Saturday, 24 March 2018

CLXVI. Legen: Sir Pelial and the Tracker of Holt Megla




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Sir Pelial, the Aelf, and the Murdered Knight were lost in a thick fog. They could not find their way out, wandering for days among the trees. They met no living soul, but heard strange whispers from all around. 

The travelers were rescued at last, when a large, friendly, bearded man emerged from the eerie mist. "Lost our way in the fog, have we," said the man in a booming voice. "I am Westcott, a tracker. Come with me, knight. I shall take you to Wose Hall."



Following the man, Sir Pelial arrived to a clearing where a large wooden house stood. There was no fog there, and the house looked safe and inviting, with smoke billowing from the four chimneys above its red shingles. This was Wose Hall, a tavern and inn, shelter for those who travel through these perilous woods. The knight's party sat with Westcott and he told them much about the place they were at.

"Holt Megla is a dangerous forest. Here, the fog never scatters, and it is teeming with shadows and ghosts. Those who venture inside have a hard time finding their way out. The things in the mist trick you, make you walk in circles. Many never come out alive. To get through Holt Megla, you will need a guide."

Sir Pelial could guess what the fellow would propose next. "I will gladly find you a path out of the forest. For a price, of course," Westcott said, with a wink. The knight could not pay the man, nor hire any other guide. His purse was near empty at the time. Not at all defeated, the tracker made a different suggestion, "There is another way, if you have no gold to pay. You can help me with my work as compensation." He further explained, "I find and capture beasts and birds for royal menageries and walls of rich merchants' trophy rooms. I have three contracts to fulfill before I can take you out of the forest. If you help me out, I will consider it payment for my services. You seem like good company." Sir Pelial accepted Westcott's offer. The tracker laughed heartily, and they all kept drinking and telling stories until late in the night.



Next morning, Sir Pelial and Westcott set off to get the first contract done. The beast they were to hunt was a Unicorne, and it was to be captured alive and unharmed. Sir Pelial did not know how that might be achieved, but the tracker already had a plan. They hiked until the sun was high up in the sky (though it was hard to see it through the fog), when they finally spotted the beast trough the trees. Westcott laid out his plan to the knight: Sir Pelial was to approach the Unicorne and challenge it to a jousting match. The proud animal will accept, as they always do. And when it charges at the knight, he is to spur his horse out of the way, so the Unicorne is tricked into lancing a tree instead. Its long horn will be stuck in the trunk, and that way it will be easily captured. And so it all happened, just as Westcott said. They brought the humiliated Unicorne back with them to Wose Hall.



On the next day, Westcott took the Aelf with him to the hunt. They scoured the woods for the Abominable Swallowtail, which highborn ladies like to fly like kites on a clear day. One was spotted in the area, but the two could not find it no matter how hard they looked. It was because Ewert, the tracker's bitter rival, had caught it first. This time, it was the Aelf who had a plan. She took her bow and the captured unicorne, and visited the other tracker's camp. There, she proposed a bet, which Ewert was quick to accept. The pair of them were to have an archery competition. The Aelf would wager the Unicorne, and the tracker the Abominable Swallowtail; the winner takes them both. The Aelf let Ewert fire his arrow first. He hit bull's eye. The tracker was a celebrated marksman. "That is good," the Aelf said coldly. "That good, in fact... I am going to have to cheat." The Aelf let her arrow fly towards a whole different mark. She came back to Wose Hall with the Unicorne and the Abominable Swallowtail in tow, while Ewert's blood watered the dark soil of Holt Megla.




The third and final contract was the hardest of all. To slay a beast called the Tyger, and sell its precious pelt to a queen. Tygers are rare and dangerous wild animals, hard to find and vicious in a fight. Westcott would need Sir Pelial and both his retainers for this quest. With no little effort, the feral Tyger was tracked down and fought: with sword, lance and arrows. The hunters were victorious, and so the third contract was completed.

Done as promised, the tracker led Sir Pelial out of Holt Megla's haunted mist. However, rather than say good-bye and head back, he says to the knight, "I have grown weary of these misty woods, my friend. I wish to travel, and track beasts some place else. You say you are heading North to fight gargants. Might I join your quest for a time? If you accept me into your service, you will never be lost again." And from that day the tracker followed Sir Pelial on his journey.



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Westcott and Ewert, the two trackers, are both converted from the same monopose, plastic, Warhammer High Elf archer. The 'Wose Hall' set is the Chapel of StHubertus; the shot was made next to its side entrance. The Unicorne model is the same I used for Monstrous Births. The target for the archery challenge was knocked together in ten minutes, from rope, card and toothpicks. The 'Abominable Swallowtail' is a real butterfly I found dead in the street last year. The Tyger is a conversion of AoS Gryph Hound. Its head was sculpted from scratch. Made it specifically for this story, but it will be useful for games later. For instance, it can count as a snow leopard in Frostgrave.




Once again, elements of the story were borrowed from different places. Westcott's scheme for catching the Unicorne is from The Brave Little Tailor, a German fairy tale. The Aelf's way of winning the archery competition was lifted from season one finale of Blackadder; more specifically the scene where Three-Fingered Pete is introduced. Abominable Swallowtail... well, if there are giant spiders in fantasy, why not giant butterflies. The Tyger is sort of an homage to William Blake - artist, poet, and a particularly odd individual.

26 comments:

  1. You have began a hell of a year ! 17 articles yet, more than the whole 2015 and 2016 years and almost half of the previous year in only 3 months ! Us, readers, are very lucky, witness your hobby adventures is truly enjoyable !

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  2. Amazing paint job and an excellent story to bitb!

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  3. The story gets more lenght, and so do the charming of your lore background. What about the changing pose of Westcott, do you change arms or something?

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    1. Thanks! The pose change was a bit of digital trickery. Parts of Ewert were photoshopped onto Westcott.

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  4. Those plastic High Elf Archer conversions are something I would have never thought of. Exceptional work. ;)

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  5. This is getting better and better! The shots in the fog are so nice and those conversions are really cool!

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  6. Terrific - that Tyger's certainly burning bright!

    The whole ensemble's terrific - and I especially love the knights.

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  7. This is brilliant! I love the story and the conversions.

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  8. Excellent looking next part of story!

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  9. Excellent! Simply wonderful! I shall have to steal that target idea.

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  10. Another great story. Thank you for sharing. I literally laughed out loud at the Aelf's solution to the archery contest! (and also at your use of the fleeing man in the showcase photos for the Tyger!) Very clever conversions for the two trackers. I totally didn't recognize the base models at first, but after you mentioned it, I can see them clearly.

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  11. Nice narrative with equally nice photos!

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  12. Oooh, I know how the elf cheated! Ewert hit the red spot, but the elf did not. Her target spot became red afterwards.

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    1. That's right. Poor Ewert was too good a marksman, so he had to get shot.

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