Since You Left…

Severin stands at the grave of his wife, who died tragically, but of completely natural and explained unavoidable occurrence that did not result in a malefic apparition nor any dark secrets, just three years previously. He thinks to himself in a manner that seems to him as if he was speaking to her.

“My life has changed so much in the last few years. From a gatherer who spent most of his free time in the tavern to a knight of the new order serving the local Lady. Funny, my clothes are still just as patched. Still, my life isn’t the only one that has changed.

Esme is 13 and becoming a young woman. Rude things have been said about her by Yves friends. Not so rude that Yves or I would have to step in. While those boys think they are being daring, at this point they don’t know any of the concepts that would be really rude. It does bring attention that I need to have a woman talk to her. There are some things I just am not suited for trying to explain. I certainly am not ready for it. What I can do is try and make sure she gets what she needs for a better life. She has been taught the etiquette and Jovienne recipes, perhaps I can manage to get her a position in the castle kitchens?

Yves, now 11, is taking over his duties as my squire. I was worrying earlier in that day if he and his sisters might have trouble adjusting to my new status as a knight. However, with no prompting on my part, when a member of the community decided to find jobs for all the children of the village to keep them active, he declared he was going to be my squire. For now, he is managing my jerkin, boots, and other leather items. He is being taught how to care for my regular sword and bow. When I have armor, he’ll look after that to some degree and if my previous experience with knights means anything, more importantly, he’ll help me put it on and take it off.

Feyette is now 10 and corrects me, and rightfully so, when I act like she is still a younger child. She is the age now that I keep thinking Esme still is. She seems to have grown up the quickest and takes me by surprise the most in that since you have left. Perhaps I can take over my beekeeping and brewing to her, which would also mean what I know about apothecary skills also.

Finally, Bijou is now 17. First of our children as you called him. He is old for a dog, and has had a hard life at times. Especially recently with the things in the woods and trouble the kids have gotten into, that he has protected them from. He might not make it to see any of the children married even if he does not meet another troll. He has been watching over them better than I have in the years since you left.”

Svart thinking to himself while walking in the woods.

Svart is in the wilderness now. Searching.

Svart likes the wilderness. Svart always thinking clearer in the wilderness than in the town. The wilderness is his friend. It seems like home. Although home is Runehiem where I grew up. Svart doesn’t know about the state of Runeheim. Many things are troubling. More and more Gothics keep coming to colonize Runeheim. That there is a brothel is an example. Runeheim never had a brothel. I don’t see why we need one now. It used to be that whores could make enough money to have a house and a life where they could raise a child, like my mother did. Now they are put into a single building and expected to work like soldiers while the profits of their labors are taken from them. Svart would bet that all the women in the brothel are Dunns. Gothics seem to like to make Dunns do all their slave work.

Now that Svart had met allies in the wilderness. They have confirmed what Svart knew, and made me realize that besides Shanahan, the Witch Queen also has taken Miss V captive. She was making boots for Svart when she disappeared. It couldn’t be a coincidence. Luckily, Svart has found the Witch-Queen’s new spy in Runeheim. They revealed themselves too quickly with their hatred of Svart. Witch-Queen thinks Svart is not knowing of them, but I am ahead of her. Svart has uncovered the deep occult of mages. Through hints and cunning, Svart has determined their secret. That once their souls have been eaten by their magic as Wolf-Rik has revealed, then they stop being people, and they become witches. I could reveal this to the priests and get their help against the mages, but that would mean giving up on those who might be saved. Svart just needs to save them before the magic eats their soul and just leaves a predatory wyrd intellect in their shell of a body like the other mages in Runeheim. They cannot trick Svart.

Knut was brave this market. He killed a kuarlite all by himself. The others ran away but Knut stayed and fought. He did get hurt really bad though. Svart should have gone with him. Svart could have protected him.

