Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
Quote:Well, we've been here before. Things going to crap. No apparent way to survive. But you've pulled your characters out of it in the past. Maybe you'll do it again.

Or this will be the first actual play I have read where everyone dies.

Hey Teviko! Hope you're well. Sorry for not posting. Got distracted then was busy preparing a church talk that took up 
most of my free time last week. But I should have more time with upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Regarding what you wrote... no kidding... But you never know what string of bad luck can bring you. (Good old Oracle I'm interested in trying another run of that storyline sometime, but maybe with different mechanics...) Anyway... Onward!

Episode 17
It seemed that hours passed by before Aron set her down gently when his arms began to tremble and when the sad pool of torch light where Kyffin died was only a distant pin prick. Aron then lit another torch, and they resumed their march. She followed behind, numb, hardly thinking, just putting one foot ahead of the other, trying not to think of what else might be in the dark places of this light-forsaken land.

When she was so tired she could go no further, they made camp again.

Make Camp roll + supply
9 = 4[d6]+5
11 = 3[d10]+8[d10]

A strong hit. She will heal (4/5 now) and prepare (add +1 to Delve Depths).

Eilwen didn’t know how to feel about Aron. Who was the monarch here, and who was the servant? They ate and prepared for more of the same on the morrow. They still did not speak, and whenever Eilwen closed her eyes, she saw the horrors of what she had witnessed. That horrible creature and its horrible maker. Kyffin dying in vain, screaming in pain. Would she ever sleep in peace again? They didn’t take watches. Sleep, restless though it was, finally came, as she curled around the wyvern egg helping to keep it warm. The faint scratching sound inside the egg continued. Aron regarded her with troubled eyes and then looked away.

The next “morning” or whatever time it was, they continued. Her head wound felt better with the rest, and the blood had scabbed over.

Delve the Depths + 2 wits, +1 from prep (current progress is 3/10)
8 = 5[d6]+3
12 = 4[d10]+8[d10]

A weak hit. We roll on the Delve the Depths chart for Wits. Rolled a 29. “Mark Progress and Reveal a Danger” 

We make progress (4/10).

The mountain had caved inward, and huge stones and rubble covered the wide underground roadway. Above them, small beams of sunlight through a riven part of the mountain provided glimpses of hope and life beyond this darkness. Eilwen saw a small opening in the debris. They could attempt to squeeze through that opening or they could attempt to climb over the field of fallen stones, up near the gap where the sunlight was and then back down the other side. The rocks looked unstable. If not, they’d have to turn around and find some other way of proceeding, maybe a different passageway that led in the same direction?

She sat down on a fallen boulder and Aron handed her a piece of hard bread.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “But what I did was necessary.”

She didn’t want to talk to him, and so only stared at him until he finally looked away, muttering and started fussing over their supplies.

“You disobeyed me,” she finally said.

“I told you I wouldn’t let you die foolishly. Remember, I made an oath!”

“We needed Kyffin!”

“No, we didn’t. Yes, I’m sad at his death. I wish it could have been different, but with that wound, he wouldn’t have walked anyway.”

“We could have helped him get away. We could have--” 

“Heralds Eilwen!" his eyes flashed in anger. "You know we couldn’t have faced that thing!” Aron stomped over to her. “Look at us. Not in our current state. Maybe with a score of strong men with us, with armor, pike and shield... Maybe then we could have! But with just the three of us? No. It was folly, sister, and you know it!”

A part of her agreed with him. The other part of her twisted in frustration.

“It is not your place to second guess your queen!” she said.

“You’re not queen yet, little sister.”

“Little? I’m your same age!”

“But you’re acting as a foolish little girl,” he said.

“You were so anxious to call me ‘Your Majesty’ just a few days ago, or did you forget?”

“You will get the respect you’re due when you earn it!” he returned. “But not before then! Start acting like a queen, instead of a savior!”

Test Your Bond Move
4 = 3[d6]+1
11 = 3[d10]+8[d10]

It’s a weak hit. In order to keep her bond with him, she has to prove her loyalty. I think he’ll want her to act sensibly.

She spun away, breathing hard, her back to him. She gripped the pommel of her sword and thought she heard Kyffin's screams mixing with the keening wind outside.

For a long moment, they didn't speak. She looked up at the small hole, where faint shafts of sunlight illuminated the littered roadway.

“Does acting like a queen mean letting good people die?” She asked softly.

“Sometimes....Yes.” He said, his voice gentle now. Somber.

“Even you?” She turned and faced him.

He hesitated for a moment, his blue eyes locked onto hers. “I don’t want to die, Eilwen. But... yes. You can have no favorites. Choose what is best for the kingdom when the time comes.”

“Nights and Heralds, Aron! I don’t think I can do that,” she said, and sat down massaging her head, thinking of Kyffin and seeing Aron in his place as the tentacles pierced, burning into him. It horrified and sickened her. “I--I don’t think I can lose you.”

“Then you’ll never be the queen you need to be.”

She hugged herself and turned her back on him, her head bowed. She walked in thought and stared up into the shaft of light that spilled down around her, small flecks of cold clean snow that the wind had swept in from the outside drifted in lazy flakes, glittering in the light. 

Was he right? His accusations stung, but they rang with some truth. She had let this whole queen idea get to her head, hadn’t she? She wasn’t a queen. Who was she? She was a nobody! Just a little pretender with a fancy sword and half a shiny crown. A girl from a nobody settlement. She thought of her mother the night she died, the verse she had quoted that night.

‘No!’ she said to herself, her lips pressed together. She would not give into darkness. She was Ironsworn. A queen also had power. Aron was right, but so was she. A monarch had a duty to her subjects. A duty to remain impartial, a duty to help where she could if it did not put the kingdom at risk. But the Ironlands were a dark, cold, place. Surely a queen had power to combat that. Someone had to bring hope and light. She would be that person... eventually.

“You’ll see,” she said under her breath. “I can be a queen.”

She would fulfill her vow to become queen or she would die trying.


Time passed and they ate contemplative silence. Finally, their meal finished, Eilwen and Aron studied the large mass of rock blocking their destination.

“Over or under?” Aron asked.

“We better go over. I don’t think you’d fit through that crawl space, even with your armor off, assuming it even reaches through to the other side, and I don’t fancy getting crushed under all rock if something happens to shift.

“It could shift anyway,” he frowned. “There’s a lot of loose stone there.”

“A chance we’ll have to take,” she said. “I’ll go first and will lower the rope for you.”

She coiled the rope around her shoulders and began to climb.

Face Danger roll + Edge to climb

3 = 1[d6]+2

13 = 8[d10]+5[d10]

A miss.

About twenty feet up the rocks, she gripped the cold stones in cold fingers. Her grip slipped, and a shower of small stones scattered down on Aron.

“Watch it!” he said.

“Stop complaining,” she muttered under her breath. Then she lunged up, reaching for another rock. Halfway up to a ledge, she had one elbow over it and one leg, her muscles straining, sweat dripping from her eyes, when she heard a faint scratching sound and she looked into the maggot like eyes of a small cavern crawler quivering in front of her. Two more appeared, and they darted towards her, incisors open, their gray wrinkly skin blending in with the stone. Then others began to crawl out of the rocks.

With a cry, she released her hold and dropped. 

She bent her knees, attempting to roll with the blow to avoid harm.

Face danger roll + Edge
4 = 2[d6]+2
12 = 6[d10]+6[d10]

A miss... and matches. Great...

She fell and landed poorly near Aron. Her head hit the stone and her vision swam.

“Eilwen!” she heard him say. She groaned... and then blackness overtook her.

