The Broken Crown

A Study in Scarlet

In her small, moss-covered wood home, a witch was grinding up herbs as a fire crackled under a boiling cauldron. The home was draped with all sorts of dried plants and flowers, bottles filled with various liquids and spices, and in the corners there was sure to be a spider or two. The witch glided elegantly from shelf to shelf, peeking in cupboards and grabbing what she needed and leaving nothing where she found it. Amidst all the contented chaos the witch suddenly stopped what she was doing and stared beyond the wall in front of her. Taking a moment to gather herself she let out a deep sigh. “I take it that things didn’t go so well?” A voice spoke from behind her, “I’m sorry, Henna. I know you disapproved of my decision to leave but I needed to get help. Our village needs saving.” Henna turned, “and how exactly does running off and getting yourself killed save our village, Montgomery?” Monty stood in the doorway, watching as Henna struggled to keep it together, intangible and unable to comfort his dear friend. “Admittedly, my death has proven to be less than ideal, but it is my hope that those who have survived will find it worthwhile to come save our home.”

“What makes you think they’ll come?” Henna now sat at a table pouring herself some tea. “I don’t suppose offering you any would be of any use?” she said still angry. Monty smiled, “I don’t suppose it would. Have faith, Henna. These are good people and they want to help.” The two of them sat together for a while as Henna calmed herself. “How did this happen, Montgomery? What exactly did you follow these people into?”

Monty thought about it for a moment and began to speak, “Well, a friend of theirs had been captured and was being held in a castle to the north; Castle Borgir. We spent a few days there trying to find her and fighting our way to new ends of the castle. On this particular day, we headed back to the castle after camping outside the radius of the black dome that encompassed it. When we got there we found that the drawbridge we had been using had been drawn up again. Seeing as it was the only way we knew how to get in we decided to try and let it down again. After some effort by our more muscular friends, and a determined lady, the bridge came down. Although it nearly crushed our dear friend Gunther in the process. Once inside we had a brief altercation with some thralls. Just before one of them died, he told us of a very dangerous person at the top of the very tower we were headed. When we arrived at the bottom of the stairs there were dozens of heads on spikes leading all the way up. We climbed the stairs, some of us with our weapons drawn, and when we reached the top we encountered a woman.

This woman was lounging in a chair, idly bending coins in one finger and proceeding to flick them about the room. Her name was Mildred Forscythe, she was a vampire and proved to be quite dangerous indeed. Prior to the fight she told us that their friend Jamie was being held with a man she called ‘The Wizard’ and that he was the reason for the darkness that surrounded the castle. I am uncertain of his power but judging by the fight we had with old Mildred it might be better if our friends cut their losses with this one. We fought hard against Mildred, and though we were making progress, she was making better progress against us. With most of us bloodied and a few of us near death, Mildred let out an attack that dropped me unconscious, followed by another attack that ended my life. After seeing my death, Sika became enraged and was determined to see this evil woman disposed of. He drew his dagger and plunged it deep in her chest, killing her. However, once he killed Mildred her soul was sucked into his body and she in turn controlled him. Ophelia then grabbed her spellbook and forced all of her will upon it. Out of the book cast a spell of daylight, utterly destroying Mildred and all that remained of the man whom she possessed.

Ophelia, Kaltor, and Gunther decided that it had been enough for that day and exited the castle to recover from the battle. Upon getting outside they noticed that it was no longer shrouded in darkness. The spell cast from Ophelia’s book must have disrupted the spell causing the darkness. That wasn’t all that they were surprised with. When they reached the camp where we had been resting the previous days they were greeted by the Weaver. Along with the Weaver was the young man Billy and a new friend whose name I have not heard. The strange thing was that Billy seems to have aged about two years since leaving to help his childhood hero. Some woman named Susan the Strong.”

Henna noticeably paused at the name, it was a name she hadn’t heard in quite some time. “Do you know of her?” Monty asked. “You could say I do. She was a companion of mine many years ago. We belonged to a party similar to that of the one you’ve been telling me about. Of course back then she didn’t go by that ridiculous name the locals gave to her.”
“Ahem- I happen to like the name those locals gave her.” Both Monty and Henna turned to the door to see a large woman with big red hair filling the gap where the doorway should be.
“Susan!” Henna couldn’t believe it, “What are you doing here?”
“Henna, we need to talk.”

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