Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
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...”


“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?”


“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.

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

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

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

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 she 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 rotting into the earth. 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.”


“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,” 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 knew 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 one's 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.

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

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

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

(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

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

(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.

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

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.”


“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.” 


“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!”

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

Episode 44
Caldos swore and followed the guard out to the balcony, Eilwen and Mael in tow, and they saw a stream of torch light winding its way down the slopes to the west, like some fiery serpent slithering towards them with deadly intent.

“He’s coming,” Eilwen breathed.

“Looks like the bastard got tired of our raids,” Caldos muttered. “My armor!” 

Mael began helping Caldos strap on a scale mail cuirass as underlings ran in to get orders from their leader.

“Mael! Where are the raiding parties now?” Caldos asked. “The ones that were sent out?”

“Some are just now getting back. Others, like ours, have already returned and are tending to their wounded.”

“When you’re done with this accursed armor, get them back out there! We need them hitting Wolf Fang from the shadows, slowing them down. If they get among the homes...Heralds Beneath, but we don’t even have a palisade. This is going to be messy. We can’t let--”

“Caldos,” Eilwen interrupted. “I am well equipped at such tactics. My brother and I can both help. We’re both trained with weapons of war. Let us help. We’d be willing to join one of the patrols.”

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

But what?
Pursue / Love

Ummm. I have no idea what to do with this.

Does he have feelings for her?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

I see, I guess he’d love her to chase after something or someone he loves. Is that it?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

In that case, I’ll use his motivation. He seeks knowledge...about something. And given the context of what’s going on, I’m going to say, he’d love to have knowledge about Uzak. Is he protected? How many are in his personal guard? Is there anyway to get close to him? Though that information might be too late with his warband drawing ever nearer...

Caldos looked distracted and annoyed at her interruption. “What? Oh you’re still here.” He gave her a curt glance. “Fine. Mael, return their weapons, and attach them to your patrol.”


“Get them out of here! I need to come up with my battle plan. Slow them down however you can.”

“I’ll--I’ll try sir,” Mael said and led Eilwen out.

“You’ll do more than try. You will slow them down!”

“Sir!” Mael saluted, slamming his right fist to his left breast. 

“Caldos,” Eilwen tried again. “Listen, we--”

“Can’t you see, I have a battle to run, woman! If you want to help, find this Uzak and put a night-blasted spear through his heart! If you can’t do that, then give me some knowledge of his personal habits. Find me a weakness I can exploit!”

Eilwen stared at him feeling her anger rise, but she pushed it down and gave a curt nod and then followed after Mael as he made for the stairs. They moved aside as more underlings rushed into the room. Eilwen smelled a mixture of leather, oiled steel, sweat and fear.

Is Longfalls still outnumbered by Uzak’s forces?
(Somewhat Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...

“They outnumber us...” Caldos muttered surrounded by his underlings as he stabbed a finger at a map. “But we’ll stop them here!”

The door shut, and she and Mael moved quickly, descending the stairs, passed through the wall, and returned to Aron and Mael’s patrol.

Warriors and Wardens ran to posts. Women took children inside and barred their doors. Eilwen saw one woman bearing a spear and shield stand outside her home, protecting the young ones inside, her jaw set.

“Eilwen, you’re alright,” Aron whispered, relieved to see her. “The sounded and people started running everywhere. What’s happening?”

“It’s Uzak. He’s attacking,” she told him. 

Can someone get her a bow?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

She turned to Mael. “If you have a bow, you can spare, I’m a competent shot. I have my arrows, I just need--”

“Sorry,” Mael said. “All weapons are accounted for. Those who fell in the raid today, their kin have already claimed their belongings. Resources are scarce in these lands. You’ll just have to make do with what you have or find something among the soon-to-be-fallen out there,” He said grimly.

Eilwen sighed but nodded.

Mael turned to the other man. “Lorath, inform the rest of our patrols and bring our horses! These two will ride with us. We’re moving out.”


“We have orders to slow their advance,” Mael said.

Lorath ran to obey and after a few moments, the rest of Mael’s patrol joined near the command building, forming up with their horses. 

Other patrols and scouting parties started forming around them as well. And beyond them, around the command building, other units started forming, teens with beardless chins and older men with too much gray in their hair who grimly took up spears and shields. They formed up in front of the too-young warriors. 

A few ranks closer to the approaching enemy packs of men who knew axe and spear the best began to cluster together into a rough line of battle. Above them men and women alike climbed atop roofs, bearing bundles of arrows. Half-hewn logs were laid on the A-frame roofs, across streets, forming a kind of plank bridge between rooftops, a makeshift defense.

So keenly did Eilwen yearn for her bow that she nearly felt that a limb of hers was missing. But at least she still had her sword and two knives. Those gave her a measure of comfort.

Does Mael have a plan?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Fiercely / Lacking

Ahh. Great. One of those types of plans... Can anyone say Frontal assault? But maybe it’s not that dumb.

“Gather round!” Mael shouted and mounted his horse. He looked down at the gathering warriors of his patrol, leading their own mounts by their bridles. Some wore chain or scale armor, many wore thick leathers, most had no armor at all. Some had spears and bows, axes and clubs. All had knives. None had a sword.

The word “patrol” seemed too small Eilwen thought to fit the number of men gathering. At least two score and then some had gathered and more were coming.

“This is Eilwen and Aron, her brother,” Mael said, pointing down at them and giving them a stern look. “They’ll ride with us. Our orders are simple. We slow Wolf Fang down. We’ll head for that copse of trees on the knoll to the south west. Once their line gets close, we hit their right flank hard from the trees, then pull away and swing to their rear. If anyone falls, we keep moving, understood? We each take unlit torches. Save them for their supplies. Understood?”

The others in the patrol nodded grimly and everyone took a few torches, Aron and Eilwen as well.

It was a simple plan, blunt and lacking in subtlety, Eilwen thought. But maybe that’s what this night needed.

“Are you going to have a problem following my orders?” Mael said to her as his men started to mount. He bore a fierce look on his face.

Aron began to step in front of Eilwen, anger mottling his face. “Don’t speak to her like that you--”

“Aron!” she hissed sharply and pulled him back behind her.

Mael’s gave Aron a cold look, and then stared at Eilwen with his same fierce stare. “Well?”

“I’ll follow the orders Caldos gave me, Mael. Remember, Uzak is my target! Get Aron and me close, and we’ll take care of him.”

Nearby, patrol members who heard the exchange stared at her as if she were mad and some started to guffaw.

How does Mael react?
Nicely / Mature

“Very well,” he nodded grudgingly and strapped a metal helm onto his head and slung a shield over his back. He boasted two short throwing spears in leather holsters on his saddle and a large hand axe strapped to at his waist. “You’ve got some spirit girl. Hopefully it won’t get you killed. But if it does, you’ll make our ancestors proud.” he gave her a grudging nod of respect mixed with a shrug. “But our main objective remains: to slow his warband. However, if we get an opportunity to get you close, we’ll do so.”

She nodded.

“Mount up!” he shouted to the patrol. “We move out!”

Do they get to the copse of trees without issue?
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

They left Longfalls behind and trotted out into the night. 


After several long minutes of hard riding, Eilwen, like the others, pulled rein on their mounts as they entered the copse of trees. She heard heavy breathing from all the other horses. They had ridden hard and fast up a section of the hill that blocked any view of their approach to the enemy.

They moved at a walk through the copse, finally cresting a rolling hill and seeing across the gradual open slope, the snake-like column of men carrying torches continue to meander down towards Longfalls. 

When the line of soldiers reached more level ground, somewhere in the enemy lines, a drum began to beat a signal and the column widened to form a rough battle line.

Does Mael’s patrol get behind the enemy lines?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

Okay. Does the enemy’s flank extend into the copse of trees?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Then her horse stiffened uneasily and yanked its head aside as if to go back the way they came. 

“What is it?” she asked the recalcitrant animal.

Then she smelled it... smoke. 

In the distance to the west, her left, she saw the flickering of orange flames licking at branches. A stiff breeze picked up and more smoke drifted through the trees towards them.

Other animals began to knicker uneasily and men and women shifted in saddles.

“They’re burning the trees!” she hissed to Mael and Aron.

Mael grunted. “Sneaky bastards. They grew wise to our usage of the trees in our last attack. But look,” he pointed out onto the plains and raised his voice a little higher so his men could hear. 

“Their right flank has broken off to fire these trees but the rest of the army has continued on. We can hit the right side of their center section through that gap, then wheel away and hit their supplies. Follow me!”

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

Episode 45

Mael’s riders immediately thundered after, and after a few seconds, Eilwen jabbed her heels into her horse’s flanks, and did the same. They shot forward out of the copse of trees to the north. She looked over her shoulder to her left, and she saw the fire eating through the green trees, a pall of grey smoke blotted out stars above them.

What’s the weather like? Does it look like it might rain?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Are they noticed when they leave?
(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

A shout rose up and she saw several Wolf Fang clansmen kneeling in the grass, preparing to fire short bows at their band. She leaned low over her horse and pulled even with a man on her left, praying that he and his mount would take the first volley.

Face Danger + Edge

3 = 1[d6]+2

17 = 8[d10]+9[d10]

Not good...