(The twist was going unconscious for a bit and she takes 1 harm from the fall health is now 3/5) 
Maybe I should invest in a a helm for her...Hmmm, but much like movies where the protagonists never wear their helmets because it covers up those face shots, she’ll probably decline. Smile

When she came too, she heard a battle cry and saw Aron standing over her, one of the rat-like crawlers was dead but others scurried in and out, trying to come at her. Aron kept them at bay. He had some cuts on his face, and his clothing around his legs were torn.

Aron must face the cavern crawlers alone. How does he do without Eilwen? Carion crawlers crawl down the wall toward her and Aron. He sees them coming and protects Eilwen, placing himself in front of her. Is he okay when she comes to?
+1 he sees them coming, +1 he has a shield and armor, -1 he's distracted by Eilwen. So SL that he's okay.

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

But he’s wounded now.

Eilwen groggily rose to her feet and pulled out her sword and knife. Then back to back they set about confronting the small horde of carrion eaters.

For this I’ll do a Battle move. A Battle move is used when you want to zoom out and not go blow by blow but would rather resolve a conflict quickly. It useful for smaller encounters like this.

When you fight a battle, and it happens in a blur, envision your objective
and roll. If you primarily…
• Fight at range, or using your speed and the terrain to your
advantage: Roll +edge.
• Fight depending on your courage, allies, or companions: Roll +heart.
• Fight in close to overpower your opponents: Roll +iron.
• Fight using trickery to befuddle your opponents: Roll +shadow.
• Fight using careful tactics to outsmart your opponents: Roll +wits.
On a strong hit, you achieve your objective unconditionally. Take +2
On a weak hit, you achieve your objective, but not without cost. Pay the
On a miss, you are defeated and the objective is lost to you. Pay the Price. 

I think this is + heart of 1 given, that she’s back to back with Aron and fighting defensively. She still has her bond with so she gets another +1. Not that a +2 has been of much use lately in this string of poor rolls.

6 = 4[d6]+2

15 = 10[d10]+5[d10]

A weak hit.

The poor of small creatures swarmed towards them, and they stabbed, slashed, and crushed the small wriggling bodies. With the creature emitting a final death-squeal, Eilwen skewered the last creature with her sword. She and Aron stood panting, back to back. Around them, a circle of small grey wrinkled bodies lay splattered and flayed and crushed.

“Any more of them?” Aron panted, more cuts on his back and head.

She shook her head and exhaled a shaky breath. "Not that I can see..." She moved over to leaned against a boulder and wiped blood from her arms where some had latched onto her while her attention had been focused elsewhere.

“I don’t like the idea of going over that anymore,” he said, sitting heavily down next to her and glaring at the mass of stone in front of them.

“I don’t know if we have much of a choice,” she said. “Let’s bind our wounds,” Eilwen said. She pulled out strips of clean bandages from her leather pack.

Only dire need for food would have pressed them on like that. 

I’ll say they suffer Harm. I’ll split the 2 harm they give between herself and Aron. (So she’s at 2/5 health.)

I forgot to roll her Endure Harm moves. She needs to roll this twice: 
Once for the fall and once for the rats.

For the fall, Endure Harm roll + health of 3.

6 = 3[d6]+3

8 = 7[d10]+1[d10]

A weak hit. “You press on”. So she has to keep the wound.

For the rats, Endure Harm roll + health of 2.

8= 6[d6]+2

10 = 9[d10]+1[d10]

Another weak hit. So her health remains at 2/5)

She tiredly wound the strips of cloth around her arm and hands where the incisors had cut into her then did the same for Aron and saw red seep through. She pulled the cloth tightly and gritted her teeth against the pain. She would survive.

We’ve not used this move before. I had actually forgotten about it before. We’ve been using Make Camp or Sojourn moves to heal. This gives another option.

When you treat an injury or ailment, roll +wits. If you are mending your
own wounds, roll +wits or +iron, whichever is lower.
On a strong hit, your care is helpful. If you (or the ally under your care)
have the wounded condition, you may clear it. Then, take or give up to +2
On a weak hit, as above, but you must suffer -1 supply or -1 momentum
(your choice).
On a miss, your aid is ineffective. Pay the Price.  

So, since her Iron is lower than her Wits she’ll have to use that.

4 = 3[d6]+1
5 = 3[d10]+2[d10]

A strong hit! Finally...and barely.

So she gets her health back up to 4/5.

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to roll that again for Aron. He’s not technically an “ally” as described in game terms. An ally in game terms is another player character, not an NPC. I think it makes sense to just narrate that she healed his wounds, given that his wounds weren’t that serious. If his guts were hanging out, that’d be different, and I’d roll this move again for him.

She finished bandaging her brother, and she couldn’t help but picture him, gasping out a final breath as those things crawled over him. What would have happened had she not regained consciousness when she did?
Episode 18

The bandaged affixed, Aron murmured his thanks to his sister, and they considered their options. They didn’t see anymore of the terrible creatures, but it was still dangerous to climb the shifting pile of rock. There might be another way, but this thoroughfare at least seemed to cut through the mountain, if they could just get to the others side.

They put their heads together and looked over the pile of rock.

Secure an Advantage, roll + wits
6 = 4[d6]+2

10 = 1[d10]+9[d10]

A weak hit. “Your advantage is short-lived. Take +1 momentum (now 5/10)

“That part there,” Eilwen says. “Where those larger rocks are. That should be more stable.”

“Fine...” he muttered. “Try it one more time, but if you fall and break your head open again, we’re going a different way.”

“Deal,” she smiled and once again began to climb over the obstacle.

6 = 4[d6]+2

10 = 6[d10]+4[d10]

A weak hit. We succeed, but face a troublesome cost. I’ll choose to be tired or hurt. Health is now 3/5. Narratively, it’s like climbing up and down a cliff and that would involve a lot of muscle power.

She climbed up to the top and lowered the rope for Aron then she helped pull him up. They squeezed through some larger openings at the top and then carefully climbed down the others side.

Tired from the fight and sweating from the climb, but anxious to be through with these mountains, they pressed on for the rest of the day.

Delve the Depths

5 = 3[d6]+2

7 = 4[d10]+3[d10]

I also rolled a 10 on the Features... Strange environmental disturbances

A strong hit! Yay. They make progress. Progress 5/10

Hours later, an underground dribble of water cut through the rock above them and dripped across the underground road, forming a glistening pool of blue light.

“What is this?” Aron frowned at the strangeness and took a couple of steps back.

“Water of the gods?” Eilwen said and knelt down, studying the pool of light that shimmered with a light of its own in the darkness.

“I thought you don’t believe in the gods,” Aron said.

“I believe in the gods. I just believe they don’t care about us,” she said.

He grunted. “Water of the gods...I don’t think they need water. Did that Edris creature cause this?”

She shrugged. "Maybe one of them passed some water and--" 

She reached out to touch it. 


“What? It’s not harmful,” she said. “See? The rock is perfectly fine.”

“You’re not a rock.”

“You worry too much,” she said and touched the water. It felt warm on her skin and then it faded and disappeared into her hand and then dribbled out the other side! It passed through her hand with some, but very little, resistance. All she felt was a warm tingling sensation on her hand.

“Did you see that!” she had a hard time keeping the awe from her voice.

“Yes,” he muttered, making a warding sign against evil.

“Strange,” she said, fascinated at the liquid light that faded into and through her hand to pool on the rock below. “Physical objects seem to interact with this strange liquid, but perhaps living ones do not. At least it’s not harmful.”

“That you know of,” Aron said. “We should keep moving.”

“A moment longer.”

Does she find a room with any flask or some such thing with a stopper.

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

She looked about for any rooms with any kind of container, such as a flask, but couldn’t find any. She wasn’t willing to pour out her water for it, but...She pulled out her sword and let the water dribble over it.

Does it continue to glow when the water runs off of it?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

It glowed a faint blue even when the water dried.

