2000-08-25: The Refuge That Never Was

Catskills Edition

The Refuge That Never Was

Author: Erik Valstrom Published: August 25, 2000

"I am now convinced there is something far more sinister behind my troubles than merely a run of bad luck," were the first words Beechel Kire spoke to me when we met together after he returned home with his family from their all-too-brief stay in Yew. I asked him to explain for those of us interested in this cavalcade of catastrophes surrounding him and his family, as that group is increasing.

"I thought a few days' rest for me and my family at my cousin's home in Yew would do us all a bit of good. I considered that it might also serve as means to discover if these maladies affecting us were confined to our home in Britain or not. It seems they are not. Indeed, if anything can be learned from my wife's recent brush with death, it would be that no place is safe for us anymore!"

I inquired about the events at his cousin's farmhouse over the last few days.

"At first, all was well. Nyssa, my wife, felt far more comfortable than she had in weeks. I was able to do a bit of business in Yew toward opening a new market for my livestock and produce. While I was away one evening, I received word that my wife had been kidnapped, by a band of Ogres, no less!"

I was immediately disturbed by the thought of semi-intelligent and organized Ogres!

"No one else was harmed that is, it was as if she was singled out for their attentions. My cousin could only follow so far, and was driven off by the Ogres. She ran to a neighbor's house to get word to me, and for her own safety," Beechel continued. "I had an appointment to keep at the Brazen Monkey Tavern, a meeting with a stalwart band of heroes pledged to help me find a solution to the whole affair. I had talked with them earlier and had returned to my home when the messenger pigeon arrived informing me of the kidnapping. I ran to the Tavern, knowing those assembled there would assist me as quickly as anyone could. They hastened to aid me."

I asked him who these heroes were.

"There were nine or so in all, and a few were members of the Moonglow Defenders of Justice guild. My friend Telos Gralia was among them. I had taken a rune with me and we were gated to my sister's farmhouse. We found it deserted, of course, but clues pointed the way south toward a small patch of ruins. There we found my wife and a rather unusual-looking Ogre named Chumbdo guarding her closely. In fact, he refused to budge. A terrific battle ensued with his followers, and a valiant warrior perished but was resurrected by his mates. The Ogre Lord asked for nothing from me, but when I attacked him he tried his best to kill me, and nearly succeeded! Luckily I am quite agile and have good healing skills, or I would have been slain then and there. It took much doing... he was a tough one... but finally he was slain and my wife was freed, almost unharmed." Kire shook his head, "We decided to return home. I plan to continue the search for the killers of Eric and the other five who were apparently members of his family."

I told him my own search of the Britain Public Library had been fruitless. The only alternative is to ask permission to check the records at Lord British's Castle. This we will do, and soon. I am now personally involved in this tragic affair. It is a vendetta with me now, and I will see an end to it. I pray for a happy ending, but so far there has been nothing in this to cheer the heart whatsoever.