Failure Count (24/24) = Every 4 is a box = 6 boxes.

Her horse stumbled over a piece of uneven ground and slowed some just as the enemy archers aimed and let loose their barbs.

I’ll say her horse takes a shaft? More than one?
Somewhat Unlikely | 7[d10]) Yes, but...

Two then. I’ll roll 1d20+2 damage on Get Dmg button.
(10 = 8[d20]+2) Minor Injury: Largely superficial; painful and distracting, but not life threatening.

One of the shafts nicked her horses breast as it whistled past, taking out a small chunk of horseflesh. The other sunk hit its hip, piercing flesh and then bouncing off the bone. Her horse screamed and stumbled, slowed.

Did anyone else get hit?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
Sounds ominous or interesting. Lots of them?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

It must mean only a one or two and someone important. Did Aron or Mael get hit then?

Is it Mael?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Sounds like he got hit badly. Did his horse get hit too?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

I’ll roll 1d20+6 on the Get Dmg for each
(14 = 8[d20]+6) Moderate Injury: Hampers action significantly; will require first aid/medical attention.

His Horse:
(21 = 15[d20]+6) Killed.

Is his band of horsemen well trained enough to continue with their mission?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

But they're trained enough to not flee in open panic. Instead, they race back to help Mael.

Okay... Back to Eilwen
Face Danger to regain control of her mount + wits

4 = 2[d6]+2

13 = 7[d10]+6[d10]

(Failure Count 25/24)

She gripped the pommel of the saddle and lost control, the reins slipping from her fingers. The horse’s hooves flailed the air then it leaped away racing back to the relative safety of Longfalls. 

Only they had paused and began racing back towards Mael.

Does she fall?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

For the miss, rather than taking harm, I’ll say she loses the horse.

She leaned forward, trying to grab the reins, but the horse leaped over a boulder and the jarring landing flung her to the grassy earth, slamming her breath from her lungs.

When her head cleared chaos reigned. She heard more whistling barbs as more arrows hit more horses and men as the main body raced back to help Mael. He had an arrow in his thigh. His horse had two in its neck.

Can she see a fallen warrior with a bow?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Is there some other horse nearby that lost its rider?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

A rider near her took two barbs in his back and fell from his saddle, spear and shield clattering about him. His horse darted past and she grabbed at its bridle.

Does she grab it?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Is he conscious
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

Mael lay in the grass as if dead. Eilwen leaped into the saddle and rode over to where he lay, then knelt by him as arrows landed around her, some bouncing of shields, others whistling past. “Help me get him on the horse!” she shouted.
The nearest warriors raced to obey. Others in the patrol wheeled their mounts about and made as if to charge the enemy line as the line of enemy archers raised and aimed bows again.

Can she get him on the mount before more arrows hit?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

What’s Aron doing?
Dominate / Good

More barbs slashed through the night and she ducked behind Mael’s fallen horse as two of his warriors set Mael on the mount she’d just found.

Face Danger + edge duck fast enough
5 = 3[d6]+2

19 = 9[d10]+10[d10]

1 harm (4/5)
Failure Count (26/24)

She felt a sting as a barb nicked her shoulder.

Endure Harm 
6 = 2[d6]+4

9 = 2[d10]+7[d10]
Weak hit - Press on. Health remains at 4/5.

“Eilwen! We need to get out of here!” Aron shouted. as he deflected another arrow with his shield. “This plan is falling to pieces!”

“No! We have to do this. We have to start somewhere!”

“What are you talking about!” he grabbed her arm and tried to pull her up onto his horse.

“No Aron!” she yanked her arm away. “We must unite them. All of them!”

“Hearken!” she shouted and her voice rang over the grassy hill. In her right hand, her sword glimmered with its strange magical light. In her left hand, she held aloft the rent crown, symbol of a broken kingdom. It gleamed a pale golden blue in the light from the sword. 

She shouted across the remnants of her own patrol as well as the band of soldiers who had paused in their assault, bows drawn. 

“Follow me, friend and former foes alike! Forsake false allegiances! For fell deeds must be done this day to free these lands from the Uzak the Usurper. Follow your queen! Swear new oaths! For I am heir to queen Morwen, and I will see these lands united under her once proud banner!”

Compel move + heart to convince
4 = 3[d6]+1

15 = 10[d10]+5[d10]

A miss... Great...I don’t want her to become a human pincushion. I do have 6 momentum.
I’m going to spend my momentum to turn this into a weak hit.

Momentum resets to 1.

They agree, but ask something of you in return.
What do they ask that would make sense?
I’ll use the MAG...
Scissors, Crushed skull, bullet moving through air, squid head, jeweled eye, shield of flame, book, apple with an arrow through it, scroll.

Hmmm. I’m not getting anything really from this... Jeweled eye. Maybe they want to see something fantastic? Sure I’ll go with that.

No one spoke.

Silent and not a little amazed, all eyes turned on Eilwen who stood proudly and fearless before them. To Eilwen’s right, the rest of Uzak’s army continued to march toward Longfalls, heedless of this slender miracle of light, this young woman clothed in leathers with regal bearing who held aloft not only a sword that glowed with some light of the lost gods but who also bore a broken crown in the other.

From the enemy with bows at the ready but lowered, watching wearily:

“How do we know you are Morwen’s heir?” someone shouted back, and a growing clamour began. 

“Aye! What proof have you that you are queen?” 

“Show us some sign!” Another barked.

“Is not Morwen’s crown enough?” Aron shouted back up the hill. “Is not the sword that she holds aloft, that which glows with holy light, not sign enough? What will satisfy craven sign seekers?”

Okay. I asked a question, but I’ll reveal it later. Smile 
“A sign!” Someone else shouted. “Of our ancestors of old were sung songs of great renown. What have you done?”

“That you may believe that I am no false vision, that you may know that I too am worthy of your trust, that you may see that I too have valor and renown of old, that your expected oaths of fealty will not now be lightly made, I grant you this boon of knowledge!

“I come from Frostbridge far to the north where the peaks are veiled in perpetual cloud and ice. I am she who defeated the shadow-twisted Belvin in single combat. I am she who walked the dark path of Grimstone and confronted Eldris amidst his corrupted abode! I am she who has seen visions of our ancestors at their palace ruins in Greenhome. I am she who met the iron priest Delos not three days hence and defeated him and his mindless thralls at the iron pillar over yonder peak.”

She paused as murmurs grew about her.

“I am she who commands the mountain beasts of shadow and night! I am Eilwen, heir of Morwen, and daughter of queens!” And she held aloft her crown in signal, praying against hope. 

Behind her a tree exploded from the flames spitting shards of fire across the meadow.

And the same moment, with a fury like the winds from the east and beating its great wings, a shadow gave a great piecing cry and fell from the sky, then extending his wings, it swept low over the heads of the erstwhile enemy archers. 

They cowered and cried in fear, some dropping their arms and putting hands to ears as the young wyvern passed once more over them and then glided to land deftly before her.

Scratch nuzzled at her pouches, looking for jerky still. She scratched under his neck, and the crowd, now completely nonplussed, stared at her and her beast open-mouthed. Scratch, enjoying the attention, belted another raucous cry to the starlit night.

“Your oaths! Who now serves Queen Eilwen, Morwen’s heir?” Aron shouted. 

Answering cheers greeted them as the crowd of soldiers rushed to surround her.

They clustered around her, many pushing and shoving to be the first to swear allegiance, she heard herself referenced in reverent oaths such as “Beast-maiden”, “Light-weaver”, “Queens-daughter”, “Kith of Morwen”. The oaths were hastily done, for indeed fell deeds yet needed to be done, but they were not made lightly.

Are there any who did not swear oaths?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

A few, Uzak’s faithful, his under captains who commanded this flank of the army did not come down, but stood watching her in growing horror and dismay at the flood of soldiers whom she commanded.

Do they try to go back to Uzak?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

They began to shout and run towards the main body of Uzaks army, trying to get their attention.

“Kill the faithless cowards!” Aron shouted and pointed at the fleeing men.

Eilwen winced as dozens and dozens of arrows were drawn and then loosed, falling among the former leaders.

Do they get them all?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

To a man, those fleeing fell, pierced with dark shafts.

“Aron,” she said and grabbed his arm. 

“It had to be done,” he said, an apology lingering in his voice.

“I know...” she said, her voice quiet. She hated it, but she needed a victory and couldn’t afford Uzak figuring out what she planned.

“I give you my first command--my first official command--my most loyal subject.” she said with affection, touching his arm.


“Command these men, Aron. Their former leaders have just been cut down. They need a strong leader, and they’ve seen you at my right side already. And I need someone I can trust directing them. Form them up in front of me. We march behind Uzak’s forces as if he still owns us. Then when the time is right and they’re engaged at Longfalls, we hit them from behind!”

“As you command, my queen,” Aron said with reverent fervor.

She cried out. “This is Aron, he is now Chief Captain of you, my Faithful First! Follow him in every word. Now, instead of conquest and spoilage, you fight to free these lands from the failures of Uzak. You fight to return to your own people, free from bondage and servitude!" 