The winter celebration was a success. The log was burned and was not put out by the ghosts. The ice ghost showed up. Svart led the charge to protect the Yule log. My new armor took many hits from the ice ghosts and deflected them all. Svart made good armor, and many were killed with Svart’s sword. I jumped in singing the community songs and forcing the ghosts back till they finally retreated.

Searching. Must search the wilderness. Find things just like I find something every day and take back. Because Svart is hard working and dependable. Always get up early and bring back something every day. Long gone are the days where Svart would not find anything and come home with nothing and mother would beat him for not being hard working and dependable. Svart was a child then. Svart is a man now. A grown Njord Man. A great and strong fighter now. Svart always finds things to bring home.

Svart is in the woods now. There is a thing to find. Svart will find the thing.

Svart’s Inner Dialogue – Post Game 8

Victor is dead. Executed by the city for selling the Stone Antlers into slavery. Although it seems he was just trying to save their lives before the city went and killed them all since they didn’t want to feed them or risk plague. I’ve heard guards say as much.

He obviously didn’t pay off the right people though. He should have found whoever the Rogalians are paying off. After all, as the Dunns all tell me, despite what they say, the Gothic Empire allows slavery. So, somebody is obviously getting their cut and angry with Victor for him not giving it to them.

That means almost all of my friends are dead or gone. Rolf, killed by an evil priest with dark rituals. Helgi died in the forest fighting the witch and her bandits to protect me. Shanahan hasn’t been around for some time now that I think about it. The longest friend Svart has that is still alive is Cnight Cnut. Perhaps the forces that are working against me by killing my friend will target him next. I will have to make sure he is protected.

He did after all invite Svart to his feast and give me the seat of honor at it. He knows Svart is hardworking and dependable and pulls the slack of the Gothics that have come and eat all our food. That and he and Svart fought together against the undead earlier in the market.

Svart will fight even better once he finishes his armor. Then I can also make armor for all of Cnut’s other warriors for which will get lots of money to add to my treasure.

However, the thing that worries Svart now is the threat of alien trade organizations. The Hestrali are seeking to come in and take all the trade away from Nord crafters and merchants. Svart needs to do something. Svart could become a nord trade organization. He has already talked to the Snow Lions and the merchants that were at court. He could buy and sell items within the Nord lands and outside, and keep the Hestrali out.

Learn to be Humble

The first night of Market was revealing to Severin. He had been hearing lots of people talk about Vecatrans lately. Eventually, it was all too clear that many of those in the village of Luisant were actually Vecatrans. This had also happened after much talking about how a good Benalian should deal with such also. Perhaps now, the secret is out, and perhaps more knew much more than he did as people now openly talked about pagan ceremonies and discussion with crones and spider spirits in graveyards.

The next thing that was unsurprising to Severin that others obviously had known was that the beavers and the Naiads were fighting each other over an artifact that somebody in the village has. Seemed to him like it might be of a major importance to the village, but everybody treated such news as if they not only known it before, but that it had no bearing on the community. At this point, if nobody else was getting worked up about it, it was to the point that Severin was beginning to think everybody must know and he was the last to find out.

The new morning at least brought some semblance of normalcy to his life. Meeting up with Etienne to go look for resources and make the survey map of where they were for the community. It was fairly normal, at least until Valentine fell down a hole. It went down into the darkness and without a rope, there was nothing that could be done. Etienne would have his map and then we could rescue Valentine.

This was all well and good until the map was completed and people split up and Severin found himself fallen down a hole in the woods while getting some mining done. Luckily, Milo was there to use his magic to slam Severin up against a wall as he fell. The other option was to fall into an orifice embedded into fleshy tunnels which was filled with a pile of ‘deep meat’. Being slammed against the far wall was by far the better option. Then he met Valentine, Cadence, and Milo who were already wandering around in the tunnels.

