Mythic Beware! Beware!
I am Stepan ap Willan ap Willan. I have done well for myself so far and am the first in my family to become an Aes or councillor to the head man due to my expertise as the healer.

My village is called Pendock. It is a large farmstead of several roundhouses and a rectangular hall. It is surrounded by a ditch and bank which is topped with a palisade.

Most of us are related to the head man Galvin ap Niall ap Arwin in some way and we are all part of the Cornovii Tribe. The majority of our tribe is based in the hill forts of Cear Ffidd to the north and Caer Guracon to the south.

As is typical of these homesteads it's all one extended family with people marrying outsiders who either settle in the village or they both leave to live in a nearby settlement.

A spring provides water for the village and flows down to join the Brean a brook that goes on to flow into the river Deverill. The Deverill marks the border with the Ordovices is a few miles to the west.

The Meeting

Galvin (the head man) is holding one of his weekly village meals and there is a general meeting going on.

Galvin is talking at length, as per usual. He will not invite a priest into the village as they are expensive, and they annoy people. It's not as if they respect people’s beliefs but they are always trying to convert us and tell us we are sinners.

Sativola interrupts, "You Pendocians are all sinners! You must convert to the one true faith to save your…"

Galvin, "Enough! What's next for today."

Sativola starts to speak again and is shouted down by the crowd and pulled into his seat by his embarrassed wife.

Usenech, "Ummm, Wine, cough, I'm afraid we've had a skin of wine go missing."

Galvin, "What! You've lost my best wine!"

Usenech, "No, sorry, n-n-not your wine but one of the ones reserved for the guards on cold nights."

Galvin, "Oh that's not so bad. Are you sure it hasn't just been used?"

Usenech, "Yes. I know it has not been issued and someone has taken it. The odd thing is there were better wines right next to it."

Galvin turning to the gathered assembly, "Right you lot who's been helping yourself?" When no one owns up he goes into a loooong speech about the importance of community, the need to stick to Celtic honour and consequences of running out of wine in the middle of the night." Finally, he appoints his Sargent to investigate.

Galvin, "What's next?"

Stepan stands and says, "I need to gather some henbane, feverfew and elderflower for my medicines. As you know the best sources are on the far side of the Deverill in Ordovice lands. Who will accompany me on a quick early morning foray across Henrisford?"

Galvin, "Okay you youngsters, who fancies an adventure and a chance to tweak the noses of those Ordovices?"

Llewelyn jumps to his feet. "Fear not I will make sure nothing happens to our gallant healer for I would not wish the ladies to worry about him. I shall scout the area for any of the foul Ordo's."

Stepan, with a smile. "Thanks Llewelyn."

Quinn raises his hand and says, "I'll keep an eye on these two youngsters and I'd enjoy the chance to stick a few of those cross loving, Ordo wimps."

Stepan give a nod with a slightly concerned look on his face.

Galvin says "Next!"…

Later as Stepan is leaving the hall he notices his youngest sister is saying goodbye to her young man from the next village. He walks past quickly, smiling at young love

Gathering Herbs

Our party gathers the following morning at dawn, ready to cross the Deverill and gather Stepan's herbs. Llewelyn is also going to harvest some saplings suitable for turning into arrow shafts. If he manages to bag a couple of geese for feathers so much the better.

It's autumn and this is the last chance to gather the plants needed before winter sets in. It's a good day as far as weather goes, overcast, chilly but no actual rain.

When they reach the river, it is a raging torrent that is going to make crossing difficult.

They stop to discuss the situation. None of them are strong swimmers so that is ruled out. They think they've got two options. The most straightforward is for Quinn to wade across with a rope and then the other two can use the rope to aid their crossing. Llewelyn suggests an alternative. He's noticed that two massive trees have branches that nearly meet over the top off the river and they could climb them and jump from one tree to another. That way they wouldn't get wet.

Quinn loses patience with all this talking and ties his rope around a tree near the ford and starts to wade across muttering about being scared to get your feet wet. Stepan and Llewelyn don't notice at first and then it's too late to argue.

