Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
#61
Episode 40 
Thankfully, the herbs accelerated Aron’s healing and kept the infection at bay. After three days of resting in the tower, her brother admitted he was ready to travel. In that time she had also tried to minister to her own wounds.


Heal move, but against herself, she has to use her lowest stat between Iron and Wits.


5 = 4[d6]+1


6 = 5[d10]+1[d10]


A weak hit. She succeeds but loses -1 momentum (now 1/10) but her health is restored to (5/5).


After three days, she climbed atop a crag to survey the road ahead and possibly to see the glint of an iron spike in the frosty morning sun. She wondered if Delos would even be at the iron pillar.


She’s trying to get information about the road ahead.


Secure an Advantage, roll + wits


8 = 6[d6]+2


17 = 7[d10]+10[d10]


A weak hit. Your advantage is short lived. Take +1 momentum. (now 2/10)


The road looked clear and she could see over the crest down into the valley on the other side of the pass. She was not about to give up on the quest.


She rejoined her brother and had him mount their remaining horse, though he protested.


“I’m going after Delos, but you’re hurt, Aron. I think you should go back to Seith and the others.”


Does he agree?
(Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


“I’m alright,” he said, but his wince told her it wasn’t entirely true. She worried he’d rip his wound open again. “I’ll continue to mend. Let’s see this through.”


With a sigh, she ranged out ahead, while he followed behind a few paces as their remaining horse plodded through the winding rocky pass.


Do they see their lost horse
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...


They didn’t see their lost horse that had bolted up a few days earlier. They saw hoof prints from tie to time, but those were soon lost. There were numerous side paths or game trails it could have followed and ran foot of something foul. Maybe it had run off a cliff in that lightning storm. 


For the last three days, the rain had been followed by snow, the snow had stopped and thawed and then refrozen and then it snowed again. At least it was a sunny day. But it was frigid this high up and it left the trail a mixture of ice-encrusted mud and rocks.


Undertake Journey (current progress 6/10)
5 = 3[d6]+2


12 = 4[d10]+8[d10]


We make progress so now we’re 9/10 but suffer (-1 supply from the weak hit. We don’t have supply, so I have to use something else. I choose momentum -- back down to 1/10)


She had brought some meat she’d hacked and dried from the half-frozen boar carcass, but she no longer had her bear-skin cloak, and the frigid wind numbed her hands. She shivered, hugging herself, her hands under her arms to warm them. They pressed on and eventually made their way down and out of the valley.


The lower elevation brought warmer temperatures, and soon, they were traversing another meadow, bedecked with rain drops from a rain storm that had preceded them, leaving a glistening array of tiny diamonds of water clinging to the knee-high grasses.


According to her rudimentary map taken from Highcrag, this is where the iron spike should be.


I’ll try to End Journey (I have 9 progress)
8 = 7[d10]+1[d10]


A strong hit. The situation favors you. Choose one:
Make another move now and add +1 or Take +1 momentum.
I’ll see what the situation is now before deciding that.


Her pants were heavy with water as she plodded ahead. It was mid afternoon, when in the distance, the ground rose up to a fold in the land, and she could see down into a slight depression, as if a giant had pressed his thumb into the ground and then stuck an iron needle in the center.


Has Scratch returned?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...


She dropped prone and studied the situation, peering through the grass down into the depression. She had left Aron a few hundred feet behind as she had scouted ahead. She also scanned the sky, but didn’t see any sign of the small wyvern. She hadn’t seen him during the three days they had rested. She hoped he was alright. Maybe he had left for good.


Is Delos here?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Hooray, I get another quest milestone, so Iron Vow/Quest progress is 6/10


Is there anyone else with him?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


His undead minions?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Is he involved in some kind of ritual?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


She saw the iron spike in the center of the depression, perhaps a couple hundred paces from the edge where she lay now. The sun glinted off its surface as it moved across the expanse of blue and white above them, shifting to early afternoon. Though the sun shone down, it felt as if the light tried to cut through a greasy sheen that shimmered in the air.


Delos wasn’t alone, however. He stood, touching the portal, his head bowed as if frozen to it. She saw perhaps two dozen others with him, standing in a ring around the pillar. They stood still as statues, their right fists pointed at the statue. She couldn’t make them out from this distance, but she wondered if they were maybe acolytes of his, like the one they had faced in Longfalls?


Okay, at this point, I’m going to spend some of my XP. I’ve been saving 3 points for a while, to purchase the Companion talent and get Scratch more active, but I think it’s time to spend two of them. I’m going to purchase this addition to her Shadow Walk talent:


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


Why now? Well, she lost her bow so she needs to get close. She’s also hoping to get rid of Delos stealthily without involving his minions, and this gives her the best chance to succeed in her sneaky stuff. And finally, it adds into her momentum which she needs to keep in the positive score, especially now that her supply is 0.


So, there we go. It’s purchased, and she’s now at 1 unspent XP. (You need to 2 XP to upgrade a talent and 3 XP to purchase a new talent.)


She backed away and returned in a low crouch to where her brother stood next to the horse.


“I found them, they’re at the pillar, but...”


“What?”


“You’re not going to like it.”


“Then you better tell me and get it over with.”


She explained what she had seen. “And I need to go alone,” she said, and then explained her plan about using the shadow magic to get close to Delos.


“You’re right,” he said with a frown. “I don’t like it. Remember what happened when you did that when rescuing Father. You started to glow?”


“I do remember, but what else can we do? If I had my bow, we could maybe hit him from a distance maybe. But... I don’t.”


But is he willing to let her go alone?


(Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes


Well... that’s unusual.


