Hillfolk: Tales from Roaring Water

Episode 3: Secrets

Episode 3 – Secrets

1 (Raven)

Night-time at the Upriver clan village. Raven has been separated from the rest of the raiding party and bound hand and foot to the central pole of a shabby tent.

Ash, the right-hand man of the Upriver chief, comes to speak with Raven, telling her that the chief will soon come to interrogate her. He encourages her to cooperate and tell the chief some secret way through the defences of the Roaring Water stronghold, saying this is the only way to save her life.

Raven instead attempts to get Ash on her side, suggesting they work together to gain control of their respective clans. Ash does not trust her, and departs in a dark mood, admonishing Raven to consider his words.

(1pt to Raven from pool)

2 (Herbmaker)

Dawn, the grasslands.

Herbmaker wakes amid the tall whispering grass. He has numerous cuts and bruises and is covered in blood, but has no memory of how he came to leave the Horse clan camp.

Standing, Herbmaker sees he is on a ridge overlooking the Horse clan camp. The camp is a scene of pandemonium. Tents are on fire, bodies lie scattered on the ground, and armed men are looting the place. A phalanx of horsemen watches from nearby.

Herbmaker is greeted by a young but weathered Horse clan warrior, who approaches on foot. His name is Blue Eyes, and he knows Herbmaker from time they spent together in the Holy City of the northern kingdom. He asks Herbmaker to join the Horse clan and ride with his band, as his knowledge of the sciences will prove invaluable “with everything that is going on”.

Herbmaker agrees.

(I can’t remember what happened here, drama points-wise.)

3 (GM)

Early morning at the Upriver village.

The Upriver chief’s young son Sparrow brings food and water for Raven, agreeing to free her right hand so that she can eat. He asks her numerous questions about her being ‘a barbarian’ and seems reassured that she doesn’t want to (or can’t) harm him and his family. He mentions a man in a “shining jacket” who is visiting the clan.

(1 pt to Raven from pool)

4 (Shaggy)

Morning, the pillaged Horse clan camp.

Shaggy announces to Hillwalker and the Roaring Water warriors that the chief’s glorious victory has fulfilled what the spirits foretold and that he himself prophesied. Hillwalker publicly acknowledges Shaggy’s wisdom.

Shaggy, pleased, inspects the women and children who have been taken prisoner and informs them that they should rejoice to be members of the Roaring Water clan. He picks out a young boy named Kite (there’s a lot of bird names in this episode) as his new protege and leads him away into the plain.

(1 pt to GM from pool)

5 (Raven)

Morning, Upriver village.

Procedural – Raven tries to escape from her bonds. She gets her hands free but not her feet.

(Since we later realised there was no need to make this procedural, we agreed she could be assumed to have eventually worked herself free by the start of the next scene she appeared in.)

6 (Herbmaker)

Morning, the Horse clan camp

Herbmaker and Blue Eyes walk down into the ruined camp, backed by the half-dozen horsemen from Blue Eyes’ band.

Hillwalker seems leased to see Herbmaker and greets him with talk of today being a great day and so forth.

Herbmaker, in contrast, denounces Hillwalker as an incompetent who has led the clan to the brink of ruin. As a condition to his joining the Horse clan, he asks Blue Eyes to kill Hillwalker.

The duel (procedural interlude) is over quickly. Hillwalker is caught off-balance by Blue Eyes’ attack with his shield. He recovers enough counterattack with a powerful swing of his sword at the horseman’s throat, but Blue Eyes sees it coming and leans back to avoid Hillwalker’s blade.

As Hillwalker recovers from the momentum of his swing, Blue Eyes lunges and buries his blade beneath Hillwalker’s rib cage. Hillwalker collapses to the grass with a gasp and expires.

(1 pt to GM from pool)

7 (GM)

An indeterminate time, the spirit world.

Shaggy has located a place of power at the intersection of spirit lines, and meditates there, attuning himself to the power of the cosmos.

