Part 28: Day 59: Marek
And off we go to Grofheim.
"Keep pace?" The old man puffs through his moustache. "No fleeter than old Unnarr! And husbands, mind your wives; I'm cursed with a golden tongue. Not silver." The caravan enjoys a good laugh as they start moving once again.
That good laugh just barely kept me out of another Morale drop for day 60!
And finally, we have reached peak despair. At Weak Morale, all fighters will deploy at -2 Willpower.
Time to take a break.
Day 61 is spent resting from the march. We're going to have to start taking more breaks now to maintain morale, while we can afford it.
"Ragni chooses my daughter on his own," the insulted mother says. "But this one thinks I have something to do with it." Launching forward, the first woman flails wildly, shouting, "Liar!". The women are separated and eventually calm down, but you worry that this is far from over.
Day 62, and we're heading into the hills.
Eventually you find Onef back at camp and relate the story. "Is that what Ekkill told you?" replies Onef. Then he sighs. "It's true about his sister, she died of a fever when we were just married. Surprised he opened up like that."
You march directly over to where Ekkill has been forced to stay, far away from the rest of the caravan. He turns as you approach.
Who's giving wrong looks? Your girl came to me. Nice of her, I thought, seeing as how she's the only one who gives a damn about the people around here.
What in the depths is that supposed to mean?
Look at you. Running around, saving everyone's hide, making decisions. Good for you. What kind of life is this? Miserable. Are you making it worth living? I see Alette helping the women, cooking food, taking care of the old, playing with the children. Talking to outcasts. Did you know she sews up the wounded every time you get them bloodied in a fight? Remember when I said you were a leader? Yeah, they join you.
Oh, I get it. You think I'm calling you a poor father? No. All I'm saying, is don't ask her to change who she is. These people need one of her. Not two of you.
Things are not getting much better.
Another day of supplies down the drain.
On day 64, we reach another interesting sight.
The godstone of Marek looms into view, upon it carved the great ocean beast. Jagged stones jut out of the snow like shark fins. It's hard to imagine the Nordfelling Wastes being filled with water at one time, but the godstone stands as a reminder of the vast lake it used to look across.
"A blessing!" shouts one of the men in your caravan, holding up what looks like a silver coin. "It's a fish scale," he says, pointing out the rainbow pattern that shows in the sunlight. Soon, a curious child has found another hiding in the snow, and then a third is discovered.
If I let them take their time, I'd get an item called the Godscale, but I don't think it's worth the three day wait (Rank 5, +3 Armor, +1 Aggro).
When you awake to find people still searching through snow and shrubs you call it off. "We can't spend another day here," you tell them. "Be glad for the luck you've found and let's go before it runs out." They fret and moan but eventually you get them back on the trail.
Gorgeous carving, though.
And back to the road.
One woman still hasn't shot her arrow. She stands perfectly still. The others watch. Just as the winds shift she lets go, and her arrow flies not into one of the trees, but a snow rabbit that had scurried out from underneath. "Dinner," she says, smiling.
Screw you guys, Oddleif knows what's up.
"To be honest," says Oddleif, "this was already harder than I expected. I don't know how many more would really take to it. But the more people who can hold their own, the better." The men continue to complain. The women return to camp not just as clansmen, but as fighters.
We've put some distance between Wyrmtoe and us, but Grofheim is still far, far away.
Miraculously, our morale holds steady on day 65.
If we keep moving, she'll die, and it will drop morale. That's worth a lost day right now.
As the caravan's tents rise, a fire is built beside the girl who is covered in fur as ointments. Progress is slow, but soon you see the girl alive enough to swallow water and some heated broth. When you wake the next day, a healer tells you the girl should be fine in time.
Morale is low again, but we need to make a tough choice.
We have 15 days of supplies remaining. Grofheim is still far away.
Should we continue at our current pace, or move into a forced march to save supplies?
Voting will last 24 hours.