Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
#1
Video 
My other stories/games: (Jodi's Story - Zombie Apocalypse | The Oracle - Military Sci-Fi | Shadow of the Demon - 5e D&D)

Scroll down for Game, Character, Setting, World

Episodes
Prologue
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Episode 11 (posted Sep 18, 2020)
Episode 12 (posted Sep 19, 2020) 

This Game
I’m trying something new. I recently discovered the Ironsworn RPG and have been anxious to give it a try. It's a fantastic system based on the simple Apocalypse World mechanics (pbta). It is designed for solo play but it also contains information for GM-less co-op play, and guided play (with a GM). It's light on the mechanics and the crunchiness, but those are the kind of games I like best for solo role-play.
 
Plus, the PDF of the game is free and it’s freaking awesome! The instructions are beautifully laid out with plenty of examples and diagrams. The writing is well done. I was so impressed by the layout and the writing that I purchased a print copy of the books and cards to support the author. I hope you pick up a copy of the free PDF at least and give it a try: https://www.ironswornrpg.com/

I'll be using some of their oracle tables as well as rolling things from rpgsolo from time to time. 

The Setting
From the PDF:
"The Ironlands is a vast peninsula in the northern ocean. The people who
now refer to themselves as Ironlanders settled here two generations ago, cast
out of their homelands by a catastrophic event. Since that time, they have
survived but not prospered. The Ironlands are a harsh, dangerous place. The
winters are long and brutal. Harvests are uncertain. Depending on the choices
you make as you create your version of the Ironlands, monstrous beasts and
dreaded horrors may be a constant threat."


(Think gritty, low-magic fantasy with viking-like culture in a rugged untamed wilderness fraught with danger.)

The Character - Eilwen - Huntress of the Veils
From the PDF:
"Others live out their lives hardly venturing beyond the walls of their village or
steading, but you are different. Your sworn vows will lead to a life of danger,
heroism, and sacrifice at the edge of the known world."

"Your character is highly competent. You’re smart, brave, and driven. You can
hold your own in a fight. When you Swear an Iron Vow, you mean it.
You are not without your limitations. You’ll face hardship. You’ll make bad
decisions. You will fail. Overcoming those failures, pushing on, is what makes
you heroic."
 
Name: Eilwen, daughter of Cadfael & Arwed
 
Stats:
 Edge 2
 Heart 1
 Iron 1 
 Shadow 3
 Wits 2
 
Health: 5
Spirit: 5
Supply: 5
Momentum: 2
 
Edge: Quickness, agility, and prowess in ranged combat.
• Heart: Courage, willpower, empathy, sociability, and loyalty.
• Iron: Physical strength, endurance, aggressiveness, and prowess in close
combat.
• Shadow: Sneakiness, deceptiveness, and cunning.
• Wits: Expertise, knowledge, and observation.
 
Spirit is my mental state.
 
Supply is an abstraction of preparedness for things like ammo, food, water, general upkeep.
 
Momentum is how I'm faring on a quest. It starts at +2.
 
I need to choose my 3 starting assets. These represent my background, skills, and traits.
 
There are four types of assets, Companions, Paths, Combat Talents, and Rituals.
 
I choose these:

ARCHER (COMBAT)
If you wield a bow....
✔ When you Secure an Advantage by
taking a moment to aim, choose your
approach and add +1.
• Trust your instincts: Roll +wits, and
take +2 momentum on a strong hit.
• Line up your shot: Roll +edge, and
take +1 momentum on a hit.
 ▢ Once per fight, when you Strike
or Clash, you may take extra shots
and suffer -1 supply (decide before
rolling). When you do, reroll any dice.
On a hit, inflict +2 harm and take +1
momentum.
 ▢ When you Resupply by hunting, add
+1 and take +1 momentum on a hit.
 
CUTTHROAT (COMBAT)
If you wield a dagger or knife...
✔   When you are in position to Strike
at an unsuspecting foe, choose one
(before rolling).
• Add +2 and take +1 momentum
on a hit.
• Inflict +2 harm on a hit.
▢  When you Compel someone at the
point of your blade, or when you rely
on your blade to Face Danger, add +1.
▢  Once per fight, when you Secure an
Advantage +shadow by performing a
feint or misdirection, reroll any dice
and take +1 momentum on a hit
 
SHAD0W-WALK (RITUAL)
✔   When you cloak yourself with the
gossamer veil of the shadow realms,
roll +shadow. On a strong hit, take +1
momentum. Then, reroll any dice (one
time only) when you make a move by
ambushing, hiding, or sneaking. On a
weak hit, as above, but the shadows try
to lead you astray. You must first Face
Danger to find your way.
▢  As above, and you may also travel
along the hidden paths of the shadow
realms to Undertake a Journey using
+shadow (instead of +wits). If you
do, Endure Stress (1 stress) and mark
progress twice on a strong hit.
▢  When you perform this ritual, add +1
and take +1 momentum on a hit
 
For her starting assets, I chose two Combat Talents and one Ritual.
 
I only get the first check box in each. The others I can get through character advancement. 
 
I’ll roll up the settlement name that she’s from.
 
94 = 94[d100]
 
54 = 54[d100]
 
I rolled up the name Frostbridge from a prefix "Frost" and a suffix "Bridge" on the Quick Settlement Name Generator provided in the game.)
 
I live in a settlement called "Frostbridge" -- I think this means our settlement is high up in the mountains and nearby there's a bridge of ice across a chasm that falls into icy foggy depths below.
 
It's up in the "Veiled Mountains", a region of the Ironlands shrouded in clouds, endless snows and ice and things more dangerous that move among the high mountains.
 
From the PDF:
"Commonly referred to as the Veils, these great mountains mark the northern
bounds of the settled lands. They are almost perpetually shrouded in cloud,
snow, and mist. On the rare day they are visible to those Ironlanders far south
in the Havens, the sight of the towering peaks is enough to inspire a mix of
fear and awe.

For a few, that feeling is a call rather than a warning. The Ironlanders who
dwell here are mostly members of small mining communities. They seek
fortunes in iron or silver, but often find only death in the endless, brutal cold.
Even those who manage to eke out some sort of life among the Veils are sure
to head south before the onset of winter. Before the long dark takes hold."
 
I’ll say that the settlement is slowly waning. Other settlements have succumbed to the never-ending cold and ice and this one doesn’t appear far off. In fact, Frostrbridge rarely sees anyone else up here. But the hunting and the occasional iron ore they find and trade helps keep the settlement eeking along.
 
Mabon, at least, is a capable chieftain. He is fair, honest, and keeps the others in line.
 
I'll roll a trouble on the Settlement Trouble oracle.
 
26 = 26[d100]
 
Someone is missing. I’ll say it’s the settlement chieftain, Mabon. He went out hunting for food--the settlement always hunts for food; nothing can grow in these cold wastes. And that can’t be good for the settlement.
   
Does Eilwen have any siblings?
 
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
 
Hmmm. I’ll say that means she has one twin. But no other siblings.
 
Does she and her twin get along?
 
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes
 
Her twin brother's name is Aron.
 
Are Eilwen’s parents still alive?
 
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...
 
But...? Were they injured?
 
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No
 
Illness then. Ooo cool idea. I think they have uncovered a tomb locked away in the mountains while hunting and contracted a disease or curse amidst the dusty bones. I can use that.

BONDS: Her brother, Frostbridge, (another settler I haven't determined yet)


First, it’s time to flesh out the world a bit more. You do this by choosing among options or using your own cool ideas. 

The World
From the PDF:

THE OLD WORLD
The, Heralds of Night stepped from the great storm and invaded the kingdoms of the Old
World. Slithering horrors of shadow, bone, and blood that whispered doom. Our armies fell. Most were killed or taken into slavery or worse. Those
who escaped set sail aboard anything that would float. After an arduous
months-long voyage, the survivors made landfall upon the Ironlands

(I modified this to use horrific nightmare creatures/demons instead just a vicious Skulde clan, and I called the creatures the Heralds of Night.)

IRON
The imposing hills and mountains of the Ironlands are rich in iron ore.
Most prized of all is the star-forged black iron.

LEGACIES
Before the Ironlanders, before even the firstborn, another people
were here. Their ancient ruins are found throughout the Ironlands.

COMMUNITIES
We live in communities called circles. These are settlements ranging in
size from a steading with a few families to a village of several hundred.
Some circles belong to nomadic folk. Some powerful circles might
include a cluster of settlements. We trade (and sometimes feud) with
other circles.

LEADERS
Numerous clan-chiefs rule over petty domains. Most are intent on
becoming the one true king. Their squabbles will be our undoing.

(Though, I will say that Frostbridge is mostly removed from that. They probably still do fall under the domain of some clan-chief, but no one has seen a tax collector in ages.)

(I’ll be using the Quest Starter from this Leaders category as my overarching background quest. See my prologue below.)

DEFENSE
The wardens are our soldiers, guards, and militia. They serve their
communities by standing sentry, patrolling surrounding lands, and
organizing defenses in times of crisis. Most have strong ties to their
community. Others, called free wardens, are wandering mercenaries who
hire on to serve a community or protect caravans.

MYSTICISM
Magic is rare and dangerous, but those few who wield the power are truly
gifted.

RELIGION
A few Ironlanders still make signs or mumble prayers out of habit or
tradition, but most believe the gods long ago abandoned us.

FIRSTBORN
The firstborn have passed into legend. Some say the remnants of the old
tribes still dwell in deep forests or high mountains. Most believe they
were never anything more than myth.

BEASTS
Monstrous beasts stalk the wild areas of the Ironlands.

HORRORS
We are wary of dark forests and deep waterways, for monsters lurk in
those places. In the depths of the long-night, when all is wreathed in
darkness, only fools venture beyond their homes.

And that’s pretty much it for initial world building. Next the story!
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#2
Recommended Ambient Music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSFbKIW8HGs

Prologue - Three Years Ago


For once, the winds had stopped, and at least this morning sunlight clawed its way across the frozen ground. The smoky fire in the small hearth did little against the chill. Part of the wood had gotten wet with snow, and it burned fitfully and the heavy smoke hung thick about the rafters of the longhouse. Their home was built of thick frame of timbers bound with rawhide, the frame covered over with pelts of various animal skins. Wood lay cut inside the entrance and a hole in the ground, also covered in skins, held their diminishing food supplies.

The winter had not been easy, and ever since her mother and father had found that burial chamber three peaks over near an abandoned mine, their troubles had only worsened. The sickness...it was consuming her parents, slowly.

"Mother," Eilwen said, placing a damp cloth on her mother's form, a lump formed in her throat and she pushed back a strand of her mother’s graying hair. "You're burning up." 

Memories came unbidden of her mother laughing, cooking meat and baking a thick cornbread from precious flour traded from a traveling merchant filled her mind. Memories of father's deep booming laugh and mother dancing shyly with him in the firelight, a playful smile on her face, her blond hair glowing in the firelight, her arms around his neck. A child's memory of good parents. People who loved and cared for her. 

But now...

Her father, Cadfael, also lay nearby, a ragged wet cough formed a bloody spittle on his lips, the only testament to his remaining vitality. His face pale as death. The covering flapped open and Aron brushed aside the skins standing in the doorway. His hands twisted together at the sight of his parents. 

Water dripped from the damp cloth in Eilwen's hands as she studied her twin brother. They both turned fifteen tomorrow. His shaggy blonde hair was usually tied back with a simple leather band, but today, it blew about his face in the gusty wind as he stood in the doorway.

"How are they--?" Aron asked.

Arwed, Eilwen's mother, gripped Eilwen’s hand. The fingers felt like ice and gripped too hard making Eilwen want to pull away. Mother stared at her brother and then at Eilwen, then she released Eilwen’s arm laying back. "Foolish children..." her mother gasped in between a rack of coughs. "We're dying..." 

More coughing.

Eilwen shook her head, her braid of luxurious hair swinging back and forth. She could not accept this. "You can't leave us!"

"It is true, daughter. Death comes to us all. But you--" she touched Eilwen's face and whispered, pulling her close, speaking more softly. "You are special.” 

Eilwen glanced at her brother. Had he heard? A shadow seemed to flit across Aron’s face. She and her brother were close, always had been. They shared an unspoken connection, but this thing her mother said was different. Eilwen knew how much it would isolate Aron, and how much he’d resent it.

“Now... the tea!” her mother said.

Eilwen nodded and both he and Aron helped her mother sit up then Eilwen poured some hot tea into a wooden cup and helped her mother’s trembling hands hold it to her chapped and bleeding lips. The tea helped the cough subside for a little while, but they were running out of powder.

Eventually her mother waved her away with a weak hand. “Enough child. I would speak to you.” 

Eilwen nodded and moved back. Her mother’s bed clothes smelled of sweat and grime anyway, and the stench nearly made her gag. 

This sickhouse needed airing. 

Eilwen rose and pulled aside one of the skins covering a window. The rare golden light shone in a patch, a rare gift of the gods to be sure. She moved her hand in the sunlight and loved feeling the warmth on her skin and on her face.

“Aron... see that box there under my bed. Bring it here.” she pointed to a spot on the floor near the sunlight.

He did as she bid him. Eilwen watched curiously. She had seen the chest many times, of course but it had always been locked. Her mother never spoke of it. Never mentioned it though she would touch it sometimes and look at Eilwen her gaze faraway. Eilwen frowned. Hadn’t she tried to open it. Or... well, she had at least meant to, she remembered that now. But strangely whenever she actually settled down to do it, something else always seemed to come up and she’d somehow forget about the chest for a few days. 

What an odd sensation.

Father groaned in his cot nearby and Eilwen shifted uncomfortably at her mother’s stare. She could feel her brother looking at giving her a sidelong look.

“You, Eilwen, are more than just a mere huntress, little one,” her mother whispered and then a single tear leaked from each of her mother’s blue eyes. Her mother had said that before on dozens of occasions but never with that tear.

“I’ve taught you the verse, daughter. I know you know it. But recite it."

“Recite the verse.”

“Mother...I--”

“Do it, child. Do it for me.”

Eilwen swallowed and whispered the verse as she stared at the smoking fire, and the golden patch of sunlight that creeped towards the box on the floor:

Circlet of old, cleft asunder
Crown of gold and kingdom bold
Rent in twain, blood, and pain
By Heralds’ bite and bitter blade
Warriors fearful fought and helpless fell 
Amid the warsome flood and nightmare hell
The land bereft of hope, roiled in blood
Survivors fled ‘cross foaming sea
Protecting hearth and home and ragged royalty
The halves were lost and at such a cost
Thus lacking light, leaders did hide 
And family, kith, and kin, did scatter wide
Find the halves, make them whole
Unite the clans and bring to light
Forgotten vows lost in tiresome night

“Mother,” Aron said, putting some more sticks on the fire. “That verse. What does it mean?”

Eilwen had heard the verse at least a hundred times, and had wondered about it even more. But mother only spoke of it when they two were alone. Even so, her mother didn’t speak much of the old times. Eilwen’s ancestors had lived on these lands for generations, fleeing some danger from across the sea. Her mother had sworn her to secrecy about the verse. What did it mean now to recite it openly in front of her brother and her dying father.

She looked up and caught her mother’s eyes on her again.

This was Aron’s first time hearing it. “Mother?” he asked.

“It is time,” mother said tapping the box. Then she reached out a finger and traced a symbol on the box’s lid, muttered something, and the box clicked open. 