“But, I do see your point,” he said, scratching the rough-cut blond beard on his chin. “If you can get in close and dispatch him without being seen as you claim, it seems the best way to rid ourselves of him. You’ve always managed to move stealthily. I’m as stealthy as a braying mule in mating season.”


She coughed and nearly snorted with laughter at that. 


He gave a wan smile in return. “What happens if you’re spotted?”


“That’s when you ride in to rescue me or create a distraction.”


“Ah, the galant brother to save his sister?”


“Something like that,” she smiled.


“Right...Something like that,” he sighed. “Be careful, sister. I’ll be watching from a distance.”


She nodded and stepped away to prepare.


Did Delos bring a horse?
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


She dug into her belongings and pulled out the set of thin circular discs with their angular writing. She studied the runes and reviewed the motions in her mind and then replaced them into her pack and then studied the layout of the men and Delos’s position. He still hadn’t moved.


Secure an advantage + wits


8 = 6[d6]+2


3 = 1[d10]+2[d10]


A strong hit! I’m going to take the +2 momentum since it’s so low. (Now it’s 3/10).


Satisfied, she knelt in the wet grass and concentrated, focusing on her motions and the words she chanted softly under her breath.


[X] When you cloak yourself with the
gossamer veil of the shadow realms,
roll +shadow. 
She gets to add +1 from her new upgrade.


7 = 3[d6]+4


16 = 8[d10]+8[d10]


(Failure count: 18/24)


Hmm... Well that didn’t work out. What happens? And a negative match too. Ugg. I’ll roll on the Mystic Backlash Oracle:


100 = 100[d100]


Oh boy. I’m scared to look...
Okay, it’s roll twice more on this table. Both results occur. If they are the same result, make it worse.


Super lame.


70 = 70[d100]
You are tempted by dark power.


37 = 37[d100]
You alert someone or something to your presence.


Something was wrong. She felt it the moment she finished the ritual. But hadn’t she said the word and traced the runes right? She had prepared! She had studied them! She had done it right, she was certain. She clenched the pommel of her sword. But... but maybe. Maybe it was this place? Maybe Delos was somehow interfering, twisting it?


Out of the ground they came, hundreds shades made of sticky black goo that oozed out of black roots, the dark soil. Her own shadow joined and melted with them whispering her name as it did so.


She heard a ragged shout from further down in the depression and spotted Delos, he pointed up towards her. “Intruders! Kill them!”


And from behind her, she heard Aron’s voice. “Eilwen! Where are you!”


But soon she couldn’t see, couldn’t speak. Shadows churned around her then joined together, forming what looked like to her was a high circular wall of opaque shadow or mist. Above her she could see a small patch of blue. Then in front of her, a rectangular doorway opened showing a long dark road, mysterious and heavy with possible ill-intent, yet strangely compelling as well.


And in the doorway stood a woman she knew. Mother.


“Daughter,” the woman smiled at her. It looked just like her mother had looked before the end, before she had fallen sickly, only there was a stain of shadow that clung to her skin. But Mother didn’t seem perturbed. She seemed perfectly at ease. 


“You are finally ready,” Mother said.


“Mother? I--”


“You have activated the pathway as I once did! Well done, Eilwen!”


Was this her mother? If not, how did it know her name?


“Join me, and learn the deeper secrets you’ve barred from your mind. The secrets my mother taught me. The mysteries of the queens and the ancients.”


“The mysteries,” the shadows whispered and several of them bowed before Eilwen. “Our queen!”


“Hail the queen of shadows!” Others added.


Mother looked on, a proud smile on her face. “I always knew you could do it.”


“Do... I didn’t do anything. I-- but what of Aron?”


“He cannot come with us. In fact, right now, he cannot see us. This place... and its mysteries, it is a thing between queens alone.”


“I--” she didn’t know. It felt wrong, but at the same time, she would have a chance to question mother. “I don’t know.”


“Daughter, Delos is coming for you, and his minions will find and kill you unless you come with me now. Please! I beg you. Come!”


She wanted to. Oh how she wanted to, but...Aron. He needed her. Curiosity pulled at her, and she took a step towards her mother, towards the dark door.


Face Danger + heart


6 = 5[d6]+1


7 = 5[d10]+2[d10]


A strong hit! Nice... whew (Take +1 momentum, now 4/10) 


But Long Falls needed her. The Ironlands needed her. If she walked through that gate, who knew what would happen.


“No mother,” she said, finally, shaking her head and backing away slowly. The shadows swirled behind her as if angry. 


Mother stared at her, saddened. “I am so disappointed in you daughter. Together...we will do great things, you and I, but perhaps you are not yet ready.” Her mother turned to walk through the door.


“Mother! What did you become in the end?” she asked her voice ragged, her eyes shining with unshed tears. “Do you serve the death magic?”


“Such things I cannot speak of here, Eilwen. If you came with me, I could. But,” she shrugged as if unconcerned. “There are rules here in this mortal place, you know. So many restrictions. You choose not to come, so there’s little I can do. So be it. Perhaps... Well, perhaps next time. Farewell.”


She turned and walked through the door. The moment she did, the shadows collapsed, shrunk and withdrew into the plants, the roots, their normal places.


Aron suddenly saw her. “Where did you go?”


“I--”


“Nevermind! Look!”


He pointed and those who had surrounded the pillar were nearly upon her. Many ran on all fours, others ran more upright, sometimes dropping down to four limbs to lope across the rolling grasslands. Their arms had grown unnaturally long, with clawed hands stained with darkness she realized as they drew nearer and nearer. Their teeth were barred wide and had been filed to points, and from their eyes, she saw a sickly glow emanating from eyes, an inky black, swimming in turbulent shadow.
Reply
#62
Episode 41


In just a few deep breaths, they would be upon her.


