The Tarraby Household
Having been received by Lady Tarraby, mother of the missing Templar Knight, William Tarraby, both Uther and Raphael were attacked in the dead of night by a ‘hand’ of dark elves. Waking from sleep, the shocked Raphael found himself enveloped in darkness and gripped by some terrible, shocking pains, which contorted his body in agony. Backing off from this vicious attack, he found himself backed into a corner and slashing out wildly at first one and then a second attacker, although unable to see them in the globe of darkness surrounding him. Meanwhile, he overheard a deafening explosion from the next-door room in which Uther was staying. Feeling confused and outmatched, Raphael made a run for the window, emerging into the moonlight at his window and smashing through, gripping hold of the ledge below to stop his fall. Finding the cracks in the façade of the wooden timbers supporting the sidewall, Raphael used his remarkable skill to climb down the wall, ducking beneath a window ledge to avoid a crossbow bolt aimed by a pale faced, scarlet-eyed dark elf from the shattered window above. With the house now awakened by the bellowing of Uther as he barrelled into one of his eleven assailants, crashing through the door to his room in a shower of broken splinters, Rapahel was able to make the safety of the courtyard below before the Caletir ‘hand’ made good their escape.
With the household terrified by this turn of events, Rapahel and Uther did their best to reassure the shell-shocked servants before Lady Tarraby was able to restore some sense of order. First, she insisted that hot water be provided for tending to the wounds of both Uther and Raphael. Back in Uther’s room, Uther performed healing on first Raphael and then himself. Concerned about the two being split again, Raphael suggested that the two share the vials, potions and blessed crossbow bolts given to them by the Archbishop of York. Noting the darkness used by the elves, he also suggested that the elixir of light be important in any future combats with the elves.
Uther explained the little he knew about the elves, mentioning the tales of dark elves situated in Ulaid (Northern Ireland) and their antagonistic approach to the Church and alliance with Morrigan the Black. He also identified the ‘hand’ as a common combat strategy used by these infamous and feared mercenaries.
With his wounds now healed, Raphael chose to scout the estate for signs of the elves. Working his way in a clockwise direction he came upon the southern side of the estate noticing an unnatural black patch blotting out moonlight, 200 yards beyond the final servant dwellings. Rapahel levelled his crossbow, firing into the darkness. Although missing the obscured target, his action motivated a further retreat as the clear sounds of a horse being mounted were heard before the globe of darkness began moving further away into the open countryside. Fearing this to be a ruse, Raphael and Uther returned to the house adding their protection for what remained of the night.
With first light, the two attempted to track the dark elves and incredibly (after a roll of 99) Raphael was able to pick up the trail. Travelling cross-country for much of the remaining day, the two were able to find signs of horses several hours ahead. Reaching a riverbank crowded with vegetation, the two tied their horses to a tree and made their way west following in the general direction of the hand. After several hours of further tracking, Uther made the grizzly discovery of a Templar knight hung from a tree, head in a noose of spiderwebs, his decomposing body attacked by a swarm of flies and the stench almost unbearable. Marking the area so as to retrieve the body at a later time, the two continued cautiously via the riverbank trail. In the fading light of the day, they finally spied the jet-black horses of their quarry. On closer inspection by Raphael, the elves were camped high in the canopy of some trees overlooking the fast flowing river below. Fearing that his luck would not hold for much longer, Raphael returned to Uther, explaining what he had seen. With the light now disappearing fast, the two suddenly recognised the vulnerability of their position…in surroundings familiar to elves and with darkness fast approaching. The two backed away, retracing their route so as to make their camp outside of the thick, tangled forestland, in open countryside, albeit in a shaded dell. Taking turns to sit out a wet and windy night, the two carefully looked for signs that they had been followed by the elves. With daylight, Manzio made his way down to the riverside, before using his magical ring to approach the area in which they had seen the horses from the day before. Seeing a makeshift jetty, Raphael quickly ascertained that the ‘hand’ had been picked up by some kind of raft and already departed, travelling upstream towards the Solway Firth. Rerturning to Uther, the Templar decided to cut his fellow Templar down from the tree before wrapping his rotting corpse in blankets. The two decided to split, with Raphael tracking upriver whilst Uther returned to the Tarraby estate to identify the Templar before meeting Raphael upstream.