Okay This is what I had asked earlier:
Now would be a great time for Scratch to appear sweeping out of the heavens to land by her. What say you oracle?

(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

Episode 46

“And get me a bow,” she added to Aron.

Aron barked an order, and in a matter of heartbeats, a balding man with a grizzled beard came and bowed and gave her his short bow in her hands.

“It is yours, my queen,” he bowed, one hand to his breast, the other making a fist on the grassy earth.

Yes, it felt different from her own, but even so, she relished the feel of the supple polished wood in her hands.

“You have my thanks,” she told the man and bade him return to his fellows who clapped him on the back.

“Aron, calm our warriors. Tell them that the spirits of their forefathers shall go before us to aid us in our battles. I mean to call the shadows.”

“Are you sure that’s wise? Remember the last time--”

“Tell them. I mean to have every advantage in this battle, and who knows, those shades may very well be their forebears.”

Aron sighed but inclined his head and jogged off to obey.

She began to chant as Aron began speaking. She felt dozens of eyes on her. In between her whispered words and traced symbols, she prayed to her mother to help her. She couldn’t fail. Not now. She needed this.

9 = 5[d6]+4

8 = 1[d10]+7[d10]

A strong hit. She takes +2 momentum for her two Shadowwalk abilities (3/10).

The runes hung in the air, wisps of pale blue light clear for all to see.

She heard phrases whispered on the wind as she chanted, her warriors, her war band, spoke them, some in fear, some in reverence, all spoke with awe:
Among others, she heard “Shadecaller”, “Witchborn”, “Shadowdancer”.

Does her pendant begin to glow?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

She finished and just then under her tunic, the large sapphire pendant she’d taken from Greenhome began to glow. At first, the light shimmered a pale blue, but it brightened as shadows seeped into it. Soon, her very form glowed for her warriors to see, but other shadows flitted and twisted about her, guardian-like shielding the eyes of their enemies.

“Lightweaver has called the spirits forth!” she heard Aron shout. “Rejoice that your ancestors fight with you! Now march!”

The command was shouted down the ragged line.

“Slowly... Aron,” she whispered as the line set out ragged and unkempt but a line nonetheless. “On my order, we charge.”

“Yes, my Queen.” he nodded, watching the line as it moved across the grassy hill. Below them, they saw the host of the Wolf Fang war band. 

“Keep the line!” Aron shouted.

She prayed that the shadows would aid in obscuring them, and would hide her warriors behind a blanket of night.

I’ll use the Battle move. I did it once before... It’s been a while so here’s the move again. I get a +1 on this roll from my Shadowalk asset because I’m using trickery to strike and ambush from behind and befuddle them. So I’ll have a +4 total.

Her envisioned objective is the complete destruction or surrender of Uzak’s army and a chance to defeat Uzak herself.

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

To keep the suspense alive, I’ll reveal the roll later.

Eilwen and her host followed behind the main body of the Wolf Fang warband. 

The Wolf Fang clan approached Longfalls and began to engage the warriors. Shafts flew at them from the houses and roofs and bridge-like planks. Answering arrows shot back up at them and men and women on both sides fell to their deaths. And while greater losses were felt among Uzak’s forces, they yet had the larger force and they continued to close with Longfalls. 

Then the Wolf Fang line began to charge.

The line of Longfall warriors stood their ground and shouted as the large host of Wolf Fang warriors crashed into them. In the night, torches were thrown to the ground, and soon all was madness.

But what the Wolf Fang host didn’t know and couldn’t see nor hear, for the cloak of shadows that lay behind them, was that Eilwen and her host marched in their rear.

When the enemy host was fully engaged, Eilwen raised her glowing sword, a shaft of blue light amidst the shadows. “Now!” she shouted. “We attack from behind! Be faithful and fear no foe!”

The command passed down the line like the fire that swept out of the trees onto the grasses behind them to their right. 

With a roar, Eilwen’s army charged, and the shadows leapt with them.

Heedless of the happenings in their rear, and confused by the attack from a portion of their own army in their rear, not to mention fell shadows that flitted about them with fearsome visage, the Wolf Fang band fell quickly, not knowing which way to turn.

Chaos and death churned the grassy soil and the wounded cried under foot.

Sensing their confusion, Caldos, leader of Longfalls, gave a short blast on a ramskin horn and sent in his reserves, the band of old men and pale-faced youths.

In war, fear and confusion are sometimes the worse foes. 

Into this, Aron and Eilwen waded.

Attacked from the rear and surrounded on all sides, the Wolf Fang clan began to be swept away as the dew on the meadows flees before the heat of the sun. Uzak’s men lost all cohesion, and pockets of them, squads and twos and threes lay about them, fighting for their very survival.

For long minutes, Eilwen thrust and swung, felling Wolf Fang warriors like shafts of golden grain in the grasses of the Havens. After some time, her sword arm felt heavy, and her clothes and face were splattered and sticky with blood.

Then she saw her foe! There, striking down a man in front of him, Uzak roared, tall and muscular, proud and defiant. He lay about him two handed with his blade the Sword of Myrddin.

Does his sword glow too?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

But a different color. A fell greenish hue, like the power of the underworld that fueled Delos’s creations.

His blade dripped green light onto the grass. His guard fought beside him, large warriors and well trained, as did his trained Wolf Hounds, but he and his guard had been savaged and wounded from her surprise attack, and now they attempted to cut their way out.

Uzak limped from a gash in his right thigh, and blood streamed from another gash on his bald head down into his crazed eyes. His blood lust was up and his face twisted into an awful visage of rage as he cleaved another man in two.

Her men began to retreat, fearful, and crying from this fell foe.

That was when Eilwen struck at him from the shadows, uttering a cry and swinging her blade.

1 on 1 with his sword of Myrddin, equal odds, I’d say he’d be a Formidable foe. But given that he’s in the thick of it, outnumbered by Eilwen’s troops and is wounded, I’m dropping this down to a Dangerous encounter.

Btw, this is what I rolled on the Battle move earlier. I’ll reveal it now.

6 = 2[d6]+4

2 = 1[d10]+1[d10]

Nice! A strong hit and a positive match to boot! For the strong hit, she gets +2 momentum (now 6/10). 

For the positive match, I’ll say she finds Uzak cut off from his army with just his guard, and he and his men are wounded as they try to cut their way to freedom.

Is he on horseback? SU in this hackfest and the surprise attack he just weathered.
(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but.. 

Horses danced about them, riderless, whinnying in maddened fear at the shouts, cries, and spilt blood.

Enter the Fray + Shadow of 4

6 = 2[d6]+4

18 = 10[d10]+8[d10]

Boo! Poor roll and not enough momentum to change it. She Pays the Price and Uzak has initiative. 

I’ll roll on the Pay the Price table.
58 = 58[d100]

It causes you a delay or puts you at a disadvantage.

Does Uzak see her?
(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No

The shadows flitted about her, twisting with her. Yet even so, one of Uzak’s faithful hounds with preternatural senses detected her intention. She felt a sudden mass of snaring teeth and fur slam into her, knocking her aside. 

She managed to get to her knees when the wolf launched at her again, warm saliva dripping from its mouth.

Does Aron engage Uzak?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
And he has Uzak totally focused on him.

She saw her brother slam into Uzak. And others of her warriors of stout hearts engaged Uzak’s bodyguard. Weapons crashed about her.

What does Uzak do? I rolled a 92... Attack with power. Yeah that’s pretty much what he’s been doing. But now Aron is on the defensive.

She does a Clash move with the wolf with her Duelist talent. That gives her a +3. Even though it’s a different foe. It’s all part of the same Dangerous encounter.

Clash + 3
9 = 6[d6]+3

9 = 6[d10]+3[d10]

A strong hit. Inflict your harm and choose 1.  She’ll choose +1 momentum now 7/10.
She gives a default harm of 2 because she uses a deadly weapon, plus another harm from her Duelist talent (so 3 total). That’s six boxes, so 6/10 on the combat and she has initiative.

The hound lept at her, but she spun, anticipated its attack and slid on her knees under it, spilling its entrails. It yelp and fell to the side.

Uzak bore down on Aron, his sword smashing into her brother’s shield in a powerful attack splitting it in a shower of splinters. Uzak raised his sword, to smite him down.

With a cry, the shadows splitting apart, her glowing sword spinning and humming she leaped at Uzak, glowing blade in one hand, dagger in the other.

Strike with Duelist + 3 again.

5 = 2[d6]+3

12 = 8[d10]+4[d10]

Blast a weak hit which with Duelist is a miss.
I’ll say he either hits her or Aron... which is it?
Likely Aron since he was engaged there.

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

Miss count 28/24

He saw her attack and spun away from her brother with inhuman speed, he blocked her spinning blows ducking aside from her dagger and parrying sword.

Sparks sputtered along their blades, and while she might be more lithe and nimble, he certainly proved the stronger.

“Witch! I’ll see you dead!” he spat and head butted her. She stumbled back, blood streaming down her face, her eyes swimming from the pain and split skin on her forhead.

(She takes 2 harm and is now at 2/5)
Her Endure Harm roll + health of 2
6 = 4[d6]+2

11 = 8[d10]+3[d10]

A weak hit.

