Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
#11
Episode 8


As before, it’s a troublesome “journey”, but for this I’m going to use the “Delve” (supplement book about site exploration). I’ll also use its rules about returning to an explored site. The goal is to get through the other side.


We had 9/10 progress when we were here before. Here’s how it works if you come back to a site you’ve visited, you might not lose all the exploration gains you made before.


4 = 1[d10]+3[d10]


We roll two dice and discard the highest roll, the 4, and keep the 1 and that’s how many progress boxes I remove. Had I rolled a 10 and a 9, we would have removed all 9 progress, and the journey through the mines be harder. 


But we only remove 1 and end up with 8 out of 10. Which does make sense really, given how recently we’ve been through this and that we still have the map.


So technically, I could probably just do the Locate your Object move now and compare my 8 progress against the challenge dice and get back to Rockriver without doing much “delving”.


But I want to try out the supplement a little. Maybe nothing much will happen... But that’s why we play!


Behind them, they could see the entrance, and though shrouded in a cloak of night and snow, it seemed bright compared to the dark tunnels that stretched and twisted away from her. She raised her torch and stared down a dark chasm, off to one side beneath her. She kicked off a stone and it clattered on hidden rocks far below. 


Her father bumped into her from behind. “You came through these dark tunnels eh?” he asked over her shoulder.


She nodded. “Amazing how much earth they mined, isn’t it.”


“Aye, this place is riddled with passageways,” he said. “Easy to get lost in.”


“Aron has the map,” she said. “I’m sure we’ll be fine.”


 He grunted. “I’ve also heard men say that it’s haunted.”


“Perhaps after a fashion,” she said, and related the experience of the bones of the strange creature they had seen.


“I don’t like this place,” her father muttered.


Mabon and Aron caught up and looked around them, Aron consulted his map and pointed to a passageway. “That way.”


“We traversed it once with little problem,” Eilwen said. “ We’ll be wary and keep our eyes open. Come on.”


Delve the Depths move, we’re rolling + wits.


3 = 1[d6]+2


6 = 5[d10]+1[d10]


A weak hit. We roll on the Delve the Depths move (it has a table) and for wits we roll


40 = 40[d100]


It says we mark progress and reveal a danger.


So we’re at 10/10 on our Delve the Depths, but there’s a complication. I’ll roll on the Reveal a Danger move to see what we get.


20 = 20[d100]


Well that is interesting, I get “Ancient evil resurgent” and now the features:


93 = 93[d100]


“Something unusual or unexpected”


I rolled on the Aspect and Feature oracles


95 = 95[d100]


4 = 4[d100]


And got ‘Deadly’ and ‘Threshold’


Not a boring journey after all...


---


After navigating the rope bridge again, and several hours more of trudging through the oppressive dark, they passed by the strange ancient skeleton that she and Aron had seen on their first journey through these dark passages. She spent a few moments showing it to her father and Mabon. They were about to move on, when her father approached.


“I need to rest, lass,” Cadfael said trying to hide a limp that was growing worse. “Mabon and me both. We haven’t eaten or slept much since they captured us. “I suggest we make camp and move on in the ‘morning’... whenever that is,” he muttered.


She nodded and they cast about for a place to make camp, making their way around the lake edge.


Do they find any kind of wood to give them light through the night if they do camp?


(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


They found several old boats on the rocks near the underground lake, most of the boats had large holes in them, but the wood on them was dry and half rotted and would burn easily. But one boat, large enough for three people, under a thick layer of half rotted canvas, lay in relatively good condition. It even had some oars.


She held up her torch to better see her find, when in the distance, out on the lake, Eilwen caught a glint of something reflecting her light. She listened. No sounds other than the others setting up camp. Was there some kind of mirror or something metallic out there?


“I think there’s something out there,” she told Aron. “Go ahead and set up camp, I’m going to check it out.”


“I’ll come with you,” he said, setting down his pack.


“You don’t have to, I’m perfectly fine goin alo--.”


“I’m coming. Father can set up the camp.”


Father nodded and waved them off and started to build a fire whistling his familiar tune. As they shoved off, torches in hand, a large fire crackled merrily behind them. 


“It feels almost like the old days,” Aron said, pulling on the oars. “When we’d go hunting and fishing with Father...before Mother died.”


She nodded and thought of her mother and father dancing in the firelight and of the iron pillars in the Green Grip. She felt troubled. The firelight seemed a beacon of hope on the black-mirrored water over which they glided. A beacon that diminished with every pull of the oars. Her reflection ripped in the water as they continued.


After a good distance, a shape resolved out of the darkness, it appeared to be a massive iron archway, tilted askew at maybe a 45-degree angle, but jutting out of the lake.


“What is it?” Aron muttered.


“Dunno,” she said, curious, but feeling a kind of nameless dread that began to creep upon her as they drew closer. There they were...more angular runes carved into the iron plating. “Hold the boat steady, I want a closer look.”


“Is that a good idea?” he frowned. “There’s something about this that I don’t like.”


“Do you remember that sack I had,” Eilwen said, her voice a whisper. “The one I said that mother gave me. Well, in it are some circular plates made of iron. Not just any iron, but...black iron. Same as this archway. And those plates had markings like those on this pillar. I... I think I can read them. It might give me...us...some clues about Mother and those ruins I saw in the Green Grip.”


“You didn’t tell me about these plates earlier?” he accused.


“It...didn’t seem the right time.”


“What do they say?”


“I only know a few of the things. I think...I think it teaches how to wield magic. But I’ve only ever seen Mother use the discs. She started to teach me though. Like that glowing light thing I did--well, that was an accident, but anyway she taught me the symbols, but I’ve never read them myself...”


“I still don’t like this,” he muttered, but he touched the iron base and held the boat steady. “Mother and her strange arts. Now you... Bah! Let’s get this over with quickly.” 


She nodded and clambered out of the boat. It rocked as she left it. Aron steadied it and then passed her another torch. She lit it, holding two torches, one in each hand, studying the strange tilted archway. The surface that she stood upon was easily large enough for three to stand abreast.


“Who put this archway in the middle of the lake?” Aron called up holding his own torch aloft, studying the base of the angled iron surface. “What purpose would that serve?”


“Maybe they didn’t,” she said walking up the side. “Maybe the lake formed around it.”


He gave a low whistle. “It’s that old? How long has it sat here?”


“I don’t know.” She tracked her finger over a rune, feeling it’s hard edges on her skin. “But the metal feels ancient.”


“But what is it for?”


Can she read it?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


She just shook her head. “I...I think I can read this Aron.”


Excited, she leaned forward. What she ‘read’ didn’t get translated as words, but rough images formed in her mind, old and misty with time: 


A powerful entity cowled in black robes crafted of dark-burned skins, tall and lean, eyes burning within its cowl twisted and green standing atop a massive pile of bones. Nothing visible, save those eyes and hands wrapped in strands of white cloth, hands that stretched forth with hateful intent. Twin blades of bone jutting from his arms, severing and stealing life. A river of blood and bone mounds. An archway of iron, runes of power, constructed to bind and entrap. A plot to ensnare succeeds. The entity imprisoned. A hollow scream pierces the night.


Images conveyed a passing of eons.


A death cult, some in armor, seek to bring the thing back. Chanting and strange mystic energies. The runes on an archway glow blood-red. Other warriors burst forth, guardians of some sort, bearing the device of an eye on their shields. The Wakeful Watchers. A battle ensues around the archway. Blood is spilt and bodies are fallen. Powerful magics gone awry rupture the cavern floor. The fountains of the earth burst forth, sending combatants from both sides into a dark and watery grave. 


A shadow stretching and tearing, then reforming, shadowed hand grasping, sinks back, screaming and flailing into the archway.


An after echo of that scream. 


Then silence.


“--lwen are you okay?”


Hands shook her, and with a gasp she released the iron, whipping out her knife. “It’s me!” Aron stood by her, his torch inches from her face. The boat behind him had been pulled up the incline. 


How long had she been there? Her first torch seemed halfway burned out.


“Aron...? I--”


“What happened?”


“I saw things. Images...a vision. I--I don’t know. Something terrible is trapped within that archway.”


“Then let’s get away from it.”


I’m going to say she has to Face Danger vs what she just saw:


6 = 5[d6]+1


11 = 3[d10]+8[d10]


A weak hit. She succeeds but faces a troublesome cost. She’ll lose 1 spirit and feels afraid.


She nods, feels her heart racing, her hand trembling.


“Yes...” she swallowed and 


They began to move toward the boat.


Did her touching it activate anything?


(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


A guardian?


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


I’m assuming that a guardian would be protecting this arch from disturbance, from anyone from touching or interfering with the device’s intended purpose to imprison the being. Instead, I think the being trapped within has sensed Eilwen touching the device, and it screamed from wherever it is. The device’s magic has obviously slowly been draining all these years, so I think it can affect things on a limited basis around the archway. I’ll say a jolt of mystic energy awakens, perhaps momentarily, perhaps longer, something, long sleeping in the waters...


Bonewalkers?


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


Ooookay. Somethings (pl)... there’s more than one. They emerge. Since there’s more than one, I’d normally up the difficulty of the encounter to “Formidable” it were just her fighting multiple, but since she has help of her own in the form of Aron, Cadfael, and Mabon, I’ll say that it remains a Dangerous encounter even though there’s more than just one of these things.


Can any bonewalkers reach where they are? I'll say somewhat unlikely as they'd have to climb up the slick base of the tilted archway or swim up, which would be hard given that many of them wore armor.


(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes


They started to move down the steep incline towards the boat Aron first, Eiliwen behind. Ahead of them and to the right, they heard a sudden splashing in the water, and something half clawed, half leaped and skittered its way up onto the incline near their boat, dripping muck and silt.


Water dripped from empty eye sockets, muck dripped from bone hands. The head, an elongated skull with narrow eye holes, turned and regarded them, and the mouth opened. Stale muck poured out, dribbling down onto its rusted breast plate.


Eilwen screamed.


This is their first encounter with a “horror” as the game calls them. They’ve heard the legends. Some story tellers swear that they’ve seen such things in their explorations in the dark places of the earth. But this is the first time they’ve seen one with their own eyes. It’s raw and mind numbing in its implications.


Face Danger. I’m rolling + heart to keep her courage


3 = 2[d6]+1


11 = 2[d10]+9[d10]


A weak hit.


She holds it together, but is still frightened (Her Spirit drops by 1 down to 2/5)


Eilwen’s arms shook and she wanted to just run. But to where? It started to advance towards them, clawing and slipping, falling but righting itself as it tried to climb the wet-slick surface.


Combat time! I don’t think they can win this fight so I’ll be looking for a way they can withdraw as soon as possible.


Enter the Fray move -- I’ll say they were essentially ambushed by this thing, so roll + wits.


7 = 5[d6]+2


15 = 7[d10]+8[d10]


Boo. Not good. A miss.


“Gods preserve us!” Aron moaned, dropping his torch from trembling fingers. He pulled out his axe and shield. His torch rolled down the incline and hissed into the wet lake, plunging darkness, leaving Eilwen holding the two torches. (He was parted from an item, the price for the Face Danger on the Enter the Fray move.)


The thing rushed towards Aron, flicking its wrists, and twin bone blades shot out of its forearms, locking into place, spraying more water. Then it attacked with fury! Aron yelped and managed to partially get his shield up. The bone blade skittered up the shield and bit into his fore-head, a glancing blow, but blood began to stream down one side of Aron’s face and Eilwen heard her brother emit a savage curse.