“Aron!” she shouted, drawing her sword and knife. “Back to the horse! Lead them away, I’ll go for Delos!”


Does he heed her?


(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


He grabbed her shoulder. “No Eilwen! We must flee!”


“Do as I say!” she shouted at him, regal command in her voice. “There’s no time!”


Compel Move roll + heart of 1 + her bond of 1


8 = 6[d6]+2


8 = 6[d10]+2[d10]


A strong hit.
Take +1 momentum.


He grimaced but gave a curt nod, and ran back to the horses. Eilwen darted after him. 


“Go, to the west! Lead them away and circle back!” 


Does he draw most of them away
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Okay, all of them. Good.


Aron mounted quickly and Eilwen darted past him. He slashed the reins down across the horse and dug his heels into its side. The horse reared back, it’s front hoofs smashing one of Delos’s minions in the face and chest. Then the horse raced to the west, and the crowd of minions chased after him.


As he darted off to the west and north, Eilwen dove to the ground and let the grasses hide her. She peered up and then slowly began making her way south east and then back to an angle that Delos wasn’t looking. She kept to the grasses, obscuring her form. As she drew nearer, she slowed her breathing and walked cautiously, quietly. She moved closer and closer, hoping to surprise the man.


Curiously / Fancy


Defiantly / Horrible


His manner of dress was curious, he wore a long black robe made of some fine fabric. Small silver bells were sewn into its hem at feet, arms and head, so that when he moved, he made a tinkling sound. He was perhaps in his mid-forties but his hair was nearly white. It stood in stark contrast to the black of his robe. His face and arms were horribly scarred with red ribbons of fresh scabs crossing them. Some of them oozed blood. His face was defiant and determined.


Is he holding anything in his other hand?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


Is he holding a weapon?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Does he have the look of a trained warrior?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


Is Aron staying ahead of his minions, and still keeping them busy?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Eilwen will attempt to get within striking distance without being seen. 


Face Danger + Shadow.


8 = 5[d6]+3


19 = 10[d10]+9[d10]


A miss! Failure count 19/24. I wanted to use her Cutthroat ability. Oh well. If she can at least get to him, he shouldn’t be too hard, probably Troublesome himself.


She moved through the grasses, but something snapped underfoot, and Delos turned, looking right at her. His left hand touched the pillar. His right hand held an iron staff. He didn’t have the look of a trained warrior, but his eyes narrowed with dangerous intent.


“Please,” he whispered, his eyes closing, groaning from some internal strain. The pillar’s runes glowed with a similar sickly green light.


Now we enter combat. 


Is he more than Troublesome?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


Dangerous then, I’ll say. I guess that makes sense, maybe he’s getting some otherworldly help...


He sucked in breath, and his brown eyes began to glow a pale green as something moved into him from the pillar. Eilwen rushed at him and he started to chant. She felt her hackles rise as if some dark portent were to make its debut.


Enter the Fray move (Face off against your foe roll + heart)


3 = 2[d6]+1


8 = 2[d10]+6[d10]


A weak hit. On a weak hit, I can either take +2 momentum or take initiative. I’ll take initiative.


As she approached, she felt uneasy about drawing too near. She slowed, switched her sword to her offhand, her father’s knife in her right. Then flipping the knife , so she held the blade, and she threw it at him in a practiced move.


She’s attacking at range rolling + edge


6 = 4[d6]+2


15 = 8[d10]+7[d10]


Pay the Price -- I’ll say she loses the knife completely. She only has two others now.


He saw it coming and raised his iron staff. The knife arced end over end, but instead of hitting him, it simply vanished a pace away from him, as if the night had swallowed it whole.


“No!” She gasped, nonplussed and stopped. That had been Father’s knife... 


The air about her tasted of wet iron, wet grass, and something vile.


Delos smiled, but his barred teeth held no warmth. “So, it is you,” he said, white hair wisping as if from some internal and infernal breeze, his eyes narrowed further, stretching the ugly scars on his face. “He has shown me your face. He is not pleased that you are here.”


I’m going to roll on the Combat Action Oracle to get inspiration for what he’s going to do.


16 = 16[d100]


Provoke a reckless response. 


“Who?” she asked.


He said nothing, only removed his hand from the pillar and strode towards her, gripping his staff in two hands, it started spinning. The man didn’t have the arms of a warrior, but it spun as if a blur, and its after-image a shimmering fan of green light.


She didn’t have time to draw her other dagger, she waited until he drew near and leapt at him.


Clash + Iron of 1
4 = 3[d6]+1
19 = 10[d10]+9[d10]


A miss.
Failure count (20/24)


She held her sword in two hands and brought it down in a left and then a right sweep. He blocked it easily both times, and the second time, his staff caught her blade. 


“What dark pact have you made?” She said between gritted teeth.


“Dark? You are blind to the light of His majesty. The only darkness is your unbelief. And you will believe. You will see in the end!”


Then still holding back her blade with his right hand, he pointed his left at her and uttered a word of power. Something...crashed into her. It felt as if a giant invisible hammer slammed into her midsection and lifted her up. She flew backwards, blasted off of her feet and rolled in the grass ten paces away from him, gasping for air and from the pain in the wet grass.


(Health is now 3/5)


Endure Harm roll + health


8 = 5[d6]+3


11 = 5[d10]+6[d10]


A strong hit!


I’ll take shake it off and lose two momentum and regain two health


Momentum now 3/10 and Health now 5/5.


“You think to profane this temple with your blasphemous existence,” Delos muttered striding forward. “You have not made sacrifices! You and your line are not worthy!”


She lay on her back in the wet grass, dazed as he came at her again. Even in the blue sky above, she saw stars. She shook her head groggily and groaned. The pommel of her sword held loosely in her grip. 


