The Curse of Brockton
The travellers left the Nameless village on the road to Ostalin. They journeyed through quiet, snowy woods. They passed through an empty village whose inhabitants had been slaughtered by raiders.
The Peaceful Traveller
Some way down the road from the desecrated village, they met a traveller coming in the opposite direction. He stopped to talk. His name was Parius, a wayfarer of Ellesland, a healer and a man of peace. Jonulf noticed he had something of the Cunning Folk’s look about him. Parius spoke of a knight who guarded a bridge ahead, challenging all who crossed it to a duel. But the road to Ostalin lay on the other fork, Parius explained, so the knight could be bypassed. Parius then went on his way.
Sure enough, at a fork in the path lay a bridge. On the bridge stood a knight with flaming mutton-chops. A green and white striped tent was nearby, with a bored-looking page standing near.
Jonulf was anxious to avoid trouble, and suggested hurrying away towards Ostalin Abbey. But Sir Grimble was in a bolder mood.
“I am Sir Edgard,” stated the knight. “I challenge any who would cross.”
After some questioning, the knight admitted the reason for his vigil. He was the master of the village of Brockton, which lay beyond the bridge. A hideous Ogre had taken his wife and children hostage. The Ogre had demanded that the knight guard the bridge or his family would be forfeit.
Sir Grimble Bobbleberry rolled his eyes when he heard this story. “Very well, I accept your challenge. Let us fight!” Jonulf, Nameless X and Aldo stood and watched as the two battled. Sir Grimble wielded the Halberd of Ereworn. Jonulf could tell that Sir Edgard’s shield was enchanted also. Weapons and armour clashed and clanged as the two fought backwards and forwards on the bridge. But soon, Sir Grimble’s halberd dealt Sir Edgard a grievous blow. Blood splashed over his armour. “Do you yield?” asked Sir Grimble.
“I yield,” panted Sir Edgard.
As his prize, Sir Grimble demanded that the knight rise and accompany them to liberate his family from the Ogre and his goblin minions.
In the grey pre-dawn light the adventurers approached Brockton Manor. The village around was still asleep. Some smoke drifted from a few chimneys but the windows of the houses were dark. As had been arranged, Jonulf positioned himself with his bow near the front of the two-storey mansion in the shadow of a nearby hut. Nameless X scampered up the wall and lowered himself into the unused chimney. The others approached the back door, to which Sir Edgard possessed a key.
Inside the mansion
Nameless X stealthily lowered himself down the chimney and scouted inside. The upper floor overlooked the main hall, where a low fire burned. Suspended over the balcony via a thick rope was an iron cage containing Sir Edgard’s wife and children. Two goblins slept by the fire. Filled with the need to exterminate vermin, Nameless X murdered the first of these, but the second awoke with a cry and evaded the death-blow. More goblins emerged from above, armed with slings and a great roar could be heard from the bedroom.
At the back door
Despite the knights’ impatience, Aldo used his sorcery to see beyond the walls. He saw the Ogre in the bedroom and the sleeping goblins. He also saw that the door was bolted. However, thanks to another deft magic spell the door sprang open. Sir Grimble and Sir Edgard ran into the bedroom to confront the Ogre while Aldo and Nameless X tried to deal with the goblins. Nameless X slashed about him with Duke Darian’s sword while Aldo fired bolts of flame from his fingers.
At the front door
Jonulf heard the commotion and was disturbed by it. He couldn’t tell if his friends needed help. He edged up to try the front door but it was bolted. Things sounded serious inside so he decided to go round the back.
When he arrived he immediately saw Aldo and Nameless X engaged with goblins. A goblin had jumped up on the cage rope and was cutting through it with a knife. Jonulf gasped, then took aim with his bow, calmed his mind and loosed his arrow. The goblin fell off the rope and crashed below.
There was a mighty crash. One of the knights – was it Sir Grimble? had felled the Ogre. With a tittering shriek the goblins tried to flee. They moved fast but Jonulf managed to fell one and wound another before they got away.
The ogre had been defeated. Sir Edgard’s family were unharmed and his lands were restored to him. The knight was very grateful to his rescuers.