This week’s session dealt with the aftermath of last week’s assassination of Lord Bentane – Thorin’s father – and saw each of the characters engage in different ways with the situation and each other. Kerne cared for Karkanna until she was ready to get back out and be visible, rousing the staff and inhabitants of the Hold in the practical elements that needed to be done to repair and set right damages. Thorin went away from the group to a woods near the Hold to grieve and smash things for a while before similarly returning to be visible and take charge. Arwan approached Caeluma in their shrine and reassured them that they had not failed in their duty – and when asked by Thorin it was Arwan who devised a quiet ceremony for the hasty burial needed.
By the end of the day, a quiet interment was held in the family crypt below the Forge – with everyone having a chance to say some last words – before the sarcophagus was sealed and its key added to the castellan’s ring. The crypt was then resealed, and a memorial plaque placed for those who might wish to pay respects later.
During that time, Valenia found the castellan had removed an item from Bentane’s possession before he was prepared for burial. It was a simple iron toy sword, of maybe two or three inches in length. The castellan said such items were usually seen as bad luck, harkening back to old stories of the “Auntie in the Fields” who was said to tease and corrupt the young to violence and betrayal.
Valenia brought this up when the DDC gathered together afterward – and they began to consider why Bentane had it when he was attacked. Thorin recalled similar old stories but hadn’t seen one before. Kerne picked the token up, and felt suddenly as if someone was listening. They didn’t hear anything so put it down, but it unnerved them intensely. Other people picked it up but heard nothing until it was Thorin’s turn – at which point he heard a whisper inside his head – “Bentane? Are you back, sweet boy?”
Similarly unnerved, he dropped the token back on the table and theories began to be spun. First and foremost was the question as to why only Kerne and Thorin could make a connection. Karkanna was called for, and she too heard a voice calling to her, recognising her – seeing her. She dropped the token and refused to have anything else to do with it. Simultaneously, her child started screaming in fear – and she left the room to quieten and see to him.
It led them to wonder how their opponents knew where they were – and after some consideration they remembered that when the Winter’s Knight had met them in the swamp, he had plucked a ring of metal from his armour, compressed its ends back to make a ring and told them to use it to call him when they had found Faye. When Kerne lifted the token up, they heard the Winter’s Knight asking if they had found Faye at last. They quickly put the ring back down next to the iron token, breaking the connection.
This confirmed a similar function for each item. Anyone linked to the original holder as family could use it. Thorin and Karkanna as children of Bentane, and Kerne as partner to Karkanna and Loris as child of Karkanna could all “hear” the whisperer – presumably of the “Auntie” who Karkanna identified as “Auntie Alice” from an encounter in her youth. The ring plucked from the Winter’s Knight’s armour was identified by Karkanna as being adamantine. It was keyed to Kerne, and presumably would also work for Faye and for Karkanna in turn.
They decided that the ring needed to be destroyed. Valenia went to the forge to grab a hammer, while Caeluma tried to burn it with eldritch blasts. These succeeded in breaking the table it was on and setting fire to various maps and small bits of paper they were making notes on. Thorin grabbed the iron token for safety and heard the whispers again while everyone else was focused on the ring.
The voice claimed to know who the Circle was and to be opposed to them. It said that it despised the trolls and had been Bentane’s ally. It said to come to the fields and follow the trail he would find – that the whisperer and Bentane had fought the trolls together before and that he had been a good boy.
The DDC felt that this was their best chance to find out what was going on so they could start to take the initiative rather than be reactive – and so Valenia was sent to tell Karkanna that the group would be leaving in the morning.