Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
#81
Episode 56
“Gethyd!” Valeri cried and her voice quavered with anguish. She took a few steps into the trees to follow after.

“Valerie, remember your young ones! They need you.” Eilwen said.

“But--”

“Stay with them! And free those prisoners. Arm them with the weapons. Hide them in these woods. I’ll bring back your son!”

“Don’t hurt him!” Valerie pleaded as Eilwen followed after the young man. “He’s not himself!”

Eilwen didn’t respond as she crashed into the forest.

She’ll try to chase him down before he gets too far away or runs into guards
Face Danger + Edge
5 = 3[d6]+2

9 = 8[d10]+1[d10]

Leaping over fallen logs and ducking under slashing tree limbs, she finally caught up to Gethyd.

Action/Theme for general area description
Release/Strategy

“Stay back, witch!”

He spun, and put his back against a large block of stone. Behind him a tower, half stood, half crumbled in a clearing with thigh-high grasses. The blackened stones that lay about them bespoke a fiery fate many years ago. Vines and creepers now half-covered the blocks in verdant growth.

This could be the ruins in Episode 32

Gethyd’s ribs jutted visibly through his tunic as he sucked in air. Eilwen also felt somewhat winded, and she bore scratches on her arms and face from the branches from her pell mell run into the forest.

(Loss of Health now 3/5)

Endure Harm
8 = 5[d6]+3

9 = 1[d10]+8[d10]

Weak Hit. You press on.

“Calm down,” she said. “I’m not here to hurt you boy!”

Boy...she studied him. He was actually about her age, perhaps a year younger. He had stubble on his chin, but other than that seemed younger because the gaunt cast to his cheeks and his obvious lack of nourishment.

“You speak lies!” he hissed. “The shades of the dead twist about you like a cloak of darkness!”

“The shadows will not harm you,” she said. “I summoned them to free your mother and siblings from Willam and his men. Would you have him harm your family?”

“She’s just another shadow! Some illusion you conjured up to trick me!”

“She is quite real, I assure you. I’ve come back to help her free you and your father and deal with Yormid. Come back and speak with your mother. You will see. Together we can stop Yormid.”

Compel with Heart
6 = 5[d6]+1

9 = 3[d10]+6[d10]

A weak hit. He agrees but asks something in return.

“How can I trust you?”

“Oh I don’t know,” she said. “I could’ve just turned you into a toad and boiled you in a pot for my dinner, but since I haven’t done that yet, maybe you can start there.”

Her sarcasm actually made him relax a little, and he gave a small grin and relaxed some. “You really are a witch though?”

“My mother taught me a few tricks with the shadows,” she said. “That’s all.”

“You promise you will save my father and deal with Yormid?”

“I have already sworn I would do so...on Iron.”

“You are Ironsworn?” his eyes raised and she shook head and gave a disbelieving laugh. “But you’re just a girl.”

“What does that have to do with anything? Cannot a woman be Ironsworn?” she gave him a regal look.

“You, a woman? You’re too young.”

“I’m older than you.”

“Not by much,” he huffed. “You’re what? Seventeen?”

“Eighteen,” she raised her chin.

“It’s hard to tell with those...shadowy things about you.”

She ignored that. “What about you?”

“I’m seventeen,” he said as if he’d bitten into a sour berry.

She smiled.

He grunted, “Who are you anyway?”

“I’m Eilwen,” she inclined her head to him.

“You already know my name,” Gethyd said as he put away his knife and came near her, watching the shadows twist around her. “If you’re really a witch, can you conjure me some food. You do that and we have a deal!”

“Help yourself,” she smiled and tossed him some dried berries and meat from her pack.

(-1 supply now 1/5 -- This is what he requested for his condition to be compelled)

This fulfills two boxes on the progress
(2/10 for her vow to rescue Valeri’s family and deal with Yormid.)


She looked about them as he tore open the package and began shoving food into his mouth.

“Hungry?”

He just looked at her then back at his food and continued chewing.

“What is this place?” she pointed to the crumbling guard tower.