A second creature leaped up behind the first, it’s jaws clacking, muddy water pouring off of him. This one bore no armor, but the remnants of some tattered robes. It flicked its own wrists, and more blades locked into place. Seeing Aron engaged, it moved past him towards Eilwen.


“Eilwen!” he yelled. “Get to the boat! You need to get out of here!”


The slanted iron slope that they stood upon made for precarious footing, when dry. It became worse when these horrors kicked up water with them. 


The second creature also slipped a few times as it clambered up to engage Eilwen. But it moved quickly and with grace.


She felt useless holding the two torches but she knew they needed light. This was not the place to make a stand. They had to get back to shore! The bones came closer.


Then it leaped at her and she fell on her rump trying to slide under it.


7 = 5[d6]+2


14 = 5[d10]+9[d10]


A weak hit. 


The thing leaped over her as she slid down the steep incline, she hit the boat with her feet and shoved it into the water. Then she leaped heavily into it, keeping both torches out of the water. The boat rocked precariously, and a wave of black water rushed over the end, soaking a small bundle of supplies she’d brought with them. 


-1 supplies from the weak hit.


Aron tries to shield bash one of them to push past it and get down to the boat without getting hit himself. Success?


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


She shoved her torches into holders on the boat evidently made for that purpose.


“Aron! Come on!”


With a shout, Aron smashed his shield into the one in front of him and it careened backwards, splashing into the water. Then he ducked a blow, the bone blade whistling in the air over his head from behind, and he slid down after her, landing heavily in the boat. It rocked even further, and more water came in over the edge, but his momentum pushed the boat away from the Archway. 


They saw water swirling where he had knocked one creature off. As soon as Aron was in she pulled against the oars.


The boat still rocked wildly and Aron spread out his arms holding the sides, steadying the boat. Just then, the creature on the archway surface, it’s feet clicking on the iron, ran and leaped at them.
 
“Look out!” he yelled, and Eilwen pulled at the oars with all her might.


Face Danger roll + iron to pull the boat out of the way so it doesn’t land in the boat.


7 = 6[d6]+1


14 = 8[d10]+6[d10]


A weak hit. She’ll suffer 1 harm. Health 4/5 now.


(I forgot to do the Endure Harm move here-- I just noticed it when I came back to edit this prior to posting it. Oh well...)


She strained her muscles and groaned, but pulled the boat away from the dropping creature. One leg of the creature hit the edge of the boat and it snapped in two as the rest of its bony angular mass splashed into the water. She tasted vile lake water as it splashed into her face and the boat rocked again. Aron steadied it again. As they pulled away, she saw swirling water where the thing was probably madly trying to claw its way up to the surface again.


She didn’t intend to stick around, and she pulled hard again and again, and the boat pulled away from the arch until soon the arch was lost in the darkness. She aimed towards the fire that still shone on the shore. Aron helped her and together they pulled against the darkness.


“What of Father?” Aron asked, breathing hard as he helped pull on the oars as well, blood streaked his face and his beard from his head wound, which still oozed blood.


She couldn’t talk and only shook her head and kept pulling, her eyes wide from what she had witnessed. Her heart continued to beat madly in her chest. Heralds beneath! What were those? But she knew. The stories called them ‘bonewalkers’. She thought they were just tales to frighten small children into obedience. But now...


What other tales were more than just mere stories? What other horrific legends had come bursting to unholy life? Her throat felt parched. She could easily have taken a drink, all that water around her. Water everywhere, black and cold and lifeless. But she would not drink. She knew what lay rotting in mouldering heaps on the lake bed.


When the boat ground ashore, she leaped out, and then helped Aron pull it in. Then they both scanned the water weapons out. Aron bore his axe and shield, Eilwen her bow.


Were Father and Mabon attacked?


(Unlikely | 3[d10]) No


“What happened?” Father rushed up to them, his spear at the ready. “We heard shouting in the distance.”


“Bone...” she gasped. “Bonewalkers.”


“Bone--really, children tales and--”


“No Father!” she turned on him. “They are real! As real as you are. I saw them with my own eyes, and they’re...coming for us. You think Aron decided it’d be fun to cut his own head just to fabricate children’s tales?”


“She speaks the truth, Father. They are coming,” Aron said, blood drying on his face


“We have to get out. Now!” Eilwen said grimly.


“Aye,” Cadfael said, sucking in an anxious breath. “I see it in your eyes. Heralds beneath, what a place! Mabon!” he shouted. “We’re leaving! Danger!”


They hurriedly began to gather what they could while she and Aron stood guard, weapons ready.


She took 1 harm (tiredness) from her ordeal pulling the oars


She’ll roll the Endure Harm move.


8 = 4[d6]+4


9 = 5[d10]+4[d10]


A strong hit.


I’ll exchange one momentum (down to 3) to regain her health back up to 5.


She felt suddenly very tired and she leaned against one of the boats they had dragged near the fire. She forced her heart to calm, breathing deeply. She didn’t think her bow would be of much use against bones that walked and jumped and attacked... 


What dark power could do that? 
How could they see her without any eyes? 


It unnerved her that there were things in the world that she couldn’t fight. Though, upon further reflection, why should it? The weather was one such thing. It was dangerous and you respected it. But it made sense.


“And, the weather doesn’t try to kill me,” she muttered to herself. “It’s just nature... This... is different. It’s against nature.”


“Eilwen?” Aron asked. “Are you well.”


“Well enough,” she said darkly.


“Want to talk?”


“No.”


“Okay,” He nodded.


Do they get away? I mean they kind of already did with their two Face Danger moves to avoid combat and get away. So really the question is can they gather their supplies before the creatures attack them again. I’ll say it’s probably likely given that the undead creatures are moving underwater.


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


Just as they left the cavern, in the light of the fire they had left burning, they saw bony shapes crawl out onto the shore, dripping dark water, moving in graceful crouches, eyeless heads scanning the darkness.


“They haven’t seen us,” Eilwen said, pulling back behind a bend. “But they might come this way. Best to keep moving and push through to Rockriver,” she said. “Sorry Father, I know you wanted to rest.”


“Not so much anymore, lass,” he grunted, his limp still evident though he did get a small rest. His voice was troubled and low. “Not after seeing children’s nightmares crawl up out of the lake...”
Reply
#12
Episode 9
They moved on through the mine, at a quick pace, often glancing over their shoulders.


Locate Your Objective (objective was getting to the other side) - Roll + edge


Progress was 10/10


6 = 5[d10]+1[d10]


Strong hit. We did it!


We take +1 momentum, and in the distance we can see Rockriver. We get +1 on a move that we take right now. The group will push onto Rockriver and will see if there are any supplies they can find that they might have missed before. 


Good weather?


(Unlikely | 7[d10]) Yes, but...


They emerged from the mine, blinking into sunlight of all things. A patchy sunlight though, with clouds drifting over its warming rays every few seconds. And, in the distance, a storm was brewing.


Around noon, when the fresh flakes started to fall and the winds picked up, and the sun hid itself behind its usual slate gray mask, they arrived at Rockriver.


Do they find Drystan or Kyffin still here?


(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Any other settlers/survivors of Rockriver managed to make it back here?


(Somewhat Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


No one was at Rockriver. It had a decidedly dismal feel to it. They looked for supplies and then rested, making camp.





Resupply:
4 = 1[d6]+3


10 = 8[d10]+2[d10]


Weak hit. We’ll trade 2 momentum for 2 supplies. (supply 4/5 and momentum 2/10).


They stayed up late that night, going house to house, foraging for supplies in some nooks and crannies Aron had missed before. It was past midnight when they gathered back together and made camp in the same half-serviceable building they stayed in before with Kyffin.


Make Camp:


6 = 2[d6]+4


11 = 2[d10]+9[d10]


Weak hit. She chooses to relax +1 Spirit.


The fire and the talk, while somber, felt relaxing after the harrowing events in the mines, and Eilwen took comfort to be among good companions and to enjoy a hearty lentil stew and some mead (from some small barrels they found in a hole pit covered by some furniture).


“Well, if the Wolf Fang warriors did manage to track us into the mine,” her father said raising a mug of mead to his lips, they’ll likely receive a rude reception from the bonewalkers.”


“Maybe they’ll both do the world a favor and wipe each other out,” Mabon grunted with a half smile.


“I’ll drink to that,” Aron said. He wore a bandage wrapped around his head now, but seemed at ease laughing and guffawing with the other men.


She smiled and curled up into a relaxed sleep, letting their jokes and laughter wash over her.


Spirit goes up by 1 (3/5).


Stats:
 Edge 2
 Heart 1
 Iron 1 
 Shadow 3
 Wits 2


Health: 5/5
Spirit: 3/5
Supply: 4/5
Momentum: 2/10


Failures: 7/24 (Optional XP rule. Once I get 24, same as 4 ticks in a box = 6 boxes on a progress chart, I have the option of learning from my failures.)


---


It’s the next day. Since both Mabon and her father have had considerable experience traveling this route, there’s no reason to make an Undertake Journey move, I’ll just fast track us to Frostbridge.


The next morning they picked up their meager supplies and headed out toward Frostbridge. For the next three days, they retraced their route back to Frostbridge, carefully crossing around mountains, following the valleys as winds and snows buffeted them. They moved much slower without sleds. But Mabon and her father were both experienced hunters who knew these regions better than most, and the party suffered no lasting ill. 


At The Stone Tree, mid-morning of the third day, Eilwen visited the crag where she hid the box and retrieved it, placing it into her pack, yet another nameless bundle wrapped in leather and cloth.


By evening, the small party arrived at the ice bridge that led onto the wide ledge upon which the settlement of Frostbridge gained its name. Snow danced across the bridge's slick surface. One of the warrior’s guarding the settlement met them and then ran and told the news of their return.


Is anything afoot in Frostbridge?


(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes


Is Bevan trying to make his move?


(Likely | 3[d10]) No


Okay. Interesting. What's going on?


31 = 31[d100]


70 = 70[d100]


I get Uncover Destiny


I think Bevan left... he found something--ah I bet something in those old tombs Eilwen's parents uncovered three years ago. I can see him now. "It's my destiny!"


I think he hasn't come back yet.


Is Drystan and Kyffin here?


(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


The settlement was ecstatic upon their return, and they held a feast to welcome Mabon and her father back. Drystan and Kyffin showed up, and amidst drinking and feasting on cooked venison, they found that Kyffin was on the mend; he was staying with Drystan until fully healed, and the two had become friends. But once hale, he would seek his fortunes trying to rescue the Rockriver women and children from the Tempest Hills. 


Do Drystan or Kyffin know where Bevan went?


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


They didn’t see him leave.


Did his cronies go with him?


(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


Does anyone know where he went?


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


The old crone Carys... she over heard him talking (she's an old busy body and enjoys gossip etc).



Bevan, strangely, wasn’t at the feast. In fact, when Eilwen asked about, he wasn’t in the settlement at all. Drystan and Kyffin didn’t know where he had gone. It was the old crone Carys who gave her some information.


“I heard him, young lass. Heard him talkin’. He’s the sort that pays no mind to an old bag of bones like me,” she wheezed a chuckle and whacked her cane into the bench causing Drystan to get up so she could sit down in his place across from Eilwen. “He was drinking the other day. Drinking hard and brooding harder.” she snorted. “Well, he got to talkin’ and said he found a new passageway in the old burial crypt that your own mother, Arwed, had discovered. Said he was leaving. That destiny called him. That greatness awaited him. Then yesterday morning, they all left, carrying picks and shovels. That man has a bigger head than the great silverback that ate poor Tomi’s husband last week.”