Aron shouted and rushed at Uzak from behind, Uzak parried his blow, and kicked him in the chest sending him sprawling onto his back as one of his bodyguards engaged Aron. Then Uzah rushed at Eilwen.

She’ll use her one per fight “Turn the Tide”. 

She didn’t have to feign very hard to convey her sense of imbalance, but still she used it to her advantage making herself seem more weak than she was, even as she truly struggled to shake off the dizzying pain.

Uzak neared and as his green blade arced towards her, she suddenly twisted aside, parrying his sword with her right and slamming her dagger into his back with her left.

Strike +3 + 1 from Turn the Tide

8 = 4[d6]+4

10 = 3[d10]+7[d10]

Yes! A strong hit! She’ll take the +1 momentum (now 8/10)
And with her damage she easily fills the remaining 10 boxes and will now End the Fight.

Ten boxes vs
8 = 4[d10]+4[d10]

Nice a positive match!

Uzak screamed and arched his back and spun about, swinging wildly. She ducked under his blow and then slid her sword across his stomach, cutting through his leather armor and biting into his flesh. He fell to his knees, before her gasping in the grass, his sword fell useless from his fingers and one hand clutched at his belly.

She looked about. Aron crushed the legs of his opponent and then sent his axe into his face. Her brother climbed unsteadily to his feet, blood in his hair and on his face and arms. Her own warriors and Uzak’s bodyguard continued trading blows, but soon it ended. Uzak’s remaining bodyguard soon lay slain or surrendering as more of her own side joined the fight.

Does Uzak plead for mercy?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

“Do your worst, Witch!” Uzak spat, struggling to rise, bloody spittle spraying from his mouth. She pressed his shoulder down with one hand so he kept kneeling.

“Kneel!” she commanded, her eyes flashed hard as iron. “I am queen here. Your power is broken, Uzak. Your depravations are now doomed to failure.”

He glared up at her and spat bloody saliva into her face, “Never! My shade will haunt you from the nine hells!”

“So be it. But you’ll soon know it’ll be the other way around,” she said, one hand wiping her cheek. She stared down at him, a deadly steel calm hardened her voice even further. “You see, I command the shades. They heed my call.”

Then, she grasped him by his hair, and with a single swing of her blade, took off his head. The headless corpse of the tyrant steamed in the cool night, then fell forward.

Silence greeted her.

She looked at the fallen warriors about her, some trodden underfoot. The cries of the dying. The moans of the wounded. The smell of grass mingled with the hot smell of blood. In the burning torchlight, she saw ranks upon ranks of Uzak’s army scattered in ruin. Those men who hadn’t surrendered, who did manage to escape, had fled back into the night.

She sheathed her dagger, bent, and picked up the sword of Myrddin in her left hand, and drove it into Uzak’s head. Then she raised both swords above her head, one glimmering green, bearing the head of Uzak, the other shimmered blue.

“It is done!” she shouted.

A cheer washed over her and vibrated through her.

The battle was over, but she had taken only the first true step towards rule over the Ironlands.

With Uzak and his army defeated and his sword in her possession, several quest milestones are fulfilled. Her Queens Quest (QQ) is now 7/40. While Uzak’s army is gone, his clan might still be a threat.

Liberate Rock River (RR) Captives Quest is now 7/10. She’ll need to take or send an army there to liberate them.

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

Episode 47
Are Seith and Valerie in Longfalls?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

But they were both wounded in the fighting.


(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

“We seek refuge and resupply in Longfalls,” Eilwen said to Caldas. The sun had begun to dawn, the beauty of a pink sunrise was marred by the stench of burning bodies, stacked up like so much cordwood. The dark smoke began to spread like a diseased pall across the sky.

Flies still buzzed about the battle field, landing on the gashes of the wounded. Eilwen needed a bath. Her arms and feet and head felt leaden. A bath and then some sleep. She helped Aron toss another fallen onto a burning heap of blackened flesh.

Let’s see how well the Sojourn move with Longfalls goes:

2 = 1[d6]+1

12 = 6[d10]+6[d10]

Not good and a negative match.... Let’s see, but I do have 7 momentum. I really don’t want a negative match. I’m going to spend it to turn this into a strong hit. And thus it becomes a strong hit with a positive match now. All the better!

Momentum resets to 1 because of the unprepared condition, although we’re going to clear that right now. So with this strong hit she can clear the condition and Supply is set to 1 and then for her second hit, I’ll choose Provision, and take 2 Supply. So Supply is back up to 3. Yay!

Under Recover option, I’ll try Consort with the optional second roll. I get +2, +1 heart. I’m hoping to increase my Spirit.

5 = 2[d6]+3

15 = 8[d10]+7[d10]

Drat. A miss (miss count 28/24)

I’ll play this miss out later when it makes sense in the story.

For the strong match, let’s see... something interesting or a new opportunity.
Nothing is coming to mind. I’ll use the MAG. (first aid symbol, flower, more flowers, a twisted vine, spray can, spear or arrow tip reamed in frost, cliffs, a full helm, a curvy backwards S.)

Does it involve Caldas...
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

Hmmm. I’ll figure that out later I guess.

“And so you shall,” Caldas said, giving her a weary smile. He frowned at the piles of corpses. “For your aid in the battle, you have my thanks, Eilwen. I don’t know what this nonsense is about you being queen--everyone is talking about it--but we can sort that out later. For now, wash, eat, drink, and take from our stores. Be at your ease. You’ve earned it. Because of your aid, all live to see another sunrise free from Uzak.” He spoke graciously, but she could sense a tenseness in his voice.

She inclined her head politely, murmured her thanks, and left.


“Lass?” she was halfway to her quarters when Seith saw her on the street. Aron was seeing to her warriors. She had an honor guard now. Four women, all armed with spears and bows flanked her. The guards eyed him warily.

“I’ve heard strange tales about you,” his eyes flicked to her entourage. “Some say you are a lost queen. Others call you a witch. Some say both.”

She smiled at him. The truth was out now. “You have been my friend and companion. I think you know me and my heart regardless of what you may have heard.”

“Aye, you’re no witch, though I’ve seen strange things last night. Things you were the center of.”

“My mother, the throne-less queen before me, taught me some of what she knew when I was a child. She... knew some of the mystic arts.” She said, deciding on honesty.

“I’ve seen your swords glowing with ghost-light, lass,” he shook his head. “I’ve seen some of what you can do. I don’t pretend to understand it. But I think you desire what’s best for these lands.”

“I’ve only just begun,” she said. “Will you now call me queen as well as my friend? Will you follow me, swearing fealty as others have? Will now be my subject?”

I think this calls for a Forge a Bond move.

Roll + heart.
6 = 5[d6]+1

17 = 9[d10]+8[d10]

A miss.

(Miss count now 28/24)

I’m not sure what this means. I’m going to roll on the Pay the Price table.
I got a 41. It says, The current situation worsens.

Seith gave an embarrassed frown and shook his head. “Nay lass. This is your calling, your quest. And though you’re like a twisting storm that pulls all towards you, I’ll follow the winds elsewhere.” He looked at her and then at his feet as if ashamed. “You’ve put my heart at ease about that scum Uzak. For that, you have my thanks.”

For just a moment she thought she saw his gaze rest on her chest where the exquisite sapphire-ridden golden amulet hung beneath her tunic, before he looked down. But maybe it was nothing.

“What of Valerie? How did she fare?”

“She took a stray arrow during the fighting,” he scratched at his beard. “Not a bad wound, but she won’t be walking for several days. I’ve talked with one of the leaders here. She has a place to stay until she’s better. There are many empty homes now. But---well, my place is back in Redcrag,” he gave a sigh. “I’ll set out tomorrow morning.”

“Then may you have a peaceful journey, Seith. And thank you my friend, for everything.” she held out her hand. “I may visit you in Redgrag if I pass through that way again.”

“See that you do,” he said. “I’d like that.” He took her hand and released it quickly, not quite looking at her. Then with a final grunt he took his leave, disappearing into the crowd.


Before she rested, she went and saw Valerie. Seith had been true to his word and had sold his pipe and some other belongings to get Valerie and her children a place to stay for the time being.

“It was you,” Valerie said, her face pale and pained. Pain and bitterness mingled with awe in her voice. Her bandaged leg rested on a stool, and she leaned back in her bed. In another room, Eilwen heard the sounds of her children playing. “You had the crown all along.”

“Only half of it,” she said. “But that map you showed me contained another clue. I now go south to seek the other half. Redhall is on the way. I can help with that. Will you come with me?”

“You really are Queen then?” Valerie asked.

“I am,” Eilwen said simply.

Valerie studied her face for a moment then sighed. “I doubt you want me along with this leg...” she pointed to her wound. “Your majesty...” she added belatedly.

Eilwen gave her an uncomfortable smile. She’d heard that honorific more than a hundred times today. “My friends don’t need to call me that,” she laid a hand on Valerie’s shoulder. “I have business to attend to here that will take some time. I can postpone my travels until you’re mended.”

Does she want to come?
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

“I would like that.” she said. “Thank you.”