Does it seem to last?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

She smiled at Aron and held up the iron blade. It glowed with a faint blue light. Not bright, but enough to see by. 

“What do you think?”

Will Aron dip his axe in it?

(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

“It’s unnatural? I’ll take no part in it.” He stepped around the pool giving it a wide berth. “We should keep moving.”

I suppose I’ll take that as my envisioned “Find an Opportunity”. She essentially just put light magic on her sword. Not sure how long it’ll last. Probably on a match on a miss? Maybe something like that or perhaps it's permanent.

She nodded and followed after.

Delve the Depths + wits of 2 + 1 from previous strong hit.

5 = 2[d6]+3

11 = 6[d10]+5[d10]

Feature I rolled 21. Crumbling corridors and chambers.

A miss. Envision a danger or roll. She rolled an 86. A resource is diminished, broken, or lost.

For a few more hours they walked and the main road continued underground in a straight course. Off to the sides, they saw some crumbling corridors and chambers that disappeared into the darkness.

They slept in one of the crumbling chambers. Staircases ran up and down. Perhaps this had been some kind of home. She saw some small stone figurines on a shelf, carved intricately of a tall man and a woman with a flowing dress, with palms up-raised, as if greeting each other. She put them in her pack, and as she did so, she noticed her wyvern egg had a hole in it, and a slender black neck emerged from the smooth surface. Shell flakes littered the inside of her pack.

She lifted out the egg and set it on a stone table in the small domicile and watched it slowly hatch, clawing its way out of its shell. It was small, perhaps the size of a small dog.

“Aron,” she called, excited. “Come and see!”

“I tell you, no good will come of this,” Aron said with a frown, folding his arms as they sat on their packs.

She ignored him, and brought out some of their dried meat wrapped in cloth. She chewed some up, moistening it, and then fed it to the creature.

The lithe creature moved with lightning speed and snatched it from her hands. Its dark eyes looked up at hers and it tilted its head, watching her face with an intelligent curiosity. It’s small wings beat slowly, stretching away from its body. She tilted her own head, mimicking it. 

It opened its mouth and let out a small cawing sound. She brought out more meat. It tried to snap at her fingers, hissing, and she yelped backwards, stumbling off of the stone bench that had begun to crumble with age onto her rump.

Aron laughed. “Ah sister, you are sometimes so naive. Don't let it snap your arm off.”

"It's not that big...yet," she muttered. She didn't pay Aron much heed and continued to interact with the creature. It snapped some more at her, but she flicked it’s small head with her forefinger, and it hissed back at her, and then withdrew, it’s eyes wide. She fed it some more mushed meat, pinching it into a ball and rolling it across the table. It stumbled a little at first but then darted and lunged, gulping down the meat.

“You’re a fast one, aren’t you?” she said with affection.

“What will you do when it runs off?” Aron asked.

“It won’t run off,” she said, still playing with it. “It knows me. It needs me.”

“You think you’re it’s mother, don’t you?” He scoffed and gave a mocking shake of his head. “Are you going to think that when it snatches your heart out of your chest?”

“You just have no vision, brother,” she said, and tapped the creatures’ head fondly. It was learning and quickly! It hadn’t tried to snap at her finger least not this last time. She had been around animals all her life and had trained a falcon before it took sick and died. Perhaps this was not so dissimilar?

“At least I have common sense,” Aron said. He shook his head and pulled his fur-lined cloak about himself, laying down on a stone bed, and yawning, his pack under his head for a pillow. “Save some of the food for us...okay?”

She ushered the wyvern back into her pack, where it nestled into some cloths and fell asleep after a big yawn of small sharp teeth. It gave her one last look and then closed its lidded eyes, hissing lightly in sleep. She moved the food supplies to Aron’s pack and then also pulled her cloak up and huddled next to the pack and they both fell asleep.
(I’m going to say this is a milestone in her iron quest to train a wyvern. Progress 2/10--of course she can’t actually take it as an asset unless she pays for it with XP points. Their supply goes down by 1 (4/5 now as a result of the previous Delve miss).

Make Camp

9 = 5[d6]+4

11 = 3[d10]+8[d10]

A strong hit. She’ll take +1 Health (4/5 now) and Focus (+1 Momentum now 6/10)

She slept well and both she and Aron felt better. But, when they awakened, the baby wyvern hissed and also mewed like a kitten for food, scratching around for crumbs inside in the pack.

She shared some more of her food with the small winged lizard, and then they continued their journey through the darker-than-night crumbling city-scape.

Delve the Depths + wits (observation, intuition, expertise)

6 = 4[d6]+2

12 = 3[d10]+9[d10]

A weak hit.

22 = 22[d100]

Crumbling corridors and chambers.

We roll on the Wits column:

54 = 54[d100]

Mark progress... Good at least nothing bad happened.

Progress 6/10

All round them lay the remains of a city lost to time and darkness and the twisting heart of darkness. Half-crumbing halls shed rocks like old skin. Rooms lay thick with dust and bones of the fallen.

They pressed on in their journey.

Delve the Depths
4 = 2[d6]+2

15 = 7[d10]+8[d10]

A miss...
Rolling on features:

12 = 12[d100]

Blight or Decay

The crumbling stone grew worse and the darkness grew palpable. They saw bones litter the corridor in front of them, the remains of the fallen. The skeletons had bones in twisted, jarring positions, arms bent around legs, legs around necks, arm bones thrust through eye sockets, teeth gnawing on femurs.

"What madness is this?" Aron kept his gaze fixed ahead, kicking aside bones.

Eilwen shook her head and gingerly stepped over them trying not to touch the bones.

“And what is that smell?” Aron asked, his torch raised in front of him in his left hand, his right covering his nose.

The corridor seemed to close in around them, dark and oppressive, and they smelled a smell of decay that grew darker and filthier with each step. Soon the walls grew closer together as filmy half spheres bulged outwards from the walls and ceiling, appearing as mottled pustules about to burst, they pulsed slightly as if with some kind of diseased life.

Eilwen brought her own leather glove up to her nose to cover the scent. She had out her sword. It glowed faintly in the dank dark. The smell made her gag, and she nearly retched at the smell of rotting flesh. She breathed through her mouth.

Inside her pack, her little wyvern hissed and scratched, perhaps in dismay, anger, or revulsion.

“Quiet,” she coughed and tapped the side of her pack, and it stopped moving.

“What is it?” Aron scrunched his nose and he held in a retch. “Is it alive?”

“I don’t know. But try not to touch it, whatever it is,” she said. It wouldn’t be easy as the strange sac-like growths, pulsed and expanded as if alive. 

Beyond this spot, the corridor cleared up again. If they crouched and moved carefully, with proper timing, they should be able to avoid them. She studied the expanding and contracting motion carefully for several long minutes trying to detect a pattern.

Secure and Advantage + wits

4 = 2[d6]+2

9 = 2[d10]+7[d10]

A weak hit +1 momentum (now 7/10) -- the advantage is short lived.

It seemed regular enough, but if she watched long enough she started to see variations which threw off her calculations. Better to move now, while the pattern was fresh.

“I’ll go first,” Eilwen said.

And she moved, timing her steps, crouching, watching, studying the pustules and then moving again, acting with timing and intuition. Aron followed after, torch in his right hand, shield in his left.

Face danger + wits

6 = 4[d6]+2

14 = 5[d10]+9[d10]

A weak hit.

She made it, timing it perfectly. Aron tripped halfway through, and a bundle of torches spilled out when he dove under one of them expanding from the ceiling. He picked himself up, then he crouched and timed his dash, charging to safety as the sacs expanded outward in the fetid air.

(-1 supplies for the troubling 3/5)

They moved on, continuing down the road, neither of them desiring to go back for the dropped bundle of torches.

Delve the Depths

7 = 5[d6]+2

8 = 4[d10]+4[d10]

A strong hit! And a twist. 