She chuckled and her own joke and then scowled when no one joined in and she moved off to gossip about someone else.


Eilwen sat and drank her ale, picking at her food. She felt a need to be done with the man. He would have to come back to Frostbridge some time; he was no hunter, and was not born for a harsh life. Once his supplies ran out, he would return. He had to be dealt with. She swallowed the rest of her ale and nodded to Carys, thanking the old woman.


She would rest her for a few days, and if he did not return by then, she would seek him out and either finish his meddling or learn of his fate. 


Then she could rest easy about leaving Frostbridge and her father. She left Drystand and Kyffin to their feasting and stared out into the snow that fell down across the ice bridge. 


She had many miles to go. And iron vows to keep.

Couldn't resist.

---


Sojourn Move


7 = 5[d6]+2


4 = 2[d10]+2[d10]


Ooo a strong hit and positive twist.
She’ll take +2 Spirit and +2 Momentum. Because she has a bond with the settlement, she’ll get one more and will get +2 more momentum, getting up to 6/10... unless I didn't do that right. Not sure. Oh well. 

For the positive twist, what happens? I had my own thoughts but the MAG confirmed it with a sword being swallowed by a many toothed something and a blade with a wicked looking serrated edge. The omens have spoken!


She spent the day resupplying and planning and speaking with father and Mabon about Bevan, warning them of his threat.


Mabon nodded, stroking at his chin, “I’d like you to deal with him?”


“What?”


“Aron told me you intended to duel him.”


“Yes...but I--”


“Hmm. A Swordmistress will need something more than a knife.”


“Sword what?” she asked confused.


Mabon reached up and pulled a battered iron sword from near his stove and passed it over to her. It was in a simple leather sheath. He pulled it out and studied it for a moment in the firelight. One edge had a jagged sawtooth cut on it.


“I want you to take this lass,” he nodded. “For the service you performed in saving me. I want you to be my Swordmistress.”


Her father raised an eye-brow and shook his fork with a steaming chunk of meat at Mabon, and he coughed and nearly choked on the one he hastily swallowed. “Heralds, but you’ll spoil her, Mabon! Are you serious?”


Mabon ignored him and looked at her.


“But... this? Swordmistress? I--” she shook her head, her mouth open and tested the edge with her finger. Sharp too. A sword these days, even a battered one, like this, was truly a rarity. And Swordmistress. It was more than just a title. It came with privileges and responsibilities. She tried to hand it back. “It’s too much, Mabon. I’m not worthy of such a fine gift or honor. Besides, you are chieftain, and you need it more than--”


“Hush now,” he muttered. “You take it. I decide what I do with my own things. This blade is named Toothbite. It was passed down from my great-grandfather who brought it over the seas from the Old Lands. He told me one of the Heralds--the Ever Night take them all--” he spat onto the floor, “tried to bite his arm off. But this blade saved his life and that of my near unborn grandfather. The blade broke off two of the Herald’s foot-long teeth and cut off its tongue and it fled. It has good balance. But now you take it.”


“But why me?”


“There’s...something about you,” he said. “A hardness, a temperament like this iron. You fit it. And plus a sword is no weapon for these hills, and I’m too old for it and have no son to pass it on to. Many reasons,” He sat back down and brooded for a moment back, sipping from his ale mug. “Bow and spear suit me fine now anyway.”


She thanked him and belted it on. She felt lightheaded at the honor but strangely, the sword felt...right.


She spent two more days training with it, learning the basic moves. She knew she was no Swordmistress save in name only, but she was determined to learn. She had good balance, speed, and agility, and she learned quickly. Mabon taught her and Aron watched on, carefully paying attention to his instructions. She spent all day until her arms felt like leaden weights and even then she pushed herself near collapse.


How does Aaron take her honor and sword? Jealous?


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Does Bevan return?


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


Two of his cronies are missing.


Is he wounded?


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


Hmm... Not in body. 


The next day, Bevan returned on his horse, bearing a heavy spear across his lap. His face twisted with a sneer when he saw Eilwen practicing with Mabon. He dismounted and said a word to his companions, and then strode forward, a crowd forming in his wake.


The side of Bevan’s face bore a jagged wound from head to neck that started to scab over on the ends. His face held a darker and harder cast than Eilwen had seen on him before.


“So, Cadfeal’s runts actually did bring about a miracle,” Bevan said in bold mocking tones, one eyebrow raising. “And found the missing misfit Mabon.” 


Mabon strode up to Bevan. “Bevan, you runt! You will mind your tongue, or I’ll rip it from between yer fancy lips.” 


Bevan tilted the spear casually so that the bladed tip pointed ever so lightly toward Mabon.


“It might be interesting to see how that goes down with two feet of steel in your fat belly,” Bevan said.


Behind Mabon, Eilwen hissed and held the sword down in a ready low position in a two handed grip.


“You would raise a weapon against your chief?” Mabon fumed his face red.


“You’re no longer chief!” Bevan spat, his own anger rising. “You’re a tired man who is growing old and careless. A man who is running out of ideas and strength. You hemorrhage people every winter. It’s time for...new ideas... new leadership.”


Murmurs whispered through the crowd and Eilwen saw a few nods of assent. An unspoken tension formed in the air, and more people joined the growing throng.


“It’s time you were put down like the shameful dog that you are,” Mabon growled. 


“I formally challenge Mabon’s right of leadership!” Bevan said loudly, turning in a slow circle so everyone could hear. “It will be decided in the dueling circle!”


“Aye, it’ll be decided. But you’ll not be facing me. You’ll be facing Frostbridge’s new Swordmistress,” and Mabon looked at Eilwen.


“Swordmistress?” Bevan asked, looking somewhat taken aback, his eyes flicking to Eilwen and then darkening.


Eilwen nodded. It was noon, and the sun shone fitfully through the clouds. She unclasped her bear furs and let it fall to the snow, and she felt the cold gust around her arms tugging at her braid and pulling free a few wisps of hair. She did not say anything, but met Bevan’s dark eyes.


“Swordmistress,” he said again. “Bah! It’s going to take more than giving a child a sharp plaything and fancy titles to win this. Mabon, you know the rules. Should she fail, I am chieftain of frostbridge, and my word is law. It is tradition.”


“It is tradition,” Mabon agreed saying the forma phrase. “But she will not fail,” Mabon said, seemingly unconcerned. 


The settlers murmured again. Mabon raised a hand, and the people grew silent. 


“Gather the others!” he commanded and runners ran off to gather the settlement. 


“Do you regret giving me this now?” she asked, holding the sword and speaking to him softly.


He leaned in toward Eilwen. “Just make sure you win,” he grunted in a low voice and moved away glaring at Belvan


Near the ledge, where the ice bridge joined the settlement grounds, more people began to gather, muttering. 


“Are you sure about this?” Aron asked her, grabbing her arm as the people gathered. Her father looked on. He frowned, but eventually nodded his head.


“Yes,” she said, her eyes flicking back to Aron’s.


“Be careful,” Aron nodded. “Remember, Belvan's a snake! There’s something off about him today. Finish him quickly, and give him no quarter.”


She nodded and flexed her leather gloves and gripped the hilt of the sword tightly.


Mabon stood between them. He raised both his hands and the crowd quieted. “The contestants will form the circle!”


Both she and Bevan each drew a half of a circle with iron-tipped weapons, she with her sword and he with his spear. He glared at her when she neared. Then they retreated to opposite ends of the rough circle.


“The first one who leaves the circle,” Mabon continued. “Or yields to the other, forfeits the contest."

The crowed grew silent.

"Let it begin!” Mabon shouted.

Mabon stepped out of the circle as she and Bevan advanced on each other. Snow and icy wind blasted at them from the chasm side, but Eilwen blinked against it and pressed on.

Bevan held his spear and gave a mocking sneer. “And to think, I wanted to bed you. This will be so much more...invigorating when I smash your face into the snow and hear your cry for mercy!”

I had established earlier in the fiction that he wasn’t that strong of a warrior, but I think that has changed due to whatever happened to him in the mountains. Something mystical no doubt. So instead of Troublesome. I’ll set his rank to Dangerous. That means he gives two harm whenever he hits and I give 2 progress per harm that I give instead of 3 for Troublesome.

DRAW THE CIRCLE
When you challenge someone to a formal duel, or accept a
challenge, roll +heart. If you share a bond with this community, add
+1.
On a strong hit, take +1 momentum. You may also choose up to
three boasts and take +1 momentum for each.
On a weak hit, you may choose one boast in exchange for +1
momentum.
• Grant first strike: Your foe has initiative.
• Bare yourself: Take no benefit of armor or shield; your foe’s harm
is +1.
• Hold no iron: Take no benefit of weapons; your harm is 1.
• Bloody yourself: Endure Harm (1 harm).
• To the death: One way or another, this fight must end with
death.
On a miss, you begin the duel at a disadvantage. Your foe has
initiative. Pay the Price.
Then, make moves to resolve the fight.


3 = 1[d6]+2


10 = 3[d10]+7[d10]


Hmm a miss. I do have 6 momentum, so I could burn that to turn it into a weak hit. I’ll take a miss and let him hit me, retaining my momentum. 


Eilwen dashed to engage him, thrusting with her sword, point forward, but he spun the spear, and knocked her sword wide and then caught her in the midsection with his knee, sending her gasping for breath. Then the butt of his spear took her in the chin, and knocked her backwards, splitting the skin of her chin and snapping her neck back.


“You simpleton,” he gloated, spinning the spear slowly, almost lazily. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with.”


Endure Harm


8 = 4[d6]+4


12 = 7[d10]+5[d10]


Strong hit! She embraces the pain, takes the harm (3/5) and takes +1 momentum (7/10)


She has initiative now and rushes in to strike. Roll + 1 (iron)


She had rolled with the blow and now came up with easy grace back onto her feet, snow spraying off her clothes. She blinked away the stars that swarmed the edges of her vision. Then with a grimace and a low growl she darted forward, attacking with a flurry of blows, high then low, then a left-hand swing at an angle.


4 = 3[d6]+1


7 = 4[d10]+3[d10]


Weak hit! She inflicts 2 harm. 
I’m going to burn my momentum and make it a strong hit.
So one 1 more harm. 
Her momentum resets to 2/10 but she’s now at 6/10 progress against him.


Bevan tried to dart out of the way, but her blade caught him in the thigh, cutting through his pants and sending a spray of blood onto the snow. He cursed and limped backwards, and she pressed the attack he raised the spear to ward her off. 


She attempted to turn aside his spear and slam the sword pommel into his face.


1d6+1 strike


2 = 1[d6]+1


7 = 5[d10]+2[d10]


Ugg. Horrible roll on the action die.


Instead, he caught her blade on the spear, held it, and then, shoved her back. He then advanced with a whirling attack. She tried to parry but was too slow. He hit her in the head with the butt end of the spear. It was only a glancing shot, but it sent her reeling, stumbling back several feet. Her sword flew from her hands and she gripped her head, then stumbled and fell. She saw more dancing lights and boots of the settlers who watched the fight. She must be near the edge of the circle. She heard murmurs and shouts from the crowd.


(She loses her weapon as the pay the price) 


“Get up Eilwen!” she heard her father’s voice shouting. “Get up!”


She blinked away blood and tears and saw the sword off to the left, but he was between it and her as he began to move towards her.