“A strange lock,” Aron muttered darkly, making a symbol of warding in the air in front of him. “Mother, how--? What did you do?”

Mother ignored him and looked again at Eilwen, “Open it child, and claim your heritage.” 

Confused, Eilwen lifted the wooden lid, now fully in the sunlight. There inside something lay wrapped in a moth-bitten cloth of deep royal yet somewhat faded crimson hue. She pulled aside the cloth and there glinting in the pale sunlight through a half open window, lay a circlet of gold that a lady of high standing might wear. She touched it gingerly and noticed the intricate twisted vines of metal and a blood-red ruby that was shorn down the middle. 

“Child of queens, take what is rightfully yours. It was passed down to me from my mother, my mother’s mother, and many generations before that. It is yours now.”

“Mine? Is... is this?” She paused and shifted remembering the verse. Could it be the same?

“Yes. Take it. Protect it. Claim its blessing.”

Eilwen lifted it and traced her finger along its surface. Aron looked on, nonplussed, like he had been poleaxed in the head, his jaw open. He looked at Eilwen and then at mother then at the crown. “Is that what I think it is?”

Mother smiled at him and then started to laugh. It devolved into a fit of coughing and giggles with coughing winning out. She lay back on the bed and wiped away blood from her lips and a weak hand wiped away the sweat on her forehead but she continued to smile, her eyes shifting to Aron.  “The look on your face, son, was priceless. Yes, yes, it is what you think. Amusing isn’t it? To think that here in these heights lies one of the word’s greatest treasures in our little wooden house at Frostbridge. And to think, I could have been queen if I had only found...”

“The other half...” Eilwen finished.

“Yes. The other half. The clans know the story, and most of them will remember their oaths and unite under it.”

“Where is the other half?” Eilwen asked, gripping the crown in white-nuckled fingers.

“Who knows. Lost perhaps to all time. But if you find it, child...”

Eilwen nodded. If she found it... everyone knew the story of the shattered crown. But Ancestors preserve her! Her mother--her own mother had had one of the halves all these years!

She scrambled forward on her knees and knelt before her mother’s bed. “Mother, I have so many questions.”

“Tomorrow, little queen. Now, I must rest. Tomorrow we’ll speak more.”

“Mother, what of me?” Aron asked. “Have you no gift for me?”

Mother’s piercing blue eyes held his and he eventually dropped his gaze. “Royalty only passed from mother to daughter, my son, but your sister... she will need your help, your confidence, your aid. I give you the burden of service to the crown, for your sister upon my death is your future queen, like it or not. The question is, Will you help her?”

“I--”

“Will you?”

Aron looked to Eilwen and then back to mother.

A long moment passed where only the crackle and hiss of the fire was heard, and then he nodded, drawing fist to chest in respect. “I swear it.”

“Good. Very good,” she smiled and lay her head back. “You have made my mind more at ease Aron. That is very good. And now... I must rest. Tomorrow, children we'll talk.”

But tomorrow never came for Eilwen's mother, Arwed, queen of a broken kingdom. 

She died early the next morning, never speaking another word to her son and daughter.

----

The next morning, kneeling over her mother’s still and cold body, she looked down at the face of her mother, a white face now, lips pale from the cold. Nearby, her ailing father coughed raggedly until his breath came in wheezes. There in the cold Eilwen, daughter of queens, dressed in leathers, and a bear-hide cloak, held the ruined crown in one hand and her long hunting knife in the other, and vowed on the iron blade to find the other half of the lost crown. When the time was right, she would leave Frostbridge.

OOC: Enjoy! I even got to do a little poetry. Smile
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#3
Wait, did you write that poem? That's crazy. Nice job.
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#4
[quote pid="2954" dateline="1596542914"]
markWait, did you write that poem?  That's crazy.  Nice job.
[/quote]

Yeah...  Blush Thanks Mark!  

Here goes. Note that I may not post as verbosely as this in the future. I'll adjust as the muse strikes me. But for now the muse calls for writing!

Recommended Ambient Music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSFbKIW8HGs


Episode 1

Three Years Later...

Eilwen pulled the doe’s body on her sledge across the bridge of ice and into Frostbridge as flurries of snow danced around her. Through the drifting roiling clouds and the snow, she guessed it was a couple of hours until dusk. Then it’d really start to get cold. Winter clung on with ragged fingernails of ice. Some years were like that at Frostbridge.

Frostbridge. Her home. Yet... even though it was home, she had started to feel a certain urgency. The crown...her mother’s death had been three years ago and she still hadn’t left. She pushed it away and thought of other things. She always felt gloomy thinking of her mother’s death, and the strange crown Eilwen kept hidden in a hole under her bed.

She smiled, knowing how grateful Chiefton Mabon would be for the fresh meat. Father would also be pleased, and she couldn’t wait to make his favorite venison stew. It was his favorite and--

Someone ran towards her through the flurries of snow. She squinted against the snow. 

Aron? He had grown taller and thicker and more sure of himself. He was handy with his axe and shield.

He jogged towards her shield on his back, axe banging against his hip, snow clinging to his blonde tangles. “Eilwen! Thank the gods you’re here. Father and Chief Mabon are missing! They haven’t come back! We have to help them! No... you have to help them. You’re the best tracker and hunter and... Well, the villagers, they’re all--” He ran a hand through his hair. “They’re all falling apart, arguing about who will be the next one to lead Frostbridge. I’ve tried to talk to them, but-- well. They’ll listen to you.”

“Where did they go?”

“To the south east. They left early this morning and said they’d only be gone two to three hours. It’s going to be dark soon!”

“Why didn’t you go after them?”

He gave her a look that said, ‘Do you really have to ask me that?’

Right. His promise to protect and help her... not her father but her.
“No,” she said and scanned the settlement. A crowd of settlers had gathered at the central space by the chieftain’s longhouse, milling about, talking -- well, shouting really. They were obviously agitated. One old crone, Carys, leaning on her walking stick screeched in her nasal voice demanding that her husband, Cornick, be the next chieftain. When someone shouted her down, Carys beat him three times in his shins with her stick before strong hands wrenched it away from her, and the old woman sat down heavily on a log, cursing and pulling her furs about her tersely.

“Without a chieftain, we have no leader. We have no hope!”

“Where is Mabon. We need him!”

Eilwen pushed through the crowd, and as she did so, the arguing and shouting quieted, replaced by mutters and whispers behind hands. She clambered nimbly atop a log pile and shouted above the gusting wind, letting her hood fall back revealing the face of a woman with glistening raven black hair tied in her traditional utilitarian braid. She brushed it every night; it was one of her secret prides. Once, she even put the half crown in her hair, but instantly felt embarrassed and put it back in the box.

“Hear me!” she shouted over the wind. “I know well that Mabon and my father have not returned from their hunt. But do not lose heart, my friends! I will find them, bring them back and see that this. I swear it to you! By the iron in these mountains, in my blade, and in my blood.” She held aloft her iron hunting knife, gripping its blade, feeling the bite of its edge and she felt a familiar thrill run through her. The same thrill she had felt when she vowed to seek the crown.

She would seek the crown. But first, Frostbridge, Mabon, and her father... Her father came first. She had already lost her mother to these lands. She would NOT lose her father. Not while blood still flowed in her veins. But nightfall was coming quickly, they had better get moving.

She leaped down and jogged for the longhouse to get more supplies.

OOC:
I'll be posting how the rules work as I go. Probably mainly to help me understand them. I was hoping there was a block-indent feature to forum posts for this kind of OOC content. I'll post my OOC and rules content as italicized text.

So during character creation, you come up with two starting vows, a background vow and a starting vow. Everything, including character advancement, is built around seeking after and fulfilling your vows.

Her first iron vow was made three years ago, her background vow.

(EPIC) Background Vow / Quest - Reforge the crown and unite the clans under her rule (for this one, the rules say I don’t have to make the Swear an Iron Vow move.

(DANGEROUS) Inciting Quest - This one does require a Swear an Iron Vow move. Find Mabon and her father. See them safely back to Frostbridge. Restore Mabon to power.

Epic and Dangerous are the difficulty or rating to fulfill the vow. 

I’ll do her first roll now.

SWEAR AN IRON VOW
When you swear upon iron to complete a quest, write your vow and give
the quest a rank. Then, roll +heart. If you make this vow to a person or
community with whom you share a bond, add +1.
On a strong hit, you are emboldened and it is clear what you must do
next (Ask the Oracle if unsure). Take +2 momentum.
On a weak hit, you are determined but begin your quest with more
questions than answers. Take +1 momentum, and envision what you do
to find a path forward.
On a miss, you face a significant obstacle before you can begin your
quest. Envision what stands in your way (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and
choose one.
• You press on: Suffer -2 momentum, and do what you must to
overcome this obstacle.
• You give up: Forsake Your Vow.  

So here goes. Her first Swear and Iron Vow move
Moves are always done with a single 1d6 roll + any modifiers. She adds her Heart stat (+1) and her bond with her family (+1)

8 = 6[d6]+2

A great roll. As good as you can get actually. And now the challenge dice...

19 = 9[d10]+10[d10]

Lame... 

So her first roll is get compared against the individual dice of the 2d10s, the challenge dice (which reflects the challenge of starting the quest). A strong hit would be if the 1d6 + mods total of 8 beat each individual d10 rolled. 

But 8 does not beat 9, nor does it beat 10. So this is a miss.

On a miss, there’s an obstacle that Eilwen has to overcome and her momentum drops by 2 (and goes to 0 -- the initial starting value was 2).

But... wow. Yeah... not a great start. But she’s a hero and will adapt and overcome!
So, what is the significant obstacle? I don’t have any ideas so I’ll use the MAG. A parrot, balloons, cake, sun, big claws or paw of some creature, big eye, hat, axes, some kind of cannon.

Sounds like while people are preparing for their evening meal, and one or more creatures attack the settlement.

While Eilwen and Aron prepared a few supplies for their journey into the mountains, cutting up meat chunks from the deer and wrapping them in cloth, a massive roar echoed through the settlement, followed by a high pitched scream and then shouts.

“That sounded like--” she spun and held the cutting knife, her heart beating faster.

“A bear,” Aron finished, darting to the door where his axe and shield leaned against the wall. He snatched them up.

“But they don’t attack settlements,” Eilwen said stringing her bow with deft fingers and grabbing her quiver. “Well, not usually. I do know my animals.”

“No time to talk about it. Come on!” Aron said

They darted outside. A silver-backed bear had attacked the settlement.

The snow had continued to fall and in the distance they could make out a lumbering form pawing at something on the ground a hundred paces away. It was at an intersection between three longhouses. Someone was writhing in pain on the ground nearby, screaming.

She heard other frantic shouts and cries. Some of the stronger, less timid in their settlement, began to run outside carrying weapons, mainly spears, staves, axes and bows. Others bolted their doors, but the truth of the scene told her that the longhouse was little protection against this creature.

Indeed one longhouse had a side wall that was already shredded through, burning embers of a cooking fire and smoke had spilled out onto the pathway and flames began to lick up the side of the longhouse. 

She heard the screaming of children inside.

OOC: This type of bear is normally a rank of Formidable (a rank higher than Dangerous) but that can change when the fight starts based on the situation. Since its attacking a settlement, something bears don’t normally do, and since the settlers are fighting back, I’ll say it drops down to one level to Dangerous. The rating is the only mechanical attribute enemies / creatures have. They don’t have stats, hit points or any of that. Ironsworn uses progress boxes to determine possibly how close we are to defeating the creature. We use ten progress boxes. Dangerous creatures take two boxes for every harm the creature. That means we e mark off 2 progress boxes for every harm we give it. 

“Be careful,” Aron readied his shield and axe and crouched beside her.

“You too,” she nodded, and darted ahead of him in a crouch behind a crate that gave her a view of the bar’s unprotected flank. The snow whirled about them. Shooting in the wind was never easy. Too many variables. Blinking the snow flakes away, she set the base of the notched arrow to her bow string, pulled the string to her cheek and sighted down the shaft.

We are now entering combat this means we perform the Enter the Fray move to determine who is in control. Our starting momentum is 0 because of the 2 that we lost earlier.

ENTER THE FRAY
When you enter into combat, set the rank of each of your foes.
• Troublesome foe: 3 progress per harm; inflicts 1 harm.
• Dangerous foe: 2 progress per harm; inflicts 2 harm.
• Formidable foe: 1 progress per harm; inflicts 3 harm.
• Extreme foe: 2 ticks per harm; inflicts 4 harm.
• Epic foe: 1 tick per harm; inflicts 5 harm.
Then, roll to determine who is in control. If you are...
• Facing off against your foe: Roll +heart.
• Moving into position against an unaware foe, or striking without
warning: Roll +shadow.
• Ambushed: Roll +wits.
On a strong hit, take +2 momentum. You have initiative.
On a weak hit, choose one.
• Bolster your position: Take +2 momentum.
• Prepare to act: Take initiative.
On a miss, combat begins with you at a disadvantage. Pay the Price. Your
foe has initiative.  

She is trying to stay hidden and attack at range. So she rolls + shadow.

7 = 4[d6]+3
4 = 1[d10]+3[d10]

She gets a strong hit, wins initiative, and gets +2 momentum. With initiative, she can act instead of react to the fiction.

The bear hadn’t yet noticed her, due to the distractions from the villagers and screams of the wounded. She lets fly.

STRIKE
When you have initiative and attack in close quarters, roll +iron. When
you have initiative and attack at range, roll +edge.
On a strong hit, inflict +1 harm. You retain initiative.
On a weak hit, inflict your harm and lose initiative.
On a miss, your attack fails and you must Pay the Price. Your foe has
initiative.  

3 = 1[d6]+2
9 = 2[d10]+7[d10]

It’s a weak hit. It causes damage, but she loses initiative.

Her momentum is currently 2

The arrow flies true, embedding itself in the bear’s side. It roars in pain.

Progress Count 2 of 10.

Does the bear ignore the wounded settler and rush towards her?

(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

It ignores the barb jutting out from it’s silver-covered hide and sinks its jaws into the neck of the fallen. There’s a final writhing scream followed by a sickening crunch, and the settler stops moving.

She fumbles with an arrow as a bloody maw raises from the white snow, the red warm steaming pool of a headless corpse steaming in a fallen lamp. still doesn’t have initiative she has to regain it somehow. from a reaction she takes to the situation.

Does it move towards her now?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

The bear hears the sounds of the screaming children, and with a snuffled roar it lubmers to the entry way. One of the settlers, Tomi, the stout goodwife of the home, screamed in defiance standing in front of the burning entryway, her spear held high, flames about her, protecting her own cubs. Desperately, the woman stabbed at it, but she was not a trained warrior like her husband and been, and her thrusts were largely ineffective.

“Go and help her Aron!”

“No, I will protect you. I will fulfill my prom--”

“Obey me, and do as you’re told! Now go! I’ll help the children!”

Does he go?

(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

He nodded and then with a roar charged towards the huge bear. 

Eilwen herself darted behind her longhouse, running up to the reverse wall at the home where the bear was seeking entrance. Slinging her bow onto her back, she pulled out her knife and slashed through the furs, pushing through the frame of timbers, praying she was in time.

