The Cow Whisperer

Continuing the journal of Eva Saraiva, Preacher, for our weekly Roll20 game of Zweihänder. Last session, Eva had taken a sharp blow to the head whilst trying to follow up some leads to do with some missing people.

By the time that the others had woken and come down to the common room, I had cleaned myself up and managed to put some ointment on my bump and bandage it. I explained to them what had happened the previous night and what I had found out.

We had a meeting with Captain Sarkas that we need to go to, though Djarin decided to stay behind. As Calthar and myself headed out, I caught sight of my inquisitor contact Bernard lurking at the back of the inn.

He has heard that I have been hanging around at the Order of Redemption, and suggested that if I want more illumination on certain matters that I need to dig a bit deeper than simply going to the ceremonies, as if I hadn’t already figured that out. He suggested that I take a closer look at the stained glass windows – and that it could be illuminating.

The Holy Church have been keeping an eye on the Order for a while, preferring to let them stay out in the open where they can be seen rather than having them go underground where their actions will be unknown. Some time ago they were given custodianship of a thing which is better not to see the light of day. Bernard says that if there is anything that I can find out about the object then it would be of interest to the Church.

He also believes that there is a link between the Order and Sir Kelvis that is concerning, and that the Church would prefer not to see things being dug up. If I find out anything, then he asks me to provide him with information and gives me an address where I can contact him.

I did mention about the strange things we had seen – the possible inhuman creatures and whatever it was that got past the guards at the gate, but he didn’t know anything about these.

Once he left, Calthar and myself headed off to the Captain to see what he wanted. As it turned out, it was another job, for which we would be paid a reasonable sum. One thing to say is that the Captain looked a lot more rested and awake than when we last saw him, so things must be going reasonably well at the moment. The only problem is that one of the barons who is due to be here for Baron Ottowild’s gathering appears to have gone missing.

Baron Barnstable had set out from his barony of Kelden a while back, but hasn’t been seen. He had chosen to travel cross-country rather than by a safer route such as via the river, but though several messages had been sent via pigeon to alert people of his progress, nothing has been heard from him for a while. We were offered 6gc just to accept the work, another 6gc if we find out what has happened to him, and a further 12gc if we are able to return him alive and in one piece.

Once this has been completed, there might be some security work for us later.

Kelden itself is about 50 miles to the south west of Sielzen, and the quickest way to get there seems to be by taking a boat upriver from Sielzen, then cutting across the farmland and then into the woods.

Sielzen and Kelden

After a bit of shopping, including me buying some tea and biscuits to have sent to Fred at the tenement block, we manage to catch a barge going up river.

By morning we had reached as far upstream as the barge could take us, so set off across the farmland. It was relatively easy going – most of the trees had been cleared and there were villages every few miles. By evening we have made good progress and reached a village where we can stay for the night.

They have heard of Baron Barnstable here, and like him a lot since he has a great reputation for being honourable and just. I provided a sermon for the village, for which they are happy with, and we settle down for some well needed rest.

The second day of crossing the farmland wasn’t so uneventful. During the afternoon, there was the sound of… something and then a large stampede of cows coming over a hill towards us. Calthar managed to dodge behind a fallen tree trunk, whilst I was left with few choices of where to go. So I stayed where I was and tried to calm the creatures as they rushed towards me.

Somehow I managed it, and those close by slowed down and finally stopped, forming a huddle behind me. Their mouths were covered in froth, and their eyes wild, as if they had been scared by something terrible. And then the source of their fear came running into view – a small dog.

Before any of us could react, Djarin shouted out “Devil Dog!” and it pretty much exploded as a bolt from Djarin’s crossbow pierced it and killed it. He claims that it had a glowing red eye, though neither Calthar not myself noticed that. Admittedly, Calthar was sheltering behind a tree trunk, and I was trying to calm the cows, and something horribly unnatural had obviously scared them, so it’s possible what he saw was true.

We made it to a village on the edge of the woods by night fall, and again I provide a sermon and blessings whilst the others try to find out the rumours. Apparently there have been strange noises and stuff in the woods, and stories of people going missing. It’s the sort of thing that Baron Barnstable would look into apparently, so maybe we should investigate that tomorrow.

I awoke this morning with the fading memory of a strange dream – that of a large figure with a bovine head with horns, who seemed to be watching me approvingly.

We made our way through the woods, and found someone who gave us direction to the village of Mudbank. Apparently the Baron had been seen there about a week ago, and he provided us directions.

At the village we were met by the steely eyed and silver haired elder of the village Marie. She seemed pleased to see us, but there did seem to be an aura of nervousness about the place. When we inquired about how things are going, she took us into her hut and closed the doors and windows before talking to us further.

Apparently the Baron had been here four or five days ago. She spent some time describing how great he was, and said that he had even offered her money to pay for the feast that the villagers had held in his honour. But that night there was the sound of strange musical instruments being played out in the woods, so of course he had wanted to investigate.

The following morning he had ridden off with his man and never been seen again.

The sounds had come from the south, near a village called Scratch Hill. They haven’t heard anything from the place at all for several days, and one of their young men had reported seeing something unnaturally man shaped, with horns like maybe a cow or goat that seemed to be scouting the woods.

Whilst Calthar helped fortify the village, I did my usual preaching and Djarin ran the usual rumour mill. Apparently the villagers are all happy that he kept them out of the war. However, it seems that his wife, son and daughter died of either the plague, or possibly were poisoned.

Whatever happened to his family, it sounds like he is somewhere to the south and probably in trouble, so tomorrow morning we will need to head that way to investigate.

Samuel Penn