The Great Pendragon

Of Pork and Venison

Of Pork and Venison


While the rest of the troop were out scouting for giants, Seymond was growing worried. Crone Meroe seemed to be putting an awful lot of lethal ingredients into the brew, including nightshade and several toxic mushrooms. When he asked if they were necessary the crone replied “Oh no need to worry. The poisons cancel each other out”. Unconvinced but without much option, Seymond went back to collecting firewood and doing the endless list of tasks that were apparently essential to make the potion, but felt like suspiciously like household chores to Seymond, including a repairing a ‘crucial’ door and washing some ‘very important’ pots.

After a few days of searching for giant tracks, which is surprisingly easy if there are any to be had, the group returns back to the Crone’s shack and declares that they had found the giants lair. “Is Parim dead then?” asked the Crone expectantly. Most of the men stared at their boots, but Daffyd swiftly explained “He was out”. This seems acceptable to the crone and she called over to Seymond who was busy digging an ‘integral’ new latrine. She told him the potion was probably ready now, and as the men followed her gaze, they saw unholy coloured smoke rising from the chimney and even the doorway of the shack. She hobbles inside once again excited like a little girl, but much more sinister. Seymond rejoined the rest of his companions and said nothing. He was sweating.

The crone emerged back out of the house with a crude mug filled with murky brown liquid with the consistency of half congealed blood. She passes it to Seymond and he gags. “How much do i have to drink?” he whispers, his voice hoarse. “As much as you can” comes the reply.

Seeing his nerves, Bain and Issa start to sing an old drinking song and, as he had so many times before, Seymond succumbed to peer pressure. He almost vomited after his first swallow, but it got easier the more he drank and the more the song wore on. Until suddenly his stomach cramped and he bent double, the mug flying from his hand. Crone Meroe said “You might want to get away or get ready” and a couple of the men realised she had already retreated to behind a tree. Sir Brychan took his place between Seymond and his wife, and the other men-at-arms closed in, arms spread as if to catch a greased pig, but with looks of apprehension on their faces.

Seymond’s cramps only grew worse, first in his belly, then a blinding pain in his back, next his legs, especially his feet, then all at once. To the men at arms, it looked as if Seymond wasn’t so much in internal agony, but was going through the most intense growing pains any of them had ever seen. He somehow had a larger presence than he had before, and the circle that the men had formed around him was now too small, and within reach of his flailing limbs, some of which looked different now, his trows didn’t seem to fit his legs as well as they had, but not because his legs had grown, although they certainly had. There was something else about them. And then there was his head. Seymond had always had an open and friendly face, but right now he looked awful. Grimacing in pain to the extent that his whole face seemed elongated and when he showed his teeth he jutted his jaw out like a village idiot.

After a few minutes, but felt like longer to Seymond, the cramps ended. He lay still for a while collecting himself and catching his breath. As he stood to get up, the men at arms whoa-ed as if they were around a wild-eyed colt. He put his now stumpy, hairy hands on the ground and tried to get his legs under him, but they were not the same as they had been. The men surrounding him now saw the true extent of the potions effects, Seymond’s legs were like that of an animal, and they ended in a grim looking mass of toenail and hard horn that looked like a poorly formed cloven hoof. Seymond’s body and arms had grown not up but out and he was now much more intimidating physically then the largest member of the group. But his face was the worst part. His nose was flattened and at the end of a long snout which was covered in bristles. His eyes were the same colour, but now were tiny on his much larger head. and from his mouth came some horrifying tusks. He had been half transformed into a boar and the men felt sick to look at him.

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After a few minutes of wary silence, Seymond managed to persuade the men that he was not wild, despite his appearance, and was safe to be around. The crone, upon hearing this, emerged from behind the tree laughing. She strode up to Seymond and pinched his fat with a proud look on her face. “I didn’t expect that to work at all. I’ll have to remember this one!”

When the men had settled down for the night to set off the next day, Sir Brychan gathered them around him and announced that he would not be able to join them when they set out tomorrow. He had to stay behind and look after his wife; he said he had come so far to find her and would not be separated from her again. The men had no choice but to follow orders, although some of them questioned whether the wolfsbane had become less brave, while others assumed that Sir Brychan thought this to be suicide and did not blame him from not wanting to join them.

The next day they set off and Seymond found moving difficult at first, with his new legs, and speech was now difficult with his new tusks and guttural voice. The men did not want to sleep near him or ride next to him, except for Bain, who took pity on him. Although their conversations were one sided, Seymond appreciated the companionship. One day Bain asked him if he could smell truffles now, and so that evening, eager to win back the favour of his colleagues, he went out sniffing the ground for truffles. It turned out that Seymond could not sniff for truffles, and the men trusted him even less for sneaking off during the night.

