Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
#41
Episode 25
She re-wrapped the crown and returned it to her pack. She still had her brother to look for.


Does she hear the sounds of anyone?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 7[d10]) Yes, but...
But it’s muffled and difficult to tell direction.


Human?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


In pain?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


She heard a sound, a hoarse, ragged cry, indistinct and muffled. She couldn’t tell if it came from above or below. But it sounded like a cry for help. She pulled out her bow, fitted an arrow, and dashed forward, taking the stairs up two at a time.


Delve the Depths + edge since she’s moving quickly


3 = 1[d6]+2


5 = 3[d10]+2[d10]


Wow. I got lucky. A weak hit.


I roll on the Edge column.
I rolled an 89 - Mark progress twice and Reveal a Danger


Progress is now 9/10 with the two progress.
Here’s my Reveal a Danger move. 
I rolled a 29 and check the theme card


“An Ill-fated victim in danger” -- This sounds like I’m getting close.


She darted up stone stairs, first one level, then to a second level. The sounds grew louder.


Is it Seith?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Is he conscious?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No


She heard another cry and a body rolled down the steps, nearly colliding into her. It was Seith. He lay sprawled on the steps, unconscious.


Is he bleeding?
(Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...


She knelt and found a pulse. He was alive! She felt blood on his head. A bludgeoning wound. Maybe from the fall on the stone steps?


Is there a Varou on the steps?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


She didn’t have time to consider that as a humanoid shape with strong limbs leaped at her from the shadows, curved daggers slashing at the air in front of her. 


A Varou!


This is a dangerous encounter. Every harm she gives counts as two progress in the combat. 


Enter the Fray with Wits for being ambushed (This was because of the danger before where they’d heard Scratch’s  and her shout and were waiting to attack).


8 = 6[d6]+2


2 = 1[d10]+1[d10]


A strong hit. I get +2 momentum and I have initiative. And it’s a positive match. 
Handy dandy! I’ll come up with that in a bit.


The creature landed hard and stumbled, giving her time to act. She leaped back out of reach, arrow still in her bow and loosed the shaft in a fluid motion.


6 = 4[d6]+2


6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]


Wow, another strong hit! Inflict +1 harm (so I inflict 2 harm for my deadly weapon plus this additional one). AND I get another positive match! Incredible! I’ll come up with that in a bit.


The shaft rammed into its chest and it stumbled back against the wall (6/10 progress on the fight.). She rapidly loaded, sighted, and loosed again as it leaped at her again.


6 = 4[d6]+2


9 = 7[d10]+2[d10]


A weak hit. She loses initiative but gives 2 more harm for her deadly weapon (Fight progress is now 10/10. Now she just needs to regain initiative to end the fight).


Her shaft took it in the gut. It roared in fury, spittle flying as it came on, its daggers raised. She raises her bow seeking to block its strike and swinging at its head. 


Clash move (roll + iron)


5 = 4[d6]+1


5 = 2[d10]+3[d10]


A strong hit! +1 momentum and +1 to my usual harm. If the fight progress wasn’t maxed out, I would give a total of 2 more harm (her bow used in this way isn’t deadly weapon)--but really he’s taken the amount of harm that I can give as you can only get 10/10 progress on a fight and there’s always a chance of losing a fight even with 10/10 progress--not likely but always possible). 


So now I just need to End the Fight move and narrate it.
10 progress vs 
10 = 2[d10]+8[d10]


A strong hit!


She smacked his paws--hands--in a whirring blur, and the twin daggers clattered to the ground, then she smashed his face crushing his snout with her elbow. He fell backwards onto the steps, dazed and wheezing, groaning. Before he could react, she drove her heel down into his chin, snapping the creature’s neck.


Is Seith still unconscious?
(Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...
But he won’t be unconscious for long.


She moved to Seith and knelt beside him, probing for other wounds. Other than the head wound, he seemed unharmed, and for a moment his eyes actually flickered open, unfocused.


Does he recognize her?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


“Eilwen,” he croaked. “Is that you? We thought you were dead.”


“Where’s Aron?”


“Up above,” he groaned and turned his head to glance up the stairs. “At least he was...But-” then his eyes flickered and closed and he lost consciousness again.


(Milestone for Aron vow progress 6/10.)


“What do you mean, was?”


But Seith lay there unresponsive.


Were there more Varou above? She couldn’t be sure.


Locate Your Objective Move 
10 progress vs 
6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]


Another strong hit! +1 momentum and +1 to my next move now. And another positive match! 
Alright, so I essentially had 3 positive matches in a row. Something amazing should be here.


She moved up the stairs cautiously into what used to be a solarium. Above her, an azure sky with wisps of cloud, breathed gusts of wind that scattered crumbling leaves underfoot. Vines crept over the walls and around old window shards that gleamed in the sunlight. Lichen covered everything. Broken pottery littered the stone shelves. Shards of old glass and leaves crunched underfoot as she moved into the room.


In the center of the ruined solarium lay a stone box with its lid partially removed.


And there, next to the box, she saw Aron!


He lay under a dead Varou, Aron’s dagger in the beast’s eye. She pulled the beast off of him and saw that his leather armor was soaked with blood.


“Aron!” she frantically unbuckled his leather cuirass and tunic, but after checking him over, she realized most of the blood had come from the dead Varou. Blood was on the back of Aron’s head however, but the wound wasn’t serious. He must’ve lost consciousness in his fight with the wolf-like creature.


Oracle rolls I did to come up with preceding paragraphs about Aron’s state


Is he hurt?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


Why didn't he help with the fight? Perhaps he had been knocked out from an earlier tangle with the attack?
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


Is there a dead Varou?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes



She hauled Seith up the stairs and dragged the large man next to her brother. Stars, but he was heavy... Then she knelt and wiped the blood from Aron’s face, and waited for her twin to regain consciousness.


After some time, Aron coughed and came to... “Eilwen,” he croaked. “You’re alive.”


(Milestone for Aron vow 9/10)


Fulfill Your Vow
6 = 4[d10]+2[d10]
A strong hit! 
I get 1 xp for finishing the Troublesome vow (she now has 3 unspent xp)


“Easy,” she said and helped him sit up and swallow some water from her waterskin.


“What happened?”


He explained how they too had fled into the woods. He had wanted to look for her, but recognized it was futile in the fog. So, he and Seith had spent a cold night in the woods, hiding in the bole of a huge tree. They returned to the camp the next morning, but some Varou had also returned to eat some of the horse flesh. 


“The Varou followed us into the woods,” Aron said. “We lost them for some time, but they found our trail and hounded us again, until we arrived here,” he concluded. “We found this upper chamber and ambushed them on the stairs. We fought... I saw Seith fall. Is he--?”


She nodded over to their companion, where he stored. “He’ll be fine. Like you, he took a bump on his head.”


Aron leaned back. “This place,” he said. “I saw a broken throne below. Who do you think....?” he shrugged, and his voice trailed off.


“I saw the throne,” she explained. “This is Greenhome. I don’t know it’s significance, but I think it was a home of sorts for one of the last queens that sat on the throne of our people,” she lowered her voice to a whisper. “There was a device on the back side, a depiction of the circlet etched into the stone.


(Seeing this place and this throne counts as a milestone on her Queens Quest (QQ): 3/40)


“This doesn’t feel much like a palace?”


“Maybe it wasn’t,” she said. “Some kind of attack happened here, I’m sure of it. Maybe whomever the queen was, she had lived here in hiding and assassins had found her. I saw skeletons, human skeletons below. And another of those ancient cat-like skeletons.”


Aron’s face jerked up. “A bonewalker?”


“It may have been. Whatever it was, I think it was involved in the attack here.” 


They sat in silence for a while as the sun moved across the sky.


“He’s getting bigger,” Aron frowned. “That can’t be good.”


Seith groaned and awoke, blinked blearily. “Heralds! But my head hurts,” he cursed and then shifted gingerly to a sitting position, wincing from the pain. “Nights Beneath, what happened?”


She retold her story and Seith added some additional details. They rested in silence and she passed out some of the food she had stored.


“What’s in the stone box?” she asked.


“I don’t know,” Aron said. “Seith and I thought maybe there was something inside we could use that would help us fight the wolfmen, but we couldn’t get it off in time before we heard them on the stairs.


“I killed one of them,” she said.


“I’m glad you did, lass,” Seith said, rubbing the back of his head. “I would’ve been done for.”


She shuddered to think what would happen if she had been a moment later. Likely, both Seith and Aron would have died.


The two men talked quietly, resting and eating, and she moved into the middle of the upper level room and with a grunt and grinding of cement on cement, pushed aside the lid. Scratch eventually found them and hopped on top of the stone box, peering inside, sneezing at the dust.


What’s inside? I’ll use the MAG. 
(Manacles, puddle of liquid, arrow, shield with a lightning bolt, an oil lamp, a jeweled hexagon pendant, scratch marks, bug, strange triangle symbol) 


Inside, some dead bugs lay in balls of curled legs and shriveled dry husks. They crowded the edges on the inside floor of the box. 


On the base of the cement box, she saw a smaller iron box and pulled it out. She lifted out the iron box and set it on her lap. Then she opened the latch, raising the lid. Inside, coiled on a bed of silver-blue chain, lay an ornate hexagon-shaped sapphire pendant. Each side, cut to perfection, bore smaller rectangular sapphires, edged in gold.


She exhaled, not realizing she had been holding her breath. Her heart thumped inside her. It’s beauty and craftsmanship staggered her, and it represented wealth beyond dreams. The half crown she possessed, was staggering in and of itself, but this... Tribes and settlements would war to get this. This, with the half crown, might be enough to convince people she was who she claimed, despite not having the other half. If others would go to war, how...how would her brother or Seith respond to this...temptation? Would they remain true? Or would one of them try to take it for himself? Could she trust them?


She cast them a sidelong glance. Aron and Seith weren’t paying attention to her still engaged in banter. But even so...


She shifted her body so they couldn’t see. Then with a trembling finger, she pulled out the pendant on the chain and turned it over. There on the back she saw a strange triangular rune. 


She traced one of the lines with a finger with dried Varou blood on it. She frowned at the shape. The lines of the rune twisted, like some maddening visual puzzle, and her eye couldn’t quite decide which line to follow when it went to a vertix. She had seen its like before or something very similar...Could it be--?


