2 casks of wine, and a bunch of restless escaped thralls doesn’t seem like a good combination, so the others wait outside somewhere with the wine, whilst Oddbjorn goes in to the camp they had constructed.
There, he holds forth in full Skald flow (again, without “his” precious golden fiddle, which stayed with the rest of the group), convincing them that the adventurers will first break the curse on the bridge, then free the thrall captives in Saxatoft, before taking them all south across the river (or bridge, depending) to safety.
Mæva, the thralls’ “leader”, takes Oddbjorn aside, and confides in him that their clan Ættir has told her that the fiddle and buckle are close. Have Oddbjorn or his companions seen these precious relics? Oddbjorn, listening sympathetically then proceeds to lie like a rug, and gets away with it.
Back by Hildr’s hovel, the group plan out how they intend to break the curse.
The idea is to hold a wake for Gilling, leading into a celebration of Vimur’s return.
As part of this, they will need to unwind the enchantment in such a way as NOT to destroy these entities (as Beigen had wanted), but also preserve the various relics from destruction, and carefully unwind the chains of Hildr’s voice, so that she can speak again.
Yes, they are aware that freeing Vimur will result in him luring pretty young people to drown in the river, but they are remarkably accepting of this (to their mind, it beats whole villages drowning themselves and, besides, this is what dangerous rivers do).
They discuss what they will need, and what will stand in for each aspect. They decide that need something to represent each relic, and something else to represent each person.
They come up with the following (subject to me being corrected by @DaveHiggins or the others, as I’m feeling forgetful!):
one of Hildr’s stew bowls to hold her voice.
a golden songbird (to represent Vimur’s Golden Fiddle) - good use of Hunter here
water from the river Vimur (to represent Vimur)
the pennant from Egil’s grave (to represent the eagle buckle - because it flaps, so is like a bird, and can be attached to things, so is like a buckle) - thanks for the correction, @DaveHiggins!
a skull baked from bread (to represent Gilling) - Cook, using the sacks of flour in the tower
a decorated piece of fishing net (to represent Hildr’s bridal snood) - Scavenger
a scavenged doll from the ruins of Saxatoft, with one side polished to a fine sheen (to represent Hildr, and her dual nature)
With all of this, they head back to Vimur’s prison, bringing Hildr, Sisu and Suvi with them (and making sure that the Sprikken do NOT crack open the wine casks in advance).
Beneath the river, inside Gilling’s skull, they make sure to get an agreement from Vimur as to what they want when they free him.
- Oddbjorn wants to be taught music by Vimur.
- Tösk wants insights into his past, preferably a vision.
- Osric wants the river to be safe to cross, for ordinary people.
- Bricks (keen to prevent war between the Gott and Bjornings) wants the Draugr to remain in the river, to prevent armies crossing, each one to only be released when summoned by Hildr to defend their home.
A Convince Conflict ensues, with Sisu and Suvi ready to pitch in on either side, as they see fit (spoiler: they end up supporting Vimur throughout, although there are moments where they are very close to switching sides).
Oddbjorn is Conflict Captain, and taps in his Demand Nature. The party ends up with 10 Disposition to Vimur’s 6.
- Tösk’s Manoeuvre scrapes an extra success against Vimur’s Attack, just preventing any damage.
- Vimur’s Manoeuvre is devastated by Bricks’ Attack (dragging Vimur down to 1 / 6).
- Oddbjorn’s Feint ignores Vimur’s Defend, and ends the conflict without compromise.
Then, it is the Ritual to unbind everything without destroying everyone.
Osric Godtouched brings in everything, on an Ob 5 Rituals test. The consequences of failure are quite clear to all of us, as he rolls.
He succeeds, much to everyone’s relief and satisfaction.
After my special effects budget is blown on how that looks, we get to the wake / party.
During this, in another inspired move, Osric performs the Invocation “Communion of the Black Gate” with the skull Gilling (a bit of a surprise for me as the GM, but that’s great stuff - I ruled that the skull counted as a Relic for this purpose, and he had wine on hand as a sacrament). He gets 2 questions, giving one to Hildr and the other to Vimur. I mean, as a GM, what is not to love about that?
Afterwards, it is time for some promises to be fulfilled.
Hildr has her voice, the snood, the eagle buckle… and closure with Gilling.
Sisu and Suvi are given the key to the bridge tower by the group, and will act as, well, Bridge Haunts, but with an understanding that it might be better to act as bridgekeepers, taking a little from everyone, and watching for “troublemakers”
Vimur returns to his river, with his golden fiddle, ready to lure more young people to him very soon.
The Draugr remain deep in the river, but with the Bjorning ones near the Gott bank to repulse any Gott army, and the Gott ones near the Bjorning bank to repulse any Bjorning army.
As for our heroes…
Vimur gift to Tösk is that when Tösk is where he needs to be, he can pour out any liquid, and the pool it forms will be the waters of Vimur, and show him the vision he seeks.
Then, standing by the broken span, Vimur turns to Oddbjorn, and asks him if the Skald trust him. When Oddbjorn says that he does, Vimur seizes him and drops off the bridge into the rapid waters below.
For everyone on the bridge, 2 (fretful) minutes pass before Vimur rises back up from the river on a column of water, holding Oddbjorn.
For Oddbjorn, 5 years have passed in being taught by Vimur. His hair length and (new addition) a magnificient beard show how much time has passed for our Skald.
The party then break up the ring of ancient coins that had surrounded Vimur, and then further refine it into gold and silver slabs, before leaving it all here, whilst they take the boat across the (calmer) river to fulfil their promises the the ex-thralls of Saxatoft.
They escort the ex-thralls to the river’s edge, and get them to wait there whilst the group sneak into Saxatoft to rescue the remaining thralls who were too young or elderly to escape.
In a Criminal vs. test between Tösk (and friends) against their enemy adventurers, the party triumphs, and are able to rescue the remaining thralls that they came for.
I think we all have a good laugh at the image of Tösk the Troll (Changeling) encouraging children into his sack to carry them to safety…
Then, it’s back across the river with everyone (in several trips), before helping the various ex-thrall groups to head where they want to go.
After 19 years, much has changed, and not all Runung will want to return to their people, and not all Græling wish to return to theirs. Life (and love) can make such things more tangled.
On the whole, those who were Runung head to Brugard, with any who would go with them.
Those who are Græling head with the group towards Innsjøborg, to take passage with Osric’s friend Frigg the Sailor south, either all the way towards Stortemark or (more likely) to the Sakki Downs, where Bricks’ Hendri caravan will be there to take them in.
Once the Runung group has headed off, the party gives the Græling group 2 slabs of silver to help them on their way…
A Town phase in Innsjøborg (possibly with a “fun” meeting between Osric, Frigg and her two children).
There will be an opportunity for the party to see what they can do with all those slabs of gold and silver, get creative with what they make / buy, level up to Level 3, and other such fun stuff.
Well, they’re off to the Wayhouse of Three Squires (allegedly to see Oddbjorn’s parents).
You didn’t think I’d use that name and then not run that adventure, did you?