During their week long journey to Parim’s encampment, the men fervently discussed strategy. Their discussions would go in circles. They needed the hair, so they could cut it off then he needed to be asleep. But the giant needed to be dead, so they could kill him in his sleep. But that was suicidal to even get that close to the giant. So they could just cut off some of his hair when he was asleep… and so on.

Eventually, they arrived at his camp, tying up the horses a little ways off, Daffyd sneaked off to see if he was home. The men saw a plume of smoke coming from the direction of the camp, and so were not surprised when Daffyd confirmed it. Although they were unnerved when Daffyd reported that the giant had been roasting a fully grown deer on a spit, and that it looked like a light meal.

The men had already decided on their plan; First Daffyd would cut off some of the giant’s hair when it was asleep, then three of them would sneak, attack the most vulnerable parts of the giants body, and then run off.

So, Issa, Petyr and Seymond sat and waited until several hours after Daffyd reported that the giant was asleep and then crept into his camp. They could hear the thunderous snores of the giant long before they saw him, and when they saw him it was a sight to behold, a thirty foot tall giant sleeping like a baby in a clearing big enough to hold all of Sarum inside. The men overcame their awe and crept closer, determined to do the job at hand. Daffyd stepped as lightly as a shadow in the moonlight, and easily cut a hank of hair from the slumbering giant. Like a coiling red rope the hair fell into his hands, and he quickly withdrew to let the rest of the unit carry out the remainder of the plan.

Issa and Petyr moved like ghosts in the night, but Seymond stomped and snuffled without much real control over his new body’s involuntary noises and ungainliness. However the snores rumbled on and the men got closer and closer, and before they knew it they were ten feet away from the giant, they could smell it’s horrific breath and see the deer blood staining it’s lips. The men made eye contact, nodded and began to move in.

Then the giant opened it’s eyes.

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A Dangerous Bargain

A Dangerous Bargain


The men busy themselves with repairing the cage, and heaving the unconscious Bear-Lord back into its dubious security (at the very least it makes a lot of noise when he decides to leave the cage)

As the highest ranking of the commoner present, Pump looks towards the Lord and Lady Eurion for an explanation. Lady Jenna begins to speak, though her voice is tremulous, and her recollection of events is clouded at best.

“I don’t know, I can’t recall it all exactly… Father was in a meeting… in the woods… and everyone in the hall was talking about my dear Brychans death at the hands of that monster Leofwine, how the Saxons now commanded the waters of the Wash… something happened, I don’t recall what, I just remember that father ran into the woods and I ran after him.

Sad_Bear_by_Jovajna.jpgI don’t know how long it was, but a long time later I met up with Crone Meroe. She said she would lead me to my father and then I was confronted with this great brown bear! But it… it knew me! And I knew it. There is no way to explain it, but I know its him; my heart sees the truth in his sad eyes, and he knows me for his daughter, though he struggles to recall his human past in other matters. Our love of family keeps us bonded” Her dejected gaze drifts fondly over to the recumbent bear.

“Crone Meroe brought the cart, and the cage, and said she would fetch man to pull the cart, but we got a mule instead.”

“We traveled slowly north, She told me you were still alive my husband, but I didn’t believe her. Then she showed me; showed me like a reflection in a pond, but with no water… she showed you looking for me, looking for us, but lost in the woods and in terrible danger!” the young woman shakes and clings to her husband’s arm, falling silent for a moment before continuing.

“She, Meroe that is, said she needed you for something, and that you were supposed to be meeting us… I didn’t understand it… Meroe was becoming more and more inpatient, more and more… strange. Until a few days ago, when she said to wait with the cart. She turned the mule loose and left us stranded in the road.”

Sir Brychan’s eyes narrow as he casts a baleful eye across the glade seeking the crone. But as usual she is nowhere to be seen.

“Meroe promised to restore M’Lord Father to human form if only M’Lord Husband would undertake some task for her… said she would only make him a man again if the task was done… I am not sure if I still believe her… but she told the truth about you, and I suppose about the bear being Father… maybe she is telling the truth this time” her voice is wistful, hopeful even, but doubt is writ large across her face.

Ever decisive Lord Brychan orders the men to get what rest they can for the night. The guard is posted again, but is more watchful of the bear now.

The birds twitter in the trees, oddly vocal for so dim and drear a day. The gentle rain drips through the forest canopy, and with no better idea of what to do other than head the way the cart was facing, the horses are hitched on long leads, and they troop forward.