“Aron, you will take the warband north.” It was midmorning, and they sat alone around a small table in a plain but sturdy home some began calling, “The Little Palace”. A band of guards stood watch outside the entrance. Her palace guards...she thought uncomfortably.

Is he willing?
(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

Aron drained his cup and slapped it on the table. Fresh roasted meat from a slaughtered sheep sizzled on a spit in the room next door.

“North? Why?” his words were slightly slurred.

She popped a piece of cheese in her mouth enjoying its pungent aroma. “Though Uzak is slain and his war band routed, the Wolf Fang clan is not entirely destroyed. I am told that remnants of his still hold several settlements to the north. Likely Redcrag, Shieldwick, Bleakstone. Possibly Blackcairn and others. We need this entire region, from here, to our home in Frostrbridge.”

“Why me?” Aron asked. “Why not someone else?”

“Because you’re the only one I can trust to lead them. You will hold them to their oaths.”

“I think you overestimate my abilities. Why don’t you lead them north, then you could--”

“No. I dare not. I must press south to find the other half of the crown. It’s the only way the disparate settlements will band together under a single banner. It’s a physical link to the old land, to the old royal family. Until I have that, my claim to royalty remains a tenuous dream and will result in only more bloodshed.”

“I don’t like it.”

“I know.”

“I should be with you. What if something happens to you? I could never forgive myself. My place is at your side! Eilwen, you know that. I--”

“Did you swear oaths to me brother, with the others last night?” she asked flatly.

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

“I--” he swallowed and looked away and then gave a slight shake of his head. She remembered now, that he did not. All the others did, but not him.

She frowned.

“Was it only a show then? Your concern that the others swear their fealty, yet my own brother would not?”

“I did not say that I would not. But you are right. I did not. Not yet...”

“Why not?”

Postpone / Messages

“It didn’t seem like the right time.”

“It was the right time for them but not for you?”

“We needed them. The battle had to be fought. We needed them on our side, and they were...spontaneous, caught up in the moment, thrilled by what they witnessed you doing. But I...” he trailed off, obviously uncomfortable.

She watched him, clamping down on the nervousness that rose within her. Of all her supporters, she needed her brother’s oaths.

“What?” she asked.

“I want my oaths to mean something. To be something else, not motivated by the moment. They should be stronger. The need to be something more.”

He’d had ample time to consider her and what she was about. She didn’t understand this. He had always been her most adamant supporter, yet he shirked the oathmaking himself.

“There’s something else going on here,” she said. “Tell me.”

“Eilwen! I--I promised mother I’d help you. I swore that oath, and I have kept it, but...” he twisted a leather tie on his jerkin uncomfortably and looked away. “Nights beneath, but It’s no easy thing to have my little sister become queen!”

“Ah. There it is. The real answer. So you’re jealous?” Her eyebrow peaked.

“No matter what you put on your head, you’ll always be my little sister.” he said ruefully.

“Little? Remember, I’m your twin,” she smiled at him. Their old argument.

He cocked his crooked grin back at her, wine heavy on his breath. “But I’m still older.”

She smiled back but then grew serious. She reached into her bag. She pulled out the shorn half crown and set it between them, gleaming on the small table.

He stilled and looked at it, swallowing hard.

“I will have your oath, brother,” she said quietly, earnestly but edged with steel. “And I will have it now.”

Compel Move

4 = 2[d6]+2

14 = 9[d10]+5[d10]

They refuse or make a demand that costs you greatly.
(Miss count 29/24)

He looked like a cornered animal and stared at the crown. Then, of a sudden, he shoved the crown away as if it were a viper, and it clattered to the floor. “No!” he breathed heavily, shoving away from her and standing up so suddenly that he upended the small desk. Candles rolled on the floor, spilling wax and tiny dying embers. Most went out, but some remained lit. She noticed now another small cask of wine that lay drained and empty next to him.

“Not yet...” his eyes darted for an exit. “I need more time.”

“Stay!” she ordered, her voice hard edged. “You will not leave me! Though you be my brother, I, your queen, would have words with you!”

He swayed and gripped the wall for support, obviously torn. “You’re my sister...”

“What is wrong with you, Aron? This is not like you!”

It is indeed out of character for him. His character has always been one of zealousness to a fault, but now for some reason he fears taking these oaths, this next step. The question is why...Is it just jealousy or something else?

Is he possessed by some entity?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Definitely not. In that case, I think we’re just seeing deep-seated issues from their childhood coming to the fore here. Desire to please mother, a true love for his sister, but under all that, a seething jealousy.

She saw tears in his eyes. He held fists to his head moaning, and softly knocked his head against the cool stone wall as if seeking relief from some inner fever from the cold rock. “Don’t you see? It’s always been you!” he said, anger and resentment spilling out. “Everything has been! Father and Mother, all but doted on you. I thought--” he swallowed and grimaced. “I thought if I tried harder--if I tried my hardest to fulfill Mother’s dying wish that then I’d be...appreciated at least! But Mother always hated me!” he chewed on the word and then drew in a ragged breath.

“Mother didn’t hate you, she was just stern and--”

“Did you know that when I teased you, she--” he shook his head and broke off, and she could hear him struggling with his emotions. Was he crying? It unnerved her. It didn’t help that he had drunk all that wine. He must’ve been trying to drown these memories.

Darkness and sorrow seemed to well up around them. He slid down in the corner of the room and huddled there, trembling, arms wrapped about himself.

“...she hurt me!” he gasped as if pained by the admission. “I had blocked it out, and couldn’t remember it save in nightmares sometimes. But--” another long drawn shudder convulsed him. “But when I saw him last night--” he rocked back and forth. “Last night he came to me. When--when you called the shadows!”

Did she need more answers about her mother? She had heard something like this already from her brother’s dream in the tower a few days ago, while resting from their fight with the giant boar.

“Him?” she felt her skin crawl. “Who--what did you see?”

“The ‘Dark Man’,” he said, quoting himself as a child, and she could feel his fear now growing at the memory. His fear and his resentment and his hatred. “Mother used to bring him out of the cupboard with bleeding black eyes that melted like wax when he looked at me. ‘To teach you respect, Aron’ to ‘Teach you to respect your sister. Your betters!’. That’s what she said! And when he touched me, he--”

“Don’t!” Eilwen breathed. She didn’t want to hear more. She felt tears glistening on her own lashes now. She knelt over him. “Aron, I love you. Please stop! I can help you. Together we can get through this. Whatever happened between you and mother, I can--”

Test Your Bond Move
When your bond is tested through conflict, betrayal, or circumstance, roll + heart.

4 = 3[d6]+1

10 = 8[d10]+2[d10]

A weak hit. That’s something at least. The book says, On a weak hit your bond is fragile and you must prove your loyalty. Envision what they ask of you, and do it. If you decline or fail, clear the bond and Pay the Price.

“What? How can you help me?” he spat, shoving her arm away, bitterness and anger and drunkenness driving out words, each an acidic barb. “You follow in mother’s own steps! With your blood-stained Iron-bound book! With your witchbinding of departed shades! It’s all an abomination!”

She reeled. They were just shadows. Manipulations of darkness. Just---magic, right? That’s what she had always told herself. "They're shadows, Aron, and--"

“These are the spirits of the dead, Eilwen. Can’t you see? They can’t rest. They moan for release, but still they come when they are commanded. Last night the ‘Dark Man’ came to me, his eyes bleeding darkness over my pillow. He gaped and grinned and laughed in whispered darkness as I shuddered from his chill touch. Don’t you see? They will ever haunt us, and they will be your doom! You want to help me? To help us? Then let it go! Prove to me you aren’t Mother!”

It stung. How could she give up the very tools she had been formed to use to bring about a unified land?

“What? How can you accuse me of such a thing? What did I do to deserve your mistrust?”

“You can’t be serious?” he choked off a cry. “I bare my soul to you. I tell you of the demons that haunt me. You can see I’m not acting! I’m trembling like a leaf in the corner, and you have the gall to question my sincerity?”

“Aron, I’m not questioning your sincerity. I’m questioning your mistrust. You are besieged by bad dreams and nightmares, that is all! It is magic. It isn’t real. It is--”

“Nightmares?” he spat. “You call what I suffered last night, not real? Some dark fantasy that I conjured up? I cannot conjure up nightmares. It’s you that does that!” he shuddered and twisted into the corner more. “Just leave me be!”


“You are in the wrong, sister. You must prove to me you’re not. Prove to me your trust! Bury or melt the plates, I don’t care which. Release the shadows for good. Never call them again! Please!”

“How can you ask such a thing!” Eilwen said, anger and her own anguish mixing together and coursing like poison through her. “If Mother did those things to you, that is her failing, not mine. Take it up with her! If some vagrant uses a sword to kill a woman, is the sword to blame? No! ‘Tis lunacy. The power Mother taught me is nothing more than a tool, like that sword, Aron, and I will not give it up. I will not lose this boon to sate your desire for...acceptance? Or for your fear of the unknown. I know that you are jealous. You had best reign that in, or it will go badly for you.”

“Badly? As if losing my own sister to the darkness that consumed Mother isn’t bad enough?”

This couldn’t be happening.

She needed him. If she lost him, her most trusted ‘general’, her plans would be severely set back.

