The march back from Gojko was an amalgamation of unsorted feelings for Garros and much stirred in the retainers mind as they all returned to Blackraven Hall. He recalled the party’s arrival at Kalsgard after their time in the Grungir Forest and how they were hailed as conquering heroes but this… this was unceremonious. As the masses shuffled their way into the hall, Garros knew this was in stark contrast to Kalsgard – they were not returning heros, there was no one to receive them, to celebrate their victories.
“What victory was achieved here?” murmured the swordsman as if to blow off a portion of frustration. He knew, however, that was not entirely true. Though initially he was reluctant to make for Gojko and did not understand what purpose this measly fiefdom would serve their interest, Baron Mikula would hold some information that would be of some use.
Though, perhaps, a larger portion of himself felt that time and resources had been wasted in this “noble” pursuit that Tyrod had been adamant in seeing through. There was something acutely visibly different about him and that left the retainer in question. What did he hope to achieve here in Irrisen? Good intentions were surely a waste in such a cold and wicked place the retainer thought.
“Another thread cut. An able fighter wasted in vain, only to see a broken man brought to this vigilante justice?” Garros shrugged, “that man’s blood is not on my hands, nevertheless what a waste.” Vas was a strange man and seemed to talk in circles and the swordsman wondered if he was touched in the head but he did hold critical information having been employed by the Jadwiga. Now that information was just as dead as the giant of a man.
The trudge from Gojko was an opportune time for Garros to obtain some information from Baron Mikula. He found himself taken back after speaking with the Baron, however. He held Mikula in contempt along with the rest of the Irrisen bastards and Witch cunts but there was some sense of nobility in this man, he did his best given what he had. There was something different in his character that struck Garros – he was of course a broken man but perhaps he wasn’t corrupted by the politics of Irrisen or jockeying for power. Either way it didn’t matter, he was only a stepping stone to what Garros truly desired.
What was imparted from the retainers questioning was rather useful. Garros learned that there is a lovers quarrel in the Verge, a lovers triangle so to speak. Duke Arvanoff was bedding Baroness Pribuska but now fucks Baroness Slavena and Pribuska is certainly all the more jealous for it. This was certainly telling information that could be exploited the retainer thought. Mikula shared his account of how Arvanoff is a puppet to his sister and how he was put to heel – he wears his hand around his neck as a reminder of obedience, a reminder of how cruel and cold the ties of family are among the Jadwiga. Finally, Mikula divulged some telling information regarding the comings and goings of Zelen, Algidheart and Redtooth.
Perhaps there was some merit in overrunning Gojko after all, Garros thought. With this information, he knew what the next moves against the hags of Irrisen would have to be.
As the final villagers of Gojko passed into the hall of the Blackraven Garros could see a familiar face make its way towards him. It was a pleasant sight to see Tom again for every time a warrior faced battle, it could mean their thread being cut.
“Garros, a word with you” Tom said. He had sought Garros out after the party returned from their raid on Gojko. “Have a drink with me,” he motioned in the direction of the great hall, where they could find the strong drink favoured by those at Blackraven Hall. “I’m never one to argue when offered refreshment.” Garros said in his characteristically gruff voice. “Lead on, friend.”
Garros was of course tired from the road but he would not deny his friend Tom and they conversed for a while. While some of the conversation had led to anger the swordsman – as he was quick to anger depending on the subject, he knew there was no malice in the skilled warrior’s words. Actually, Garros was equally surprised as he was elated, though he did not show it through his demeanour – Tom had brought up the letter that was given to him and that he was accepting the retainer’s petition for help. Not even Garros knew where his vengeance would take him but he knew he needed aid in achieving this goal and that would be one step closer with the cheerful archer at his side.
It had made him wonder what Li had thought of the letter he was presented with or event yet made a decision…
As Tom finished his mead he stood up and wiped his mouth and placed the horn on the table, “I bid you good evening….Sir.” and he walked down the hall chuckling.
Garros had a belly full of mead but he was still in full control of his wits and he made his way to speak with Freyr Darkwine. Garros had been planning the whole time on the road after speaking with Mikula and now he would put thought into action. The retainer had made his way through the Blackraven Hall to Freyr’s chamber and knocked at his chamber door.
“Yeah!? You going to knock there all fuckin’ day? It’s not like I’m busy ‘er anythin’! Come in damnit!”
After a few encounters the swordsman had surmised that Freyr was heavily burdened and that his demeanour was a direct reflection of that weight. Keeping the Irrisen forces at bay was a task not many Ulfen men could shoulder. Though the swordsman may not come out and say it, given how brash Freyr was, Garros had a deep respect for anyone who would take up arms against the Jadwiga and Freyr was in a league all his own.
“I would think you’d be interested in what transpires in Irrisen would you not? We have returned from Gojko.” As the retainer finished speaking Freyr’s eyes narrowed and he placed his hands palm down on the table that he stood in front of,_ “Well, pull my fuckin’ Ulfen beard. Gojko? That piece of shit hovel? Not even Elvanna gives a fuck about that waste of frozen rock!”_ there was a pause and then he continued, “You better have something fuckin’ good to tell me Garros because I’m sure as hell sure you’re about to waste my time!”
“Glad you’re in good spirits Freyr, I was worried you were going to ask how we managed” as Garros chuckled trying to diffuse the man across from him if only a little. “We have Baron Mikula in our custody. I have extracted vital information from the Baron that can be exploited in delving deeper into Irrisen and obtainer further information.”
Informing Freyr of all the information parted from Mikula had him pacing back and forth across his room. Garros noted the bottle on his table and how it had appeared to be about empty; clearly this was how Freyr kept his demons at bay. “_Well fuck Garros, seems you didn’t waste my time after all! Clearly it takes an Ulfen man to get things done around here and we’re all the better for it damnit.”_
Garros nodded and began to speak, “With the Blackraven’s numbers being what they are and with trading routes and possibilities in them I’m taking Rakim and Li with me to Zelen. I intend on getting more information regarding Pribuska, maybe even her head. One less bitch I say. Tom is a proficient soldier and I would have him make his way into Skrata leading a group of Blackraven’s new recruits under the protection of Desna and hidden in the shadows to gather further intelligence on Slavena”
Freyr began to laugh out loud, “You’re fuckin’ serious aren’t you? Stern Ulfen man. You do have stones don’t you Garros? Though, maybe with someone like you we might shift the fuckin’ tide here on the border.” He had turned and now had his back facing Garros, “I’ll tell you what, come back in the morning and I’ll tell you what I fuckin’ think – I’ve got other damn matters that need my attention. Now, get out!”
Garros headed off to his quarters and took a night of rest with anticipation. The next morning he would seek out his compatriots and inform them what was in store next as they plunged deeper into Irrisen. Surely, Freyr would not be opposed but then again Garros did not know his mind. His head rested on the bed that was provided and he was thankful. His mind was clear and he felt purpose, he thought back to two years ago…
Garros did not know what to expect here on out. What would Freyr say? Garros needed the others but would they go along? All that lay ahead was a never ending winter…