It had rained heavily overnight and Darkon's blankets were wet. Graphen was struggling to light the fire. He fiddled hopelessly with his flint to try and spark the damp tinder to life. Egil was hopping from one foot to the other attempting to keep warm. Stove alone was comfortable, his oily coat kept out the rain and he was finding the oat and grain mixture of his nosebag agreeable.
Darkon, Egil and Graphen grumbled at each other throughout the morning. All were soaked through as the rain steadily got worse. With their hoods turned up and their thoughts turned inward they missed the forest track that would have taken them to the kindly woodcutters cottage. His wife would have regaled them with stories of the forest while her husband shard his home brewed poteen and cooked a vegetable stew. They also missed the important information to beware of the woman who lived by the lake but it looked like fate may have conspired against them.
As it was, the intrepid three plodded towards the lake and spent their time cursing fat men (in general), rain (in particular) and their inadequate waterproof underwear (specifically). Stove was spending his time profitably and musing on the developmental stages of humans and creating a possible research project on the psychopathology of adventurers. Although it would be several millennia and in a different time/space continuum, Stove was toying with some ideas that would make Sigmund Freud famous some day. While Stove was thinking "not yet reached anal developmental phase...." , Graphen smelt wood smoke on the rising wind. "Shelter", he shouted at his companions, "down near that lake". As the reader is aware from the safety and comfort of their own home and as any experienced adventurer knows that beautiful young women living on their own in the wild is either ① Not what she seems (2) Is extremely powerful to survive on her own (3) A plot device by the GM to get them in trouble or (4) possibly all of the above.
Dankon, Egil and Graphen were so cold, wet and fed up that even if they had thought any of the above they wouldn't have cared. Egil also seemed to have a recurrence of the runs and was desperate to find a good water closet. He had sadly run out of Grimtooth's Certified Clogging Powder for Intemperate Guts.
Some sense came back and they cautiously crossed some stepping stones to the front porch of a rather quaint house. From inside they could hear a woman singing the latest ballad of the famous all women troubadour act, The Travelling Willards. Egil thought he had never heard the song sung so beautifully. Graphen paused mid stride and thought of the first kiss he had with Sarra Bjornsdötter behind the milking shed when he was 14. He had been heartbroken when she had revealed she had done it for a bet with her friends but had cheered up a bit when she shared some honeyed nuts she bought with her winnings. Darkon was momentarily troubled by some memory of a warning about stepping stones. However he noticed a sign that said "River Rubicon" and decided crossing the Rubicon couldn't bring that much bad luck. To be honest he felt like dancing at the moment and that was odd as he hated dancing. He would have scowled if anyone had asked her to dance when he was at home..
Only Stove found this all very peculiar but couldn't put his hoof on what was wrong. However he immediately forgot his concerns when a beautiful young woman came out of the door carrying a wet basket of laundry which she dropped in surprise when she saw three strange armed men on her doorstep. "Please don't hurt me" she said plaintively and then had to repeat it again as none of our three intrepid heroes seemed capable of responding. To be fair Egil had tripped over his tongue, Graphen had opened and closed his mouth without communicating anything vaguely resembling sensible speech. Darkon, who was last to climb the three steps to the porch, missed the last step and fell forward, crashing into the young woman and knocking the wet washing over. Years of training, suddenly kicked in with the sudden t unexpected events as Egil and Graphen rushed to the young Woman's aid. Darkon was left to extract himself from the wet washing.
It was eight days later as Darken sat on the porch watching fish jumping for flies in the lake, that he thought he was actually meant to be doing something. Was it eight days they'd been here? He must ask Egil. Every day they had spent hours with the young woman who said her name was Arianrhod. Life was perfect. No squabbles. No fighting. No worries. In fact no thinking either. When did he, Rankin, actually think of anything other than pleasing Arianrhod? He was sure he was supposed to go somewhere, do something? He must ask the others. This place was perfect, maybe he should go fishing instead. No he was a bit too tired for that. Despite the perfectness of the setting and company he had strange dreams every night. Dreams that made him feel exhausted in the morning. He really must ask Egil and Graphen