Ann Arbor Adventure

Of Dreams and Portents
Otherwise known as Kai flips out

Chava and Murphy elect to spend the following day exploring the monastery's library.  Owain and Branwyn join them, the former interested in exploring tomes of heraldy, and the latter interested in finding some clue to the seal on her scroll. 

Kai is not interested in the library, and spends the day in the woods, practicing his ranger skills. Towards evening, he begins to feel uncomfortable, as if he were being watched, but is unable to determine the location or nature of the observer.  As the sun begins to set, Kai hurries back to the monastery and safety.

Murphy finds a good deal on church sanctioned healing rituals, which he is interested in putting to use.  Chava is also researching healing, and finds a reference to holy water being used in purification.  Later she asks Murphy to sanctify some water for her, and he is more than happy to oblige.

Owain has little luck, as the monks do not keep very meticulous heraldic records.  Branwyn, on the other hand, manages to catch the attention of one of the librarians, and is directed to a symbol very like the one on her scroll; an oak tree with the equilateral triangles replaced with skulls.  It is only a small section in an obscure reference on druidic orders.

That evening, at supper, Owain attempts to tell his new version of the tale of Gorm the Bold, but unfortunately it doesn't go over very well.

 Once all have gone to sleep, Chava, Owain, and Kai, all find themselves in a dream.  They wander, endlessly, through halls of rough-cut grey stone.  There are no windows, and no way out. They know only that they are searching, for someone or something, and that time is important.  At last they come to a standstill as a huge wolf, as large as a mountain pony, appears in front of them.  He stands there, looking at them, his coat black as the night sky, and the dream fades as the bells for Matins ring.  Kai wakes, nervous and frightened, and moves to the window, where he sits, sleepless, for the rest of the evening.  Owain also wakes, but immediately falls back asleep, to less interesting dreams.  Chava gets out of the bed she is sharing with Branwyn and sets up a circle of protection around them before going back to sleep.

In the morning Owain pesters Kai about why he is so tired, and relates the story of his dream, mentioning the halls, and the huge black creature that 'jumped out at him'.  Kai is very nervous about the similarity to his own dream, but says nothing.  Chava is also intrigued, but keeps her own council.  

Murphy, meanwhile, has been with the monks at prayer.  He catches a few of them and inquires about the village ahead.  He learns it is fairly large, with an inn or two, and a blacksmith of good repute.  It is under the jurisdiction of the Baron Terrence Falconcrest, who seems to be somewhat unusual in that he has no Welsh knights governing smaller portions of his territory.  The townspeople are currently quite displeased with him, as they have requested his aid in dealing with the increasingly dangerous group of bandits in the countryside, and he has done nothing.  Most of this conversation is in Latin, as Murphy is having a hard time following the Welsh, so the rest are not privy to it.

The adventurers are soon off, traveling along the road towards Pentrebyrn, which is a good day and a half trip from the monastery. Owain entertains the group with an uproarious new song about the time when Kai broke his wrist practicing swordplay. Even the horses seem to enjoy it. Around noon Kai spots smoke in the distance, and heads off to investigate.  The rest stay on the road.  After some turning around, Kai finds his way to a clearing in the woods, at the center of which is a tall, dark tower, made from strangely smooth stone.  Curious, he walks around it, careful not to travel sunwise, in case it is a thing of the Fae.  There is no door, but there are windows higher up.  Kai touches the tower, and is immediately overwhelmed with a series of visions.  He sees the making of the tower, it was grown by magic from the earth, not cut as stones and mortared together.  The tower stands as a beacon until a shadow comes and devours it, tainting the tower and turning it black.  Overwhelmed with a sense of terror, Kai snatches back his hand and hurries back to his companions.  He refuses to tell them anything, only insisting that they travel faster.  When Branwyn is obnoxious about asking what happened, Chava uses magic to make her quiet.  Eventually Chava and Owain can't keep up with the faster pace, and Kai insists that they ride the horses so that they can keep moving. Concerned for his well being, Murphy joins Kai at the front of the march and tries to distract him from whatever it is that's bothering him with a story. Unfortunately, the story Murphy chooses (the parable of a foolish man who began building a tower without first calculating the cost, and who was then ridiculed when unable to finish) seems to aggitate Kai even more.

Despite Kai's forced march, they are not able to reach the town by nightfall, and must make camp, eating dry journey bread, and what is left of Murphy's cheese.  Chava takes the first watch, and casts a magic circle around the camp.  Branwyn and Kai are both on the last watch of the night, and both of them see, in the mist, the silhouette of a large wolf, which promptly disappears.

