|Posted by S.M. Carrière on September 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM|
*****To read the rules and the story from the beginning, click HERE*****
Eilir turns to you. You realise that you have been staring at them during a relatively private conversation.
"And what do you think?" Eilir asks you. "Should a husband leave his wife behind?"
You open your mouth to speak, then shut it again. What on earth could you possibly say? Siding with Eilir will likely irk the Chieftain. Siding with the Chieftain would earn the ire of Lady Eilir.
"We should probably think of what is best for this mission," you say at length. "And to be honest, we could use all the fighters we can get. So far we have the Rangers, and myself. And I'm not really that skilled a fighter."
"Or skilled at all," a Ranger offers from the other side of the round table. You turn and glare at him, making him grin.
Eilir smiles. It is not the grin she usually wears, but a genuine smile that softens her features. She turns to her husband and raises her brows.
"Well, my love?" she asks haughtily. "Am I skilled enough to go to battle?"
The Chieftain scowls.
"That question would make more sense if you knew how she captured my son's heart," a gruff voice said from the door. You turn to look.
A tall, impossibly broad man stands just inside the threshold of the residence. The onl man does not wear armour, rather the long fur-trimmed coat that, had it not been so splattered with mud at the bottom, would have looked very regal. Despite the lack of armour, the man wore a profusion of weapons, the most notable of which was a lochaber strapped to his back, a broad-headed, double-bladed axe tucked into his elaborately embroidered belt, and twin short axes tucked into his boots. Long grey hair runs down his back, bound in two braids. His grey beard is short and neatly trimmed.
"Father!" the Chieftain says, rising from his seat and vaulting over the table. He marches over to the enormous bear of a man and wraps him in a warm embrace.
"You're back early!"
"Aye, well, there was little trouble on the road. Has there been some here? Why is my son entertaining these southern dogs?"
You and Martel exchange a glance. "I'm guessing he likes axes," Martel whispers to you. You stiffle a laugh, but it escapes your body in a strange snort despite your efforts.
"They carry with them some interesting news, much of it troubling."
"Of course they carry troubling news. These are dogs of the empire."
"Not any more," Martel replies clearly. "Technically we have been disbanded. We're working outside the knowledge of the empire at the moment."
The Chieftain's father looks Martel over with sharp grey eyes before marching forward to face him more squarely. Martel draws himself up to his full height to meet the Chieftain's father evenly.
It is anything but even. Martel is tall and broad, and even he looks like a greyhound facing down a grizzly bear. Still, he stands his ground, shoulder's square, his steady gaze never flinching from the frosted grey eyes of the man before him.
The staring contest lasts longer than you could have possibly imagined. Eventually, Martel breaks his gaze so deliberately you can't help but feel he did so in order to make it clear he needn't have.
"I didn't come here to fight," Martel says. "And should you wish us gone, we will put down our plates and leave without fuss."
You hear a Ranger's disappointed sigh and glance over. The Ranger who sighed is staring down at the uneaten food on his plate with considerable longing.
"If you did not come to cause trouble, southern maggot, why did you come?" the Chieftain's father growls.
"We fear the mage king is seeking a way back into the world. Only imperial blood can face the mage king with any chance of victory. We have come for the sceptre piece so that we might rediscover that bloodline and restore the throne."
"So you are working for the empire!" The Chieftain's father turns abruptly and marches back to his son at the dooor. "You should have taken their heads."
"We are working for the empress Souas, with whom the north established a friendship." Martel sounds bold, but you can tell from the barely visible sheen on his skin that he is nervous. The Chieftain's father turns on his heel and glares at Martel. The gaze is nothing but pure venom.
"A friendship her children denied!" he barks. "Honour is not hereditary, and her blood was poisonede the moment she left this world. I will not see her throne restored!" He turns to his son. "Take their heads."
"No," the Chieftain replies, pulling his father up short. The enormous man blinks at his son in surprise, then scowls, reaching slowly for the axe at his side.
"I have invited them as guests and given them food under my roof. Even if they proved liars, I could not take their heads now."
"Then I will!"
"Fergus," Eilir says softly. The Chieftain's father pauses, the axe half drawn. "Will you not sit, and share our food? These outlaws have a tale to tell and you may want to hear what they say before collecting their heads for trophies." She speaks softly and gently, but her tone is one of great respect.
"I will not listen to liars and braggarts."
"There is a Sky Road walker amongst their number," the Chieftain says. Fergus turns to him with a raised brow and the Chieftain nods in your direction. You give a half-hearted wave.
Fergus very slowly lets go of his axe, letting it slide back into position as he looks you over. "Then I will sit," he says at last. "But I will not share food with these bastards. If I do not like what they say, I will have their heads and not give cause for the gods to hate me."
"That is fair." Eilir motions to a servant, who bows and vanishes, returning moments later with an extra chair. It is placed at her side and she holds her hands out for the Chieftain, who walks over and takes them briefly before they both sit. The Chieftain follows.
"You are fortunate, Oisin, that your wife is so beautiful," Fergus notes. "And is not nearly as daft as you."
The Chieftain smiles. "Aye. I am."
"Sky Road walker," Fergus says gruffly. "Tell me what you know."
You glance at Martel, who nods solemnly at you, before launching into your tale. By the end, Fergus is sitting back in his chair deep in thought. He looks over at Eilir.
"And you believe them?"
"My husband does," Eilir replies. "And his heart is good at seeing other hearts. I trust him on this."
"Aye, my son's heart is good." Fergus sighs. "Pity about his mind," he grumbles to himself. "And what of your pride?" he demands of his son.
"I have it still," Oisin replies. "But it is not stronger than the love I have for my son, my land or my people. I will see them free forever. If these outlaws are successful, and if we had some part in that success, then I would have done all I could to see them live happily. That, to me, is worth more than anything."
Fergus leans forward, placing his elbos on the table and resting his cheek against his clasped hands. He closes his eyes, his brow furrowed. At length, he opens his eyes and looks squarely at his son.
"Fine," he says. "I concede your point, though I think you a fool for trusting them."
"Aye," Oisin replies. "I still have doubts myself, but there is nothing for it now."
"You must go with them," Fergus says. "And keep them honest."
"I had planned to."
Fergus nodded. "And speak to the other Chieftains. You will need their support, or they may decide you a traitor and annex your lands."
Oisin sat back. "Time is of the essence. A conclave may take weeks, even months. We must move now. Will you go in my stead?"
"And risk insulting them? You are the Chieftain now. This is your duty."
"They respect you more, father. I am but a dreamer, young and untested."
"Perhaps I could go with the southerners?" Eilir asks. "And you go to the conclave, my love."
"Or you go to the conclave. Or we all go." Oisin rubs the side of his face. He glances at you.
"What do you think, Sky Road walker? What would you do were you me?"
You blink. What do you say?
a) Perhaps you could send the sceptre piece with us and go to the conclave, coming down to meet us afterwards? Of course, you will have to decide again if the conclave does not vote in your favour.
b) Nothing will show your dedication to the freedom of the north than being present in the fight against the mage king. I have a feeling we will need fighters to acquire the last piece of the sceptre. Come with us and send either Fergus or Eilir to the conclave in your stead.
c) It might be easier if we all go to the conclave. With Rangers present, they might take our cause more seriously.
Vote! Share! Good luck!
Categories: Your Very Own Adventure Project