Thursday, 31 December 2020
So, how was your year?
Wednesday, 30 December 2020
Thursday, 24 December 2020
In The Red
Friday, 18 December 2020
The Long And Winding Road
This is the third installment of our Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign set in the Border Princes. Our heroes: Wolfgang Braun of Nordland; Garil Ragnarsson the Dwarf; Rudiger Reich a devout of Sigmar; and Heinz Castel a nobleman, strangely reluctant to share his background, have travelled over Black Fire Pass to the Border Princes to start a new life. They had travelled with a caravan of refugees from the war and faced many perils, most significantly an attack by Beastmen of the forest. Ultimately they'd parted company with the others, who had decided to seek a place to settle in a mining village called Sweetwater. Our heroes have chosen to seek their fortunes in the town of Masserschloss, the seat of power of a local prince, called Dieter.
This session actually happened several weeks ago, and o my memory is a bit hazy, hence the lack of detail at certain points.
The four travellers watched their erstwhile companions disappear up the track towards Sweetwater. Or at least where they believed the mining town to be. Despite losing the safety of numbers, a strange lightness filled each of their hearts.
Wolfgang Braun felt a sense of pride that he had, in a small way, contributed to the safety of those simple folk. He wished he could have done more. Nevertheless, given the dangers they had faced in the forest, Wolfgang knew he had done all that was in his power to protect the vulnerable. Perhaps he was indeed up to the task of finding and protecting what was left of his family.
Garil Ragnarsson’s relief was much more pragmatic. The caravan had made a very big, very slow and very tempting target. The journeys of his younger days had taught him that these lands were unforgiving. At least the four of them now had the option of being able to avoid threats too large to fight. Perhaps not even drawing unwelcome attention at all.
Rudiger Reich felt liberated. He had wrestled with which path he should follow. Should he protect the people of Sigmar, or follow in his footsteps? Now he knew. He would stride into this wild and untamed land, and bring it into Sigmar’s light. Those loyal folk would someday flock back to his banner when the new Empire was born.
Heinz Castel was just glad to be rid of the tedious peasants.
Turning south, the four companions had a spring in their step and now made good time. Spirits lifted further as the volcano grew closer, but was now to the west of them. Occasionally they passed small trader caravans that hurried northwards without stopping to encounter the armed travellers, perhaps fearing they were bandits.
At one point, on the side of the road they came across a small shrine to Sigmar. It was nothing more than a one-foot-thick wooden wall with a small roof over it, with a wooden carving of Sigmar protruding from the wall. A handful of scraps of parchment bearing prayers were tacked to the wall and various offerings lie at the foot of the shrine: fresh cut grain, flowers, a woven cord bracelet, a wooden carving of a boy, and a wooden bowl containing a few brass pennies.
The site of this shrine, far from where such things were common, heartened Wolfgang, and lit a fire in Rudiger’s eyes. A sign, perhaps, that Sigmar’s hand was on them. They both took time to pray, and leave offerings of their own, whilst Garil waited patiently and Heinz muttered to himself.
Pressing on, the land began to rise. A row of hills linked the highlands to the northwest with the land around the volcano, which smoked and loomed. Reaching the crest of the low ridge, the four of them were able to see that the land flattened to the west, into low lying fenland, shrouded in mist. They remembered the warnings of greenskins lurking in the marshes and unconsciously gripped their weapons tightly.
Later in the afternoon, their attention was drawn to what was clearly a large movement on the road ahead. Heinz scouted forward on his steed and rode back to report that a large company of armed men was headed their way, marching in formation. Moving to the side of the road, the four took the time to rest whilst they waited for the company to pass.
Maybe sixty strong, the men wore black uniforms. They marched under the banner of a spread eagle, red, on a black field. Their arms were composed mainly of pikes with some greatswords and crossbows mixed in. Mercenaries. Tilean probably. At least that’s what Heinz surmised from the cut of the cloth of the overdressed dandy that rode at the head of the column. Barely acknowledging the existence of the four travellers, the group passed north, probably heading to the Empire, to profit from the troubles that beset it.