For the twist, I’ll say the mark two progress (so now 8/10) and they find an opportunity. Rolling on the Find an Opportunity move, I get a
16 = 16[d100]

The terrain favors you, or you find a hidden path.

After two more torches burned out, and her legs felt like jelly from the long tiresome hike through the decaying subterranean thoroughfare, they passed by a cross passage that branched off the main road. The air felt fresher, and the path sloped downwards and was free of rubble.

“Lets go this way,” she said, and they set off down the smaller passage. After a few minutes, they made good progress and she thought perhaps she saw a pinprick of gray light in the distance? Or maybe it was just her eyes playing tricks on her.

"Please let it be the way out," she muttered under her breath. She didn't pray to the gods. But maybe the universe had some say in what happened and maybe it listened. She wanted to run to the light, to be done with these dark halls, but she held back, cautious. “Let’s be careful brother,” she said. “What if one of Edris's creatures guards an exit to these depths?”

She nodded and gripped his axe, and they moved forward silently, keeping to the shadows, Aron following after.

Delve the Depths + Shadow of 3

4 = 1[d6]+3

16 = 8[d10]+8[d10]

Low roll. Grrr. It’s a miss... and a bad match on the 8s. Not good. So a twist... and a bad one.

Does her sword’s light go out, 50/50 chance?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


 Is the danger / twist The CREATURE? The one that killed Kyffin?

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

Great... I’ll say it’s hunting and is alert for the “and”.

They cautiously moved down the passageway. She could see it now. It was the tunnel exit! They could see daylight, wan to be sure, but daylight nonetheless, and after seeing pitch darkness beyond the range of their torch for the last couple of days, the light pulled at them, beckoning its illusory freedom. Aron stumbled and his shield smacked the rock wall with a dull cracking sound.

Eilwen held up her hand and Aron stopped behind her. She heard a familiar tapping sound of many claws on rock. She felt her mouth go dry. Something very large was out there. With each heart beat, it drew nearer. It scuttled in front of the passageway exit, backlit by the light. But its dim shape blocked the light of the exit for a moment.

Then they heard a growl. A dog? Or wolf?

The huge insect-like aberration wasn’t aware of them yet, but she saw a flurry of movement on its many legs, and then a mass of shadowy flowing tentacles lashed out and pierced something in the passageway. In the dimness they saw the ends of the tentacles glow as if each had an embedded hot coal. Eilwen gaped and backpedaled up the incline, bumping into Aron.

The canine whined and yelped, giving almost an animal scream and howl. Then the death scream ended, and the awful tearing sound of flesh began, followed by the sickening sucking or slurping.

Eilwen swallowed her fear and pressed against the wall, but her heart felt like it was running away, pounding across the ice flats of the great north. “It’s distracted,” she whispered to Aron. “Feeding. This is our best chance to get past it.”

Does Aron agree?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

Does he want to fight it?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

“No,” he whispered, a tremor in his voice. “We can’t get past it. Its bulk fills up nearly the entire passageway.”

“We can’t fight it,” she said.

“I know. We’ll need to draw it back to the larger road, then get around it, and then come back this way,” Aron said.

“It moves fast...” Eilwen said. “What’s to stop it from catching us?”

“Once it’s in the main thoroughfare, we can move past it quietly. There’s enough rubble there, fallen pillars, crumbling homes. Plenty of places to get around it. We can make it think we went a different way.”

“If it spots us, there’s no outrunning it,” Eilwen said. “You saw how fast it caught up to Kyffin.”

“You might be right,” he frowned. “Trying to outrun it or fight it both sound like bad ideas.”

It sounds like they’re planning so I’m going to do a Secure an Advantage move + wits.

7 = 5[d6]+2

8 = 3[d10]+5[d10]

A strong hit. She’ll take + 2 momentum (now 9 out of 10). 

They moved back to the wide, crumbling, underground road and there they hid behind some large stone blocks that stretched across the road. The base of a tower lay to their right as if the upper half had been kicked down the road. Windows and doors, like empty eyes of a skulls eye socket stared at them.

Eilwen then gave out a perfect imitation of a wolf howl. While they waited, she started to chant the words to bring the veil of shadows down upon her, tracing the symbols with her forefinger.

She would need their aid.

Here it is again:

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

Roll + shadow

6 = 3[d6]+3

4 = 3[d10]+1[d10]

Lucky! Strong hit. 

(momentum is now 10/10)

She chanted under her breath, and Aron gasped as shadows descended from the ceiling, gossamer strands of them, wrapping around her, soon making her look like a shadow herself, a mere pool of darkness.

“Eilwen?” His voice sounded strained. "What--- where?"

They heard the clicking sound growing louder. The creature scuttled into view.

“I am here,” she whispered in his ear. “It's mothers trick, the one she taught me."

He relaxed and they saw the creature turn and start to wave tentacles in their general direction, as if probing the air. 

"Heralds..." Aron moaned. 

"It is time," Eilwen said. "Now Aron!”

Aron chucked a large rock as far as he could down the road away from them. It arced over the creature and cracked against a crumbled segment of wall of a home, and a hundred clicking legs tore off after it, scuttling on savage angular limbs, undulating over rock. It moved with horrible speed. But thankfully it moved away from them.

“Now!” she whispered. “To the exit! Keep low and move quietly.”

Face danger - roll + shadow + 1 from her ritual.

8 = 4[d6]+4

11 = 10[d10]+1[d10]

A weak hit. Per the ritual, I can re-roll any dice once. I’ll reroll that d10 that’s a 10.

4 = 4[d10]

That turns it into a strong hit. She already has 10/10 momentum but the main thing is they avoid facing that thing.

They move stealthily to the side passage, the shadows blurring her form and masking her foot falls. Aron followed closely behind, and the strange creature eventually proceeded further down the main thoroughfare.

Then they emerged into the gray wilderness of the veiled mountains.
Episode 19

Heavy gray clouds surrounded them, and they could see no more than a few feet. Even so, Eilwen rejoiced to be out in the crisp mountain air, away from the stale scents of decay, rot, dust, and crumbling time. She took out the baby wyvern, now the size of a medium sized dog and fed it some more, and let it run in the snow. It scampered about, looking very pleased to be outside. She had been giving it part of her rations each day, but she didn’t mind. Not if this worked out.

They cautiously pressed forward, moving downward. If they could get out of these clouds, they could probably get their bearings.

Delve the Depths + wits (hopefully the last one)

8 = 6[d6]+2

11 = 6[d10]+5[d10]

Strong hit! Mark progress now 9/10.

They moved down out of the clouds, onto what appeared to be an old crumbling road, or what was left of it. It jutted up out of the ice and snow. Maybe an earthquake long ago had caused the jagged portions of rock and stone to rip out of the earth. 

The clouds wreathed the bases of the mountains but they definitely were moving in the a downward trek and once they could see, she looked back and picked out landmarks. It looked like they had made their way under three mountains.

She’ll try a Locate Your Objective move. Remember, the objective was to make it through the other end of the pass where they’d find a settlement. That’s the goal anyway.

11 = 10[d10]+1[d10]

A weak hit. Locate your objective, but you face an unforeseen hazard or complication.

They camped at the base of the mountain they had left behind, and for the next two days, they dropped in elevation, winding between smaller mountains, out of the Veiled Mountains and the temperature climbed as they passed into the Tempest Hills. She opened her bearskin cloak, letting it hang from her shoulders. She saw an alpine meadow, melting snows giving life to plants, animals, and vegetation she had only heard about in stories and tales from her father or mother or the very occasional merchant who had passed through Frostbridge.