He finds himself in a throne room carved from rock and lit by guttering torches.

The empty throne is carved from dark wood and decorated with human skulls on each armrest. The skull on the left has a gold tooth for its left canine.

Outside the ring of light made by the torches stand the people of the Roaring Water — including Raven, Hillwalker and Herbmaker.

Seated at the foot of the throne is a young woman, who seems foreign, perhaps from the east near the Three Rivers.

She rises and greets Shaggy. She tells him her name is Dekima, and answers questions about the throne evasively, but tells him that the king that sits in it will have a great kingdom.

Shaggy accepts this information as a prophecy applying to himself, naturally. He declaims as much to the watching Roaring Water clan, despite Herbmaker’s attempts to create dissent, and sits in the throne.

(1 pt to Shaggy from GM)

8 (Shaggy)

Noon, the grasslands

Returning to the mortal world, Shaggy tells Kite he has been communing with the spirits. He also tells Kite that prophecy speaks of a ‘chosen one’ – a boy who will bear a special mark. He has Kite remove his clothes so that he can inspect him closely. There is no mark, but Shaggy says that perhaps it will appear in future, and he will have to check regularly. Kite is uncertain about this, but trusts Shaggy.

(1 pt to GM from Shaggy)

9 (Raven)

Daytime, the Upriver village

Raven has escaped from her tent and is observing the village, concealed behind some rocks at the edge of the settlement. Shining Jacket (played by Sean Bean) is by the central campfire, drinking wine and eating a leg of chicken.

He finishes his meal and comes over to the rocks where Raven is hiding to relieve himself.

He is surprised to see her there but takes her for one of the Upriver clan. He explains to her that he is from the northern Kingdom, and that the Upriver clan have allied with the Kingdom in exchange for better weapons, armour and protection, especially from some ‘troublesome’ local barbarians.
(1pt to GM from Raven)

10 (Herbmaker)

Afternoon, the plains

The Roaring Water and Blue Eyes’ troop have parted ways. Preparing to ride, Herbmaker and Blue Eyes discuss what is going on in the region.

Blue Eyes points out his and his men’s mail armour and other gear – a gift from the Kingdom. He says that a new order is coming, and it makes sense to join with the Kingdom, including for the Roaring Water.

Herbmaker agrees but says that while the Roaring Water may ally with the Kingdom, they can never be subject to another group.

Blue Eyes says this is unrealistic – the clan will have to accept some measure of colonisation or suzerainty (2pt force).

Reluctantly, Herbmaker agrees, and he and Blue Eyes make plans to travel to the Holy City of the Kingdom.
(2pts to Herbmaker from GM)

11 (GM)

Several days later, Roaring Water

The expeditionary force returns to the stronghold, bearing the body of Hillwalker.

Shaggy conducts the funeral ceremony, extolling the virtues of Hillwalker and taking some time out to denounce Herbmaker as a traitor.

Hillwalker’s body is dressed with his gold torc and other accoutrements for the journey to the ninth underworld.

After the pyre is lit, Harrier (played by Damien Lewis with a black dye-job) calls upon Shaggy to install Hillwalker’s son Rockfall as the new chief.

Shaggy does so, anointing him with water drawn from the pool beneath the waterfall.

Rockfall is given the chief’s ceremonial bronze dagger, with which he cuts across his own chest to draw blood and announces himself as the clan chief.

(1pt to Shaggy from GM)

12 (Shaggy)

Night, Roaring Water

As the raucous wake for Hillwalker goes on in the background, Shaggy draws Raven aside in their shared dwelling to remonstrate with her about her raid on the Upriver village. She retorts that she gained valuable knowledge from it, but Shaggy is unmoved.

He also tries to persuade Raven of Herbmaker’s perfidy, and eventually she ‘admits’ that Herbmaker is a traitor.

(1pt to Raven from Shaggy)

END

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