1207 RE-- The Slaughter of the Tin Swan Caravan
Date: 1207 RE
Outcome: Destruction of the Caravan, policy change towards Tharici in County Torca.
Parties: Baroness Torca, Tin Swan Caravan Members, Silver Swordsmen; Werebears, the troll Blackwind
The Tin Swan Caravan was one of the smaller Tharici caravans in existence, but one of the most famed. The Tin Swan Caravan was known for travelling between the Caliphate capital of Darende to the Oresund capital of Dunaldur. The rare goods brought to each capital, coupled with their inevitably short stay, made them welcome visitors in both cities. In 1206, the Tin Swan Caravan was banned from entering into Tarsikka after Sir Mark Talog was found dead in the town of Trofeu. Bradley Cochran, a Guild physicker, declared that the man died of magic fouling his inner workings. The Tin Swan Caravan was seen having dealings with Sir Talog earlier in the day, selling him vials of brews and formulations from the Caliphate. The Tin Swan Caravan claimed that the brews sold to him were only for his health condition, and had should have been otherwise harmless. Cochran declared them free and clear of the murder by brews, as his inspection of the body found no trace of poison. That helped matters little, as suspicion had been cast. The Guild apprentice1 assigned to Cochran gave an impassioned speech to Baroness Torca on the caravan's behalf. The apprentice's testimony did nothing to sway the Baroness, who banned them from her lands as long as she claimed ownership. The apprentice was reassigned, out of fear of assassination by the town's people, who now saw the apprentice as a traitor to the town. As a result, the Tin Swan Caravan was forced to travel the so-called Forest Moon route from the Caliphate to Oresund, staying in Troll Country for much of the duration.
Baroness Torca began a program to pay her subjects for any information on the caravan, to ensure they stayed away from the baronial borders. A squire and aspiring Silver Swordsman, Azamon Fyori, delivered the information that the caravan was passing north of the Barony. Baroness Torca rewarded the squire by allwing him to accompany several Swordsmen North in order to keep an eye on the Tharici. What followed is a grim tale, indeed. Several weeks later, Squire Azamon was found wandering around the Trofeu area by the bartender3 for Jani Mozdony, the owner of The Mystic. The lone remaining party of the Swordsmen sent to the North, the squire suffered from internal wounds, but no apparent external wounds.
According to Squire Azamon, the Swordsmen happened upon the Tin Swan Caravan late in the evening. The Tin Swan was meeting with a group of Oresunders and Gauntish, apparently well known to the caravan. The Swordsmen made themselves known to the Tin Swan and the Northmen, who, much to the surprise of the Swordsmen, greeted them with open arms and invited them to join in the festivities. It was shortly after this invitation that the slaughter began. The death wails of the guards alerted the caravan to trouble. Howling and growls followed the screaming, and the panicked the caravan as they armed themselves. Squire Azamon confirmed that the first creatures encountered were werewolves, at least at first. The Tharici, in particular two young Tharici, one of whom, named Nikolai, deftly wielded a glaive, while the other, Lokian Theraian, delivered stored rituals out of a prepared stone, gave the caravan hope that they would survive, as these two quickly decimated the shades side by side with the werewolves. The Swordsmen were keeping the werewolves at bay, none wanting to stray too close to the silver blades, and the men from the North were wielding magic of Ice and Earth, as they fought in the darkness out away from the fire light of the caravan. It was an excited cry from these Northmen that alerted the caravan to even more danger. Squire Azamon claimed that they shouted the name Blackwind, and others around them gave voice to the terror of trolls. It was then that increasing roars were heard, as Squire Azamon claimed that horrific half troll, half bear creatures entered the fray. The caravan fought bravely, for their numbers were many with the added aid of the Tarsikkans. Squire Azamon was believed to be mistaken about this, as no creatures like this had ever been seen before. However, the tale the squire continued to relate was so terrifying as to lend credence to the claim.
Shortly after these creatures entered the fray, the number of shades increased rapidly, and a woman's shrieking voice was heard above the fray. Although small in stature, she commanded the creatures and, struck the humans with a scepter made of amethyst and silver. Whoever was struck by the scepter was set upon by the shades, who seemed to increase in strength while near her. The caravan knew that the fight was lost shortly after the appearance of the werebears, the woman, and the troll called Blackwind that the men of the north were so engaged in fighting. They found themselves hard pressed, and seemed to be slowly giving ground to Blackwind and his werebears, though not without scoring several points themselves. One, a young woman called Mariska, slashed the throat of a werebear just as the trollish monster was about to claw a young caravan member7. The caravan began to organize a retreat, however, it was not to be.
Two Tharici suddenly lashed out, mercilessly killing any caravan members who were near them. The added carnage was enough to break the defenses of the caravan, which now completely shattered, its members fleeing for their lives. The Swordsmen and the Northmen stayed together, helping what people escape as they could. The two ravening Tharici cut down as many of the fleeing victims as they could manage, while avoiding the blades of their former fellows. One of the Swordsmen ordered Squire Azamon to flee, to bring the tale of what happened back to Tarsikka, so that they might be prepared for this new threat. As the squire retreated, one of the two Tharici knelt to the ground with arms spread and eyes closed. The other Tharici slashed the kneeling one's throat, and began to immediately start chanting and cutting the now dead body, letting the blood slowly out a bit at a time. Squire Azamon reported that the fallen body's spirit seemed to rise out of the corpse and began to become one with the one that was chanting and cutting the body, as well as occasionally stitching up portions of the body. As the squire fled the slaughter, the voice of the seemingly dead Tharici traitor wailed an unearthly wail that quickly turned into laughter, joined by the one that had mutilated his corpse. The more experienced Swordsmen shouted the word "Nesatio", and turned to this new threat. This was the last that squire Azamon saw of them.
Squire Azamon further reported that maybe twenty of the caravan escaped, out of the the near hundred that had been. None of the`other Swordsmen or Northmen made it out alive, to the squire's knowledge.
Since that time, the Tin Swan Caravan has not been heard from again, the surviving members being absorbed into other caravans. Many were said to have gone North to the Glass River company, wishing to live amongst the Northmen that gave their lives to save them. The Baroness was gravely saddened by this outcome. She felt the slaughter a direct result of her actions the previous year, and has since begun to treat Tharici with much more deference, despite the disapproval of the other nobles. The Silver Swordsmen, as an Order, are said to be looking for an opportunity to avenge their comrades.