As darkness descended, the group made camp away from the road and passing trouble, although they did risk a small fire to warm their bones. They took turns to watch whilst others slept, and it was whilst Wolfgang was on guard that their sleep was disturbed.
Steps in the undergrowth, brought the Nordlander to his feet, hammer in hand. He was immediately reminded of the beastmen attack on the camp, and whispered hoarsely to the others to wake them, and braced himself for combat. A shape came stumbling out of the bushes, and collapsed near the fire. Wolfgang was about to spring forwards in attack until his senses took in that this was a man, bloodied and wounded. He had taken an arrow through the arm, which now hung limp.
Quickly, the camp was awake, hands grasping for weapons, but Wolfgang was already tending to the man, who groaned in pain. Through his anguish, the man was able to relay that his name was Detlef. He was a bounty hunter. He and his partner, Karl, had tracked three bandits to a rocky hill nearby, but they were ambushed. His partner was killed.
Detlef asked the travellers for aid. He needed their help to retrieve a locket for Karl’s widow, and perhaps even his body for a proper burial. He also offered them the bounty, if they were able to capture or kill the bandits. Eager to see justice done, they agreed, but only in the morning. Blundering about in the dark would likely get them lost, or killed, or both.
The day broke wearily, and after a meagre bite to eat, the travellers shouldered the packs and followed the injured Detlef into the wild. Without real tracking experience amongst them, the journey could simply have found them wandering had it not been for Detlef’s stumbling and falling making a trail so easy to find that a child could follow it.
The trail led to a rocky outcrop that Detlef remembered as where he and Karl were ambushed, and before long the dead man was found. Whilst the bounty hunter tended to his friend, Heinz rode round the outcrop and returned shortly after to report that he had found an opening that looked a likely spot for a hideout.
Moving stealthily around the rocks, Garil and Rudiger led the way, with Wolfgang keeping a sharp eye out for ambushers. Cautiously, they edged into the narrow passage, which opened into a hollow in the centre of the outcrop. Completely obscured from outside, it seemed the ideal location for outlaws or bandits to lair. Indeed, there was evidence of a recent fire, and a camp abandoned. The killers of Detlef’s partner must have broken camp, fearing retribution.
The body of Karl was wrapped in blankets and put over the back of Heinz’s horse, much to the chagrin of the nobleman. A grateful Detlef swore to uphold his end of the bargain and seek to help the four companions however he could once the reached Masserschloss. And so the party made their way back to the road.
“Keep moving, don’t get involved,” whispered Detlef as they approached the group by the side of the road.
Three armed men on horseback had crossbows levelled at a ragged group cowering in front of them. Terrified faces of two men and two women quivered in fear. Their sallow complexions and drawn faces betrayed a tale of hunger, whilst their stained and worn garb suggested they had travelled many miles. Meanwhile, the horsemen were clearly well fed and armed, and did not care that there was another group approaching. Their brash confidence said something other than banditry.
“What’s going on?” muttered Garil, uncomfortable with the scene unfolding in front of him.
“See, the red sashes on their arms? They’re Dieter’s men.”
That made sense. These were more of the Outriders, the caravan had encountered in the north. From what Garil understood, they were somewhat akin to Roadwardens, and were likely to deal with criminals, thieves and bandits. However, the pitiful figures stood by the side of the road didn’t exactly look like hardened outlaws, and if they were bandits, they clearly weren’t very good at it.
“Move along,” called one of the men, sneering. “You can buy us a drink to thank us for keeping the roads safe at the Bridge.”
“Please sirs, help us,” cried one of the ragged men suddenly, his voice betraying a Reikland accent “we haven’t done any…”
Before the man could finish what he was saying, there was a sharp twang. A black fletched quarrel embedded itself in his throat, and the man crumpled to the floor.