“Now, you die!” and with a roar, Belvan rushed at her in a half limp, half crazed charge, the spear spinning above him, then he switched to a high two handed grip to thrust down at her in a powerful blow.

She’s going to use the Turn the Tide move. That gives her initiative.

Still seeing stars, she acted on instinct. With speed born of years hunting in the wild, she rolled into a fluid crouch, snow flinging up in the air. She whipped her dagger from her belt, felt the cool metal in her hands, and then in a second fluid motion, threw the dagger with a flick of her wrist towards the charging Bevan.

9 = 6[d6]+3


7 = 4[d10]+3[d10]


A strong hit. Yes! That’s two more harm, so two progress per harm. That takes him to 10/10 on the progress.


The dagger flew end over end in a black streak that slammed into his gut. Belvan dropped his spear, stumbled back, with a gasp, falling to his knees. He pressed his hands against the lifeblood that pooled crimson out around the pommel and his fingers, and dribbled into the pristine snow.


She’ll End the Fight move now.
I did this move incorrectly Episode 1. You make the move whenever you have a strong hit and you want to finish the fight. Against the bear when I did this, I thought I had to do yet another strike and score a hit. You don’t do that. Coming off of any strong hit, you can choose to make the End the Fight move and see what happens by comparing the progress track against the challenge dice.


So I have a 10 on the progress. That needs to beat the individual d10s on the challenge dice of...


18 = 9[d10]+9[d10]


Wow... That is nuts! Double nines, so a twist... Cool! But I do succeed... Barely.


“No...” Belvan whispered, his mouth wet with blood. His eyes wide in pain and shock and delirium, his face pale with approaching death. “No!” he coughed and spat ruby-laced spittle into the snow. “The voices at the pillar...they promised me...” he pulled out her dagger in weak fingers and let it fall, covered with blood into the white snow. He thrust his fist against the wound as he crawled, groaning to where his spear lay.


Eilwin had regained her feet. Her head still rang, and she winced against the pain in her side. But especially from her head. She stumbled to the sword, and picked it up, just as Belvan had crawled to his spear. He touched the black spear, and it seemed that a shadow of some sort, inky black, superimposed upon his form, then writhed into his skin. He coughed, and blood sprayed out of his mouth as he started to struggle to his feet, heaving himself up.


The crowd gasped as his eyes rolled back into his head, revealing only the whites. His eyes opened wide, and his mouth split in a mad rictus.


People made signs against evil and others reached for weapons. Children and women began to wail and some fled.


Belvan was nearly to his feet, a gurgling cackle on his lips, blood and spittle spilling over his chin.


(slow motion)

Eilwen screamed in fright and anger at this...thing in front of her. She rushed forward, blade point forward. Then, at the last moment, she pivoted in a complete circle, snow spinning around her and brought the sword crashing down in a massive swing. The sword hummed as it cut through the air. It sliced through his spear, shearing it in two. The spear’s iron head spun into the air, black against gray. 

Her follow-through bit into Belvan’s neck, separating his head from his torso.

His corpse fell backwards in a crimson spray that fanned out over the snow, and his head rolled a couple of feet, snow and blood mixing on the now-cooling face. An inky shadow rose from Belvan's corpse then shrieked and dissolved in front of her.

(resume normal speed)


Quest to find father, return Mabon, and deal with Belvan is completed... 

FULFILL YOUR VOW
Progress Move
When you achieve what you believe to be the
fulfillment of your vow, roll the challenge dice and
compare to your progress. Momentum is ignored on
this roll.
On a strong hit, your quest is complete. Mark
experience (troublesome=1; dangerous=2;
formidable=3; extreme=4; epic=5).
On a weak hit, there is more to be done or you realize
the truth of your quest. Envision what you discover
(Ask the Oracle if unsure). Then, mark experience
(troublesome=0; dangerous=1; formidable=2;
extreme=3; epic=4). You may Swear an Iron Vow to
set things right. If you do, add +1.
On a miss, your quest is undone. Envision what
happens (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and choose one.
• You recommit: Clear all but one filled progress,
and raise the quest’s rank by one (if not already
epic).
• You give up: Forsake Your Vow  


For the different milestones, the progress is 10/10.


We compare that with the challenge dice:
9 = 5[d10]+4[d10]


It’s a strong hit. It was a dangerous quest, so she gets 2 xp. She’ll save it to buy a new asset later.


The world seemed to hold its breath. No one spoke. Eilwen heard the blowing wind that tried in vain to obscure the blood on the snow. Her own heart sounded too loud in her own chest. She nearly slipped, but put the sword point down into the snow to lean heavily against the pommel. She turned aside her head. She was no stranger to killing animals, but... but this was the first time she had ever shed the blood of another person.


“By the gods who forsook us,” Melban eventually breathed. “What just happened?”


She shook her head and swayed unsteadily. “I don’t know. Some kind of shadow,” She felt sick, thinking of the shadows she had often called herself using the runes and words Mother had taught her. Was it the same, or something else? She gripped the sword in her hand and touched the blade with two fingers, and whispered a vow, “By the iron in my blade, I swear to see the evil of that place destroyed!”

“One of the Heralds of Night?” a settler asked and murmurs started.

“The burial chambers!” the old crone Carys shrieked, stomping up with her cane, knocking some shins of a few settlers in her way.

“What?” Mabon asked.

“He was cursed!” she muttered. “The fool had gone to those burial chambers hidden in the mines. There’s obviously some foulness there. And remember two of his friends didn’t return!”

“Everyone return to your homes. Let us speak of this no further,” Mabon said. “You and you,” he pointed to some men, “Prepare a pyre and dispose of him. Though the greasy soot of his passing will stain our snows, we’ll finally be rid of him. And you,” he turned and pointed at two men who were trying to slink away. Belvan’s cronies. “You’ll stay here. I’m going to talk to you.” He turned to her. “Eilwen, lass, get some rest. I am again in your debt. Cadfael, join me, please.”


Belvan’s two friends looking uncertain as Mabon and Cadfael turned toward them.


“Come sister,” Aron said, wrapping her bear skin coat around her, leading her away.


---


That night, she had a hard time falling asleep in her parent’s home. It was past the third watch of the night, and her father snored fitfully. She looked up in the darkness of the rafters. The iron discs lay in her box beneath her bed. Would Mother’s inky shade slink down out of the rafters and sink into her skin? What was the connection between the strange powers her mother had, the death cults, the iron pillars, and the iron book? Or was there even a connection?


“I will find out,” she whispered to herself. “And I’ll rescue the survivors of Rockriver.. Soon. But first, the evil near Frostbridge, under our own noses. That is first.”


It felt like too many balls to keep juggling... or were they heads, with laughing mocking eyes? She slipped into an uneasy sleep.  


I forgot to do the Swear and Iron Vow move for those vows. I’m technically supposed to make the move the moment I swear the vow, not really wait until I start acting to seek to fulfill the vow. So, I’ll do those rolls now:

For the vow to find if my mother was involved in any death cults and her history etc. (Formidable vow):


3 = 2[d6]+1


9 = 4[d10]+5[d10]


A miss... -2 momentum = momentum is reduced to 0 -- yeah she was tossing and turning about it. I think the significant obstacle is she needs to visit the burial chambers Belvan was out and verify what’s going on there.


Vow to rescue the women and children of Rockriver (Formidable):


4 = 3[d6]+1


9 = 7[d10]+2[d10]


A weak hit + 1 momentum = momentum is now 1. It feels like this one is on the way before she works on her mother’s vow.


And finally a vow to cleanse the evil of the burial site (Troublesome):


8 = 6[d6]+2


11 = 5[d10]+6[d10]


A strong hit. +2 momentum (momentum now is 3/10)
Reply
#13
Hello Jingo,

As usual, I am enjoying the story you are telling using the Ironsworn system. I've heard a lot of praise for the game but have never looked at it myself, so I'm glad to have the opportunity to read a few play throughs. I do see some interesting mechanics, especially the "strong, weak, miss" rolls, however, as a player and creator I'm not really drawn to the setting (norse-like tribal village). I prefer a more low-fantasy setting so it's unlikely that I will be playing Ironsworn any time soon.

I only just finished Episode 3 (such is the nature of message boards, your comments may not be directly related to the most recent posts), however, I have a question about Episode 2, specifically the Resupply roll. It led to a tenseful scene with the mysterious, shadowy figure and information that may turn out to be significant to the story (once again, I'm still way back in reading), but I'm wondering if the roll was misinterpreted. You declared it a miss, but based prior examples I think it was a weak hit (5 vs. an 8 and 4).  Just making sure I didn't miss something. As far as the game and story it's not a problem. I've often messed up with the rules and let it slide, either because it was too late or I simply liked the "incorrect" outcome and wanted to keep it.
Reply
#14
Heya Teviko604! How's it goin'? Good to hear from you, and thanks for reading.

You are correct about that roll in Episode 2. I must've misread it. 5 beats a 4, but not the 8, so it should have been a Weak hit. My bad. I added a brief note at the end of that crediting you for finding it. I also liked how it turned out though, where it led her to internal conflict about her own mother.

Regarding the Ironsworn setting, what you're reading in my posts is pretty much a default setting. I personally enjoy it, but you do have several options to mix things up. When you do world creation at the beginning, you choose between three different options, in several categories, but in each of those you can add your own "truths" or customize it heavily to make your own setting. 

You could make your setting, your own map, and world. This could easily be hacked to any low-fantasy, low magic setting where there's lots of uncharted wilderness where things, especially wilderness areas, aren't well mapped out or explored. The game shines in the respect of forging into the unknown and lends itself to a somewhat post-apocalyptic feel. It allows for ruins and other wilderness exploration options to crop up.

You could easily add in more traditional fantasy and have cities, orcs, dwarves etc, but it might lose some of its rugged frontier feel. For example, traveling on a well-maintained road network, you probably wouldn't do an Undertake Journey move, if things are mapped out with well-maintained roads that are patrolled etc. In that case, you'd probably just ask the oracle if anything interesting happens, moving from point a to point b a few times and then tell the story.

Anyway, the rules also provide ideas for hacking it for other settings and genres if that's what you prefer. The author is also working on a sci-fi version that I'll for purchase for sure when it comes out. I'd be interesting to see you or others give this game a try and see what they think. The fact that the author offers the base game's PDFs for free is a no brainer IMO. He also has his excellent "Delve" rules -- those aren't free, but they provide additional rules for underground or other wilderness site exploration.

(Btw, I actually found out about this system by following one of the random generators you had linked on one of your posts, and I saw the ad for it, and after reading part of the Ironsworn PDF, I was hooked.)

Thanks again for reading.
Reply
#15
Thanks for the additional info about the flexibility of settings. My opinions had come partly from reading the descriptions of the game, posts made about the game, and reading a couple of gameplay sessions (yours included). Most, if not all, gave the impression the rules and tables were geared to the tribal setting I described. Ironsworn's been on my radar almost as long as I've been solo'ing, but the truth is, I have many systems, generators and other rpg material that I want to try that I already have more than enough to keep me busy for years, perhaps the rest of my life.  Big Grin

I'm glad one of my links led you to this. A lot of the tools I use and early influence for my narrative style came from posts made by an "unofficial mentor" I found when I began this hobby, so I know the value of sharing game information with your readers and have tried to pass that on as naturally as possible without bogging down my narratives.
Reply
#16
Teviko, I'm glad it on your radar. I look forward to it whenever you get around to it. No rush... but I think you'll enjoy it. 