Because she doesn’t have initiative in the combat, she’s reacting to an imminent threat on the children

FACE DANGER
When you attempt something risky or react to an imminent threat,
envision your action and roll. If you act...
• With speed, agility, or precision: Roll +edge.
• With charm, loyalty, or courage: Roll +heart.
• With aggressive action, forceful defense, strength, or endurance: Roll
+iron.
• With deception, stealth, or trickery: Roll +shadow.
• With expertise, insight, or observation: Roll +wits.
On a strong hit, you are successful. Take +1 momentum.
On a weak hit, you succeed, but face a troublesome cost. Choose one.
• You are delayed, lose advantage, or face a new danger: Suffer -1
momentum.
• You are tired or hurt: Endure Harm (1 harm).
• You are dispirited or afraid: Endure Stress (1 stress).
• You sacrifice resources: Suffer -1 supply.
On a miss, you fail, or your progress is undermined by a dramatic and
costly turn of events. Pay the Price.  

5 = 3[d6]+2

6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]

Nice 5 beats 3 and 3. A strong hit. +1 momentum (total of 3 now), and with doubles we get some positive twist of fate.

Eilwen darted inside, and the two small girls yelp when they see her. But they relaxed when she put her fingers to her lips and motioned them towards her. Somewhat distracted by her entrance, Tomi only barely managed to get the spear up horizontally as the bear snapped its powerful jaws at her. It shears through the spear, the pieces spinning in the air. Toni fell backwards, bruised but otherwise unarmed. Tomi scrambled on hands and knees out the reverse wall after her children.

Then Aron was there, his axe sunk deep into the bear’s flank. The bear was halfway through the side of the longhouse. It roared in pain and spun around at Aron, and the sudden motion snapped the two beams holding up that side of the house. Flaming debris fell on the bear, and scattered across the flow of the longhouse. The home smelled of the damp burnt fur and cooked food. 

(I’m going to rule that it suffered 1 harm from the fire and collapsing wood, so 4/10 progress boxes now)  

Eilwen seized a red hot poker lying on the floor. Snatching it up in her off hand, she threw herself at the bear’s singed and bloodied flank.

According to the rules of the game, she can’t Strike at it, because she still doesn’t have initiative, but she can Clash with it. She’ll try that.

CLASH
When your foe has initiative and you fight with them in close quarters,
roll +iron. When you exchange a volley at range, or shoot at an
advancing foe, roll +edge.
On a strong hit, inflict your harm and choose one. You have the initiative.
• You bolster your position: Take +1 momentum.
• You find an opening: Inflict +1 harm.
On a weak hit, inflict your harm, but then Pay the Price. Your foe has
initiative.
On a miss, you are outmatched and must Pay the Price. Your foe has
initiative  

6 = 5[d6]+1

15 = 5[d10]+10[d10]

6 beats five but not 10 so a weak hit.

She slams the poker down onto its head and drives her dagger deep into its side.

(Progress 6/10)
She now has to do the Pay the Price move which is basically bad stuff. I choose the most obvious negative outcome. 

The bear twists away, blood streaming down its back, and yanks long hunting dagger out of her grip. It remains embedded in its thick silver fur. The knife is a simple thing, but it meant a lot to Eilwen. It was the dagger that her father gave her the year she turned 16 with his and her initials carved into the bone handle. No... 

She still holds the poker, and her bow and arrows, but without a knife, she can use her sneaky stabby stabby asset.

Is the bear still partially inside the building? 

(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

She can’t really see what’s happening on the other side due to the fur smoke and flames. She hears shouts and cries from the other side and the roaring of the animal.

Does she see a hunting knife in the room that she can readily snatch up? I’ll say unlikely due to the smoke, flames and debris scattered across the home.

(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

The bear twisted, snarled, and a massive claw raked the air in front of her. Eilwen tried to dodge and leap backwards through her slashed opening made just moments before.

Face Danger:

7 = 5[d6]+2

8 = 7[d10]+1[d10]

Nice. That’s a strong hit.

Ducking and sidestepping with grace, she slipped through the opening as the claws smashed into one of the cross beams, snapping it.

Does it follow after her?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

How is Aaron faring? Good?

(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

She spun waiting for it, but it didn’t follow. Through the tattered furs, she saw it turned and rushed towards Aron. It raked a furrow in his shield, and cracked one of the boards, and he was knocked to the ground. Dazed, he rolled in the snow and buried his axe into the bear’s forepaw.

Eilwen dropped the still sizzling poker in the snow in a hiss of steam. Then in a fluid motion, she readied her bow and set another arrow. Then, moving in a stealthy jog around the side of the longhouse, she raised her bow, seeking for an opening as Aron and other villagers attacked it.

Secure an advantage move...
4 = 1[d6]+3

5 = 2[d10]+3[d10]

A strong hit! She chooses Take control: Make another move now (not a progress move), and add +1 to her next move. 

She sights and her shaft takes it in the back of its neck.

Strike move:

5 = 2[d6]+3

9 = 8[d10]+1[d10]

And gets a weak hit

8/10 progress -- It is potentially almost down, but she has to Finish the Fight, a specific move.

It stumbles forward a few paces, its breath coming out in heaving clouds, blood sprayed the snow around it. Spears from the other villagers also pierce its hide and it thrashed about screaming in pained rage. She shoots another arrow, in its back.

The mammoth wall of fur snarls, scatters villagers in a massive paw, and charges towards her! She knelt, sighted down her shaft, wind gusting about her, fur cloak flapping as flurries of snow obscured her vision. Aron shouted and charging after it, his axe raised high. She let it come closer... closer.

She’ll do a Turn the Tide move to steal initiative. She can do this once per fight. 
TURN THE TIDE
Once per fight, when you risk it all, you may steal initiative from your foe
to make a move (not a progress move). When you do, add +1 and take +1
momentum on a hit.
If you fail to score a hit on that move, you must suffer a dire outcome. Pay
the Price.  

Normally on a foe charging, if you don’t have initiative, you’d use the Clash move. But since she stole initiative with her Turn the Tide move, she’ll use Strike again.
She gets a +1 and +1 momentum if she gets a hit.

1d6+2 for edge + 1 for the bonus.

9 = 6[d6]+3

Nice Action roll! Hopefully the Challenge dice are low.

14 = 4[d10]+10[d10]

Blast! Oh well. A weak hit. She still inflicts harm and gets another momentum (total 4 now) and the beast now has 10/10 progress bars filled. That's as good as it'll get.

Two arrows streaked from her bow in quick succession. One arrow bounced off its skull, but the other thudded into its neck, close to the artery...but not close enough. It barreled towards her snarling and snapping its jaw, claws beating the air. She tried to dive and roll underneath it to avoid the attack. 

She’s lost initiative so has to react to it’s attack.

She’ll do Face Danger move to represent her rolling under it:

6 = 4[d6]+2

5 = 1[d10]+4[d10]

A strong hit! 

The beast’s ragged breath was hot and rank as it snapped and clawed at her, but she dodged every blow, diving and rolling under it, coming up in a crouch as it barreled forward and spun around, blood flecking the snow, saliva dripping from is maw.

The rule book says “A strong hit means you succeed. You are in control. What do you do next?” Sounds like I can still act.

She pulled out two arrows from her quiver, waiting for the right moment, and fit both to her bow string. It gave a fantastic roar rearing back on its hind legs, saliva clinging to jagged sharp teeth. Time to finish this. She sets her jaw and shoots.

End the Fight move. At any time she can try to End the Fight but you need to make some progress against the foe. She has 10/10 progress boxes filled. Now all she needs to do is at least score a weak hit on a move.

END THE FIGHT
Progress Move
When you make a move to take decisive action, and score a strong hit,
you may resolve the outcome of this fight. If you do, roll the challenge
dice and compare to your progress. Momentum is ignored on this roll.
On a strong hit, this foe is no longer in the fight. They are killed, out of
action, flee, or surrender as appropriate to the situation and your intent
(Ask the Oracle if unsure).
On a weak hit, as above, but you must also choose one.
• It’s worse than you thought: Endure Harm.
• You are overcome: Endure Stress.
• Your victory is short-lived: A new danger or foe appears, or an
existing danger worsens.
• You suffer collateral damage: Something of value is lost or broken, or
someone important must pay the cost.
• You’ll pay for it: An objective falls out of reach.
• Others won’t forget: You are marked for vengeance.
On a miss, you have lost this fight. Pay the Price.  

She’ll do another Strike move.

3 = 1[d6]+2

Well, that is one sour action roll. Drat! She’s sure to fail here as I doubt both challenge dice will be ones. 

But we'll see what happens though with the challenge dice.

13 = 4[d10]+9[d10]

Well, this just stinks... She doesn’t have enough momentum to burn to change any of the dice. She has 4 total (the challenge die has to be less than your momentum score). If she had 1 more she could have discarded the 4 challenge die, giving her at least a weak hit.

So she loses the fight and pays the price.

Now I just need to narrate how. I could roll on a table that they provide for Pay the Price but one of the options is to go with what logically happens. I'll do that.

She aimed for the open mouth and let fly, the instant she did, she regretted it. She was a good hunter, one of the best, but two arrows at a time? What had she been thinking? The shot went wide and whistled through the air to bounce off a nearby boulder. The bear rushed towards her, bowling into her, knocking her over. One her back, she saw teeth and claws. She covered her head.

But then Aron was there with a battle cry! He leaped over her in front of it, his furs and axe flashing around him, clods of snow in his hair. His axe smashed into the beast’s face with his axe again and again. Blood streaming from its face, the bear bit into his already battered shield, shattering it. Aron cried out in pain as the jaws clamped down around his arm.

I’ll say part of the price paid is suffering harm. A Dangerous foe gives 2 harm. Since we're fighting as a group (not just my char) I'll split it up between herself and Aron’s shield. Meaning she takes 1 harm. NPCs helpers don’t have stat or anything like that; so technically applying harm like that is all treated in the narrative for them.

Does the bear carry Aron away?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 5[d10]) No

Then the bear tossed its head and tossed Aron. With a pained shout, he half flew, half stumbled into the burning building.

The villagers gasped and shied back from the bear unsure what to do.

Eilwen seeing her brother thus treated, forgot the bear and scrabbled to her feet and darted to the building. She had to save Aron! Her family came first. 

“Aron!” she screamed and pushed aside a smoldering log, pulling him to safety.

The bear roared once more on its hind legs, then, still pierced in a half dozen places, with her black barbs embedded in its hide, clawed at one of the spearmen, knocking him dazed and prone. Then it snatched up the struggling settler by its powerful jaws, gave a sickening crunch with its maw, and lumbered away into the wind and snow.

Is it a bad burn? (I'll say somewhat unlikely since Eilwen got there quickly)

(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No

What about his arm. Is it bad?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Ahh. I’ll say he’s made himself a set of hardened leather armor. Cool!

Eilwen pulled Aron to safety. His hair and clothing are singed but he should be good in a day or so.

“How are you?” she said.

“Tired,” he said holding his arm.

“How is it?”

“Not bad. Just sore. You?”

She had a minor claw gash down one shoulder, but there was no need to worry him over that. It wouldn’t kill, though it did burn every time she lifted her arm.

“Let me see,” she said and checked his arm. She saw a hardened leather greave that was nearly torn through, but it had protected him.

“Is this from father?”

“Aye. I’ll mend it tonight. We made it together, he and I, last birthday, remember? That when he also gifted me the axe and shield. He knew I wanted to be a warrior...” he scratched at his head. “What fool boy doesn’t eh? I think he must’ve had some black iron from somewhere to trade the peddler last fall to get this as such tools are not cheaply gained. Of course, the shield is gone now,” he said looking sadly at the tattered remnants nearby.

“It served its purpose, and I’m glad for it,” she said, gripping his shoulder, giving him a brief hug. “You saved my life. Thank you!”

“As I am duty bound to do,” he said, pulling away with a wince. They leaned on each other as they watched the longhouse burn. He inclined his head in respect and then finished in a whisper “...your majesty.” Was that reverence or regret in his voice. She wasn’t sure...


She quieted him with a fierce look. “It’s not time for that.”

“As you say,” he nodded.

Is her favorite knife still embedded in the bear’s back.



(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No


It had fallen out in the final seconds combat, and she found it by the decapitated corpse.

She picked up her knife from the snow and sheathed it. “Let’s finish our preparations. We have to find Father.”

---

She had bound her shoulder as best she could while Aron had packed. Now she joined him in the final touches of their preparations. Night was a scarce hour away. A dangerous time to be traveling, but if father were hurt or lost, they’d have to find him soon.

Boots crunched on snow and despite the wind she heard voices.

“...a dark day indeed for the settlement.” 

“Aye, we’ve lost Mabon, and now two others dead.”

“Do you think Eilwen will bring Mabon back? The lass seems determined.”

“Bah!” a man’s voice said. “It takes more than determination. You needn’t fear. Some huntress. The girl couldn’t even handle that bear. What help do you think she’ll be to Mabon? Besides, if Mabon were half the leader he claimed, he wouldn’t have allowed himself to get lost in the mountains or...whatever happened to him.”

Fur and cloth did not mask sound well, and she and Aron heard the conversation as a group of men tramped past their longhouse. It was Bevan. She gritted her teeth as she put the final supplies in her pack. Her hands went to her knife. She hated that man! She started to move to the door.

“Ignore him, sister” Aron whispered, grabbing her arm. 

She hated Bevan. He was as slick as an eel on ice with features and manner to match. He was much too fine a person for these harsh lands. Why he decided to take up his lot with them she couldn’t ever make out, but he could talk circles around most.

Last spring, he had approached her father, asking Eilwen to marry him. When father tossed him out on his hands and feet with a bloody lip, his ire towards her family had only deepened.

The man had also always been jealous of Mabon’s power. Bevan only sought after his own gain and not for the good of the settlement.

The group moved past the doorway, the voices continued:

“If it comes back? What then?”

“We still have warriors. Strong men who will be ready if that happens,” Bevan said. “We’ll finish what Cadfael’s whelps could not.”

“What of you and Cadfael’s daughter? Weren’t you going to marry the wench?”

“It’ll be done in its own time,” she heard him say. “She is a fine looking morsel isn’t she... like a ripe fruit in the spring. A succulent youth...”

The voices recede and soon only the wind is all they hear outside her home.

Aron’s face darkened, “I should kill him for you.”

“No. He has friends. He’ll need to be challenged in a formal duel that will neuter any power he has. And I will do it. Just as soon as I see Mabon restored.”

I’ll say her vow got a new milestone tacked onto the end to deal with Bevan’s meddlings once and for all once they get back.

“You’re a hunter. I’m the warrior, remember?”

“I’ll learn,” she said. “I’ll have to if I’m to hold onto this,” she lifted her mother’s box onto the table and lifted the lid, shifted the moth-holed covering and pointed to the ruined crown.

Aron’s eyes glittered in the lamp light, as he eyed the shorn gemstone and rent crown. “When will you reveal yourself?”

“Not yet. In fact, we’ll need to take this with us and hide it someplace safe. I don’t like keeping it here. Think what would happen if Bevan found it?”

He nodded, then shifted and leaned forward peering closely into the box. “What’s that?”

There half hidden under the half gold crown was a medium-sized leather sack. 

“Just something of mother’s that she...that she left me,” she finished. But she felt nervous just seeing the sack.

“What is it? I’ve never seen it.”

She hadn't meant for him to see it. In fact it hadn’t been in the chest when mother had first revealed the crown to her three years ago. But that morning her mother died, there it was in the box under the crown. 

