Lowlanders

Chapter One [Scenes 4-7]

[Scene 4 – The Warden]

The man wears a scar across his brow and a grim smile. His leather vest is studded, but plain; an ornate buckle holding a well-kept cape across his shoulders. He extends his hand to Bjornin.

“I am the warden of this village. My name is Tarl Dale.”

“Bjornin Bjornorgen de Wolfenmorgen. It is very good wine your town – hearty, like the Avvar, ahahaha! Do you like wine?”

“I do, but now is not the time. Who are you? Why are you here?”

J’onn1 walks over. “J’onn. J’onn J’norgen de Wolfenmorge. We were heading into town and were set upon by wolves near this farmhouse. It was getting late.”

“And the bodies?” Tarl motions at the human corpses.

“It wasn’t us. The injuries seem like they were also attacked by wolves.”

“You have big wolf problem, you know…” offers Bjornin.

“Regardless,” states Tarl, moving into the building around the Avvar, “you cannot stay here.” Inside, he notices the woman on the ground. Harvic, who had covered her face with a cloak, is standing next to her.

“And this? Another corpse – but different from the others somehow.” He goes to remove the cloak and Harvic quickly siezes his wrist. The warden stares at Harvic and removes his wrist easily. Dropping the cloak on the floor, he stares at the woman’s face.

“Interesting. You will all come into town. You will stay at the inn. Sister Arda will care for the elf.”

“We’re staying here.” contends J’onn, the others nodding.

“You are not. Have you no respect for the dead? Come into town – the Mullins will give you some wine,” he gestures at Bjornin, “and you can rest.”

After some back and forth, everyone but Harvic and Maram agree to leave. Throwing his arms in the air, he exclaims, “This is my patient! I have a duty of care. My assistant and I will stay and tend to her wounds.”

“Fine.” agrees the warden, “I will send somebody for Sister Arda. She will join you. Where is Rafael?”

“He is upstairs, he cannot drink so much, ahaha-hic!” hiccups Bjornin from the other side of the room, sloughing more wine from the larder into his already stained mouth.

“He will stay there then. You,” he points at Maram and Harvic, “will stay here. Sleep downstairs. Sister Arda will be along soon. You, you and you, come with me.”

“Pillows?” asks Maram, to which the Warden nods slightly. She returns with a mattress and pillows bundled high. Warden Tarl leaves with a sigh, followed merrily by Bjornin and, not so merrily, by the others.

[Scene 5 – Eshara’s Story]

Before Sister Arda can arrive, Harvic kneels quickly next to Eshara and shakes her awake.

“We must leave. Now.”

“What – wait – what?” she replies weakly. Annoyed, Harvic yields, “Fine, if you cannot, at least tell me what happened to you. We need to get your story straight before the morning.”

Wearily, Eshara begins “Okay. I will tell you – let me rest.” She sits up with a groan and, between breaths, recounts the events of the past few weeks.

“Our band – our band visited this village. Two weeks ago, during their harvest festival. We were welcome. A man – the blacksmith – he got smart, started a fight with one of our hunters. The Warden came and separated them, but we were welcome no longer.

Harralan, the hunter, was so angry. The elders put him on scouting duty -” she coughs, “as – ahem – as punishment. That was when the trouble started. He disappeared. Then others went missing, too. Three days later, just into the forest, they attacked us: darkspawn. Those who fought were killed; the others, taken. We were captured, taken into a ruin in the forest, off the main trails.

The creature – their Master – he called himself Mythallen. I escaped – I took the links,” she fumbles at her belt, “where are they – who took them?”

“You must have dropped them. Continue your story.”

“Yes – yes – I was chased by the creatures – I came back – I was wounded – I came to this farm, in the loft.” Becoming notably more distraught, she continues, “I heard them coming – they were – the farmers – attacked – I heard the screams.”

Finally, she faints once again, just as Sister Arda enters.

“I am Sister Arda.”

“Harvic. This is Maram.”

Arda bends to the woman, who has a sweat on her brow. “You’ve done a wonderful job with these wounds.”

He smirks as she continues assessing the woman. “Yes, well, I’m a very gifted healer.”

[Scene 6 – Will you marry me, buxom wife of barkeep?]

Despite the late hour, Bjornin and J’onn are welcomed to the inn by a lavish woman in her forties. Love (or something like it) strikes Bjornin’s heart (or something not so far way) with a snap and he dotes on her (or something that could be doting if you misunderstood his meaning entirely).

“Hello lady! Let me in for some wine and to watch you walk and wobble the large boobies. Most pleasing you are-hahaha!”

The barkeep, a merry man accustomed to drunken strangers, laughs off Bjornin’s comments and bids them to sit down. The Warden follows them in.

“I am Haran Mullin. The beautiful woman is my wife, Kesla.”

They sit, introduce themselves and Haran places a pint of wine in front of each of them.

Bjornin claps his hands. “Ya, excellent! Now, come over here, wenchy wenchy. Sit next to Bjornin – rreal close.” Kesla, behind the bar, politely declines2.

“Ah, you no fun – Warden, come I tell you a story.” With some fuss, Tarl Dale sits and accepts a pint, offering to pay for the first round.

The night grows colder and darker still as Bjornin tells Tarl Dale and the Mullins stories of his youth and “playing the jokes on J’onn.” The Warden excuses himself after a few drinks and bids the two good rest. J’onn is quiet at the table, watching Bjornin as he becomes more rambunctious with drink.

Eventually, J’onn prompts Bjornin, and they both retire upstairs to their rooms.

[Scene 7 – The Next Morning at the Inn]

Early the next morning, a sharp banging echoes from the inn. Tarl Dale walks from one guest room door to the next, smashing his gloved fists upon each of them. After several minutes of bashing, J’onn steps, fully dressed, into the corridor.

“It’s early.”

“Yes,” replies Tarl Dale, “we are going to check on your friends.”

A groan issues from Bjornin’s room. Tarl Dale, face set in stone, opens the door and enters the room. Bjornin, with a huge grin, opens his arms wide on the bed and cries, “Warden, you join me for some cuddles, ahahaha!”

“No. You are getting up now.”

The Warden reaches down and picks Bjornin up by his tunic, lifting him from the bed with ease and setting him standing. Bjornin, clearly hungover, vomits and the warden steps quickly aside.

“Haran won’t be happy – he’ll charge you for that.” he says, but Bjornin shrugs.

“Let’s go.” The group set off to the farm.

~ ... ~

Footnotes

1 QUESTION TO PLAYERS: Or Harvic perhaps?.

2 QUESTION TO PLAYERS: Or sits? I don’t recall exactly.

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