She put the pendant back, pulled out her mother’s book of iron plates from her pack. They always felt odd--alien even--in her hands. She turned the thin metal plates over until she found the rune. There, etched onto the last sheet of metal she traced her finger across another identical triangular rune.


“A skaed rune?” she wondered and whispered to herself in a low voice that the men couldn’t hear. Scratch peered up at her with unreadable eyes, then he hopped down inside the cement box, snuffling at the corners. After a few moments, his head poked up and his nout sniffed at the set of iron plates in her hands. It hissed, it’s tongue flicking out and backed away to the corner of the box, sitting on its haunches watching her with what? Was that wariness she saw in his eyes?


What does a Skaed rune mean or do?
Daintily / Dark
Separate / Intrigues


“Skaed” was the verbal command she spoke to call the shadows, to pull them towards her out of the natural shadowed pools created by the interplay of light and objects. Whenever she had done so, she had also traced the same symbol in the air. This rune looked very similar to that on the pendant.


“I wonder...” and she traced the symbol on the pendant again. “Later,” she promised herself. When she was alone. A nervous anticipation thrilled through her.


She pocketed the pendant when the others weren’t looking, and quietly placed the empty iron box back inside the cement box.


I think this calls for a Face Danger + shadow for her deception:


8 = 5[d6]+3
9 = 3[d10]+6[d10]


Strong hit. Nice! +1 momentum (now 8/10).


They didn’t seem to notice. Aaron even joined her, moving gingerly still from his wounds. “What’s in the cement box?” he asked.


She shrugged, “Nothing apparently. Just an empty iron box.”


“Wonder what it could’ve been?” he said with a shrug. “But it’s not surprising, given the state of this place. Someone obviously turned things over.” He yawned then turned away and hobbled back his gear.


She felt strangely simultaneously guilty and pleased with her subterfuge. Yet why should she feel guilty? Queens were allowed to keep secrets from their subjects, right? Besides, it really was for the best.


She frowned at what Aron had said and looked about her at the destruction. Shattered masonry and shards of glass. This place had been attacked and ransacked, it was true. But how had the pendant escaped discovery? Or did someone place it in this box after the destruction had befallen Greenhome? And why place something so valuable here in the first place? 


Another thought struck her.


Did someone believe a future heir to the throne might come here looking for clues? Had it perhaps been left. For her? How would anyone know she would be here? The implications twisted inside her, giving birth to an excited heat of possible discovery. That was followed quickly by another thought: had her mother had something to do with this?


She didn’t want to leave this place. Not yet. It represented a connection and maybe with some more exploration, it would present a solid clue to her past.


“Aron,” she said to her brother. “You and Seith need some rest. We should camp here and recuperate. It’s a defensible location.” She picked up her small bundle of belongings. “I’ll drag the Varou bodies down to the room below, and will get some wood for a sheltered fire up here. Then I’m going to do some looking around.”


Aron nodded, “Be careful.” 


Seith looked grateful at the prospect of a respite. 


The two men settled in to make camp in the shattered solarium. Though it would be open to the night sky, with the trees around them, there would be less wind, and it looked like it might be a clear night for once.


She set off to perform her tasks.
Reply
#42
Episode 26
Eilwen brushed her hands on her leather leggings and knuckled her lower back and surveyed her work. She had dragged the two Varou down below to the main level and had heaped a mound of stones and ruined masonry atop their bodies. 


The sun had set and twilight fell across the scene. She looked about herself and saw that the hall lay in ruins. She moved under a fallen pillar, her hands tracing intricate twisting decorative work, and moved aside some broken masonry with her foot. 


“Time to go to work,” and she began an in-depth search of Greenhome. She’ll also scavenge for supplies.


Gather Information + wits


5 = 3[d6]+2


17 = 10[d10]+7[d10]


A miss. Drat.


“On a miss, your investigation unearths a dire threat or reveals an unwelcome truth that undermines your quest.”


Failure Count:
5/24


Resupply + wits
8 = 6[d6]+2


13 = 5[d10]+8[d10]


A weak hit. I’ll spend 2 momentum to increase her supply by 2. (Supply now 5/5 and momentum 6/10).


Two torches later, she had found little to go on. Beneath the audience hall, the stairs descended downward in a cellar and prison. Part of it had caved in, but she did find some supplies, in a half buried chest: half a quiver of iron-tipped arrows, some bandages, a bundle of torches, a couple of flasks of oil. She added them to her pack and continued her investigation. 


Weapons, shields, armor, and bones lay scattered about, buried under rock. The scene told the tale of fierce fighting that had descended into the cellar and prison. A prison door lay in a shattered heap, iron manacles twisted from their mountings in the stone. She frowned... Had the fighting maybe originated at the prison cell? She let the manacles drop to the stone with an audible clink, and the air suddenly felt too stale, too heavy. A sour scent of decay seemed to linger. And...was it her imagination, or did the shadows seem to grow and loom in that cell. Her travails in the veiled mountains still shrouded her thoughts, and she held her torch high as she backed away from the cell, wary.


She breathed a relieved sigh when nothing leaped at her out from the darkness, and she eventually returned to the ground floor. Still, when her gaze passed over the gaping shadows to the cellar, her skin crawled. Something...evil had happened there. 


Muttering under her breath, she shoved a half broken wooden settee down the stairs in front of the ruptured cellar doorway. The obstruction might not offer much protection, but maybe just maybe if something were still there and it did come out of those shadows she’d hopefully at least hear it. She hadn’t seen anything down there. But still...


Something landed in front of her and she scrambled backward, nearly tripping over a piece of masonry, her heart leaped to her throat. 


The thing hissed at her.


“Scratch?” she relaxed when the little wyvern hissed again and nosed her pack but her heart still thudded painfully in her chest. “Heralds, but you gave me a fright!”


He pawed at her leg and ran around her.


“What? Hungry?”


His eyes, dark liquid pools looked into hers. She fed him some more meat, patted him on the head and then moved up to investigate the second floor.


This level had several living quarters, for servants and for the queen. The queen’s room was in a half-circular room that overlooked the now-overgrown grounds below. The windows and mirrors had shattered and the shards of dark glass crunched under her boots. A half-cracked book case moved which she pushed it aside. Then it moved as if on some kind of hinge and revealed a narrow and hidden set of stone stairs that curved up into the darkness above.


There, in a hidden and un-damaged room, she found a set of scrolls, coiled up on a wooden rack. The scrolls were yellowed with age and a chair at the desk creaked as she settled into it. She set the torch in a sconce and used some of her oil in a nearby lamp to give some additional light. Then she unrolled the scrolls and started reading.


Is it something she can understand?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Her hands trembled when she realized she could read the angular runes. She traced her finger across the lines and whispered the words out loud as she read:


“We thought the Heralds couldn’t cross the Great Expanse. We were mostly right. To my knowledge at least one of them--one of the most cunning--found a way to follow us. How could I know that Nar-Shiv had taken on the form of men and continued his hunt of the royal family on this side of the Expanse? 


“He bided his time. The Heralds were ever impetuous, save this one. The crossing over the Expanse had weakened him severely, as any amount of water may do, but for some reason, it didn’t kill him. 


“For three decades we reigned in relative peace--if peace is what you can call constant squabbling among the tribes, not to mention the other dangers in these light forsaken lands. And in those decades, he hid in his stone house beneath the earth, growing fat on the worms of decay.


“When father and mother were slain by his assassins, my guards and retainers brought me here to Greenhaven. For two summers, we lived in peace, thinking we’d be safe as my siblings were hunted down and killed one by one. But somehow he found me again, or perhaps maybe someone in my own court betrayed me?


“Who can I trust?


“He found me. How could we know that ‘Trell’ was one of the very own Night-blasted Heralds? We only knew that Trell the bandit had murdered my son! I sent men to capture him, to bring him to me to be tried for his murder.


“Now we know why Trell offered such little resistance upon his capture.


“That night he struck. He became the Herald, Nar-Shiv, sloughing off his borrowed flesh and bursting the prison asunder in a word of power. He wrought a warped nightmare of bone into existence from some other place--a creature I’ve not seen before--to aid him.


“So many were slain that night. My childhood memories of the Heralds of Night are nebulous. I was young when we fled the old lands. But I learned the runes well over the intervening years. I don’t know them all, of course. Who would want to? The world is dark enough already.


“But I learned enough to live through that night. I know that the runes are dangerous, perhaps even forbidden, but--in the end, it’s the only recourse I had to fight Nar-Shiv. I hurt him, wounded him sorely that night. That bought me some time; for he fled and retreated somewhere, perhaps to his stone house to heal. But his minions are still active after all these years. He still hunts and haunts me and my family. They all salivate for my blood. Someday, he will find me and bring me ruin and death, as has befallen so many of my siblings and children. Somehow he knows us, senses us. But how? Maybe he’s like a hound and can smell the royal blood that flows in our veins when the wind shifts? I know not.”


“But I must flee again. But where? I don’t know. Nor dare I write it here. His agents have returned to this forest. But I leave this missive by my own hand in these runes. Maybe you’ll be able to find the answer.”


It bore a signature at the bottom.


“Queen Morwen,” Eilwen finished reading. Then she leaned closer and held the oil lamp nearer. Sparks sputtered from her torch in the wall. Under Morwen’s name was the same triangular skaed rune.


Eilwen sat back, stunned and whispered the name, “Morwen?” 


Who was this Queen Morwen? Was Eilwen then related to her? And what happened to the other half of the crown? She re-read it again and also looked at the other scrolls. Those contained more mundane items: court proceedings for a now broken kingdom, requisition reports, scout reports. But there was no mention of the other half of the crown nor her mother. And was a Herald of Night, Nar-Shiv, really there somewhere, still on the hunt for Morwen’s bloodline? 


She shivered and felt the hairs on her arm stand up.


The only lead she had, if it even was a lead, was the triangular skaed rune. The same rune on the strange amulet in her pack. She carefully placed the scroll in her pack, stood, and retraced her steps back to where Seith and Aron slept in the solarium.


She looked over the wall at the grounds below. The moon rose high in the sky, a clear night, and shadows huddled dark and deep, pools of midnight amidst the boles of the trees that stood like sentries around the clearing. Rare were the nights when the clouds deigned to part for the moon in the Veiled Mountains, and the sight of the moon and of so much greenery filled her with awe.


