I watched them all.
The troll runecaster, the Northwight daughter, and the tiny thief.
I laughed as the troll woke up, performed his daily rituals, and the magic sent his runes flying out the entrance of his hermit-cave.
I cried as the Kaltorei halfling reached for the daggers stolen from her city.
I eagerly awaited the Northwight daughter’s involvement.
I was not disappointed. The grand chaos that ensued was beautiful in its unexpectedness.
The halfling, Kaltorei, was brought for judgement before Torvald. The disorganization of this trial was illustrated by several outbursts from the daughter, Valkari, as well as by several periods of waiting as each merchant had to be summoned. The Heimdallig, Yorick, blamed the daggers on Fellswreth, Fellswreth blamed it on the dwarf, the dwarf blamed it on yet another party whom he couldn’t be bothered to remember. Of course the only other merchants were the Dans and the coastal villages.
Kaltorei was able to drive it through to the Jarl and his Thing her story of raids and missing children.
Valkari will bear further watching as well, as she responded with precisely the right amount of violence and appropriate outrage to the runecaster’s insult, whether it was intended or not.
The runecaster, Birger, as well bears scrutiny, though perhaps not as closely. His talent is very strong.
I digress this journal…
The discovery that the coastal village ship was leaving brought the Jarl and his Thanes running. Another ship on the horizon sent the three actors into a frenzy of motion.
Valkari to the docks to commandeer a ship, though none could be made ready.
Birger, calling upon his power again, tracing runes and crying to his gods, enhances his vision to view upon the outgoing and incoming ships. Witnessing an exchange of pleasantries between them, he concludes that a raid is incoming, perhaps the same raiders that stole the Kaltorei children!
Hearing this, Kaltorei rushes to the guard tower to rouse the alarm for the incoming vessel.
Perception is a wondrous thing. It is shortly learned that the incoming vessel in fact belongs to the Jarl’s middle child, Tarek Oddenstrike, back from his journeys.
The guardtower imparts this knowledge rudely to the small halfling. In retaliation for the extreme disrespect, she palms half the guard’s food and drops it to the base of the ladder.
I am always amazed at the way Fate shows the connections between others. No sooner does she make her way down the ladder than Birger arrives, and promptly ingests the half a biscuit, counting it his lucky day for finding such a treat unattended.
They are met by Valkari with the news that her infamous brother has arrived.
The chase is quickly commenced, only token moments of affection passing between brother and sister and father before Tarek’s ship is shouldered back into the sea by his grumbling crew and boarded by the actors.
As plans go, it was not the worst. The speed of Tarek Oddenstrike’s ship is legendary in its own time—but burdened by a great number of trade goods, it is barely faster than its prey. Sail and oar bent to the crew’s will, though gaining yards instead of miles on their quarry.
As night falls, tales are told and the rich cargo is inspected by the curious rogue halfling.
As day breaks, it becomes obvious that this chase will be a test of the endurance of the crew. There is less wind, though here again, Birger is able to make use of his talents, coaxing the wind to blow harder on their sail.
When the sun sets, the actors and crew are set upon themselves by what I now perceive to be Fate’s planing tool, set to even the playing board.
A great sea serpent tears into the ship as if it were but a large fish. It is a hard fight, with more than a couple of the crew being fed to the beast. In addition, a great amount of the cargo is swallowed whole as well, each time it broke through the deck.
I knew then it was over, but these three show themselves worthy of Fate…their courage, ingenuity, teamwork, and willingness to sacrifice all they held dear allowed them to drive off the serpent.
Working through the night, the crew was able to make workable patchings for the ship and, though exhausted, made sail at first light.
I mentioned before that the playing board had now been leveled by Fate—without the weight of the precious cargo, Oddenstrike’s ship was fast enough to make short work of gaining upon the fleeing merchant vessel and engaging it in battle.
During the fight, the serpent returned, as if drawn to the clash of steel and blood. The warriors of the merchant vessel were able to repel all but one of the boarders – Valkari – the girl fights like her namesake and is as stubborn as her father, though she willingly leaves the ship to battle the serpent again. Disentangling from Tarek’s vessel, the merchant ship runs yet again, making for the maze of islands and channels on the coast near Gotesborg.
As battle with the serpent rages, the group’s quarry slips out of sight into the dense fog…and the serpent vanishes, changing into a flopping eel on the deck of Tarek Oddenstrike’s ship.
There’s a formidable magician working against the actors. Perhaps they may even perish before reaching their goal.
I look forward to watching these people again.