Quinn slips on a stone halfway across and disappears under the water. The others grab the rope and start hauling him back to safety. After a few seconds he manages to get his feet under him and tries again.

Tired and soaked Quinn reaches the other side and attaches the rope securely. The others cross without incident and know Quinn well enough not to tease him about getting wet. By the time they have dried out and Quinn has caught his breath the sun is up, and it is early morning. Leaving the rope for the return journey they head off in search of the herbs.

While Llewelyn disappears into the undergrowth and scouts the area to check they are not surprised. Stepan starts searching for herbs. He quickly locates a nice patch of henbane and some feverfew. Once he's gathered a bag full, he moves on and starts cropping Elderberries. All the while Quinn is standing guard just in case.

Not only does Llewelyn fail to kill any geese but he manages to put an arrow straight through a bee’s nest! A swarm of angry bees attack the party who run for the river at top speed.

By the time Llewelyn realises the danger the bees are all around him. Being stung all over, he crashes to the river and dives in. The others are warned by his screams and manage to get to the river in good time and duck under whenever required.

After half an hour the bees lose interest and the wet, tired, and cold villages get out of the river. Quinn is livid with Llewelyn and picks him up and gives him a good shaking, and a cuff round the head before Stepan manages to talk him down. By now it is noon and they settle down to eat which is when Llewelyn realises his lunch has been swallowed by the river. Stepan offers to share his while looking at Llewelyn's multiple bee stings. Ouch his head is a mass of stings and there are more on his right arm and leg. Everyone is feeling tired and fed up, so they decide to head home.

Llewelyn is leading the way to the river using what cover there is when he spots three figures on the riverbank. They see him at the same time and shout a warning and look wary. Recognising the accent as Ordovice, Llewelyn knows this is going to turn nasty. He knocks an arrow and lets loose as quickly as he can.

Llewelyn's first arrow misses and the enemy duck behind cover and their shields. Stepan and Quinn run up to Llewelyn alerted by the shout.

Llewelyn’s second arrow hits the shield of one of his foes who stops running for a moment to regain his balance.

While Stepan braces for impact, Quinn impatiently steps forward to meet his enemy. His spear crashes through his shield, armour and his left arm causing a horrible wound. The arm hands loose and the Ordovice screams in agony.

Llewelyn prepares an arrow but has no clear shot to his targets.

Quinn rips his spear free almost removing the arm of his poor victim. He collapses unconscious on the ground.

Stepan thrust mightily with his spear, trying to emulate Quinn, the warrior facing him sees it coming a mile off and uses his own weapon to redirect his blow wide causing him to stumble and lose his balance.

While Stepan is recovering his stance his foe jabs at him with his spear but he misses. Llewelyn still can’t shoot, and Quinn’s blow is deflected by the outnumbered enemy.

Quinn attacks again before his opponent can recover and smashes his spear through his shield, armour and into his chest.

Stepan also slams his spear into his foe but the shield absorbs the impact.

Things get very nasty when Stepan misses, Quinn wrenches his spear free, and the enemy tribesman drives his spear through Stepan’s right boot and deeply into his leg.

Quinn lunges in desperation but his spear is deflected. Stepan drops his spear and grabs hold of his foes spear which is embedded in his leg. Llewelyn drops his bow and grabs his dagger.

Quinn attacks with a roar, smashing his spear through his foes throat and out the back. Death is instant.

In the quiet that follows all that can be heard is the groans of the fallen and all three men gasping for breath. It lasted less than thirty seconds but the carnage is shocking.

In the aftermath, Quinn tends to Stepan removing the spear and expertly binding his wound. Llewelyn dispatches the dying man giving him a good death.

Quinn starts to search the bodies of his foes, stripping anything useful from them.

Stepan and Llewelyn recognise Irven as being the boyfriend of their youngest sister. They release him and he joins them as they cross back over the river and return to the village.

Stepan and Llewelyn are profoundly thankful to Quinn who saved the day. Llewelyn is already composing an epic poem to celebrate Quinn's skill in slaying ten men single handed.

