who turned out to be a dragon, while being constantly pestered by a group of yes-men. The final obstacle, a close harmony choir, were quickly slaughtered on the grounds that firstly, they were probably Welsh, and secondly, they might know Happy Little Death Machine (and Ryan might sing it to us). Meeting with De Fail, the solution was given and Lucas retrieved from De Fain, peace now established between the two.
The group returned to the real world, only to find themselves near Paris! After a season's journey, they arrived back at Animus Silvae
I went exploring Europe, and aren't back yet.
to find Deunan and the others safe and well, having merely been turned invisible, or, in Deunan's case, teleported out, by the Fay.