Call to the Hunt
In reverence for a bountiful harvest, the Prince has announced the appearance of a Questing Beast in the hills and forests south of Arden and inaugurated a hunt in commemoration. To their astonishment, the party discovers themselves among the six groups invited to attend, including local gentry, caddish young noblemen, the hated Torchbears, a hunter of renown, a strange group of foreigners, and the domineering Lord Marchosias. The Crossed Swords scramble to buy horses (and a pony), javelins and such, and to hire Gildor, an elven huntsman they have encountered many months before. Wintergreen discovers from a talkative noble information on previous hunts. The party uses this information to plan their courses.
The Hunt is On!
The first days see the party charging along the river Loir, meaning to cross nearer a bog marked upon their map. They prove mediocre huntsmen during foraging attempts, although Goldfinch finds an old Marais heirloom, a Horn of Resounding, buried on the banks, and the party together kills a dangling man-vine trying to snatch them from their saddles.
Nearing the bog and setting for camp, they are overrun by Marchosias's retinue. He demands they obey the rules of the hunt by taking him on in a duel, the loser forced to stay put for the next day. Somewhat dishonorably, the party tries to talk their way out of it. This is lead by the party's current best fighter, Hanna, who does not want her pride wounded, as a female halfling, in losing to this odious personality. She borrows Passager for a glancing blow at distance and the ensuing tete-a-pettite-tete ends when she dives under his shield and chops Silverstrike into his thigh beneath the groin. Success! She heaves a sigh of relief, the night is joined with shared rations and forced good cheer.
The next day they enter the bog and discover the nest - or one of the nests - of the Questing Beast, Gildor's dogs baying with delight, after a nearly deadly run-in with bog-zombies who nearly kill one of the elves. They set up an overnight ambush for the Beast but, once morning arises, feel they are wasting the alotted time and elect to press on toward a glen marked on the map (noticed by Pritchard).
The Beast Discovered
They move through a strange wall of thorny brambles, sporting an arched entrance shortly after killing and dressing a large boar. The dogs pull them ahead. As the mountains spread out and drop toward them in jagged cliffs, as the day is ending and darkness rises from the ground about them, they round the wild vegetation to see the hounds baying the Questing Beast, a huge slithering, snake-like thing with flaring multi-colored feathers around its jaw. They shake off their awe and try their hand: Wintergreen runs forward with spear in hand, Pritchard causes a phantom force to stand next to it, Richard and Hanna send missiles streaking forth. With two dogs taken out, the beast is slain. Not long after, Marchosias's group rounds the corner: it seems they were on the same spur.
The victory ceremony looked just like this. Back slapping and hearty shoulder-jostles did not set well with the reserved group, but they took it (keeping an eye on the box of treasures). The results of other hunts were recounted: a dwarf died, here or there a limb or a cranium was smashed. Braces of pheasants and peasants were shared around. And Blanchfleur and Luc-de-Luc presented the rewards, including a marvelous ensorcelled Hunting Cap that sharpens senses and depresses the body's scent. This was thought a natural for Richard, who reeks of asparagus due to a magical mishap. The party very happily sold the rest of their gifts immediately for cash money.
Losses & Loot
Our heroes defeated the aristocrat Lord Marchosias in a duel, three zombies, a boar and the Questing Beast. The party discovered the The Horn Resounding, and were rewarded with a fine helmet valued at 225gp, a platinum flagon valued at 900gp, and a magical item The Hunter's Cap. Each member of the party received 187gp.
For creatures defeated and wealth acquired, party members each received 250xp.
(NOTE: I did not initially calculate the additional 18xp each for defeating Lord Marchosias and have added this to the totals of participating players).