Setting her jaw, she quietly descended the steps and left the building.


It was time.
Reply
#43
Episode 27
She walked out in the clearing, a slight breeze rustled through the leaves, and the moon dripped silver light down onto the tops of trees and the half-ruined building behind her. The beauty of the light contrasted with the blackness beneath the trees. For a long moment, she looked into the tenebrous shadows of those trees, hesitant. But then she nodded firmly. No more delays. She needed answers.


She pulled out the amulet she had found. The sapphire and gold, now muted, seemed somehow more mysterious when splashed in the liquid silver light of the moon.


She spoke in a low chant and traced the runes to summon the shadows. A faint blue light hung in the air for a moment where she traced the runes. 


Then she finished with the intricate skaed rune with its twisting lines.


SHAD0W-WALK
[ X ] When you cloak yourself with the
gossamer veil of the shadow realms,
roll +shadow. On a strong hit, take +1 momentum. Then, reroll any dice (one time only) when you make a move by ambushing, hiding, or sneaking. On a weak hit, as above, but the shadows try to lead you astray. You must first Face Danger to find your way.



[  ] As above, and you may also travel
along the hidden paths of the shadow
realms to Undertake a Journey using
+shadow (instead of +wits). If you
do, Endure Stress (1 stress) and mark
progress twice on a strong hit.


[  ] When you perform this ritual, add +1
and take +1 momentum on a hit



7 = 4[d6]+3


4 = 1[d10]+3[d10]


A strong hit! 


(Momentum is now 7/10)


The shadows came twisting out of the trees, long tendrils of them that moved serpentine across the silver-lit grass towards her. The effect made her think of the damnable Tree of Shades in the realm of Night beneath, extending its root system of fear and doom, as tentacles of shadow seemed to erupt from the silver soil, pooling around her and then crawling up her legs. She held out the amulet in one hand and let them come.


Does something happen to the amulet? Since she got a strong hit in her ritual and she knows the amulet has a Skaed rune on it, I’ll say likely.


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


The shadows rose up around her, and a tendril wavered in front of the amulet and then touched its surface and spilled into the sapphire. The gemstone blazed with an azure light that turned the silver on the grass around her a deep cobalt hue. The light flickered, dimmed some, and then held steady. She stared into its depths and saw a shadow swimming inside. She focused on that shadow and then...


And then...she was there...


---


The smell of blood and burning, the screaming, fighting and the dying.


“Mommy?” she said.


The crown cleft asunder on the proud silver head that bore it. A greedy grin on an angular face, and a trembling bloody human hand only had time to grab half the crown before the guards came into view.


“Mommy!” she cried out and stretched out a child’s hand to the woman on the ground.


Running feet of heavy boots and then guards rushed to the scene.


“Medrynn the Black! He’s slaid the queen. He’s taken the crown! After him!”


Booted feet tore after him into the night.


For a moment there was silence as she sat next to her mother in the pool blood. Then the real madness came as the Night’s own offspring walked the earth, spearing men, women, and children on angular jutting spears of bone, metal, claw red with blood, teeth slavering with hunger.


The vision or memory shifted.


---


Now, she sat on a throne inside of Greenhome. An explosion of noise. Shouting then fighting in the audience chamber as her guards sought to contain the darkness. But Nar-Shiv was not easily contained. He pounded out from below.


She... saw him. Angular bones dripping in gore from the fresh flesh he’d burst. Its pointy ends of bone moulded and shifted, stabbing, slashing, and killing. Severed limbs and heads fell about him. Entrails spilled hot and slippery onto the floor.


Her guards surrounded him. His summoned help, a bonewalker, leaped cat-like into the fray, moving like lighting. It gutted six men alone before an axe took it in the head, and whatever magic animated it, bled out. But not before its forearm blade penetrated deep into the guards ribs, and they both clattered to a heap on the stone floor, the axe clanging twice on the ground a bell toll for the dying.


More fighting and dying swirled about Nar-Shiv as he drew ever nearer the dais atop which she stood. He lay about him with a special kind of ferocity that only a Herald can have. Bodies crunched against the wall tossed like leaves. Her honor guard gave their lives for her one by one. But she was not defenseless. She held the iron disks in one hand and an iron blade in the other. She uttered words of power and traced runes, rapidly and expertly. 


A concentric wave of silver light thrummed outwards.


Does she see her mother in the vision? I don’t think that’s likely. Her mother obviously survived this madness...


(Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes


Well... oookay. Sure. Let’s see... We’ll find a place to put that in.


Nar-Shiv slammed against that light and the silvery shield of power that she wielded held. When he touched it, the power in the shield blasted him back, and the blood that dripped from his angular bones hissed and boiled away, leaving only dried fakes of red that drifted to the floor. Nar-Shiv hissed and then cried his own word of power and a ball of midnight black shadow pressed outwards against the shield of light.


The building shook, masonry fell, and a stabbing flash of lightning outside slashed from the heavens into a pillar. She uttered another word of power, and the half spherical shield shifted and twisted into a complete spherical shield. She went down on one knee as shadow leaked from her mouth and eyes. The light constricted around the daemon, severing some of his limbs. He uttered another cry and then dissolved into shadowed ephemeral smoke that drifted through the shield and into the rafters and then...fled upon the winds.


---


“Queen Morwen? Your majesty?”


The vision had shifted to years later, and she now looked down into a toddler’s face. Another woman stood across from her and held the squirming toddler. The other woman had the build of a warrior, a two-handed sword lay sheathed across her back, red hair framed the warrior’s face and strands of red wisped in the wind. 


“You have the half-crown?”


“Yes, your majesty.”


“Good. Take Arwed north,” she said. “My daughter brought her into this world, but she is no more now. Another victim to Nar-Shiv’s minions. But this little one will be the next queen. Give her the crown when she comes of age. Recite to her the verse as I taught you. Teach her our history, our ways. And...and give her this,” She handed over a small bag that clinked with the sound of metal on metal.


“Are you sure?” 


“If she doesn’t learn the runes of power, Nar-Shiv will eventually find her and kill her. He might anyway, but at least with that knowledge, there’s a chance.”


“But, it’s--”


“I know,” Morwen said sadly, cutting her off. “But--but do it anyway.”


Morwen looked down into the innocent blue eyes and brushed aside a lock of blond hair on the child’s face, eyes of blue, and stared into the infant’s eyes. Morwen looked at her own wrinkled hands against the smooth skin of the baby’s face. “I wonder if you’ll live to be my age, little one,” she whispered. “May your life be happier than mine, and may the line continue through you.”


She looked at the warrior-woman who had pocketed the bag and the crown.


“Go now Freern. Don’t mourn for me, my friend. The kingdom is rent asunder, and I fear our people will flounder and squabble and die without a leader. Nar-Shiv’s agents still hunt me. Find a place where the child will be safe if you can. A place away from his agent’s prying eyes.”


“It will be done your majesty.”


---


The vision faded as did the light from the gem. Eilwen found herself kneeling amidst the rubble of the clearing. She whipped at her eyes and sniffled slightly. She had seen her mother! The little girl at the end... She had some answers at last. Not many and not complete answers yet, but some leads to follow.


Is the amulet’s power spent?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...
In fact...


She gripped the amulet and looked at it. It continued to glow, the brilliance she had seen earlier had faded to a subdued light, similar to the light on her sword, faint and pale but...for now permanent. The light would be invisible in the day and only visible if unshielded in darkness. 


Troubled, she fingered the silver chain and traced the skaed rune on its back. The rune glowed as if lines of power ran through it. Had she...what? Activated it somehow with that shadow?


Eilwen frowned but tucked the gem out of sight under her jerkin. It felt hard and cold and unyielding as it lay nestled between her breasts. It somehow held some power, enough to show her the vision and enough now for some kind of power to linger. Did the shadow magic power it? Maybe she could call on the shadows again and they would reveal more memories to her? 


The inky dark shadows had crawled back to their birthing pools and she stood and looked at the silvery trees once more, and pondered on their dark-shadowed boles, remembering the vision, her hand to her breast.


Then she turned and re-entered Greenhaven, seeking her bed.


The writings she saw and the vision she had here fulfills a Queen quest (QQ) vow milestone by getting her more information. Plus she has the names of concrete people who originally took the crown. Together, I think that’s worth two milestones. So 5/40 -- every four ticks translates to one filled box on a progress chart. So, she still has a ways to go here. I think this also fulfills a milestone in her Mothers Quest (MQ) vow, now 2/10).
Reply
#44
Episode 28
In the morning, they packed up their supplies, and continued their southerly route on foot.


Undertake Journey move.
Roll + Wits


8 = 6[d6]+2


13 = 5[d10]+8[d10]


A weak hit. We make progress (now 4/10), reach a waypoint, but lose 1 supply (now 4/5).


I don’t have anything in mind, so I’ll roll on the Location Oracle. 
I rolled a 44: Pass 
And now a descriptor: 
I rolled a 93: Dense


They moved out of the forest and again found the overgrown road. By noon, it had grown narrower, and they found themselves descending in elevation somewhat as wings of the western and eastern mountains pushed out in the valley towards them, forming a small pass that was littered with dozens of boulders that slowed them down as they wound their way around under or sometimes over them. 


Had the road been maintained, workers would have been sent to clear these stones. They pressed on.


Scratch kept pace. He no longer rode in her pack, but trotted alongside her. Sometimes he’d take small little leaps, hopping, gliding sometimes, but mostly falling from boulders, clattering to the shale rock below. Each time he hissed but with determination, kept up with them.


They stopped and had a brief lunch of cold bread and cheese from their supplies, washed down with water from the nearby river. As they ate and sat, wisps of clouds in the azure sky passed overhead, Scratch got into the supplies...again. Aron didn’t say anything but just shook his head.


Undertake Journey move.
Roll + Wits


7 = 5[d6]+2


9 = 2[d10]+7[d10]


A weak hit. We make progress (now 6/10), reach a waypoint, but lose 1 supply (now 3/5).


I rolled another location and descriptor and got “Waterfall” and “Blocked”.


By late afternoon, they saw sparkling water pouring off the cliff face to their left in a crashing spray of white mist that hung like sapphires and diamonds in the sun. The water joined the river they were already following. Moss-covered boulders had fallen into the river bed, and a small lake had formed.