The tunnels were a maze of confusions and obstacles. They were not all fleshy tunnels like the ones ventured into during the previous market. Some were indeed stonelike in structure. They were all fairly linear and featureless except for occasional symbols carved into the walls which made it difficult for Valentine to map. To add to things, there were pits of acid, supposedly from the digestive features of the fleshy tunnels, and half human rats, supposedly either humans, rats, or the descendents of both, that had entered the tunnels by some means and subsisted upon the ‘deep meat’. These rats were not only fighting with sword and shield, but also had their own wizards that attempted to make people change sides through mind control as well as cast spells. The rat wizards also exploded into caustic pools of gore once killed.

Eventually, another group fell into the tunnels consisting of a large party of people. Banding together, the exploration of the tunnels continued and the symbols started to make sense. Members of the new group seemed to be able to draw upon other sources for information. Eventually, after many attacks by rats, the group exited the tunnels at the shrine that had been created last market by the malefic knight after the assault on Chiroproctor.

Once back in the village, things seemed to settle down a bit. Severin’s son, Yves, showed up with the family dog, Bijou, saying the dog was hungry and needed to be fed, when, in reality, it was the son that was hungry and needed to be fed. Severin had just broken out the meat and cheese when court decided to start up around them. There was a disturbance between Cruxmore soldiers acting as guards and the orders of Lady Delphine. Mostly because they were being carried out by Theo, who the guards attacked, most likely on orders of their imprisoned old commander. They also happened to attack Henri which was generally seen as a bad idea by everybody else in the village. In the end, the guards were commanded to leave the valley and go back to their own lands.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. At least it was unconcerning. There were various folkwise festivals, including the beastwise festival. They went with little complications that Severin saw other than nobody being on his side of the Beastwise game of capture the flag was in any condition to run. In the end, it all came down to the other side being able to dodge better. Dinner wound down with various groups talking about what they were going to do that night. One being a journey into the “thicket” to rescue a spirit that had apparently helped the village on the assault on the tunnels the previous market. Severin however was not a part to any of that and a quick nap turned into a night’s rest.

Almost anyway. He did wake up sometime later just in time to run into the village getting worked up to go assault the tunnels he had been trapped in earlier that day. There was a lot of people discussing the objective in groups and building up hype. They came to him as well as others and discussed if we were a community, if we would rather work together than fight, and how we should band against the rats and this wizards in this effort. Severin, having seen the rat wizards joined in the cry that rang through the village, “Fuck the Rat Wizards!”

WIth that oath on their lips, the village headed back to the tunnels together. They ventured down into them past where they were before earlier in the day. They sought out the meat tunnels and the rats for a grand melee. Then everything went to hell.

Chaos reigned. The group was attacked in both the front and the back. A magic wall sprung up in the middle of the groups separating them and preventing them from aiding each other. Rats came through the walls and attacked people who were expecting to be defended by those in the front or back of the group as a whole. Those fighters in the front and back were being tested by much stronger rat fighters and wizards than had been faced earlier. One came through a hole in the wall almost too small to see, stood taller than Severin at his tip toes, and struck him down before he could even begin to move his blade.

When he came back around, he was being bandaged and the battles was still going on. He was in the front group and many had gone forward, into a large acid pool by leaping from the islands of uneven flesh that made up the tunnel walls, floor, and ceiling which that rose above the acid. Shouts of a pregnant rat queen came back down the line along with accounts of rat wizards attempting to turn people of Luisant back on their own. With a cry of “Fuck rat wizards!” Severin rose and pushed forward. At times he had to jump onto the islands in the acid just to give those behind him room to fight the creatures that came through the walls. Then to jump back to give the warriors ahead of him more room to maneuver. In all of that, he had a hard landing and his sword slipped from his grasp and fell into the acid beyond his reach. Then another rat came through the wall and wall, sent him flying against the tunnel wall. Severin hit the wall hard and fell to the ground. The rat continued on to threaten others, not even bothering to notice if he was still alive.

