Emma, Session 8

6th day of the 3rd ride, month 6 , 1262

Things have … turned out.

Korath and his brothers have escaped. All of us, and Luca in particular, are under suspicion, although Lord Markus expects it all to blow over. I guided a young man into maturity and great responsibility, and nearly got him killed. I have met the trident called Muirgheal. We are on the road now, with a small fortune to pursue the figments and fancies of a wayward brother.

The stream meanders.

Understanding that Luca would not be deterred from freeing the Orcs, I decided to play a difficult balancing act. I was favorably disposed to freeing the Orcs, but bound by the laws of hospitality to not act contrary to our host in too obvious a manor.
I decided that a major distraction might serve Luca to succeed in freeing Korath and his brothers, while I could create such a distraction by bringing blessings upon Lynnecombe-upon-Lynne and its people.

I offered to perform a ritual to sanctify the transformation that Bartosz had clearly undergone. Lord Jonathan was unenthusiastic, if not uncaring. Sir Bentan was more favorably disposed to the endeavor and convinced the Lord, if Bartosz consents of course.

We first gathered in our quarters, where we were joined by Brandomir. Luca wanted to examine the weapons we had retrieved from the tunnels. He crushed the pearl and made from it a thick paste with wine. This he used to draw intricate and worrisome symbols on the floor around him.
He then handled each of the weapons in turn. I was reluctant to hand over the trident with which I had sung, but Luca reassured me that it was merely an observation of the weapon.
The set of blades that Markus took are twins that mustn’t be separated and are called Gladia.
Emrys’ blade is called Toruviel and seeks a permanent bond with its wielder.
Luca called his staff The Blackstar, which seems ill-omened to me.
My trident is called Muirgheal.
All of the weapons are sentient and seek a personal bond with their wielders. I am uncertain on how this works exactly.

After this, to Brandomir somewhat disappointing, display we went our own ways.

I sought out Bartosz and asked him if he would accept blessings in the evening from the Lady of the Lakes. He was hesitant at first, but when Sir Bentan appeared from nowhere and reassured the boy he was more than happy to accept. In fact, he asked if he could bring his family, which I encouraged him to do.

After that I asked Emrys about ways to deepen the bond with Muirgheal. He claimed to have created such a bond by meditating with Toruviel. This I could understand so I sought out a quiet place and sat there with Muirgheal in my lap and meditated and hummed hymns to Sedna.

Muirgheal has as much a connection to water as I have, but perhaps slightly different. I think he may be more of the Father, the Lord of the Dark Depths than of my life-giving Mistress.
His … her … its abilities are impressive. Its demeanor, however, worries me. It seems bent on converting people and to exterminate the faithless. Such a stark stance does not suit me or my Mistress. Certainly not when the weather is so pleasant and the lands so alive.
This will take some getting used to. Muirgheal and I will have to learn from each other. It tends to communicate in verses, bits of song or ribald. These are very cryptic, however, and so far its efforts have failed to make much sense to me.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon preparing for the evening’s ceremony.

As supper was served much of the village had followed Bartosz back to the estate and a good crowd of servants and villagers had gathered for yet another feast in the estate. I mingled politely with the family of Bartosz.
After supper I took to the dais overlooking the courtyard and improvised a ritual setting. I performed a speech stressing the added value of Bartosz in his community and the value of cooperation within the community as a whole. Emrys accompanied the speech and especially the hymns with the lute, and his timing was impeccable and greatly enhanced the overall ceremony.

I called Bartosz to the dais and made him vow his loyalty to his community before his fellows and the Gods. Upon completion, I used holy water to rinse his head. In the corner of my eye I could make out that Luca had indeed made use of the climax of the ceremony to release the Orcs.

Sedna willing, they would have a good head start before their absence would be noted.


The hounds starting baying not long after and the bell was tolled. Confusion gripped the estate. Emrys and I looked after the crowd of villagers, while many of the servants locked themselves away in the buildings. The guardsmen hurriedly armed themselves and prepared to follow a seething Cpt. Mollen. I urged Bartosz to join the other guardsmen and to uphold his vows.

The escape of the Orcs had gone terribly wrong.

