The Fallen Chronicle - Part 1

Malham, Eastern Velwyth. October 1092TA - Out on the Moors.

Early one autumnal morning, Durban and his sister Meredith were out on the moors tending his father's sheep, a task they had performed countless times in the past. Durban was settled in his favourite spot, reading one of his mother's books, when his concentration was broken by one of his sheep bleating in fear.

Grabbing his crook and sling he hurried of to investigate. Racing up the valley he was alarmed to hear a girl's screams added to those of the sheep – Meredith was in danger! Running as fast as he could, Durbin leapt a small stream and hurried to the brow of the hill. Below him was a scene of slaughter. The dismembered bodies of several sheep were scattered across the hillside. Crouching beside a large boulder was Meredith, clutching her torn dress in bloodstained hands. A huge wolf crouched before her, blood dripping from its fangs and claws. With a snarl it prepared itself to attack again,

Durban fumbled a rock from his pouch and loaded it into his sling. Shouting at the top of his voice, he let loose a shot at the wolf. His hasty shot missed and ricocheted off the rock. Spooked, the wolf turned and sped away. Durban plunged down the hill after the wolf, but his sister's anguished cry for help brought him to a halt. He watched the wolf lurch away for a few moments before turning to his wounded sister. Cradling her gently in his arms he carried her back to the farm.

Malham, Eastern Velwyth. October 1092TA - Malham.

Back in Malham, it was another normal village day. Patrick was working in the forge, fetching and carrying for his father and older brother, while Jason was in the Inn 's stables, clearing up the mess left by a trapper's pack horses.

The peace was shattered when a wagon clattered across the green and halted outside the church. From his vantage point in the smithy, Patrick saw his friend Durban and Farmer Tariff get down from the wagon and carry a blanket wrapped bundle into the church. A few moments later Durban came out of the church went to find his friends.

Patrick and Jason hurried over to him, bursting with questions. Durban explained that his sister had been badly mauled by a strange wolf and that he planned to hunt it down and kill it. Patrick and Jason offered their help and went off to ready themselves. Jason returned to the Inn and asked his aunt for permission to help Durban. Despite her fears for his safety she agreed and let him go and prepared a hamper of supplies for him.

Patrick did not fare so well. Patrick's father insisted that he stay at home and help his brother in the forge. To allay his father's suspicion, he quickly agreed to stay behind. At the first opportunity, he snuck outside and made his escape. They met up again at the outskirts of the village along with two more of their friends: Hugo and Owen. Together the five set off for the Tariff farm and the moors beyond.

Malham, Eastern Velwyth. October 1092TA - Wolf Hunting.

After a couple of hours march they arrived at the spot where the wolf attacked. The boys searched the area around the stone and Durban found a faint trail of blood leading off onto the moors. Durban also found a strange amulet on a broken thong. For some reason, he felt that he should keep it secret from the others and slipped the amulet into his pocket. They set off east, carefully following the trail of blood left by the wolf. After an hour or so of travelling they spotted a plume of smoke and decided to investigate.

They carefully approached the source of the smoke, a small campsite largely hidden from view by gorse bushes. When they got nearer, they could hear the sound of an animal eating something. Fearing the worst, they spread out to attack the beast from all sides.

The boys charged into the camp site where they saw the great wolf gnawing at the bones of a dead man. The wolf was obviously wounded, blood poured from several wounds in its flanks. The boys surged forward to attack the wolf. After the first few blows had struck, the creature reared up on its hind legs. It wasn't a wolf but some sort of wolf-like humanoid. The beast attempted to flee through the bushes but the boys kept up the attack and dispatched the creature.

Whatever it was, the creature had attacked and killed two itinerant trappers who were travelling back to Malham. While Patrick and Durban returned to the Tariff farm for transport, the others prepared the bodies of the trappers and the beast for the journey back home. A few hours later, the boys and the three bodies were back in Malham. The mutilated remains of the two trappers were unrecognizable and handed to the Phaedrans for burial. The body of the wolf-like humanoid was placed in the crypt and word sent to Braemar for assistance.

Malham, Eastern Velwyth. October 1092TA - The Deep Hollow Guides.

Two days later as the inhabitants of Malham were leaving church, a beautiful stranger arrived in town. Shadiyah, one of the Deep Hollow Guides, had travelled from Braemar to examine the wolf creature. She was taken into the church and the boys were asked to wait outside the church so she could speak with them. A few minutes later they were invited into the church and Shadiyah asked them to tell her their story.

After hearing their story, Shadiyah told them that the creature was unique in her experiences and she would be calling on more of the Guides for help. Satisfied with their story, she dismissed them and returned to her examination of the beast. For the next few days Shadiyah went scouting across the moors looking for sign of more beasts and the boys returned to their mundane lives.