He strode nearer, using the staff like a walking stick.


She grimaced, blinked back tears of pain, and drew in a ragged breath, then staggering to her feet with a cry, she whipped out another dagger, and attacked in a blurring strike of whirling blades.


She got initiative from her strong hit on Endure Harm and does Strike move


So she does Strike + 3 with her Duelist bonus


6 = 3[d6]+3


4 = 3[d10]+1[d10]


A strong hit! She gives +4 harm total (so 2 from her weapon, 1 for the strike, and 1 for Duelist) that’s 8 progress boxes.


He parried the first and the second, eyes narrowed and then widening at her sudden vehemence and speed. He grimaced. He was fast, but she was faster. The weapons clanged as they fought, and at the end, she beat through his defences and her dagger bit deeply into his side between the ribs. She yanked it free, and he staggered backwards, gasping from pain, going down on one knee. He staggered to his feet, struggling to keep his footing. He hugged his left side with his left hand, backing away, warry, gasping in pain.


“You are the one blaspheming this land with your foul arts!” she said, breathing hard. “What have you done?”


He smiled and wiped blood from his lips. “His house of stone will not be barred forever, little one, and when he resumes his hunt, your line will finally be extinct!”


Her line? Her heart throbbed from a sudden cold inside of her. He knew...


He smiled a bloody smile, head tilted to one side, bells jingling slightly. “It frightens you, yes? Well it should. He is not a kind god.”


With a cry, she attacked again with both blades.


Strike with Duelist
6 = 3[d6]+3


16 = 9[d10]+7[d10]


Miss! (Failure count 21/24)


He pulled away his hand dark with his blood and faced it at her, palm forward and shouted as she came at him. As before, his staff lept into action and the staff blocked her attacks, seeming to move of its own accord. The sound of iron on iron resounded off the metal pillar. On his final parry, he uttered another word, and green energy coursed towards her, along the length of the iron staff and traveling down her sword. 


Anxious to not let it touch her, she dropped the sword. Where it fell on the ground, the grass about it, all along its length, in an instant hissed, grew brittle, and then turned to dust. As it lay there, it continued to glow with that greenish light.


Due to the miss, she’s separated from her sword.


Delos smiled a look of satisfaction warring with the pain from his wound. His iron staff arced through the air towards her. She rolled under it, attempting to come up behind him.


Face Danger + Edge


6 = 4[d6]+2


8 = 4[d10]+4[d10]


A strong hit and a match!


+1 momentum (now 4/10)


I’ll say the positive match puts her in a very good position (giving an additional momentum +1 now 5/10).


She pulled out her third and final dagger, and with two daggers in each hand, she attacked with another cry, attempting a strike from behind.


Strike + Duelist 


3 = 2[d6]+1


6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]


A miss and a poor roll and negative match. No, thank you! I’ll spend my 5 momentum to turn it into a...


Strong hit! (momentum resets to 1 instead of 2 because of her “Unprepared” debility in Supply)


She fills in the boxes 10/10 with her 4 more Harm. 


End the Fight move


7 = 6[d10]+1[d10]
Vs the 10 boxes.


It’s a strong hit.


Delos tried to turn, but she moved with grace and precision, moving under his staff, sweeping his legs. He got tangled in his robes and fell on his face. In an instant, she plunged both daggers into his back and yanked them free. He screamed, arching his back in pain and rolling over and over as green energy spilled from his wounds, like some vile fire inside of him, searching for an escape.


When he faced her, she drove the blades down into his chest and left them there. Blood seeped out one side of his mouth and he gave a final gasping breath, disbelief and pain etched his face. Then, with a final gasp he lay still, the green energy ebbing from his mouth, nose, and eyes.


As it did so, the green energy around her sword and the glowing runes on the pillar also faded away.


She knelt over Delos’s body and bowed her head. His power had finally been broken.


Final Quest milestone completed 10/10 progress boxes on the quest.


Fulfill your vow. 10 progress vs
17 = 9[d10]+8[d10]


The troublesome quest is complete and she gets 1 XP.


Unspent XP is now 2.


Health: 5/5
Spirit: 2/5
Supply: 0/5 (UNPREPARED)
Momentum: 1/10


Debilities: Unprepared
Failure Count: 21/24
Unspent XP: 2
Reply
#63
Episode 42
I’m going to spend the 2 XP now and upgrade her Archer talent to get this:


[X] When you Resupply by hunting, add
+1 and take +1 momentum on a hit.

It won’t help her at the moment, but once she can Sojourn in a town and get a positive supply, she’ll be able to better keep supplied in the field...well, assuming she can get a bow.


Unspent XP: 0


Aron returned a few moments later, galloping over the grasses. He pulled the reins on his tired mount. Sweat shone in a dark sheen on the sides of the horse that heaved in and out.


With his “Yes, and” results that he got in the previous episode, I’ll say he stayed ahead of them and didn’t take any damage.


“You took care of him,” Aron said, dismounting and striding up to her, leading his mount.


She nodded. “How did things fare with you?” she asked as cleaned her blades on Delos’s robe, and sheathed them.


“The creatures that chased me couldn’t outrun this fine mount,” he patted the horse’s neck and the horse nuzzled him. “The foul spirits that gave them life fled, and they collapsed. I assume you did that?”


“When Delos died, his magic gave out, and the iron pillar went dark.” she looked at Delos’s scarred face for a moment, now white in death. “He knew me, Aron,” she said darkly, looking at her brother. “He said he served someone who hunts the royal line.”


“Who?”


“He didn’t give a name, but I think I know.”


Aron waited.