After a little while an argument can be heard on the path ahead. Scouting forward, Bain, Issa and Daffyd see Meroe and the guardian of the ford in a full blown shouting match! Eventually the watery fiend gives way and agrees to wait upon the completion of Meroes ‘task’ before he seeks to fulfill his vows.

They are arguing at a shattered gate that leads to a tumble down cottage. Its roof is rotten and pierced with obvious holes, the stones of the low slung building are lichen covered and weathered. The closest thing to a well-kept space is the herb garden disappearing into the woods behind it.

Like the sun emerging from the clouds her mood lifts as, not even glancing in the direction of the concealed scouts, she skips and says “they are here, oh they are here” her demeanour suddenly far younger than has been seen before.
With a withering glance from the Crone to see him off, the Guardian of the ford bows, then merges into the shadows under the trees.

Crone Meroe greets the war-band as they all arrive. Sir Brychan wastes no time in questioning the Meroe as to what is happening.

“oh yes” she cackles, “told you everything did she? Did she tell you what your brave lord Ursal did? Did she tell you how he abused his liegeman’s roof? How he laid his hands on me, a poor defenceless bereaved widow woman? Acting like a beast and letting his drunken ardour control him? Besmirching the sacred laws of hospitality?!”

Unable to stifle a snigger Seamond mutters something along the lines of Lord Ursal usually having better taste. Meroe fixes him with a piercing look. “I had my court face on, one doesn’t dine with the lord of a hundred dressed like this… do you want to see?” suddenly unsure, but unable to fight down his curiosity Seamond gulps a nervous breath, and whispers out a “yes”.

Once again the octogenarian seems younger than first thought, as she skips and claps “oh yes I’ll show you, you can see my court face…” and with that she scampers into the hovel behind her. The confused group wait for a few moments as the sounds of clattering pots and rattled cupboards can be heard from inside.

long_sexy_witch_alicia_xl_V2.jpgA moment later a cloaked figure emerges. Surely it is Crone Meroe, but this woman stands taller, and her figure is far slimmer beneath the suddenly clinging robe.

With a dramatic flair the hood is cast back; revealing a woman of surpassing beauty. The resemblance to the Crone is still there, but this must be her daughter; or grandaughter even? Seamond takes an involuntary step forward, but is quickly pushed aside by Adeon. With her pouting lips curled into a coquettish smile, the woman passes her hands over her face, and the flesh-bending display that follows repels the advances of even the lusty Adeaon! It is horrible to watch as her faces melts, and flows and shifts. The clothes across her body ripple, looking like pestilent rats in a corrupted grain sack. With a cry of horror from Adeon, every man takes step back, except for Seamond who must be too stunned to move.

Crone Meroe is standing before them once more, her gap toothed smile terrible to behold “whats the matter boys, don’t you want a kiss?” her laughter has the bell like peal of the truly mad.

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Oddly compelled by the arcane display, Seamond is the first to recover his wits and asks the pertinent question “What is it you need from us Crone? We have seen several times the power of your magicks; what do you need us for?”

“Oh yes” the witch cackles “My magic is great, but it has limits. I need a lock of hair from a giant, bright red it is, such a rare thing red hair from a dead giant… but I cant get it myself: But you lot, oh you could get it for me and then I could work some magic! Oh yes, powerful magic indeed” once again her lunatic chuckle raises the hackles of every man there, except perhaps for Seamond, who steps closer again to the Crone as she continues speaking

“What say you Sir Brychan? I will return your Lord and Father to human form if you get me hair of flame from a dead giant?”

With little chance to restore Sir Ursal otherwise, Sir Bryuchan is compelled to agree terms, despite the unsavoury nature of the person he is bargaining with.

Issa, Daffyd and Bain head off into the woods, following the directions given by the Crone, and it is a matter of moments to spot the broken tree branches and water filled foot prints of the giant. Daffyd swears, and the other two scouts quickly realise this giant must be fully 30 feet tall! They cautiously track it back to the rough shelter and fire pit the thing has made for itself, thought the primitive camp is empty when they get there. They quickly head back to report.

Meanwhile Seamond seems irresistibly drawn to the wyrd woman who has them all dancing to her lunatic tune. Amazed at his own temerity, he asks her if she could do magic on him, something to help defeat the giant!

Meroe giggles and sniggers, “oh yes, heh, oh yes, we can do magic on you, and willing for it too eh?” and with her laughter bubbling up in her throat she grabs him by the hand and drags him bodily into her ramshackle hovel.