Severin felt as if he had failed. His martial skills were pitiful. Without his bow which he did not have time to fetch nor the arrows to use, he seemed more of a hindrance to the group as a whole than an aid. He just laid there telling himself he was no good unless he can gain more martial skills. Eventually somebody came to his aid, and he told them he did not need help and rose on his own. There, defensless, he sought to do nothing more than take an additional blow instead of somebody else, who would continue on the fight just a little longer.

Then with another cheer of “Fuck rat wizards!” it was announced they had killed the defeated the rats, rat queen, dropped the wall preventing the groups from rejoin, and were leaving the tunnels in victory. Severin did what he could to help carry those who could not walk out on their own, and returned to the village with a more realistic vision of his current abilities.

A Season’s Worth of Arrows

Severin Journal – Game 7

This market had been a time of revelations to Severin. Two things had happened to shake him up. First, he had been unable to do anything about the malefic hunters that arrived to threaten Luisant’s Lady and the Beastwise ritual. Second, the village had been emptied to go fight in the tunnels under the mountain against ancient evil. Both were dire circumstances that threatened the village, his family, and himself.

He had never been a fighter. When the malefic hunters showed at the beginning of the Beastwise ritual, he could resist their fear, but would not have considered fighting them. He was a hunter and rarely used his bow against things other than woodland predators. The one leading them was a ghost and no doubt his arrows would have just gone straight through him with no effect. His sword skills were also trivial at best. When given the choice to declare himself as predator or prey, he knew the only safe answer, and that is also not one he was willing to commit to. He backed away and withdrew from the Beastwise ritual as at that point, letting it fail by getting the Lady back would be better than being forced to hunt her down as he was sure the creatures would demand. He felt he was unable to do anything in this situation.

Later, when the village was called to go into the tunnels, he had a different experience. He had found himself in the depths of tunnels he hadn’t even realized were there. Finding out there was a mountain nearby was also sort of a shock. Still, the tunnels were strange, evil things left over from the days of the Witchking, Chiropractor. There, at the end, was a large room where he found himself fighting alongside a saint that had been trapped there guarding something from the creatures the villagers now fought. There he used a season’s worth of arrows, all he had, shooting at the monstrosities.

It helped that was fighting near the saint in a region others couldn’t enter for some reason. Any time the creatures came towards him, the saint would attack and send them fleeting. He was working on trying to lure them in as that was probably more effective than his efforts after he ran out of arrows. Once, a creature got in and landed a blow that sent him flying. The saint had inquired if he was ok, and he found himself unhurt due in his fevor. She even asked for his name.

It was a formative day for Severin. He had seen himself as a defenseless hunter, and as an effective fighter against evil. Things had been getting worse for Luisant lately. Lords had been killed. The dead walked, sometimes covered in bees. The plants walked even. He saw that it was no longer enough to just try and keep the village fed. Instead, he saw that it was needed for him to step up and learn the skills needed to make a more active defense of Luissant.

On the Way Home From the Forum

Severin left the tavern to head back to his home with his arms full of gathered items. They kept slipping out and he kept having to reshuffle them in his arms. It wasn’t till he was almost there that he looked up and saw the figure shuffling down the road towards the village.

He squinted and saw the disheveled hair and the dead white skin of a corpse wandering into town. “Oh, that’s not good”, he said out loud.

Feeling he needed to defend himself, he kept shuffling items between his arms, trying to get them all under one arm, so he could draw his sword. He looked up as the figure shuffled closer towards him. Finally getting everything in one arm, he struggled to pull his sword which was stuck in the scabbard. It was always hard to pull out with just one hand and nothing holding the scabbard in place.

The creature came closer with its relentless shuffle, dead face, and claw like hands. He thought about calling for help, but didn’t know if anybody would hear him back in the tavern, let alone be able to make it in time. He continued to struggle with his sword, hoping to get it out before he was torn limb from limb by the lifeless monstrosity. He shut his eyes so he wouldn’t see his end coming.

“Well, hello there.”

“I’m going to the tavern.”