But Eilwen had seen the item before that. Inside the sack was a set of iron discs bound together with an iron loop and on front and back of each disk were small angular runes etched into the iron. Oddly, the iron bore no sign of the weather. "Black iron," the Ironlanders called the precious metal. It was also amazingly light to heft. Thinking of the disks, another memory of her mother surfaced, her finger tracing those symbols, muttering strange words and Eilwen as a little girl reciting them. A strange angry humming on the wind. Mother reading the words to Eilwen teaching her the symbols. How to pronounce them... shadows creeping in among the rafters, beckoning...

“It’s nothing,” she suppressed a small shiver and shut the lid and picked up the box, putting it into the top of the pack. That was a lie. But she supposed she would have to become practiced in the words on the disks as well. There would be time for that later. “Let’s hide the box away from the settlement and then find father and Mabon.”

He gave her an unreadable look and then nodded, shouldering his own pack.

OOC: Current Stats:
Name: Eilwen, daughter of Cadfael & Arwed

Stats:

Edge 2

Heart 1

Iron 1

Shadow 3

Wits 2



Health: 4/5

Spirit: 5

Supply: 5
Momentum: 4
Reply
#5
Episode 2

Before they set out, Eilwen decided to try and convince someone in town to lend her a dog sled or horse or something before they head out. That would be a great boon.

They approached a settler named Drystan, a large hulk of a man, with a shaggy red beard. He owns many huge shaggy dogs and a couple of sleds. They pleaded with him to let them borrow his dogs and sled, arguing that without Mabon, the settlement is doomed.

COMPEL
When you attempt to persuade someone to do something, envision
your approach and roll. If you...
• Charm, pacify, barter, or convince: Roll +heart (add +1 if you share
a bond).
• Threaten or incite: Roll +iron.
• Lie or swindle: Roll +shadow.
On a strong hit, they’ll do what you want or share what they know. Take
+1 momentum. If you use this exchange to Gather Information, make that
move now and add +1.
On a weak hit, as above, but they ask something of you in return.
Envision what they want (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
On a miss, they refuse or make a demand which costs you greatly. Pay the
Price.  


She’s trying to charm. (She’ll roll + 1 heart + 1 bond with the village).
(“Use your charm...” If you know that movie reference, you get extra points. Hee hee.)


4 = 2[d6]+2


Great. Not a good roll... Challenge dice next.


6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]


Right on! A 4 beats the individual 3s. A strong success. She gets +1 momentum for a total of 5. One important thing is that doubles on the challenge dice introduces some kind of twist and since the numbers are low and the action result exceeded both of them, it’s a positive twist.

“Fine,” Drystan muttered. “I like Mabon. And you’re right. He’s a good man and the best chief we could have right now. I guess I’ll let ya use the muts, just be sure ya bring them all back or you’ll be paying for it with sweatwork, ya hear?”


Eilwen and Aron nodded their agreement, and began putting their supplies on the sleds. Drystan helped them harness the dogs, then he scratched and petted each dog, whispering to them as if they were his children. They licked his face and yapped at him excitedly whenever he passed. 


Finally he came back, scratching at his chin deep within his beard. “I’ve been thinking. I think I’ll just come with ya. The dogs, ya see. They know me well, and I wouldn’t want them gettin’ upset workin’ for other folk. Not that ya couldn’t do it, ya understand. It’s just. . . well, I’d just feel better if I came along with ye.”


What is Dyrstan like?


Majestically / Odd


Bleakly / Rustic

Eilwen and Aron looked at each other. Drystan didn’t have a family. Things were bleak for him ever since his wife and children died to a wolf attack. Ever since, he had raised dogs and lived on the edge of the settlement. He traded pelts and ore on his sleds with Frostbridge and some other nearby encampments. As a loner, many viewed him as an oddity there, living alone in rustic solitude.

Drystan gathered up his own supplies, adding a third sled to the mix. (Him coming along was the twist).


The trio set out moving south across the namesake of Frostbridge, a bridge made of ice that crossed over a deep chasm. Ragged stones and jagged ice jutted out around them. Moving over it, they peered down into seeming bottomless depths, fog hung in its depths of blue gray. Snow swirled about them. They moved over to another crag with a winding path to a neighboring mountain where they had gone to hunt.


(I won’t make an Undertake a Journey move yet, as her father and Mabon hadn’t really gone all that far.)


Blinding snow and the coming darkness slowed them some. Thankfully, the falling snow at least lit up the world some, and after a couple of hours, they made it to where her father and Mabon had gone hunting. 


Only...


(And enter the complication from the previous miss...)


“They’re not here!” Aron said, looking around as the dogs sniffed the air, their breath creating small wreaths of fog. The canines blinked snow out of their eyes and panted. Aron shook the snow off his hood and peered around in the growing gloom.

Dusk began to settle in. “Help me look for tracks. Anything!” Eilwen said. She hopped off her sled into the deep snow. It crunched beneath her feet as she waded through it. Her leather pants, boots, and tunic had been treated with oil so it didn't penetrate to her skin. Snow also gathered on her bear-skin furs. She looked for tracks or some other signs of her father's passing.


Drystan watched over the dogs and sleds while the other two searched.


GATHER INFORMATION
When you search an area, ask questions, conduct an investigation, or
follow a track, roll +wits. If you act within a community or ask questions
of a person with whom you share a bond, add +1.
On a strong hit, you discover something helpful and specific. The path
you must follow or action you must take to make progress is made
clear. Envision what you learn (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and take +2
momentum.
On a weak hit, the information complicates your quest or introduces a
new danger. Envision what you discover (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and
take +1 momentum.
On a miss, your investigation unearths a dire threat or reveals an
unwelcome truth that undermines your quest. Pay the Price.  


6 = 4[d6]+2


11 = 7[d10]+4[d10]


6 beats 4 but doesn’t beat 7 -- so this is a weak hit. We get +1 momentum.


(Total momentum is 4 now)
----


“I can’t see anything,” Aron muttered as the wind blew snow into his face.


“Aye. It is gettin’ hard to see,” Drystan agreed, the snow collecting on his reddish beard.


“Over here!” Eilwen said. There, under an overhang of rock, protected from the snow somewhat, she saw boot prints. One set looked about her father’s size, and there in the snow, she saw her father’s spear! It had been broken. And what’s this? Blood on the rocks and snow? A fight then? And she saw more tracks, leading to the south... 


Any bodies?


(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No


Has any in their trio heard of raiders


(Somewhat Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


Are the tracks human?


(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

And there was a sizeable number of them easily more than the two hunters, Mabon and her father, could
Handle.


Any indication of who did this?


(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

“There was a fight...” Aron said tapping the blood on the frozen snow. It was ice. “It’s hard to say, but this could have happened hours ago.”


“Drystan,” he asked. “Who would do this?”


“I don’t know, lad.” Drystan muttered, and scratched at his beard while absently pulling gently on a dog’s ear. “We never get raiders up here. Down in the lowlands, sure. I’ve done some tradin’ down there many years back, but the folk there are strange. Lowlanders...”


Did they have sleds or any sort of mounts?


(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No


Do the tracks lead in the direction of a settlement?


(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


“They weren’t riding mounts and they’re heading south,” Aron said. That means they could have come from Rockriver...” 

It's a generated name.
What do we know about Rockriver?
Oracle chart in the PDF gives me “Small” and “Cold”. Sounds much like any settlement in the Veiled Mountains, an out of the way settlement with few inhabitants.


“Or they’re at least heading there,” Eilwen nodded, climbing back atop her sled and clucking to the dogs. “Then we follow.”


With a hiss of the runners they headed toward Rockriver.

Now we undertake a journey. I’ll say it’s Troublesome (within the same region as the Veiled Mountains)
UNDERTAKE A JOURNEY
When you travel across hazardous or unfamiliar
lands, first determine the rank of your journey (Ask the
Oracle if unsure).
• Troublesome journey: 3 progress per waypoint.
• Dangerous journey: 2 progress per waypoint.
• Formidable journey: 1 progress per waypoint.
• Extreme journey: 2 ticks per waypoint.
• Epic journey: 1 tick per waypoint.
Then, for each segment of your journey, roll +wits. If you are setting off from a community with which you share a bond, add +1 to your initial roll. On a strong hit, you reach a waypoint. If the waypoint is unknown to you, envision it (Ask the Oracle if unsure). Then, choose one.
• You make good use of your resources: Mark
progress.
• You move at speed: Mark progress and take +1
momentum, but suffer -1 supply.
On a weak hit, you reach a waypoint and mark
progress, but suffer -1 supply.
On a miss, you are waylaid by a perilous event. Pay the Price.


Since we are originating from Frostbridge, she’ll get a +1.
1d6 + 2 wits, + 1 add


9 = 6[d6]+3


9 = 7[d10]+2[d10]


Nice. 9 beats 7 and 2, a strong hit. I choose to lose a supply and gain an extra progress


Journey Progress 4/10
Supply 4/5


They travel hard for several hours, pushing the dogs, and they arrived at The Stone Tree, a landmark where a cliff jutted out at an angle above them. Using the pretense of using the privy, Eilwen hid the box with the crown and the metal discs inside a cleft in one of the walls and covered the spot with some rocks. She memorized the location to retrieve the items if needed later.

They continued their journey towards Rockriver, the trail cutting across some wide open swaths on the side of a basin. 

Undertake a Journey:
3 = 1[d6]+2


16 = 10[d10]+6[d10]


And that’s a miss. We are waylaid by a perilous event.


To their left the trail dove off sharply in elevation. In the summer this place would be a fields of shale and boulders. But now, all that was covered in several feet of snow. Trees dotted the ridgeline far above them, and cliffs laden with heavy ice and snow over-hung the open area.


The snow fell in heavy flakes, but the easterly wind had nearly stopped being blocked by the peak on their right. They jumped at a loud cracking sound high above them, and the dogs began to whine, their ears flattening. Through the falling snow, Eilwen saw a huge section of ice and rock that broke off near the top of the ridge and plummeted into the drifts of snow. 

There came a gusting of wind, and a rumbling sound that grew louder.

“Avalanche!” she shouted, and Aron cursed. 

Eilwen, in the lead, pointed to where the trail cut around an outcropping of rock that formed a sheltered overhang. If they could just reach that in time! 

“Shelter! There!” She lashed the dogs and they set out, Aron and Dyrston close behind. Far above them and behind them to their right, a mountain of white was about to consume them. 

Face Danger using Wits - To urge the dogs to speed yet stay on the trail.,
This speed is determined on how well they can guide the dogs in this case.


8 = 6[d6]+2


13 = 4[d10]+9[d10]


A weak hit.


I’ll say we are delayed -1 momentum (due to all the new snow they’ll have to dig out from)

They barely made it in time, skimming around the curve, their sleds nearly crashing into each other as they careened into the safety of the protective overhang. The wave of snow crashed in around them, shooting off above them, trees and boulders tumbling over it and off the ledge to their left. The dogs, frightened by the noise, whined and bit each other until Drystan calmed them. 

When it was over, snow was piled up around them chest high. But they were alive! It’d take time to dig out and get back on the trail. They decided to make the best of it, the wall of snow around them and the overhang above them did offer a sort of natural shelter now. 

Realizing that speed was lost, and that they’d make no progress toward Rockriver, they settled in for the night.


MAKE CAMP
When you rest and recover for several hours in the wild, roll
+supply.
On a strong hit, you and your allies may each choose two. On a weak
hit, choose one.
• Recuperate: Take +1 health for you and any companions.
• Partake: Suffer -1 supply and take +1 health for you and any
companions.
• Relax: Take +1 spirit.
• Focus: Take +1 momentum.
• Prepare: When you break camp, add +1 if you Undertake a
Journey.
On a miss, you take no comfort. Pay the Price.


Supply is currently 4.


9 = 5[d6]+4


9 = 4[d10]+5[d10]


Strong hit! Her health goes up by 1 and they get +1 bonus on Undertake a Journey.


They organized their supplies and prepared for the morrow. Then they wrapped their heavy bear skin cloaks about them and cut down some pine branches nearby. These they lay on the ground. They put more pines above them, and then snuggled up close to the dogs. In that manner, they achieved some warmth, so as not to perish, and slept until dawn.

---

When dawn stretched forth her fingertips of rose, their impromptu campsite made miniature mounds under a couple of feet of snow, and beams of orange light coming over the eastern peak awakened them as they pushed aside the branches and shook off the snow. The clouds were still about and Eilwen knew that the weather could change upon a breath, but for the moment, the sun greeted them. Her shoulder, where the bear had slashed her, felt better too as she tested it.

They continued their journey with Eilwen again in the lead.


Undertake a Journey:
7 = 4[d6]+3


14 = 4[d10]+10[d10]


A weak hit.


Journey progress 7/10


It took longer than they thought to dig out and break camp, but around noon, they set out, and by late afternoon, the trail passed through the very eastern tip of the Green Grip. The Green Grip was a swath of forest that clung to these frosty peaks with tenacity. It stretched down into a basin far below them and ran the entire breadth of the valley, like a long green ribbon, reaching into the distance.

They ate their rations and tale tales of the Green Grip.

What tales have they heard?

Ancient... (randomly rolled on Oracle chart)

Drystan told them how it was rumored that the trees find purchase here because of some ancient magic in their depths. He said that some story tellers said that there were ancient mounds within the heart of the Green Grip. What were they? Perhaps old burial tombs, perhaps hills of bones from some lost battle, other storytellers thought the mounds were the domes of a buried city that was here before even the peaks rose at the behest of the gods.

With the forest so close by, Eilwen decided to try and shore up their supplies. They probably had enough supplies to reach Rockriver, but it didn’t hurt to be safe. She headed down into the forest, looking for game. Behind her, Aron and Drystan set up camp near the trail and fed the dogs.


Has she been here before?


(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


She’s traveled this route to Rockriver before with her father. Not often, but once or twice since her twelfth birthday they had camped in the edge of these woods. She didn’t believe the stories, but it was true that she had never ventured into the heart of the forest. She remembered her camping spot where some game would go for food, where winter berries grew, and where the snows melted in the spring and formed a quick-flowing brook where silver-breast trout twisted in the waves.

With bow and knife and a few other supplies, she set out to hunt while Aron and Drystan made camp.


RESUPPLY
When you hunt, forage, or scavenge, roll +wits.
On a strong hit, you bolster your resources. Take +2 supply.
On a weak hit, take up to +2 supply, but suffer -1 momentum for
each.
On a miss, you find nothing helpful. Pay the Price


5 = 3[d6]+2


12 = 8[d10]+4[d10]


And that’s a miss. I’ll roll on the Pay the Price move table:

(Sep 7, 2020 - Edit -- [i]Thanks Teviko604 for pointing this out! Technically this was a "weak hit" as the 5 beats the 4, but not the 8, but I must've misread it, and the story moves forward as if a miss. But I like how it turned out. The story goes forward as it stands; no retroactive fixes.  Cool  There may be others I may have missed. *shrug* Enjoy.) [/i]

You are separated from something or someone. Okay. How? (to be revealed later)


Confident that she could find the hunting grounds she remembered, Eilwen set out at a brisk pace, her braid bouncing from left to right as she trotted down the slope covered that smelled of fresh pine needles and cold snow. She remembering fondly shooting a rabbit here with her father when she was a young girl. 

