Sword in hand now I took stock of my bearings and decided to just start walking.
[Undertake a Journey: Strong Hit]
I quickly found my way back to the clearing where I’d killed those bandits. The bodies still littered the forest floor. No time to hang around though. I had a job to do.
[Undertake a Journey: Weak Hit]
I ate some and fed Poe. I would soon be out of food altogether. I was going to have to hunt. I hoped my luck would hold up.
[Resupply: Miss with a Match]
That was when I noticed how quiet it was. The air had stilled, the forest was silent, then the whispering started. It seemed to surround me and spoke in a language I didn’t understand. The susurration began to get louder, and louder, and LOUDER. Silence. The sound of soft footsteps padding across the forest floor. I turned and saw it. The Ghoul. It looked like someone had skinned an Elf and filled its mouth with needles. And it was coming for me. I ran.
[Face Danger: Weak Hit: -1 harm]
Nails like daggers caught my back as I turned and fled. My father’s sword began to get hot in my hand. I heard a hiss but I didn’t look back. I just ran.
[Reach Your Destination: Strong Hit]
I don’t know how long I ran for with that wretched thing behind me but as I broke the tree line and careened out onto the plain I felt a wave of relief. I kept running though. All the way to Nakura’s place and hammered on the door until it opened. Then I collapsed.
[Sojourn: Weak Hit (+bond): Recuperate +2 Health, focus Provision +3 Supply]
I don’t know how long I slept. It sounded like morning when I woke though. I was on the bed in the guest room at Nakura’s house. I felt… wrapped up. I put a hand to head, it had been bandaged. My back too.
I gathered my things, Nakura helped me resupply and I made way into town to begin my search.
[Gather Information: Miss] (Unwelcome Truth: Adda is the summoner)
Raven Wood is a big town but sudden, unlikely fortune? That’s going to turn the rumour mill. So I asked around, and it became obvious pretty quick that the only person who’s mysteriously started doing really well was Adda. My best friend. I needed evidence though. I was going to have to search her place. I didn’t want this to be official. I didn’t want her thinking I didn’t trust her but I had to be sure.
I found a hidden spot to watch her place from and waited
[Secure an Advantage: Strong Hit]
As evening fell I watched her leave, probably heading to the pub. I slipped into the house once she was out of sight and began searching, hoping against hope that I’d find nothing.
[Gather Information: Weak Hit] (complication… Adda catches me just as I find the evidence)
I was searching the wardrobe when it happened, I found a false bottom, gently lifted, and there it was. A book, an old book. I started flipping through it until I found what I was looking for. A complete ritual to summon a ghoul.
“What you doin’ Zan?” Adda asked behind me.
“What’s this?” I held up the book, open on the page of the ritual.
“Just some old thing, found it.”
“You mean stole. Who’d you steal it from Adda? Did you use it? People are dead. I almost died. That thing you called tried to tear me apart in the woods.”, there were tears in my eyes.
“Found it, Zan. Out near the swamps in the old ruins.”
“But you did the ritual didn’t you? You called this thing.”
“Sure, this town has done nothing but spit on me my whole life. And now look at me. I can have anything I want. It’s ‘bout fuckin’ time I got something back.”
“The Elves want your head Ad. I’ve got to take you to them or they’ll take their ‘justice’ out on all of Raven Wood.”
“To hells with Raven Wood. We can just leave. Let the spindles have their blood!” she was nearly shouting. “Come with me Zan, we don’t have to stay here, we can head north to the Havens and start fresh. What’s this place done for you Zan? Killed yer ma an’ da. Let ’em rot in the woods and no-one even looked for their bodies.”
“I’ve got a duty Adda.” I drew the sword, it felt warm in my hand. “I’m taking you with me. If we don’t get the Elves help that monster of yours will kill everyone and make its babies out of their flesh. I can’t have that.”
[Compel +Iron: Strong Hit]
Adda might be a good thief but she knew she was no match for me in a fight. She looked at me and I knew in that moment that she hated me. She’d finally made something for herself and I was going to take it away.
“Fine, what’s my life worth anyway?”
I bound her wrists and took her to the town Gaol. Me and Caersun would take her to Red Home tomorrow. In the meantime I needed to decide what to do with the book.
[Fulfill Your Vow: Bring Adda (the summoner) to the Elves to face justice: Strong Hit with a Match]
With Caersun’s help and a couple of horses we handed Adda over to Aralu that afternoon. They were inscrutable as usual but I think they could see how much it hurt me to do this. Adda, for her part, was silent the whole way there.
Aralu ‘secured’ her, by which I mean they tied her to the Iron Obelisk in the center of the stead, and drew me aside. Caersun stayed with horses.
“This one was your friend.”, always a statement with them.
“Yes, one of my only friends. I hope whatever help you can give will be worth it. I’ve seen the creature and I don’t know if I can kill that thing on my own”
“Yes, I can see its mark on you. You survived though. That is a good omen.”. They glanced down at the sword on my belt, “And I see you found your father.”
“His sword at least. If you know who he was then you must know how I feel about Elves”
“I can guess what you think may have happened. Your parents were good people and that is not just his sword. It is him.”
“If Elves didn’t kill him then who did? And what do you mean ‘it’s him?’, it’s a piece of metal” I was trying to keep myself together. I didn’t need this cryptic shit.
“Your father performed a ritual of sacrifice to turn back a great evil, he gave his life for us. In doing so he bound his soul to that sword. Has it not spoken to you?” Aralu seemed puzzled that I hadn’t worked this out.
“I.. I thought I heard his voice when I found it. And it gets hot in my hand when I’m tense”
Aralu nodded, “You need to commune with it, if you wish it, I will show you”
[Forge a Bond: Strong Hit]
My head was spinning, this was a lot to take in, but I nodded “Y-yes, thank you Aralu.”
[Advance: -2xp to upgrade Skirmisher]