On the way back they start talking to Irvin to find out what happened and how he ended up a captive.

Quinn is holding sway, "Llewelyn I don't know why you carry that bow, the only thing you've hit today was a bee’s nest! Maybe we should start calling you Llewelyn the bee hunter."

Llewelyn is laughing and telling him to get stuffed. Then he says, "Quinn that was bloody amazing. You nearly ripped that last guy's head off. I can just hear the epic about today, how the three of us slew a raiding party of Ordovicii. Foremost amongst our party was the Mighty Quinn who single handed left a bloody pile of bodies the attackers had to climb over to reach him."

Irvin looks a bit worried and asks Llewelyn to leave out the bit about him being a prisoner.

Llewelyn turns to him and says, "Just how did that happen? Last I saw you were making out with my younger sister and then we find you on the wrong side of the river."

Irvin blushing says, "I was walking back to my village when I saw two people talking on the road. Something about them made me wary so I ducked into the shadows and watched. They said something about making sure it was done at the next new moon and that this will ensure they don't wake up."

Stepan says, "That's odd."

Irvin, "I thought so too, and my suspicions only increased when they separated and Sativola hurried back to the village passing just feet from my hiding place."

Quinn, "What did you do next?"

Irvin, "I followed the other guy until he got to the ford which was flooded so he headed upstream."

Stepan, "That seems… brave"

Irvin, "Reckless you mean. In retrospect I should have realised how vulnerable I was without my dogs.”

Llewelyn, " Dogs?"

Irvin, "Yes Wolf and Lynx are my two hunting dogs. My family breed and keep dogs for a living."

Llewelyn, "That's so cool, I love dogs, but I've never had one of my own."

Irvin, "Would you like one? I've got a trained hunter that is about ready to be homed. If you want, I could show you how to look after him and use him on a hunt."

Llewelyn, "That would be fantastic thanks."

Irvin, “Then I don't really know what happened. I just woke up bound and being dragged by the two of them across the upper ford. I don’t think they realised I was awake as they were discussing raiding our village at new moon.”

Irvin, "Anyway, what do you make of the missing wine that Usenech mentioned last night?"

Stepan, "That is a bit odd, I don't like the idea we've got a thief in the manor."

Quinn, "How's the head? You seem remarkably alert considering the last day."

Irvin, "Yeh! I tend to recover quickly from knocks. I'm just can't believe I let myself down like that. A captive! I'm never going to live it down."

Llewelyn, "Hey, don't worry. I'll make it that it was part of our plan that you allowed yourself to pretend to be captured to learn more about their plans."

Irvin, "Really! Thanks, you don't know how much of a relief that is. I hate to think what Cordelia would think of me being a prisoner."

Stepan, "You like her, don't you?"

Irvin, "Ummm. Yes, is it that obvious."

Llewelyn, "Yes you lummox. It's written all over you. Look you don't hurt her. She's young and sweet natured, so make sure you treat her right or you'll have a posse of vengeful brothers after you."

Stepan, "Too right."

Stepan, "I think you need to come back with us and talk to Galvin about last night."
Bloody justice

The group of them tiredly return to the village and ask to see Galvin.

Galvin is not available as he is out of the village.

That evening things moved fast. Galvin returned to his hall which has been restored to its usual configuration with leather dividers splitting it into several areas. We are in the semi-private area used for council business and Galvin is infuriated at their tale. He sends two of his trusted men to bring Satilova to the council. Under questioning Satilova denies everything and refuses to discuss any of the evidence. Galvin is incandescent and orders trial by sword, to the death.

In the ring, Satilova is grim but determined, he prays to Christ and crosses himself. Quinn looks relaxed and is gleefully asking Agrona to aid him in finishing this cross loving traitor. The fight is quick but Satilova fights to the very end and is given a good death.

Later his plot is uncovered when they discover the missing wine, the sleeping draft, and a token with the rune for the new moon.

Galvin acts swiftly and sends messengers to his allies asking for aid and he starts tending to the village’s fortifications.