They refilled their water skins, washed, and pressed on while there was daylight.


Undertake Journey move.
Roll + Wits


5 = 3[d6]+2


12 = 5[d10]+7[d10]


A miss. (Failure count 6/24) 
I do have 7 momentum. I could burn it to negate the 5 and turn it into a weak hit. I could save my momentum and Pay the Price but that could result in something that would make me lose my momentum anyway. Choices. Choices.


I have some choices with proceeding with the miss. I can choose the most negative outcome that makes sense. I can also Envision two negative things, make one of them likely and ask the oracle which it is. Or I can roll on the table.


I’ll envision two negative things and roll. It’s likely the Varou have picked up their scent and will chase them. The other negative outcome is the thing that haunts the waters.


Is it the Varou?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes
At the pool, a wind from the south gusted at them. Eilwen finished taking a long drink of the cold crisp water and had just refilled her water skin when she heard the strange wolf-like howl from the road behind them and an answering howl from the cliffs to their left above the waterfall.


She glanced at Seith who stood up alert, water dripping from his own water skin.


“The Varou!” He cursed. The howls drew nearer.


Eilwen ran back to her pack, shouldered it, and then pulled out her bow and fitted an arrow.


““They have our scent!” she cursed looking around. Then she saw the sparking falls. “Everyone, into the water! We’ll hide behind the fall! With any luck, that’ll mask our scent and sight and they’ll pass by.”


As Aron and Seith splashed into the chest deep, water, she reached in her pack and pulled out a few crumbs of dried meat and jogged down the road and threw the flakes down the road so it’d seem to the Varou that the small group of humans had moved in that direction. Then she raced back to the others splashing into the water and reaching the cover of the falls just before the Varou came into view.


Face Danger + Deception
9 = 6[d6]+3


8 = 5[d10]+3[d10]


A strong hit! Momentum now 8/10.


I think whatever has been haunting the river might make them scared of the water. Is that true?
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


A small pack of three Varou picked their way around the lake sniffing. Eilwen and the others huddled behind the bone-chilling water as it splashed around them. Through the streams of water, she saw them approach the water sniff at it and then back away, ears flattened. Then one of them sniffed the road and howled, and the group of wolfmen ran down south on the road ahead of them.


They waited until the howls were distant things.


“That’s some quick thinking lass,” Seith said. “Though I don’t relish the fact that they’re ahead of us on the road.”


“Agreed,” Aron said. “We should go cross country parallel to the road, maybe over there,” he pointed to where the lake’s outlet splashed out down. Eilwen nodded. Trees lined the river on both sides and would hopefully mask them from the road.


“Good idea. The fact that they seem afraid of the water might also be to our advantage.”


“Unless...whatever monster haunts the water starts hunting us,” Seith said with a scowl.


Eilwen thought she saw a shadow pass upon the water, or...in the water? But maybe it was just a passing cloud above. 


“Let’s get to dry land,” she said.


They splashed to the shore, followed the perimeter of the lank and then climbed down the boulders on the south side. The chilled wind and water caused Seith to break out in shivers, and he complained incessantly of the cold. Eilwen and Aron shared a small smile. Lowlanders... She and her brother had felt deeper cold than this most of their lives. This was warmer than most the warmest summer day she had known in the Veiled Peaks.


They pressed onward, parallelled the road, moving south, hoping the trees masked them.


Undertake Journey
7 = 5[d6]+2


8 = 4[d10]+4[d10]


A strong hit and a positive match! Nice!


(Progress is now 8/10, we reach a milestone and take momentum -- now 9/10)


A positive match should be something interesting, a twist in the narrative, or a new opportunity.


I’ll see if something comes to mind with the milestone. For that, I’ll roll Location and Description:


100 = 100[d100]
Anomaly


27 = 27[d100]
Blocked -- I already just had that. If I transpose it to be a 72, I get Beautiful. I think I’ll go with that.


That’s just the milestone, but it’s certainly something interesting already. 


I’ll roll on Action / Theme oracles for the anomaly:


72 = 72[d100]
Find


90 = 90[d100]
Quest
I think the Beautiful Anomaly, whatever that means -- represents a milestone for a quest. 
Ah hah. I have an idea.


They found another iron pillar on a low hill off to the west. It turned a reddish golden hue when the light from the dying sun hit it. Something... an energy of some kind seemed to thrum from it in Eilwen’s mind and she heard a piercing pure note in her mind, something like when her mother had sung a lullaby to her as a child.


She stopped in her track, drawn towards the strange beauty of it, her lips slightly parted.


“What is it?” Aron said as he bumped into her. He and Seith both followed her gaze.


“Can you feel that?” she asked Aron and pointed to the metallic pynth.


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


“What?” Askon asked. “The wind?”


She shook her head. “The...music. It’s like... singing in my head. A warm song. A pure melody.”


“I just feel a little sleepy,” Seith said and masked a yawn with a fist. “Relaxed.”


“Me too,” Aron nodded.


“I hear...music,” Eilwen said. Curious she moved toward the pillar. Aron didn’t try to dissuade her, but trudged up the hill alongside her and Seith. 


They arrived just as the lays rays of the sun caressed their faces and the angular runes on the iron pillar blazed in a burnished golden light. Then the sun disappeared behind the horizon and twilight claimed the land. But strangely, the runes continued to bleed golden light. It ran along the angular lines. She tentatively reached out her hand and placed it on the pillar. It felt warm. There on the pillar she saw the strange triangular Skaed rune with its twisting impossible lines etched into the iron plate. She traced it with her finger.


The wind whispered to her. She closed her eyes and sought after it.


“Daughter,” a voice said.


In her mind? Or was it merely the barest whisper of the wind? Whatever it was, that single word pierced her, and a gentle breeze caressed her face, blowing wisps of her hair.


“Mother?” Eilwen whispered with a slight gasp. “Is that you?”


She had felt... something. This place--She heard nothing more. Yet she felt that her mother had walked this road before--had touched this very pillar. But for what purpose? She thought of the other iron pillar with the white dust in the box at its base--a dark evil had been wrought there. Had her mother been behind that too?


She knew so little. Who created these iron pillars in the first place? She leaned her forehead against it and exhaled.


“Are you alright?” Aron asked.


She nodded, her eyes still closed. “Was just thinking about mother. I think--I think she came here and walked this road. Perhaps she’d even been to Greenhaven.”


“How do you know?” Aron asked.


“A feeling...”


“What was she doing?”


“I don’t know,” Eilwen said. She shook her head and then sat and leaned her back against the pillar with a weary sigh. “There are so many secrets,” she said.


He looked at her for a moment and then looked away and busied himself with his pack and gear. The ground and the wind felt warmer here immediately around the pillar, for some reason, and so they decided to camp for the night.


She pulled her cloak around her as the wind picked up. The twilight soon turned to a darker night but somehow, the golden glow from the runes on the iron pillar remained, keeping the darkness at bay. Had this pillar retained the heat merely because it one was in line with the sun? Or had this been her mother’s doing?


Nearby, Scratch nipped at Seith’s jerky which he’d snatch out of reach, laughing as he played with the little creature. Seith hissed at him and he tossed it with a laugh behind his shoulder and the little wyvern cawed and hissed and half scampered, half dove after it, rustling and crashing through the underbrush.


“What do you think about mother?” Eilwen asked her brother.


“She was...mother. Loving at times, hard as stone at others. I think---I think she loved you more,” he said with a frown.


“Aron, I never meant for--”


“No, ‘loved’ might not be the right word. ‘Favored’ might be more accurate.”


“I--”


“It’s alright, Eilwen. I understand. You and she have this...bond with the crown, those discs. I can’t compete with that. But it’s okay.”


She studied him as he picked up a stone and tossed it down the hill. His face looked...sad and grim at the same time.


“Thank you,” she said to him.


“For what?” he didn’t look at her, just stared west, where the sun had descended.


“For helping me. Staying with me. Not giving up on me.”


“I made a vow to help you fulfill mother’s dying wish,” he shrugged. “And you’re my sister. And... my queen.”


They descended into silence and ate a cold meal. 


After her experience in the Greenheart, and what she had discovered there, she had told Aron about the other iron pillar with the bone-white dust, the runes, the darkness. She told of the iron discs--that mother may have been involved. Aron had grimaced but had brushed it aside. He had been skeptical that mother had been involved in something nefarious. Perhaps he was right to be. She hoped so. There were just too many secrets. Or perhaps he just didn’t want to believe their mother capable of maleficence.


Mother never did say much about what had happened in her life before she met Father, Cadfael. And even after she met Father, Cadfael had never known who Arwed really was, that she was involved with the runes of power, that she was in line for the throne, that she was royalty. 


Too many secrets. Too many unanswered questions. Mother had died too soon.


But Mother had been here; she had touched this very pillar. Of that, Eilwen felt certain. Could she find out more about her mother and what she might have been doing here by interacting with the pillar somehow? There was only one way to know for certain.
Reply
#45
Episode 29
The others had fallen asleep under the soft glow of the golden-glowing runes, including Scratch who had his head resting on Aron’s chest. Eilwen had volunteered first watch, and when she was certain all were asleep slept, she took out the sapphire amulet on it’s silver chain and pressed the skaed rune of the amulet to the same run on the iron plate.


Does anything happen?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


Nothing happened. She sighed. The amulet still glowed blue in her hand, though it glowed less than the pillar. She tried again, envisioning her mother. Still nothing. 


Aron shifted in his sleep.


She probably had to do the ritual again. She pressed her lips together in determination and focused. Then she began tracing the symbols and whispering the words to call the shadows once more. The faint blue light trailed after her finger and hung in the air as she traced. Then she again placed the amulet against the pillar.


SHAD0W-WALK
[X] When you cloak yourself with the
gossamer veil of the shadow realms,
roll +shadow. On a strong hit, take +1
momentum. Then, reroll any dice (one
time only) when you make a move by
ambushing, hiding, or sneaking. On a 
weak hit, as above, but the shadows 
try to lead you astray. You must first 
Face Danger to find your way.


