Part 30: Day 70: Burra Pass
After three terrifying days of tremors, you reach the godstone of Hadrborg, which is teeming with varl who want to know what is happening. Others busily mend makeshift defenses set up around the godstone of Hadrborg, creator of the varl.
"Hold up," pants Fasolt between long gasps of air. "We're going to have a talk."
A mountain just sank into the earth, and some... something is out there... you're just going to send us away?
I don't know who you are, but you're not going to Einartoft. There's a couple hundred varl here who will back that up.
Where are we supposed to go? Back the way we came? We're stuck between two mountain ranges. In one direction, a few thousand varl. In the other, an army of dredge and whatever caused that quake!
Einartoft is a varl city. This shouldn't be news to a varl.
Give it a rest, Fasolt. Don't you recognize who you're talking to?
Surprise suddenly flashes across Fasolt's face. The other varl are starting to come closer now. You hear "Yngvar" being whispered between them.
I think this might be the one person you want to let into Einartoft.
The humans come with me. All of them.
Fasolt glances between Iver and Krumr before stalking away, pushing past the mob of curious onlookers.
Iver... who are you?
Some other time, Rook.
The little you know about Hadrborg is that he was a disciple of the Loom Mother, and learned to create under her guidance. He created a few beasts but soon became bored with simple animals and began combining man and beast, ending up with varl. That's the myth, anyway. One thing is certain - each varl alive was created by Hadrborg, and now the god is dead. The varl here now are the last ones that will ever exist. A profound sadness washes over you.
Krumr is already here. "It is good to pay respects," he says, and you both stand there in silence. "Give this to Yngvar," he says, turning to leave. "It was once his, and that stubborn ass refuses to take it back." Krumr hands you a massive, studded belt.
Suddenly there's a lot of activity. Word comes from below to retreat to the next village over, and you soon see why. A black shadow is sweeping down the valley from the direction of Grofheim, where the quake, or whatever caused it, has obliterated the mountainside.
On closer inspection it's a veritable ocean of dredge, more than you imagined possible. In their midst is a towering giant of a dredge, blood red from head to toe. You gather your things in short order and join a good many varl, leaving the godstone behind.
So there's the story. All varl were created directly by divine power, and the god making them is now dead. The varl are a dying race.
As soon as we leave the godstone, it's time to camp. Let's pull ourselves together a bit.
The Farthingjörd is one of my favorite items in the game. I will not be giving it to Iver.
Rook will be taking it, once he's high enough Rank.
Rank 3 gives him a point in Break and a point in Willpower. Mark Prey now does 2 Armor damage on the initial hit instead of 1, if I spend 2 Will on it. Seldom a useful addition.
Krumr advances to Rank 2, gaining a point of Armor and a point of Exertion.
If there's any upside to our string of disasters, it's that Einartoft is significantly closer than Grofheim!
Burra Pass is one of the greatest works of the varl - a vast bridge over a vast gorge in the Wyrmscale Mountains, so long that crossing it on foot takes three days. According to legend, the varl filled the gorge with dredge so that they could build it atop their corpses.
The dredge horde following us is probably about on that scale.
Day 71. Against all logic, this turn of events has boosted us up to Normal morale.
The whole caravan is shocked when the first line of your poem rings out. You mimic both contestants, adding your own spin on their tals. At last, you end with a joke at your own expense and the peasants wildly applaud.
We've made it all the way up to Good morale by the time we reach this humble village.
"Dad," says Alette, appearing at your side. "I liked old Iver." Somewhere in the back of your mind, you feel the same way. You focus on preparations instead, realizing that you may be one of the first humans about to set foot in Einartoft.
This item is obscenely powerful, but I can't afford it, so instead I burn all remaining Renown on supplies. The prices here are really good.
Like Iver said, we can't stay long.
And so we depart.
We approach a city that only varl have seen, and cross a bridge that only varl could build.
Let us hope that we are the only unwelcome visitors to pass.