|Posted by S.M. Carrière on December 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM|
*****To read the rules and the story from the beginning, click HERE*****
"Honestly," you say to Oisin. "I have no clue, but I think we came up the path on the right."
Oisin raises his brows at you and looks back at Martel. The man is still unconscious in the wagon and can offer no aid. Oisin turns back to you and then shrugs.
"Alright," he says. Without another word, he kicks his horse and the group moves down the path on the right. Martel's wagon sits between two groups of mounted northern warriors, Sylpha riding beside him, checking on him frequently. You do not like the look of her furrowed brow every time she checks on the Ranger.
Every so often, Oisin sends scouts ahead of the party. They return with little news to report the first day. The path remains clear and movement is much easier for Martel's wagon. There is little space on the side of the pathway to make camp and so you're all forced to try and sleep on the road, amongst the horses. You, very wisely, decide that you won't get trampled in the night if you sleep under the wagon, and so you crawl carefully beneat it.
Sylpha, who seems to have appointed herself Martel's personal physician, takes up what little space was left in the wagon, her long, slender frame barely fitting. She places her hand on Martel's chest, so that she can feel the steady rise and fall. Should that cease, it would wake her immediately.
Oisin prefers to sleep sitting upright, and settles against the roots of a massive tree and closes his eyes. Two of his warriors, twins by the look of them, stand the first watch. The woman and her brother take up their vigil at either end of the long train of travellers.
Weary from the road and the worry about Martel, you find yourself falling asleep almost immediately.
"Well, now. Who are you?" the voice is deep and dark. It sends a chill through your entire being. You open your eyes, but see nothing. It is pitch black.
"Who's there?" you ask. Fear turns your voice into a timid squeak.
"You seem familiar to me. Who are you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. Where am I? What is going on?"
"You are seeking what I am seeking, no? You want the imperial sceptre and thus the imperial throne."
You clamp your mouth shut. "Who are you?" you demand again, gathering your courage. "Show yourself!"
In the darkness that surrounds you echoes a quiet, sinister laugh.
"Begone, foul fiend!" a sharp feminine voice snaps.
You turn towards the sound and see the faintly glowing image of a woman. She is tall and muscular, her bronze skin and golden eyes shining. Upon her head she wears a crown that envokes the tines of many stags carved in a strange, pale wood.
"You cannot stop me," the deep, dark voice hisses.
"I have before," the woman counters. "I will again."
The deep voice does not reply, and the oppressive dark begins to wane. The woman becomes clearer to you. She stares at you, observing you with those wide, golden eyes. She reminds you of an eagle; fierce and regal. Her gaze makes you slightly uncomfortable and you shift your weight.
"Interesting," the woman says at last.
The woman simply smiles at you. It's a small, knowing smile; smug rather than mirthful. "The Seeker's Son has taken one. The Seeker's Son has three. The Seeker's Son takes another one. The Seeker's son seeks you."
You blink. "Wait. Three? Two. That poem states that the Seeker's Son has two."
The woman's irritating knowing smile broadens.
"Three doesn't even rhyme," you end lamely.
The woman laughs.
"Ever do the Seeker's Sons seek each other. And when they find one another, they battle. And the victor of the fight takes the loser, and thus fortifies itself. On and on these battles are fought until there remains but one."
The woman nods. "His strength gathers. Always he is plotting and planning. But he is not the only power that exists. Trust the light, Sky Road Walker. You are not alone in this fight."
"You said you had stopped him before. That was the Mage-King, wasn't it? And you're the Empress. Aren't you?"
The woman smiles brightly, this time looking genuinely happy, but she says nothing.
"This light you speak of... what is it? Where is it? How will I know it if I see it?"
"If it is the light you seek, Sky Road Walker, look within. There resides the light that will guide you, and the dark that will destroy you. Now you must wake. Danger approaches. Wake."
