Brash Swordborn

Brash Swordborn

A scene written to test my first Icewind Dale campaign character.

 


Of Mysteries, Rats, and Lullabies

It’s near dark when Brash descends into the stone basement beneath the north corner of the storehouse.

The space is cool and dank. Quiet and roomy. Out of the weather. Out of sight of the children, curious guests, and suspect interlopers.

Good place to stash his traveling gear.

Great place to escape his sister-in-law’s tirades.

Perfect place for a stolen hour or two with his beloved wife.

Perhaps he’ll entice her to such an interlude before his morning departure.

Motivated by the thought, he moves with purpose, gathering what’s necessary for the journey ahead and lugging it up the ladder.

When he’s brought up the last of it, he pauses, taking the summons from the pouch at his waist, and reading it again, hoping for clarity this time through.

Could Alustriel Silverhand be alive?

It hardly seemed possible. Or plausible.

If not, if this was a ruse, who was behind it and why?

Who would summon help in her name? 

And why hadn’t he head of the amassing of orcs before now? 

A rustle below interrupts his thoughts. Something scurrying behind the leather chest that houses his spare weapons.

If there’s any chance of returning with Torhild, he doesn’t want to spend the evening going to fisticuffs with a field mouse.

He descends the ladder, kicks the chest aside, and sees a rat. Not any rat. One of unusual size. Just short of an adult possum.

It eyes him with red eyes and sharp teeth, hissing and lifting up on it’s hind legs, challenging him.

His grabs the hilt of his short sword, swings once, and parts the creature’s head from its body.

Blood pools beneath the body. He signs and leans against the cold stones. So much for his hope of a love nest. The blood will leave a stain he won’t want to explain.

Perhaps he’s been home too long this time. What kind of man takes a sword to a rodent? He cleans the mess, secures the basement, and washes up before returning to the house.

Inside, a pair of boisterous ten-year-olds rush him. The twins Audbjorn and Vebjorn. Always vying for his favor.

The rest of the children – some his, some fosters – are seated at the table. Nine in total. Ranging from mid-teen to due-to-be-born any moment.

Working together, Torhild, his wife, blessed with strength and patience, and Gunhild, her sister, cursed with strength and persistence, set the table with food and utensils.

He helps carry the heavier platters and fill the children’s plates.

It’s well past starrise when the meal is done, the table cleared, and the children readied for bed.

He stokes the hearth, bolts the door, and settles beside Torhild, drawing her against his chest, kissing her temple, and resting his hand on her gravid belly.

She turns to kiss him, and behind her shoulder, his youngest son clambers onto the bed.

“Papa, sing us a sleep,” Eerikki says, putting his small hand over Brash’s large one.

‘A sleep’ means ‘sing to sleep.’ And so he does, beginning with a hymn to Mielikki.

And before it’s done, each of the children have crept from their beds and perched, wedged, or curled up on his bed, each of them requesting a song.

 

And that’s how the Swordborn household falls asleep, the night before their father leaves for Icewind Dale … 

one song at a time … 

while a fierce querulous sister-in-law …

and a sharp fingernail moon keep watch over them.