 

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Three Become Five
Winning honor and glory... we think

We enter this episode with Chava, who is traveling from town to town.  Her horse, Matza, carries her alchemical supplies.  She is on her way to the village of Pentrebyrn, when she is stopped by a gruff-looking man who appears before her on the road.  He takes the bridle of her horse, and after some discussion, and a few not too subtle threats, she accompanies the man and his companions into the woods.  Some ways from the road, they come upon the bandit camp, and Chava is promptly tied to a nearby tree.  

There is another woman nearby, also tied to a tree.  She has a fierce headache, and cannot recall who she is or what she is doing here.  Upon waking, she immediately hollers questions at the bandits, who then attempt to gag her.  She viciously kicks the first one who tries, and one of the next two who attempt to grab her legs and tie them.  After her legs are tied, she is gagged.

As chance would have it, our trio from before (Kai, Owain, and Murphy) is traveling the same road.  As they pass the spot where Chava went off the road, Owain gets a strange sense that someone is in danger just off the road.  He convinces the others to come with him to investigate.  Kai, of course, jumps at the opportunity, and Murphy hangs back.  When they near the camp, Owain is the first to hear the bandits, and cautions the others.  Kai ducks into the underbrush and sneaks off to investigate.  Murphy hides behind a tree and prays.

Kai takes stock of the situation and uses his belt knife to cut the ropes holding Chava.  Unfortunately he is spotted, and one of the bandits raises the alarm, rushing to attack him at the same time.  Another of the bandits, not a very good lookout, spots Owain, and charges at him, missing several times, while Owain just looks at him, and blocks occasionally with his blade.  Kai's attacker misses, and Kai responds by slicing the man open with his sword.  At Chava's request he tosses her his knife, and turns to face the bandit leader, a large, dark-haired man with a full beard, who is bearing down on him.  The two exchange several blows while Chava frees the other woman, legs first.  One of the other bandits attempts to restrain Chava, but misses, and ducks out of the way as soon as the other woman's legs are free.  Once Chava has finished cutting the ropes, the woman takes the knife and approaches the two remaining bandits in a threatening manner.  As both of these are the ones she kicked before, they promptly turn tail and run.  The bandit leader, seeing his followers leave, and himself outnumbered, also flees.  Owain informs his incompetent attacker that his companions are gone, and the man surrenders.

Matza appears, followed by two other horses. Introductions follow, where Chava attempts to get everyone to write their names in her book, and Murphy instead writes 'cheese' and hands her some.  The nameless woman questions the prisoner, but is only able to determine that she was unconscious when they came upon her.  Following some debate, they decide to call her Branwyn.  Branwyn recognizes the sheild carried by one of the horses as her own, and finds some other items she recognizes, including her armor, sword, and bow, as well as a fine gold chain and a sealed scroll.  The sheild is blank, so it carries no clues to her identity, but the seal on the scroll carries a strange mark; an oak tree and three equilateral triangles.  Owain examines it carefully, but the insignia is not familiar to him.  

Leaving the prisoner tied to a tree, the five now return to the road.  Chava is pleased to have some armed company, considering her recent encounter, and everyone insists that Branwyn must come with them.  After traveling for a bit the travelers make camp.  Branwyn sets out snares for rabbits, and Kai does some hunting.  Chava works on spells while Murphy and Owain gather wood and get a fire going.  She has one success, and manages to set the unclaimed horse staggering around drunkenly for about ten minutes.  This raises some concern with the others, and Branwyn grabs the saddlebags and dumps them on the ground.  They contain mostly journey food, hard bread, cheese, and a wineskin, and some money.  There follows a little debate between Branwyn and Chava as to who owns the horse and the contents of the saddlebags.  Chava hands Murphy the cheese, and is happy to share the food.  Kai snatches up the money and receives an indignant lecture from Owain about stealing, to which he pays little heed.  Everyone goes to sleep a little disgruntled, with Kai and Chava taking the first watch.  Chava thinks she sees something in the shadows, but when she calls attention to it, it's gone.  Murphy also thinks he sees something on the following watch, but when he wakes Kai it disappears.  Owain takes the third watch and sees nothing.  

Travel in the morning brings the group to the monastery at Betwys Pentrebyrn (a day or so journey from the town proper) by nightfall.  The monks welcome them, and Owain gives a stirring retelling of the daring rescue of the two ladies.  The story is greeted with much pleasure, although the monks caution Owain that the bandit group has been preying on the countryside for some time, and is quite large.  The party was lucky to have happened upon such a small band, and the leader, Huw of the Beard, may seek vengeance in order to save face.  Murphy follows by telling the monks the story of St. Patrick, as he learned it in Ireland.  As he tells it in Latin, the rest of his friends have to make do with a translation, which is not nearly as good. 

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The Very Beginning
Kai ap Rhys and his friend Owain ap Cwm set out to find adventure and win honor.

