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Jul 24, 2021, 02:52 PM


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PROLOGUE: 1666 - The Chalice

Started by tomcat, Jun 24, 2019, 07:10 PM

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In the remote countryside of Massachusetts, in the New World.

The homestead sits atop a hill. The family that had lived here now all dead from a pox. Father, mother, son, daughter - though the girl's body was never found. Carried off by wolves, some say.

There is a story that speaks of a chalice being found when the foundation was being dug and the house was being built. The stories say that it was valuable. Was there more treasures buried somewhere on the grounds or hidden in the walls? Others have gathered at the empty house, all with the same idea - find whatever wealth might be hidden here.

Hanso Hasashi, a young man of the orient aged 32. Grace Black of Arkham, aged 20. Sosha Vonhoort, a dutch woman newly arrived in the colonies. She was 26 years of age. And finally, Arleigh Pembrook II, aged 24, of the Pembrooks of Boston. The four individuals have moved throughout the house and now stand upon the upper landing. Each has professed that they have come to pay respects to the dead, but wary glances to each other makes it plain - no one is fooled. Each has come for a purpose of their own and perhaps a darkness lies within.

Having said all that was to be said, the group separates and begins to explore the old house.

Grace explores the upper floor and there, hanging on the wall, was the original master's weapon - a lethal crossbow. Thinking it might be wise to have while she explores the house - for who knows if others might be hidden about - Grace took the weapon and a small quiver of quarrels.

Hidden passages. Empty rooms. A clawed hammer etched on the haft with "Pa's". A bucket that was etched with the name William. Finally - a note found by the lady Sosha ... which only she read:

I regret building this house. We shouldn't have moved the stones. The pox is on us. It is His doing. Terror lies below the earth. I, of all people, should have remembered that. Because I was the one who helped lay the stones down centuries ago. He is awakening. He is hungry.

Hanso came from the cellar, his face ashen white. He spoke of a bright glow of light coming through the cracks in the cellar pavers. Mists rose from the cracks and spoke of witchcraft. Then came a squeal from outside when Grace came upon a hangman's noose that silently moved in the wind. The rest of us gathered, though none of us saw the wooden cup that she had found sitting among the knobby roots, and hid in her furled dress.

We each began to have thoughts of our own. Nothing in the house made sense. What would the chalice be doing here by the tree - this chalice of insanity? As for the family, how is it they died of the pox when no one else within the area came down with the sickness? Unless some one here was consorting with dark powers. That was it, wasn't it? Someone here that has gathered has returned to finish what they started! They killed the family and now lured the rest of us with rumors of treasure! Evidence of witchcraft in the cellar - someone was a witch and intended to feed the rest to the dark entity whom they served. Dark spells were at work as each of the individuals began to feel the bonds of sanity begin to let go. Each knew they needed to stop whoever was doing this, but who?

The witch must be slain before he or she could take the prize of the others' souls. Sosha, fearing for her life ran at Arleigh and shoved him roughly with intent to make him fall and hopefully snap his neck. Grace let fly a crossbow bolt. Hanso ran at the young woman, even as the quarrel flew past.

The struggle was brutal and bloody. Wounded, Arleigh ran back into the foyer of the home only to be smashed in the back of the head by a stone. He felt his dying soul being pulled down into darkness. Something called to his ending consciousness. Something long asleep and so, so hungry. His soul was pulled through a chasm, through a land made of ice, a world of giants, a forgotten city, a rainbow, and then down through the fire and into utter darkness. Arleigh's dying realization was there was no witch among their group. The dark power had been driving their lust to kill and making them mad. He knew because that power was there with him, pressing close in the utter darkness. He felt his soul begin to rise once more, back through those strange visions that he saw. He was bound now to this place - this old home. Arleigh Pembrook would now haunt the ground where he died, a ghost, trapped here for his eternity.

The others continued to fight until Grace Black was at last able to put a quarrel within Hanso's heart. He too was now a spirit tied to this unholy place. But even Grace could not expect the smashing stone that had taken Arleigh not a few moments before. Sosha Vanhoort crushed the young woman's skull and stood wild-eyed, over the corpse.

She looked around. This place was hers now. She knew it in her soul. There was no witch, she knew that now. They had been fooled, but it was no matter. The fields will be fertilized. The bodies disposed of and buried deep. Home is where the hearts are - let's hope the dead stay buried.

Sosha Vanhoort found the deed to the home and had it transferred to her name. Not long after she married - her new name was now O'Leary.
Narrator: Darkening of Mirkwood | Chronicle of the North | Tempest Rising | To Boldly Go | Welcome to the 501st!
Esgalwen [♦♦♦♦○○] Dmg 9/11  |  Edge 8  |  Injury 16/18
Nimronyn [Sindarin Pale gleam] superior keen, superior grievous longsword - orc bane
Foe-slaying - when attacking a bane creature, reduce Edge of weapon by value of bearer's Valour

Shadow bane [when in Forward stance, add 1 success die to each attack]
Skirmisher [if carried encumbrance is 12 or less, increase Parry by +3 when in close combat stance]