Ironsworn - Solo Session #3

Banished from Eaglespire Morgan set off on a journey to the nearest settlement of Bleak Hope. Irsia, the recruit she saved previously joined her as she was still recovering from the wounds she suffered during the duel.

They set of early in the morning and by the time they had to break the camp for the night they encountered a large caravan heading towards Bleak Hope. Morgan and Irsia exchanged few pleasantries but ultimately had to make a camp and focus on their journey. Having some time for herself Morgan attempted to dress her wounds but all she managed to do was make herself have a restless night.

In the morning Morgan decided to take a better look at the surrounding terrain, deliberating which path was easiest to follow. Her expertise as a Wayfinder no doubt helped her but the journey was still arduous and their supplies were dwindling now. They've found themselves in a untouched part of the forest. A perfect opportunity to gather and hunt. Unfortunately as luck would have it all animals managed to run away from them and most the plants they found were inedible. Inability to secure more supplies further fouled their mood, however they had no option but to press on.

Next day they made sure to be frugal with their resource consumption and made a good headway without considerably reducing their supplies. They were not far away from Bleak Hope now. They continued to walk through the forest and met a young priest named Elstan. A hermit seeking a redemption for some transgression or another. They shared a curt conversation but ultimately headed in their separate ways.

Morgan and Irsia finally reached their destination, a cold settlement atop a hill named Bleak Hope. Fortunately Markein, the local overseer, was quite receptive to the plight that has befallen our heroic duo. Morgan was healed of the worst of her injuries however she is still not at her best.

Morgan found out from Overseer Markein, that Elstan the young priest they met some days ago was banished from Bleak Hope for harboring a wounded Varou. Similarly Morell, the acolyte who was assisting him, is doing a penance of fasting for not speaking up. Markein complained they have no real priest now and must look for one outside the village, perhaps even outside the region. With no word from Saskia yet, Morgan and Irsia decided to stay couple more days in Bleak Hope and recuperate.

Their rest was interrupted suddenly when the local church burns down. Morrel got out of  it with some light burns. The question was how something like that could've happened. Did the church catch on fire by some accident or was it burned down on purpose and if so who was the perpetrator?  Indebted to the community for taking her in Morgan swore an iron vow to investigate the situation and find the culprit if it turns out it was indeed an arson.

Morgan started by examining  the burned down church. She found out an evidence of arson and what's worse one of the timbers was marked by Varou clan symbols. Marking they make on settlements they've raided. Could this be an act of revenge for the banishment of their savior Elstan? But could've they sneaked back inside the Bleak Hope now that everyone is alert and on edge? Morgan knew one thing for sure, she needs to find out more about the Varou which Elstan and Morell have helped.

She went to talk with Morell but he was surprisingly tight lipped about the whole situation. She tried to persuade him however the discussion got so heated Morell attacked her and Irsia had to separate them before they both got worse injuries.

Back to square one, Morgan went to gather some information about Morell himself from the locals. Right after she patched up her injuries once more. She found out Morell joined the community of Bleak Hope just under a year ago. He was on a pilgrimage to Dead Road in the Flooded Lands region but he stopped her for the winter and for some reason remained here after that. Before he went on his pilgrimage he participated in armed conflict in the Tempest Hills. Though he was known to be brash he wasn't particularly disliked within the community.

Her options dwindling, Morgan decided to leave Bleak Hope and seek out Elstan. Last time they met him he wasn't too far away from the village, so she and Irsia headed that way first. She first surveyed the surrounding lands for places rich in resources, where a lone hermit would be most likely to settle. After couple of days and using up last of their supplies it was apparent Elstan has been purposefully avoiding the most likely places to be found.

Forced by their circumstance Morgan stopped to hunt and forage for food. She found nothing of not and whats worse, a sudden freezing downpour worsened her mood significantly. Camping with not supplies left them with little comfort.

Next day Morgan attempted to scout some of the less suitable places to hide and found a fresh set of human tracks. Leading up to a sheer cliff  face. Unwilling to risk the climb in her current state she opted out to find another way up. She managed to find one however it has costed her some valuable time.

Up on the cliff they found a small cave which was predictably inhabited by Elstan. He was rather impressed someone was able to track him to where he lives. They sat with him and talked about the situation in the Bleak Hope. Morgan asked if the one who burned down the church could've been the Varou they helped. Elstan just laughed heartily.
"No. She likes him too much to ever put him in that kind of danger."
Elstan convinced them to stay for dinner and promised all would be explained. They obliged and once the sun started to set a female Varou walked into the cave, calling out to Elstan. She was startled at first by his new companions but Elstan assured her they mean no harm. She brought Elstan some fresh meat to eat as she does every couple days. He introduced her as Darva. She was not as impressively built as the Chieftan Vana but she was still taller than both Elstan and Irsia. Her long black hair was intricately braided. Not something most people would assume from supposedly bestial Varou. Elstan started preparing the meat for dinner and they broke the news of church burning down and she nearly jumped right out of the cave before they explained Morell is doing fine. Morgan described the symbol left inside the church as precisely as she remembered it. Darva just shook her head and told her that's not a real Varou symbol. Which meant someone from Bleak Hope wanted it to look like Varou's fault.

Before Darva left for the night Morgan asked her about Vana.
"I heard of her clan but never met her personally. Why do you ask?"
"Oh well... I've kind of swore an iron vow to her."
"Ironholder making one of your strange vows to a Packborn chieftain? Now I've heard it all."
Morgan learned some useful if not immediately applicable information. She still had to decide where she stands on the whole rogue mystic vs Vana conflict and learning more about either of them was crucial.

Darva looked like she wanted to say something more as she was leaving but ultimately she remained silent. Elstan noted she probably just wanted them to say hello to Morell for her but was too shy to ask.

Elstan suggested Morgan and Irsia spend the night and return to Bleak Hope on the morrow. Hearty meal, pleasant conversation, progress in the investigation and a good nights sleep helped both Morgan's physique and her mind. Early in the morning they've said farewell to Elstan and headed back to Bleak Hope.