I’ll use this random Ironsworn settlement generator to determine the settlement they had found:

Settlement Name: Redcrag
Settlement Descriptor: Beautiful
Settlement Trouble: Stranger causes discord

I think reaching the tempest hills counts as a milestone for any quests that involved them moving in a southerly direction.

Crown quest 2/40 (epic)
Mother quest 1/10 (formidable)
Rescue quest 1/10 (formidable)

Below them, a winding trail of switchbacks lead down to an alpine meadow filled with green underbrush, pine trees--without snow, a high meadow filled with purple and yellow wildflowers and large grazing bovines. Everything seemed new, fresh, and alive!

The baby Wyvern leaped and bounded out of the wildflowers, chasing birds and butterflies and even catching a bird in its mouth and swallowing it whole. It seemed to grin up at Eilwen.

Aron scowled and moved on, quickening his stride.

In a different valley, in a meadow next to a forest of pines, they saw a settlement made of log homes. In the center of the log buildings, larger than the others, they saw a two-story log building of sturdy make. Nearby, on racks, fish and other meats were drying in the open air or being smoked in a small wooden shack. People cooked on open fires. Song and laughter greeted them.

They looked behind them and saw the mountain, bathed in burnished golds and pinks at the setting sun, lending it a ruddy glow.

From the large two-story building, they heard the sounds of laughter. The wafting smells of sizzling meat and vegetables and cooking bread made Eilwen’s mouth water. How long had it been since she had a hot meal? Her days wandering in the dark and the snow had blended together.  From the warm glow through the windows they saw men and women drinking and laughing. A nearby brook that cut through the meadow leant it’s babbling splashings to the general merriment.

The combined picture of the meadow and the settlement painted a picture of beautiful colors, smells, and sounds after the dark trails they had trod. On the large building, a crude sign blew in a light breeze.


The large building looked to be some kind of inn or way station and Redcrag seemed an idyllic place. She was about to push open the door to the inn, when Aron grabbed her arm and pointed. There, waving from a crude wooden pole above the large two-story log construction, rippled the emblem of a black wolf’s head and a sharp black fang on a field of red.

They peak through the windows. 

Do they see any wolf fang warriors?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

They saw perhaps a dozen warriors sitting at two different tables, eating, drinking, and gambling.

“We went out of our way to avoid the Wolf Fang and now this,” Aron muttered.

“We do need to rest and resupply,” Eilwen said. Her eyes felt grainy and dirt and sweat made her stink like a hog. “I need a good long rest, and a bath.”

“I’ll agree to the bath,” Aron said and wrinkled his nose. Then he shook his head. “They’ll spot us as northerners from Frostbridge or survivors of Rockriver for sure. We’re not dressed like most of the folk here,” He uttered a curse. “Nights Beneath, but we stand out like blood on fresh snow! They’ll ask questions.”

“We’ll skip the inn then,” she nodded, pointing to the other homes. “Let’s see if we can rest in someone’s home on the edge of town for a few days. We’ll try to avoid their warriors if possible.”

“Lead on,” Aron said and his jaws creaked with a massive yawn. “Heralds take me, but I need to sleep.”

Sojourn Move

2 = 1[d6]+1

18 = 9[d10]+9[d10]

That is, I believe, nearly the worst roll you can get and a match to boot. Hrrrmr... Eilwen is already SHAKEN and I need to clear that debility or she could risk giving up quests that I don’t want her to, or going insane etc. I’m not ready for that yet! I’m going to burn my 10 momentum to cancel out both nines, turning this into a strong hit.

Under “Clear a Condition”, she will clear her Shaken debility and take +1 Spirit. She can take a second option, and does so with Recover, Consort, take +2 spirit (Spirit 3/5). Momentum resets to +2.

They found a trapper named Seith about a thirty minute walk outside of the settlement. He let them stay in his home if they helped him cut, cook, and smoke meat from a bear he killed in the forest that day. His home lay nestled within a copse of trees. With the use of a horse and a crude litter he had brought the large animal back to his home. At night they’d do mending.

They ate and washed separately in a nearby stream. She scrubbed the dried blood and grime off of her body, the cold water still had the crisp scent of snow still in it. Her teeth chattering, she dressed in fresh clothes and braided her long hair. They dried and talked in a sunlit meadow, and felt warmth of the sun seep into her. She felt like a new woman.

For a few days they talked long into the nights with Seith, swapping tales. They asked about the Wolf Clan and other rumors. They also slept long through the days, eating and resting hard. Eilwen finally began to feel human again. She missed Kyffin and still had nightmares about his death, but those were passing.

Gather Information move roll + wits

8 = 6[d6]+2

8 = 4[d10]+4[d10]

A strong hit! Take plus 2 momentum. (4/10 now) and doubles. Hmmm.

As the time passed, Seith grew more comfortable around them, and they around him. One night, he sucked on a long thin stone pipe with carvings of a serpent twisting around the handle, as Eilwen and Aron helped do some mending with needle and thread. The fire in the hearth popped and sneezed. Seith, with his red beard braided and decorated with colorful beads, rubbed the carving of the snake-carved pipe in his hands. A cloud of blue smoke swirled lazily about his head. As he puffed on his pipe, he talked about the wolf fang clan.

“The scum,” he spat. “They ain’t well liked here, and they’ve been occupying not only Redcrag but also nearby settlements. Their leader, Uzak, talks big and has grandiose plans to unite the Ironlands under his hand.”

“We came from the north and have seen their handiwork,” Aron nodded. “Rockriver was wiped out, and they’ve moved in their own people. In fact, Uzak once lived among us in Frostbride. What settlements have they taken down here?”

Settlement Name: Shield wick
Settlement Descriptor: Diverse

Settlement Name: Bleak stone
Settlement Descriptor: Rich

“Here in the Tempest Hills, they’ve taken Redcrag, Shield Wick and Bleak Stone, that latter is a large mining settlement. And of course he has his fortress at Lonefort.”

“Sounds like he’s making good on his plans,” Aron grunted. 

“Aye, the largest is Bleak stone, ” Seith said chewing around his pipe. “He has slaves mining the earth there and has cast up huge mounds of earth. It’s rumored that he’s struck a vein of Black Iron.”

“Is it close?”

“Well, it’s about two days' travel from here. It’s the closest to Redcrag, then Shieldwick, next in line is Lonefort itself. Lonefort is a settlement with a critical fortification on a hill right by the town. It overwatches the main road carrying caravans of ore out of these hills. Everyone moving goods along that road has to pay taxes on goods transported either in or out. The road cuts through Lonefort settlement. That’s how he’s funding his little army. If the fort were to fall...” he stirred the fire with a poker and set a kettle of water on for tea.

“How do the people feel about the wolf fang clan in Redcrag?” Eilwen asked. 

“Bah. They’ve been living here with a heavy hand, taking what they like, not paying for food and drink. The townspeople have had about enough, I think. I’ve heard some talk of rising up. But what’s the use? They have better weapons and armor. With their taxes and people on that main road, they control the ore going down to the lowlands.” His glance shifted to Eilwen’s sword and his red eyebrow raised.

“Swords?” she asked him, touching the pommel of her own protectively.

“Nah. Not their main warriors. But it’s rumored that Uzak has recovered the Sword of Myrddyn... a sword of the ancients, some have  said. I can’t say myself; I’ve not seen it. But rumors have a tendency to have some truth I guess.”

When she didn’t say anything he just shrugged and poured water into a wooden cup and added some tea leaves on top. He leaned back and nodded to the kettle, “Help yourselves.”

“How many warriors do they have here?” she asked. “More than the dozen or so we saw in the inn?”

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

“Aye,” he grunted. “They’ve got a strong garrison of men in Redcrag, about fifty warriors. But most are out on patrols or work detail. We’re the farthest north in the Tempest Hills. I’m surprised you didn’t run into them.”

She decided to trust Seith. “We came south through the West Kingsworth pass...”