(I also know what it is to have more games than I likely have time left in life to play... Alas... Confused )
Reply
#17
Episode 10
She’ll spend time resting and preparing.


Sojourn move.


5 = 3[d6]+2


12 = 3[d10]+9[d10]


Weak hit. She’ll increase her health by 2 (now 5/5)


Will her father come with her to the burial site? If a No she can convince him.


(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Aron too?


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


She spent the next few days resting and preparing and now, she sat by the fireplace, oiling her bow and sharpening her blades. Darkness had just fallen. They would leave tomorrow at first light.


Her father agreed to take her to the burial chambers, but his eyes were troubled. “It’s a place of sickness. Of death. That’s how mother died, you know.”


“I know,” she said and thoughts of her mother again surfaced.


Aron agreed to come too, but was reticent. 


Once Father left to get some other supplies, Aron and spoke to her quietly in private. “I’ll come,” he sighed. “If it’s what you really want to do.”


“It’s not what I want, it’s what I need to do.”


“Is it? What of your need to find the other half of the crown? To unite the clans? To fufill your vow to Mother? I am oathbound to help you on that quest. It itches in my heart like a worm burrowing deeper. This place...” he waved his hand at the settlement, suddenly morose. “The Ironlands, all of it, they’re lost, forsaken and adrift without a leader...without you.”


“I will unite them, brother. I start today by revealing myself to Mabon.”


His eyes lit up with a fervor, and he nodded, standing. “It’s time?”


“Yes.”


---


They stood around a rough table in Mabon’s home. Outside, the wind howled like cats in a whirlwind buffeting the longhouse. A fire crackled merrily in the hearth and oil lamps lit the table and their faces.


“...and Arwed, my mother, said I was the next queen,” she finished the tale, and then slowly pulled out the rent crown from the box. It seemed terribly out of place, this thing of ornate craftsmanship and delicate beauty in such rustic surroundings. What tales this crown could tell! she thought wistfully.

Mabon’s eyes bulged at the treasure in front of him. The crown gleamed in the oil lamplight. 

Her father sat down hard, and the chair creaked under him.

“You...are queen?” Mabon asked.


“Eilwen...” was all her father said with a groan.


She searched her heart and found that she believed her mother. 


“Technically, yes. Formally, no. I need to find the other half. But I need your help, Mabon,” she said leaning towards him. “I need settlements who are loyal. Leaders I can count on. Will you aid me in this quest? You are a strong leader, a good man. I’ll need you and our warriors. Do I have your oath as your queen?”


Compel move with Heart


5 = 3[d6]+2


11 = 9[d10]+2[d10]


Weak hit.


Mabon ran a finger along the crown and shook his head in disbelief, scratching at his beard. “Lass, if I’m honest, this seems like a fool’s quest, you know that? But you are persuasive... Herald’s Heart, but I do believe you. I’ll help you, and will give my oath of allegiance! But you must promise to do something in return. It’s a...small thing” he paused and scratched at the table surface.

She waited, wondering what it could be. She raised an eyebrow.


86 = 86[d100]


91 = 91[d100]


Locate Pride


“Once, when I was a boy, I saw a traveling menagerie once down in the lowlands. There was this giant cat,” his voice grew reverent. “Golden fur and a thick mane about its neck and a roar to knock yer boots off ya. It was the most majestic creature I ever did see with a tongue as pink as a peach in spring.” she saw him actually rub at his eyes. “Not that I’ve seen a peach in spring, it being just an expression, but anyway, I’d like you to help me get a kitten of my own to have in my old age...”

Her father tried to cover a laugh but couldn’t. “You want...” His laughter spilled out like golden springtime. “You want a lion cub? You do realize they’re wild creatures? It’ll probably bite your head off the moment it gets big enough.”

“Bah, what do you know?” Mabon’s face reddened. “I’ve made my mind up. So what if it does, it’d be worth it.”

Eilwen gave a slight smile, but then stood up and nodded seriously to Mabon. “I’ll see it done, Mabon.”

“Good... good.” he scratched at his beard and grinned. “Never thought I’d have a Night blinded queen in my own home. It is stormin’ odd you know that, right? Your majesty?”

She cringed a little at the title, but then let it ride. It was time. She smiled. Her mother had presumably kept the secret all her life. 

They enjoyed the evening together eating, drinking, and talking of mountains, mountain cats and kingdoms.


This counts a “tick” -- a milestone -- in her Epic crown quest. 1/40 ticks (every four ticks is a crossed off box on the progress chart of 10 boxes). I still got a ways to go.

---

As they traveled along a snowy valley, mountain peaks rearing up above them, like sentinels of the gods, Eilwen thought about events since yesterday. The duel. Her revelation to Maybon. And that morning she had shown the crown to the entire settlement and made her claim to royalty. No one said anything, and no one bowed, scraped, or simpered, thank the stars! 

That suited her just fine, but people didn’t know how to act around her now. She could see it in the way they looked away, or took a different path when she walked past them. In the end, most of them couldn’t ever picture that Cadfael’s young daughter was a queen. To many of them she would always be "Cafael's welp" or "Young Eilwen" or a huntress and nothing more.... And she could understand how “...little Eilwen, putting on airs to be a queen” would likely sour many a decent relationship.

It also worried her that word was now out. It wouldn’t be long until rumors spread across the Ironlands like wildfire. Such tales of a golden circlet with a ruby worth a dozen or more settlements carried by a young woman would be a beacon to every thief or bandit in the Ironlands. 

Blast, but she needed trusted warriors at her back! Maybe she shouldn’t have revealed anything, but...well it had to start sometime, and at least Aron was in good spirits and would hopefully go where pointed.

“There goes the queen’s guardian,” she had heard someone say of her brother. True they had snickered at the word "queen", but she noticed Aron walk a little taller nonetheless.

---

As evening drew closer, Cadfael, Aron, and Eilwen arrived at the base of the mountain where Cadfael and Arwed had discovered the fateful burial site three years ago.

“Here we are,” Cadfael said, and pointed to a dark cleft in the rocks some fifteen feet above them.


“How did you find it?” Aron asked.


“Your mother did. Never did tell me how.”


Eilwen carefully scaled to the ledge and then let down ropes so her father and brother could come up. They joined her on the ledge where a tear in the rock revealed some ancient burial chambers.


I’ll use the Delve rules. I’ll be using Corrupted + Barrow for the Theme and Domain cards. This is a Troublesome delve, otherwise I doubt Belvan could have penetrated deeply into it. Their goal is to find the source of the corruption and destroy it.
I rolled Aspect and Focus in Delve book and got Ancient + Nature.


She peered into the burial chamber entrance, raising a torch, and caught glimpses of carvings and paintings on one wall, depicting foliage she had never seen: strange wide fronds of green and orange and narrow trees with wide long leaves. Shards of pottery littered the floor and one stone coffin was turned on its side, skeleton remains scattered across the floor.


“We didn’t disturb any of the jars,” her father said, a sorrowful reverence in his voice. “Belvan and his ilk did this...there’s more of the same down this passageway.”


He led the way, and they came into a slightly larger room. More pots and bowls lay smashed in the room. “This was all there was three years ago.”


“Carys said Belvan had discovered a new passageway,” Eilwen said. “And Belvan mentioned there was some kind of pillar.”


“Look about for the passageway,” her father said.


“Here it is, I think,” Aron said, pointing to a large flat rock that only partially covered a man-sized shaft that led downwards.


Do they see the bodies of Belvan's friends?


(Unlikely | 5[d10]) No


Eilwen peered into the dark depths, her torch in one hand. She bore her small pack and her bow on her back and had her sword and dagger belted at her waist.


“Shall we?” she asked and dropped her torch into the hole.


Delve the Depths move roll + wits


3 = 1[d6]+2


10 = 6[d10]+4[d10]


It’s a miss... rolling on Reveal a Danger in Delve.


49 = 49[d100]


You encounter a hostile denizen...


It wasn’t a long drop, perhaps the height of three Ironlanders stacked on top of each other. Though a drop from this height, face first, would still wreak havoc, Eilwen reasoned, drawing back and getting out a rope from her pack.

They fastened the rope around the stone coffin and let themselves down. She held up a torch in one hand, then moved down a short passageway of hewn stone. An archway opened up into a large rectangular room where a statue on a dais lay toppled, broken at it’s ankles. The head and one arm had broken off. But the eyes on the statue felt...wrong.

Strange symbols and runes were edged around the rectangular base. They looked familiar. Eilwen knelt down to investigate them. She rubbed a finger over their iron embossing. It felt greasy with old soot.

A flicker of movement was all she had. She looked up in horror as a score of white shapes, the size of huge rats, dropped squirming and biting from above!

They’re ambushed!


Enter the Fray


7 = 5[d6]+2


18 = 10[d10]+8[d10]

Dozens of creatures squirmed around them biting with jutting incisors. Eilwen didn’t have time to react, and four of the foul creatures were on top of her already biting, burrowing, trying to dig inside of her! The furless monsters had skin white as bone and as wrinkled as an old man two days in the grave. Tiny white eyes like maggots squirmed and stared back, blind, quivering in their need.

Though sightless, they knew where to find prey.

She felt the weight of their small bodies on her, felt their claws through her clothes as they clung to her, felt the incisors cut into her back. She screamed. Aron and her Father likewise shouted and flailed about them, throwing the creatures aside only to have them scurry back into the fray.

She suffers 1 harm. 4/5 now. She tried picking them and throwing them off. She had her knife drawn and was slashing in front of her, trying to keep three of them.

They continued to burrow into her. She screamed and threw them off and then tried to leap atop the fallen statue. Any sort of height was better than being swarmed on the ground.


Face Danger + Edge to quickly get them off of her and balance on the statue.


5 = 3[d6]+2


19 = 9[d10]+10[d10]

But she stumbled as one crawled underfoot, and her leap carried her into the statue and her pack fell off. She quickly clambered up, but some rats began digging into their supplies and more started to climb up onto the statue near the base.


“Our food!” she shouted.

-1 supply (now 3/5)

“We better finish this, or we’ll be food!” Aron said, smashing one with his axe, splattering it, and stomping on another, squishing it, and he gave a yelp as two more started to climb up his legs.

Her father was backed into a corner and was trying to stomp on any that drew close as some crept on the walls toward him.

“Let’s go!” she shouted. She thought they could probably outrun them if they were quick. “Out that door!”

Face Danger + edge

6 = 4[d6]+2

10 = 2[d10]+8[d10]

Weak hit. That means they get away but with a sacrifice.

She leaped off the statue, her torch flaring, and ran for her small pack of supplies, but she wasn’t able to snatch it. It seemed to boil with shapes and some started to move towards her. She cursed, left the supplies, and turned and ran for the far archway.

-1 supply (2/5 now)

Reaching the doorway, they saw the ground shift and move towards them. There was no doorway. All they could do was keep moving.


“Keep moving!” her father said, echoing her thoughts. He took the lead, his torch flaring as he leapt down some steps “Quickly!”


Delve the Depths (+edge)

Weak hit! They mark progress 3/10.

You face a perplexing mystery or tough choice.


They dart down a flight of crumbling steps, down another short passageway and then into a octagonal room with a slab of rock jutting out from each of the eight sides into the room. On each slab a coffin lay overturned the lid off, dust had spilled out of each one into small gray piles on the floor. 


They listened and didn’t hear or see any sounds of pursuit. They caught their breath. Aron nudged his boot on one of the small piles. “Where... did they go?”