Does he know anything about it?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Has it been completely looted?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

“Father took me here a few times,” he said between mouthfuls. “Hunting for venison. I’ve been inside. There’s strange markings all over on some ironwork inside. One time, we found a hidden room.”

What is Gethyd good at?

Running

Detect/disarm traps

Animal lore

He took another bite and licked his fingers and continued. “It had some old musty books. They fell apart when we touched them. But inside a sealed iron box, we found a map case.”

“A map?”

He nodded.

“To where?”

Did he ever find out?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

“I don’t know. Father tucked it away and I don’t know what happened to it.”

Eilwen grunted and stared at the dark hole that led into the tower then she watched the clouds scudding overhead, painted silver from the moon. She had memorized the markings on that very map.

“Does Yormid know about it?”
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

“Yes, but...”

“What?”

“Nothing,” he said.

“You can tell me.”

He shrugged.

“You look hungry still,” she dug in her small pack and handled another pouch of rations.

His eyes fixed on it and he licked his lips.

She held up the rations. “Tell me more.”

“Well, Yormid didn’t know--” he licked his lips his eyes on her hands about the package of food. “He didn’t know about the hidden room of course or the passageway under that.”

“Passageway?” she asked and tossed him the ration.

He nodded as he tore into the second package, practically inhaling its contents. “There’s a passageway under a trap door in that hidden room. Iron gate and a large iron lock.”

“Locked you say? Rusted?”
(Likely | 3[d10]) No

“No, and that’s what’s strange. All the other iron in that place has fallen to time, but not that lock.”

“That is strange,” Eilwen said and wondered at the secrets held under the tower.

“How far away are we from Yormid’s dwelling?”

“About an hour by foot,” he said. “We’ve been working these foothills every day looking for the black iron.”

“What has him convinced it’s here?”

Does he know?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

“No idea,” he said. “People don’t ask anymore. Old man Tuong called Yormid mad six months ago to search for it, and Yormid had him beheaded and his corpse hung on a pole for the worms to eat. People don’t ask. But Yormid is driven. He works all the slaves to the bone.”

Eilwen stood. “We better get back to the others.”

----


Eilwen and Gethyd talked as they took a more sedate pace back to Valeri and the prisoners.

“How is your father?” She asked.

Does he know?
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Lovingly / Magnificent

He shrugged as he bit off a tough piece of jerky and chewed with gusto. “He misses Mom in a big way, but other than that, he’s hanging on all right. I can’t believe she’s back!”

“Valeri said that Yormid has you and him working in the hills looking for iron?”
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

He nodded. “Yormid is convinced he’ll strike it rich with black iron.”

“How big is Redhall?”

“We’re a circle of three different settlements. Yormid is clan chief, of course. He’s cruel but honest.”

She frowned at that strange combination of traits.

“Why is it named Redhall?”

“A large hall, now a throne room, I guess, for Yormid. It’s from some reddish stone imported from some mountains south of the Havens.”

“He built it?”

“No, it was a gathering hall built by the first founders of Redhall long ago. But he had it converted into his palace, I guess you might call it. But it holds new meaning now,” he frowned.

“What?”

“Redhall...red from all the beheadings, you know. From the blood painted on the walls and beams.”

Eilwen clenched her jaw at the vivid picture. “He will be dealt with.”

“I hope you brought a warband with you,” he said. “You’re going to need one. He is never without his guard.”

---


“Valeri?” Eilwen called quietly.

“We’re here,” she said.

Eilwen followed the sound of Valeri’s voice and saw that the oder whoman had the dozen erstwhile slaves of Redhall hidden behind a dense thicket. Some of them gripped the few remaining weapons from their guards who had fled. They jumped when they saw her and she heard whispers of “witchspawn”.



“Gethyd?” Valeri cried when she saw Gethyd.

“Mother!” he said and they gripped in a fierce and emotional hug.

“Getty!” her siblings cried and rushed to hug him.