Kai is the youngest son of the knight Rhys of Esgair Ddu, a small holding in the mountains of northern Wales.  Because the land is insufficient to divide among all of his children, Sir Rhys has declared that the son who brings the greatest honor to the family will earn the title Lord of Esgair Ddu, and all the benefits that accompany it.  Kai has always been coddled by his mother and sisters, and is loath to leave home, but after a stern lecture from his father about filial responsibility, and realizing that his brothers have been out in the world making their names for years, Kai decides to set out to earn his honor.  His childhood friend, Owain, who has trained as a minstrel, having the itchy feet that so often accompany such a profession, decides to accompany Kai.  In a fit of melodramatic passion, Kai declares that he will no longer be known as Kai, but rather as Dienw (nameless), until he has proven himself worthy.

Kai ap Rhys is tall and gangly, more wirey than strong.  Like the rest of his family he has dark eyes, but unlike his siblings and parents his hair is bright blonde, nearly white.  He carries a sword, and wears ringmail armor.  His family ring and cup, all his inheritance if he cannot win the land, he keeps safely tucked away.

Owain ap Cwm (of the Valley) was born in a small hamlet tucked away in a valley near the manor.  His father worked the land for Lord Rhys, planting, tending, and harvesting.  Owain's mother died giving birth to his younger sister, Cerys.  Without her watchful eye, Owain (and often Cerys too) ran wild.  Always playful and mischievous, Owain constantly snuck away to play with his friend, Kai, at the manor.  There, from passing minstrals and bards, Owain learned some stories and basic skills on the lute. Owain is shorter than Kai, and scrawny, with shaggy brown hair and merry blue eyes.

After several days of traveling, the two adventurers come upon a town large enough to support a tavern.  Eager for the promise of comfortable beds and warm food not cooked by Kai, the two immediately enter and ask for supper.  The innkeeper notices Owain's lute, and being a clever businessman, requests that the minstrel entertain them.  Owain obliges, telling the story of Llewelyn the Brave with such dramatic expression that the entire room is captivated.  When the innkeeper promises not to charge for the meal or accomodations if Owain will tell a second story, Owain is happy to spin another yarn.  This time he tells of Gorm the Bold, who is less well recognized, and the listeners quickly lose interest.

While eating, Owain and Kai had noticed a foreign monk sitting nearby.  After much banter, Kai is convinced to go ask the monk if he is on an adventure, and if they can come along.  What follows is an interesting exchange of miscommunication, where Murphy thinks the others want more cheese, and where they think he's offering them cheese in exchange for their leftover bread.  The two adventurers go to sleep thinking they've made a contract with Murphy to come with him on his adventure.

Murphy O'Shenanigan has come from Ireland to bring the true gospel to the heathens in Britain.  He has traveled for a short time in Wales,  going from monastery to monastery.  One of the incentives for his coming so far was a fondness for good cheese, and an interest in the making of heather ale.  Unfortunately, he is hindered by a lack of understanding of the Welsh language.  Murphy is a little short and stocky, with a curly head of red hair and bright green eyes.

The following day, Owain and Kai accompany Murphy on his way to the nearby monastery.  As both Murphy and the monks speak latin, some degree of translation is accomplished, and Murphy opts to stay for some formal training in the fundamentals of the Welsh language.  While he does this, Kai and Owain work in the garden and pursue their own skills.  Owain exchanges stories with the monks, and plays for them.  Kai practices his ranger skills in the nearby woods, and eventually talks Owain into practicing swordplay with him.  After a few smacks back and forth (luckily with wooden swords, as Owain has no armor), Kai lands a good hit and accidentally breaks Owain's wrist.  One of the monks is able to heal Owain, but the travelers decide to stay out the rest of the week at the monastery, which is good because Murphy is having a hard time with his Welsh.

Kai and Owain, having learned that the monk is actually on a mission trip, and not an adventure, have an animated discussion, and eventually decide that they might have a good adventure after all, as traveling can be perilous.  So, when Murphy sets out on his way to the next abby, the two accompany him.

After traveling for part of the day, they come upon a ford in a stream, next to which is a pavilion.  A knight emerges, announcing himself as Bran ap Gwendyr, and speaks a challenge to Kai.  Kai accepts, declaring himself to be Dienw ap Rhys, but is quickly knocked unconscious with a sharp blow to the head.  The knight is concerned for the young man's health, and orders his squire to splash water on Kai.  When Kai rouses, Sir Bran mentions he and his squire are traveling to the tourney in Pensarn, which will be held on the first of May (it is now early April).  He offers that the group may travel with him.  After much discussion, the band decides to continue on to the monastery, and follow to the tournament later. 

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