With pine trees about, she descended in elevation her bow out, looking for any sign of game. The sky had turned leaden gray and small flakes of snow began to fall through the pines. The pines were already laden with icy snow, and now more piled on. The branched bowed low under the weight. 

She had better find some game quickly.

She entered a clearing, scanning it. 

Nothing... only... 

She raised her bow, setting an arrow to the string and aiming.

She had caught motion and saw a figure standing on the other side of the clearing just under the trees which overshadowed it. A boulder sat to the figure's left. The darkened tree line casting heavy shadows, but she could swear it looked at her

“Who are you?” she demanded. 

The figure said nothing, but she could feel eyes on her. Not malevolent...just curious. Watching.


She couldn’t make out its features as it stood too much in the shadow of the trees, but it looked tall and slender. It turned its head, and watched her as she carefully moved behind a tree for possible cover and kept the arrow trained on the figure.


The figure said nothing nor did it seem alarmed or concerned. It turned in a small rustle of undergrowth and disappeared among the trees .


Who was that? Should she follow? Curiosity warred with her, but she decided it would be better to go back before the others started to worry.


She turned around to leave, then then cursed, raising her bow again and turning in a slow circle, her heart beating in her chest. The game trail she had followed was gone! Pine needles and snow and fallen branches that she swore had not been there before now obliterated even her tracks. Trees had somehow shifted their position, and she couldn’t see any of the landmarks she had pursued to reach this far, a slight gust of wind kicked up pine needles in an eerie twisting circle.


“What sorcery is this?” she whispered to the mute boulders and trees. The wind moaned in seemingly sorrowful keen.


“Hello?” she called out. “Aron? Drystan?”


On the wind she heard the cawing of a bird, but there was no reply from her companions, and she was probably too far away for them to hear her anyway.


She felt a sense of despair. She was lost and she had left much of her supplies with the others. The way behind her was blocked. 


With a low curse, she darted in the only direction she could think of that might get our back to her brother, deeper into the forest and after the retreating figure.
Reply
#6
Episode 3

She caught snatches of the slender figure moving through the trees. It moved quickly, she grudgingly admitted. She herself was fleet of foot, slender, and athletic and could move with quiet grace, but this person was outrunning her!

She ran for fifteen minutes. “Wait... please...” she yelled in a gasp, after a long sprinting jog, leaping over log, brook, and boulder. “Please, I only want to talk. I need your help. I’m lost and--”

She tripped and sprawled in wet pine needles and snow. Pine gum and pine needles clung to her palms, clothes, and hair. She brushed them off as best she could in some snow and used a boulder to pull herself upright.

The figure was gone. 

(from before -- the figure she saw. Since it’s now gone and likely won’t return, I’ll reveal what I rolled)
100 = 100[d100]

46 = 46[d100]

Anomaly / Withered

Is it a person?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

No, but it's in the shape of one.

Does she catch up to the figure?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Where does it lead her to some ruins?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Why?

Create / Anger

It was her to be angered about something... hmmm. Cool.

She couldn’t see any sign of the person. Had it been her imagination all along? No... she shook her head. She knew what she had seen. 

Darkness crept across the land. Her companions would be looking for her, Aron would probably decide to do something stupid like try to look for her. Could they even find her? She knew that some fell sorcery had kept her from returning to them. Did that figure do something? Or was there something unnatural about this place?

She had heard the rumors of this place all her life, but after seeing the forest close up behind her and obscure her tracks, the snow and needles shifting to obscure her original route, she began to believe the rumors. There must be some ancient magic at work in these parts. 

Looking about, she saw several more boulders, an unusual amount, in a huge clearing. Old pine trees towered above the boulders, and snow lit on her cheeks, and she sought the stars but so none in this leaden gray night in the Green Grip.

The boulders, she found, were not natural. They were too blockish. Stone blocks? Carved by some ancient human hand? They looked to have been scattered by some giant kick sprawling them pell mell here and there. She hopped atop one, and then clambered atop another two blocks high, and looked about.

She stood among the ruins of some kind of pentagon-shaped building and near one end, two angular pillars of metal.

Are there runes?

(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

The same angular kind she learned?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

What vile thing was done here?

Neglect / Joy

“What is this?” she said as she hopped down and approached the metal pillars. They were iron, she could feel it in her blood when she touched it. But old iron, ancient in a way she couldn’t understand or fathom, but could only feel.

“Old...” she whispered. But not rusted...So black iron maybe?” Black iron -- iron forged from fallen stars.

Then brushing away pine needles, lichen, and snow, she saw angular runes upon a nearly scratch-free surface, runes that she recognized. Her heart began to thump as she took a step back, nearly stumbling over a fallen stone pillar.

Runes... runes she could read. It wasn’t easy, but her mother had taught her and had taught her well. She traced them with her finger and made the sounds for each one, translating them, slowly, painstakingly, but clearly.

“Bones small 
Bones of white
Bones of tenderness
Bones of innocence and light
Bring them, bind them, grind them right
Bring cries of fright, the shivering sight
Bring power o’er death and night
Bring bones white
Bones small
Bones light”

As she read, an immense sorrow pressed in upon her, threatening to crush her in a leaden weight. Heavy tears warm with sorrow yet filled with ice spilled on her cheeks as a horrible possibility began to be revealed.

“Dear Mother Arwed,” she called out in a breathless whisper to her mother’s departed spirit. “What in the thirteen halls of damnation is this place, and did you know about it? Did you have a part in it?”


I think this and its possible association with her mother, calls for Endure Stress:
I’ll say she suffers 2 spirit--a dangerous attack.

ENDURE STRESS
When you face mental shock or despair, suffer -spirit equal to your
foe’s rank or as appropriate to the situation. If your spirit is 0, suffer
-momentum equal to any remaining -spirit.
Then, roll +heart or +spirit, whichever is higher.
On a strong hit, choose one.
• Shake it off: If your spirit is greater than 0, suffer -1 momentum
in exchange for +1 spirit
• Embrace the darkness: Take +1 momentum
On a weak hit, you press on.
On a miss, also suffer -1 momentum. If you are at 0 spirit, you must
mark shaken or corrupted (if currently unmarked) or roll on the
following table.
Roll Result
1-10 You are overwhelmed. Face Desolation.
11-25 You give up. Forsake Your Vow (if possible, one
relevant to your current crisis).
26-50 You give in to a fear or compulsion, and act against
your better instincts.
51-00 You persevere.

8 = 5[d6]+3

18 = 8[d10]+10[d10]

Wow... Not good. Her spirit is now 3 and her momentum drops by 1 to be 3/10.

Does reading the words cause something else to happen?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

She wept for a time, kneeling on the wet needles, feeling the sorrow and despair and darkness of this foul place. Had that tall figure in the clearing brought her here? If so why? So that Eilwen might see this?

There must be some purpose...

Beneath her feet, half buried in the snow at the base of the pillars, she saw an iron panel about the size of both her palms side by side. There was some sort of protrusion on its face. She pressed it, and a faint clicking sound revealed a lid that sprung open. A hissing sound of escaped air shot forth a large cloud of white dust that enveloped her. With a jerk she fell on her backside, backing away, coughing and batting at the cloud, and for an instant she thought she saw a tall slender figure within the cloud, then the wind blew the dust to mingle with pine and snow.

Is there anything else inside?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

What is it?

Very / Feminine

Dang... this has turned dark fantasy. Yeesh.

Inside the box, mixed with the dust, was a little girl’s green dress, perfectly preserved. She pulled it out, the confirmation threatening to tear her mind apart. She thrust the dress away as if it were an adder, and brushed her hands furiously on her leggings and in the snow. The dust clung to her, and she screamed to the leaden sky that rained down frozen tears.

“Bones ground right!?” she half shouting, half gasping on her knees in sickened horror. She hung her head and breathed deeply the pines, the frigid cold air, the smell of wet earth. Who would do such things and why? For power? For some cheap trick? With a grim and defiant resolve she stood up and stood tall. “No!" she shouted to the dead sky. "I will not stand by when such things are done in the dark places of the earth! Not when I have blade and bow and blood to spend!” 

She stamped towards the pillars, her boots mixing with pine needles and white upon white, dust-laden snow, and with horrible finality, she slammed her hands on each pillar. She felt their angular bite on her hands, their cold terrible smoothness, the horrible runes against her palms.


“I vow, mother!” she spat, gripping the pillars. “By the iron in these pillars and the iron in my blood, and my iron resolve, to know the truth behind you and the discs, and why you had them and when or if I find remnants of this vile cult left, I will stamp them out! This I do vow!”

She felt an energy then... cold and hard thrum into her, sealing her vow.

As she stood there, her dark hair hung in front of her face, having come undone from its braid. The hair was a gift from her mother. It was long and luxurious the color from her father. Eilwen loved to brush it, but the small silver brush from the lowlands her mother had given her was now tarnished and worn, the bristles failing. But still, it was one of her dearest possessions. Her hair wasn’t a tangled mess like her father's or brother’s. Father's hair now had some gray in it. Grandfather, Cadfael's father, had died two winters back, and his hair had been wild and tangled hair too. 

"Cadfael’s hair is tangled, like the trees in the Deep Wild," her mother had said. 

Mother said father had traveled down to the lowlands only once, but it was enough. That's where he had met her mother. Father claimed he found her by a river in the Deep Wild and she had "bewitched him with her beauty."

Bewitched... was there something more to that word than a figure of speech?

She thought of her mother’s joyful laugh and warm smile as she danced with father. Eilwen thought of her mother reading the discs of the shadows creeping and gathering above them in the longhouse. Which one was her mother? Or were both? Or were people more complex than black or white pieces on a game board, filled with some mixture of dark and light?

She set her jaw and with finality shoved away from the pillars, a terrible resolve on her face. She would not fail. She would find father and Mabon first, then she would seek out her mother’s history. She had to for her own peace of mind. She had meant to seek out information about her mother anyway, as understanding the old queen’s birthplace was her only real clue to discover anything else about the crown. She had never met her mother’s mother nor anyone from her mother's side. Perhaps someone there would know something.

Eilwen moved well away from the ruins, and camped on a bed of dry pine needles under a tall wide pine with strong limbs. She pulled her bear cloak around her, munched on some dried berries and meat and fell into a troubled sleep.

Make Camp
6 = 5[d6]+1

12 = 9[d10]+3[d10]

Weak hit. She regains +1 spirit

---

That night she dreamed that she knelt over a small iron box, snow falling around her, her heart aching from sadness. Then a little girl in a green dress, bearing a warm wind came laughing and smiling. She touched Eilwen’s face, kissed her lightly on the forehead with a whispered, “Thank you.” Eilwen slept deeply then.


---


Morning found her fairly well rested, and the strange dream, and the innocent girl's touch had comforted her. She felt a deepened resolve to seek out her mother’s history.

Can she find her way back? Since she’s seen what the mysterious figure wanted her to see and she made her vow, I’ll say that’s likely.

(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

When she gets back are Drystan and Aron there?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

They're arguing... 

By noon, she approached the camp, weary and cold, her face and arms scratched from hiking through pines and branches, but grateful to be back. She heard raised voices and quietly approached.

“--just saying we should go back,” Drystan said. “She’s gone, lad.”


“You’re willing to leave after but one night of searching?” Aron said. “She’s my sister!”

“I know she is, lad, but--”

“Bah! You have a craven heart,” Aron sputtered, folding his arms he turned his back on the larger man.

“Craven,” Drystan muttered darkly and shook his large head. “Yer daft! It’s the Green Grip. It took her! Surely you can see that. There be nary any tracks in the snow... You’ve heard the legends! It’s haunted. It has obviously claimed her!”

Eilwen stepped out from behind a tree and entered the camp and smiled. “Well, if it did,” Eilwen said, “It spat me right back out.”

They spun and raised weapons. "Eilwen?" Aron asked. They lowered weapons, and their faces turned from dumbfounded alarm into grins.

“Eilwen!” Aron slipped his axe back into its holder at his waist, jogged over to her, and took her by the shoulders. “Are you alright?”

“I am well enough off,” she said. “Just tired. It seems...I lost my way for a night. But I am back and am grateful to be among companions again.” He smile slipped into a frown. “I saw... some things and I have a dark tale to relate as we travel.”

“Good to have you back, lass,” Drystan said, shooting a glance at Aron. “I suppose we can go lookin’ fer yer father again now.”

She nodded and put a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you Drystan. Let us be about it then."

They broke camp and resumed their journey.

---

Eilwen

Stats:

Edge 2

Heart 1

Iron 1

Shadow 3

Wits 2

Health: 5/5

Spirit: 4/5

Supply: 3/5
Momentum: 3/10
Reply
#7
Episode 4

The trio continued their journey through frozen valleys. Occasional icy winds buffeted them when they moved across a break between adjoining mountains, swirling white snows biting at exposed skin.

Undertake A Journey
8 = 6[d6]+2
13 = 6[d10]+7[d10]

A strong hit.

In the distance below them, they saw a pure deep blue frozen lake at the base of a mountain. The Lake of Mirrors it is called. It’s fed by a huge glacier. Only once is a year, in the warmest summer, does it ever thaw. Some settlers are known to come here to fish on the ice.

They’ll push on to complete their journey.

Their progress bar is 10/10 boxes now

I now do the Reach Your Destination move.

REACH YOUR DESTINATION
Progress Move
When your journey comes to an end, roll the challenge dice and
compare to your progress. Momentum is ignored on this roll.
On a strong hit, the situation at your destination favors you. Choose
one.
• Make another move now (not a progress move), and add +1.
• Take +1 momentum.
On a weak hit, you arrive but face an unforeseen hazard or
complication. Envision what you find (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
On a miss, you have gone hopelessly astray, your objective is lost
to you, or you were misled about your destination. If your journey
continues, clear all but one filled progress, and raise the journey’s
rank by one (if not already epic)

Since our progress is 10 we shouldn’t fail unless we roll two 10s. That’d just be sheer bad luck:

18 = 9[d10]+9[d10]

It’s a strong hit. She’ll take momentum. Momentum of +4 now.

Wow... Two nines and a match --- that means a twist--. But they don’t beat the 10 and so we arrive at Rockriver.

Eilwen, Aron, and Drystan crested a cut between two peaks and down below some ways, they saw Rockriver. They made it! Eilwen shielded her eyes and looked down. She had been here only once before when she was younger.
 
Rockriver settlement was built atop a rugged rock that jutted from the surface of a placid river. The river originated from an underground source from a nearby mountain. Some called the rock ‘The Island’. And it was, an island, albeit a fairly small one. Other numerous streams and runoff when the snows melted, fed the river. Some water came from something else, perhaps some underground hot springs, because the water was ice-free even in the coldest winters, except along the edges of the river. But ice-free did not mean warm. The water was pure, frigid, and ice-cold. The river, moving further south, picked up speed and dropped off into a roiling waterfall hundreds of feet below.

“Shall we  go down? “Aron asked. “We can maybe find news of father. Plus, I could use a good hot meal; there’s bound to be something with all the cooking going on down there... from...all that smoke...” his voice trailed off, and both he and Eilwen looked at each other, then they dropped to the ground ensuring they weren’t backlit on the ridge. She was instantly alert. 

Drystan was humming a merry tune under his breath, clucking to his dogs, still coming up behind them. They motioned Drystan to halt and for quiet. He gave a puzzled look then nodded, settling his dogs.