But if she gave up the shadows...She shook her head.

“You’re not thinking straight, Aron! Don’t you see? I must keep it. I must maintain it, otherwise all is lost! The people expect me to have powers tied to the queens of the past, and I do have them! Without them, they’ll flee to the nine winds and my kingdom is lost before it’s ever begun!”

“Your kingdom!” he spat. “Of what worth is it if you lose your own brother! Your own blood kin...Your own soul!”

“I don’t mean to lose you, Aron. I mean to help you! I can teach you to control the shadows to--”

“Leave me!” he roared the stench of wine thick on his breath. “I cannot bear the sight of you more this day! You’re no queen! For all I know you’re a bastard half-sister fathered by some shadow-loving fiend of the night that mother tangled the sheets with, and--”

She slapped him hard across the face. The shock of the blow knocked his head hard to the side. He stared at her, mouth agape, completely nonplussed. He blinked at her rapidly. Blood began to ooze down his face. He touched it with his finger.

It wasn’t until then that she realized she had hit him with the golden crown. Blood now rimmed its edge.

Her brother’s blood.

“You will never speak to your queen in such disrespect again!”

Her hand shook with the white-knuckled finality of what just passed. But with effort, she quelled the shaking and gripped the crown tighter in her right hand until it’s hard edges cut into her own flesh.

Blood mixed with blood.

She took a deep breath, swallowed and steeled herself and stood up tall and regal before him. He huddled against the wall, disbelief and sorrow graven onto his face. His left hand reached up and touched the wound on the side of his head.

“‘Does acting like a queen mean letting good people die?’” Do you remember that question I asked you, brother, under that accursed mountain?

He stilled, and he seemed not to breathe. Tears and blood mixed and twined down his face. His left hand trembled with blood on it.

“‘Sometimes....Yes,’ you had answered."

“‘Even you?’” I had asked you.

She crouched before him. “And what did you say, Aron? Do you remember? I do, because this conversation plays itself out in my head every single night. You said, ‘I don’t want to die,’” Tears ran hot down her cheeks, but she let them. “You said, ‘You can have no favorites,’ remember? You said I should ‘Choose what is best for the kingdom when the time comes.’”

“Eilwen, you can’t mean--”

She stood and drew herself to her full height. “I am Queen now, and I am choosing what is best for this kingdom! The magic Mother taught me is mine. I shall not give it up! It is part of the glue that holds these people together. At least until I get the other half of the crown. Once I have the crown and am Queen in the eyes of all, then we’ll see.”

“And what of me?” he asked, not bothering to hide his pain nor his disdain for what had just transpired.

“You are free to go your own way, Brother. Know that I love you, but if you choose to stay I will have your loyalty and your oaths. Consider carefully.” With that, she tilted her chin up, turned and strode from the room, the door slammed behind her with a heavy finality.

OOC - Well THAT just happened! Yeesh!

I know what I'll do for the miss at the beginning of the episode. It corresponds with what just transpired with Aron will result. This will result in an automatic loss of Spirit, now at 0.

That night she couldn’t sleep. It felt like a part of her had died and maybe it had. She stood atop the wooden palisade and felt the cold breeze blow her hair. Dark clouds scudded across the stars blotting out their light.

She closed her eyes and remembered how she and Aron had played their silly games together, games of pretend as they hunted for game for the dinner table. In their games of make-believe, Aron was always her protector, her rescuer. What would become of them now? She would become queen. But would it be worth the cost if it drove those she loved to hatred and regret? It had to be. If she rescinded her vow, what then? These lands would fall to shadow and death eventually from constant bickering and infighting. They needed to be unified as they had once been of old.

With a sigh, she gripped the railing and felt the wood bite into her skin. She bowed her head and felt a lump grow in her throat. She shoved the sorrow down and looked up to the stars. Their light barely shone at all. Perhaps they, like her people, would also fade to darkness. But she would not let that just happen. She had to fight it to the end. 

But she never felt so alone.

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

Hi All. Haven't posted for a while. I have been playing some other games. I have a couple of other solo RPG tales in the work, but I don't have anything to share on them yet. Anyway, the Ironsworn itch hit me again this last week after binge-watching a fantastic improve actor on youtube play the game. So, I'm back at it, at least for now.

Episode 48
I forgot to do the Endure Stress from her Spirit loss last episode.
Endure stress, roll + spirit or heart whichever is higher. So she’s rolling + heart.

5 = 4[d6]+1

10 = 8[d10]+2[d10]

She can’t choose to shake it off because her Spirit is 0, so she endures 1 momentum loss, now at 0.

A weak hit. She can only Embrace the Darkness and gains 1 momentum.


This scene is for the strong match on the Sojourn move earlier... an opportunity or something interesting

Two days passed in rest, recuperation, resupply, and planning and rain.

Does Aron stay?
(Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes

Well, that’s unexpected. If he’s staying, does he come to his senses and give his oaths?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Okay. We’ll handle that later.

On the third day, Caldas surprised her with a visit. Her guards let him in. He smiled, shook water from his cloak and drew out some scraggly wild flowers. He placed them into a simple stone vase on the shelf.

Valerie and she sat at a rough table, Valerie’s map spread out in front of them again. Her daughters played quietly in the adjoining room.

“I thought they might cheer you up,” he said. “You seemed a little down.”

Valerie excused herself and went in back with the children, leaving her alone with Caldas.

What was this about? Eilwen wondered. She had felt down, it was true. Aron still had not left. Nor had he sworn his vows to her. She wasn’t sure what that meant, but it bothered her and now Caldas showed up, and he was up to something.

From before, here’s what I rolled up about Caldas:
Descriptor: Experienced
Role: Farmer, Scout
Goal: Gain Knowledge

Also, from before, for the strong match, I had pulled up this on the MAG:
first aid symbol, flower, more flowers, a twisted vine, spray can, spear or arrow tip reamed in frost, cliffs, a full helm, a curvy backwards S.

“Thank you,” she said and studied him. She felt somewhat distracted by his handsome features and that angered her.

“I’m sorry, did I do anything to offend?”

“No, I just have a lot on my mind,” she said.

“Leadership is a burden,” he nodded then an awkward silence stretched between them. He fidgeted with the flowers, adjusting them, then looked at her in a sidelong glance.

Does he address her as queen?
(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

“What is on your mind Master Caldas?”


“You seem distracted. Perhaps you came here for more than to just bring me flowers?”

“I... well, yes. Truth is, I wondered if you might help me.”

She looked at him and tilted her head in question.

He suddenly became animated, excited and he drew out a sheaf of parchment, bound together in leather bands. He fingered the tome for a moment and then looked at her as if considering. Finally, he placed it down in front of her. Blocky runes covered its face.

“Have you heard of the tale of Kidha Handhammer?”

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

She shook her head. “No... but I am not from these lands. I grew up in the Veiled Mountains, far from these warm lands.”

“Warm...” he chuckled and rubbed his arms against the general chill. “Yes, I suppose you might think that.”

“What is this?” she glanced down at the parchment, shifting it so she could see its markings.

Can she make sense of it?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

It seemed to be in the same runes that her mother had taught her.

“Kidha was a giant of no small repute among humans. I’ve been searching for anything about him.”

Can Caldas understand the runes as well as she?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

“I found these writings inscribed all along and around a standing stone not far from here and copied it down. I cannot make out the runes themselves, but the mark of Kidha is well recognized. See? This here.” he pointed at a stylized spear with the tip surrounded by a star. “So, I copied them all down here, hoping someone could read them.”

She studied the runes and after a moment laboriously sounding out some of the more oddly-inflected ones and after several attempts, she made out the first line.

“You can read them?” Caldas’s hand trembled, and he leaned over her shoulder, watching her read, his eyes darting from her face to the lines on the parchment, his warmth felt distractingly near.

“Yes. My mother taught me these runes,” she shifted and looked at him. “Why the interest in this Kidha?”

“Do you know any lore of the giant kind?”

Has she seen any gians?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

She shrugged. “They are rumored to walk the halls of stone of the veiled mountains though I’ve never seen one.”

“Nor have I, but from the tales told, Kidha was unique. By nature, giants are not evil or cruel. Most want to live peaceful and solitary lives, free of the meddlings of our kind. When my forebears settled these lands, they killed some giants who they thought were threatening their homes. But it wasn’t the giants but a clan of Varou who had killed and scattered their flocks. Grandfather tells how one Kidha Hammerhand strove against the Varou with a spear that was kissed by starlight itself. Some said it gleamed with the cold light of the winter star themselves. Some of Kidha’s other names, given by my grandfather are ‘Kidha the Kindhearted’ and ‘Kidha Brightspear’”.

“What happened?”

“Kidha lived with them for a generation and helped their settlement prosper.”

“In Longfalls?”

“No, no,” Caldas said. “This was far from here, far to the south where my father was born on the northern border of the Havens and the Hinterlands, a settlement named Brackwater. But one day, he mysteriously left the humans and was never seen again. But then last year, while hunting, I found this standing stone with those etchings,” he touched the parchment. “This is a connection to my own family’s history. I am intrigued by this individual and want to know more about him.”

“And now, finally, one who can read these writings is here. What does it say?”