“I said keep moving,” snarled the rider, reaching to reload.
Wolfgang’s heart sank as he sense his Dwarven companion bristling with rage beside him.
“Why did you do that?” barked Garil, “He was not threat.”
“Be off with you, or you’ll get the same,” snapped one of the others, “we’re Dieter’s men, on Dieter’s orders.”
“Well, I take exception to this Dieter, and I’ll not be moving on,” growled Garin.
Two more crossbow bolts flew towards the Dwarf, but both went wide. Garin strode confidently towards the riders, only to be overtaken by a charging Rudiger, who barrelled, screaming with rage, towards the fray. Rudiger had understood that these were Sigmar’s folk in distress and was now gripped with righteous fury. Rudiger’s flail swung heavily into the legs of the lead horse, causing it to rear up and dump its rider heavily into the dust.
The other horses screamed and reared and the two mounted men struggled to keep them under control. Taking his opportunity, Wolfgang also leapt forward to assail one of the riders. Reaching up he bought his hammer heavily into the man’s chest. The impact collapsed the man’s chest and he fell out of the saddle and lay still.
The third rider, seeing his companions assailed, took flight and hurried to turn his steed around. However, this momentary pause allowed time for Heinz to kick his own horse into action and leap forwards after the Outrider. If even one of these men escaped, Heinz knew that they could very quickly expect a hostile reception in Masserschloss.
Garil stumped over to where the snarling man lay cowering in the dirt. The man was still fumbling to unsheathe his sword when Garil’s hammer smashed across his temple, dropping him back to the ground.
Heinz spurred his horse forwards, desperate to reach his quarry. He knew what it was to live a life pursued, and having made it all the way over the mountains, he had no intention of starting his new life on the run from the authorities. Again.
Drawing level with the Outrider, whose horse was beginning to gather pace, Heinz brought his heavy, iron handled cane round in a wide arc that toppled the man out of his saddle. Wheeling his horse round, he charged and caught the man rising from the dirt with an upswing right under his jaw. Heinz felt bone splinter as the solid metal head of the cane connected.
Detlef looked on stunned. His new companions demonstrated an instant brutality that had shocked and surprised him. These men were either going to go far in the Border Princes, or they were going to meet a very swift end.
The inn was warm and welcoming. Wolfgang, Garil, Rudiger and Heinz ate their meal in silence, relishing the first proper meal they’d had in weeks. For some reason, Heinz had paid for the meal secretly so that his companions did not have to dip in their own pockets. It wasn’t clear why hed done this, but nobody was going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
After burying the Outriders in shallow graves, and putting an injured horse out of its misery. They had told the three remaining travellers to head north to avoid trouble, and perhaps head for Sweetwater, where they might find others from the Empire.
The companions had made excellent time with three horses between them, despite the fact that they were now loaded with crossbows liberated from the dead Outriders. Detlef had warned them that there might be suspicions raised at the Bridge Inn, a toll gate and staging post for the Outriders, but Detlef was known to the guards and few questions were asked.
The following day the party paid the toll, crossed the bridge and headed up into the hills beyond. The land rose quickly, and before long they were exposed to searing cross winds which cut through their cloaks.
There was no immediate signs of habitation for much of the way, although at one point, about a hundred yards off the road the travellers spotted a ravine. The wind made an eerie howling sound as it blew through it. At the top of the ravine there was an old decrepit shack, which listed toward the ravine, as did all of the trees on either side of the ravine. The party barely paid this sight any attention as they were so close to their destination.
Indeed, it was shortly after this that the crested a hill and looked down into a valley, and beheld for the first time, the walled town of Masserschloss. The seat of power in the region and a place that would become so important in their futures.