Severin opened an eye to see, “Oh, hello Bernard Bernard.” Severin quit struggling with his sword, reshuffled his items between his arms and continued to his home.

What to do? There are plans to set up an orphanage. Those kids need training in the ways of being proper citizens in Luisant. Severin’s kids need training in Luisant. The two had gotten together and jumped in a blud pool. Then the family dog has been attacked and almost killed by trolls. Something needs to be done to help the kids. Help them from killing us all most likely.

What they need is a good mother. Severin thought about how he was always at the tavern while they were at home getting sick, kidnapped, or into trouble on the wrong side of the river. He remembers when he used to just have them sleep in the back of the tavern under the tables. It was easier to keep track of them then. Now, they actually do have chores to do as well as things they want to be doing. Severin himself has his own obligations to bringing in food and cooking for the community. Everybody in Luisant does. Even if he was to marry again, the mother would have their own responsibilities to do instead of just looking after the children.

Perhaps there is something that can be worked out. He’ll have to think on that.

Not good at all. No siree.

Severin picked up the empty bowls and stacked them. The bits from the snack board were all but finished, and he had made sure none of it had gone to waste by finishing off what was left. Bowls went into bowls. Utensils went into the top bowl. Boards went on top of boards, and on the top board went the bowls and whatever mugs were left around. The next step was to sneak everything into the kitchen and leave it by the sink before anybody starts asking for somebody to wash dishes.

There was too much to do and he couldn’t think while washing dishes. There had been the Nowhere King which has killed the Lord and Lady. Then the Red Stag from the forest. Now they seem to be the same, and from what the church people say, possibly a child of Benalius and Vecatra?!!?!

Vecatra! Thank Benalius we don’t have Vecatrans running around causing troubles in Luisant.

Worse was the sudden bouts of horribleness that had happened. First, there had been cannibals in the woods. Then one man had said he had been told to eat the flesh of a supposedly malific person and that would cure him of the plague this convocation. This was all strangely similar to the Beastwise ceremony, which had missed out on because they had left early and without him. There they had gone to feed the bear, and found the bear already dead by having eaten himself to death. Then, those that had gone found themselves hungry and ate the bear. Perhaps best that he had missed out on his first official Beastwise ceremony. Maybe he’ll miss the next one too, just till he’s sure he’s go the hang of this Folkwise thing, as it doesn’t seem like these sort of things should be happening. Still, it’s all gluttony, which goes back to the old Witch King of Capacionne, who had servants in this area as well as a mouth, which might also be the Nowhere King.

Plague is bad enough. Thank Benalius that Sophie had been able to help cure his family. He had already turned over all his herbs to Alphonse, who had helped cure his family last market. He surely could have done so again, but Sophie had done so, so he told Alphonse he could use the herbs to help other people. Still, plague was bad enough but people eating other people, or associated possibly spirit bears, is even worse. Luckily, they had enough food to feed everybody, even the refugees. But, what if the bounty fails? What happens then?

Wait?! Where did the refugees come from?

He should have asked more questions previously in the tavern. There was a puzzle here. There were, possibly, cursed items being assembled into a suit of armor nobody wants. Other families sneaking off to do things in family crypts. No overt attempt to communicate any of this to the community as a whole.

If I don’t know, then most people must not know. I’ll have to try and assemble all that information. It’s not a Jovienne thing to do, but my mother always did say I showed signs of her LeBlanc ancestors in me when it came to protecting the community. There is something going on here, and it is not good. Not good at all. No siree.

Svart Returns Home from Forum

Svart made his way to his hovel. He looked behind himself to make sure he wasn’t being followed and nobody was spying on him. Satisfied, he entered and made sure to close the door behind him. He then checked the window to make sure there was nobody watching him from outside and closed the shutters again. He looked around his room to make sure nothing was out of place and nothing was odd.