A dog looked up at her and whined happily, its tail wagging, unaware of the possible danger.

“Quiet,” she scolded the dog and pushed his head away. 

Drystan moved in a crouch to a boulder and looked down with them. “What’s going on?”

The twist... from the double nines...

“Trouble,” she said and pointed.

Any dead bodies?

(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes
 
Any movement down below?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yesbut...

From the injured or dying.

Below them, Rockriver lay in ruins. Charred wood and smoke from still-smoldering places drifted up, and they smelled clean snow mixed with the acrid smell of burnt lumber. From this distance it was impossible to see details. 

“Lets get closer,” Eilwen said. “That boulder there, one ridge down."

Aron nodded.

"Keep the dogs tied up, Drystan. We’ll check it out," She said.

He nodded and Eilwen and Aron set off. They arrived at the ridge and looked down again. They were much closer now. Bodies lay scattered about like so much driftwood. Ravens circled overhead and some landed on frozen corpses to peck at the flesh of the fallen.

“There,” Aron said. “Movement,” he pointed and Eilwen saw a man roll over, an arrow in his gut and she heard him groan.

“See any raiders?” Eilwen asked. Her bow was out and an arrow set. 

Aron and she both looked for a long moment. But did not see any warriors or anything that was a threat. Whomever had attacked had already left.

“Come on, let’s talk to him and find out what happened.”

Is the man a settler of Riverrock?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

The man held a hand around his wound, blood oozing out slowly.

He started when they approached and pulled a dagger out while keeping his left hand on his wound.

“We’re not going to hurt you,” Eilwen said, and the man relaxed. “Who did this?” She knelt beside him examining the wound.

Will the man die from the gut wound?
(Likely | 4[d10]) Nobut... 
But with no one to take care of him, he will.

She had done a fair bit of hunting and had seen enough death to know wounds. The shaft had gone clean through and had missed any major organs. This one would not be fatal under normal circumstances, as long as the shaft was removed and the wound cleansed and bound and he had days of bed rest.

Days she didn’t have. She frowned.

Does this man know who attacked?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

“Night take them!” he gasped, gripping the base of the shaft protruding from his side. “Warriors from Clan Chief Uzak. I fell unconscious from the pain, and they must’ve thought me dead. They’re gone now though.” 

He bit off a curse from Eilwen’s prodding. “Yer fingers feel like fire, girl.” 

“Aron, bring down the water and bandages. Quickly! Tell Drystan it’s safe to come down.” 

She turned to the man. What’s your name?

“Kyffin,” he said, gritting his teeth from the pain. “I’m a trapper and fisherman here and before that, I was a warden.”

She raised an eyebrow but said nothing. Wardens were warriors who roamed the Ironlands. Some belong to the settlements they guarded. Others hired out as mercenary protectors for caravans, traders...

She snapped off the fletching on the arrow. “This might hurt,” she said.

“Already does,” he said, sweating from the pain.

“This will hurt more. Bite on this.” She stuck a stick in his mouth. Then she slowly moved the shaft out through his back. It came out darkly wet with his blood and bile, and the man groaned, his eyes going wide then gasped and then sagged back into her arms.

Aron and Drystan came back, bringing the sleds with their dwindling supplies. 

She tended Kyffin’s wounds, wrapping clean bandages around his middle, stitching the wound with needle and thread and putting some of mother’s paste into the wound. It would help against infection.

Drystan saw to the dogs and their supplies, while Aron looked about for anything of use.

Did Aron find any supplies?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

What about any weapons or armor on the fallen or in any homes?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) Noand...

Has she heard of Uzak?
 
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yesand...

Later they gathered together around a pot of stew and hard bread in a half-burned longhouse. From the destroyed homes, they had enough scrap wood for a warm fire.

“Tell me about the attack,” Aron asked, motioning with a wooden spoon.

“Our warriors gave a good accounting for themselves before they were put down,” Kyffin said. “We managed to kill some of them and wounded some others. They took their wounded away with them on some wide sleds, and the women and children in wooden cages also on sleds pulled by dogs. Their dead they tossed over the falls. Our dead, they left to rot.”

As they talked over food, something he said pricked Eilwen’s memory. “You said the man who attacked was named Uzak... I’ve heard that name before.” A distant memory revealed a large and muscular bald man with a nose ring and a patch over one eye, an angry scar running vertically through his eye socket and down his face. “Big man?”

Kyffin spat to the side. “Aye, and he’s got a nasty scar running down his face. He’s a shifty bastard, he is. He came through here five or six years ago, claiming he’d be clan chief some day. We laughed at him and sent him packing with a few bruises on his face. Looks like the lout actually managed it--if you can call control over three villages on the border between the Veiled Mountains and the Tempest Hills a 'clan'. He calls it the Wolf Fang clan. Even has some wolves as pets. Carries a red banner with a wolf’s head and a fang on it.” He sucked on some broth from the stew and chewed some bread softened in water. His face was still pale, but was regaining color.

“He used to be from our settlement ten years ago, I think,” Eilwen said, stirring her stew and taking a bite. “Though I was only a girl at the time, but I do remember him. I think he stole from us?”

“That be the right of it,” Drystan nodded his shaggy head as he mended a harness on one of the dogs in between bites of stew. “Yer father confronted him, lass, and nearly killed him, but Mabon, the dolt, showed some mercy on him and only exiled him. Shoulda killed him then and there. Woulda made things simpler.”

“But he was nothing more but a petty criminal,” Eilwen said.

“Well, his crimes got a lot worse,” Kyffin added. “He came up to Rockriver with his men and said he was putting together a warband, and needed soldiers. Our men refused. He claimed these lands were his--can you imagine that, someone trying to claim the Veiled Mountains? Fighting broke out and...he slew everyone, except the younger women, children and youths--those he took--and then he left.”

“Did you see if he had any other prisoners with him, not part of your settlement? We’re looking for my father and a man named Mabon.” She gave descriptions to Kyffin.

“I don’t recall them two,” he said. “But it was night when they came and made their demands. Our scouts reported he certainly had a fair number of warriors combing into this region.”

“If they’re the same ones who attacked our father and Mabon,” Aron said, “they had pretty far-ranging patrols. I wonder why they didn’t come into Frostbridge itself.”

“Dunno,” Kyffin said and leaned back with a grimace of pain against some half-burnt furs. He stared into the flames and tossed a twig into the fire. “But perhaps because he was managing things here. ‘Managing’,” he spat and barked a gruff and bitter laugh. “Aye, he was managing sure enough. Makin’ himself right busy with some of our women folk in his tent. Nights beneath, but I wish I didn’t have this,” he tapped the bandage about his middle. “I’d be huntin’ him down myself or die tryin’.”

“Hold still, or you’ll re-open the wound!” Eilwen said. “I won’t be patching you up a second time. I haven’t got the time nor the bandages.”

“Do you know his holdfast?” Aron asked around a mouthful of bread.

“Aye, he mentioned a place called Lonefort, an old ruined fort, from the old times you see, just inside the border of the Tempest Hills. He’s been raisin’ an army there I guess.”

“Do you know where it is?” Eilwen asked?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

“I do,” Kyffin said. “I have family in the Hinterlands and a route I sometimes take passes near to Lonefort.”

“One more place to avoid,” Aron said and Drystan nodded.

“What if he took father and Mabon there?” Eilwen asked.

“Then...” Aron ran a hand through his tangled blond hair. “I don’t know Eilwen. My heart says we should help, but my head is telling me it’s suicide marching into an enemy camp.”

“I agree with you Aron,” she said. “But we might not have any choice unless we can somehow catch up with them.”

“You said the attack was last night?” Aron asked.

Kyffin nodded, “Aye they’ll be on the trail for a while, I think.”

“Even if that be the case, what can three of us do?” Drystan said. “Against an armed war band?”

“I don’t know,” Eilwen said. “For now, we need to catch up with them. They’ll have women and children. That should slow them down. Once there, we can formulate a plan.”

They talked some more, ate and dozed and fell asleep.

I’ll Make Camp Move.
They’re technically in a settlement so I don’t know if that’s the right move, but the settlement is gutted so for all intents and purposes, it’s not around, other than the structures. Normally, you don’t give bonuses but I think in this case, it calls for a +1 to reflect there are shelters they’re using.

8 = 4[d6]+4
11 = 2[d10]+9[d10]

A weak hit. They’ll plan their route and get a +1 bonus to Undertake a Journey.

Does Kyffin know of a shortcut to help them catch up? 
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Kyffin explained that there’s an old iron mine that they closed some years ago, said to be haunted. It cuts directly through the base of Mount Hingworth instead of having to go around it. They might save some time from distance and weather, but it’s risky; for the mine has its own dangers: tunnels that aren’t secure, getting lost in unfamiliar passageways, rumors of strange creatures.

Does Kyffin have a map?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

He used to mine there.

They’ll plan on trying it. If they’re successful, it should be them ahead of the warband. I’ll say the journey to the mine opening and through the mine to the other side is a Troublesome journey. They spend the remaining light and into the night, making torches for the underground journey, getting directions from Kyffin and trying to memorize part of his map of the mines.

Are there any scouts or hunters from Rockriver who were out at the time of the attack?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes

Do they come back that night?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) Noand...

They’re past due. 
Reply
#8
Episode 5

“Drystan,” Eilwen approached the large man. She had her bear skin coat wrapped around around her, and she stamped her feet against the frosty cold. The fire place lay cold and dark, a shadow of last night's former glory. As dawn neared, the wind penetrated the ruined longhouse like a sieve. But even a ruined shelter was better than no shelter. Listen, Aron and I need to move quickly. You’ll need you to stay with Kyffin and nurse him back to health. He won’t survive otherwise. If he has someone helping him out, he should be alright in a few weeks to where he can mend on his own. Or you could try to take him back to Frostbridge. I’ll leave that to you. We won’t need your dogs going through the mines...”


Does Drystan want to go with her?


(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


“I understand,” he said. “Are you sure lass? I’ll be leavin’ ya short handed.”


“I’d love to have your help, but the only other option I feel good about would be to take Kyffin with us, but he’d only slow us down. Aron and I will continue in pursuit of our father.”


He nods slowly. “I’ll look after Kyffin and see he gets mended.” He sounded relieved.


“If you do get back to Frostbridge, keep an eye on Belvan. That snake is trying to take over. I feel it.”


“Aye. I’ll do what I can,” He holds out his hand, and she takes it. “Be careful lass; it’s a dangerous world out there.”


“I wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t,” she said shaking it firmly. Then she nodded her thanks and gathered her pack of supplies and her weapons.


She said farewells to Kyffin:

“You’ve done me good service by helpin’ me, girl,” Kyffin said, his face had regained much of its color already. “I thank these forsaken lands fer it that ye came when ye did. If we meet again, I’ll be lookin’ to repay you. I never let debt, good or bad, go unanswered, ya see?”


She nodded and then she set out to the mine entrance with Aron. It was up on a side trail into a different valley. Kyffin had marked in on his map he had given her.


I’ll say they lose 1 supply by leaving some supplies with Kyffin and Drystan.


They haven’t had a chance to resupply so they’re at 2/5. That’ll be dangerous, but they’ll risk losing the opportunity to get ahead of their quarry if they stop now to resupply.


Undertake a Journey
6 = 3[d6]+3


3 = 1[d10]+2[d10]


A strong hit! They’ll move at a steady pace and make good use of resources. So they don’t lose supply.


Progress 3/10


After a few hours of steady hiking, a narrow trail up a small valley led them to the mine entrance. It was mid-morning. Some fallen pine trees partially covered the abandoned mine entrance, together they moved aside one of the smaller dead trees and stepped into the mine entrance.


The gray sky behind them did little to penetrate the pitch black of the mine opening that yawned in front of them. The light only illuminated a few feet into the entrance. It showed a natural cavern. They lit their first torches and stepped into the darkness. The map showed a main route that wound its way to the other side of the mountain, making use of natural and man-made passageways and caverns.


As they began, the first thing Eilwen noticed, besides the obvious darkness that enveloped, was how still it felt. No breeze on her face. No gusting winds. No hawks looking for a meal, circling high among the peaks on broad wings.


“Feels like death,” Aron said, mirroring her thoughts as he often did. “Too quiet.”


“There’s no wind,” she nodded. “No sounds of trees snapping in the cold. No ice cracking.”


“I don’t like it,” Aron said.


“Then let’s get it over with as soon as possible.”


They consulted their map and continued their journey.


 Undertake a Journey


6 = 4[d6]+2


6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]


Another strong hit! Nice! They’ll do the same, moving at a steady pace.


Progress 6/10


For perhaps three hours they followed the route by consulting Drystan’s map. The charcoal route was fairly self explanatory and required little interpretation.


They arrived at a glittering natural cavern where quartz crystals reflected their light onto a dark mirror of a placid, large, underground lake that stretched away from them further than their light could reach. Little cairns of stone with cloth tied to them marked the route around the edge of the lake.


Is there anything in the lake?


(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


Human?


(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...


Half in the lake and half on shore, they see a rough humanoid skeleton.


An elf skeleton?


(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


I'm going to say it's from one of the peoples that inhabited this land before the first born. The forerunners.


Has she seen any of their ruins before?


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


This is her first encounter.


“A skeleton,” she pointed with her torch, and she and Aron moved slowly towards it.


Aron shoved it with his boot, and turned it over in a rattle of bones and a quiet splash into the dark waters.


How is it different from humans?


Roughly / Familiar


Ruthlessly / Quaint


Gracefully / Pale


“That’s...not human,” he said, his voice uneasy.


“No,” Eilwen agreed. “I’ve never seen its like.”


“Do you think it was intelligent?” Aron asked.

She considered and then finally nodded. “Yes. This is more than a mere animal. Look at the skeleton structure and the skull.” It stared up at them, dark emptiness in sockets contrasted with the pale bones. It’s lower half was still submerged . It bore a rough likeness to humans, similar in size and build, perhaps a hand taller, perhaps leaner, it’s bone structure more slender, thinner which bespoke a build meant for grace and motion. The skull had an angled forehead, and eye sockets that reminded Eilwen of a mountain cat she had hunted once... “I bet the person could probably see quite well in the dark. The bones structure is thinner than humans, but more graceful...and look at this,” she touched a long claw that could extend or retract along a bone sheath on the forearm where the middle finger was. 


“Very nasty,” Aron said fingering one. “Like carrying around a couple of short swords with you at all times.”


“But with fingers for dexterous work,” she added, oddly fascinated.


 Does it have any items on it?


(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes


Is there still flesh on the bones?


(Very Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...


It's very old.


Some of the bones crumble to dust when touched.


Very old indeed.


What does it have?


MAG!


It had a cracked helm and a shield of iron with a horizontal eye symbol.


Still serviceable?


(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No


Aron caught a glint of reflection in the water, half buried in some silt. He pulled out a helm cankered with a thick layer of rush that flaked and fell apart in his hands.The helm had been ruined by a jagged hole where it had ruptured. It also had an iron shield with rust eating holes in it. By tilting the shield just slightly, and looking at it closely in their torch light, they make out the same device of an eye on the shield.


Is there anything else of use? 


(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Aron grunted and tossed the ruined items back into the water. They splashed in an echo. “Bah... nothing of use here. I was hoping to get a new shield.”


They sat on the edge of the shore, resting and eating from their meager store of supplies.


