Monday, 25 April 2011

Revenge ... A Powerful Driving Force.

Each session begins with a recap from the previous week's events.  This is a good practice for two reasons - it helps to reinforce placement of characters, what's been gained, lost, destroyed and who needs healing or  the learning of new spells.  But primarily, it helps me to get things organised and in the mood for what lies ahead.

NOTE: important to remember - DO NOT smile, smirk or grin when recapping.  It has a tendency to make players paranoid - unless of course, you are feeling like tormenting them for a while.  Part of the fun of being a DM.

Choosing to stay for a period of rest at the farmstead of the old farmer, Seth and his wife, Etna, Tarl & Grudge make themselves useful by helping out with fixing various things about the farm, accompanying the Seth to collect provisions, and more importantly, ensure there is no return of other riders.

Time rolls by peaceably, and the characters get to know the old couple quite well, and it would seem the Seth and his wife, Etna take a shine to 'the lads'.  It is during an evening meal, sat round an old and well-worn oak table, that the old couple reveal they once had a son.  Like most young men, the clarion call of war sent him marching to the banner of a local lord to join an army in defence of their country's border in some unknown valley many, many miles away.  Needless to say, son, army or lord were never seen again.

In some turn of guilt, the couple confess to stalling Tarl and Grudge's departure due to the grief of losing their only son, and that having the lads around the farm was a comfort to them both, and something they were reluctant to end.  Tarl and Grudge are invited to stay permanently.  After much discussion, mystic and barbarian reluctantly decline to generous offer, but compromise by stating they would visit each time in the area.  Sad faced, the old couple concede.

Copyright © 2011 Mark Kelly.
The following day Tarl and Grudge and summoned to the barn by Seth.  It is here that he confesses to once being a 'traveller', before meeting his wife and settling down.  He has certain skills he wishes to impart to both lads, namely knife fighting and knife throwing skills.

Like a wrinkled old master, Seth takes delight in watching the two young lads going through the training routines.  As he watches, the years seem to fall away from him as memories of times long since past flood back, recalling the youthful faces of friends and companions now turned to dust in far off locations, in strange lands, the most of which had no known name back in his youth.

Days run into weeks and both Tarl and Grudge become adept in the skills of knife fighting and throwing.  More importantly, the bond between the old couple and the companions grows stronger.
Finally, the day arrives for Tarl and Grudge to depart the farm, and with tearful farewells, as a parting gift, Seth presents the companions with a throwing knife to each of them.  Each blade perfectly balanced and a twin of the other.  The old farmer explains they were his in the days when he travelled.  They took care of him, and he was sure they would look after his 'lads' should the need arise.

Mounted on horses kept from the slain riders, Tarl and Grudge swing into the saddle and wheel their mounts toward the dirt road.  One last farewell wrapped in promises of a return, the two friends ride off. Old, wrinkled hands waving till they were visible no more.  Farmer and wife, arms wrapped about each other, returned to their silent and now all too empty home once again.

To Be Continued ...

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