She sighed. “At Greenhome, I saw some things. I saw a kind of...vision,” and she related the history she had uncovered from the scrolls in the upper room as well as her vision she had later outside. “Now you know,” she said. “There’s a Herald on this peninsula. He followed our forefathers here and he hunts still the lost line of the queens.”


Is Aron upset she didn’t tell him before?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...
But he’ll come around.


Aron’s face darkened. “And you didn’t tell me before? Do you not trust your own brother?”


“I do trust you, Aron, but I shan’t tell you all that I know.”


“You hide yet more secrets from me?” he folded his arms and leaned towards her.


“Yes. But only because if you were captured, the enemy might be able to use the information against me, against this land. You don’t have to like it, but I ask that you respect it.” It wasn’t the entire truth, but she hoped it would assuage his interest...and her guilt for now. The amulet that hung from her neck felt heavy, but if Aron said something about it to Seith, and if Seith spoke... who knows what damage it would cause.


Aron stalked away, hurt and angry. She watched him with her brown eyes, and gave a heavy sigh. After a moment, she knelt and investigated Delos’s posessions.


Did he carry any other unusual items?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Any other mundane items?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Delos had nothing on his body. There was a cloak and some dried goods in his saddle bags and the new mount would serve them well. She approached the horse and spoke kindly to it. It calmed and began munching the grasses.


With Delos dead, the dark feeling across the area had lessened and eventually disappeared entirely. 


The pillar stood before her, another mystery. She frowned looking at it, wondering who made them and what purpose these devices served. A part of her felt drawn to investigate it further, yet another part of her remembered her failure with the shadow magic, and she felt suddenly hesitant. The pillar wasn’t going anywhere; she knew its location. She could return here at any time.


For now, she and Aron needed to get back to Longfalls. Who knew when the next storm would strike and hit them unprepared. They needed to resupply. But what if Uzak and his Wolf Fang war band had already likely arrived? What if they had conquered Longfalls. Then what? 


Too many unanswered questions. They needed to get back quickly. She picked up the heavy iron staff Delos had wielded and hefted its heavy weight. What strange and dark powers had he mastered to do what he did? 


Did it look like a normal iron rod?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


The iron rod had no markings, only some leather straps wrapped around it to keep the hands from blistering. She knew he hadn’t the build of a warrior, yet he had wielded it with such obvious ease. 


Still, she assumed this rod had been a sign of his authority.


Aron eventually calmed and returned. She held his gaze, and he grimaced but finally nodded at her. 


It was enough.


She took Delos’s horse and tucked the heavy rod under one of the saddle straps. Then mounting the animal, she let the way back through the pass toward Highcrag.


Since they’ve already traveled this route and it’s familiar to them, I don’t think there’s any reason to do an Undertake a Journey move to get back. 


I’ll just ask: Does anything interesting happen on the way back to Highcrag?


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


Inspect / Environment


Awkwardly / Ugly


Is it a person?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


Living in Highcrag?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Must be en route to Highcrag then. I’ll say close to it.


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


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


Old?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Young?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


What’s he like?
Bleakly / Soft


Is he going towards Highcrag?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


What is he?
I rolled a 10 on Character Role oracle
Warrior


Are Wolf Fang soldiers around Highcrag?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 5[d10]) No


They camped that night back in the tower again, and then the next day they made their way back over the pass and down into the valley around Highcrag.


While traversing the meadow, Highcrag loomed above them on its outcropping of rock on the right high above them as they headed south. In the distance, coming from the direction of Longfalls, they saw a traveler moving tgowards towards Highcrag across the meadow. 


As they draw nearer, they saw that he hiked with an awkward gait, one crutch under one arm, a small pack over one shoulder. His broad flat nose had been broken more than once, and his somewhat protruding forehead and sunken eyes made him decidedly ugly. 


Atop his head, he wore a helm, and he bore a broad two-handed axe in a leather holder strapped across his back. Aside from that, he had the build of a warrior, broad shoulders, muscular.


Is the crutch because of a wound?
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


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


The young warrior hung back, obviously wary, as Eilwen and Aron approached on their mounts. 
He was of average build, a shock of black hair hung wet with perspiration. He took a long drink from a water skin and stuffed it back in his pack watching them as Eilwen drew near, licking his lips, his eyes darting from her to her brother.


“Hail traveler,” she called out and pulled rein. “I am Eilwen, and this is my brother, Aron. Do you come from Longfalls?”


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


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


He shook his head slowly, and his left hand scratched at a scraggly beard that had begun to form. “I am Wulan,” he said. “And no miss. I’m from Highcrag,” he said in a soft voice. It had a bleak quality to it, and his mouth turned down in a sour expression. “I was born here. Left some years back to seek my fortune. Misfortune found me, instead, he said and tapped his crutch meaningfully. Thought it was time for a visit to my parents.”


She pursed her lips and looked over her shoulder at Highcrag. It was late afternoon, and the abandoned settlement hung, dark and ominous in the shadows of the peaks. She looked back at him.


“You haven’t heard then?”


Has he heard anything about recent events?
(Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


“Heard what?”


“Highcrag is abandoned,” she said. “A fell magic came upon it, brought about by one, Delos, an iron priest. Many from Highcrag fled to Longfalls. Did you know him from your time at Highcrag?”


“I knew of a Master Delos from Highcrag. A scholar and explorer of sorts. He was always off looking into old ruins. But I don’t know anything about any ‘iron priest’.”


Eilwen gave a short description of what she saw at the iron spike. Wulan’s ugly face turned down into a frown as she spoke.


“I dealt with him. Delos is dead and is no longer a thread,” she said. “But there’s more,” she continued. “A clan from the north, a Wolf Fang clan, seeks to conquer these lands. They may have already done so with Longfalls. We ran into their scouts a few days back. Their war band was probably not too far behind.