They could hear a dripping of water down a corridor.


“What?” Eilwen asked, distracted, her eyes scanning the darkness.


“The bones... the dead,” Aron said again. Equipment had also spilled out. Armor, swords, helms, all of it cankered with time beyond use the metal flaking away at a touch adding red piles of dust.


“More bonewalkers?” Her father asked, his eyes darting all around.


“No...” Eilwen said. “Look.” Dust covered the ground around the coffins but she couldn’t see any footprints.


The hackles on the back of her neck rose up. They didn’t see any footprints enter this room either, other than their own. Continuing through this room another doorway opened up and the passage continued still down... But maybe...


“Maybe, we missed a branching corridor in our flight down. Let’s backtrack and see if we can see Belvan’s prints. That should lead us where we need to go.


“Just don’t go too far back. I don’t want to meet more of those cave crawlers.”


Delve the Depths + wits


8 = 6[d6]+2


5 = 3[d10]+2[d10]


Finally! A strong hit.


Progress at 6/10 now.


They move down another passageway, lined with stone statues, coweled and ominous with cracks running through the old stone. Some limbs had fallen off from time and gravity. Lichen grew on each of them. One statue, near the door is broken at the waist. Boot prints around in the dust and a shattered wooden door show that someone used the statue to shatter the door down.

“They must’ve gone this way,” Eilwen said, and she pressed onward through the shattered door but then stopped as a passageway slanted sharply down and her feet slipped on the dust. She moved in a crouch and pulled off her bow and fitted an arrow. 

“Let us move carefully and quietly. The rats aren’t after us, but...” she said in a whisper. “I don’t like this.”

Delve the Depths + Shadow


5 = 2[d6]+3


11 = 10[d10]+1[d10]


Mark Progress and Reveal a Danger

They moved down the slanted route and made it to a heavy stone door, runes covered the door posts, and an angular-looking eye carved into the lintel stared wordlessly down at her.

Do they see any bodies of Belvan’s cronies?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

“This must be it,” Eilwen said, studying the door.

“How does it open? Sure looks heavy?” Aron said.

“I don’t know, but--”

He pressed on the door.

They heard a rapidly-increasing tempo of a clicking sound, and behind them saw puffs of air moving aside cobwebs.

“Down!” she shouted, dropping her bow and arrow and throwing herself down.


‘It’s a trap’ Admiral Akbar shouts! 
I’m channeling my inner Indiana Jones. 
Cue the music: Dun da dun ta... Dun ta da! Smile 


Face Danger + Edge

7 = 5[d6]+2
11 = 2[d10]+9[d10]

A weak hit.

Wicked looking spears shot out. Eilwen slammed to the ground, and one lanced right over her, clattering into the wall above her tearing through her sleeve but barely missing her skin. Aron took one in his shield, shattering a wooden panel, a mere finger’s width from his face but he was otherwise okay.

Father was dropped quickly too, and other than bruises, was unharmed.

She knelt and studied the spears and sniffed, a stale tale-tell familiar scent tingled in her nostrils. She stiffened and backed up. 

“Don’t! Don’t... touch the points. Heralds and Nights! They poisoned the spears with silverweed!”

She suddenly felt the oppressiveness of it all: the cavern crawlers; the strangeness of the missing bodies; Belvar’s transformation and madness; the ruins in the Green Grip; her mother and the iron discs; silverweed poison...

Stress -1 Spirit (4/5)
Endure Stress

9 = 5[d6]+4

7 = 6[d10]+1[d10]

A strong hit. Embraces the darkness and takes +1 momentum (momentum is now 4).


Don’t touch the door,” her father said to Aron.

She studied the runes, hoping for a way beyond the stone door.

Can she read these runes?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Delve the Depths + wits

7 = 5[d6]+2
3 = 2[d10]+1[d10]

The runes were strange. Angular yes, but they felt greasy and wrong. But she noticed something. Blood...dried but relatively fresh perhaps a few days old coated two of the runes--twin rectangular runes. She moved the torch closer and studied them. The material behind the iron runes had a very faint line, as if they could move...

“Be ready,” she said and pressed the runes.

Another clicking sound made her jump, and Aron raised his shield. But the door swung open.

Progress is now 10/10.
Locate your objective move.

20 = 10[d10]+10[d10]

Oh no... a miss! What are the chances of that!?

From the PDF:
“On a miss, your objective falls out of reach, you have been misled about the nature of
your objective, or you discover that this site holds unexpected depths. If you continue
your exploration, clear all but one filled progress and raise the site’s rank by one (if not
already epic)”

They passed through the stone doorway into a large circular room. Inside, eight skeletons lay face down, as if in obeisance to a short and stout, octagonal stand, or short pillar, made of black iron. The dais also formed an octagonal. And eight steps led up toward the iron stand.

They carefully climbed to the stand, weapons at the ready.

There, on the octagon stand was a single inset groove of eight sides, perfectly formed, that had held...something.

“I don’t get it,” Aron said. “Isn’t there something here... or someone... Some evil to destroy?”

“Not every evil is so visible son,” their father said.

“But there must be something,” Aron frowned.

“Something was on this pedestal: Eilwen mused, pursing her lips and tracing the notched groove with her finger, feeling the hard edges in the iron pillar. "Belvan must’ve taken it. Something small, with eight sides that fit in these notches."

They searched the rest of the room and found nothing else save in the corner of the room there were two relatively fresh bodies, moldering. Their flesh and organs had largely been stripped by cavern crawlers. Their mouths were open as if in a silent scream.

“It’s Luc and Sawel,” Father grimaced crouching nearby. “No valuables on them. They probably had a fight over what he found. I bet Belvan did them in. The rat!” he spat to the side.

“Father, was Beval wearing an iron pendant or a ring in the shape of that octagon?” Eilwen asked.

“I don’t know. I wasn’t on the burial detail, I--”

But she wasn’t listening. A sudden horrific thought had hit her. What if the ring itself had stored the evil spirit? There were eight sets of bones... could that mean eight spirits? She shuddered. What if...what if someone else had the ring and--?

“The light save us! We have to get back to the settlement. Now!” she said and ran for the exit.

---

Escape the Depths move. roll + edge

They ran out, down the corridor where the trap was, up the slanted passageway, up and past the cavern crawlers, up the passageway and back to where their rope dangled invitingly

7 = 5[d6]+2
12 = 7[d10]+5[d10]

A weak hit. You are delayed, and it costs you.

They climbed up. It was fully dark now and a furious blizzard blasted the landscape outside. The weather in the Veiled Mountains was a temperamental fickle thing.

She cursed and paced outside the opening, her torch held high equipment on her back ready to go. She stepped outside for an instant and felt the fury of the storm. She came back in and sat down hard.

“We can’t go Eilwen,” Father said. “That’s a killing blizzard. If we go out there, in the dark, we’ll get lost and freeze to death.”

“I know,” she sat down on the edge of the coffin, her foot tapping impatiently. “But what if Frostbridge is in danger because of the--”

“Hush daughter,” he smiled, a hand on her shoulder. “Frostbridge is made of strong folk. They can weather a lot.”

“Can they weather seven possessions of spirits of darkness from an ancient age?” she asked, following him back inside to the larger room.

Belvan had been the first. Was it possible that seven more? It was only a hunch but her gut told her it was true.

Her father muttered but shook his head. “Let us trust in hope,” he said as he shoved the flat stone across the opening. “The good news is we have good shelter for a safe camp.”

Make Camp
7 = 5[d6]+2
5 = 2[d10]+3[d10]

A strong hit! She takes Recuperate (+1 health back up to 5/5) and Focus (+1 momentum, now 5/10)

They ate from their meager supplies. She rested and focused on what she might see at Frostbridge. She slid her dagger in and out of her sheath until Aron threatened to take it away.

“Go to sleep sister,” he said with a groan, turning over on his bed roll. “There’s nothing you can do!”
Reply
#18
Episode 11

The next day they returned to Frostbridge. The delay had cost them. (I’ll reveal the oracle rolls later)

They could see the smoke about noon before they arrived, and with a groan she broke into a careful jog across the ice bridge.

At the settlement, bodies lay in the snow, torso’s slashed with clawed fingers, throats ripped out. Several longhouses were aflame and they heard crying, screaming, and the sounds of battle. 

They darted in that direction.

Rounding a bend, they saw that warriors surrounded Mabon, protecting him from another one of those... things. Suddenly, it broke through the warriors, bashing aside one of them. They saw a muscular man named Gwili smash down down with his feet, cracking the warrior’s ribs then kicking him out of the way. Any semblance to humanity on Gwili’s face was long gone. Eilwen knew he had been one of those on burial detail. Did he have the ring then?

Gwili came at Mabon--no this thing was not Gwili, she told herself. A feral grin had passed over its face as it neared Mabon. Mabon roared and slammed a two handed axe into its shoulder, shattering the bones. But the thing didn’t feel pain. It grabbed Mabon with his good arm and headbutted him, dazing him. 

Mabon swooned. Then it grabbed Mabon by his shirt.

“No!” Eilwen shouted and started running, fitting an arrow.

But too late. It smashed Mabon’s head into a totem by the Longhouse. Mabon groaned and lay still.

Is all well?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Are people dead?

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

Is Mabon okay?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Dead?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes

Is anyone still left in the settlement?

A lot of people...
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Is the possessed one there?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

And he’s still on the rampage. 

The thing turned to engage a warrior who was turning to run.

“Go!” she commanded her brother and father. “Help Mabon!” 

As they ran off, Eilwen crouched in stealth behind the side of a longhouse and sighted an arrow. Aron and her father moved towards the possessed man, their weapons at the ready. She let fly.

Enter the Fray move. I’ll say because it’s been wounded by Mabon and his guards it’s dangerous only, no longer formidable.
7 = 4[d6]+3
18 = 9[d10]+9[d10]
And it’s a miss! Grrr.

The arrow missed by only a foot, and it hit the lower back of a nearby Frostbridge warrior. She cringed as he and went down in a flash of blood. She cursed and ducked behind her cover. Peeking through some slats, she saw a look of keen intelligence flash across the creature’s face. It’s mouth was covered with blood, and its eyes were only showing their whites. It’s body was covered in many cuts, and blood seeped from a dozen wounds.

With its mouth agape, and hands extended in a claw-like fashion (though one arm was crushed and useless), it rushed towards her father and Aron.

Eilwen, one street away, darted behind another building, and cat-like, leaped and clambered atop a longhouse in two bounds. Then, keeping her feet on the frames she shot at the creature from a concealed position.

Face Danger + Shadow to shoot it from behind to stop it from engages her family!
9 = 6[d6]+3
7 = 3[d10]+4[d10]

A strong hit!  I take +1 momentum. (6/10 now)

Her barb flew true and took it in the hamstring. It tripped, rolled and started to clamber to its feet again as Aron and her father rushed past it towards Mabon. She ducked back down again and when it started to follow her family, she rose from her position and shot shouting at it to get its attention, hoping to draw it toward her.

She has initiative now. So roll + edge strike

6 = 4[d6]+2
4 = 1[d10]+3[d10]

Strong hit! +3 harm total progress 6/10 

Her shaft took him in the chest, but he came on. She lined up and another shaft whistled through the air.

4 = 2[d6]+2
13 = 8[d10]+5[d10]

A miss. She’ll burn her momentum to zero out the 5, turning it into a weak hit. It takes two more harm. 10/10 now.

