Shiro has achieved what she came for, and whatever grumbles in the depth of the gorge is not something she plans wasting her time on – particularly without Setara to witness it. Instead she must help her travelling companion with the problems she has gotten herself into. The guide is fighting several of the Warlock’s men: partly shrouded scavengers with gruesome-looking weapons. Some ran away when they saw their leader fall, but there are stille enough of them to offer a challenge. She turns her back on the cackling eagle and the whispering, grating voice in the deep, and she quickly races ip the criss-crossing gantries upon which the strange settlement is built, to face the enemy.

Enter the Fray
6 (3+3 (Heart)) vs. 3 & 4 = Strong hit! A bunch of bandits, rank: Dangerous. +1 momentum (now at 6), gain initiative
(The foe is Dangerous as default; strength of numbers count in their favour, but Setara’s upper hand in the situation cancels that out)

Battle
5 (2+3 (Heart)) vs. 7 & 2 = Weak hit!
(I am using Heart because the roll is based on (overweening) pride after her victory and help from her companion, Setara)
Pay the Price
Harm being the most likely, while being separated from someone or something unlikely (I asked the oracle for an alternative)
The result is likely (75%) vs. 11… = harm
Suffer Harm
÷2 health (now at 0, and the second point is subtracted from momentum, now at 5)
5 (3+2 (Iron)) vs. 2 & 10 = Weak hit! You press on

Shiro throws her herself into the fray, kicking the legs from under one foe and planting her axe in another while yelling at Setara to let her know that help is on its way. Setara is proving her worth as a member of the Shadow Wave – together they make their clan proud as they break upon the scavenger warriors. Shiro is not concerned with killing – she screams in defiance, accompanied by rhythmic chops of the axe, but just as often she will just push past an enemy or leave them be if they step aside for her. The goal is getting out of here, the both of them.

Just as she is almost at the top, a stray arrow hits her, and the blow knocks her down on the bridge upon which she stands. She cannot see the archer in the dark, but she manages to find cover in a stinking hut, with the arrow still sticking out from leather and mail, just by one of her shoulder blades. Instead of making her way to Setara, it is the guide finding her and lending her support for the last bit of way up the wooden structure. They hear the cowardly scavengers jeer and scream frenziedly behind them, but they do not dare pursue true warriors out from their lair and risk getting too far from whatever abomination they worship at the bottom of the ravine.

The two young women stop at the edge of the cliff, gasping for air, and take a last look down into the murk where shrouded shapes are still hurling curses at them, to see if they can make sense of their observations and try to understand what kind of place this is.

Gather Information
5 (4+1 (Wits)) vs. 10 & 10 = Miss… MATCH! Unearth dire threat/unwelcome truth about quest
Pay the Price
Ask the Oracle: Major plot twist: Your actions benefit an enemy.
(The enemy is obviously the thing in the ravine)
(Match: a twist: the Warlock is still alive)

Having looked for a short while and turning around to leave, Setara sends shoots Shiro one of her confused glances that so exasperates Shiro, but this time the chieftain’s daughter refrains from snapping at the girl – pain and a dark premonition is tormenting her.

As they struggle their way towards a safe place to make camp, Shiro is brooding over what she saw: one of the shabby people climbed the lip on the far side of the chasm – in and of itself not so strange. But the way he held his wounded arm… and then he whipped his cloak about him, making a crack in the wind, and it flew away into the night And from where the man had been standing a big eagle rose instead, a little bit shaky on its wings. It screamed protracted and accusingly and circled the ravine before vanishing. That was what Setara also had seen. But what she didn’t notice was what Shiro’s shadow powers made visible to her: Far down in the gorge a long, shiny body rose, no longer bound by the magics of the Warlock. It was he who had controlled the monster that hissed for blood! And it was the same beast that had rested its body in the depths of the gorge and made the settlement sick and corrupted. An accursed wyrm! And it clearly did not intend to remain any longer in its prison.

’Stop,‘ Shiro whispers when they have only walked for about an hour, ’before we get too far away…’

Shiro shrugs off her armour and weapons, reaches over her shoulder and tears out the arrow still protruding. The armour caught the brunt of the hit, but the arrowhead still went in far enough that the blood starts running down her back when she pulls it out. She holds the black, glistening tip op in front of her.