[  ] As above, and you may also travel
along the hidden paths of the shadow
realms to Undertake a Journey using
+shadow (instead of +wits). If you
do, Endure Stress (1 stress) and mark
progress twice on a strong hit.
[  ] When you perform this ritual, add +1
and take +1 momentum on a hit


8 = 5[d6]+3


15 = 7[d10]+8[d10]


A weak hit. I’m not sure what the shadows leading her astray means in context of what she’s trying to do.


The shadows twisted out of the night, slithering across the ground, drawing nearer. She chewed her lower lip. Had she done the right thing? Why was the skaed rune there on the pillar in the first place if she wasn’t meant to use it?


They pooled around her feet, an inky black mass of midnight layered upon midnight, twisting and churning and then the pillar, dimming the golden light, giving it a shadowy cast. Then down her arms up her face and into her eyes. She became...one with the shadows.


She blinked and her vision swam and she saw a hidden path, a twisting road of shadow, lines of black with impossible angles that jutted off into the distance...somewhere. A chill settled over her.


“This way...” one of them whispered and she saw a two-dimensional shadow, paper thin standing up in front of her out of the shadows. It’s head had holes of eyes through which she could see the night sky beyond. When the being turned, and she saw its “edge”, the shadow disappeared from view. It rotated again back into view and touched one of the lines. It seemed to vibrate. Her mind thought of a spider web...


“That... isss the path,” the shadow hissed and it tugged on her mind and will.


“Where....where does it go?” she whispered.


The thing regarded her. “To where you want to be...”


But... she struggled against it. “No...I need you to tell me about my mother about what happened here with her and this pillar. Show me what you know.”


“Follow thisss path... Then we’ll tell. We know the way. Follow...”


Should she? The air chilled and the thing... smiled. It’s face split apart into a rough approximation of a--Wait. Was that a smile? The stars in the night sky bled through where the teeth should be. “Hurry. Follow.”


“I--” She shook her head and took a step back. “I’m not sure.”


I think she’s Facing a Danger with Wits to discern what’s happening.


Face Danger + 2


5 = 3[d6]+2


5 = 4[d10]+1[d10]


A Strong Hit. Nice! Momentum goes up by 1 (now 10/10)


“You musssst follow the path to know the truth...” The thing hissed.


But now, its freakish smile dripped with some kind of inky sticky goo when it “smiled”.


“No,” she swallowed and raised the amulet taking a step towards it, gritting her teeth. “You must follow me. I command here!”


The shadow twisted in...rage. 


“We alwaysss come when you call! But you.... You never follow ussss....But ssomeday, you mussst. Someday you shall!” It then gave a scream, mouth yawning wider than the sky and it rushed towards her, shadows engulfing her.


She felt a chill and screamed, thrusting the glowing blue amulet in front of her, as if it were some sort of ward.


Endure Stress + spirit of 3


4 = 1[d6]+3


8 = 5[d10]+3[d10]


A weak hit. Her Spirit is reduced by 1 (now 2/5).


The shadow’s scream echoed in her head, but when the entity touched the amulet, it fell sucked into it, and the amulet again blazed more brightly, and as before, the blaze then dimmed.


Drawing in a ragged breath, she felt her pulse racing. Nights beneath! What had just happened?


She looked about but now the shadows twisted around her, obeying her. With a trembling hand she matched the skaed rune on the amulet against the same rune on the iron pillar and whispered. “Show me my mother.”


Does something happen?
(Very Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...
Yes, but it’s tiring and she loses 1 harm due to fatigue.


What does she see? I’ll use Action / Theme Oracles:


36 = 36[d100]
Supress
5 = 5[d100]
Battle


She sees her mother finishing a battle atop the hill. This time the vision is not in first person view, but she’s able to rotate and zoom in and move in slow motion to get details.


I’ll use the MAG to get more details:
tooth, palm with magic circle, three arrows crossed, helm with viking horns (how appropriate), bandaid, molotov cocktail, melting ice, person in liquid...(oooo cool idea), some kind of energy bolt with bubbles.


Eilwen looked on, fascinated as a younger version of Arwed, her mother, perhaps in her early twenties stood atop the hill. She was lit by a blood-orange sunset in a deep blue sky. Heralds take her, Eilwen thought, but Mother was...beautiful. Arwed wore simple dark clothing, overwhich a rugged forest-green cloak fluttered in the wind, the hood back. Her blond hair streamed behind her in waves of reflected red and gold as the wind caught it. Her determined blue eyes looked down off the rise and narrowed as three warriors, dressed in leather armor, jogged in a crouch to hide behind bounders getting nearer.


Is her mother wearing the amulet?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


Do the men say anything?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


Do they talk about the crown?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


“Give us the crown, and we’ll let you live!” their leader shouts.


Are there other fallen warriors that she’s slain?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


Does her mother say anything?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...


Eilwen felt concern for her mother, even knowing she would somehow survive this encounter. But her mother, instead of fleeing off the hill or hiding or even trying to talk her way out of it, her mother...smiled a humorless grim smile.


They raised their short bows.


Are they well trained? 
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Does Eilwen see any heraldry?
50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


Their armor was polished black, and somehow when Eilwen focused on their armor, her vision swam, and the vision slowed and it was as if she stood next to the soldiers. She could see that the polished iron brooches held gray-cloaks. They bore a simple but elegant design: three arrow shafts gilt in silver on a black field. Eilwen didn’t recognize the heraldry.


These were not mere bandits, but well-trained warriors. They moved in coordinated fashion, their leader barking orders. 


They aimed and fired. 


Dark shafts leaped forth to claim her mother’s life. Her mother gave a cry of command, and slapped the iron pillar with her left hand. A burst of golden light transferred through her and then poured from her right palm in a concentric translucent golden circle that shifted to a half sphere. The arrows slammed into it, and when they touched the shield, they burned to iridescent dust, the iron tips of the arrows flaked off to glittering flecks that glittered in the red sunlight, drifting to the ground like some kind of bloody snowfall.


The men looked at each other, eyes widened in surprise.


Do the men try to flee? 
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


Their leader seemed about to charge the hill, but changed his mind. He barked an order and the men began to fall back, using the boulders as cover as they retreated in an orderly fashion.


Do any of the men get away?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Her mother raised a hand and uttered another word of command and traced the skaed rune. A mass of writhing shadows poured down off of the pillar behind her mother’s outstretched form towards the men. The men screamed and bolted for their horses, but the horses sensing something, bolted down the road away from them, thudding hooves soon lost in the wind.


More shadows poured out of the trees down on the road in front of the men, rippling over boulders and folds in the land, pooling around them in midnight pools of doom.


The men screamed in terror and tried to fight the shadows with their hand-weapons. Axes and spears hacked and thrust at the shadows. But the strange entities only split and merged and reformed on the other side of their weapons, coalescing into something that looked like gooey pitch. One by one, they fell, screaming as the waves of black consumed them, flowing into their mouths, eyes, nose and ears.


Do the shadows say anything?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


Do what they say reveal anything about this being dark magic?
(Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...
No... but it’s hard to deny the chill in the air.


What do they say 
Oppress / Anger
Frantically / Full


The shadows churned around and within them an angry tinge on the air.


“So...cold...so dark...need warmth...they never share...warmth...feast on it... feel it...fill us...life...”


Do the men die?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


One by one, the bodies of the men fell to the earth, twitching and moaning. One by one, the strands of shadows retreated, slowly sliding back back to normal shadows. Each man’s eyes and mouths opened wide as if trapped in some kind of eternal scream of the damned. No wound marred their bodies, but no light stirred in their eyes and no breath rose in their breasts.


Does her mother collapse?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Does she see her mother do anything else with the iron pillar?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Does her mother do anything with the bodies?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


After they fell, Arwed stood tall and strong and looked down at the fallen. She removed her hand from the pillar, raised her hood against the wind, and made her way down the hill to the bodies of the fallen. 


What does she do? (using CQ and CD buttons)
Attract / Riches
Rudely / Full


Arwed picked over the bodies. Then with practiced ease, and with no trembling hand, and no fear over touching the dead, no sigh of regret for what she had done, she pulled off anything and everything of value: weapons and armor; rich woolen cloaks; iron brooches with silver inlay; rings and jewelry; black polished armor--even their leather boots.


When she had everything in a pile heaped in front of her, she stood, folded her arms and gave a self-satisfied smile.


Does the vision end?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes


The vision ended, the shadows pulling back from Eilwen and sliding into the surrounding landscape and Eilwen fell, kneeling before the pillar. She felt drained.


Suffers 1 harm from the vision (now 4/5)
Endure Harm (rolling + health)
10 = 6[d6]+4


16 = 6[d10]+10[d10]


A weak hit.


The golden runes still glowed in their strange beauty. But she didn’t feel at peace. The vision and knowledge of what her mother had done distrubed her greatly and what she had experienced herself with the shadows. 


“Mother...” she groaned her disquietude to the night.


Do Aron and Seith still sleep?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...
But they’re starting to wake.


She put the pendant back under her tunic and turned as Aron shifted and awoke.


“Is everything alright?” Aron asked sleepily.


“Yes, why?” she lied.


“I thought I heard something.” He yawned and shook his head, sitting up, rubbing his eyes. “It sounded like a shout, but from far away.”


“Probably just your stomach,” Eilwen said, attempting humor to divert him. “It was grumbling before and now it’s probably shouting at you.”


“Ha ha,” he rolled his eyes and studied the stars. “My watch sister,” he said standing and stamping his feet and stretching. “Get some sleep. You look like you need it.”


“Gladly,” she wearily settled down her back against the base of the pillar. But she felt restless, seeing the shadows worm their way into the men whenever she shut her eyes and seeing her mother’s smile at the end. She shifted and tried again to sleep but saw a path of shadows and the shadow figure beckoning her to follow.


Eventually, her troubled thoughts gave way to her weariness, and she slept.


I think the information she gleaned from this vision counts as a milestone in her Mothers Quest (MQ) (now 3/10).


Make Camp move. Roll + supply of 3
5 = 2[d6]+3


9 = 3[d10]+6[d10]


Weak hit. Take 1. 
She’ll raise her health back up: 5/5 


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


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


Debilities: None


Failures: 
6/24 (Failures)
Reply
#46
Episode 30
In the morning, they gathered their supplies and then continued their journey on the overgrown road south, Eilwen and Scratch in the lead.


6 = 4[d6]+2


18 = 8[d10]+10[d10]


Drat. A miss. 