Eilwen smiled but receded to the side to give them some time alone. The family spoke in hushed but loving tones and held each other, smiles mixing with glistening eyes. She watched Valeri stroke Gethyd’s arm and lean against him. She ached, thinking about her own family: Arwed, her mysterious mother; Aron, her lost brother; and Cadfael, her proud father. What of them?

She sighed and studied the ragged group of freed prisoners. Then she walked over to them. Their eyes darted nervously to the shadows flitting around Eilwen and as a group they shuffled away from her, some even held out weapons in her direction.

“Hold! I’m not your enemy,” she said. “I’m here to help you. How many of you have weapons?”

No one answered.

She picked the closest one.

“You, answer me!” she said, the note of firm command in her voice. “How many?”

“Five of us,” one of them said after a moment.

Is he a warrior?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

“Your name?”

“Halig,” he said. He had his hair pulled back in a ball and tied with a leather band, his shoes were little more than tatters on bleeding feet. He held a spear in one hand.

“I am Eilwen. The rest of you, get some stout staves,” she ordered. “Halig, use this axe to cut them down,” she held out Willan’s axe.

He slowly took the weapon, but held it in a limp grip to his side. “What is that to us? And what do you hope to accomplish by arming us?” he asked, cynicism thick in his voice. “I’m no warrior. Yormind commands an entire circle and his own warband! His guards will be back soon and in greater numbers. I don’t intend to be around when they do.

“Do as you will, Halig,” Eilwen replied. “But know this. I will deal with Yormid.” She pulled out the pendent from under her tunic and let it glitter with its otherworldly sapphire hue, the shadows twisted about her causing the faint light to flicker. “If you stick with me, you stand a better chance of success. What say you?”

Her speech had attracted Valeri and Gethyd who drew near.

Compel + heart

4 = 3[d6]+1

15 = 9[d10]+6[d10]

A miss. New miss count 2/24.
They reject or make a demand that costs you greatly. Pay the price. (I’ll do that later)

The Redhall citizens hissed and muttered, some in fear at her light show and some in open greed at the wealth openly displayed upon her breast.

“Yormind is too powerful” Halig said, tearing his eyes from the gemstone glittering on her breast, and his tone hardened further, becoming insolent and scornful. He tossed the axe back at her feet. “Cut your own staves, Witch! I’ll have none of it. Come on!” he said to the others.

The other in his band grumbled as well and shuffled their feet. None would meet her regal gaze as they followed after Halig, leaving her alone in the clearing.

“They’ll be trouble,” Gethyd muttered as he watched them go.

“You may be right,” Eilwen said. “But there’s nothing to do about it now.”

She placed the amulet once more under her tunic. Gethyd watched her with open curiosity.

“What is that strange necklace?”

“A family heirloom,” she said.

“A wealthy family.”

“After a fashion,” she responded.

Eilwen faced Valeri. “Take the children and head back to Yorgunna and the guards. Take both horses, you’ll move more quickly,” she handed Valeri the reins to her mount. “I mean no rudeness, but Gethyd and I will be able to move more easily and will stand less chance of being noticed without you and the other children.”

Does Valeri see the wisdom in that?
(Likely | 3[d10]) No

“No, I’m coming with you!” Valeri insisted, striding nearer. “My husband is there. I want to help!”

“The best way you can help is by not putting your other children in danger.”

“Yet you’re taking my Gethyd and placing him in danger?”

“That’s different. He’s older.”

Does Gethyd agree with Eilwen?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Does Gethyd want to go with Eilwen?
(Likely | 5[d10]) Yes, but...
...but he’s concerned about his mother and siblings

“He’s weak and hurt and--”

“I want to help her, Mother,” Gethyd said. “And Eilwen’s right. The little ones will only get in the way. We need to be able to move quietly and quickly. I can do this.”

Does Gethyd manage to convince Valeri?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Valeri frowned but then finally nodded and took the reins to Eilwen’s horse in one hand. “I don’t like it, but we’ll do as you say. Be careful, both of you.”

“You too,” Eilwen said. She quickly embraced Valeri and their foreheads touched. “Remember, I have vowed on iron. I will do all I can.”