Sunday, 6 December 2020
Painting By Numbers
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Turrets & Transfers
Sunday, 22 November 2020
Sunday, 15 November 2020
The Weird and Wacky World of 80s Cartoons
Sunday, 8 November 2020
The First Taste Is Free...
Thursday, 29 October 2020
The Road Goes Ever On...
The train of refugees began to move again. Grimly clinging together. Pressing on, hopeful of a better tomorrow. Or, at least, a delayed fate.
The dawn crept forwards into morning and with it the mist began to clear. The road led down from the hills and into a wide plain of rolling grasslands, pockmarked with woodlands. Wisps of rising smoke here and there betrayed the presence of some sort of settlements. Nothing like the great cities of the Empire, or even the smaller market towns. Hamlets, maybe, or villages at most. Tucked into the landscape, not advertising their existence.
Dominating the plain to the south was a single mountain at the tail end of a ridge of hills. It's shape seemed odd to the former Imperial citizens. It was as if one of the gods had sliced off the peak, or flattened it with a hammer. Above this single height was a dark cloud which seemed to issue from the mountain, as if breathed out.
Only Garil, Dwarf of the World's Edge Mountains knew what it was that shaped the mountain in this way. He had passed this way many years before. He remembered the still stirring volcano on his shame-filled journey to the Empire, fleeing an undeserved strain on his honour. The wonder on the faces of the humans at the sight of it made him smile. For him, though it was a landmark that showed him the way home. The hour of his reckoning was drawing closer.
Beside Garil, strode Wolfgang, leading the mules. He was keen to keep a close eye on them after the disturbing events of the night before. The poor animals were likely to bolt in the event of any more surprises. That would be yet another hardship to bear for the ragged travellers. Something Wolfgang would do what he could to avoid.
Rudiger was not taking in the landscape ahead of him. He was busy offering inspiring words of, what he thought, comfort to those who would listen. Telling tales of Sigmar's undoubted joy at the victory they had won in the woods. The zealous preacher scarcely noticed the faces of those around him flinch as he continually stirred bad memories.
At the head of the column, Heinz rode alone. He casually took in the morning air. For a brief time he was taken back to his days riding in the woods near his home. Momentarily he forgot everything that had happened since then. He savoured the feeling, taking deep pleasure from the tranquil nostalgia and the moist air on his skin.
Some way behind him Garil was beginning to appreciate that the road they travelled was actually really rather good. The muddy trail in the forest had given way to stone slabs. Well carved and evenly spaced, the craftsmanship was more than he expected from human. Especially outside the Empire. He began to ponder the likelihood that the road was of Dwarf-make. Yes. That would make sense.
Garil's thoughts were interrupted by the appearance of a small boy at his shoulder. Scrawny and short, the boy was hovering that bit too close. Enough to suggest that the boy had something to say, but was trying to be polite about it.
"Well, lad, out with it," said the Dwarf eventually. Garil wasn't not fond of children, he just had no real experience of them. Especially human ones.
The boy hesitated. "Erm..."
Beside Garil, Wolfgang smirked at his companion's obvious discomfort. He, in contrast, was very familiar with having children around. He missed his nephews. The boy reminded him of little Stefan, the youngest.
The boy continued, "can I...erm...can I ask? What's it like?"
"What's what like?" responded the Dwarf, bristling at the lack of directness. Were all human youngsters this tentative?
"What's it like to be a Dwarf?"
Wolfgang almost snorted at the impertinence of the question, and stole a glance at a what he thought was a baffled Garil, who apparently had no clue how to respond.
For Garil's part, he was taken aback. Not by the question itself. The child was just curious. What had floored him was the fact that in that moment he realised that he didn't know the answer. It had been so long since he had felt like a 'real' Dwarf. So long living amongst humans. So long hiding from his responsibilities.
Sensing that Garil was struggling, Wolfgang stepped in.
"What's you name, lad?"
"Pieter," came the reply, "I'm eight."
"Pleased to meet you Pieter, who's eight," said Wolfgang with a reassuring smile. "Who are you travelling with?"