Maybe I should have just done a progress move and tried to conclude the journey, but I like finishing all the boxes when I can. I could burn momentum and turn this into a weak hit...But I’ll see what it is. We’re waylaid by a perilous event and need to pay the price.


Failures: 7/24


I’ll just use the table on Pay the Price move.


I rolled a 29 - “It is stressful.”


I have an idea of what it might be, but I’ll use Action and Theme oracles to see if that’s more interesting or adds some additional details:


Action: 
33: Aid


Theme:
77: Problem


I’ll roll on Location:
14: Bridge


Location Descriptor: 
97: Desolate


The river twisted down the valley and the road followed suit. Toward mid-day, as they neared a bend in the road, they heard the sound of a woman screaming frantically from around the bend. 
Scratch hissed and scrambled up a slope to hide behind a boulder. Eilwen, in the lead, ran in a low crouch and peaked her head around the bed, using rock and tree for cover, Seith and Aron following stealthily behind. The river which had been to their left, had cut right, and it fell sharply into a deep ravine. The road came to a lonely moss-covered bridge that passed over the river and the ravine. Far below the bridge, white-water rapids churned over rounded moss-covered boulders.


Is it made of wood (likely):
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Does she see people on the bridge? I’ll say it’s somewhat unlikely that there would be travelers on this lonely unused road, but you never know.
(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes


On the bridge, the front end of a covered wagon had fallen through the rotted wood, and a horse now dangled in the air, beneath the bridge tangled in its reins and tackle and harness that connected it to the wagon. The end of which had been secured to the wagon. A young boy, perhaps six years old, clung to the horse’s mane. A woman in perhaps her thirties tried to pull on the reins as if that would somehow pull the horse up through the hole and right the world.


“Heralds!” Eilwen breathed and started to run to their aid.


“Eilwen!” Aron shouted. 


She had only gone a few paces though, when the wagon shifted some more, grinding against the wood and fell a few feet through the bridge’s floor, before it again caught on the bridge. The shifting wagon ended in a jolt and the boy lost his grip on the horse’s mane and with a scream he plummeted through the air to the rocks far below.


The woman screamed again. “Fenn! No!”


“No,” Eilwen whispered and she felt her spirit’s crumple as she witnessed the small little boy fall, arms akimbo, spiraling to his death below. But there was nothing she could have done! The body hit the rocks, a sad crumpled heap that lay motionless. Eilwen doubted the lad had survived such a fall.


She loses 1 spirit from this event (It is Stressful).
Spirit now 1/5


Endure Stress Move:
Roll + 1 (both heart and spirit are 1)


5 = 4[d6]+1


7 = 4[d10]+3[d10]


Wow. A strong hit. Lucky. She will shake it off and suffer -1 momentum (now down to 9/10) to get +1 spirit now back to 2/5)


She swallowed; the darkness threatened to overcome her, but she forced it away, and she gritted her teeth. These people needed help. Think big picture. Think like a queen. A boy’s broken and battered body she couldn’t do anything about, but she could maybe help this family out of their predicament.


There was little time. She darted forward, yanking off her pack and pulling out a coil of rope. “About my waist! Then secure it! I’ll go and help them!”


“Be careful,” he nodded, and then with deft hands rapidly tied the rope around her.


Does the wagon fall some more because she delayed?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


They ran down the road, Aron gripping the end of the rope as Eilwen ran onto the bridge. He uncoiled it and started to wrap it about a firm post as she ran. The boards under feet were cracked, spoiling, and covered with moss.


Face Danger + 2 (Edge) to pull the family to safety in time.
3 = 1[d6]+2


That was a really poor roll... Sigh...
Lets see what we get:


13 = 4[d10]+9[d10]


So a miss unless I burn my hard-won momentum, and even then, I can only turn it into a weak hit. But yes, I’ll do that. She’s not going to let this entire family die when she has a chance to save some of them.


I spend my 9 momentum, turning the 4 to a 1, turning the miss into a weak hit. My momentum resets to 2/10.


Eilwen, followed by her brother and further back Seith raced toward the wagon. She slipped once, and fell, skinning her knees and banging her shoulder into a moss-covered post, but then she picked herself up and reached the wagon. Aron, behind her, wrapped his end around a jutting boulder and held it fast. Seith jogged up beside her brother, panting, and helped secure the rope as well. 


The wagon shifted alarmingly and Eilwen saw that the bridge floor wouldn’t last much longer as rotted wood spiraled down into the misty water below.


She sliced through the canvas ties and tore back the coverings. Inside, three girls clutched each other, whimpering, tears on smudged faces. 


“This way! Out the back. The wagon is going to fall! Now!”


Hearing the commanding authority in her voice, they moved to obey, and she lifted them out the back end of the wagon to safety. “Go back, that way!” she pointed to Seith who waved them toward him. “I’ll help your mother,” she said. 


The three girls, holding hands, and crying, moved toward Seith. Eilwen then moved parallel to the length of the wagon to the front where the mother still wept, staring at the crumpled body of her son. “Fenn... Fenn... Fen...”


“You must come away! Eilwen called to her. “The wagon will collapse through the bridge at any moment!”


Does the mother heed her? Somewhat unlikely as she’s distracted.
(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


“My Fenn...” she moaned, white knuckles hands gripping reins were hanging below her, the horses twisted in the air screaming and kicking.


Eilwen didn’t see the father, if there was one, anywhere around. “Please!” Eilwen called to her again. “Think of your other children.” She looked again at the ravine. “Forget the wagon. It is lost.”


Compel move vs heart


5 = 4[d6]+1


13 = 8[d10]+5[d10]


A miss! (Failures: 7/24)
She either refuses or demands something that cost me greatly.


Is the father of the family on the rocks below as well?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Does she come away?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No
Why not? The boy is dead. There’s no father. 


Is it because of something valuable on the horses?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


The woman finally noticed Eilwen, her eyes wide and haunted. “I--” then she stared back down. “Fenn--He was so brave. He tried to get to the saddlebags. Tried to--” she swallowed. “Oh Fenn...”


“The wagon!” Eilwen shouted as the wood began to creak. “If we cut the horses free, we can save the goods in the wagon!”


“You don’t understand!” the woman shouted, her hands clenched white-knuckled on the wagon bed. “I--the horses! In their saddlebags! If it falls, it’s lost!”


Eilwen looked at her dumbfounded. What was worth the cost to risk her own son’s life?


What is it she’s so dead set about getting?
Fortunately / Magnificent


Hmmm. The first thing that comes to my mind is she has the other half of the crown. But that’s highly unrealistic for such an epic quest for the other half to fall into her hands now. Eilwen has done hardly anything on that quest, milestone wise and that seems pretty unlikely to me. I doubt it’s that. 


What does the MAG say?
Okay. You’re not going to believe it. I took a screen capture.
A Crown... Yup. A crown. Then arrow through a heart, three crossed swords, twin hands in a sphere of magic, three knives, four-leaf clover, a person screaming, notes with hearts, bubbles.


“It’s important,” she said, and to Eilwen’s consternation, the woman began leaning forward as if she could reach the saddle bags.


“I’ll get the bags,” Eilwen said. “Please, come away.”


Does the wagon fall through?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


The woman finally acquiesced, looking over her shoulders at the flailing screaming horses, legs kicking at heedless air. Eilwen helped the woman out of the wagon. Then she quickly studied the horses thrashing below. The hole they had fallen through was now jammed with the wagon bed and front wheels. She couldn’t get through that hole.


“Hold the rope taut! I’ll swing down to them!” she shouted to her brother. She aimed her trajectory, grabbed the rope with two hands above her, and then leaped into mid-air, swinging towards the twisting tangle of reins, harnesses and horseflesh that thrashed in the air below her.


Face Danger + Edge to get the saddlebags without harm


8 = 6[d6]+2


7 = 4[d10]+3[d10]


A strong hit! (Momentum is now 3/10)


Air rushed past her as she swung, slamming into the horses. They thrashed even more, but she avoided their hooves. Then with one hand, she gripped the rope. With the other, she gripped the horses tackle. She spun with the horses in mid-air. Above her, the rope scraped against the rotted bridge, and moss and bits of dirt and mouldering wood fell down around her as the wagon shifted slightly some more.


She released the rope above her, grateful that it was still tied about her waist as vertigo hit her, spinning above the rushing river. She yanked out her knife, and slashed at the saddle bag straps. She replaced her knife then she grabbed the bags and called for Aron to pull her up.


Does the wagon fall now?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


As she did so, she kicked away from the horses, and just as she did so, the wagon fell completely through the bridge’s floor, rushing past her. Horses and wagon, trailing bits of rotted wood, spun in the sunlight and then crashed into the thrashing river below. The rushing sound of water below obliterated the sound of the crashing wagon and team of horses.


Aron pulled her up to safety. The center of the bridge had a massive hole in it. But it appeared to still be crossable if they stayed near the railings and away from the center.


The older woman moved towards her with some difficulty as her three children clung her limbs.


Eilwen lifted the flap of the saddle bag and looked inside, and the woman gasped. “No...”


What’s there really? Does she actually have the crown?
I mean, I guess she could, but for quest purposes I‘ll say unlikely. 
If no, she prob has something crown related or some other fortune.
(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


Eilwen pulled out a small worn tube made of a hard-leather hide.


Are there any obviously identifying marks on the case that identify what it is?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but...


“What’s this?” Eilwen held the plain tube of hard leather. “This is what you risked your family’s life over?”


“That’s mine,” The woman said, raising one hand toward it. Her three children clung to her weeping. She reached for it, and Eilwen snatched it away. “Please,” the woman said again and held out her hand.


“I just saved your life and the life of your children. I think you owe me an explanation,” Eilwen said, raising an eyebrow and continuing to hold onto the case.


Will the woman give one willingly?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


“I--I thank you for helping me, but my business is my own,” she said, hand still extended.


“Your boy, Fenn, lies dead on the rocks below because of this...” Eilwen frowned and pointed at the river behind her with the case. She spun on the woman, “Have you no heart? What in here is worth more than the lives of your own children?”


“Fenn is dead?” The eldest daughter, perhaps twelve years of age, moaned and then collapsed into a sitting position at her mother’s feet sobbing. That in turn set the others off.