He agrees to Stepan’s suggestion that he should scout the attacking force, so they know what they are facing.

Scouting Trip

Within a couple of days, Stepan, Llewelyn, Quinn, Irvin and the three dogs Wolf, Lynx and Killer are ready to set off. Stepan decides to ride mostly as it adds to the equipment they can take.

Everyone has a food for a week, even the dogs and the horse. They won’t need more as it is only a week to new moon. They have the equipment to make a decent camp even in inclement weather. Winter clothing, spare ammunition, healing supplies and everyone has what is needed to do first aid. Lamps, rushlights, oil etc.

As they leave some of the villages turn out to wish them luck.

A few hours into the trip Killer growls loudly and looks into the woods shortly before two massive boars crash out of the undergrowth.

Fortunately, the boars are wrapped up in themselves and continue into the woods on the other side of the path. The party carefully continues, looking out for the boars as they go.

The party has been travelling for the morning as lunchtime approaches, they decide to stop at a small settlement that has a copper mine. As they approach, they her screaming and soon they can see people running back and forth looking into the entrance of the mine.

Stepan, “what’s going on?”

Old lady, “There’s been a terrible accident in the mine and the men are trapped.”

Stepan turns to the others and says, “what do you think? Do we have time?”

The party dismounts and rushes underground. They descend for some time before they come to the first sign of a problem. A few other surviving miners have managed to clear a narrow crawl space, but it is very tight.

Irvin get through and rushes ahead while the rest of the party start digging to make the entrance bigger.

Irvin comes across a miner who has been crushed by a rock fall. A huge rock has hit his head and blood his pouring from the wound. He tries to use his first aid, but the bleeding just continues. Stepan, Quinn and Llewelyn are digging frantically and then Quinn squirms through to join Irvin.

The miner is still bleeding and fading fast, so Quinn & Irvin try to no avail. Stepan and Llewelyn still cannot get through.

Both Irvin and Quinn try to save the miner but eventually Quinn says to Irvin, “It’s too late, he’s gone.”

Stepan and Llewelyn finally manage to clear enough space to join them.

They hear someone crying for help further into the mine and rush on. They see an exhausted miner holding a beam on his back, stopping the roof from collapsing on his injured friends.

Quinn rushes to help him and the miner collapses to the ground. Stepan quickly checks they are all stable and starts organising for them to be carried to safety.

Quinn coughs, “Err this is getting heavy how are we going to get me out?” Everyone starts looking for suitable beams or something to prop it up but there’s nothing obvious.

Stepan is dumbfounded and looks around for anything like a beam or a rock but there’s nothing. Llewelyn grabs Stepan’s short sword and jams it into a crack in the wall below the beam until it firmly wedged in. Quinn lowers it gently onto the sword and it holds but it’s not very solid.

Quinn waves everyone back and then sprints for the entrance, the beam pauses on the sword and snaps it in two. There is an ominous rumble as the party all run for the exit.

Quinn races past the rest of them with Irvin hot on his heals, the two brothers are not so lucky and see the tunnel collapse in front of them. When they look behind the passageway is totally gone under tonnes of rock.

Outside, Quinn realises that the brothers are missing and gets everyone to frantically dig.

Quinn throws himself at the rock sealing the tunnel and start digging frantically. After a few seconds, the pile collapse leaving the way clear.

Battered and bruised the party brushes themselves down relieved that the only loss was a Sword.

The villages are thankful for their help and offer them a place to stay and recover until the following morning.

That night at a subdued meal in the longhouse, the new head man is talking to the party. He is a tall man with long dark hair and eyes, a narrow face, and an extravagant moustache over a goatee beard.

Stepan, “So we are travelling south to find a raiding party that is coming from the Ordovice’s. We know they intend to attack Pandock on the night of the new moon.”

Headman, “That is worrying, they will have to pass close to our settlement and we don’t have your elaborate defences. We’ll have to hide in the woods until they pass.”

Stepan, “Galvin was sending messengers to the nearest settlements inviting them to join us in our village. It would help us bolster the defences and provide protection for the children and elders.”