“It’s not easy to make out. I’ll need some time to study it. May I? I should be able to have a translation on the morrow.”

He nodded with some reluctance, thanked her and left. Intrigued, she spent the rest of the day and well into the night studying the cramped blocky writing.

The next morning she met with Caldas and told the translation.

Separate / Stalemate

Fiercely / Young

The tome told tale of two twin brothers, giants both, Kidha and Denua. When they were younger they were always in competition but were so evenly matched that for many years, none could prove the stronger. As they grew older, they both fell in love with the same female, a giant named Bandu. For long months they strove for Bandu’s affection. One day, while hunting, their love came upon a pack of humans. The humans attacked and killed her for no apparent reason.

When Denua heard of it, he descended upon the nearest human settlement and killed them all, man, woman, and child. He vowed he would raise a warband of giants and eradicate all the humans from these lands. Kidha foresaw the sorrow, hatred, anger, and pain that this path would bring. He sought out the help of the gods, and following a vision, he found on a mountain’s height, inside the heart of a glacier’s weeping, the Starspear, weapon of the gods.

Taking the spear, Kidha intercepted Denua’s warband and fought his brother in one-on-one combat to the death. In this conflict, Kidha, with the help of the spear, bested his brother, but because he killed one of his kind, he was forever banned from association with his own kind.

Do the runes say ought of Kidha’s burial?
(Somewhat Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...
But it’s not exactly clear where...

The tome ended with “Buried he be in a hall of mountain stone. A rocky tomb within a glacial bone.” And then she pointed out some runes she didn’t recognize, that seemed to be in a different tongue.

Caldas thought that perhaps they were written by the hands of giants. Crestfallen, he thanked her and left her. And Eilwen for her part, made a mental note to keep a lookout for such a place.


Has Valerie seen Aron still in town?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Has Aron told anyone of the falling about between him and Eilwen?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Does Valerie sense the distance between E and A?
Womanly intuition + she’s around Eilwen more now... I’ll say likey.
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Does she bring up the topic to Eilwen?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Did Eilwen’s guards hear anything about E and A’s argument? Since they were just outside the door, I’ll say SL.
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Did they hear the details?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Yes, and they’re very protective of Eilwen and proactive about watching for potential trouble he might cause.

What is Aron up to?
Activity / The intellectual

He’s using his brain for something.

Is he researching something?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Is he plotting against her?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

What was he planning?
Attainment / Technology

Delightfully / Delicate

I’m not sure what “technology” is available to him in the Viking era that he doesn’t already have. This is a very much pre-tech setting, and he’s against using magic, so to me it sounds like he was trying to extract a poison and hire an assassin.

Has he been drowning in drink?
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Do they tell Eilwen?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Does a threat materialize?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

I see. The overzealous guards take matters into their own hands and either capture Aron or cause him to flee.

Is he captured?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Were they rough with him? It’s her brother - SU I guess.
(Somewhat Unlikely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Well... sounds like her guards got very carried away and that they possibly even maimed him in some way.

Is he in danger of death?
(Somewhat Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...

Only if he doesn’t get medical attention.

Did he fight back?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

And he killed some guards before he himself was wounded and taken captive. Great...

Is he defiant before Eilwen?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


Two days later, Eilwen and Valarie were again consulting the map and making travel plans over a table of rough rye bread, sharp cheese, cold boar, and a pitcher of weak wine. Supplies littered the floor in various stages of packing.

Good weather?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Another crack of lightning flashed and the boom of thunder followed close by, rattling the beams of their temporary abode.

“Will it never end?” Valarie asked.The heavens have been raining a cold mixture of sleet and hail incessantly for four days now, turning the streets into cold, freezing mud.

Eilwen, used to colder and more severe weather than this, nevertheless also wished for brighter skies. Her thoughts had been dark of late, to match the storm.

Aron had still not left. Her guards had told her that her brother had taken to long rides, even going into the woods outside Longfalls, doing what, they weren’t sure, but they said he was acting suspiciously. She hated spying on her own brother, but what was she to do when he now feared and hated her. She alternately saw his laughing smiling face when together as children they had hunted down some venison for their table at Frostbridge, snow drifting down around them.

But now, the angry heavens roiled with equal parts fiery wrath and tears of the gods, if gods there were.

Valarie’s children played indoors, running around the table, laughing and giggling, pretending to be Eilwen the Queen or Aron the Great General or even Caldas the Hunter. They re-enacted tales of the recent battle.

Their play got on her nerves and she very nearly lashed out at them.

“It will end when it ends,” Eilwen said automatically...not for the first nor the last time she was sure. She tried to concentrate, but she felt numb, and the map blurred before her eyes. She massaged at her temples.

“I have the supplies you asked for. Not as many as you had wanted.” Valarie said.

That didn’t surprise Eilwen. Caldas told her that some storehouses had been lost in the fighting.

“Well, I think--” Valerie began just as the door slammed open, interrupting her.

“My Queen!” Thorgunna, announced. She was a woman in her mid thirties, strong and hale with some gray in her raven-dark hair. Her angular face had a nasty cut that oozed blood, but she hardly seemed to notice. Her face shone with a vengeful light. “He tried to escape! But I found him.”


“The traitorous dog!”

“What do you mean, traitor?” Eilwen asked, standing. “Who?”

“Your own kin, and you couldn’t see it. Bring him in!” Thorgunna ordered.

An awful dread ran down Eilwen’s spine as she recognized the man that two other female guards dragged grimly before her.

Her brother, Aron, struggled weakly against their grip.

The guards shoved him forward, hand’s still gripping his arms.

Blood dripping from a shattered nose, his face had been battered repeatedly and was now bruised in ugly blacks and purples. Cuts ravaged his arms and chest. One fist shoved into his side where an ugly puncture wound oozed thick blood. The room smelled heavy with its coppery scent.

Aron uttered a curse at Thorgunna and spat bloody spittle into her face, grinning at her. Blood ran down his face, dripping onto the floor. Thorgunna in turn growled and backhanded him, and Aron’s head snapped back.

“Stop! What are you doing?” Eilwen cried out moving towards them.

Without heeding Eilwen, Thrugunna tore Aron from the grip of the guards, and drove a knee hard into his groin. Aron dropped to the ground, coughing and rolling in pain.

A stunned silence filled the room, and Valarie’s children looked on in open-mouthed fear and awe. Vararie darted over to them and in hushed tones ushered them into an adjoining room, accompanying them.

“Thorgunna! I told you to stop!” Eilwen hissed, giving the woman a hard glare. Then she knelt beside her brother, a hand on his back as he rocked back and forth.

He didn’t seem to notice, such was his pain.

“He killed my sister!” Thorgunna said.

“He what?” Eilwen’s looked up at the woman. She was kneeling beside Aron and hardly realized she had moved to his side.

“He plotted against you!” Thorgunna said. “We acted to stop him. He did not come quietly. He fought and killed three guards. My sister, Malane, was among them. She died because of him!”

Plotted? her mind couldn’t believe it. Not Aron! Not her own brother...

“We know why he was in the forest. We found this on him,” Grayce said. Shorter than Thorgunna, she nevertheless knew her way around a blade and she had a no-nonsense common sense bearing. She gave an efficient bow and handed over one of Aron’s leather pouches.

Eilwen smelled the bitter scent of Blisterleaf even before she saw the jagged edges of the red leaf spill onto the floor. Blisterleaf caused blisters on the skin if brushed against, but worse, when dried and fermented, the leaf could produce a deadly, nearly undetectable poison that resulted in a slow, but certain, death.

Her hand clenched about the pouch, as she slowly crushed the pouch in a white-nuckled grip, red flakes drifting in the air. She slowly withdrew her hand from her brother’s back, uncertain.

“He killed Malane! He deserves death!” Thorgunna said, and her face now added anguish to her mix of vengeful wrath.

“There’s more,” Grayse said. “We three, and other witnesses, tracked him to the forest. He had several meetings with two others. They were always cowled. But we heard him saying they could have your amulet and swords if they helped him get rid of you. We tried to capture them, but the other two disappeared when we moved in.”

“This is true?” she looked at the third guard, who also nodded.

“You have more witnesses?”

“We do,” Grayse frowned. “Though one is on her deathbed.”

The cold pit in her stomach turned to a ball of fiery ice. She wanted to lash out to say they were wrong, that it was all some impossible trick. She wanted to scream at the sky and the heedless gods and their penchant for fickle fate.

She clenched her fists and felt her fingernails dig into her palms. This wasn’t happening! This couldn’t be happening! She felt herself trembling. Her brother groaned on the floor. She wanted to run to him to help her brother to-- But no-- she had to be the queen.

“Bind him,” she said to Grayse, and through her voice trembled she tinged it with iron. “But tend his wounds.” She stood and glanced at Thrugunna and then back to Grayse. “Place him under guard, and see that no harm comes to him until his trial.”

“Yes, my Queen,” Grayse bowed and gave instructions to two guards who dragged Aron away and a third who ran to fetch a healer.

Is Thorgunna mollified?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

Thorgunna spun on Eilwen. “You’re letting him go and calling for a healer?”

“There will be a trial, as I said,” Eilwen said flatly.