“You wouldn’t understand.” The mother said over the soft sobs of her children. “Hush children... Hush,” she said, holding them. She said down among them, caressing them, then kissing the top of the head of the eldest. The woman then looked in anguish towards the direction of the river, wind blowing wisps of blond hair free from a single braid. 


Eilwen felt her heart melt. This woman loved her children.


After some time, the sobs of the children turned into soft cries and sniffles and one by one, they studied Eilwen, still holding white-knuckled to their mother’s dress or limbs.


“Hush,” the mother cooed.


Eilwen sighed and sat down on a nearby boulder near the other woman. “I could just open it, you know, and you couldn’t stop me. I have two armed men with me, and I myself am no stranger to my blade. But, I’ll not do that. I’d rather you chose to trust me, because you can. But the choice is yours,” she said. 


Then she handed the unopened case over to the woman.


Sounds like a compel move rolling + heart


6 = 5[d6]+1


4 = 2[d10]+2[d10]


A strong hit and a low positive match! Very nice! I’ll work that in.


Aron caught Eilwen’s eyes and nodded in approval.
 
“Thank--thank you,” the woman said, looking stunned. She took the tube and turned it over and over in her hands, caressing the leather.


“I’m Eilwen. What’s your name?” Eilwen asked.


“Valeri,” the mother said.


“Give them some food, Seith.” Eilwen said, standing. “Aron and I will go for Fenn’s body. We’ll camp here for the night, attempt to resupply, and then continue our journey. Valeri, were you heading, north or south?” Eilwen asked the woman.


She didn’t say anything for a while. “North,” Valeri finally said, subdued. She looked up at Eilwen, then looked back down at the case, a strange mixture of what? Shame and possibly determination on her face? Gratitude Her children continued to sniffle.


“There is some tale, surely, as to why you’re here with young children on this dangerous and abandoned road. While I long to hear it, I’ll not pry.”


Seith nodded and dug inside his pack, then passed out some jerky and some berries he had collected along the way to Valeri and her daughters.


For the rest of the afternoon, Aron and Eilwen carefully climbed down to the river, and with the aid of their rope, made their way to the river bed, where the ruined body of Fenn lay in a crumpled broken heap.


Is he still alive?
(Almost Impossible | 2[d10]) No


About him, lay the scattered remains of the wagon and Eilwen poked about for anything of use. Above her some distance on a ledge above, Aron waited with the rope.


Resupply + wits


8 = 6[d6]+2


10 = 2[d10]+8[d10]


Resupply. Weak hit. Take up to 2 supply, but  -1 momentum each. I’ll do that. Momentum goes down to 1/5, supply goes up to 4/5.


She found arrows and some packaged hard bread, half in a smashed barrel.


With some difficulty she and Aron managed to get Fenn’s small body up the cliff face and back to the others as evening fell. Seith’s worried face relaxed when Eilwen and Aron finally entered the firelight.


Aron carried Fenn’s cold body into camp. He set it down gently in front of Valeri, his face grave. “He didn’t survive the fall,” he said.


“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to reach him sooner when he was in danger,” Eilwen said, touching Valeri on the shoulder.


Valeri moved a trembling finger along Fenn’s jaw bone--the side that hadn’t been crushed by the fall. “Fenn...” she gasped and then warm tears splashed on her son’s cold face. Then she leaned into Eilwen’s arms, silent sobs wracking her body.


Eilwen held her, feeling her own emotions surface, and she swallowed against the pain that rose in her own breast and she thought of her mother, Arwed.
Reply
#47
Episode 31
The red coals of the fire dimly light their faces. Valerie had cried herself out and now sat dully staring into the red light. They had buried Fenn under a small pile of rocks worn smooth from the river bed, and Valeri’s daughters, Telewyn, Teleri, and Lyrie, now slept as did Aron and Seith.


Eilwen had shared some of the bread she had found. Scratch sat near her, and also stared into the dying fire. When he exhaled, his breath stirred the coals of the fire sending sparks of red spiraling into the night. Eilwen reached over and rubbed the ridges on his head, and eventually the lids on his eyes closed.


Eilwen had taken first watch. She stirred the fire and added another log, and the dull red glow turned to a cheery yellow and she caught Valerie watching her.


“You have a strange pet,” Valeri said watching the young wyvern.


“His name is Scratch,” Eilwen smiled down at the unusual creature. “He’s a small winged beast. I found his egg in a cave far to the mountains in the north.”


Okay this is from the match before:


“Who are you?” Valeri asked.


“Seith told you my name,” Eilwen said.


Does she recognize Eilwen?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but... 


“That’s not what I mean... there’s something....different about you. Who are you?”


“Just a traveler seeking some answers.”


“Answers? About what?”


Eilwen just shook her head and gave a tired smile as she leaned back against a log. “I have my secrets too.”


“Sorry,” Valeri said, and she snapped a twig and tossed it into the fire. “You showed me a great kindness today and... it’s rude for me to pry.”


Silence descended between them. The popping of the fire, the water rushing in the ravine far below. Eilwen worked on repairing some arrows where the fletching had come loose. In the process, she saw Valeri looking at her, the other woman’s face bore a furrowed brow.


“What?” Eilwen asked.


“It’s...well, I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere before, but I can’t place it.”


Eilwen smiled. “That’s not likely, unless you’ve traveled far to the north where the peaks are veiled with snow and cloud? But you have the look of a low lander.”


Has Valeri travelled north to the Veiled Mountains?
(Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


Is Valeri from a nearby settlement?
(Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...


Valeri shook her head. “I’ve not been that far north. I come from a village in the Hinterlands, the lands south of these mountains here, a circle called Redhall.”


“Circle?”


“Collection of settlements.”


“Never heard of it,” Eilwen said.


“Count yourself lucky,” She grimaced as if the name were distasteful. “Anyway, I’m no soft lowlander.”


Eilwen kept her own counsel on that score. Anyone who hadn’t experienced the harsh winters in the Veiled Mountains had to be soft. Or at least softer.


“And you?” Valeri asked.


“Aron and I come from a settlement past the northern peaks. A place of ice and snow. It’s called Frostbridge.”


Did Valeri meet Eilwen’s mother?
(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes


That must be what she sees  in Eilwen’s face. 


Does she know of Eilwen’s mother heading north?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Valeri gave a soft gasp. “I remember now! When you turned your head just now. Your profile. It reminded me of her... The Witch.” 


“What?” Eilwen asked, her eyes darting to Valeri’s face. “What witch?”


Valeri frowned. “This was many years ago, when I was a girl, a few years younger than you are now. I met a woman. A beautiful woman, like you, perhaps in her young twenties. She had piercing blue eyes the color of ice and hair the color of the sun at mid-day. You look very much like her. Strange...” And her voice trailed off.


“What was she like?” Eilwen asked quietly.


Valeri twisted a strand of hair around her finger...


Had Eilwen’s mother been kind to Valeri?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Was she cruel?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


What were the events of her encounter with Arwed?
Judgementally / Feeble


... and stared into the flames. Then she muttered a curse. 


“Unkind,” she said. “Cruel even. My--my mother was in poor health at the time, and it was rumored this woman was skilled with herbs and such. She had the gift.”


“The gift?” Eilwen breathed.


“Magic...” Valeri said, her eyes glittering in the firelight, then she shrugged. “I couldn’t pay, of course. Father drank too much, and mother did what she could to put food on the table--we all did, my siblings and I. 


“I pleaded for her aid, but The Witch mocked me, called me a beggar and worse, even threatened to beat me if I didn’t leave her in peace. She was a harsh woman that one. Proud and harsh but beautiful.” She stabbed a stick at the coals. “My mother died two days later.”


“I’m sorry,” Eilwen whispered and gave a frown. 


Maybe--maybe it wasn’t her mother? Maybe it was someone else? But then she thought of the description Valeri gave, plus her mother would have been about that age.


“This was in Redhall?” Eilwen asked. 
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


“Yes, I’ve lived there my whole life except for... now.”


Was Arwed staying with the leadership in the circle at Redhall?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


“This woman, did she give her name?”


Did Valeri know her name?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


“No. We just called her the The Witch or The Healer. I could never call her that latter name. To me, she’ll always be The Witch.”


“What was she doing in Redhall?” Eilwen asked leaning forward.


Did Valeri know.
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


I’ll roll the MAG (Some strange device with flames on it, a shield, three leaves, angry flames, conversation bubble, arrows pointing to a pouch, a drop of water in a puddle, a bird, documents or maybe a map)


Hmm. I’ll also roll on the Character Goal oracle.
42 - Create an Item


Did she see Arwed use the device she created?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Were people helping Arwed with her goal?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...


But not willingly.


“After my mother died, I was angry and wanted revenge,” Valeri said. “I sneaked to The Witch’s home and peaked through her window intent on stealing from her or causing some other harm. The Witch was making some kind of device.”


“What was it?”


“Some say magic isn’t real.” Valeri whispered and then swallowed as if her mouth had gone dry. “They’re wrong, you know. For weeks, The Witch had people scouring the hills for black iron. I don’t know how she did it, but I think she threatened them or their families to help her. 


“Anyway, that night I saw her melt down the black iron and pour it into a wooden mould. When she finished, and removed the mould, I saw a small iron figurine, barely larger than a babe’s small fist. It was of a raven,” Valeri shook her head and stared into Eilwen’s eyes. “Then she muttered words over it, chanting in a strange tongue. And--and I saw...darkness pour into it.” Valeri gave a small shudder. She hunched her shoulders and leaned towards the fire.


“Darkness?” Eilwen felt cold and goose pimples rose on her flesh.


“Like shadows from the grave they were. I--” The woman licked her lips. “I think they were the ghosts and shades of the dead,” Valeri made what looked like a circular warding gesture that Eilwen didn’t recognize, and Eilwen saw real fear in the other woman’s eyes.


“I wanted to leave... but I was too terrified to move. I watched as she chanted some more and a blue light, strange blue flames maybe, surrounded the bird figurine for an instant. Then it was gone. It glowed with a soft blue light, and I heard... the flapping of wings. Many many wings. 


Were the ravens made of shadow?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...


“It was near dusk, and they poured out of the surrounding trees circling her home, a cloud of them. They streamed it through the open windows and the door, flapping about The Witch and the figurine in her hand.


Eilwen didn’t move, caught up in the story. “What then?”