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Bearing a Resemblance
Guardians of the Bear

Bearing A Resemblance


As our odd circus troop forward along the forest road, we learn that ‘Crone’ is a title, and our newest companion is fact called Meroe. Chatting away, suddenly feeling like this quest is far less hopeless than it originally seemed, the men at arms ride along and miles fly by.

pinintrest.jpgEventually the trail forces them to a ford, and at the ford is an odd site indeed. A black cloaked figure sits his mount in the ford. Somewhat non-plussed, the men at arms confer amongst themselves as to the right course of action. The man is not a knight, that is clear from his lack of armour or retinue, and his chosen weapon is a humble quarter staff. But the horse is very fine, and the quality of his gear is unmistakable.

Preferring to err on the side of caution, rather than brush the discourteous traveler out of the way, they wait for Meroe or Sir Brychan to speak. As the Crone is nowhere to be seen, Sir Brychan rides to the head of the group; though the rest of the men are watchful in case it is some kind of a trap.

As he approaches the ford, the black clad figure speaks… “I will fight any man who seeks to pass this ford” booms his rich and sonorous voice.

Somewhat taken aback by this odd behaviour sir Brychan tries to persuade the man to avoid such foolishness, but to no avail. Unwilling to waste any more time on the fool, the prime Eurion takes a spear from Daffyd, levels it, and thunders towards the arrogant wretch. Obviously ready to die, the stranger couches his quarter staff and rides out against the knight. The first pass is an obvious victory for Sir Brychan, but still the cad will not yield the path, and on the second pass there is a sickening sound of blade parting flesh as sir Brychan breaks his spear off in the heart his enemy.

The stranger slumps from his horse and drops to one knee. “Well struck Sir Knight” his voice whispers out, then he begins the stand, his voice becoming stronger: “you have fought me and you may pass” as he speaks he PUSHES the broken spear through his body and out the other side! “Which of your men will fight me next?” he asks, his voice betraying nothing of the fatal wound he has just received…

Unsurprisingly none of the men at arms are keen to face this uncanny foe. And Sir Brychan begs leave to press on and not waste time for a dozen separate duels as his quest is urgent; “very well” the eerie stranger concedes, “but every man who passes this ford will have to fight me sooner or later”. And with that he turns his horse and rides off the ford and out across the deeply flowing river, as though it were the king’s highway! It seems we have not seen the last of this ‘Guardian of the Ford’.

After the days adventure the men bed down, and set guard for the night. The hunting and foraging is good, but feeding some dozen men, Crone, Sir Brychan, the lady Jenna and a fully grown bear pushes the limits of even the most wood skilled of the troop. Bain gingerly feeds a rabbit to the bear, which crunched it down in one swift bite, and hardly looks satisfied. It is a lean camp for everyone tonight.

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As he wonders the camp in the second watch of the night, Pump hears the sickening sound of wood splintering. His hair standing on end, the young man turns towards the cart, praying that it is simply the sound of a branch falling in the woods… but of course he is not that lucky: The bear has decided to exit the cart, and it is very obvious that the cage is only putting up token resistance!

Somewhat confused, the bear starts clambering out of the back of the cart, and Pump screams shrilly to wake the camp at the top of his lungs! As men hurriedly gather arms and armour, Pump uses the edge of his shield to scoop the embers of the camp fire at the bear. It ponders the embers, and ponders also the camp that is in such an uproar! The lady Jenna emerges from her husband’s tent to see what the commotion is and, for whatever reasons, attracts the undivided attention of the creature… with most of the camp still unready, Pump once again flings hot ashes at the bear to distract it, but this time his aim is too sure and the burning cinders strike it full in the face. Gladly the bear is no longer trundling towards the noble lady Jenna. The less happy fact is that it is now charging directly at Pump!

Issa has wasted no time donning armour, and both he and Pump face down the bear. As they ready their spears, the voice of Bain shouts out “Don’t kill the bear, no time to explain, its lord Ursal!”

Confused, but drilled to trust the troop implicitly in the heat of battle, the two men nervously reverse their spears and attempt to subdue the beast with the staves. Its enraged attack largely focused on the hapless Pump, a few frenzied minutes see the poor animal beaten to a state of unconsciousness, with only minor scratches delivered to pump, thanks in no small part to his adrenaline fueled shield skills.

Bain, and by the looks passing between them, Sir Brychan and his Wife have some explaining to do. The men mutter amongst themselves at the bizarre turn of events as Seamond repairs the cage as best he can and the bear, or perhaps that should be Sir Ursal, is returned to it. Crone Meroe meanwhile is sat on a stump to one side, her toothless face wreathed in a wide grin.

our story continues ….


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