Headman, “That’s for the best and I would suggest we join you, but Yarrow is nearer, and we have good relations with them.”
Natures Messenger

The party ride out of the mining village and are wished luck. They travel for most of the morning when a figure in a hooded robe steps out into the path.

He raises his hand and shouts, “Halt! What do you think you are doing?” He looks pointedly at each of the group with raised eyebrows. “Chasing off to meet a war band is hardly a useful task, all you’re going to do is get yourselves killed.”

On closer inspection they can see he is clearly a druid. He has tattoos to the spirits all over his face and hands and a circlet of mistletoe.

Stepan replies respectfully, “Greetings, I’m Stepan and this are Quinn, Llewellyn and Irvin. Thank you for your warning, but we need to know the size of the force we are facing so our village can prepare adequately.”

The druid continues, “Well you going to get yourselves bloody killed, or maybe killed bloodily. All for no benefit, just like your useless efforts yesterday.”

Irvin angrily says, “Hey! We saved at least one miner and probably several other, you…”

Quinn, always faithful to the old gods, interrupts. “Careful lad. Listen to the spirit walker as he can put a curse on you and your family. If he says our quest is doomed, we should listen.”

Somewhat mollified the druid say, “Not doomed, just you need to be circumspect. I’m Herne by the way and I can aid you in your mission by asking the crow that flies high and the deer that slips through the forest unseen to report on the foul invaders.”

Stepan says, “Well me Hermes. That would be exceptionally helpful, thank you.”

Hermes, “And not that simple I am afraid, to complete this task I need the blood of a hind, the heart of a wolf, the eyes of a bird and the ears of a rabbit. They must be prepared carefully so bring me all four carcasses and I will create a potion that will allow me to walk amongst the invaders and gather the information you seek.”

Stepan looks at Irvin and Llewelyn and asks them if they think it’s possible. They nod dubiously and Llewelyn says it depends on whether there are deer in the vicinity and the wolf is not my department.

Irvin says, the dogs have been catching rabbits all trip so that will be easy, and they put birds to flight regularly. I can get them if Llewelyn gets the deer.

Stepan turns back to Hermes and asks, “Do you know if there are deer and wolves in the area?”

Hermes says, “Yes the deer come to my territory to be close to the spirits and there is a small pack of wolves in the hills yonder.”

Llewelyn slips into the woods in the direction Hermes indicates looking for a hind, Irvin takes the dogs and starts looking for rabbits and a bird.

By mid-afternoon Llewelyn kills a hind on his third attempt. He mutters about it being a good thing Quinn isn’t around or he’d never hear the last of it. In the meantime, Irvin has managed to get a rabbit and a partridge. They hang the carcasses high in a tree to prevent most carrion and set off for the wolves. Hermes knows the way and leads them into the hills.

After climbing for a short while Hermes suddenly stops and holds up his arm in warning. He points out a massive wolf, flanked by two smaller ones. They are baring their teeth and growling. The dogs are going mad too.

Hermes steps out of the way and disappears into the forest as the wolves spring forward.

Llewelyn releases an arrow that sinks into the leg of the largest wolf which barely slows it down.

Then chaos ensues, the wolves and dogs become a snarling mass of bodies. Quinn rams his spear into the chest of the largest wolf and kills it. Stepan decapitates one of the smaller wolves and the final wolf runs away with its tail between its legs.

Hermes is suddenly back and looks incredibly pleased. “Excellent! With these fine specimens I will be able to call on the spirits to aid you quest.”
“If you would so kind as to carry the bodies back to my clearing.”

Hermes lights a great fire and takes various parts of the animals and mixes them all in a silver cauldron. He sacrifices one of his hens to the spirits and smokes a pipe. After about an hour he starts chanting and swaying asking for help from his ancestors to defeat the Ordovicii.

Eventually he finishes and says the spirits are satisfied with their offerings and will aid them in their quest. Then they settle down to eat roast venison.

The next morning as the party is setting off, Quinn says “I feel much happier now I know the ancestors are looking over us.”