“I wonder what this being’s story was. How it came to these caverns? What were its last moments? What did it see and know, roving these lands.”


“Perhaps the gods know,” Aron said.


“Perhaps,” Eilwen said. “And perhaps we could have asked them, had they not forsaken our forefathers to the Heralds. I fear, brother, that the gods are long gone.”


He grunted and shook his head, but said nothing more, and they finished their meal in silence.


Do they find anything else useful in or around the lake?


(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


“We should continue,” Eilwen said, and she led the way part way around the lake, following the cairns, and there, they found the passageway left the lake and continued on. They resumed their hike through this dark and mostly soundless realm.


Undertake Journey


3 = 1[d6]+2


19 = 10[d10]+9[d10]


Well, that was about as bad as you can get...


About an hour later, they came to a rickety rope bridge of dubious quality that crossed over a wide chasm with half-rotted wooden planks. Down below they could hear the rushing of a rapid underground river crashing under the mountain.


“What do you think?” Aron asked, testing the bridge near the edge. It creaked and swayed alarmingly when he put his weight on it, and his foot fell through. He nearly tilted forward but Eilwen wrapped one arm around his chest and pulled him back to safety.

"Thanks," he breathed out slowly.


“That doesn’t look safe,” Eilwen frowned. 


“We could climb down the chasm, and then find a way to climb up the other side,” Arons suggested. 


Do they have climbing gear in their supplies? We roll plus supply.


3 = 1[d6]+2


10 = 2[d10]+8[d10]


That’s a weak hit. A yes... but. They do have some extra rope, but that’s it, no pitons or grapple hook, nothing like well-supplied adventurers in D&D, for example.


“That sounds dangerous too,” Eilwen said, holding up the torch high above them and peering over the ledge. Their bundle of torches wouldn’t last forever. They did need to keep moving, but perhaps they could risk a little bit of time for something that might help.


Secure an Advantage move
They’re using observation... so roll + wits.


8 = 6[d6]+2


12 = 8[d10]+4[d10]


Weak hit. She gets +1 momentum but the advantage is short lived. (momentum is +5 now)


Along the chasm edge, she found some tipped over barrels. Some were cracked. Two were bound tight. Inside one that was tipped over was some old rusty mining equipment: picks and shovels.


Jamming her torch into a rock, Eilwen said, “Help me break these down, the slats of the barrels are in good condition. We can use them to overlay the existing planks.” 


Once finished, she created a harness around her legs and waist with the rope and handed the other end to Aron. “Hold this. I’ll go first,” she said. “And will lay down the planks carefully. Once across, you’ll wear the harness and I’ll hold it while you cross.”


He looked dubious at that. “I weigh a bit more than you do, Eilwen,” he frowned. “Even though we share the same birth, I’m literally your big brother.”


“Do you have a better idea?”


He shook his head. 

“Then let’s do this.” She picked up some barrel slats, and carefully positioned them over the thicker bridge cross-pieces and slowly made her way step by step, being careful where to put her weight.

She’ll do a Face Danger move now. She’s using observation to know where to step and how to place the planks.


8 = 6[d6]+2


12 = 7[d10]+5[d10]


A strong hit!


Moving slowly and carefully, she crossed the chasm. Then she held the rope while Aron tied his harness about himself and joined her. They continued their journey, hoping to make up for lost time.


Undertake a Journey


3 = 1[d6]+2


8 = 7[d10]+1[d10]


Wow. Almost didn’t make that one. A weak hit. 


But they do make progress:


Progress now 9/10 but -1 supply.


Supply is now down to + 1 now, but they’ll end their journey.


Reach Your Destination Move


9 progress vs...


10 = 4[d10]+6[d10]


A strong hit! Yay!


The situation favors you, take either +1 momentum or I can do another move now and take +1. I think she’ll take the +1 momentum, bringing it up to +5 


Is the mine exit barred off?


(50/50 | 2[d10]) No



Dusk had claimed the land when they exited the mine. But they had made good time, despite the minor setback of the rope bridge. If Eilwen’s estimates were correct, they had about two days before the Wolf Fang warriors and their captives passed through this area.
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#9
Episode 6

The mine exit opened up into a sheltered area where the wind was only a small breeze. Switchbacks led down to where they met with the trail a few miles away. The air and the snow smelled clean and fresh after the recent oppressive darkness and confined spaces.


Did they find any supplies along the way? Left over salted pork, or dried rations or other things they could use?


(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


Does the mine open up nearby the road?


(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


Here's where the situation favors you from the move on the previous episode...


With ample time ahead of them, they found a sheltered place to set up camp. It was above the valley on a ledge with a good view, so that they could easily see approaching travelers with plenty of notice as long as the weather co-operated. It also had a shadowed overhang with some large boulders which both protected against the weather and offered concealment.


In the surrounding area, they hunted, gathered food, and other supplies, and back at camp, she crafted a few new arrows for her bow from some young saplings.


5 = 3[d6]+2


12 = 4[d10]+8[d10]


It’s a weak hit. 


On a weak hit, she can take up to +2 supply, but suffer -1 momentum for
each. She’ll take +2 supply and lose 2 momentum. So, Supply is now 3/5 and Momentum is now 3/5.


She brought down a buck and spent much of the day, cutting up and cooking the meat in a place that would be downwind from the soldiers, sleds, and dogs. That would take some time but she wasn't sure how long she'd be here and it was good to be prepared.


That night, they camped in the overhang.


Make Camp move


7 = 4[d6]+3


11 = 8[d10]+3[d10]


A weak hit.


They talked about the enemy warriors, how many they might have and spoke of possible plans to rescue her father and Mabon.  


She’ll take +1 momentum.


Did they see any cook fires far in the distance that night?


(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


The next day, do they see or hear signs of the approaching warriors.


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


That’s because a strong wind gusted snow across the valley in billowing sheets of white that obscured vision.


She went out hunting again.


Resupply


5 = 3[d6]+2


19 = 10[d10]+9[d10]
That’s a miss.


Aron stayed back and minded the camp, while Eilwen took a small pack and headed south to find some more food, following a track of deer prints, she heard a howl in the distance, downwind from her. Wolves on the hunt. Their howls grew louder, coming for her.

She decided to give up the hunt and to get back to the camp, but instead of just running there, she carefully studied her surroundings, hoping something would give her some advantage.

Secure and Advantage Move
Using observation so roll + wits.

7 = 5[d6]+2

4 = 3[d10]+1[d10]

A strong hit! 

She’ll Prepare to act. Take the +2 momentum. 
Total of 6 momentum now.

As the wolves closed in. She saw it. A ravine with a fallen log over it. If she could get to the other side and throw the log in the ravine, the wolves would have to go a long way around, and they would lose her scent.

The howls closing in, she carefully but quickly put her bow on her back and moved onto the log. She began to cross over the ravine just as three lean wolves loped into view around the corner howling and growling.


She’ll try to get across before the wolves can intercept her.


Face Danger to get over the ravine with speed roll + edge


3 = 1[d6]+2


19 = 10[d10]+9[d10]


Man... I hate it when I roll poorly like that. There’s just nothing I can do. Ah well. She’s halfway across when the lead wolf catches up to her.


Does it follow her onto the log?


(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...


The wolf puts its forepaws on the log, causing it to wobble. It leaps back and snarls, revealing sharp canines dripping with saliva, and she put her hands out to both sides to maintain her balance or fall as she continued to edge across the log.

Face Danger roll + edge

7 = 5[d6]+2

15 = 8[d10]+7[d10]

Another weak hit. Not good.

The dog leaped and snarled around its side of the ravine, running back and forth along the edge whining. The wind blew grains of snow into her face. Her feet slipped on an icy patch and she hit hard on her side and began to topple over the side of the log.

Her gloved hands scrambled for purchase on the log, holding onto a branch.

She’ll try to arrest her fall and then go hand and hand on the log to the other side, pulling herself up.

Face Danger roll + iron 

Iron is one of her low stats. But a lot rides on those challenge dice.

2 = 1[d6]+1

Man... really poor roll. Her only chance is to get a 1 on one of the challenge dice.

3 = 2[d10]+1[d10]

Oh man...she is so lucky! A weak hit.


She held! Her arms ached, her shoulder muscles burned, her gloves started to slip, but instead of giving into the fear and the pain, she lunged for another limb on the log, barely caught it and somehow managed to swing her feet up around the log as she clung and slowly clambered beneath it, monkey style. The wolves yapped and paced but still didn’t follow. A few of her supplies fell out of her small pack into the ravine, but she made it across, limbs burning from fatigue as she pulled herself up the icy rocks on the other side and sat panting in the snow.

-1 supplies

Do the wolves give up?


(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes


The small pack of wolves growled, whined, pacing back and forth as if considering whether to follow. Then with a sniff in the wind, and a howl, they loped away.


Tired from her ordeal and angry that she hadn’t been able to get any new supplies, and that she actually lost some, she returned to camp as evening fell.


Did the Wolf Fang group come nearer during the day?


(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


And they’ve camped nearby.


“They’ve arrived,” Aron whispered to her when she came into camp. He crouched in the shadowed overhand and pointed down below them. “Looks like they’re setting up camp down there.”


“Did you see father?”


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


He shook his head. “There’s too much wind blowing snow about. But the group is in a sheltered spot down there. We'll prob need to get closer or wait until the wind shifts.”


As darkness crept across the landscape, cook fires began to sprout up from the camp below them. She heard the yapping of dogs, the curses and coarse laughter of savage men. The cries of the women and the weeping of children tore at her heart. Aron looked at her, a grim look on his face.


She stirred into a crouch and whispered, “We need to help them, Aron. Listen to their cries! I can’t sit here any longer and--”


“I don’t like it either, Eilwen,” he said, grabbing her arm and pulling her back down. “But we can’t!”


“Why not?”


“Even if we did somehow manage to free all of them, then what? Would we take them with us? They would only slow us down, and the soldiers would just capture all of us. And if we didn’t take them with us, but left them to flee, then they would be at the mercy of the Veiled Mountains. And you know it has no mercy.”


“Maybe that would be better,” she muttered.


“It would mean certain death, and you know it. At least as slaves to the Wolf Fang clan, they’re still alive.”


She wondered which would be better. She mouthed a curse and sat hard against a boulder, folding her arms, stabbing her knife again and again into the frozen ground. She had to do something...


“I know you want to help..." Aron said. "It’s what makes you...special. You’re a problem solver, a fixer, a doer. I respect that, but I won’t let you throw your life away needlessly. I vowed to protect you. How can I do that when your heart gets in the way of your head.”


“What does that mean?”


“You’re too kind hearted.”


“Is that a bad thing?”


“No... but it’s a soft thing, and it’s going to get you killed. You don’t have the luxury to follow every kind impulse,” he tossed a twig into the cold fire pit and grimaced. Then he peered over the edge down across the valley to the camp spread out below them, and after a moment he shuffled back into a sitting position, looking at Eilwen. He leaned forward looking at her. 

Darkness claimed the land, but she could still make out his face in the way that the world lights up when it snows. The large flakes alternated between drifting lazily and harried flurries that twisted at times into their sheltered recess. “Eilwen, you’re going to have to make some uncomfortable choices to become a ruler of this divided people,” he said finally.
 
“I thought that’s what I was doing.”


He shook his head, “You can’t save everyone, Eilwen. You have to start thinking like a ruler.”


“Well, I’ve not had a lot of experience,” she said. “I suppose you do?” her voice rose above a whisper, but with the wind, no one in the distance below seemed to have heard.


He shrugged. “I’ve watched Mabon,” he said. “He’s had to exile--even execute--some that he loved for the good of the settlement.”


“My vow of how I become queen is up to me!”


He slowly shook his head. “Not entirely. Remember, that I made a sacred oath on mother’s death bed to help you.”


“Then help me. Help me rescue them!”


“Your rescuing the women and children down there has no bearing on whether or not you find the crown. It won't help you become queen.”


“You don’t know that,” she said, her voice soft but hard. “It might.”


“You’re letting your emotions get the better of you,” he said.


“Heralds beneath!” she spat in a whisper, leaning towards him, her face inches from his. “So what if I am, are we just going to sit here and listen to that.”


On the keening of the wind, they heard a child scream.


He grimaced. “Look, we’ll get father and Mabon that is what we came for. We didn’t come here to get slowed down, and killed or captured by taking on nameless rabble.”


“They’re not nameless and they're not rabble. They’re all people. Real people, like you and like me, with real hopes and dreams! Real lives!”


“I know that... you know what I meant,” he said he said darkly.


“I don’t know if I do. Explain it to me!”


“They are people, yes,” he ran his hand through his hair. “Mothers and children, yes. But they are not central to your purpose of finding the crown. I swore to help you do that, not throw your life away on useless causes.”


“And if I command you as your queen? You’re the one always bringing it up, you know.”


Does he back down?


(Somewhat Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...


But it leaves him angry and bitter.


He grimaced and anger flashed in his eyes. “It’s hopeless talking to you when you’re like this.”


“Like what?”


“So... dead set on whatever course you have set! As stubborn and a boulder with ice in the dead of winter!”

He called her stubborn? Nights and Heralds, but he was the stubborn one! Her eyes flashed at his response, but with some effort, she bit off a retort and settled back in a huff. She folded her arms across her chest, looking past him down at the camp across the valley, and she tried to shut her ears to the cries of the women. 


More time passed. Too much time. Time to think about what he said. Stars! But he was right! She needed help to free them, and it would be folly to pursue that course heedless of the facts confronting her.


The cold winds swirled about them, and as camp below quieted, so did the twins' emotions. The noise below lessened and soon all they could hear was the whistling wind.


Eventually, she turned to Aron. “You are right,” she said. “At least about doing anything about it tonight. Now is not the time. I can see that, and it makes sense. But I promise you that I will rescue them, Aron! I vow it upon my blade!” she gripped the iron blade of her hunting knife in her hand and when I do, she said to herself, you will not stand in my way.


He nodded, a dark frown pulling at his face, but he said nothing more.


OOC: I thought about using the Test a Bond move, but I think since they’re family members who have a relatively good relationship, the level of conflict or confrontation needs to be more than one argument to test that bond. The failure for Test a bond is that they would lose their bond completely. But that doesn’t seem realistic given the fact that he’s in a sense oath-bound to help her on her quest.
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#10
Episode 7

It was past midnight, she was sure, but there was no way to judge time in the greyish white of these timeless hills, where the sky above them was blotted out by one vast smear of gray clouds. She studied the camp below, while Aron dozed. She peered through the snow and the darkness. The wind had died down some, and the snow fell lazily in thick cold flakes that tasted of the stone-cold mountains.

The warriors of the Wolf Fang clan slept in a haphazard arrangement. Cloth and canvas tents dotted the leeward side of a field of huge boulders that had collapsed off of a cliff face far above them, spilling out across the valley, the rocky mounds looked like a heard of cattle grazing in a white field.


Some of the segments of rock in the field were larger than her longhouse back in Frostbridge. The rock field offered a natural windbreak, and the enemy camp had tents interspersed around a few boulders, blankets, canvas, and bed rolls crammed next to each other. Cookfires smoldered their coals, looking like a dozen red eyes gazing out of a vast white face. 


Can she see the wooden cages.


(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes


Does she see her father?


(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


Then she saw them. The cages! And there, in a cage by the field of boulders, were two men. A nearby fire flared to life as a tired guard yawned and dropped some wood on it, the light revealing their faces to her. 

