The turnaround of fortunes for Salisbury continued to boost the spirits of all present. Though the growing threat of raids from King Cerdic and King Idres was present, that was no excuse for the nobility of Salisbury to not throw a massive party. Seizing on the initiative, Lady Emlyn of Tangley resolved to do just that! Her manor had been well defended from the recent attacks, and it was time to relax and revel in the years of relative peace. A great invitation went out to the manors of Salisbury – barring the disloyal ones under Sir Beorhtric of course – to attend in late Spring.
The party was a great social success spanning many days, where the various courtly skills of ladies were tested. Unfortunately the last day was beset upon by truly awful weather, but the day was saved by the arrival of Lord Sampiro out of Sommerset, who had also been stalled by the storm, and asked for entry with his entourage and great supplies he had been escorting for his own manor. His arrival was met with such grace that many Ladies present both male and female were taken with him, and he extended an offer to meet him at his manor later in the year to return the favour of the hospitality shown.
Four notable Ladies of Salisbury answered the return request for a party, and along with some other noblewomen journeyed in the summer to the court of Lord Sampiro for a five-day feast which would be held in the return. Lady Elana, Lady Sundrenia, Lady Agrippina, and Lady Wynflaeth were all in attendance at the first day as the richly appointed hall where tapestries hung over very window and dozens of torches burned in the rafters to light the way.
Exquisite dishes and fine conversation took place that evening, as Lord Sampiro again wined and dined the Ladies of the court. That night, some reported odd sounds howling from outside, but were unable to make anything of it. In the morning Lord Sampiro was taken poorly and would not be available until evening, so an exploration of the manor was made. It was well staffed and protected, and gossip had that many soldiers were once in the employ of King Idres himself, but now served at the court of Sampiro. Lady Elana was particularly disturbed by this, as one of the knights there was Sir Lewis O’Malley, who had sworn revenge against Sir Carver and his family for the death of Lord Hassan O’Malley.
That knight was renowned for his violence, yet he seemed completely uncaring as to the presence of Elana even after gentle questioning. In the evening, Lord Sampiro boasted that all his men would serve him faithfully, and no one would come to any harm under his manor roof. At night, again deathly echoes came throughout the hall, but though the sound seemed to come from outside, it could not be heard out the window, nor deeper into the castle.
The next morning, with the Lord absent, a resolve was made for thorough investigation. Lady Elana and Wynflaeth went to the basement – the one place they were told to avoid – to try and see who was down there. Lady Agrippinia went to the roof to check on their erstwhile host, and Lady Sundrenia attempted to convince her in-law Sir Lewis to return to his senses.
In the basement, Lady Elana and Wynflaeth found a woman chained in a silver cage, crying tears of blood. Recognising the creature as a mythical vampire, Elana questioned her who said she was imprisoned here by her husband, and that if they would free her, she would kill him and permit them to leave – for if they left with her husband alive they would surely be hunted down. All that was required was a tapestry from above to hide herself from the sun’s rays.
With Wynflaeth and Elana agreeing to this, they moved to get a large banner to cover her, only to find Sir Lewis – roused to action by the words of Sundrenia, in a rage and ready to kill Elana. As she fled to the basement, Lewis was in hot pursuit, and burst into the room with the female vampire intending to kill. Working her own magic on him, Lady Sampiro briefly subdued him long enough for Elana to release her, whereupon the vampire knocked the knight out in a single blow.
Lady Wynflaeth arrived shortly with a tapestry, and they were told to leave as the female vampire ascended to the height of the tower. Lady Agrippinia had failed in her attempt to gain entry to the Lord’s room, but as she watched the pale creature from the basement stalked up the stairs, slew the steward blocking her way, barged into the room and ripped the head off of a slumbering Lord Sampiro, before telling Agrippinia to flee.
Three of the Ladies, having had quite enough of this adventure, all fled while Lady Sundrenia stayed behidn to ensure Sir Lewis would survive. When he awoke, he spoke of the urgency of retrieving a box, an errand he had been sent on by King Idres before leaving. Fortunately, the pair accomplished their task before they were noticed, and fled the scene.
Each group went their separate ways back to their homeland, with the tale of the nocturnal host that few would readily believe…