Did Valeri see what Arwed used the birds for?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


Was it to kill someone?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...


Was it to become a raven?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and... 


“Then she was gone.”


“Gone?”


“Eventually the ravens flew away. And The Witch and the figurine were gone. She must’ve joined them,” Valeri whispered.


“A strange tale,” Eilwen said, feeling discomfited.


Did Valeri notice Eilwen’s interest?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


“Yes, and I see it’s one that you were very interested in,” Valeri said and locked eyes with Eilwen in a probing way. The older woman leaned back and crossed her arms. “Don’t think I didn’t see the look in your eye. It’s why I kept talking--to see what you’d do. You... know something of her, don’t you?”


Eilwen fidgeted and looked at her fletching, “Maybe.” 


“Maybe?” 


She muttered something and looked at Valerie. Heralds, but she needed this woman to trust her! She was a link to her mother’s past. “I think she--this woman you spoke of--might have been my mother,” Eilwen finally said.


For a long time, Valeri didn’t say anything, and a cold silence crept between them. Eventually, however, the woman gave a slow nod.


“But I didn’t know her as a cruel woman,” Eilwen said, and a pleading tone crept into her voice. “Perhaps she was long ago? I don’t know hardly anything about her younger life. But people can change, right? And I never saw magic from her---well, yes, I saw the strange shadows coming out of the ceiling when she taught me the words but---that’s not important--” Eilwen winced. Had she really just said that? “Yes, Arwed was a hard woman, unyielding as iron and ice when she decided something. But I remember a kind side of her. A woman laughing and smiling, dancing with Father. Baking bread. Simple memories.” The homely memories made the revelation of her mothers previous cruelty smart all the more.


Valeri shook her head and gave a small sigh. “I didn’t know her well, Eilwen. She was in Redhall for only a few months at most. Perhaps she did change. But I tell you honestly that I counted it a good day when she left with that cloud of ravens.”


“My mother had too many secrets,” Eilwen said quietly into the night. The fire had died down to coals. “And she died before I could find them all out.”

Valeri nodded and watched Eilwen as if weighing her. Then after some time, she slowly pulled out the leather case. “Too many secrets. You’ve trusted one of yours. Now it’s time for me to tell another tale.” 


Valeri undid the leather ties on the case that held the leather flap down.
Reply
#48
Jingo,

I finally caught up with your campaign and I am really liking the way the story has picked up over the last couple of chapters. For starters, that bridge sequence was exciting and a nail-biter. It really held my attention.

Next, I appreciate the background into the character of Eilwen's mother. The fact that this person we knew as a more gentle, loving mother has shown a darker, harsher side in the past is a complexity that is easy to overlook in an actual play. Often, the easy route is to develop one-dimensional characters that change little. That being said, your game notes make it clear that much of her personality was driven by dice rolls, which enforces the idea that solo-play can often be as surprising and rewarding as a traditional group.

Finally, I found the possibility that Valerie might actually have the other half of the crown entertaining. I know that ended up not being the case, but I couldn't help but go through the process in my own mind about what I might do in that situation. In my version, I came up with a whole storyline that involved different dimensions and Eilwen encountering her alternate self on the same journey, all precipitated by our heroine's fooling around with the Shadow Realm.

I like what you're doing. Look forward to the next chapter.
Reply
#49
Thanks for your comments Teviko! I like your idea of Eilwen meeting her alternate self. That woulda been hilarious. Imagine what two of them could accomplish together! That would've been quite an interesting scene indeed. I'm curious how your storyline went. Smile
Reply
#50
Episode 32
“I came north out of desperation,” Valeri said. “Yormid, clan chief of Redhall Circle, has my husband, Edyard, and my eldest son, Gethyd, enslaved.”


She gripped the leather case in a white fingered grip, and her eyes narrowed. 


“He has them digging after rumors of black iron in the hills near Redhall. Word of your mother’s exploits must have gotten passed down over the years.”


“He deals in slaves?”


Valeri nodded, and Eilwen saw a fire smoldering in the other woman’s eyes. “Edyard spoke out against Yormid over the mishandling of his slaves. Yormid took it personally, as a slight to his honor and put both of them to work in the mines. He said if I brought back a large enough gift, he’d free my family. I tried offering my home, but he said, ‘Only an ancient treasure will be worth the slight against me.’”


“An ancient treasure?”


“In some ruins north of here. Rumor has it there’s an old and hidden home of the old queen from the old land in these parts.”


Eilwen felt her breath catch, and she almost reached for the pendant under her leather shirt. 


“How did you know where to find it if it is hidden?”


“Because of this,” Valeri said, and pulled a roll of thick yellowed parchment out of the case. She unrolled it on her lap. Eilwen rose and sat next to Valeri and she traced some runes along one edge with her finger. 


Can she understand them? I think it’s likely since she’s been seeing these kinds of runes lately:


(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


“This is a map Edyard found months ago, while hunting. My husband stumbled upon some old ruins in the forest near Redhall.”


Valeri followed Eilwen’s gaze and nodded at the runes along the border. “Strange symbols. I don’t know what they mean.”


Eilwen nodded and felt her heart beat faster. She made out words, mouthing them under her breath. Words about the crown... it had to be!


“We couldn’t figure them out,” Valeri said. “But it was clear from these landmarks, she pointed to the road and the mountain ranges and the forest, that this--” and the older woman tapped on a small triangular symbol in a clearing to the north, “--is where the rumored home of the old queen must be. It seemed a good bet that a hidden place hadn’t been looted. With an ancient treasure from the old queen’s home, I can purchase the freedom of my husband and child.”


Eilwen quickly tried to memorize the runes on the map.


Does she? She’s intelligent and notices details. I’ll say likely:
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


“What?” Valeri asked. 


“I was just thinking about what you said,” Eilwen said, catching up from her distraction. “But you can’t go north. It’s too dangerous.”


“I have to.”


“We were chased by Varou from near that region.”


Does Valeri know anything about the Varou?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No


“Varou?” Valeri asked puzzled.


The wind blew sparks that sputtered between their faces.


“Wolfmen,” Eilwen said. “They’re vicious with claws like a beast but with cunning of men. Seith said a tribe of them has claimed this land for their own. And they hate humans.” 


“I have to try. Its my only--”


“It’s suicide Valeri. I’m no stranger to the blade, but I had to flee into the woods.” She quickly related how they were attacked, though she left out any word of their stay at Greenhome.


Valeri clutched the map with a trembling hand and seemed to sink into herself. “But my family...I can’t lose my husband and another son.”


“We’ll just have to find another way.”


“We?” A glimmer of hope and a question came into her face.


“I’m heading south...eventually.” Eilwen said. “I might be able to help. What of this Yormid?” Eilwen said moving on. “He sounds like trouble.”


Valeri nodded. “He’s a large man. Strong and cunning. He took control of Redhill five years ago in a duel in the circle.”


Eilwen grunted, remembering her own duel in the snow with the soul-corrupted Belvin. The circle solved many disputes in the settlements. “What else?” she asked.


“His word is law. He’s a cruel master. But he always keeps his word.”


“Always? You trust his word?”


“I don’t have much choice,” Valeri shrugged. “But he did swear upon our agreement in front of witnesses. By tradition, he’s honorbound to fulfill it. If he fails, he has no authority in the clan.”


Eilwen knew of the honor and oaths and she nodded.


“But has no one challenged his authority?”


“Two in the last year, but he killed both of them in separate bouts in the circle. He’s a skilled warrior.”


“And your children? Why bring them?”


Why indeed?
Adversity / Realities


“I had no choice,” Valeri said. “There was no one to watch them. Yormid would have made slaves of them or worse.”


“What of Highcrag and Longfalls? You must’ve gone through them 
to reach this road. Could none of them offer aid?”


Valeri did pass through that way. Why weren’t they able to take the children?
Activity / Magic


She shook her head, “Something is not right in Highcrag. It feels foul. I bypassed it.”


“Foul? Worse than this ruined road?”


“There’s some...darkness there... magic,” she whispered, and Eilwen felt a chill at her next words. “Bad magic.”


“Dark, like my mother’s magic?” Eilwen asked, chin high, a challenge in her voice.


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Valeri slowly shook her head and shrugged, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. I didn’t get a good look, but this felt...worse.”


“And Longfalls?”


“None would help, being concerned about what was happening in Highcrag. The best I could do was trade some supplies for more food.”


Smoke and sparks circled up into the starry night. Eilwen stared at it for a moment then said softly, “Uzak’s Wolf Fang warband is heading that way to attack them. I have to warn them?”


“Warn Highcrag? Or warn Wolf Fang?” Valeri asked, holding her gaze.


Eilwen considered but then shrugged. If Uzak Yavik and his Wolf Fang clan were going to run afoul of some danger at Highcrag, she fully intended to let it happen.


After a while, Valeri looked at the stars. “I should get to bed,” she said, and carefully rolled up the map, and slid it back into the case. “You are different from your mother,” she said, laying a hand on Eilwen’s arm. “Thank you for your help with--with my Fenn,” she managed to get out in a trembling voice.


Eilwen nodded and gripped Valeri’s arm.


“Come south with me. I’ll try to help your family if I’m able,” Eilwen said.


Valeri studied her for a moment, then finally she nodded and after a moment she lay down next to her children by the fire, pulling a blanket around her.


Eilwen moved back to her spot by Scratch and felt the warmth from the fire slowly seep into her. Scratch shifted and yawned a toothy yawn. Then he lay his snout on her leg, his eyes watching her for a moment.


“What do you think, Scratch?” she asked him. The wyvern was growing larger every day it seemed. Soon he’d be the size of a small pony.


Scratch yawned again, then his eyes drifted shut, and soon he returned to snoring softly as Eilwen watched the sparks drift up to the sky, one hand rubbing the scaly ridge along his snout. 


The runes on the map had held a message. A clue about the crown.


Praise / Victory


Adjourn / War


Trust / Opulance



“Praise to the victorious
One 
Who bears the cleft crown
Redone
Who ends our warring strife
Anew
And mends a sundered nation
True
For a golden age to come 
Again
Find the rent and ruined half in retching swamp and
Fen”


Eilwen’s Stats:
Iron 1, Wits 2, Edge 2, Shadow 3
Health 5/5
Supply 4/5
Spirit 1/5
Journey Progress 8/10
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)