“I know you will,” Valeri whispered. “But the fates are never certain.”

Valeri then hugged her son for a long time and whispered something Eilwen couldn’t hear.

“Time to go,” Eilwen said finally.

Gethyd nodded and turned to her. “Will they be safe?” he asked as he watched his mother and siblings disappear into the night.

“I believe so, if they move quickly and don’t wait for Yormid’s men to reappear. Your mother’s a strong woman.”

“I know she is.”

Eilwen is armed with an axe, a spear, and one dagger.
Gethyd has her other dagger.
Go forth oh mighty warband of two!
Reply
#82
I feel like your writing has improved since you started this. It was always good, but the rhythm, imagery, and dialog are becoming more vivid and tight.

The pictures you create have movement that one can visualize. This creates an interesting effect when presented in the context of the randomization tools.

It is like I am engrossed in a movie and all of a sudden the camera backs up and I am now behind the scenes watching how the clockwork mechanisms of chaos effect the lives of both the observed and the observer.

It is interestingly enjoyable. I feel less like I am being pulled down some derived narrative, but instead, I am a participant in the discovery and exploration of the events unfolding for the characters in a world that has not been destined to any certainty. But then again, maybe it has.

Thank you for sharing your stories.
Reply
#83
@mark, thanks so much for your feedback and kind comments! That really made my day, and inspired me to keep going with this! And thanks for making an awesome site to share our stories!

You are correct when you wrote the "world has not been destined to any certainly". Much is up the fickle and capriciousness of the die rolls, as we've seen. Well, that, and the creative interpretation of oracle results. She's my character, and I'm trying to keep her alive to fulfill her vows as best I can. But time will tell her final tale.
Reply
#84
Episode 57
Eilwen and Gethyd moved down the rocky trail. Trees along the trail grew close together with dense foliage rising up around them. As they descended down into the valley, the trees gradually gave way to a smattering of homes nestled among their dark boughs. Smoke from cook fires rose up into the night. The number of homes grew as they moved down into Redhall proper and they began to mingle with normal foot traffic moving towards Redhall’s walls.

Eilwen’s torch became a smoking ember which she put out in the dirt as they drew near.

Do they see any of the guards that fled?
(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

Do they see other Redhall guards as they get close to Redhall?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Does it look like the guards have heard about the “witch”?
L:ikely as the guards who fled ran back this way.

(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

“They have a wall? You didn’t tell me it has a wall,” Eilwen said as she studied the situation.

“You didn’t ask,” Gethyd shrugged.

Redhall, the largest grouping of dwellings Eilwen had ever seen, straddled across the road and the entire base of the valley in collections of dozens and dozens of homes. A smattering of houses were outside the walls. But travelers bearing goods either from north or south had to pass through the settlement, the terrain being too dense and rugged for wagons or carts.

Guards with torches, short bows, and spears peered at each traveler who drew near a large iron gate, questioning them with rough actions and words. Others patrolled the walls, their flickering torches gusting from the brisk mountain air.

“We can’t go this way,” Eilwen hissed. “Do you know of another way into the settlement?”

Does he?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Lovingly / Delicate

Gethyd nodded. “There’s a large tree on the east side that reaches over the palisade. Some of the branches are a little thin, but they should carry our weight. We’ll have to move up into the hills more and then cut back down towards the wall.”

“Fine,” Eilwen said. “Show me.”

She whispered and moved her arms and the shadows moved around them as they moved off the road.

Are they in danger of being spotted? +1 the guards are looking, -1 there are other travelers, -1 it’s dark and they’re at a distance, -1 Eilwen has shadows up and about) = Unlikely

(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...


---

They moved off the road, taking game trails Gethyd knew about up into the foothills, and about a half hour later, they had circled around to the east side of the Redhall and stood at the base of a huge tree that jutted out of the side of a rocky escarpment that overlooked the town.

They climbed up into the tree and from their vantage point, studied the streets of redwall.