“Nights own breath!” Seith made a sign against evil. “They say anyone who takes that pass never returns,” he leaned forward and exhaled his pipe causing the glow to light his face. “That it’s haunted.”

“You might say that,” Eilwen nodded. “There is an underground city, abandoned and ruined now. The elves used to dwell there--”

“Elves!” He raised an eyebrow and gave a condescending smile. “Lass, there are no elves. Those are tales fit for around a fireplace and a good drink of warm wine though”

“We saw were bones,” Eilwen said.

“‘Tis true,” Aron nodded.

Eilween pulled out her statuette and showed it to Seith.

His mirth turned to a contemplative frown.

“Do you know aught of that city?”

(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Seith pulled on his pipe, “I’ve heard a tale of two. They say it’s called Grimstone now. Yet you made it through...” he exhaled to the side. “I’m sure there’s a tale there lass.”

“We made it through with some difficulty,” Aron said, his face going shadowed. “There are... monsters in the dark places. I won’t speak of them.”

“We lost a friend to one,” Eilwen said, and for a long moment she stared at the fire. It popped and hissed, and something stirred her to action. “It is a dark and cursed place, but...” 

And here she rose and pulled out her sword. It glowed a faint blue.

Seith’s eyes bulged, and he rocked back in his chair and nearly fell backwards, as if she held a serpent.

Eilwen gripped the blade in her right hand and the pommel in the left, the blade pointing down. “I swear by the iron in this blade that someday I will see Grimstone cleansed of its dark master who caused Kyffin’s death.”

Swear an Iron Vow roll + heart
I’m going to say this is a Formidable vow, since she has already been through the lands and has met the insane magician and has travelled its depths. The current milestones that come to mind are:
  1. [i]Secure a talisman to protect against his spells.[/i]
  2. [i]Locate a map of the area -- from the elves?[/i]
  3. [i]Secure others to aid her in the quest.[/i]
  4. [i]Journey back to the Vieled Mountains, to the pass.[/i]
  5. [i]Journey through the site and locate his creature.[/i]
  6. [i]Face his creature and defeat it.[/i]
  7. [i]Locate Edris.[/i]
  8. [i]Face Edris and defeat him.[/i]

7 = 6[d6]+1

16 = 10[d10]+6[d10]

A weak hit. She takes +1 momentum (5/10 now).

“Sister!” Aron launched to his feet, whispering, his face inches from her, anger mottling his complexion, his hand gripped her own on the pommel. “Put that away! What of your...our...other promises?”

“Fear not, brother,” she also returned in a terse whisper. 

Seith stared at her and her sword, he leaned back and sucked rapidly on his odd pipe.

“This will happen in good time. I shan’t begin it now, nor will I throw my life away needlessly on it. But if that madman moves against me or mine, I shall act. If he sits as a spider in his lair and bides his time, as he has these last centuries, then so be it. In that case, I shan’t seek him out until...our other matters are attended to.”

Aron muttered but turned back to the fire, warming his hands.

“But I shall make preparations to move against Uzak and his Wolf Fang clan soon.”

“What!?” he spun back to her. “Why? I said before that it has nothing to do with the crow--”

“Hush!” she commanded. “It has, and I’ll explain it later. In private.”

“I don’t understand,” he muttered.

“Patience,” she said.

Aron grumbled but sat down. They returned to their task of mending.

Did Seith hear their whispered conversation?
(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

I guess he’s a little hard of hearing. Nice.

“That...that blade. It was glowing,” Seith said in a gasping whisper.

“Yes,” she said simply. “It is an ancient blade, and I plan to use it against Uzak.”

“You what?” Seith asked, his eyes wide. He stared at the sword then up to those eyes that bore the weight of a heavy vow that bound her to a course of action.

“I believe you heard me,” she said.

After a moment, he nodded slowly. “Aye. I’m a bit deaf in one ear, but I heard that, and I saw more,” he muttered, his eyes still wide as he stared at the sword. “Where did you get that? Is it the Sword of Myrddyn?”

She didn’t answer him.

“Seith, suppose I said I had a reason to stand against Uzak and his Wolf Fang clan,” she said. “Would you help me?”

She’s not trying to convince him to help; she’s just asking, so there’s no compel move here, and given that he’s impressed by her, and her blade, and the bad history Wolf Fang has, I’ll say it’s SL.

(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

He started coughing and sputtered. “Me? What can I do? I’m no warrior.”

She held the glowing sword point down and stared at him. “I will see it done,” she said. “But I’ll need help.”

For a while he stared at the blade. Then he squared his shoulder and looked in her eyes again. He nodded slowly, “I’ll help ya, lass, but I’m just a worthless trapper and a sometimes hunter.”

“I’ll take whomever I can get,” she said. “Uzak has to be stopped. He used to be from my settlement of Frostbridge, and there’s a debt to settle, especially after what he did to Rockriver. Do you know who Wolf Fang plans to target next?”

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

His gaze wandered back to the jagged-edged sword that continued to glow a faint blue. He shook his head. “No, there are three settlements the same distance away. He could be planning on any or all of them. But I do know of a certain son-of-a-serpent, named Mattox, who probably knows.”

“Who is he?”

“He’s a snake! He’s lived here in Redcrag the last decade, but I tell ya he’s a sneaking adder you can’t trust,” he growled and poked at the fire. The smoke from his pipe streamed out of his nose. “An informant, for Wolf Fang. He spies on people in town. Turned in his own mother, he did, for his pick of a slave girl and a stipend of iron ore.” He stabbed the fire, and a flurry of sparks rose up the chimney. “But he’s supposedly involved in their secret councils. He’s bound to know some things.”

Eilwen’s eyes flashed at the mention of a slave girl, and she thought of the women and children from Rockriver.

“I take it you don’t like him much,” Aron added looking at Seith.

“He turned in my Kari, my daughter...if you could get him alone on a dark’d please me greatly to see you twist a knife into his guts to get answers. Even if you didn’t get answers, it’d please me. Heralds and Nights, but it’d please me to do it.”

“I think we can arrange that,” Eilwen said.

That night, when she and Aron were alone, she explained her plans and how the rescue rockriver ppl quest (RR) dovetailed with the queen and crown quest to become queen (QQ) and her quest to research her mother’s history (MQ):

(These are also the possible milestones on the Rescue Rockriver and QQ quests and how they work together.)

  • [i](QQ/RR) Find out the next settlement Uzak is planning on attacking and go there.[/i]
  • [i](QQ/RR) Show the sword and crown, to the leadership, and promise to help them defeat Uzak if they support her as queen.[/i]
  • [i](QQ) She’d also ask if anyone knew any information about the other half of the crown.[/i]
  • [i](QQ/RR)With one settlement on her side, she would raise a band of warriors to confront him[/i]
  • [i](RR) She’d find, ambush, and lead an attack to defeat Uzak’s attacking force.[/i]
  • [i](QQ/RR) Then, she’d liberate Redcrag and set up a settlement leader under her[/i]
  • [i](QQ/QQ/RR/RR) Liberate the other two settlements leading to Lonefort.[/i]
  • [i](QQ/RR) Besiege and capture Lonefort.[/i]
  • [i](QQ / RR) She’d kill or force Uzak to serve her.[/i]
  • [i](RR) She’d rescue the prisoners.[/i]
  • [i](QQ) Take the Sword of Myrddyn--or whatever blade he’s claiming to have--for her own.[/i]
  • [i](QQ) Liberate Rockriver.[/i]
  • [i](QQ) Setup a new clan chief in Rockriver who would support her. With these settlements under her claim, she’d have warriors to help her in her quest to seek the crown and unite the clans.[/i]
  • [i](QQ / MQ) Then with the immediate area secure, she could move south to see what her mother knew and her history with the crown.[/i]

When Eilwen finished explaining her plans to Aron in their little room in Seith’s home. He sat back on his bed roll, and exhaled. “You’ve been thinking a lot about this haven’t you?” 