A darkness passed over the boy's face, "my mother and father, and my grandfather was with us until he went away last night." It was if a great weight had descended that those young shoulders were too slender to bear.
Too late, Wolfgang realised that he'd said the wrong thing. He thought quickly of a way to change the subject.
"I'm really sorry to hear that Pieter. Hey, would you like to ride on one of the mules."
Like a cloud passing over the sun, the darkness was gone and Pieter looked like a carefree child again.
"Of course," smiled Wolfgang and lifted the beaming boy to perch amongst the baggage.
At the head of the group, Heinz was brought out of his reverie. To the left of the road the landscape sloped away some twenty yards until it hit a thick line of brush and scrub. Protruding from the tangle thicket of branches was, what looked to be the corner of a wagon.
Heinz brought his chestnut mare to a halt and dismounted to get a better look. Yes, it was a wagon. Heinz could see the furrows cut in the damp earth where the wagon had clearly tumbled from the road and down the sloped. The nobleman's thoughts turned immediately to Esther, the pretty girl he'd had his eye on. Her family had fled the battle the night before.
Behind him, the cautious refugees came to a stop. Aware of the possibility of further attack, Wolfgang helped Pieter down from mule and sent him back to his family. Rudiger issued swift commands to those around him to stay close as Garil and Wolfgang strode towards Heinz. They watched as the young nobleman, cane in hand to support himself, made his way carefully down the wet slope.
Pushing through the bushes, Heinz saw the wagon, but no sign of horse or driver. In the back, personal possessions, mainly blankets and clothes, lay strewn as if they had been hurriedly searched. Ominously, he discovered a single crossbow bolt embedded in the front of the wagon, close to the driver's seat.
Bandits. The horse and anything of value would be gone, and the wagon's owners would be dead or worse.
The faintest flicker of sympathy for the fate Esther might endure played across Heinz's and passed. His thoughts turned to himself. He quickly climbed into to wagon bed and rummaged amongst the clothing. As he suspected, the bandits hadn't looked closely, and there were some relatively well made garments in amongst the rags. Heinz grabbed the best shirt, breeches and tunic he could find and stuffed them into his bag. He smiled to himself, they weren't the best quality, but they were better that his filthy travelling clothes.
"What have you found, lad?" Garil asked as he crashed through the undergrowth.
Heinz quickly put his bag behind his back turned his attention to the Dwarf and Wolfgang, who had made their way down the hill.
"Whoever they were, looks like bandits got them," Heinz replied, "I was just thinking we should distribute these clothes amongst the group."
"Not a bad idea," said Wolfgang as he pushed his way forwards to inspect the halter and tack, these haven't been cut, with a few men I'm sure we could get this wagon on the road."
"And then what?" responded Heinz dismissively. "We don't have anything to pull it. Unless you suggest hitching up mules?"
"What about your horse?" asked Garil. The frosty look that Heinz shot him answered the Dwarf in no uncertain terms. He wasn't sure how he'd upset the young man, but it was clear that this issue wasn't up for discussion. He also noted the Wolfgang had also visibly balked at the idea, suggesting that he said something foolish.
Garil put the issue out of mind, "well, let's get these rags up the hill."
The three of them quickly stuffed the clothes into a couple of sacks that were in the heap and began to haul them up the hill. Back at the road, Wolfgang and Garil passed amongst the travellers and distributed garments and blankets as best they could to a grateful crowd.
Heinz came last, hauling a bundle and what looked like an abacus, drawing an enquiring look from Rudgier.
"The bandits must have overlooked it, or thought it worthless," said Heinz, responding to the unmasked question, "I thought we might be able to sell it in Masserschloss."
Rudiger nodded at the sense in the man's actions. They might need to sell a god few things before long, just to feed themselves. His thoughts turned briefly to how low the food supplies were. At least he had his faith to nourish him.