Are the guards inside the town patrolling the streets? (50/50 | 3[d10]) No

What’s something unusual or interesting they notice.
Gracefully / Warm

The smell of freshly baked bread wafted through the air and lines of people stood about.

“Smells good,” Eilwen whispered.

“They’re called ‘Yormid Loaves’,” Gethyd said. “He rules with an iron fist, but he also holds their stomachs in that fist.”

She looked at Gethyd, eyes wide. “You mean, he controls their food?”

Gethyd gave a grim nod. “Any hunting or growing on his lands occurs with his permission. He’s very effective at maintaining control.”

“I’m surprised the people don’t rise up and strike him down or simply leave!”

Have they tried?
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

“Attempts have been made,” Gethyd whispered back. “But they all end the same: in blood, death, and broken hearts. The people are trapped, broken, and spiritless.”

“Is that his home? His palace?” she pointed to the large rectangular stone-block structure of red stone, lit with torches and patrolled by stony-faced guards.

He nodded again and pointed.

Is the palace walled?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

“And your home? Is it close by the wall once we’re over?”
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No
“No, it’s further in but more toward the southern collection of homes.”

“Alright. Let’s get over it. Then take me to your home. We can rest and plan there.”

Is the tree branch they cross over in danger of collapsing? They’re not carrying a lot and they’re not heavy individuals either, so -2, but +1 since the branches are on the thin side, so SU:
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

---

They stepped into the small dark kitchen and dining area. Polished pots and pans and dried herbs hung from the ceilings and walls. Eilwen imagined it would be quite cozy with a fire or a light. She drew the shutters as Gethyd lit a small candle.

“I don’t dare risk more light nor cook fires in case Willan and his guards are looking for us,” Gethyd said.

Eilwen nodded and started pawing about cupboards and drawers.

“What are you looking for.”

“Supplies...anything that might help.”

“We don’t have much,” Gethyd muttered with a frown at her invasion, “but please help yourself.”

Resupply Move
7 = 5[d6]+2
7 = 6[d10]+1[d10]
A strong hit.

His sarcasm was not lost on her.

“Look, we need to be rested and alert and that means fed. The saddle bags have what’s left of our food and those are with your mother. I wanted her and the children to have the last of it.”

“Fine,” he said.

She found a rough sack and dumped out a half-wheel of cheese and some old crusty bread that seemed serviceable.

“Old ‘Yormid Loaves’?” she asked.
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

“They’re not terribly flavorsome when they get hard like this, but they’ll keep us going,” he said and broke off a chunk. “There’s fresh water in the clay picture there.”

Further rummaging through a chest revealed...
Damaged buckler
Excellent force field generator
Ammo bandolier


...a broken shield, an elegant set of armor with masterful artistry, complete with a full breastplate, vambraces, and leg greaves, all in excellent condition. She also pulled out a full quiver of arrows.

“No bow?”

He shook his head. “It was taken by Yormid’s men when we were put in the mines.”

“Some fine armor,” she mused, holding up the dark leather to the candlelight, turning the armor over in her hands. “Where did you come by it?”

Bravely / Mysterious

“Something my father found in those ruins. He can’t wear it of course. Yormid or his men would take it from him if they saw him in it.”

“Put it on,” she said. “We’re not planning on being seen tonight, and it might do you some good.”

Does he want to?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

He grinned and put it on, tying laces and fitting buckles.

It fit him well.

“Looks good on you,” she said. “Are you any good with weapons?”

“I can hunt with a bow,” he said. “My da taught me that much, but axes and spears and knives against grown men?” he shook his head, “Not so much.”

“Hopefully you won’t have to,” she said. “I know a few things about fighting with a knife. Let me walk you through some basics.”

She sent the shadows twisting to the corners and together they practiced with wooden spoons for knives until the candle burned low and their arms were sore. Sweating and tired, they sat down next to each other and drank the cool water from the clay jar.

Is he picking it up?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

He sat down breathing hard, “I don’t know if I’ll ever get it,” he said.

“You are getting it. Faster than most do actually. Good work!”