Stepan says, “I hope we find this band of raiders soon it’s only five days to new moon and we need to get back to Pendock.”

In the early afternoon, the path opens out into a clearing where someone has been cutting down trees and clearing the undergrowth. Ahead we can see a group of armed men surrounding a couple of waggons. Voices are raised and it is obvious a battle is underway.

Suddenly Killer looks behind them and starts growling and barking. The party looks round and readies their weapons just as four Ordovicii attack from the forest. They are wearing an assortment of light leather protection, are dressed in the style of the Ordovicii and ready throwing spears.

Llewelyn and Irvin fire arrows and both hit causing minor damage. The dogs run forward and two grab a scout each. One of them managed to throw a spear which sails wide, but the rest changed their minds and tried to parry. Quinn missed with his.

Llewelyn drops his bow and draws his dagger. Irvin is keeping watch on the other fight to make sure the party are not caught unawares. Two dogs are still worrying the limbs they are holding and the remaining dog misses, and then the Scout impales it through its front leg. The dog drops to the ground and is out of the fight. Stepan hits the unprotected leg of his foe but not seriously. Quinn misses again and swears loudly as his foe also misses. The dogs are not doing much damage, but they are a distraction.

Llewelyn final hits with his dagger, the dogs are continuing to occupy the enemy as they try to shake them off or free their weapons, when Stepan gets a second might blow to his foes head causing unconsciousness and a nasty wound. Quinn also fells his combatant with a terrible blow to the left leg and ripping the spear out causes more damage. The Ordovicii lies dying on the ground. One of the remaining scouts managed to shake off a dog.

Stepan thrusts his spear into the groin of the third attacker and he collapses to the floor. The final rival throws his hands up in the air and begs for mercy.

The dogs are set to guard the captive and the party decide to help the caravan. Irvin and Llewelyn pick up their bows and Stepan and Quinn pick up a spare spear each. On a count of three they all shoot at separate targets taking two out with their first volley. The shock of losing a quarter of their force and being attacked on two fronts is enough for the Ordovicii to scatter into the woods.

Irvin works on Killer, removing the spear carefully and binding the wound but the dog is still incapable of walking. Things are looking bleak for Llewelyn’s first dog.

Stepan greets the people on the wagon and a woman who introduces herself as Roshan says, “It was a good thing we came along and rescued you.” She smiles widely.

Stepan snaps, “You were lucky we arrived when we did, or you were done for.”

Roshan raises her eyebrows and says sarcastically, “Well my mighty rescuer would you like to introduce me to your friends?”

Stepan introduces everyone and asks if everyone is okay and whether they need any help.

Roshan, “Well, we were trying to go north to the settlements on the river to warn of a large war band that is just over the next hill.”

Stepan, “Really we were sent to scout the size of the force so we could prepare our defences adequately. Did you see their forces at all?"

Roshan, “Oh yes we were heading west to the river road before turning north, from the side of the valley we could see a column of warriors marching upriver followed by a river boat. There must have been about a fifty in all. We’ve been trying to keep ahead of them for a day now and that was the first set of scouts we’ve encountered.”

Stepan looks at the rest of his group and asks whether they think this is enough information. Especially as the village will need time to use their intelligence.

Llewellyn, “So Roshan can I tell you the tale of our adventures and ask you to help with the phrasing?”
The Battle

(This turns out to be a bit of a non-event)

On their return to Pendock the scouting party found the preparations in full swing. The defences were much improved but Stepan is disappointed that there were no additional fighters. He discussed the preparations with Galvin and it seemed a siege was expected.

Stepan outlines his ideas for an unusual strategy to Galvin. He suggests a network of watchers should be posted to warn of the arrival of the enemy.

If they are on the far bank of the river, we should make them attack across the ford. They will be totally exposed to missiles and will have to fight at a disadvantage. Once contact is made and it is impossible to continue firing missiles most of the skirmishers should move to cover any withdrawal from the flanks.

