Both farmsteds were, for the time being, clear of Wolfen, and again secured so that next-of-kin could claim them or the town would dispose of them per the law. The team of six, somewhat battered but alive and well, headed back to Renlen, reaching the town an hour or so after nightfall, with their wagon of evidence and single prisoner in tow.
Along the way Kit made surprising progress communicated with Gannsu, the young warrior. While he couldn’t quite make out how he might have been related to or otherwise connected with the pack leader he’d killed, Kit got the sense that he was more than just a member of the group. He was able to determine, with some certainty, the reason behind their foray onto this side of the mountains: territory was very important to them, and seemed to be one of the key elements of status, power, and wealth. The Wolfen was troubled by and impressed with the power the ‘bareskins’ had shown, and this put him in a curious position: to him, the bare-skinned races were, by definition, weak. But they’d been cut down by those ‘weak’ fighters, and that was confusing to him. He also seemed troubled by his pack leader’s breach of honor in calling on the others to attack while his duel with Kit was still on-going, regardless of the fact that he was losing. Gannsu was not at all happy to be a prisoner, but seemed resigned to his fate, whatever it might be.
Upon arriving in Renlen, the team was greeted by a growing crowd of locals who wanted to first know what had happened, and then see the prisoner. By the time they reached Town Hall there were upwards of 100 people crowding the group as they came to a halt and Dahr Morleigh and his adjutant came out on the steps to formally receive them. Some of the people jeered at the Wolfen, some spit at it, and others called for it to be hanged. Morleigh called on the crowd to calm down so that he could listen to the account of the team.
After hearing the account, in front of everyone and in the cold evening air, Dahr Morleigh had the team bring Gannsu into the jail, which was attached to Town Hall, shackled, and locked in one of two cells. A guard was posted in the next room. The crowd, not yet dispersed, was getting a little rowdy, with equal parts jubilation over the victory and a desire for revenge, aimed at the Wolfen prisoner. Morleigh, waiting in the constable’s office when the team came out from locking up Gannsu, directed them to go back outside. “We have another piece of business to conclude,” he stated firmly while motioning the team outside.
Dante, his adjutant, adroitly arranged the six men on the front steps of the building, and whispered to Ghut, Mutch, and Willis separately from the other three as Morleigh, wearing his formal mantle and now hat, stepped to the fore and addressed the crowd.
“Our fair village has been of late the victim of several assaults and affronts. We have lost people; we have lost coin and supplies; and we have suffered damages to our prosperity and peace,” he called out in his resonant voice. For a moment he went on to describe the loss of the mountain caravans, the months of mounting attacks by the bandit gang, and this most recent attack by the Wolfen.
“Our village, a mere two generations old, has not experienced such threats before, nor have we suffered such losses in such a short period of time. In times past, in the Old Realm, an honor and responsibility was given to those who had, by their own motivation, dedication, and acts shown that they had taken up the burden of protecting others in times of need, for no other reason than their brotherly affection toward their fellows and their desire to see justice done and decency and peace promoted.” He stopped for a moment to let the people consider his words and perhaps recall their knowledge of history before continuing.
“By the authority vested in me by our colonial leadership, under the benevolent rule of King Gudrow and the Executive Council, and the trust extended to me by Moizhian Ethrey and the provincial authority of Lineon, I hereby appoint ”/characters/kithcanen-wraithwind" class=“wiki-content-link”>Kithkanen Wraithwind, Ezra Clay, and Morgren Alaster as Sentinels of Renlen, the first to receive this honor and responsibility for our home. I have no doubt that they will bear the burden well and will continue to serve as examples of what one can do for another, and how the few can stand on behalf of the many." As the echo of his last words died, Dante produced three broaches, handing them to Dahr Morleigh one at a time as he then pinned them on each of the men and shook their hands. The broaches bore the symbol of the town, a mountain peak with a small farm at its base. The broach was the same worn by the handful of town officials, and would be taken as a symbol of some office.
The crowd, surprised, excited, and still energized by the news from the farms, erupted into applause and shouts of “Huzzah!”
The ‘office’ of Sentinel is an old one, but it’s not really an office at all. It’s an honor reserved for those who’ve demonstrated uncommon commitment and service to a town, and it’s usually only bestowed on non-Hehle as a result of some unusual acts of service. It entitles the bearer to a degree of access to local officials, although the extent to which is not formally defined, and it somewhat akin to receiving the key to the city and a military medal wrapped into one. To your knowledge there have only been a few Sentinal badges awarded in the colonies, and none in Lineon – none that you’ve heard of, at least. It’s a big social boost, and confers the benefit of access to well-placed officials and citizens, generally the ability to ask for support – material and otherwise – when needed, and have it be considered, and also puts the responsibility of being ‘on call’ when things go south.
And remember the questions from the end of the session:
- Will you investigate the Wolfen further?
- Will you do anything about the lights on Silver Mountain?
- What will you do about the cursed helms?
- How about Maerith?
- What else might you do regarding the crooked Dahr of Indoschan?
- And what about that map of the ruins (which I’ll create and post somehow)