He smiled back at her.

“The trick with a knife is getting in close,” she said. “Most people will have a weapon with longer reach, but if you can get to them from a flank or from behind with a knife, well... that’s all you need sometimes.

“You had swords too,” he said in a wistful tone. “Too bad you gave those to that guard of yours.”

“Indeed. I misjudged the situation,” she said with a frown. “Thorgunna didn’t look too happy either.”

“Are you really a lady?” he asked. “Sometimes you seem like you’re from some noble line, but other times, you seem... I don’t know...” he shrugged, “like me I guess.”

“I’m just a person with some different skills and a different background,” she said and she pulled the shadows back towards her. They circled around her and studied one of the shadows how moved into the firelight unhurt and then back out.

Does he want to know more?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

“Can you tell me how to do that with the shadows?” he asked.

“I thought you said I was a witch,” she gave him a sidelong smile.

He grinned back, clearly interested now.

Her smile disappeared, and she gave a slow shake of her head. She wasn’t overly interested in having him repeat Haf’s mistakes. “You must understand. Magic in these lands is old and strange and...dangerous. I have some aptitude for it. In addition, my mother taught me since I was a young child and--”

“So it can be learned?”

“Yes...” she said slowly. “If you have the aptitude.”

Slowly, she chanted and drew a glowing Skaed rune in the air with her finger. It hung in the air for a moment, and the shadows swung to it flowing off of her toward it as if drawn to it by some strange magnetism. The shadows then hung in the air, a ball of twisting, churning, darkness.

Then she touched his forehead.

She’s trying to determine his aptitude for such things. Does she have the skills to know?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

He tensed under her touch as she rested her hand on his forehead, still warm and a little clammy from their knife practice. She whispered a word her mother had said. A command of divination.

Nothing.

She felt his pulse under her hand, and she slowly withdrew her touch. “For now, I think you had better stick with knives and bows.”

“So I can’t learn,” he said.

“Why do you want to?” she asked.
Gratify / Inside

“I...I don’t know. It just seems useful. And I’m curious now instead of just scared. You seem to be okay with it. I always used to think magic was evil all mixed up with the powers of the demons, but seeing you...”

She sensed a deeper reason he wanted to know, but he wasn’t telling her.

“It is dangerous,” she repeated again, this time with an edge to her voice. “There are unplumbed depths that even I do not know about. But why do you really want to know.”

Does he tell her?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

“I want to be useful, to help my family. To...help...my father.” he looked down and twisted the wooden spoon in his hand. “He thinks I’m careless and irresponsible, and he doesn’t trust me. I--I want him to love me like he used to,” he hung his head.

“What do you mean? Like he used to. I’m sure he still loves you,” she sat down next to him.

Has something changed in his father’s nature since he’s been digging about in old ruins? Maybe he picked up more than just an old map and some cool leather armor?

(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No
So not that. It’s probably just normal teenage / parent oddness. Fun.

“He’s always saying I’m lazy,” he grunted. “All because sometimes I don’t do my jobs, and I go spend time with my friends, and--”

“So, what you’re saying is sometimes you are lazy,” she said.

“Hey, that--” he cut off when he saw her smiling at him.

He gave a sheepish grin. “Sure. I guess. Sometimes. But hearing my dad say it, just...” he shrugged.

“I’m no different. I got in trouble repeatedly from my father and mother when I went on extended hunts instead of helping mother bake bread or do laundry or,” she scrunched up her nose, “all that typical womanly stuff,” she shrugged. “I guess it’s part of growing up,” she said.

“But you seem grown up.”

“I’ve...been through a lot,” she said. “That has a way of making you see the world differently.”

“Yeah, for some reason, I can’t imagine you washing clothes,” he grinned.

“Mine could use some laundering now...” she said. “Look, I don’t think you’re lazy,” she said and nudged his arm. “You’re growing up. You’re nearly a man. It’s natural to want to make your own choices.”

He stared at his hands and the awkwardness stretched. “I wish my dad could see it that way.”

