Saturday, February 21, 2015

Silver Dagger Cider

When Wolfgang left Gold Hill, Lareth led the settlers in celebrating his departure.  A man who was friends with bears and wolves could not be a friend to his fellow man. The Constabulary added their cheers, fueled by a keg of ale paid for by the Head Constable himself.  Not everyone celebrated, but no one raised his voice to defend Wolfgang's reputation now that he was gone.

Lareth requested assistance from the Head Constable in seeking the tomb of the White Queen . . . and recovering her treasure on behalf of the Constabulary.  Of course the request was granted.  A sergeant and six deputies set out with Lareth for the peaks to the north.  None of them returned to Gold Hill.  A couple weeks later deputies from a local patrol returned with a terrible story-- as dusk fell they had been set upon by undead monsters, commanded by a man in black plate mail whose voice sounded like handsome Lareth's.  The attacking fiends were pale like corpses, but with burning eyes, and with twisted features that resembled those of their lost comrades.

Matopher, who owned the apple orchard up the road from Gold Hill trading post had long been known for the quality of his cider and for his many eccentricities.  He was often drunk, he had lots of children and grand children, he welcomed strangers onto his land and made them family, and he insisted that every grown person on his homestead carry and know how to use a weapon made of silver.

So, when Lareth and the wights attacked, Matopher and his family were ready.  It was late in the night, when those on watch heard sounds of attackers approaching.  Mihir, the pious brother, chanted a blessing of protection and raised his glowing holy symbol.  By its soft golden light, he and the watchers saw half a dozen figures charging up the road, a large man in black plate mail whispering curses from the rear.  Torches were lit, the women gather the children, and the men went to their battle stations.  The sentries drew their daggers to meet the undead fiends, but they were overcome by Lareth's spells.  Frozen in place, they were overrun by four wights.  Three of them did resemble deputies from Gold Hill, but the fourth, wearing long robes and draped with jewelry was identified as the White Queen.

Matopher's grandson Vlad, unlike most of his  brothers and cousins, did not carry a silver dagger, but a crossbow loaded with silver arrows.  His aim was steady and as Lareth surveyed the destruction he had wrought, Vlad shot and killed one of the wights.

As the Matopher clan roused from slumber, they organized themselves into a counter-sortie, led by brave Dumtiru.  They focused their on the White Queen.  She was a fearsome opponent.  Her touch was deadly and more of the sons and daughters of Matopher lay at her feet before she herself was destroyed.

Vlad, joined by two of his cousins who also carried crossbows, killed the other lesser wights.  Lareth saw that his fortunes had changed and threw down his shield to flee.  He used his magic to dissuade those who pursued him, but he could not deflect the arrow that hit him in the back of the leg.  He stumbled and, before he could rise again, was hit by two more arrows.

The Matopher clan blessed the bodies of their fallen brothers and sisters and watched over them through the night.  At dawn, the nine cold bodies were buried in a quiet corner of the Silver Dagger farm.


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