Does he know about the Wolf Fang clan?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Did he come from the north too? 
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


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


“The Wolf Fang clan?” he spat into the grass and gave a bitter chuckle. “Herald’s Breath! But I always knew that Uzak had too big a head on his shoulders!”


“You knew him?”


“Knew him? Uzak and I were once friends,” he said in his curiously soft voice. “Once. But he’s changed now. Ever since he got that sword, he grew power hungry, and had visions of becoming some night-loving king of these lands. He gave me this,” he tapped his wounded leg. “Stabbed his sword right into the meat of it and left me squirming in the snow. Said he’d do the other just like it if I didn’t fall in line. Bah! As soon as I healed myself up and was able to hobble along, I left and headed south. Far south. I’m done with him for good.” 
 
Has Wulan been taught the old histories?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...


“A king you say?” Aron asked and flicked a glance to Eilwen.


“That’s right,” Wulan said, his dark eyes in their hooded depths studying them. “I don’t know much about the old histories. But I do know we’ve never had a king. Always a queen, right? Leastwise that’s what I’ve been told. But what do I know,” he shrugged, shifted on his crutch and squinted up at them and then past them at Highcrag.


“Uzak is a thorn in this region, it is certain,” Eilwen said. “He has raided far to the north as well and took our own father captive. We freed Father, but Uzak’s forces are a danger to many.”


“I believe it,” Wulan said with a bleak grimace. He spat to the side and he gave a low curse. “If Highcrag is vacant, I guess I made this Night-blinded journey for no reason then!”


“You are welcome to travel with us to Longfalls. We could help find your parents,” she offered.


Is Wulan willing to go with them to Longfalls?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No


Wulan slowly shook his head. “I appreciate it, miss, but no. I know Uzak. And if he and his people are en route to Longfalls, I’d just as soon stay well clear of him. He’d gut me on the spot for runnin’ from him two years ago. He’s that kind of man. Funny how time and power can change people, huh?”


But he didn’t sound amused. Eilwen thought of her mother and wondered what time had done to her.


“Well, I guess it’s time to do a little more runnin’,” Wulan continued. “I’ll head on to Highcrag and see my old home. See if I can find some supplies, then I’ll decide where to go.”


“Very well. Safe journey, friend,” Eilwen said with a smile, and she navigated her horse around him, Aron following behind.


“The same to you, miss,” Wulan nodded to her as she passed. 


Eilwen felt his eyes on her as they continued east, back along the road to Longfalls.
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#64
Episode 43
Night fell upon them as they travelled, and cautious of Wolf Fang soldiers on the road, they paralleled the road, moving cross country over the rolling hills south of the road, and continued east toward Longfalls.


Do they see any campfires of the Wolf Fang warband between their position and Longfalls?
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


Has the warband arrived at Longfalls yet?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No


In the dark, they crested a ridge and a good view of Longfalls and the surrounding land. In the dark, among a few dark stands and copses of trees that cut through the grasslands below them, they saw a glittering array of cook fires spread across the grasses and hills.


“There it is,” Aron said when they pulled rein on their horses and studied the camp below them nestled between and on low hills. “Uzak’s warband.”


Eilwen nodded. “He must’ve ran into some trouble cutting through the northern pass there. We met his scouts a full five days past, but Uzak hasn’t yet marched on Longfalls.”
 
“There are certainly enough dangers in these lands to slow even a war band,” Aron agreed. “I wonder what it was. But Uzak still has a considerable force, judging from those cook fires. Ideas?”


“We’ll have to get through his lines or go around,” Eilwen added. “They’ve likely cut the road completely. But he won’t delay his attack forever.”


“That means we won’t have time to go around them,” Aron said.


“We’ll need to find a way through...quietly if we can. In haste and by surprise if we can’t.”


They studied the force below them, looking for an opening.


Secure an advantage + 2 wits 
8 = 6[d6]+2


10 = 5[d10]+5[d10]


A strong hit and a match.
They get a +1 -- I’ll say since it’s a positive match, they’ll also get the +2 momentum.


And they saw it.


“Listen!” Eilwen said. They heard shouts and the sounds of fighting drifting up from below. “Someone’s attacking their right flank! This is our time to get through! There, see that rise of the ground? It’s shielded from view. Once we get there, we go on foot, leading our horses through those trees, keeping them quiet. With any luck, they won’t notice us. If they notice us, we mount and ride fast for Longfalls!”


“And we hope they let us in,” Aron said. “Remember how we left them before? If anyone saw that you caused those shadows...”


“They’ll let us in,” Eilwen said. “They’ll have to.”


“I don’t share your confidence.”


“No time to talk about it. This is our chance. Let’s go!”


She dug her heels into her mount’s sides trotting to the rise of land below. Aron followed after.


They dismounted. “Stay with me. I’ll call the shadows.”


“Eilwen,” Aron said, a warning edge tinging his voice.


“It WILL work, Aron. Just like it did when leaving Grimstone. Trust me,” and she began to quickly chant. As she started, she didn’t feel nearly as confident. The shadows began to draw near, and Aron made a ward against evil. As the whispering mass of darkness twisted around them, he drew near her.


Shadowalk talent - roll + 4 
Face Danger + Shadow


8 = 4[d6]+4
9 = 3[d10]+6[d10]


A strong hit! She gets +2 momentum from her upgraded ability. (now 5/10)


The shadows slunk to her, this time submissive and subservient, whispering words of obeisance as faces and forms twisted about them, blending and merging their shapes and that of their mounts to mingle with the darkness of night, their whispers became a quiet wind to mask sound. 


The shroud of blackness in place, Eilwen led the way through the copse of trees. Fighting continued off to her left.


