Part 10: Day 9: Arrival at Frostvellr
We have made precious little progress since our last stop. Frostvellr is probably still a few days away.
That stabbing at the village left Iver at reduced capacity for the next two days.
Egil promotes for 5 Renown, getting an extra point of Exertion and Break.
And, as promised, Oddleif wants to talk to us.
I'm all right. Oh, but I realized after I handed you the banner I probably gave you the wrong impression. My husband's still in and out of consciousness. It doesn't look good. It's harder than I thought it would be. Just... not knowing. People tell me I'm a "strong woman". It's funny, my father named me Oddleif before I was even born. He wanted a boy so badly.
Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't want to be known for handling my feelings. I feel nothing about my husband dying, people think I'm strong. If I cry because my insides feel like they're on fire, I'm weak. Why does that feel so backwards. I'm sorry, Rook. It's been hard.
You're not sure what to say. In the many years you've known the chieftain's wife, this is probably the most you've ever talked.
You asked me to come find you?
Yes. It's about the banner. I thought about it a long time.
That's what I've been thinking about so much. It should be mine. I could carry it. But I thought about why he named you.
Come on, Rook. This isn't the time for pretend. It's not just about our small town. What happens the first time we need something from another clan? How will that go? And the first time someone thinks they can take advantage of us?
She looks sideways, eventually giving over a timid smile.
I'm not sure if that's the dumbest thing I've heard or the sweetest. Listen, I know I dragged this out. The truth is, my husband and I could never have a child. I don't want our banner to end her. It'll be safe with you and Alette. I know you're going to take care of her.
She puts her hand on your shoulder as she heads back to the camp.
Time to hit the road again.
BGM: Cut with a Keen-Edged Sword
Some men want to warn their kin about the dredge. I say they're free to do so.
Day 10, and we're coming out of the woods. Morale is steady, but there's some trouble.
Rafnsvartr nearly set our supply wagon on fire. Time to get him sober.
Rafnsvartr groggily agrees, slurring his way through promises to quit being such a nuisance. Many of the onlookers snort or roll their eyes, but go back to their business. Somehow, you doubt it'll be long before Rafnsvartr manages to find another drink, whether you'll allow it or not.
Around noon, our destination comes into view!
I gave you a chance, Rafnsvartr, but this is crossing the line. You've become a liability for the caravan, and you need to learn that.
A swift and brutal beating befalls Rafnsvartr, one that leaves him begging for mercy. The next time he is offered mead, the man shies away in fear. As for the rest of the caravan, everyone seems pretty satisfied.
Choosing to keep Rafnsvartr away from the other caravaners prevents the second event, but the beating results in a minor overall boost to morale, so it's a wash, I guess.
Once a strong, thriving city, the walls of Frostvellr now just keep the howling winds at bay.
With luck, they'll hold out against dredge as well.
Why are there so many people in the fields?
We can't stay outside in the open like this.
Oddleif finds you amongst the many refugees.
Rook, I just talked to some of the women here. Nobody is being let into the city.
It's overrun with varl from Blotsbalkr, Greyhorn, people from Bitra, all the nearby villages. The dredge are everywhere, and the chieftain of Frostvellr has locked himself in his great hall. That's when they closed the gates.
When the dredge come, these hills will turn red.
I see a lot of people gathered around the rest houses and the gates. We could find out what they know.
How would we get in, anyway? They closed the gate.
I can get that gate open.
Let's see if there's any other way before we start breaking down gates.
I wasn't going to break it. Just push really hard.
Welcome to Frostvellr! It might not be quite the safe haven we were hoping it would be.
First, emptying the market of supplies again. Equipment available:
Leather Flask: It takes either a brave man or a stupid man to stop for a drink in the midst of battle, but those who do swear by it. +2 Will instead of +1 Will when Resting during battle.
Namejis' Ring: This ring was once worn by one of the great kings of men to symbolize the unification of his people. 2 Strength deflected (?), +1 Will per kill.
I'm hazy on what the latter does and it's only usable by rank 5 heroes, and the flask is crap. Moving on. The gate.
You approach the gate, where hundreds of people have gathered. In the trodden, bloody space in front of the doors, several pin-cushion bodies lie unclaimed, as though they simply belonged there.
"We're from Skogr! Open the gates!" you shout to the archers, not expecting much. You get as much response as you expected.
You leave the crowds and head back down the hill. "There are a lot of people gathered around the rest houses," says Oddleif, pointing. "Maybe we can find help there, or at least make ourselves useful."
Let's do that!
Egil pulls you aside. "I followed the outside of the city walls," he says, "And there's a water passage we could squeeze through, I think. Not the whole caravan, but if a handful of us get in we might open the gates from the inside."
We've got a lot of options open to us as day 12 dawns.
- We can force the gates, using Iver's great strength. This will almost certainly end in a fight.
- We can try the water passage. This could leave us separated from our caravan in the worst case.
- We can tend to the wounded. No obvious gain presents itself, but these people are suffering as much as we are.
- We can settle in for the long haul. Other people are surviving outside the walls; maybe we could, too.
Voting will last for 24 hours.