“Bunnies” No Joke to Sir Harry

By Penumbra

Special correspondent

Sir Harry D’Esmayed is not happy.

After horrific struggles to break a soul-forge to a Deathknight, the paladin returned to Rivellon to face vilification for bringing the evil creature with him, and now, mortification as Plowking’s moving picture parody “Dennis the Deathknight” becomes a popular hit throughout the region.

“It isn’t fair!” says Sir Harry, relaxing in my studio one day last week. “How was I to know what D… uh… the Deathknight was up to? And have you any idea how a soul-forge feels?”

He describes the feeling at great length as he unwinds under my deluxe treatment, then turns his tale to the more recent horror: the laughter of locals.

“I popped into the Blue Boar Inn for a pint, and everyone went quiet when I entered,” he lamented. “Then I heard the snickers start… I had to leave. I couldn’t very well kill everyone in the barroom.” He concedes he fought and killed at least six men in defence of his honour before The Divine One stepped in and instituted a ban on duelling.

Even more galling to the young paladin than the laughter is the infamous Dennis the Deathknight “bunny scene”, which Harry believes to be a veiled reference to a legend about his famous ancestor, Sir Philip D’Esmayed.

Sir Philip was one of the finest of the battlemages in the service of Duke Hark Ferol. He was credited with devising a spell matrix that allowed a small group of men to safely and invisibly move large sums of gold from Stormfist Castle to troop centres throughout the war zone, thereby ensuring the soldiers were paid, informers were bribed, and locals were compensated for the demands of the armies. Over the course of a year and a half, in six separate forays into the heart of enemy territory, Sir Philip’s skill and discipline brought the convoy home intact, but finally, an excursion to an outpost deep in the heart of the mountains of Yuthul Gor brought doom to them all. No one knows what became of the men, or the gold.

That story, even the children of Rivellon are familiar with; less well known is the legend that arose about the fate of the convoy.

The enemy had early on realized gold was being transferred throughout the region and had learned to detect the movements of the convoy, but attacking it had proved impossible. Conventional weapons and spells were unable to breach Sir Philip’s defences.

It has been whispered that an enemy mage, working tirelessly day and night for three long months, finally discovered a weakness in the matrix. All he needed was enough time to build and cast his own spells, and his moment arrived when Sir Philip’s group was sent to Yuthul Gor.

The terrain in Yuthul Gor is wild and dangerous; the population, sparce. Roads are few, and even fewer are the passes through the mountains. Knowing the location of Ferol’s troops, the enemy mage (whose name is lost to history) was able to stake out the most likely route and begin his preparations.

Although there are no living witnesses, it is said that when Sir Philip and his party reached a waymarker a mere five miles from the safety of their forces’ encampment, they were attacked by a devastating stream of spells. Their doom was sealed.

Realizing that spells causing injury and death would fail against Sir Philip’s defences, the enemy mage launched his full powers into the one spell that might get through: polymorph! Within minutes, Sir Philip D’Esmay and sixteen brave men were turned into little brown bunnies.

The story tells that the evil mage did not live to reap reward. The backlash from his attack on the protective matrix killed him also, and withered every plant and tree within miles.

Rumour has it that Sir Philip, in his last lucid moments, cast one final spell to ensure the enemy would not profit from their victory. He turned his precious cargo of gold into carrots, and teleported himself and his entire convoy, carrots and all, into a remote cave miles away in the depths of Yuthul Gor’s most desolate range.

Over the years, many parties of adventurers have gone in search of the missing gold shipment. Nothing has been recovered, but some travellers have returned with tales of a strange bunny cult operating in the region.

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