The Foxes of Foxton

Continuing our Zweihänder campaign, with the notes of Eva Saralva.

I’ve spent several days wandering the city market in search of the man taking oaths from the townsfolk, but I never seemed to be in the right place. If I was hanging around the meat stalls, then I’d later hear that there had been a queue of people meeting with him near the leather workers, and if I went to the leather workers, then he’d be at the animal stalls.

After several days I have decided to give up, and it seems Djarin has had similar luck in trying to find out more about the Order of Redemption. Of Floquert there is no sign – possibly he managed to get into the party at the Wild Orchid, for we heard that it had been successful, but it was an event that we missed.

Given our failure to find information here, we have decided to head out to the village of Foxton to see about their bandit problem. According to Calthar, the Baron just wants the bandits “dealt with”.

The journey towards Foxton was relatively quiet, and as we approached the village we started to hear rumours of outlaws. The villagers were more than willing to talk to us, and some had seen theft of their property which they attributed to the outlaws.

From the stories we heard, the problems started about two months ago after a fire in Foxton. The Baron’s men had been attacked, and following that the nearby villages of Dilten and Wenstburg had also been attacked. Personally, I wondered whether the burning had been done by tax collectors and events had spiralled from there, with the village of Foxton being the source of the bandits rather than suffering from them.

The closer we got to Foxton, the less approachable the people became, seeming suspicious of us and unwilling to talk about the bandits. Concerned that they may be in league with them, we decided to head to one of the neighbouring villages instead, rather than going directly to Foxton, and chose Dilten.

The village of Dilten is a small place, with less than a hundred people and a very ‘cosy’ inn. The people are friendly enough though, and accepted our cover story that I was here to preach the word of the God Emperor and that Calthar and Djarin were my bodyguards. The first thing that we noted on arrival was that there was a rather tatty fox tail nailed to the sign outside the village.

Spending most of the day asking around, we discovered that the bandits were known as the “Foxes of Foxton”, and they had burned down a building here as well as nailed their signature fox tail up for everyone to see. Later in the evening it was time for me to give my sermon, which to be honest I was somewhat nervous about.

As it happened though it went surprisingly well. It was probably partly down to Calthar buying bear for the entire crowd, but even I seem to have won them over with my talk about how the nobility and the Church should be separate. I was mostly concerned about putting out ideas to counter the teachings of the Order of Redemption, but I think they took it as a statement against the ability of the Baron to tax them. At least it went down well.

I also spoke on the matter of not digging up the remains of old graves, because I wanted to find out if Sir Kevlin had been around in the area and causing more trouble. Unfortunately I forgot to ask anyone about it afterwards, though I recall seeing several people looking uncomfortable during my sermon. At one point I was concerned that I’d lost their interest, but in the end I won them back, and overall it went well.

Afterwards many of them came to talk to me about their worries and problems, and a few even admitted that there had been no bandits here – they had made up the story of them attack and burning down the house (it was the house that was empty), and put the fox tail up themselves. They wanted to give the appearance that they’d been attacked to deter tax collectors. As far as they knew, there really are bandits – just none attacking them.

Today, we made our way to Foxton, which is a much larger villager with a few hundred people. It has a much bigger inn, and several burned houses. We were met by an old woman who very kindly took me under her wing, and pointed out some of the village troublemakers. They were once again happy to have someone here to preach the word of God.

Much of the day was spent wandering the village and listening to what people had to say. A lot of people seemed wary and nervous, and some seemed quite angry. However, the village seemed to be doing surprisingly well, despite having claimed to have been attacked by bandits.

Calthar discovered that one of the Baron’s tax wagons was ambushed nearby recently, and so we decided to head out to investigate. We did find the wagon – someone had dug a pit into which it had fallen and there were a number of arrows around the scene. Djarin reckoned that the ambush had been made by people trained in hunting not warfare, so my guess would it that it had been local villagers. We failed to uncover any more information though and headed back to Foxton before it got dark.

There were far more people at this sermon than the night before, which was somewhat nerve wracking. There were also too many for Calthar to be able to buy them all beer, but things seemed to go okay. I decided to leave out the bit about the grave digging, and instead concentrated on countering the Order of Redemption.

However, I fear things may have got carried away a bit towards the end, and I’m not sure whether I overdid things and have planted the seeds of a rebellion. I did flounder a bit, and might have mentioned that the Baron was possibly taking evil council, but that it was important that people were patient. Hopefully people listened to the last bit rather than the first bit.

To be honest, I’m not sure where I do want to go with this. We don’t know too much about the Baron, but he does seem to be overstepping the normal limits. By nature, I would be on the side of the common folk, but I also don’t want to start a revolution.

If the villagers are responsible for the death of the tax collectors, then it’s our job to bring them to justice. I’m just not certain that I want to, especially given how we’ve seen the tax collectors behave before. However, we could also do with getting on the good side of the Baron in order to find out more about what is going on, so even if we want to support the villagers, we may need to work against them (or at least appear to) in order to win the confidence of the Baron and find out what is actually going on.

Anyway, I think I’m starting to get better at this preaching. I probably need to do more of it to make sure though.

Samuel Penn