She nodded. “You’ll help me then?”

“I will,” Aron said, seeming more at peace. “Now that we’ve truly begun, may mother’s soul rest in peace,” he said.

She hoped it did rest in peace, but she kept her own council as a nagging doubt burrowed into her mind. Had Mother been involved in dark powers? And might Eilwen be playing with those same powers herself?

The young wyvern had slept all night in her pack. It had grown. Soon she’d have to find a new place for it to stay. A cage? No, you couldn’t cage this perfection, she decided. She fed it some bear meat from Seith’s pantry, and scratched the wyvern behind its ears, it rumbled a bit, like a cat’s purring, and nosed under her hand, so she’d continue her pleasurable ministrations.

“I think I’ll name you Scratch,” she smiled at it, continuing to scratch near the clear membrane that covered its ear holes. It looked into her eyes with its strange unblinking eyes, then it finally rumbled another hissing exhale and its eyelids closed, and it fell into a deep sleep with a slight snore intermixed by hissing sounds.

She shut her mind to internal whispers that warned her of playing with dangers she didn’t understand and fell asleep.

She dreamed of taming shadows and wyverns but the dream changed nightmarish. An adult wyvern ripped out her heart, and the shadows oozed out of the night, writhed into the hole and moved her about, a puppet on strings. A puppet that walked and melded with an iron pillar and could not escape, as a golden circlet with a ruby at its fore, faded to mist and blew away on the wind.

She awoke in early morning hours, her heart pounding, and shoved off the covers. Scratch snored lightly. Eilwen hugged her arms and stared at the stars out the window, seeking light in the darkness. Eventually she returned to her bed, and sleep returned though it came slowly, like a man bearing a pack of stones through a frozen pass in the veiled mountains.
Episode 20
The next day she took Scratch out of the pack and showed him to Seith.

She explained her intent to train the wyvern and asked if she could keep it in his shed when they went to go after Mattox that night. 

Is Seith okay with that?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

“Fine by me,” Seith said with a good-natured shrug, tugging at a beaded strand of beard. “As long as he doesn’t kill anyone I don’t like. I had a few mutts as a boy. It can’t do more damage than those two ever did.”

“You’ve obviously never seen a full grown one,” Aron said and showed him his hardened leather vambrace with deep furrows in it.

“Do you know of anyone who has trained wild animals?” Eilwen asked Seith. “Someone who could probably train Scratch?”

Gather Information

5 = 3[d6]+2

8 = 7[d10]+1[d10]

A weak hit. + 1 momentum (6/10), but the answer complicates my quest or introduces a new danger.

“I remember a man named Penry, who lived in Lonefort before Uzak came into the picture... Came through here to sell some dogs he had raised. Of course, he probably works for the Wolf Fang clan now. I hear Uzak has some trained wolves he keeps about him.”

“More good news,” Aron rolled his eyes. “We’d heard the same from the late Kyffin in Rockriver.” 

“Well, it’s a start at least,” Eilwen said, fresh excitement flooding her. She felt certain they’d be able to convince Penry to help her instead of Uzak...especially if Uzak was dead.

She led Scratch into the shed and shut the door.

Eilwen told herself it wasn’t a cage, not really, just a temporary...home, yes a home. When she shut the door, it whined, hissed, and clawed at the inside.

“I’ll be back,” she whispered through the door.

Scratch whined at her. 

She opened the door a crack, and she could swear the wyvern was glaring at her. “I’s just for a short time.” She threw in a large chunk of meat and Scratch fell to eating, distracted. 

“You’re a softie,” Seith chuckled.

She quietly tied the door shut, and they left.


That night, near midnight, they watched the large inn from a dark pool of shadows between two log homes. 

The two stories rose up in front of them blotting out the stars. Stars... it was infrequent and fleeting the times that she saw them in the Veiled Mountains. Clouds, gray, and snow were the norm there.

They heard the sound of Wolf Fang members drinking and gambling and saw perhaps a dozen through the main floor windows in the common room. 

She smelled roast meat, sizzling onions, and a spicy nutty smell she had never smelled.

Does Mattox leave the inn?

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

Why not?

Yieldingly / Powerful

Hmm. I’ll roll on the Action / Them Oracle in Ironsworn to get more detail:

14 = 14[d100]

59 = 59[d100]

Inspect / Rumor

Sounds like he’s questioning (inspect rumor) (powerfully) someone... ie torture.

Do they see him through the windows?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

“There he is,” Seith said, pointing to a second story window and a thin shape passed in front of an open window. A crude oil lantern burned on a small table in the room. Mattox held a red poker in his hand and approached a man tied to a chair. “Looks like he’s working late,” Seith muttered darkly.

In the nearby wilderness, Eilwen heard the sounds of owls, the rustling of forest creatures in the underbrush.

Then suddenly a scream erupted from the room, and the forest noises stopped.

Is it a man being tortured?

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

A young man... 

“Tell me what you heard!” they heard Mattox shout and then they heard ragged screaming from the inn’s second floor.

“Please... I don’t know what you mean. I only--”


More screaming.

“That sounds like--” Aron began.

“Torture,” Seith snarled and looked angry enough to break a mammoth’s neck with his bare hands. “Mattox is relentless and driven!” he spat. “I’ll give him that. And he’s just getting started. These are the warm ups. He’ll be at this all night. He loves it when they scream for mercy...”

Eilwen frowned and tried to shut her ears to the screams that rose high and frantic. She stirred, feeling an anxious urge to launch into action. Aron also grumbled his disapproval.”

“Sounds like young Erwin,” Seith sighed, staring up at the window where they could barely see the outline of a young lad tied to a chair. “He’s a good lad, a bit daft in the head, if you know what I mean, but a good enough lad. But after this,” he shook his head. “His mind’ll be shattered for good... if he survives the night.” He clenched a long hunting knife in his hands. “I wish--”

“I wish the same,” Eilwen said and caressed her sword hilt. “What kind of sick ba--”

“Sister...” Aron said a warning sound in his voice. “I know that look in your eyes.”

“What?” she spun. “Will you question my every decision?”

“If I must,” he said, his jaw firm.

“Look, I can sneak in,” she pointed to an adjoining building. “Quietly. There, see? It looks like I could climb up onto the roof from that building. And once on the roof, I could swing in through the window there. See?”

Sound like she’s Securing an Advantage + wits

4 = 2[d6]+2

7 = 6[d10]+1[d10]

A weak hit. + 1 momentum (7/10 now)

“I don’t like it,” he said.

“The soldiers have horses, right?” She asked Seith.

“Yes, in the stables next to the inn,” he pointed to a smaller log building off to the side.

“If we took those,” she mused. “They wouldn’t be able to follow us if things take a turn for the worse.”

She formulated a plan, and spoke in low tones to the others. Aron frowned but eventually nodded, thoughtful. Seith looked excited. The two of them moved off toward the stables, and she quickly clambered up the adjoining building.

Atop the roof, Eilwen began to chant under her breath, calling on the shadows to aid her. She wove the spell, traced the runes and faint blue light followed her finger, an after image in the air...

Shadow Walk ability

4 = 1[d6]+3

16 = 9[d10]+7[d10]

Hmm. A miss. Not good. 

Rolling on mystic backlash table:
65 = 65[d100]

Your ritual reveals a surprising or troubling truth.

...but... the screams. Erwin’s screams distracted her. Her finger traced the blue light in the dark...and wavered...did she make the binding rune correctly? She was no longer certain. But shadows detached from the walls, and oozed across the ground, coming towards her, two-dimensional things. Something wasn’t right. She heard...something, a dark whispering that sounded like a host of spiders crawling over dry grass.