“It’s not easy to live so closely with those you love. Too often, we see only their faults.” She thought of her mother. What did she see now in her mother? What of Aron? She sighed. “Give your father some time. I’m sure he’ll realize what he’s got.”

He looked at her, unsure.

She stood and touched his shoulder, “Come on. Let’s get some rest. We will deal with Yormid soon enough and then things can be set right with your family.”

Gethyd, with the stub of the candle lighting the way, showed her to his sister’s bed. She watched as he lay down in his own bed in the same room, his arms folded on his chest. She tucked her cloak over her like a blanket and lay down.

Gethyd shared his memories of his family, his parents and siblings. He spoke quietly of his brother who had fallen off the bridge near the Greenhome. His voice choked up and she heard him wipe his nose.

She in turn spoke of home, of Frostbridge, of hunts with Aron and Father. Of Mother and freshly baked bread of meat sizzling on the hearth plate from her first doe she had brought down on her own. Not the painful details, but the good memories. It felt good to talk to him. He didn’t see her as a queen or a great lady. He just saw her as another person trying to make her way in the world. She liked that. That would change once details of who she really was came to light. But for now, she enjoyed the simplicity.

The shadows she had summoned earlier receded to the corners of the room when she commanded them, and she and Gethyd watched them shift in and out of sight, as if in time to their slowed breathing.

Then the candle died, and they slept.
Reply
#85
Episode 58
Since they’re in a settlement, they’ll try to get some aid from others. Since Yormid’s guards aren’t actively patrolling the streets, I think they can move about the town without issues as long as they don’t go near the gates where the guards are or near the palace.

The next day, they breakfasted on cool clay-tasting water, pungent cheese, and stale bread. Eilwen saw with some surprise that the shadows had waited for her, ready to heed her command.

She pushed the cowl of her cloak up to cover her face and they stepped out onto the streets. She followed after Gethyd. He dressed in his father’s armor but kept his it hidden and his own face cowled. In fact, many of the people in Redhall had a desire to have their faces hidden. She felt they looked like old iron priests moving about with cowled robes ready to show their strangely tattooed faces.

The shadows that heeded her, hid in her cowl, content to share their darkness with her, shrouding her face from passersby.

Gethyd met with Sigebert, an old man two streets over. He was a peasant who worked the fields in the southlands but came north seeking a fortune and instead got caught up in Redhall. Prone to raging fits of vitriol when drunk, as he was now, they had to keep him quiet; for when he cursed, Yormid’s name hotly and nearly brought the guards down upon them.

Once he calmed somewhat to a sputtering growl, to eat some bread that Gethyd shared with him, Sigebert spoke of a an old half-burned church tower in a hill a few streets south where they could find a good vantage point to watch the comings and goings around the palace.

An hour later, Eiliwen and Gethyd sat on half rotted beams, peering out a shattered shuttered tower window with naught but mice and bat droppings for company. Two streets to the north, they watched the pattern of the guards and the movements of Yormid around his palace.

Sojourn Move
7 = 6[d6]+1
14 = 8[d10]+6[d10]

Weak Hit

I’ll choose Plan. Her momentum goes up by two and is now 4/10.

Does Yormid live in the palace?
(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes
What does he leave for?
Open / Prison
Punish / Extravagance

How appropriate.

They saw Yormid leave on horseback flanked by a guard of six armed men who looked like they knew their business.

“Is that him?” Eilwen asked as she watched the man. He was a hulking man with a braided red beard that grew long and was tucked into his belt. He wore supple leather armor and on his back he bore a large axe. Twin daggers were belted at his hips, their hilts glinted in the pale sunlight. He seemed to know his way about a saddle.

“That’s him,” Gethyd tossed a bit of rotted wood out the window to where it fell the the tall weeds below the ruined church grounds. Eilwen wondered what god it had been built to...

“Where is he going?”

“Every day he goes to the prison...that building there,” Gethyd pointed to a low flat single-story gray building that frowned up at them, burdened under moss and time and death and pain. “He goes there each day to torture someone.

