So it has been a rough few months for Abraham. No sooner does he get into Lychgate with his fortune and the money changers cackle with glee again. Now there is a new coin to be spent. Abraham had to trundle back to Nightwick fighting bandits along the way. Somehow hero Stavros managed to utterly annihilate the shanty town in the few days Abraham was in the city. Abraham has no idea what occurred as Abraham was too buy attending church and other wholesome activities like? bathing? no not bathing...talking to people without giggling? yes that thing.
Destitute Abraham had to take work bringing a wagon to Rupert with Frederick. Thankfully Stavros made friends with a Sergeant leading a band full of mostly loyal and barely murderous thugs to help guard us. They were very important when we ran into even more murderous thugs trying to rob us. We could offer them a job now!
Back in Nightwick we had a good solid beam of daylight, went into the abbey and explored. Abraham found a secret door in the ashes, found what the only normal person in Nightwick is looking for. It is a magic garden, so says the precious. We had planned to return there in one, maybe two weeks, but then we got drafted. We were given ponies and told to go evacuate a little hamlet. Now ole Abraham was sad, because while Ol'Abe here knew these would be murderous cultists out to eat us all in their dark rites to keep the pig men at bay, everyone else riding out seemed to be pretty certain this was the case too. This would make it much harder for Abraham to escape while they are entombed alive, burned at a stake or sacrificed on an altar.
We saw many burned out hamlets along the way, had to shoot those hideous pigmen who rode those filthy manbeasts with their sickening sloughs of skin. There be forty as sure as there be four, too many for Abraham to count...Abraham really should work on that. They slumped from their galloping beasts and fell dead to the moors. There veins be full of pus and old blood, their banner be a baby's flayed skin. But somehow one hamlet on this blasted heath wasn't eaten and flayed. It would be very hard for Abraham to convince others it is fine while he...and maybe Frederick, escape.
Late in the day we reach this hamlet on the edge of the swamp along the River Dark. Several small houses with gardens along a dirt trail with a larger manor at the end by the swamp. Peppers were being grown in the fields, and several goats and pigs roamed about. Curiously there was also a lone bull and no cows by the manor. Stavros got all talky talky with the leader in his funny robes and his armed footknights. Talk of evacuation, blaming of Arnawald, lies to get us to stay the night, lies where we can't join feast. Abraham doesn't get politics. They wanted to kill us all, we wanted to rob them blind. Time could have been saved by stating the obvious.
As they took our horses Abraham decided to try and help the townsfolk pick a pack of pickled peppers to prepare for the "Evacuation", made sure to be extra nice. Got invited to stay in a house like a person rather than forced to stay in the stables waiting to be killed. Abraham and Frederick and a fancy Doctor who rode with us managed to get lodging in house, avoid being eaten. Abraham peeked through thatch roof and watched unholy feast as old man leading town sat on raised dias as townsfolk partied. Maybe Abraham would get to see his friends be eaten in stew, Abraham hadn't thought that was an option. Then it happened.
The taterbar trapper was apparently not a team player and made a break for it, bolting off on a horse with Stavros and funny Preacher man. Footknights gave chase. Abraham aint the best at math, but three less people to eat and three people in a house did not seem like a good idea. These people were kind to Abraham, so Abraham only took the most obvious valuables from their savings and left setting fire to everything they had worked their whole life to build up to Frederick. Frederick and Wolfram burned the mother down and ran out the front door like suckers. Abraham being smart crawled through the thatch roof, but some idiot made the thatch too tightly packed and it kind of collapsed a big portion and made a lot of noise. Some Footknights started chasing Abraham instead and began throwing spears at him. Abraham is very good at running away, but spears are faster than even Abraham's feet. So Abraham opened the bull pen. The bull did not like the noise the panicked townsfolk were making as their village burned, it did not like the knights running towards it to get at Abraham. Abraham took the opportunity to disappear into the panic and free their horses.
Then Abraham saw them, a trio of old dead trees in the mocking image of a man moving towards the town, covered in tangling vines and dangling peppers. They were living plants twisted into unlife, like a fabled black rose. They were what the man and his footknights used to keep the pigmen at bay. As they strode into the town the old man screamed "no!". Abraham learned an important lesson; they either do not speak the tongue of man or do not care. There was much snapping of bones and gnashing of teeth as Abraham rode away with Frederick and Wolfram. Abraham was surprised, no one died! Well no one Abraham knew the name of anyways. Lots and lots of people died. Abraham saw a lot of bodies the next morning, like a lot of bodies. But all is well that ends well (for Abraham). Abraham managed to get 11 bronze coins, a rustic charm and two sacks full of packs of peppers he picked.
Still it is a shame, if other people had been team players and accepted their fate, Abraham could have had a delightful summer home.
Merry Christmas M.R. James
16 hours ago