It was them! An immense almost giddy feeling of relief coursed through her at seeing her father still alive.


Are the prisoners being watched right now?


(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


Is there more than one guard awake by that cage?


(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but...


She awakened Aron and pointed out the cages. They both saw there was only a single guard who watched the prisoners. Other guards were camped around another fire a little ways off.


“It’s Father!” Aron grinned. “We found him. And Mabon too!”


Is there anyone else in their cage?


(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes



Children in their cage?


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Women?


(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


“Now is our chance!” Eilwen said. “There’s only the one guard watching. We can approach through that field of massive boulders there. Many are larger than we are. It offers good concealment. If we can take out that guard quietly, we can bring Father and Mabon back the same way, back to here, and then pull back up into the mines.”


“A good plan, but there are women in their cage,” Aron said. “They could be trouble.”


“We don’t have much of a choice. We’re not going to get a better opportunity.”


He nodded. “Let’s do it.”


---


She and Aron stood on the edge of the field of boulders, less than a hundred paces away, a lone guard sat whittling a stick by the fire. He watched the prisoners, beyond which were the field of boulders. He didn't appear to see Eilwen and Aron there. Every few seconds the guard cracked a yawn and sucked at a wineskin.


The twins were close enough that they could make out the rest of the arrangement of the camp. There were ten cages total. She counted maybe fifty women and children. They huddled together inside the cages for warmth, the camp fires not offering them much comfort. Perhaps enough to keep them alive, but not enough to give any sense of pleasure. She heard a few soft coughs and now and then a child murmured or cried out against some horror.


“Stay here,” she whispered to Aron. They stood behind a boulder and behind them more boulders lay scattered across the valley, and the trackless trail of this valley wound its way through them. Each was covered with a mound of snow. “Take my bow. If anyone awakens and gives chase, give covering fire, and then get our supplies and retreat back to the mines. You have the map. I’ll meet you there.”


“You’re the better shot,” he whispered back. “Why don’t I go.”


“Because you clomp like a bear during mating season,” she said with a smile.


He nodded and then shrugged and took her bow, fitting an arrow. She sighed and felt a stab of anxiety. It felt like she was like giving up one of her hands.


“I’ll take care of it,” he smiled. “Now go and be careful.”


“You too.”


She pulled out her knife and crouched behind the boulder and moved in carefully to behind another boulder. She moved in a half circle to get out of the guard’s direct line of sight. 


There, behind another boulder, and out of sight from both her brother and the guard, she began to chant in a low whisper the words her mother taught her, coming easily to her memory. She traced symbols in the air with one finger, and a faint ghostly-blue light followed her traced rune and faded into mist. She waited, and the shadows came, bound to the old magic. They flowed out of the ground, like twisting vines, gossamer strands of shadow that wrapped around her boots and wound up her legs. A part of her wanted to flinch away when they crawled onto her skin. But she needed every advantage she could get. She gritted her teeth and watched them form


She’s using her Shadow-walk ability:
When you cloak yourself with the
gossamer veil of the shadow realms,
roll +shadow. On a strong hit, take +1
momentum. Then, reroll any dice (one
time only) when you make a move by
ambushing, hiding, or sneaking. On a
weak hit, as above, but the shadows try to lead you astray. You must first Face Danger to find your way.


5 = 2[d6]+3


15 = 5[d10]+10[d10]


Great... a miss. Her Shadow stat is her best one, but the randomness of those challenge dice can be a real kicker. I’ll roll on the Mystic Backlash table.


She rolls a 3 
Your ritual has the opposite affect.

Not good


Something didn’t feel right... She had done this chant before a dozen times at least. But... her form began to glow a soft blue... It started first with her skin, and when she tried to pull her sleeve down to cover it, it seeped out of her clothing. She was now outlined in a strange mystical light, of faint blue, as if an ethereal fog bled off of her. The color looked identical to the ghostly streak of light that had followed her finger when she had traced the runes in the air. Had she got the chant wrong? Maybe she had missed one of the runic tracings...


Is there a spear nearby?


(Very Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


It’s the guard’s spear and it’s on the ground a little behind the guard...


But maybe... just maybe she could use this bad turn of luck somehow. A wild plan formed in her head, and before her common sense could tell her otherwise, she boldly stepped from behind the boulder and strode up behind the guard, snatching up his spear along the way.


The guard heard her, spun dropping his wine skin. When he saw her glowing form, he spat out his wine in a purple spray eyes wide as a round shield. He scrambled for his spear, but froze when he saw she had it in her hands. He was about to utter a cry, when she spoke softly, lazily spinning the spear as she spoke, not threatening, but for show. 

“Utter no sound, foolish mortal! I am the goddess Shilvhana, Queen of Spears. Thou shalt follow my express command, mortal, and shouldst thou please me, thou wilt be...rewarded!” She had no idea who Shilvhana was, but the name sounded impressive. Maybe she’d make that her title someday. If she ever did find the other half of the crown. 


She stopped spinning the spear, and held the weapon out to the side in a relaxed pose but able to bring it to bear if needed. A ribbon of blue light where her spiraling spear last spun misted into the night. The blue glow really was impressive, and she felt oddly proud of her own performance. She just hoped he bought it.


A part of her yammered inside her skull, telling her she was a stone-ice idiot for doing this. She was inclined to agree, but it was too late now. She could only press on, hoping to hope this worked out.


Compel move. She’s lying or swindling him roll + shadow.


4 = 1[d6]+3


10 = 7[d10]+3[d10]


Yeesh. At least it’s a weak hit. She takes +1 momentum and he’ll do what she says but asks something in return.


“What do you want of me,” he whispered, falling to his knees, fear and awe in equal mixture on his face. It helped that he was half drunk, and probably wasn’t the brightest torch in the longhouse.


“I am in need of disciples. Come ‘First Disciple’. Those two men there,” she said. “Bring them to me. Give them those spears and shields. My last two shield bearers perished fighting the Demon Prince Xogilvat with me, and I am in need of new charges. You, of course,” and she looked at his wine skin, “Will be my...royal wine taster.”


“I endeavor to obey O Great One only...” the man sputtered, his eyes wide, spreading his hands, his face falling into a concerned frown. “My captain will be disappointed, and I’ll surely be punished.”


She gave what she hoped was a low silky laugh and traced a finger down his cheek, “My dear mortal, concern yourself not with him. Follow me, and he cannot touch you where I’ll take you.”


She wondered if others in the camp were awake, watching this whispered performance, and if so what they must be thinking.


Does he trust her? Will he come?


(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No


“I--well, that is-- you see, I have a family, and I don’t think it’d work out. I think I had best--” he looked around and opened his mouth to call out for help.


She sighed and swung the staff, colliding it with his skull with all her strength.


She’s not really doing a full combat, she’s just trying to put him down as quietly as possible. This sounds like an oracle roll to me. Or maybe I should have rolled a Defy Danger? I'll roll on the oracle.


He’s drunk and doesn’t see it coming. He’s unarmed and she has his spear.


Does she catch him unawares and knock him out?


(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


There was a dull cracking sound of the spear shaft colliding with his skull, and the man slumped over. Without waiting to see if anyone saw, she shuffled over quietly to the wooden cage. It was tied shut with a simple leather band in a tight knot.


Are the people in the cage bound and gagged?


(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes


She slashed through the leather ties and opened the cage with a faint creaking sound. The occupants eyes’ widened when they saw a glowing form, like some angelic warrior of legend in front of the cage door. One of the women backed away whimpering against the wooden bars. The other made signs against the Heralds.

Her father’s and Mabon’s faces were a mass of bruises, and father’s nose was broken, dried blood covered the front of his tunic and coat. Both looked disheveled and gaunt.


“Who--?” Mabon began, rubbing his eyes with a calloused hand. “Is that--?”


“Quiet,” she muttered. “Make no sound. I’m going to get you out.”


She slashed through their bonds and undid their gags helping them out.


“--Eilwen,” her father gasped. “Is that you? Why-- what--? You’re glowing!” He also made a sign of protection.


Has anyone else nearby awakened or noticed her?


(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...


And... they’ll have some time to arm themselves quietly and get out.


“A trick of the light,” she said. “Quickly. We haven’t much time! The guard won’t bother us and for the moment, no one is watching! Grab spears and whatever gear you can quietly take from that stack there, and follow me! Now!”

She wasn’t sure if they’d be able to move quickly. The women were frail looking things, undernourished barely more than cloth draped over bags of old bones. She reached out a hand to help them out from the cage.


Are the women in the cage old?


(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Are they willing to come?


(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No


But they shrank back from her, muttering and making signs against evil. She shook her head; she couldn't wait for them. She had to move!


“Will you stay in this cage then?”


They didn’t answer her, but looked on with wide eyes as glowing wisps of faint blue light continued to bleed off of her form.
“Very well. But the cage door is open should you choose to flee. May the gods, if they’re watching, guide your decision,” she said with respect.


Moving quickly, she and the men gathered up some nearby weapons and gear, and then the two men followed the glowing Eilwen, blue light misting off of her, as they faded into the field of boulders.


Is their departure soon discovered?

(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

That was lucky!

“Heralds Beneath!” Aron whispered, when he saw her. “What happened to you?” He raised her bow, her own arrow pointed at her, and took a couple of steps backward. 


“It’s nothing,” she said striding past him.

His mouth gaped but he eventually shook out of it and trotted after her. “I saw you outlined in light and thought I was seeing things but--Nights Beneath! it’s true!” 


Her father and Mabon followed behind more slowly, their ordeal having evidently slowed them down. Mabon didn't talk much, puffing from exertion.

“Calm down,” she said to her brother, and passed him a shield and a short bow and quiver. “I found some things for you. And I’ll take that,” she took back her own bow and quiver. “Now, we need to keep moving,” she led the way following their route through the boulder field.


“But--But you’re glowing--How?”


“It’s just something mother taught me,” she whispered to her brother.


“Mother...?” he gasped and ran his hand through his snow-wet hair staring after her. Then he ran and caught up with her again grabbing her arm, then snatched it away. “She can do this? This magic? She taught you?”


“Yes. She can...do things like this. I learned some, but not much.”


“How? Where?” He seemed excited and distraught.


“Later,” she said and they marched on. "Help Mabon and Father."

He nodded and dropped back to allow then to lean on him.

After about an hour, they trudged through the deep snow and made it back to the camp, their weapons and gear softly clanking in the still of the night.


Is her light still going?


(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


The light from her skin gradually faded, and soon, her clothing and skin were back to normal. 


“What now?” Aron asked.


“We head back through the mines the way we came," Eilwen replied. "Then back to Rockriver and back to Frostbridge.”


“What of the Wolf Fang clan?” He asked.


“With any luck when they awaken, our prints will be obscured by the snow.”


Her father looked at her and nodded, his face serious. “A strange night,” he said. “You showing up...like you did. I’m grateful, mind you,” he smiled. “But troubled.”


“Because of the light?”


He nodded. “Dangerous...” he muttered and frowned, lost in thought.


“Mother taught me some things.”


“Arwed?” he grunted and sighed. “Dear Arwed,” and then he shook his head as they walked on in silence, the only sound the crunch of their boots in snow and the clanking of gear.


Was her father aware of his wife's abilities?


(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...


“Did you know?”


“No...But I suspected something, because it's not the sort of thing you can hide from a spouse. I saw some strange things now and then. Little things, you know. The temperature or light changing in odd ways...Nothing terribly obvious but...” His voice trailed off and they walked some more.


“You said that she ‘bewitched you with her beauty’, remember?” Eilwen prompted.


“Aye.. That I did. But for me that was just a figure of speech... but maybe there was more to it.” 

More silence. More walking. 

“So, my wife practiced magic,” he finally said, thoughtful. “And she taught...you?”

She nodded, but didn’t say anything about the strange metal discs and their intricate but blocky runes.

“I suppose you had the gift eh? Or the curse...But I always knew you were special.”

“When you met her, you said you were in the Deep Wild,” she prompted again.


Does he remember events leading up to her "bewitching" him?


(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


What was he doing there?


40 = 40[d100]


49 = 49[d100]


Action and Theme Oracle rolls reveals Hide / Hate


He frowned as if reliving some bad memories. “Aye. I was running from some things. Some...decisions I had made,” he shook his head. “Anyway, I ran into the woods. A strange place, the Deep Wild. An old place. It feels...ancient, like you’re treading on forbidden ground of the old gods.”


“That’s where she grew up?”


“Aye. That’s what she always said, though I never did meet her parents. I became lost. She found me by a crystal-clear pool fed by a plunging waterfall. Like I said, I was bewitched by her beauty.” He paused and then lowered his voice to a deeper timbre. “And she must’ve been bewitched by my rugged ways and the strength of my mighty grip,” he grinned and raised his spear, revealing a massive bicep.

“And then what?” Eilwen smiled back. It felt good to see her father in good spirits.

“Well,” he grunted. She led me out of the wood and the miracle of my life is that she came with me. Stayed with me from that moment onward and never left my side.”


“I’ll be going there soon. There are some...things I need to find out about her. Just as soon as I get you and Mabon back.”


“My little huntress,” he smiled and tucked his spear under one arm and pulled her close in a one-armed hug.


“Aron helped too,” she said nodding to her brother who had fallen back to talk with Mabon.


“And to Aron my brave warrior!” he called out and hefted his spear in salute, and Aron grinned back raising his own spear.


“But I suspect that it was you who made it happen,” he said in a lower voice. “Thank you...” he muttered.


“What happened to you and Mabon?” she changed the subject.


“Ah... a tale to make the long journey home but a short walk. I’ll try to add several embellishments to make me sound even more heroic...” he said. 


He told how they went to hunt a giant silver-backed bear whose tracks they had seen near the settlement the day before. They were set upon by a patrol of warriors from the Wolf Fang clan. They fought and were knocked out, bound and forced to trot along side the sleds. They met up with the main armed expedition at Rockriver and witnessed the atrocities there.

“Do you know what Uzak is planning?”

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


“Aye, the bastard practically gloated about it, and he gave me this,” he pointed to his broken nose. “He’s been gathering warriors, claims he has the Sword of Myrrden. I don’t believe it, but the draw of power has always pulled at lesser men. He’s planning armed conquest, across the Havens simple as that. And why? ‘To restore the greatness of our forefathers’ he called it. Bah. I call it nothing less than armed thievery. Anyway, the settlements in the Tempest Hills haven’t been able to put up any sort of resistance to him yet. Perhaps they will.”


“Perhaps,” she said, her thoughts distant. “Will they attack Frostbridge?”


“Suppose they might,” he said. “He hates me and Mabon with one of those old and cold hatreds. The kind that burns you away with its ice. I saw it in his eyes. But we’re a remote settlement, and now that we’re alerted, we’ll be able to keep our own warriors on the lookout. He won’t find us easy meat. Not like Rockriver...” he scowled and spat into the snow.


A couple of hours before dawn, they arrived again at the mine entrance, tired and sore from their long hike through the night. Eilwen had fallen back and cut a branch from a pine and brushed it across their footprints once they moved off the main trail down in the valley’s bottom, while Aron and the others quickly made some more makeshift torches, and organized their supplies.


There, with snow swirling about them, they stared into the dark entrance, the stones at the entrance covered with ice.

“Come on,” she said and her torch flared to life and she stepped into the mines to begin their return journey.
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