Her arrow hit, but as it did, it launched itself at the side of the longhouse and started climbing it, like a monkey. She stumbled atop it and dropped her bow, windmilling her arms to keep her balance. (loses initiative)

It climbed up, hissing, and crooning as blood dribbled from its mouth. “Taste. Must taste...” was all it said as it advanced on her, a claw like hand raking the air.

She’ll use the Turn the Tide
She grabbed his arm, twisted and spun in a leg sweep. She tripped it and it fell hard onto the roof. The timbers creaked.
2 = 1[d6]+1
5 = 1[d10]+4[d10]

A weak hit at least that’s good. She does harm... but he’s already and max. She just needs a strong hit him in a good position

Roof collapse?

The roof creaked and moaned, swayed to the left, and then the entire fell over and inwards. She leaped off and rolled with the fall.

Face Danger move with edge

8 = 6[d6]+2
12 = 3[d10]+9[d10]

She’ll lose 1 momentum, going down to 1/10 now.

The thing burst through the wall, splinters falling off of it as it leaped over debris and dashed limped towards her. From the corner of her eye she saw Aron and her father check Mabon. Then Aron turned, saw Eilwen engaged in with the creature. He blanched and roared a battle cry charging after the monster.

She yanked her sword out of her scabbard, just as it leaped for her and she tried to duck out of the way.

Face Danger + Edge
7 = 5[d6]+2
14 = 6[d10]+8[d10]

A weak hit, she rolled out of the way, coming up bruised and shaken. Her sword in both hands.

She’ll take the 1 harm.

Endure Harm. She embraces the pain and gets +1 momentum. Now she has +2.

8 = 4[d6]+4
6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]

Yes! Strong hit. 

She regains initiative and can now do the End the Fight move.

Geez hope I don’t roll 2 tens again

With a defiant shout, she came at its side, blade whistling in the snow-laced wind.

10 beats both
11 = 2[d10]+9[d10]

A strong hit.

It hissed and fell back under her keen onslaught. She slashed across its face, taking off its jaw, then bashed the blade down on its skull. Blood oozed out. It went down to one knee. She kicked it in the face and yanked her blade free, and it fell back. Still, it struggled to rise. With a massive two-handed thrust, she pierced it’s ribcage, pinned it to the ground. Three feet of cold iron pierced its heart and drove into the stone-cold ground.

The creature gave one last heave, then a shudder and then lay still. As with Belvan’s death, an inky shadow rose from the body with a silent scream. Then the the wind blew it away to wisps of nothing.

Silence loomed in the dismal aftermath, and people peaked out of windows or behind doors.

She looked down at the cooling corpse, and saw the octagonal ring on its finger. She worked it free with her dagger without letting it touch her skin. Then she went over to the blacksmith’s house the ring on the point of her dagger.

“I need your furnace,” she said.

The blacksmith, a hulking man named Rhovat, nodded to her and she took the tongs and grabbed the ring.

“Make it hot enough to melt it down to slag. And bring me salt!”

When he had done so, she slid the ring off of her dagger’s blade into an earthen cup. It fell heavily. Then, with the tongs, she placed the cup in the furnace. Rhovat pushed the bellows, his strong arms bulging under his shirt. The metal began to smoke and after a few minutes it melted to liquid.

She remove the cup of molten iron and poured mixed salt into it as well as a handful of half frozen dirt. The mixture hissed and popped within the cup. She poured it out onto the anvil and hammered the mixture flat and then let it cool to a solid state, though still orange with heat.

Surviving settlers gathered around her, somber and curious. She heard weeping of settlers, moaning with the keening wind.

She picked up the glowing mix with the tongs, and with resolute steps, she cast the vile thing down into the yawning chasm. It disappeared, like some glowing orange meteor, steam trailing after it, into the deep blue and black foggy depths below.

“The evil that has visited our home is now gone!” Eilwen shouted. She heard weeping and the wails of women mourning lost children, lost husbands, and men mourning lost wives and sons. Sisters and brothers crying out in pain because death had stalked among them.

“But it’s cost was great,” her father said in a low voice behind her. “Mabon is dead, as is half of Frostbridge. This is indeed a dark day.”

Mabon....was dead. The truth hit her like a punch in the gut. What of her vow? The Night-damned storm last night had delayed them. She could have been here. Could have stopped the creature before it was too late...could have... She turned and wanted to shout to the wind. To the gods who had forsaken them if they were not already dead.

Mabon had promised to support her just last night and now---now all she had was a settlement she grew up in who didn’t much believe in her. They appreciated her, knew her. Some even cared about and loved her. But without Mabon’s commands, and his support, who would lead this settlement?

Father.

She turned to him. “You must lead them Father.”

“What?” he asked.

“You are respected and sensible. You’re different from Mabon, but you must lead them now.”

“Daughter, I am no leader, I--”

Voices called out from the settlers.

“What of Mabon?” Someone called. “Who will lead us now?”

“Without a chief, without order, the settlement is doomed.”

“With evil walking the snows, is it even worth staying here?”

“Will you lead us, daughter of Cadfael?" someone called. "You said you were our queen. We’ve seen a broken crown but many know that you’re just a young girl.”

“Do it Father,” Aron nodded. “Do it for Eilwen. For your queen.”

Does he see the sense in it?

(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...
But he’ll do it.

“I think you have the wrong person,” Father said. “But I’ll do it. May our ancestor’s preserve us...” he muttered.

Aron grinned and clapped father on the shoulder. “You’ll do fine. Just give them all plenty of ale and good hunting. What could go wrong.”

“Go soak your head in the snow,” Cadfael cuffed him lightly on the head. “I’m surrounded by idiots.” 

Aron grinned and their father frowned, straightened his tunic and coat, and then nodded to Eilwen.

“I cannot be your leader!” Eilwen turned back to the crowd. “I have things I must be about. But, I suggest Cadfael as chieftain of Frostbridge, and he has agreed. Know that he stood against the evil creature bravely this day. He risked his life and limb to try and save Mabon. When others ran away from the creature. He ran towards it.”

The crowd nodded and more cheers were heard.

“He also knows of the threats from the Wolf Fang clan. And he is sensible and fair, and he hunts well. Does anyone dispute this choice? Is there another who desires to lead?” Her voice rang out in the cold.

No one did. In fact, they shied away from the question, even those who had once doubted Mabon’s leadership. After witnessing the fate of Belvan and Mabon and their own settlement, many looked about as if fearing that she’d point at one of them and make them be chief.

“Then he is your chief, and his word is law,” she shouted to the crowd. “You know the traditions of our people. Should any dispute his claim later, you must face him or me, his chosen Swordmistress of Frostbridge, in the dueling circle.”

The people nodded their assent. And they shouted. “We accept Cadfael. He is chief!”

“I didn’t say you would be Swordmistress,” her father muttered under his breath, as some in the crowd cheered him. Others were too stunned from the attack to do more than just nod or look on in silence.

“I knew you wouldn’t,” she responded in kind. “But it’s better this way. The memory of Belvan’s fate is still fresh. None will dare to dispute your leadership for years to come.”

She stepped down from a flat boulder and Cadfael stepped up.

“People of Frostbridge," he called out. "Bury your dead! This is a time to mourn the fallen. Not a time to celebrate and feast. But...when the dead are laid to rest. When we have cried our tears of warm ice to the lost gods, when the memories of these dear ones are written upon our hearts, and whispered to the cold snows, then we will feast to their memory!”

Fulfill Your Vow
For destroying the foul item, she has now made 9 progress on this troublesome vow (3 for delving the depths. 3 for defeating the creatures. 3 for destroying the ring).

9 vs 2d10

14 = 10[d10]+4[d10]

Weak hit.

"On a weak hit, there is more to be done or you realize the truth of
your quest. Envision what you discover (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
Then, mark experience (troublesome=0; dangerous=1; formidable=2;
extreme=3; epic=4). You may Swear an Iron Vow to set things right. If
you do, add +1.”

I can't think of more to be done, she'll no new Iron vow to swear.

Anyway, she gets 1 xp to add for the 2 from the last vow so 3 xp to spend. That’s enough for a new asset. Since she was in a duel, she’ll take Duelist:

DUELIST
If you wield a bladed weapon in each
hand...
X - When you Strike or Clash, you may
add +2. If you do (decide before
rolling), inflict +1 harm on a strong
hit and count a weak hit as a miss.
N/A - Once per fight, when you Secure an
Advantage +edge by making a bold
display of your combat prowess, you
may reroll any dice.
 N/A - When you Draw the Circle, choose one
(before rolling).
• Add +2.
• Take +2 momentum on a hit


---

That night they had put out the fires and then buried the fallen in the ground near the burning buildings where the soil was softer. Everyone had toiled for hours, digging out the half-frozen ground. Eilwen had helped as well, and her arms burned from the exertion. But it had felt good to lay the fallen to rest. Now, back in their longhouse, she thought about the recent events: the burial chambers under the mountain, the strange iron ring, the skeletons, Belvan and Gwili...

“It is done, and soon, I head south,” she turned over and fell asleep.

Did Drystan and Kyffin survive? Likely since Drystan doesn't  really live in the settlement.

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

They didn’t even know of it until they came to down that night, having seen the smoke on the horizon.
Reply
#19
Episode 12
Drystan and Kyffin had arrived at Frostbridge proper that night, having seen the smoke from Drystan’s home. Eilwen frowned at the destruction of life and property! This attack would go down in the legends of Frostbridge for generations to come--assuming the settlement lasted that long.


The survivors had held a special ceremony for the fallen, telling tales of Mabon and the others who lost their lives. Families joined together to support one another. Children who were now orphans were adopted by other families, and life scraped ever onward in the savage Ironlands.


Kyffin had approached Eilwen, still wounded. He wanted to join her and Aron on their travels south when they left. He hoped to rescue his people from the clutches of the Wolf Fang clan and was committed to that end.


While he continued to recuperate, Eilwen and Aron made preparations for travel. Eilwen tried to get supplies and prepare for her journey.


Sojourn Move
5 = 3[d6]+2


16 = 7[d10]+9[d10]


A miss.


Pay the price.


I’ll say she loses some supplies.


There was too much destruction. Too much to do. Reports of the dead and wounded continued to come in, and the people of Frostbridge had lost many supplies during the burning. They could offer Eilwen no aid other than well wishes. In fact, she gave some of their own dwindling supplies to those less fortunate. Aron raised his eyebrow at that, but she only said. “I know how to hunt and forage in the wild. We should be fine.” 


(-1 supplies from pay the price - supply at 1/5)


Over the next few weeks, she and Aron helped with more graves and funerals and rebuilding of lost homes. When all the dead were buried, and Kyffin was ready to travel, they set out for Rockriver.


---


Aron and Eilwen stood on the other side of the ice bridge. Kyffin also stood nearby, a respectful distance apart.
Their father faced his children, behind him Eilwen saw what remained of Frostbridge settlement. Amidst the burned out husks of homes, some newer constructions had gone up but some things would never be the same. Fire and death had changed the home of her youth forever. 


Aron and Eilwen stood side by side in an awkward moment. Neither knowing quite how to say goodbye to their father. 


“Be safe,” their father finally said, pulling Eilwen into an embrace and then Aron. They parted, and he looked at them proudly.


“Mabon would have sent warriors with you, but... there are none to spare now. Those few remaining are needed for the defense of Frostbridge”


“I understand,” Eilwen said.


“When I see you again, Daughter, you’ll have the other half of the crown?” Cadfael asked.