The ragged caravan began to move again, and people turned their faces away from the wagon. The tried not to think about what may have happened to its owners.
The day drew on. The road continued south for some time before bending east. From time to time, faint tracks betrayed the possible existence of settlements some distance from the road. Only once did a wider path branch off, but the caravan headed the advice of Markus and continued along the paved road to Masserschloss. All the time, the smoking mountain, now on their right, grew larger and closer.
Despite the quality of the road, they saw nobody else on it, save for a small group of charcoal burners moving slowly ahead of them. As the refugees closed on then, the broad shouldered men dropped their loads and stood to the side of the road as the Imperial travellers passed by. Pleasantries were exchanged, but Garil noted the men's hands placed warily on their weapons. Whatever Markus had said about the outriders protecting it, this wasn't a safe land.
Several hours passed. The rain came, thin and pervasive. Soaking the travellers down to their bones as the landscape continued to crawl by. The only change in view was the mountain of smoke edging closer and a line if hills slowly appearing in the distance. Occasionally, the scrub and trees would stray close to the road and everyone's breath would be held in anticipation of potential ambush.
Heinz was still ahead, nominally scouting for trouble. The sun was beginning to dip when he saw something odd in the trees ahead. He cautiously rode forward to see a brutal sight that cut him to the core.
Three of the thicker trees by the side of the road had been stripped of their lower limbs. Each had the corpse of a man roughly nailed to it with thick iron spikes. The looks on the stricken faces suggested to Heinz that these brutalised people had not been dead when their punishment had been administered.
Their 'crime' was clear enough. Two of the bodies had clear and visible mutations. One had a cluster of livid purple appendages sprouting from his throat and chest. They looked not unlike fingers that lacked the rigidity provided by bones. The other had a mouth that had hardened and elongated to form something like a bird's beak. Who knew what other mark the third body held?
Above the central corpse, the one with the 'beak,' a rough sign had been put up, bearing a simple statement, "deth to monsters".
Heinz felt sick. Was the answer to humanity's fear of the warping influence of Chaos really this level of brutality? He knew from the experience of his father's serfs that mutation struck families randomly. Were these really 'monsters'? Or were they just poor unfortunates, driven out of their communities only to be tortured and killed for simply existing? Was this really the only way?
Sickened, Heinz turned his horse around and rode back to the others. It would be best if the womenfolk and children were to avert their eyes as they passed.
Warning delivered, Heinz rode quickly ahead, not wanting to look at the grisly sight again. He also had no stomach for hearing Rudiger celebrate the rooting out of corruption with one of his interminable sermons.
The the afternoon became evening and a camping site was found. The remaining wagons were used to provide a sort of central strong point in the camp, and the youngest and oldest were encouraged to sleep beneath them out of the rain. Tents were pitched around the wagons, but no fires could be lit. Food was scarce too. People huddled together, hungry and shivering until exhausted sleep took them.
Heinz had volunteered to watch. He couldn't sleep yet anyway. Images of the impaled bodies lodged behind his eyes. He avoided contact with the other man, whose name escaped him, as he was in no mood for small talk. He stared into the darkness and thought of the soft beds, and softer bodies, of his days in Talabecland.
Suddenly he became aware of a light in the darkness. At first he thought he was imagining it. However, some way away, directly away from the road, a light definitely flickered in the dark.
Quickly, the nobleman roused a few others. Garil, Rudiger and two other men, Mattias and Karl-Heinz. Heinz pointed out the light.
"Lucky bastards," grumbled Garil, "how'd they get a fire going?"
"Do you reckon they'd let us share it?" offered Matthias.
Rudiger scowled, "they're a good way off, no point rousing everybody. I could take my lantern over there and bring a light back. I could also check if they're a threat."
"You shouldn't go alone," said Karl-Heinz.
"Good point," added Garil with a grin, "you and I should go with him."