If they are on our side, he suggests locking up tight and pretending Sativola’s plan has worked. Open the gates and wave a light at midnight. Let them pour through the gates but have barricades to keep them in a killing zone. Make them attack over our barricade while our archers pelt them from the walls.

Galvin agrees to the battle on the ford but refuses to let them into the village as it is too risky. They both no sitting in the village is risky as the raiders will probably rampage through the surrounding countryside when they realise, they have failed.

On the day before new moon the scouts report that the attackers stealthily approaching on this side of the river. Galvin orders everyone back inside and prepares for an attack.

With the advance warning the village is packed with every animal, person, and possession safely behind the palisade.

Stepan is on the earthen bank behind the palisade looking out when the enemy leaves the woods and sets up camp in the meadow outside the main gates. They set about creating some temporary defences and then spend time hurling abuse at the defenders.

Some one who is clearly the leader steps forward and starts negotiating with Galvin. As is normal both sides make ridiculous demands at first. After an hour or so it becomes obvious that the attackers are not negotiating in good faith and the talks break down. The enemy leader tells Galvin to sleep on it and give him the decision in the morning.

Galvin is suspicious and posts extra lookouts all round the palisade and tells everyone to sleep in their armour. The night is pitch black and the enemy can be seen and heard around their campfires.

At dawn, the troops on both sides are tired and full of adrenaline. As soon as the sun is up the enemy leader approaches the wall and asks Galvin for a decision. When Galvin refuses to capitulate the warlord furiously demands to see Satilova. Galvin refuses and tells him to leave or do his worst.

The warlord sneers and says you’ll regret that. Turning he orders his men to drag a figure forward. Stepan realises with horror it is Hermes the druid who looks battered and beaten. The enemy laughs cruelly and demands that Sativola and his family are released with the villages silver or he will kill Hermes slowly.

Galvin replies that unless he can travel to the spirit world it is impossible to speak to Satilova. There is a roar from one of the warlord’s bodyguard. He strides forward and demands the coward meets him in single combat. Galvin gets a crafty look on his face and ducks down for a few minutes to talk to Quinn.

Galvin quietly talks to Quinn and then returns to the palisade. He agrees to mortal combat on condition that the tribe leaves and releases Hermes unharmed.

Galvin makes a counteroffer of a moderate ransom if his champion loses and Hermes is released unharmed. If he wins then Hermes gets released and they leave without a ransom.

The Warlord laughs and refuses insisting that his champion will win, and Galvin must pay a huge ransom.

Galvin goes into great detail and explains why he is not going to pay any more than a moderate ransom and only if the challenger wins. Either way Hermes get released unharmed and the warband returns to Ordovicii territory.

The warlord grudgingly accepts.

A short while later Quinn is facing the Ordovicii champion, Cahal. When they finish trading insults, they begin.

The battle is short and very brutal. Cahal makes the first move but misses Quinn who counter attacks. Only Cahal’s rapid parry saves him from injury but he cannot prevent the next blow which smashes into his unprotected right arm. He bravely manages to hang onto his spear but is too slow in his stunned state to block the follow up which smashes his arm to a bloody pulp.

The gathered villages cheer wildly, and the raiding party groans. Things start to look tense; the raiding party are angry, and the atmosphere is ugly.

Quinn drops his bloody spear and sets about tying a tourniquet above the wound to stanch the bleeding. Stepan rushes forward and starts assisting.

Galvin turns to the Warlord and asks him to release Hermes. At first things look bad but the obvious efforts to save Cahal change the mood. The tension eases and the warlord honours his promise.

Stepan approaches Galvin and says Cahal will not survive the journey home and requests he can heal him until he is fit enough to return.

Galvin makes his offer to the Ordovicii leader as a show of good faith. Within hours the Ordovicii are gone and life starts to return to normal.

(So ends this adventure. I personally didn't like the ending as the boss fight never happened and it was all a bit of a damp squibb. Partly that was due to the rule system I was using. Even the ambush was an administrative nightmare to manage and the thought of a bigger battle just filled me with dread. I will start a different campaign using a lighter rule system, possibly Forgotten Lands.)

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