“Perhaps, you’ll see me before then Father, but we head south. There are deeds to be done and questions there that need answering. My clues for the crown lie there in the Deep Wilds.”


“Then go with our ancestors' favor,” he said.


He pressed his forehead against Aron’s. “Blood of my blood,” he whispered. Then in turn to Eilwen, he whispered, “Heart of my heart,” And his voice caught. He gripped her arm and nodded to each of them.


“Keep each other safe!”


They waved farewell, shouldered their supplies set out across the icy valley, sunlight behind them in a blue sky, gusty winds blowing grains of fine snow into their faces from drifts. In the distance they climbed a rise and wound around a mountain and saw Frostbridge disappear from view.


I won’t do any Undertake Journey move to Rockriver since Kyffin knows the way well and we’ve already traveled this track a couple of times now.


After a few days of travel, they approached Rockriver. Eilwen had managed to forage for a few berries and hunt some small game. They warily passed nearby the Green Grip but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Kyffin led the way. Their supplies would not hold out forever.


They cautiously approached from the north towards Rockriver, the same route she, Drystan, and Aron had taken a few days earlier. They hadn’t yet seen any sign of the Wolf Fang clan yet.


What about now, coming into Rockriver. Any clan members there or moving through it?


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


Cresting the hill above Rockridge around noon, they crouched again behind rocks and studied the town below. They saw a small group of Wolf Fang warriors in the settlement. They also saw some families there. Not many, but some.


They backed down the hill and once out of sight and earshot they held a brief conference.


“They claimed my home for their own!” Kyffin spat into the snow. “And we don’t know if more of their warriors or settlers are coming up the eastern route from Lonefort, but I think it’s likely. If we continue that way, we’d probably run into more of them.” 


“Do we go through the mines again?” Aron asked.


“No,” Eilwen shook her head. “Normal flesh and blood soldiers are one thing, but those Bonewalkers are something else entirely. They’re not natural.” She suppressed a shudder at the memory. She pointed at Hingsworth peak. “That’s where the mine goes through. If more settlers and warriors are coming this way, then they’re traversing north using the lower eastern pass around Hingsworth. We’ll need to take the West Hingsworth pass there to avoid them and then continue cutting due south, avoiding the roads.” 


“Lad. No one takes those routes!” Kyffin grunted. “It’s wild country.” 


“We’re in the veiled mountains,” Aron barked a laugh. “Everything is wild country.” 


“Aye, but not that wild. It’s... just not safe.” 


Aron laughed at that. “Not safe?” We have roving warriors in one direction, bonewalkers in another. “You call that ‘safe’?”


“What do you know of the area? What dangers?” Eilwen asked him.


Kyffin shrugged and leaned on his spear. “The usual dangers of wild animals, Lass, plus treacherous snows, and poor footing. Oh, and then there’s rumors of other things...Ifin I be completely honest with ye, I’m beginning to think yer bonewalkers don’t sound so bad.”


“That’s because you didn’t see them,” Aron frowned.


Kyffin grunted. “Well, I’ll have to be takin’ yer word for it, lad. I’ve only heard the rumors of it being haunted and such. Mine own eyes have never had the misfortune to see dead bones a walkin’ But we’ll have to pass the Dark Portal someday. I just hope it doesn’t happen until I’ve had my vengeance upon Uzak and the Wolf Fang clan for what he did to Rockriver--to my kinfolk.” He gripped the handle of his spear tightly. “So, we goin’ over this pass then? We’re going to need more supplies to do that.”


Eilwen nodded her head. “We’ll forage and hunt for supplies on our way to the pass. If all else fails, we’ll fall back to Rockriver and see about talking supplies from the Wolf Fang guards. But I don’t want to risk drawing their attention unless absolutely necessary. We head west, away from Rockfall, towards the pass. We’ll hunt on the way.


They all had spears and bows and the men both had axes and shields. There were plenty of weapons from fallen warriors at Frostbridge. Aron also wore hardened leather armor.


Do they have snow shoes?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


After breaking from the trail, they attached snow shoes and traveled for a couple of hours through drifts of thick soft snow. To the left and right the mountains slowly came together toward the west pass, their destination. They continued west and the mountains drew closer and nearer. Pines glistened in the afternoon sun and bushes


They split up and hunted for food.


Resupply move


5 = 3[d6]+2


5 = 1[d10]+4[d10]


A strong hit! Nice. They needed that. They have +2 supplies (now 3/5).


Aron and Eilwen came back with a large buck they had cornered and brought down with bow and spear. They rested and made camp hoping to tackle the pass on the morrow.


Make Camp


5 = 2[d6]+3


14 = 8[d10]+6[d10]


A miss.
I rolled an 11 on the oracle and it said, “You are separated from someone or something.”



Eilwen was fletching some new arrows when Aron came back with some firewood. 


“Where’s Kyffin?” he asked as he dumped the load on the ground.


“I thought he was with you,” Eilwen looked up, concerned, now that the sun was dropping. “He saw you go off for wood and said he’d look too.”


“It’ll be dark soon and cold. We’d better look for him,” he said.


She nodded and gathered her weapons and supplies, and they set out to look for Kyffin.


Gather Information to follow tracks roll + wits


7 = 5[d6]+2


6 = 2[d10]+4[d10]


A strong hit. (+2 momentum)


They find and follow his tracks. Where did he go and why didn’t he come back?


Was he being hunted or followed by something?


(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


I don’t think Kyffin is lost, mainly because with snow and footprints, it’s quite easy to follow your trail back unless it gets dark or the tracks get obscured, or you go a significant distance. They also weren’t ranging super far for wood. 


Likely - that he fell through some weak ice or treacherous snow down into a chasm or under ice river or something. 


Is that what happened?


 (Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...


But he’s only fallen partway.


Is he unconscious?


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


He is injured but still conscious.


They followed his tracks to where he traversed across a wide open area, where the snow had built up, heading for some trees and fallen limbs on the other side. The tracks stopped, and the thick icy crust about it had gradually thinned in the spring sun throughout the day, and a hole in the snow showed that Kyffin must have plummeted down into some unknown depths.


Darkness began to close in. 


“Kyffin!” Eilwen called his name, but nothing came back but an echo. She called again, and finally got a ragged cry in response.


“Eilwen?”


He sounded hurt. Clouds settled above in an impenetrable veil, and without falling snow it became difficult to see.


“I’m coming down,” she shouted.


“I should go,” Aron said and sniffed in response to the cold.


“I’m lighter. You’re stronger. I go. I’ll tie the rope to me,” Eilwen said to her twin, ending the discussion. “You hold the other end. Once I’m down, I’ll tie it around him. You pull him up and then lower the rope again and then do the same for me.”


Aron nodded, and Eilwen, after creating a quick harness around herself nodded. Aron had jammed his torch in the snow by him and then set himself with a good grip. He nodded back. She backed up to the lip and peered over her shoulder across the edge. It was dark down there. She had a sputtering torch in one hand and one hand on her rope. 


She heard Kyffin’s voice below groaning in pain.


Does Aron keep firm purchase on the rope?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes


Did Kyffin fall far?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


She stepped back over the edge, trusting her brother. She jolted down a few feet and then swung spiraling in a circle. Eventually she arrested her spin, and Aron slowly lowered her carefully down.


“Kyffin!” she called out. “I still can’t see you.”


“I’m here!” the voice called back from the darkness.


Stars above! How far down was he?


“Lower me some more,” she called up.


“Can’t!” Aron called down. “That’s as far as the rope goes and...you’re getting heavier every moment.”


She cursed. 


Do they have any more rope in their packs for a longer climb?


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


But it’s back at the camp.


“I’m going to untie myself and drop down,” Eilwen called up.


“Are you crazy!” Aron shouted. “Don’t do it. I’ll pull you up!” 


The rope started to move, and she rose up a couple of handspans. She rotated again in the cold dark expanse. “Stop!” she shouted up. Her feet reached out and her toes caught the icy wall with her boots. She stopped rotating.


Eilwen dropped her torch towards where she thought Kyffin was. 


Does it land by him?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes


The flaming brand plummeted into the darkness, end over end and then it hit an icy ledge. She saw Kyffin. He lay on the icy ledge on his back. Thankfully, the large ledge would be big enough for her to land on, if she could just get down to it. The ledge sat off to the left a good distance. That might be a problem...


 Kyffin rolled over, with a groan, and pulled the hissing torch out of the snow, keeping it alight.


“Thanks for the light,” he called up weakly.


“I can see him! I’m doing this!” she called up to Aron. “He’s hurt and there’s no time to argue! Once I’m down, go back to camp and get more rope. Tie them together and we’ll go with the original plan.”


She pulled herself up the rope, her muscles burning, to get some slack. Then she wrapped one leg around it in a simple tie she could hold with one hand. Then with her other hand and dangling upside down, she had enough slack and undid the knot around her waist. Some of her arrows fell out of her quiver and disappeared below. Upside down, the blood rushed to her head. Her simple pack dangled from her armpits.


With the knot undone, she righted herself, and felt suddenly dizzy. She clung to the rope for a few moments, then lowered herself as far as she could. Then, kicking off the ice wall, in Kyffin’s direction, she leaped towards him and let go.


Face Danger + Edge
3 = 1[d6]+2


16 = 6[d10]+10[d10]


Failure!


Her foot slipped and she spiraled as she leapt, her trajectory off as she careened through space. She landed poorly, spraining her ankle and rolled along the ledge. The wall brought her up short with a firm crack of her head against the icy wall. She saw stars and groaned. She felt blood on her skull.


I’ll say she takes harm for the failure. 4/5 harm.


Endure Harm 
6 = 2[d6]+4


11 = 3[d10]+8[d10]


Weak Hit. You press on.


“Eilwen?” Aron called down. She saw a torch high above.


“I’m okay. I’m down. Get the rope from the camp.”


He nodded and disappeared.


She crawled over to Kyffin and investigated his wounds. “How bad is it?”


I’ll roll on rpgsolo’s damage roller:
(1 = 1[d20]) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Bruise.


“Ah lass, I hurt all over,” Kyffin said. “I think I broke something. I’m certain I heard something snap.” 


She probed for injuries. He had mild scrapes on his hands and face from the ice, and a gash on his forehead that looked much worse than it was. He winced when she probed his limbs and neck, but all in all, he had seemed alright.


“You’re one luckly man,” she said. “To have survived a fall from that height.”


“Nothing broken?” He sounded surprised.


She shook her head. “Just this,” and she held up the broken shaft of a spear that was under him. “At least you didn’t stab yourself.”


She sat back against the ice wall and massaged her own ankle, feeling for injury. She wrapped the sprain from a cloth in her pack. Her head still rang, and she could feel a goose egg forming.


Anything else interesting down in this cavern?
(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


She peered about with the torch but didn’t see anything other than more empty space below them.


“Thanks for comin’ for me,” he muttered, stretching his neck. “I had nearly screamed myself hoarse and thought I’d die in the cold tonight.”


She smiled and nodded then leaned back and let out a big sigh.


Eventually, Aron returned, and with his help and the two ropes, they managed to extricate themselves from the pit and return to camp with less firewood than they had hoped. 


They spent a miserable night huddled together once their limited supply of fuel burned out. But their clothing was thick and with their shared warmth they weathered it.
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#20
Just finished Chapter 6 and the wolf chase across the bridge. I scrolled down one line at a time to keep the suspense built up. Exciting stuff and a nail-biter there wondering if Eileen was going to make her rolls. Good stuff!
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