Face Danger + shadow of 3 + 1 from earlier secured advantage.


8 = 4[d6]+4


12 = 9[d10]+3[d10]


This would be a weak hit. Per the talent, I can re-roll one die. I’ll re-roll the 9.
5 = 5[d10]


This is now a strong hit. I get +1 momentum (momentum is now 6/10)


Eilwen and Aron and their two horses became mist and shadow and trod among men unseen. A man with a torch ran nearby them, stopped and looked left and then to the right, straight at them. Eilwen shrank back against Aron who gave a stifled grunt as she bumped into him. But the man couldn’t see or hear them, and he continued to run past them until an arrow took him in the back.


Who is attacking Uzak’s forces? Longfall citizens?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes


Once past Uzak’s lines, they continued toward Longfall.
As they near the Longfall settlement, do her shadows remain with her?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


The screen of shadows continued to mask them and Eilwen attempted to lead them and their horses past the Longfall patrols that surrounded the settlement and in among the buildings.


5 = 2[d6]+3


16 = 9[d10]+7[d10]


A miss... per her Shadow walk talent, I’ll reroll the 9 to hopefully turn it into a weak hit at least.


8 = 8[d10]


Nope. It’s still a miss.


Miss count (22/24)


The shadows fled as they neared the mass of torchlight from the patrol on horseback, twisting back from the light. The startled guards shouted and pulled out weapons. “To arms! Intruders!”


“Hold!” Eilwen shouted back, seeing the fear on their faces and feeling her own alarm starting to rise. She kept her sword sheathed. “We mean you no harm. We bring important news from Highcrag! Let me speak to your leader!”


Do they allow them to do so?
(Somewhat Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...


For a tense moment, the guards stared at her, spears and bows pointed at her heart. One false move and a rain of death would descend upon her.


“Please,” she said.


“Drop your weapons,” the patrol leader, a hulking man with a two-handed axe and a mane of red hair, snarled, in no mood for niceties. “Then we’ll see.”


Eeilwen undid her weapon belt and let it fall. “Very well.”


Does he notice the rod tucked beneath the horse’s straps.
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes


Does he recognize it for being Delos’s?
(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No


“And that rod?” the patrol leader said.


“I must show it to your leader.”


“To Caldas? Why?”


“It belonged to Delos. He used it to bring about the magical sickness.”


“Proof?” The patrol leader snorted, looking it over. “It’s merely an iron rod.”


Does anyone else on his patrol recognize it.?
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes


“Mael, she speaks truly!” one of the patrol guards said moving up and studying the rod. “I’ve heard Delos’s zealots speak of this,” he spat to the side. “It bears a likeness.”


Mael grunted. “Take their weapons, Lorath,” he said, nodding to the one who had spoken. Then he turned to Aron. “You will stay with my men,” he commanded.


Being separated from her brother is a ‘Pay the Price’ result of the miss. 


“But--” Aron started to respond.


“No more words, man, if you know what’s best for you,” Mael said, putting a dagger to his throat. “We don’t know who we can trust, and we don’t know if this woman speaks truly.”


“Stay with them, Aron,” she said with a nod. “Watch the horses.” She gave her brother a significant look and her eyes flicked to the saddlebag that bulged with her small bundle of secrets--the cleft crown and the metallic black-iron discs with their rumor-shadowed runes. “Hopefully this won’t take long.”


Mael nodded. “Very well, follow me.” The big man turned and with a flare of his torch and a creak of armor and clink of weaponry, he stalked toward the town.


Flanked by guards, Eilwen followed after Mael.
Does it look like Longfalls suffered a lot of death as a result of the magical sickness?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


When they had left this place a few days ago, there had been shouts, fear, and confusion as the shadows had taken up new hosts. But she didn’t see any of that now. Why not? She would have expected the settlement’s will to crumble under the weight of such fear.


They passed through the streets and buildings, crammed thick with refugees from Highcrag. Mael took her to one of the larger and more sturdy wooden buildings in the town center. It rose up two stories and a wooden palisade had been hastily built around it. Guards armed with spears and shields, and others with bows patrolled both its interior and exterior. Other guards with bows perched on a second story balcony and studied her with hard eyes.


Here’s some things I rolled up about Caldas:
Descriptor: Experienced 
Role: Farmer, Scout
Goal: Gain Knowledge


Mael spoke to a guard who let them through the palisade and into the command building. Mael then led her inside with her escort behind her. They went up a level to a large rectangular room. A map rested on a large table. A man stood at the table, fists on the map staring down at it. One finger traced a line and he tapped the map. 


The man wore simple clothing of dark greens and browns. From his angular face, she judged him to be in his mid thirties. He also bore the hardened look of someone who could take care of himself. A well groomed goatee of dark hair completed the picture. A long knife was belted to his thigh and a bow rested in the corner of the room, a quiver of arrows near it. 


Eilwen decided this must be Caldas and that he was handsome, even if he was old enough to be her father.


“...give your report, Mabsant,” Caldas said, still looking at the map. Then his eyes flicked up. “I see you bear injuries?”


Another guard in the room, apparently Mabsant, wiped away a smear of blood from his face with his good arm grimaced and nodded. His left arm was constrained by a bloody sling. 


Take / Friendship


Calmly / Feeble


“Aye. Just moments ago, three of our patrols hit the bastards’ right flank under cover of darkness and archer fire. The raid went well. Though they gave me this,” he raised his bloody arm a little. “We captured prisoners as requested. They are ready for you to interrogate at your convenience. Two are being held in the cellar.”


“Good. Has there been any indication of when Wolf Fang moves against us?”