“My da and I spent a night there before being assigned to the mines.” he said in a matter of fact manner, though his face twisted at the memory. “He...enjoys it. And he’ll often publicly execute those who are too ill to work as motivation for the other town-folk.”

Eilwen ground her teeth and she felt her cheek muscle spasm. “How can such people exist?” she asked the silent gods. But she knew they wouldn’t answer. The gods didn’t listen anymore, even if Aron had seemed to believe in them somewhat more than most.

She didn’t expect an answer to her query from her tower-mate, but Gethyd surprised her. He glanced at her and shrugged, brushing at the old droppings as he shifted where he sat and leaned back against a vertical beam. “Mother says evil is found in all quarters of the world. That sometimes the weak are not strong enough to hold it back.”

She watched Yormid as he rode to the prison and dismounted.

“Your mother is wise,” Eilwen said, even as a mocking voice asked, ‘And what of your mother and her evils? What legacy has she left? What legacy do you leave?’ She shoved the thought away and then suddenly restless, she stood up.

“You okay?” Gethyd watched her as she paced back and forth.

“I’m going to burst just sitting here. I need to get closer to get a better look at his movements anyway. Stay here...but keep watching. I’ll give a raven call when I get close so you know it’s me.”

“Be careful,” Gethyd warned.

“I will,” she said and climbed down the rickety ladder that led to the ground floor.

----

She moved out into the streets, moving past the townsfolk who went about their business. Dozens of bakeries owned by Yormid and his men baked more loaves of their enslavement. Already the lines were forming. Eilwen ignored those. They still had some bread and cheese left.

Wagons bearing grain and other goods flowed in from the southern gate. Furs and bones and pelts and wood and silver and iron flowed out the same gate moving toward the Havens.

Eilwen approached the street that led near the prison. Keeping under shadowed stories and alleys, she crept up nearer the prison.

Secure an Advantage 
9 = 6[d6]+3

13 = 8[d10]+5[d10]

A strong hit. Take plus 2 momentum. Now 6/10.

Did he take his guards inside the prison with him?
(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

His guards must’ve gone in with Yormid as they were not out by the prison gates.

She needs a bow. Is there a guard passing by with a bow?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Eilwen saw a large wagon clatter by. She caught glimpses of weapons under a canvas wrap, including a bundle of roughly carved but functional bows. It passed her, enroute to the north...possibly to the palace. It clattered along the dirty mud-ridden streets, a sour-faced man with a large nose and white bedraggled mousy hair bore a mace at his hip and a shield on his back. Its design, a green griffin on a yellow field, was not familiar to her, perhaps it was the design of a southern settlement. So much of these more populated lands were unfamiliar to her.

She turned and followed after the wagon, moving after it casually, but gaining ground on it as it clattered down a different street to avoid traffic.

Are there guards on this street?
SL as it approaches the palace.
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

She took a quick glance about, but thankfully didn’t see any guards immediately around her. The wagon paused at an intersection to let five wagons bearing barrels of some goods or other pass by. She needed a bow... Maybe, just maybe she’d get lucky.

She made her decision and increased her pace to catch up to the rear of the wagon before it moved.

As she approached the shadows, flowed out of her cowl, blurring and masking her, and she slipped out her dagger, cutting the ropes and pulling out the chosen bundle.

Face Danger + Shadow
6 = 3[d6]+3

4 = 1[d10]+3[d10]

A strong hit! Her momentum goes up by 1, now 7/10.

Her luck held.

She pulled the bundle loose and slipped it under her own cloak as she moved back down an alley. Rather than push her luck, she moved back into the flow of traffic and slipped back to the church tower.

With the simple bird call of a raven, she approached and returned up the ladder. She opened the bundle and found three bows tied together with a leather band.

“Stay here and watch Yormid. I’ll get back to the house and get those arrows,” Gethyd suggested handing her back his bow.

“Be careful,” she said.

He gave a lopsided grin and nodded. “Raven’s call again?”

“Sounds like it’s our signal,” she smiled as he disappeared.
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