’I swear… once again to bind this accursed wyrm in the depths!”

Swear an Iron Vow
“I swear to bind the corrupted wyrm in the depths!” (Extreme)
4 (1+3 (Heart)) vs. 7 & 1 = Weak hit! +1 momentum (now at 6), more questions than answers
(A wyrm must naturally be Epic, but the goal is not killing it, merely binding it)

She is just about to throw the arrowhead aside, but instead she elects to break off the shaft and hide the bloody tip away in a pouch. She doesn’t have a whole lot to go on, be perhaps someone with a stronger grasp of magic than herself can sense more about the taint of the wyrm from the metal. Her only other clue is the Warlock – a shapeshifter? – assuming he is still alive. She is not physically capable of hunting the wyrm right now.

A couple of hours later the two feel like they are in safe distance from the ravine and make camp.

Make Camp
5 (2+3 (Supply)) vs. 9 & 7 = Miss…
Pay the Price
Stress being likely, an enemy being unlikely
The result is likely (75%) vs. 5… = Stress
Endure Stress
6 (3+3 (Stress)) vs. 9 & 2 = Weak hit! ÷2 stress (now at 1), You press on

The travellers have an uneasy night. The unknown, open hills do not offer much in the way of protection, and they dare not risk a fire. At least no further enemies appear, bit it does put a strain on their nerves.

Reach a Milestone: “Prove that the spirits are with us!”
+2 progress (now at 8)

(We got away from the gorge)
Fulfill Your Vow
2d10 vs. (5+8) = Weak Hit. More to be done/realise truth; add +1 for a new Vow; +2 XP

Pain and doubt keep Shiro awake, but she pulls herself together and is pleased with her victory: She proved that the spirits of the Gloom are stronger than anything inhabiting the Ironlands. She fulfills the ritual to complete the vow – marks a seal in ash upon the ground. But doubt still nags her: Yes, she earned her victory – the victory she had promised Setara and herself, but at the same time, it was the Warlock’s magics that bound the wyrm. Perhaps things weren’t as simple? Perhaps Shiro needs an alliance with these foreign spirits? That must be the answer. She swears the second iron oath upon the axe that drank from the blood of the Warlock:

’I shall make peace with the spirits of the Warlock… or at least join in a mutual pact for as long as it serves my purpose,’ she mutters as an afterthought.

Swear an Iron Vow
“I shall make peace with the spirits of the Warlock!” (Dangerous)
5 (1+3 (Heart) +1 (from Fullfill Vow)) vs. 9 & 4 =
Miss… +1 momentum (now at 7), more questions than answers
(I feel that Dangerous is hard enough, because the situation is already quite complex with my Extreme vow to bring the Gloom to Havens)

Then she turn towards Setara and once again extends her hand to confirm their bond.

(Mark Bond (now at 1) with Setara as payoff for Forge a Bond in session 2)

Test Your Bond
5 (2+3 (Heart)) vs. 2 & 5 = Weak hit!
(Even though the bond was only just forged, it felt right to test it after the fight. Setara accepts Shiro’s gesture of friendship, but is still confused about all the talk of spirits: The new iron oath may clear that up. Until then, the bond is fragile)

This time Setara grasps Shiros wrist, but only hesitantly. Their friendship was contingent on Shiro’s spirits being able to keep them safe on the journey, men now she casting doubt on their superiority herself? Nevertheless: They escaped the ravine with their lives and are still headed towards their true goal: Stonespire.

Shiro considers healing herself but decides that it is too risky. On the next leg of their journey the must find a place to rest, heal, and gather provisions. And learn more about this strange land.

Reach a Milestone: Journey to Stonespire (Formidable)
+1 progress (now at 4)

Reach a Milestone: “Bring Gloom to Havens!” (Extreme)
+½ progress (now at 1)

Advance: take a dot in Shadow-walk Asset (the third option)
(Shiro strengthens her connection with the spirits of the Deep)

When the sun rises, they haven’t slept much but the journey continues.

(And that’s the end of part 1 of Shadowbringer! All the moves from Make Camp and forwards were made in one go, and then I got caught up in the fiction afterwards, but here they have been entered where belong. This is a lot of fun! But man, Shiro is in some deep trouble… For the next part I will read up on Delve and maybe revisit the gorge to discover more secrets that may be hiding there).