June 15th, 215
The morning of the 15th dawns bright, and somewhat warm. Shedding some of their warmer clothing, the player characters prepare to head out on the path to Havnor once more. Before the characters do so, Dagna Styrsdottir (Joanne) casts the knucklebones to see what Fate has in store for them. The reading is vague, but she gets a sense of treachery somewhere ahead of them. And the word "dogs" seems to present itself in the knucklebones. She has no idea what this last bit means. While the party is not pleased with this, Sigrun Evardsdottir (Angela) asserts her leadership, much to the volva's amusement, and the characters continue their travels.
Vigfur Egilsson (Tom) goes slightly ahead to scout the way, leaving Ingrid Horoldsdottir (Kathy) in charge, as she is to keep Sigrun and the others safe. Amund Torkelsson (David) starts to play a pleasant ditty on his lyre, but the others tell him to cease as the tension is very high. The party continues to travel, heading in the direction of Herm Pass. After an hour or so, Sigrun calls the party to a halt, and they discuss the fact that Vigfur has been gone so long.
Before Ogir Haralfsson (Nick) can depart in search of the scout, Vigfur returns. He tells them that there is worrisome news - he spotted a lot of tracks in the area, indicative that a large body of men (and possibly women) has been active in the area. He suspects brigands or raiders. The party continue on their way, with caution.
Several hours later, deep in the lightly vegetated hills, the player characters come to Herm Pass. The pass is relatively even, well marked and travelled, and both Jordis Hodersdottir (Ellie) and Ogir are concerned. It's the perfect place for an attack. Ogir and Vigfur tell Ingrid to be especially vigilant, and the player characters make their way into the pass. With sheer walls and a howling wind, it is all that Dagna and Sigrun can do to help Jordis through the pass, the three women somewhat flushed and worn when they reach the other side. Even the men have expended a good deal of energy.
The other side of Herm Pass is heavily vegetated, though a clear route goes through the forested hills. Vigfur and Amund consult on the matter, and they decide the party will skirt the edges of the wood, obviously the start of the Maren Trae (though Vigfur is not convinced of this). As the characters start to move, there is a bloodcurdling cry, and a group of eight bandits, brandishing swords and axes, charge them from the edge of the woods.
Taken somewhat by surprise, the player characters are forced to engage the bandits, who are surprisingly more than a match for the characters. Sigrun and Dagna protect young Jordis, who gives a better than expected accounting for herself, but it is Ingrid, Ogir, and Vigfur who do the brunt of the work in this skirmish, holding their own easily enough once the element of surprise is gone. Fighting back-to-back, Ingrid and Ogir are able to take down three of the attackers, while Vigfur and Amund handle another two of the bandits. The final two bandits attempt to flee, but a well-placed arrow shot by Vigfur brings one of them down, and the survivor races off into the woods. Seeing that one of the bandits is still conscious, Ingrid's temper from the heat of the battle gets the better of her, and she butchers the bandit like a dog. Sigrun is annoyed with her, as they needed to question the bandit, but she sees the foul mood that Ingrid is in (she's also taken two wounds, making her even more grumpy) and lets it go...for the moment.
The player characters assess their condition and injuries, and Sigrun is pleased to see that they've only taken minor injuries, though the skald is hurt somewhat worse. While Ogir and Dagna treats Amund's wounds, Sigrun and the others talk. They wonder how the bandits could have known they were coming. Vigfur suggests that the bandits spotted them the day before, and that they were able to set the ambush up for them. Sigrun agrees that it's feasible, but she gives him a penetrating look that he shies away from.
It is relatively late on a warm afternoon that the player characters emerge from the hilly, forested region to see the Maren Trae before them, with the small village of Havnor before them. Vigfur smugly says that he was right, the forest they were travelling through was not the Maren Trae, but Ogir silences him with a wave of the hand. There's something not right about the sight of the community that they see ahead of them. There's smoke pouring into the late afternoon sky, and it's not from cooking fires, and Ingrid points out what appears to be a large, gaping hole in the western wooden wall that surrounds the small community. And the main gate appears to be wide open. Vigfur says that he can see movement inside the walls, but can't make out who it is.
Sigrun tells the characters that they are going to investigate the situation immediately, and the rest of the characters follow her leadership. Besides, Amund jokes, at least if they help the villagers, that will give them more leverage on the trade mission. The others are not amused. Cautiously making their way towards the community, Vigfur leading the way and Ingrid exercising extreme vigilance, the characters find several bodies near the main gate. Telling Jordis to stay well back, the characters make their way through the gates. As they do so, a pair of dog-headed humans attack them with spears!
As mentioned in an earlier post, this was a most enjoyable session of the Yggdrasill RPG, once again proving to both myself and the players that the game system really is simple mechanically yet showing how the game world is such a fascinating, neat place that offers a whole spectrum of potential plots and room for character development in the stories and scenarios that one posits.
I'll just add that I'm having a real blast with Yggdrasill, and am looking forward to next week's game session.