Following the battle and the trials of the Truth Stone, the various name-givers that were accepted into the clan were shipped off to different locations to start working for the clan. My household received one of the newots, the short dwarf named Fafnir. We were all glad to have a new newot, especially Honus and I. The menial tasks of the home (those not handled by the women) had been falling to Honus and I, due to the fact that we were the youngest. With Fafnir now in the home, those tasks now fell to him.
The next morning, our ship captain, my brother Vargas, held a gathering at great hall at our home with every crewmen that had been aboard Wind Viper during our battle of the Derin Kuyu ridge. Such gatherings are a troll custom after a battle, with the express purpose of splitting up the loot gained during a fight. Fafnir had been busy since before dawn, helping the women prepare for this gathering. The women had cooked a gruel made of boiled oats, flour, and milk. The mix was common at the Reach and was usually sweetened with honey. To drink, there was goat’s milk or water, but no mead, since everyone had work to do that day. The table in the great hall was filled with food and mugs, and the middle of the table was piled high with the loot taken from the Theran slave barge and its slain occupants from the day before.
In small groups, the crew from our ship arrived. They were mostly Crystal Raiders intermixed with adepts of various other skills. Each Crystal Raider ship was loaded to the brim with trolls who were Sky Raiders, who put fear in name-givers all across Barsaive. Yet, each ship also employed a number of other specific skills that were necessary for the success of a ship. Those included Archers, who were sometimes used to shoot choice targets from enemy airships, or on the ground. However the real strength of an Archer on an airship is their ability to spot targets before other name-givers can. They made excellent lookouts in the crows nest. There were also spell-casters on each ship, usually more than one. They varied from Wizards to Elementalists to Illusionists. Sometimes even Nethermancers were used, though they are rare in troll society because they are not trusted due to their part in the Scourge. Other combat based adepts were also used. Warriors, for example, could be used for ship defense, or if they learned the Wind Catcher ability, or had a Crest Wolf as a mount, could even be used in assaults.
Once they all arrived, and seated themselves at the table, they dug in and begin to eat. Honus and I had seated ourselves near the head of the table, close to where our brother Vargas was sitting. Among the crewmen I saw Korack Rockcrusher, Solara the beautiful Elven Archer, and Zartan the head wizard of the ship.
As we ate, we kept looking at the loot. Frankly, there wasn’t much. Yes, the helmets, weapons, armor and various equipment taken off of the dead Therans was valuable, but this was a poor haul for having conquered an enemy vessel. We usually got far more loot than this from straying Throalic merchant vessels or Theran patrol ships that were stupid enough to believe their masters who told them that the Twilight Peaks belonged to Thera. Vargas began handing out the small stuff. Each of the Theran helmets were worth something to our newots who were human sized. But they are not the best constructed helmets for combat. Most of the Theran Air Sailors had been wearing leather coats, which were also split between the different attendees, along with things like clothes, gloves, boots and other gear. I noticed my household received none of it. That narrowed down the pile in the table tremendously. Then Vargas stood.
“Brothers and sisters.” He began. “The elders of the clan have taken a handful of the items from our loot. These items belonged to the name-givers who were accepted into the clan as newots. Among them are weapons, armor clothes, travelling gear, and a rare book. The elders believe these items have a purpose that will serve the moots of the Twilight Peaks. “
There was some grumbling at that, but most of the group simply nodded, or said nothing. The elders always had a reason for such decisions, although keeping things like weapons and armor was rare, simply because such things normally do not have a greater purpose.
There were several linen sacks in the middle of the table. Four of them were open and contained what appeared to be elemental earth. Vargas continued. “The bags before you contain elemental earth. We will be sending it to the shipyard for ship building and repair. “
He then moved on to the ship cargo. Interestingly it contained barrels of human brewed ale, crates of apples and pears, as well as large containers of dried fruits and bread. The fruits, fresh and dried, were rare items indeed. There was some discussion about those, as such fruits cannot be grown locally in the Twilight Peaks making them into a bit of a delicacy. In the end though, their contents were divided up among the group with the largest quantity going to those who had received the least so far. A this point I noticed two things, the first being that my family had received nothing so far and second, there was one linen sack still resting on the table in addition to a handful of other items and the weapons.
