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Paul Waters

The Field of Screams

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With Halloween approaching and the release of the Dark Harvest I though I would rework a story written around 1066 Wargamings in Hastings tournament brand "Field of Screams", 4 events have been held so far with a 5th being planned.

 

Few remember the names or the rites of the old gods anymore, but there are corners of the world where their power can still be felt.

There is an island several miles from the coast of the free city of Hastyngs that harks back to those old ways. Nobody living knows the reason why the ancients painstakingly carved away the granite to form a huge, plateau so far out to sea. The few select scholars who ventured to the island to study the strange carvings and monuments were unable to ascertain even the merest hint of its original purpose. They all reported that after they returned to the mainland an unnatural feeling of malice and fear followed them where ever they went. Bad dreams soon turned to night terrors, each waking up every night drenched in a cold sweat, screaming from some unrepeatable horror. Dreading the inevitable next sleep, they eventually all succumbed completely to the madness.

In the taverns near to the docks, travellers will often hear tales of the eerie wailing that can be heard rolling across the waves on nights when the moon is full. Certainly, the resident fishing fleet keeps a wide distance from the island named by the locals as the “Field of Screams”, and they all continue the bizarre custom of spitting overboard when sailing past.

However, there are a few days each year when the abnormally treacherous currents subside and the sea mists clear gifting those desperate enough a short window to row out, weaving through the rocky outcrops with offerings of food or coin, to petition the forgotten gods for favour.

When Hastyngs hosted its first Guild Ball tournament, after heated deliberations following the bountiful gifts of a mysterious benefactor known only as the Quartermaster, the Elders shocked everyone when they announced that the Field of Screams would make the perfect pitch to not only test the skills but also the bravery of the finalists. Those that have witnessed the violence and bloodshed of the game all agree: The old gods would certainly approve. However the Elders worried that something even more sinister may be involved and feared the consequences of their unexpected decision, but the Quartermasters pockets ran deep and his lackeys were extremely convincing.veller will often hear tales of the eerie screams that can be heard rolling across the waves on nights when the moon is full. Certainly the local fishing fleet keeps a wide distance from the island with it's Field of Screams, and it is customary to spit overboard when sailing past on the way out of the bay. All recognise it as a bad place.

Having worked his way round many of the groups in the tavern Greyscales noticed a disheveled, malnourished looking beggar tucked away in the darkest corner, his stench far stronger than the rest of the locals, everyone else was giving him a wide berth. Ordering another drink and a bowl of the local hearty stew Greyscales approached having identified a new ear for his tales.

As Greyscales sat opposite the beggar he realised he was quietly muttering to himself, repeating the same phrases over and over, “don’t listen to ‘em…island’s evil… island wants you…it collects your screams”. As Greyscales looked round he could see the barmaid laughing, “that’s all you’ll ever get from him, been like it for years”. Knowing that having a worthwhile conversation with a madman was as likely as the chances of the Farmers winning a game, Greyscales wasted no more of his precious shore leave and moved on to some newly arrived locals, donating his stew to the beggar who clearly needed the meal more. As the fool’s hand reached out for the spoon Greyscales failed to notice the Scholars Guild ring on his finger.

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