| ||Meve's soldiers were seasoned warriors. They had served in many campaigns, fought on many fronts. Still, the Strays of Spalla caused them great unease. The brigands, howling like wild dogs, did not fight with ordinary swords nor spear, but with executioners' axes, boards with rusty nails, and instruments of torture - their faces concealed behind ghastly prison masks...|| |
|- Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales|
The bandit group formed after the revolt in dungeons of Spalla Castle and mainly consisted of pickpockets, racketeers, cutthroats, and assassins. Armed with slings, daggers, instruments of torture stolen from Spalla (headman's axes, saws, hammers), they were known to be cleverer and bolder than common bandits: they attacked heavily armed convoys and noblemen's mansions.
While Queen Meve was attending a meeting with the other monarchs of the Northern Kingdoms, the Strays took advantage of her absence and attacked Hawkesburn, where the tax collectors' offices were located: all the gold got stolen.
Meve, returning from Hagge, started tracking down the Strays until she finally found them at Lord Clayton's residence. There, after learning about Clayton's death, Meve finally met with the Stays leader: one Gascon. After a intense battle, Lyrian troops defeated the Strays and captured Gascon, who was later brought to the capital in order to be executed.
Once arrived at the capital however, Queen Meve was overthrown by Count Caldwell and by her son Villem, who planned to surrender the country to Nilfgaard and confined Meve to the castle tower. It turned out in the end that the Strays were just a distraction planned by Caldwell for Meve in order to gain time and secretly treat with the Empire.
In the meantime Gascon was freed by the Strays from the city dungeons. Instead of escaping however, Gascon and the Strays decided to free the Queen from the tower and helping her escaping from the city. Ironically, the bandits Meve was hunting few moments before were now the backbone of her new army.