“They killed us,” the shadows scraped. “They killed us...”

“I--” she backed away. She didn’t know what to say. “What?”

“They killed us...” A shadowy hand lifted off the ground and wavered in front of her, an inky black thing of no substance, perfectly thin as parchment or the edge of a fine blade. It shifted and then finally dissolved and retracted to normalcy, rebounding to it’s normal rectangular shape formed by the roof and the moon high above.

Her heart thumped, and for several long breaths, she crouched on the roof and closed her eyes. What was that thing? Who was it? They had never spoken to her before. Had they...been...people? Were they spirits of the damned?

Too many questions that she didn’t have answers for. One thing was clear, however: the shadows wouldn’t be of any help with her task this night. She now climbed atop the Inn’s roof, remaining low, trying to be a shadow herself. But her heart still beat frantically inside of her. Down below, on the front side of the inn, she saw Aron and Seith cautiously approach the door to the stables. They looked up at her and nodded. She saluted, and peaked through the roof thatch, trying to see if Mattox had his back turned from the window.

Face Danger + Shadow to sneak across the roof and to drop quietly into the room and surprise Mattox. 

4 = 1[d6]+3

19 = 10[d10]+9[d10]

A miss. (20/24 failures)

She timed her entrance poorly and landed right in front of Mattox. The room was small and rectangular, and held a bed in one corner, a small writing table was covered with papers and maps, a chair, and a chest in one corner. A fire burned in a brick fireplace.

To her left, Erwin sat tied to the chair. Tears of pain and confusion ran down his face, mixing with his bloodied nose. Burn marks seared his face and arms.

“Who are--?” Mattock cried out, back peddling as Eilwen jumped lightly through the window. 

Mattox was a thin quick man and had a sniveling face and a hooked nose, pale skin and thin white lips. His hair hung greasy about his shoulders, and the poker reflected orange in his dark hateful eyes.

Do Aron and Seith get the horses away quietly.

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

They get them away with a great deal of noise which consumes the guards attention as they rush out to pursue them. 

Enter the Fray vs Troublesome foe. Rolling + wits for Ambush since she was the one essentially surprised.

“Your worst nightmare,” She whispered and lunged, her dagger out, as Mattox shouted. “Guards! To me! To me!”

At the same time that Mattox raised the alarm, she heard a loud shouting down below.

3 = 1[d6]+2

16 = 7[d10]+9[d10]

Man, another miss! And again too high for me to burn momentum! (21/24 failures)

She tried to get inside his guard, but he brought the poker up in a wild swing, and the burning tip caught her in the ribs. She gasped in pain and jumped to the side.

(Suffers 1 harm. Now at 3/5.)

Endure Harm Move roll + 3 current health
7 = 4[d6]+3

10 = 9[d10]+1[d10]

A weak hit. You press on.

He roared swinging at her head. “Guards!”

She hissed in answer, yanking out her sword to meet his attack. It shimmered faintly blue.

She’ll Clash. Roll + iron of 1 and also +2 for her duelist talent

If you wield a bladed weapon in each
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.

5 = 2[d6]+1 + 2

5 = 2[d10]+3[d10]

A strong hit! Finally!

She met his poker and knocked it aside with a ragged parry that sent sparks skittering along the edge of her iron blade. Mattox’s eyes went wide at the strange light on the blade. “I’m Eilwen. You can tell Uzak, he has a contender!” she spat, and slammed his poker onto the table, scattering pages. “I’ve come to claim my throne!”

+1 momentum 7/10 now and get an opening +1 harm from clash + 1 harm for duelest, +2 harm for a deadly weapon. Since he’s troublesome, she get 3 progress boxes per point of harm. So that’ maxes out the progress boxes out of 10. A clean victory. From what I’ve read online, I don’t think I can get above 10 . There’s always that remote chance of failure.

So now the End the Fight move.
10 progress vs...
13 = 3[d10]+10[d10]

A weak hit.

His eyes were wide in fear as she spun and slammed the dagger just below his left collar bone. He shrieked and stumbled back. She needed him alive. For now... The blade sunk in deeply and he screamed, clutching at the knife. She yanked it out and drove her knee into his groin, and he gasped, dropping to the floor, blood streaming around one hands pressed against his wound, the other trying to push up off the floor.

While he gasped on the floor, his mouth open and eyes streaming tears, Eilwen slashed Erwin’s bonds.
He stared at her, his mouth agape at the young lady in front of him with the shimmering blade. There would be stories about her this night.

“Go out the window!” she pointed. “Now!”

Ewrin complied with alacrity, and scrambled out the window, half leaping half falling out. He found his feet and ran into the shadows. She listened at the door. She heard boot steps on the stairs. Someone was coming! 

(From the weak hit -- a new danger appears)

She grabbed the vacated chair and tilted it under the door handle, wedging the door shut. Then she turned to loom over Mattox.

He crawled to his knees, still groaning. She turned back to him, took a small slice out of his cheek so he knew she meant business, and then held her sword to his throat. “Your friends aren’t coming. Now tell me, you sniveling little snail, where is Uzak planning to attack next? Tell me or die!”

Compel move. Since I’m trying to intimidate him, I roll + iron

4 = 3[d6]+1

10 = 5[d10]+5[d10]
Not good. But I have momentum. I’m burning it to cancel out those fives, changing the miss to a strong hit Momentum resets to 2/10.

He starts blubbering, pleading for his life, and listing dates and plans. He points to a map on the table with markings on it.

She snatched up the map putting it inside her belt. 

“Thank you! You’ve been most helpful,” then she clubbed him over the head with the pommel and he collapsed in a heap to the floor.

“Mattox?” A man’s voice sounded through the door and she heard a knock. “Are you well? There’s been some trouble in the stables and--”

Eilwen lowered her voice and snarled at the door in a rough approximation of the sniveling man. “Leave me be! You know how I don’t like to be interrupted when I’m working!”

Face Danger + Shadow

6 = 3[d6]+3

14 = 9[d10]+5[d10]

Weak hit.

It sounded passably like the odious man, albeit with the voice slightly higher pitched. She was a woman after all.

“Umm...right sir...I’ll just be here if you need me.” The boots receded down the hallway some but she didn’t hear them go down the stairs. She hadn’t really believed that would work. Sometimes she surprised even herself.

(She takes -1 momentum for the weak hit, now 1/10)

She would have to act quickly. She frowned and considered. Aron told her to think like a queen. She needed to send Uzak a message. A strong message that he would fear. Something to put him off balance, to make him guess whether he could be next, and at the same time, ensure Mattox would never communicate who had been here.

It took only a few moments to cut out Mattox’s tongue, ruin the tendons of his hands, and put out both his eyes. Mattox would no longer be a threat, and chances are good that he would never reveal her to Uzak.

Think like a queen, she told herself, her chin high. She stood up and rubbed her bloody hands on his jerkin and then she quietly let herself out the window. She breathed in the clean mountain air in great gulping breaths. She hadn’t liked doing what she had done, but after a fashion, it was what he had deserved for his torture of innocents.

Are there guards down below on the grounds?

(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

Two guards looked about, weapons out below her. They had heard the disturbance with the horses and while most ran to chase after her brother and Seith, these prowled around the outside of the inn, looking for more trouble. She kept to the shadows and moved past them.

Face Danger roll + Shadow

8 = 5[d6]+3

17 = 7[d10]+10[d10]

A weak hit, even though it was a really good roll, but I keep rolling these stupid 10s. Sheesh!

She darted past them when their backs were turned and got around the corner. As she did so, she stealthily crawled under a section of fence. Her quiver got stuck and she had to snap off some arrows to get through. Now in the clear, she made her way and carefully back to Seith’s home.

(-1 supply 3/5 now.)

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