Patrick was labouring at his father's forge early one morning when he heard the sound of horses clattering into Malham's cobbled square. Patrick snuck away from his work to see who had arrived and saw five newcomers dismounting outside of the inn. From their garb, they looked like the Guides that Shadiyah had mentioned earlier that week. Patrick was also surprised to see he recognised one of them, an elf named Aurillian. Aurillian was a Duskblade, a master of sword and sorcery who had travelled through Malham on many occasions and entertained a young Patrick with tales of adventure.

Patrick hurried over to help Aurillian stable his horse and was surprised again when Aurellian remembered his name. He followed the Guides into the Inn where they ordered breakfast and a room to meet with Shadiyah in private. Despite wanting to remain at the inn, Patrick returned to the smithy to continue his work.

Later that morning Jason was summoned from the stables into the inn. One of the Guides, Wisk, asked him to round up the rest of his friends and return for further questioning. Jason rushed off to the Tariff farm to find Durban and they returned to Malham to find the others.

Durban headed to the smithy to find Patrick and found him hard at work fetching and carrying for his brother and father. He tried to sneak into the smithy to speak to Patrick, but was discovered by Patrick's father. Durban asked him if Patrick could come to the inn to speak with the Guides. Unfortunately, his father was unwilling to allow his ‘delinquent' son to ‘gallivant' around town when he had work to do in the smithy. Durban tried to soothe the irate blacksmith but received a clip around the ear and decided to beat a hasty retreat. Angered by his father's actions, Patrick waited until he was preoccupied before sneaking out of the smithy and headed for the relative safety of the inn.

When the boys had gathered together, they were taken before the assembled Guides - Shadiyah, Aurillian, Wisk, Lynni, Shavas Maur and Vikko Karkoloz - to tell their story for a third time. This time they were asked far more in-depth questions: how did the creature fight, was it fast on its feet, how strong was it. Satisfied by their answers, the boys were asked to take two of the guides, Wisk and Lynni, to the locations of the beast's attacks while the others reviewed what they had discovered and continued to scout the area.

Malham, Eastern Velwyth. October 1092TA - Back to the Moors.

Together they headed off to the Tariff lands and the boys questioned Lynni about her life as a Guide while Wisk ranged ahead of them, scouting the land. She explained that there were about three hundred Guides scattered across the country. Guides were recruited into the ranks based on the recommendations of other Guides. They received no training or wages as part of their work, but worked for the honour of defending Velwyth.

The party was unmolested on their journey across the moors and the two guides were able to examine the locations of the wolf's attacks. They were unable to discover any more information so they returned to their homes. Unfortunately, Patrick no longer had a home to go to. He found a small pile of his possessions outside his house. He snuck inside to speak to his mother who told him he was better off staying away for a few days while his father calmed down. Patrick gathered up his clothes and headed for the inn. The next day the Guides were up early and readied themselves for an extended trip out into the moors.

Malham, Eastern Velwyth. October 1092TA - Goblin Raiders.

Over the next few days the Guides continued to scout the area around Malham but found nothing. On their third night out they came across a large band of goblins. Three of them stayed behind to keep check on them while the others returned to Malham to warn the villagers.

Aurillian, Vikko and Shavas kept a watch over the camp and soon realised that it was a large tribal group travelling with all their belongings, not a raiding party as they first thought. They decided to negotiate with them to ascertain their plans. The goblins were migrating west for an unspecified reason and no amount of reasoning from the Guides could deter them. As usual the negotiations descended into combat and the three Guides wiped out most of the goblin warriors before the rest fled the campsite.

Meanwhile the rest of the Guides returned to Malham, visiting the Tariff farm on the way to pick up the Durban and his family. They dropped off the Tariffs in the village and set off to warn the other local farms. As they approached the first, they saw flames pouring from the building. They rushed closer and saw that goblins had fired the building and killed all but one of the inhabitants as they were leaving the burning farmhouse. The remaining woman was in the process of being raped by the goblin raiders.

Shadiyah, Wisk and Lynni attacked the goblins slaying them all and saving the farmer's wife. She told them that she had seen more raiders heading north to another farm. The Guides set off with Lynni scouting ahead in bird form. They approached the second farm where the goblins were beginning their assault. The Guides attacked and slew the raiders. They then did what they could to save the farm buildings before they returned to Malham with the survivors.

The goblins survivors never reached Malham or attacked any more farms. For the next several weeks, the Guides continued to patrol the area looking for more signs of goblins or the wolf-creatures before being called away on more urgent business.

Malham, Eastern Velwyth. October 1092TA - Childhood's End.

The brief glimpse of the Guides' lives had changed the outlook of the boys. Unable to reconcile his problems with his father, Patrick decided to leave Malham and travel with Aurillian. Jason decided to concentrate on his clerical training and travelled to Deep Hollow. Hugo decided to take the path of a druid and left with Lynni. Durban wanted to further the magical skills taught to him and so travelled with Jason to Deep Hollow. Owen had no desire to become a butcher like his father and he too travelled west to the civilised lands to seek his fortune.

On to Part 2 of the Chronicle.

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