Your eyes snap open and you sit bolt upright... or try to. You smack your forehead on the bottom of the wagon.
"Ow," you moan, clutching your head.
Sylpha's head appears upside-down to your right. "Are you alright?"
"Fine," you manage, though your sight is swimming.
"That sounded like you cracked your skull."
"Felt like it too. How is Martel?"
"Breathing. Which is good."
"We have to get moving."
Sylpha raises her eyebrows at you. "Oh?"
"Danger is coming."
To her credit, Sylpha does not argue. Her face disappears and you then you see her feet as she jumps lithely from the wagon. She runs off, silently waking everyone. You slide out from under the wagon and run to Fas, who is dozing on her feet. She snorts at you as you grab your weapons from her tack and strap them on.
Oisin taps you on the shoulder and you turn. His eyes grow wide. "You're bleeding!" he hisses.
You reach up and touch your forehead. Your fingers come away slick with blood. You shrug. "Long story," you whisper back. "We need to get moving."
Oisin nods. He beckons one of his warriors forward and points at your cut forehead. The warrior nods, then opens one of the many pouches strapped to his person, pulling out a phial and a cloth. He very quickly cleans your wound and dresses it before letting you mount Fas.
Before long the entire group is on the move in the black of the night. Scouts were sent ahead some time ago, but have not yet reported back. You keep your ears open, searhing for the sound of rushing water, but cannot hear it. After several tense minutes, Oisin rides to your side.
"Are you certain there is trouble?" he whispers to you.
"I was given a warning," you whisper back.
Oisin scowls, but remains silent.
"My Lord," a northman whispers harshly. Oisin looks back at him, then over to where the man was pointing.
Lights danced and flickered deep in the woods west of you. They looked like lanterns, but they moved through the air at an impossible height. Laterns carried by giants? Very, very silent giants.
The thunder of a horses at a dead run turn your head south. Both scouts returned, looking pale.
"My Lord," one said in a harsh whisper. There is a stone bridge ahead. Much of it is destroyed. We'd be able to pass at the fjord nearby, but we saw evidence of trolls."
"A lot of evidence," the second scout said. "It might be an entire family."
"We're not enough to fight that!" another rider whispered in alarm.
"Shhhh!" Oisin hissed.
You hear the sound of rushing water far off in the distance. You turn your head north. "Damn it!"
"Seeker's Son," Sylpha notes, her eyes also watching the north.
You look around. The woods on the east side of the road are far too dense to bring Martel's wagon through. To the south sits a family of trolls, and whatever they are, they terrify the northmen, you've noted. To the west dance the mysterious lantern lights.
"Right," Oisin says. "We can go south and hope that we can either pass by the trolls unnoticed or we can defeat them. Or we head east."
"Martel's wagon won't fit through there," you answer. "Why can't we go west?"
"Towards the laterns? Are you insane? Those are wood wights!"
"Spirits of the trees," Sylpha answers for Oisin. "Folk legend of the south says they lure travellers off paths in order to get them lost in the woods where the wights descend upon them and feed."
"Oh. But that's just lore, right? It's not actual fact."
"Before now, the Seeker's Son was just lore," Oisin noted dryly.
"Point taken. Speaking of the Seeker's Son, it is chasing us south. We can't go north."
"We cannot go south," one of the scouts whispers with a shudder.
"We cannot go east," Sylpha adds. "Not without killing Martel."
"And if we head west, we'll be eaten alive by wood wights." Oisin growls. He swears and looks at you. "Alright, then Sky Road Walker. What do we do?"
You scowl. What do you decide?
a) Continue south and brave the trolls. Hopefully you'll get through without everyone dying. Unlikely.
b) Head west and brave the wights. Hopefully you'll get through without everyone dying. Unlikely.
c) Abandon the wagon and head east. Hopefully you'll get through without Martel dying. Unlikely.
Vote. Share. And good luck... you'll need it!
Categories: Your Very Own Adventure Project