After some more confusion we all made our way out of the grounds and into the surrounding wilderness. We quickly came upon a stand-off. Cpt. Mollen was barking at the Orcs to put down their weapons, while the Orcs were standing on the bridge over the small stream. Efforts to calm Cpt. Mollen were futile, but a small group started to form a line between her and her crossbow-men, including Bartosz. I joined their ranks, but was uncertain of where this was all heading.

I didn’t quite follow what exactly happened there. All of a sudden Cpt. Mollen and one of her men fled. The others fired their bolts. Emrys in a stroke of genius used Toruviel to blast most of the bolts out of the way but one hit a mark … Bartosz. Only by the intercession of Sedna was he saved.

The Orcs, taking advantage of the confusion, and the confusion that followed, jumped of the bridge and escaped.

What a mess. The ritual was insufficient to let the Orcs escape without notice. Now the very lad I initiated was shot by a crossbow that I had strung in his stead that very afternoon. The grimmest of ironies.

Perhaps a fitting warning for my vanity?

When we returned to the estate we sought out Lord Markus. We all agreed that we should leave immediately. Markus arranged for the essentials and within a short while we were on our way in an open cart with two horses … and a 1000 gold pieces in a small chest.

Lord Markus bid us a farewell and good fortune … citing Mask as a parting shot.

Emma’s Speech at the Sheridan Estate in honor of Bartosz

Sisters and Brothers
Welcome to our worship
Today we celebrate the glorious return of our brother Bartosz
He returned from a journey into darkness, suffering great trials and hardships
He was forced to leave two of his brothers behind
They had gone beyond where he might have saved them
Beyond the veil
In the face of such hardships brother Bartosz showed great resolve and resilience. Because of his formidable fortitude he was able to return to us, and moreover, to become a better and stronger man.

We drink to his  youth, to days come and gone
For he lived through  darkness and strength he has won
We drove out the enemy and restore what we own
The waters of Sedna will flow into our home

Sisters and Brothers
There is but one thing I would hope to teach you this day
The Gods help those who help each other

The Gods lead by example
The beloved Earthmother brings us the seasons and feeds us with bountiful crops
But she does not do it alone
Without the nourishing waters of the Mistress of Streams, the crops cannot grow.
Only with the help of Sedna can the Earthmother’s crops grow and humanity feed.

Even us humans play our part
Every act of lovingly planting a seed and watering it to produce life and food is a minute act of worship to the Earthmother
And my Mistress, the Lady of the Lakes

We drink to his  youth, to days come and gone
For he lived through  darkness and strength he has won
We drove out the enemy and restore what we own
The waters of Sedna will flow into our home

The Gods help those who help each other

We all have our part in our communities. Some are farmers. Others are Lords. And there are so many in between.
Our responsibilities vary in weight perhaps, but they are shared none the less.
As we grow, mature, and experience our abilities change and so may well change our responsibilities.
That is why we often turn to our elders for wisdom, for example.

There is no denying that Bartosz’ recent experiences have left an indelible impression on him. He has changed rapidly. In many ways he is not the same man that went into the tunnels some days ago.
No, he has become much more than that man.
His brothers and sisters will find comfort in his presence in times of peril, and he will naturally assume the mantel of leadership to protect his brothers and sisters from harm.
If not in blood, then certainly he is gaining a nobility in spirit that will become a bulwark of confidence and security in his community.

Bartosz, come forward

Please prostrate yourself before the gods and repeat after me

I Bartosz
Solemnly swear
With the Gods as my witness
That I’m bound to my brothers and sisters
In both body and spirit
If they grieve, I grieve
If they suffer, I suffer
Whatever they feel, I feel
As long as my arms bear strength
As long as my eyes still have light
I will protect them from harm
And ward off the agents of evil
So that we may feel and live
In peace, joy, and happiness

Hear the solemn oath of this man and give him the strength to stay true!

All rise!

Brothers and Sisters of Bartosz and the Estate.
Say ‘Aye’ if you bore witness today to the oath proclaimed here before the Gods.

Bartosz, let me wash away the old and welcome the new with the Holy Water of Sedna.

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