Karl-Heinz looked horror stricken at this suggestion, and Heinz had to stifle a laugh.
"That's settled then," said Rudiger, "we'll head that way, see who they are and see if we can at least get some fire."
Despite the dark, cold and wet, Rudiger felt better to be doing something. He had been waiting to be shown where his path should lead. A veritable light in the darkness seemed as good an omen as any. He gripped his flail in one hand and his unlit lantern in the other, prepared for whatever course of action Sigmar required him to take.
Garil stumped through the undergrowth behind the snivelling and whimpering Karl-Heinz. The Dwarf was certain that if this did go bad, the human would be more of a hindrance than a help. Rudiger was a stout sort, so at least he wouldn't be fighting alone.
The land was slowly rising as they walked. It appeared that the light was atop a small rise, and as they approached, Garil could make out trees surrounding what might be a small campfire. He slid his warhammer out of his belt as they got closer.
Suddenly, there was a shower of sparks, and everything went dark. Somebody must have kicked out the fire. They'd been spotted.
Everything was quiet as the three edged slowly forward. Having lost the element of surprise, Rudiger tried a more diplomatic approach.
"Hello," he called, "we didn't mean to startle you. We were just hoping that we could share your fire. It's a cold night."
No answer. Only the wind and the patter of rain on the leaves. Although Garil could swear that he heard the faintest cry, as if from a muffled baby.
With no reply, the three pressed on into the camp site. There were signs that a small group had been here, but they were clearly travelling light, as nothing has been left as they fled. Even the fire had been stamped out totally, meaning that the few flickering embers were not enough to light the lamp.
Tired, cold an frustrated at their futile mission. The three companions turned back to their own camp.
The morning brought further bad news. One of the mules had disappeared from where it had been tied. It seemed bizarre that it could have got out of the camp without disturbing somebody. Without it being led, at least.
The caravan took to the road again, the landscape rising in the north east, until, after only about an hour's journey, they arrived at a junction. It was presumed that this was the road that Markus had told them led to the Sweetwater mine.
A man called Gunter loudly declared, "I don't know about anybody else, but I'm done with travelling."
There was a murmur of agreement in the crowd.
"I'm taking my kin up to this here mine," Gunter continued, "that Markus fella said that there would be work if we wanted it. Now I know nothing about mining, but I'm willing to learn. I can't think that it would be worse than being cold and hungry on the road, waiting for bandits or worse to take me."
The man was clearly speaking what many had privately thought. Heads were nodding, and some were speaking in agreement.
Mattias shouted up, "Gunter's right. We came on this road to find a better life. That means settling somewhere. Why not here? We might at least be welcomed. And if we're turned away, we're no worse off."
Gunter took over again, "I'm not going to tell other folks what to do, but I'm going to Sweetwater, and I'd suggest you come too, at least for a time. Then you can continue your travels if it's not yo your liking. What do you say?
A ripple of assent ran across the group. Only four faces seemed impassive.
Wolfgang knew his brother. Being a miner would not have called to him, and so the Nordlander would continue on to Masserschloss. He was sure he'd find news in the taverns and inns there. Perhaps his brother might even have left him a message.
The thought of becoming a miner did not appall Garil. Not yet though. He'd put off his reckoning long enough. His road led east.
The thought of becoming a miner did appall Heinz. He did not know what fate had in store for him, but he was certain it did not involve a menial job amongst peasants. Masserschloss must hold better opportunities and diversions than this.
Rudiger brooded on the night before. No. This wasn't his calling. This wasn't Sigmar's path if anything, the misadventure in the dark had taught him that straying from his path, no matter how tempting the reason, would only lead to darkness.
And so, a short time later, the four companions watched as the bedraggled travellers they had come so far with took the path into the hills. Farewells were given and blessings were offered.
No, their fate was not to be a life of honest toil in the mines. And so Garil, Heinz, Wolfgang and Rudiger turned their faces south.