Only then did he pull out the treasures he had found this forum. He had an earring. It looked valuable. There was a shiny stone that looked like it could be a gem. The metal might be silver. The button he had found in the gravel outside the tavern was yellowish, so it might be gold. Then there was the necklace with a dainty chain holding what looked to be a carved raven’s skull. He had found that under his bed after everybody had left for their homes. He always swept as the last thing before leaving. He always made sure to sweep, as there were sometimes treasures that were left behind by previous occupants. Sometimes the people who ran the forum sleeping rooms would get angry if it wasn’t done, and even try and charge for cleaning. He always did it so they wouldn’t get angry and be mean to Svart. He would put these treasures in his treasure chest.

He had found some treasures, but he hadn’t made any money this forum. Knut hadn’t wanted any scouting this forum. He had to farm to support all the Gothic nobles and their entourages with their minstrels, cooks, and women. He had gotten some hemp from it all, but it wasn’t as much as Knut paid him to scout and certainly not money. He also hadn’t sold anything. He had plenty to sell, but had been told not to sell raw materials. He was supposed to only sell goods he made. Not raw materials. That made sense. He’d make more money that way. However nobody wanted any carpentry or needlework done.

He had been working to make himself stuff anyway. He had comfortable small clothes, fine boots, and bedding made for himself. He also had found some paper to make a fan. He would look so comfortable and rich with a new fan.They will all be surprised to see that Svart has a fan once he is done. Jealous also. Now, if he could only find ink. Nobody can make ink. He is saving up all his herbs to get some ink. Pretty soon, he’ll have lots of nice things.

For now though, he should work on armor for himself. Fighting the Hollowsong had left him injured. Armor would be nice. He has all the materials, and just needs to work it together. Once he has armor for himself, he could make armor for Knut’s soldiers. They will need armor and Svart will make the best armor. Perhaps he should learn blacksmithing. Then he could also add metal to his armor. No good for him, but Knut will want metal armor for his soldiers. That will also sell for more also. Knut, and Victor, will surely pay more for metal armor. Perhaps even in gold. Armor is very valuable. Then he can put all that money in his treasure chest with his other treasures.

Svart’s Internal Dialogue Late Autumn LA 608- Runeheim Forum 4

((Svart’s internal dialogue as he thinks over the events of the late autumn forum for LA 608 and tries to make sense of it all.))

I was robbed.

Miss V. had made me a pair of fine boots. I had them. Shanahan had given them to me, but when I looked for them later, they were gone. I looked all around, but I could not find them. They must have been taken by the bandits in the forest. That must have happened, because I do not lose things. The Witch Queen that they serve must have sent them to steal my boots. The bandits must have taken them.

They did not know that Svart can make his own fine boots. Svart is hard working and dependable and has all the materials he has gathered as his father taught him to do. He is quick and can work a needle as his mother taught him to do. Svart began work on his princely mantle. I made my own boots. Then I made small clothes. These are the things he did after Svart returned to Runeheim after staying with the Dunnick army in the South who said they would aid him in his cause if he helped free the Dunns from slavery.

Then the Witch Queen attacked. There were fire ghouls and bears at the beginning of forum.

Wolf-Rick was there and Svart kept away from him. When I first met him, I could tell he was a good person. I am never wrong with my impression of people. Just as I could tell that Tongue Splitter hated me when she slammed the door in my face. Then there was Xavier who made fun of me and told everybody not to use any of my crafting. It was no surprise to see him plotting the black dogs that stand on hind legs and talk. He is obviously in league with the bandits in the woods and taking orders from the Witch Queen. Yet, Wolf-Rick was a good person but revealed he was a wyrd spell caster with the story of how the magic tortures and corrupts his soul. It is sad to see a good man enchanted and corrupted by such foul wyrdness. I can tell he yearns to be free.

I, Svart, swear and oath that I will find a way to strip Wolf-Rick of his magic, and free his soul from its torment! Then, he can be a good person again.