The next item, was the helmet of the Theran captain. It was of extraordinary make. It appeared to be of elven design with gold lined faceplates, a horsehair plume and a chain lining to protect the neck in the back. Not only was a beautiful piece of equipment, it appeared to be very functional too. Zartan let everyone know that despite it’s wonderful look, there were no magical properties to the helmet. There was some debate about this, my name was brought up more than once, but in the end it was given to an ork air sailor who lacked an adequate helm, while I still had my fine horned helmet that I had been captured with.
Next the weapons were divided up. Again, none of them were magical.
There were two items left. One was the unopened sack, and the other was a gold chain that lay on the table. The sack was opened, and its contents unceremoniously dumped onto the table. In it, was a set of plate mail armor sized for a human.
Zartan then spoke. “This armor is human or elf sized. It is not magical but is of fine make, probably dwarven."
Korack then looked at me and said; “We found that armor laying in that sack next to the waterfall."
There was some discussion about this item as well. Someone asked the Elf girl, Solara, if she could use it.
She curtly replied. “I’m an archer who rarely leaves the ship." Her eyes looked pointedly to me. “This armor should go to a fighter who can better use it. Besides, I have no desire to wear anything heavier than leather up in the crow’s nest."
That decided it. The armor would go to me. I said nothing, but I nodded to Vargas who gave me a nod and a quick smile. Fafnir dumped all of the pieces of the armor back into the bag, and then handed it to me. I had dealt with some plate armor while in Konigsberg, and the bag felt lighter than it should. At the time, I wondered if the armor was ceremonial crap, which would explain why it was laying in the snow instead of being worn during a battle. In disappointment, I placed it under the table until the gathering had ended.
The last item… was the neck charm. Zartan stood and addressed the group. “This neck charm is magical. If appropriately bound, it will help protect the bearer from magical assaults on the mind, such as fear and confusion. “
With that, he sat down and the discussion began. Every Sky Raider would covet such an item, as it would give them a defense against feared magic, which is something all soldiers need. In the end, it was decided that Rorik would receive the charm. I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t largely the result of the magic induced fear that was inflicted upon him by Vridich. Everyone in the room remembered the way our famed leader ignobly fled the battle, and it bothered everyone to see that. Rorik shook his head saying he didn’t need such an item, but the table would not accept that, and eventually he took with gratitude while many of the men cheered.
After the meal ended, I took the bag of armor to Eldwulf, my old dwarf friend and blacksmith. As I arrived at his workshop, he was busy pounding away on a piece of hot metal. He glanced back at me. “What have you got there my boy?"
“A suit of armor from yesterday’s battle." I said. I tossed the bag onto the ground, and the metal pieces clattered together. Eldwulf glanced back again, his arm paused in mid-swing.
“Huh." He said. He put down his hammer, grabbed a rag and began wiping his hands. “Let me take a look at what you’ve got here."
I opened the bag and started pulling out the pieces, starting with the long mail coat. The whole suit of armor seemed a bit small, but I noticed that the coat was hemmed at the bottom which meant that it was likely made to expand to the wearer. Eldwulf agreed with me. In fact, after digging out all of the pieces, he was quite excited about the suit. He said that the suit was expertly made, and that the designer rivaled even his skill with steel. When I questioned him about the lightness of the metal, he explained that prior to the Scourge, some smiths would take years to make some suits of armor and that this suit was made by such a blacksmith. He said he could tell that it was of Dwarven make and that it was made the old way, using tools that were from the pre-Scourge era.
“The lightness is the benefit of the time taken to make it." He said. “See how the metal plates only stretch where you need them, and leave tightly woven chain at the joints? That makes it lighter weight and it makes it easier to move in." He traced his finger in a seam, almost lovingly. “You’ve got quite a suit of armor here, son. Let me take it for a couple of weeks and I’ll get it fitted for you."
I stood there a bit shocked, trying to absorb all he was telling me. “When should I come back for it?" I asked.
“Two… make it three weeks. He said. “I want to take my time on this and make sure I get it right. I also want to see if I can learn anything from the design. Maybe I can use some of the tricks the blacksmith who made this suit used."
“Sure thing old friend." I said. I clasped his shoulder, and he smiled at me. Then I left him to his work. Eldwulf was always like a second father to me. I was very glad to have him here with me at The Reach.