“He should be dead! He killed my--”

“That is enough, Thorgunna!” Eilwen strode and stood within inches of the other woman’s face. “I am your Queen, and I hold you oathbound. Now leave me!”

Thrugunna spun on her heel and strode from the room in a thundercloud of anger.

“Grayse, take me to see the witnesses.”

“Yes my Queen.” Grayse said and together they left the room.


Three days later, after she had met with the witnesses and heard their testimony, they held the trial. She had asked Caldas to sit as judge and jury, for she loathed to raise judgement against her brother, and as Caldas had not sworn oaths to her, and this was still his settlement, she felt grateful for an out.

He didn’t look particularly pleased, but he thanked her that she had not taken the law into her own hand. She knew Caldos didn’t yet accept her as queen, and this had to be done delicately. Undermining Caldas’s authority could turn him into another foe she didn’t need. Already, having her army hanging around was straining their relationship.

Word had got around of “Aron the Betrayer” and “Aron the Faithless”. The army did not take it well, especially as it happened only days after his rise to power within the hierarchy. Some wanted to see him dead right then and there. Others just seemed confused by the sudden turn of events.

Regardless, the Caldas’s hall was full to bursting with spectators as the trial began. The rainy weather and the crowds that had gathered had churned the streets into mud pits. A roaring fire kept back the chill of the rain, the smell of its smoke mixing with the smell of nearly four-score unwashed and sour-smelling bodies crowded into the long chamber.

“What are the charges?” Caldas asked. He sat at the head by the fire, a cloak made of bear fur clasped over his back. Torches guttered in sconces on the wall.

“Plotting against Queen Eilwen,” Grayce called out and shoved. “And for committing violence upon those who sought to stop his plotting. Violence within your walls.”

“Longfalls does not yet recognize the Lady Eilwen as Queen,” Caldas returned, holding Grayce’s steely gaze with steel of his own. Murmurs and whispers flew through the hall and the situation grew tense with Caldas’s own men intently watching Eilwen’s troops.

“He killed my sister!” Thorgunna suddenly stood. “He should be gutted and his entrails burnt on an iron spike!”

Does Aron have much of a following?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

“Hold!” Caldas called out. “Lady Eilwen, control your own entourage if you please, I’ll have no further outbursts.”

A few others, less than half a dozen, then called out in support of Aron.

“He’s a good man and a brave warrior!”

“He deserves pardon!”

These, Eilwen knew, had fought by his side the most the night of what was known as the Battle of Longfalls. Aron and apparently shared mugs with them in the days since.

“How do you plead?” Caldas asked Aron.

Aron sat across from Eilwen. His eyes glittered at her in the firelight. He stood up and though still bound at the wrists he gave a respectful bow to Caldas.

“My Lord Caldas, I am guilty of nothing but trying to save these lands from a vile darkness that I have seen growing in my sister.” He thrust an accusing jaw at Eilwen. “You have all seen it. The unnatural way the shades of the dead heed her will.”

“‘Ere this rift befell you and your sister, you fought alongside her,” Caldas said. “What has changed? For, from all reports, you were her most ardent supporter.”

“That is true. I was. But in good conscience, I can no longer support the witch.”

“But you did know of her power ‘ere this day? You yourself even called her ‘Lightweaver’ during the battle. Many have borne testimony that you yourself claimed they were our ‘ancestors’ come to join us. Is this not so?”

“You speak truly, Lord Caldas. They may very well have been our ancestors. I know not... But I know I was wrong to call her Lightweaver; for only darkness spews from those lips.” He turned and stared at the shadow cast by the fire.

“They haunt me,” he said, his voice lower and ponderous, “these shades beyond the grave. The ‘Dark Man’ has been with me this last fortnight...” he said and his voice now sounded strained and tinged with real ragged fear.

“Who is this Dark Man?” Caldas asked.

“He bleeds shadows from his eyes and mouth,” Aron nearly started to weep and leaned away from the darkness in the room. “And she called him! 'Ere the battle, he did not haunt me! Is that what you want? Is this the queen you fight for?”

Most still beheld Aron with hardened expressions, for she held their oaths and not he, but there were some, even among the oathbound, who began to murmur and whisper, now uncertain.

Are there laws against mysticism and magic in Longhaven?
(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...
No but it’s feared and respected.

“And you Lady Eilwen,” Caldas asked. “How do you respond?”

She stood and held the half crown in one hand and the golden sapphire pendant stood visible upon her breast, glittering in the light. She wore it now for she knew it would be seen as an additional token of her queenship.

“I defy my brother’s accusations,” she said and she drew her sword which glimmered with its own pale light. “I accept the title of Lightweaver for it is a true one.”

Murmurs of assent filtered around the room.

She continued, setting the sword point down and resting her hands upon the pommel, it’s pale light shining in the half light. “I called upon the shades of our ancestors to fight alongside us. But to have such help from our loved ones is a gift.”

“Had they not been with us in that critical moment, that battle could have turned ill. Before my forces joined the battle, Longfalls fought bravely but was teetering." She turned in a slow circle and her imperious gaze swept across the Longfalls residents. "I can see it in your eyes. You lost many loved ones. You would have lost many more. I brought the spirits to aid Longfalls.

“Should I have let Uzak have their way with you?" she continued. "I could have done so, but I care for all my subjects, even those who do not yet see me as their queen.”

She shifted and rested her hands on a sword pommel, she smiled at Caldas.

“I wanted to help. You know this to be true,” she said, looking about her and then at Caldas.

“Yes, you did offer help...and you did help,” he said slowly, somewhat grudgingly. “You have my thanks.”

“But not yet your oaths, Lord Caldas. I understand.” She turned from him and spread one arm out as if welcoming them. “My friends of Longfalls, together we have dealt with the ravages of Delos and now Uzak. In both cases I have come to your aid. I do not ask for you to accept me as your queen. Caldas is a good ruler, and I leave you in his capable hands. I only ask that you be no hindrance to my cause.

“I care for my brother,” she said and she did. She felt the hurt and love in her breast. “But he is confused and hurt in spirit and mind. Heed not his dissensions. We owe these blessed spirits our thanks and respect, not our fear.”

She’s going to try a Forge a Bond move with Longfalls here and now.

4 = 3[d6]+1

3 = 2[d10]+1[d10]

Booyah! A strong hit!
She’ll take +1 spirit (now 1/5)
She gets a tick in her Bonds track.

Is Caldas more accepting of the idea of her being queen?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
Well that’s promising...

A cheer resounded across the hall and some Longfall residents even shouted “Queen Eilwen!”

Caldas smiled, stood, and raised both hands until the crowd quieted. He inclined his head towards her.

“You speak well, Lady Eilwen, and I judge from your heart the truth of your words. You will always find welcome in Longfalls.”

What does Aron do?
61 = 61[d100]

49 = 49[d100]

Aron jumped to his feet, his face mottled with rage. “My Lord Caldas! Can’t you see she has you ensorcelled with her silver-tinged tongue?”

What is his ruling for Aron?

I’ll roll on the Action Theme table.
82 = 82[d100]

99 = 99[d100]

“Sit down!” Caldas growled

Does Aron behave?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

Grumbling, Aron sat back down but he glared at Caldas and Eilwen. She pointedly ignored him.

“There is the matter of your brother, Lady Eilwen. I judge that you are no foul witch or demon-spawn. For a certain, you are a friend of Longfalls. But I cannot say the same for your brother. What to do with this man who has done violence against those in our care?”

Caldas swept a cold eye over Thorgunna, daring her to speak, but the hard woman held her peace, leaning her elbows on her knees, her dark eyes watching Caldas intently.

“You are Lord of Longfalls,” Eilwen said in somber tones. “It would not be just for me to offer advice in this matter. These are your lands, your people, your laws.”

“Very well. I will debate the matter with my advisors. We will have a decision in the morning. Everyone go and seek your rest.”


She ate little and slept poorly that night, thoughts of her brother spinning in her mind. Pictures of snow drifting about them, a spear in his hand, father teaching him a kata.

She shoved the covers off and stood pacing in her apartments. There was nothing she could do. He made his choices and now, consequences attached to those choices, as sure as iron-forged hardness, threatened him with destruction.

The silent or dead gods offered no solace, and little mercy was to be found in this harsh existence.

“Mother,” she sighed in agony into the night. “What have you done? Were you a tool of the darkness only? Was it all plotting and careful calculation?”

Restless, she returned to her bed and the wind and final spatters of rain offered no answer. Yet in her mind, she saw her mother smiling and dancing with father, love on her face.

But had that too been only an act? A calculation? Had Father been enthralled by more than mortal affection? In that moment, the questions and doubts threatened to overwhelm her. She clutched the sapphire pendant to her breast and let the tears run down her cheeks.

“Aron...” she breathed into the night. “Oh, my dear brother, Aron! What has befallen us?”

(Enjoying my content? Want to show your support? Consider joining my Patreon at Roll, Ponder, and Play!)

Hi Jingo, I have just read the story of Eilwen and wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed it - it is great! 

Thank you for taking the time to share it here and please carry on!

Edited to reverse damn autocorrect - says Eilwen now, not Eileen!

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)