The Hollow Song attacked Runeheim. They were in the woods attacking other villagers and when the defenders of Runeheim came out, they engaged. I had been out in the woods patrolling and protecting the other villagers from attacks when I heard the battle back by the bridge. I rushed back and saw that the group of Runeheim defenders had been split up. Most had been driven back across the bridge, while Quill was being attacked by another group. Svart attacked across the bridge, clearing the way and led the charge back to save Quill. Svart was the first one back to help Quill. We arrived in time to save his life, but not his finger. I think one of the Hollow Song ate it.

I did better in that battle. Rolf had been teaching Svart how to fight and advising him. Svart misses Rolf. We were good friends, and he helped train Svart in fighting. We’d go into the forest and fight together. We’d fight giants and trolls to protect the town. Nobody was as good a friend to Svart as Rolf.

Then there was the attack on Runeheim by the crows. They must be servants of the Witch Queen as they grabbed me and tried to drag me out to the menhir like they did others. I had escaped once through a tough battle. Seeing that they couldn’t get me, they kidnapped Solace and dragged her out to the menhir knowing that I would follow to rescue her. The Friar was leading the way with his lantern, but then an assassin snuck up behind me and stabbed me in the back. Luckily, Bjorn fought it off and saved my life.

The Witch Queen in the forest that controls the black dogs. The black dogs have always tormented Svart. Mother said that the black dogs don’t like me because my head is full of cats. Dogs don’t like cats. The Witch Queen did the same to kill the bear king, and now she does the same against me.

My mother also told me the truth after other children were making fun of Svart. That the Bear King used to visit Runeheim. Back when my mother was the most beautiful woman in Runeheim, he was one of my mother’s special friends. He is my real father, and I am the prince of the Bear Throne. But she warned me, I have to keep quiet and not tell anybody, or they’ll come after me. Then after my mother died, the Witch Queen started sending her dogs and bandits more and more often, because they know I am the real heir to the Bear Throne. They seek to break my spirit and stop me from uniting all of the Njordr.

The only person who knew was Rolf. I told Rolf who I really was. He told me that he has been sent to guide me in a vision he had. He recognised me as heir to the bear throne, and I branded him, Rolf the Unbreakable.

Eventually, I will make my fortune, destroy the Witch Queen and her servants, claim my throne, marry a princess, unite the Njord clans, and free the Dunns.

The Oncoming Winter

Severin limped across the floor of his hut. He looked into the room the children were sleeping in. They laid there with the dog with little child-like snores in their single bed. The medicine for their family member made by Dr. Alphonse had worked and all were comfortably asleep. He let go of the drape and let it cover up the door to their room once again. The steps back to his chair were painful from the sprained ankle he had suffered.

He thought about how he needs to get bedding for his children as well as new clothes. It seems so hard to get such items these days. All the needleworkers were busy making more bandages which are forever getting used. He had all the raw materials, but lacked the skills to make such items himself. In calmer times he might have looked at doing it himself, but these days, he needed to put all his efforts into just gathering more food from the forests to keep the village fed, his children included.

The attacks from outside the village just seem to be increasing. First cannibals and next came the forest creatures. The Lord and Lady being killed followed by the son being charged with things that haven’t been announced publicly. All very strange, and he did not like it. Never mind Little Hugo’s devil babies and other ghosts and creatures that keep appearing. Such issues have always been present in Luisant, but they seem to be getting worse and all seem to tie to the NoWhere King and Red Stag to which nobody really has any knowledge of why.

Not sure about the hunting around the village. It’s been getting more dangerous to go out into the woods. The creatures there complain about using all the resources. Some more attention probably does need to be spent into preserving the forest’s resources. Severin had never exploited unless there was a need too, usually for food. Usually, just a bit of more hard work would do just as well. He will have to pay more attention to the hunting and game in the area in the future.

At least the most recent dinner he had made for the village had come off successfully. There was plenty of lamb stew for everybody and the other odds and ends served up seemed to work well for the villagers. It seemed like there would be enough food for everybody still, but vegetables had been harder to find than usual this fall. Not a good sign for the coming winter.