(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No


Mabsant shook his head. “No, Caldas. We didn’t penetrate deep enough to get to their command tents. But an interrogation will, I’m sure, give results.”


“Good work, Mabsant,” Caldas said, looking up at him again. His blue eyes panned the room and settled on Eilwen. “Get yourself cleaned up, man,” he clapped Mabsant on his good shoulder. “And see the healers for your arm. We’ll need you back to your fighting best before this is through!”


Mabsant saluted wearily and then turned and left the room, descending the stair behind him. The door drifted shut.


“Yes, Mael?” Caldas said, looking back on her with those startling blue eyes and then to the patrol leader. “What is it?”


“This is...” Mael began and then looked at her, pausing.


“I am, Eilwen, Master Caldas,” she responded. “Mael was good enough to bring me to see you. I bring urgent news from Highcrag.”


“News from Highcrag? What news?” he turned and poured himself a drink of wine from a decanter then studied her. “They have the road cut. There is no news that gets in or out.”


“Your distraction on the Wolf Fang’s flank bought us time and space to get through those lines,” Eilwen said. “I thank you.”


“Us?”


“My brother and I. He’s with the horses below.”


“She carried this with her,” Mael said. “She seemed to think this was important.” He handed over Delos’s rod.


Caldas took it and gave an involuntary grimace of distaste. He looked up at Eilwen. 


“You know it?”


“Aye. Delos’s zealots spoke tiresomely of him and this rod as a symbol of some divine power. Who are you, and how did you get this?”


“I came far from the north, from a settlement in the Veiled Mountains. I have had run-ins with Uzak and his clan before. I have my own personal reasons for wanting to see Uzak taken down a peg or two.”


“Good,” Caldas said, setting the rod on the table. “Tell me your tale. I can tell you have one brewing. Wine?” He asked, motioning to the decanter.


“Thank you,” Eilwen said and took a cup poured for her. “You spoke of Delos’s zealots,” Eilwen began. “In the streets of Longfalls, a few days hence, I met one. We had came to town seeking supplies--among other reasons. Something I said angered him, and he attacked me.”


She related the events of his death and the events that followed after. She spoke of the journey to Highcrag, the run in with the scouts, their investigations at Highcrag, and the encounter with Delos at the iron spike where she confronted Delos. She also spoke of their fight, of his magic ability. She left out details of her own magic ability. Such knowledge would only...muddy the waters, she felt.


What is Caldas’s response to her tale?
Punish / Death


“I dealt with the remaining zealots,” Caldas said, and his face bore a thin line of determination, “I had them put to death; their teachings felt ill to my heart and ears.”


“Indeed,” Eilwen agreed, and then she asked quietly, “What happened to the infected?”


“I’m no fool, girl. You unleashed the sickness when you killed that man,” he frowned and gave her a hard look. “That is when our problems began.” 


“I--”


“Let me finish. When we determined that death spread the sickness among us, and they sought out new hosts, we captured the infected instead. Then we tied most to horses and rushed them towards Uzak’s camp. A little welcoming present, as it were.”


Eilwen gave an involuntary shudder. “You did...what?” She at least had tried to stop the sickness, but Caldas had intentionally spread it...apparently to buy Longfalls time!


“I use the tools available to me to survive.”


Eilwen nodded slowly, somewhat in awe at his ingenuity yet also a little disgusted, but she managed to keep her displeasure in check. 


“I see,” she paused. “I am, of course, sorry for what happened here, Master Caldos,” Eilwen replied. “I didn’t know the zealot was infected. I was only protecting myself when he attacked,” she added. “How could I have know that when he died, he would unleash--”


Caldas raised one hand, cutting her off and shook his head. “Fear not, Eilwen.” His hand fell to the iron rod and he touched it, one finger rubbing at the rod’s face, a thoughtful expression on his face. 


“I also recognize that you saved us all from it. Though I do think my little present to the Wolf Fang clan is the only thing that has kept Uzak’s forces at bay. The night you smote Delos to the earth, those possessed of the magic perished and rose no more. We had kept some imprisoned here to learn what we could of the...malady. My own niece was among them.”


“I’m sorry,” Eilwen said again, and set down her wine cup, not thirsty.


“With the plague gone, things can get back to normal, which means the normal butchery of war will resume. That means Uzak will attack us soon, and--”


“Master Caldos,” she interrupted him. “Please, I want to help. I will deal with Uzak.”


“You seem capable enough,” he mused.


“I have sworn a vow to do so...”


“And vows are not to be undertaken lightly,” Caldos agreed with appreciation. “Without honor what are we as a people?”


“Will you help me? We only need supplies and a place to stay. Then in the next few days, I’ll deal with him.”


Sojourn move


3 = 2[d6]+1


10 = 2[d10]+8[d10]


Whew... a weak hit. Barely. I’ll take the Clear a Condition category and choose Equip: Clear an unprepared debility and take +1 supply. 


Hmm I’ve been missing a rule for Sojourn that I didn’t notice: On a hit, you and your allies may each focus on one of your chosen recover actions and roll +heart again.
If you share a bond, add +1. On a strong hit, take +2
more for that action. On a weak hit, take +1 more.
On a miss, it goes badly and you lose all benefits for
that action. 


May... I don’t have to do this. But I’ll try it. I need to get my supply up higher if possible. Come on...


4 = 3[d6]+1


14 = 8[d10]+6[d10]


A miss! Drat... (Failure Count: 23/24)


“I want to see that dog dead!” he said, with a nod. “I don’t have much. Mael, see that she gets any food and equipment we can spare and then--”


Just then a bell began to toll and Mael and Caldos shared a look. A guard darted in from his post on a balcony and pointed to the west. “Sir...the Wolf Fang clan! They’re making a move!”
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