Ann Arbor Adventure

There's No Such Thing as a Gentle Nudge

from the woman known as Angharad Geli

Upon leaving the herbalist's shop, the group decides to split up.  Murphy, Branwyn, and Owain head off to visit the blacksmith, while Kai and Chava go back to the inn (Branwyn checks to make sure Chava feels safe alone with Kai, and Chava, of course, gives her a funny look in response).  As they part, Owain and Kai both spot a woman in a green cloak watching them from a nearby alley.  She appears to be giving Kai an irritated look, but when they look again, she is gone.  Kai is nervous, and has something of an argument with Chava before going back to see if he can follow the woman's trail.  He picks it up easily, but is concerned about leaving Chava alone, despite her assurances that she can take care of herself, thank you very much.  Eventually, having nothing else to do, they head back to the Red Boar Inn.

At the blacksmith, Murphy, Branwyn, and Owain find a very busy group of journeymen and apprentices.  The blacksmith himself is busy crafting something, and has little time to speak with them.  An apprentice sharpens their swords and knives for a penny, and tells them about how he's going to be the best blacksmith in the country when he's grown.  He is particularly curious about Branwyn, mentioning he's never met a woman who carried a sword before.

Towards evening, everyone gathers back at the inn, a little irritated at having gathered little to no information about the apparently strange goings on in the countryside.  Kai and Chava interrogated one of the innkeeper's daughters while they were waiting, but made little headway.  Owain decides to pass the time by playing some tunes on his lute, and the music he plays is so infectious that the townsfolk start dancing.  The innkeeper's older daughter informs him that if he will stay and play, he and his friends can have room and board for free. She seems to be quite smitten with him.

Murphy chats with the innkeeper (Chava accompanies him) and discovers that the herb woman is called Angharad Geli (of the Grove), but the innkeeper doesn't know where she lives or really anything else about her.  When Murphy inquires about druids, the innkeeper grumbles that it's their fault the woods aren't safe.  He has more to say about the bandits and Baron Falconcrest, decrying the former as a scourge on the countryside, and angry at the latter for not doing his duty and routing them out.  Chava is interested in what he has to say about Angharad, as she is interested in meeting this herb woman, but she soon heads up to the room she's sharing with Branwyn, as sundown marks the beginning of the Sabbath.

Owain continues to keep everyone entertained, and is practically set upon by Myrtle and Brinna (the innkeeper's daughters) when they're not busy keeping up with customers.  As they're both young and pretty, Owain has absolutely no objections, and is happy to entertain them with stories while he's not playing.

Murphy's conversation with Dennis (the innkeeper) moves on to his quest for a recipe for heather ale, which Dennis is most interested in.

Kai is enjoying himself until he spots the woman from earlier in the doorway.  He asks Branwyn to go check on Chava, while he keeps an eye on things down here.

 

Meanwhile, upstairs, Chava has finished with her candles and her prayers.  She tidies up, and is preparing for bed when a sudden sense of unease draws her attention to the open window.  Chava watches in growing concern as a shadow slips into the room.  It grows, taking the shape of a woman, not too tall, but not short either, with piercing, catlike green eyes, and dark brown hair.  Her skin is also brown, as one who spends a great deal of time outdoors, and she holds in one hand a carved oaken staff.  The woman's cloak is green.  Chava can't refrain from saying,

"Nice trick." 

"Oh, it's not a trick," The woman's eyes narrow.  She snaps at Chava, impatiently, "What are you doing here?"

"Stopped here to get out of the rain?" Chava looks at her visitor skeptically.

"Who sent you?"

"Um nobody?" Chava is beginning to get quite confused.

"And yet it has awakened." The woman glares, pacing, "It is awake and it is hungry."

"I have no idea what you're talking about.  Could use some clues over here."

"The tower." There is no doubt to which tower the woman is referring.

"Oh, that…" Chava winces, "Well, I didn't wake it up, but I did visit it.  I managed to get away."

"But not without help."

"Yeah," Chava frowns, "Thanks."

Irritated, the woman continues to pace, "That tower has been sealed for many centuries.  And now I am forced to conclude that a group of bumbling fools has accidentally managed to stumble upon it and awaken it."

"Yeah, that probably about sums it up," Chava admits, thinking of Kai.

"Very well." she purses her lips, "You broke it.  You will help me fix it."

"Sure," Chava nods, "We'll help."

"Good." 

"Who are you?"

The woman pauses in her pacing and turns to face Chava, "I am called Angharad Geli."

"Oh! I've been wanting to meet you, actually," Chava responds, eagerly.

"And why is that?" Angharad's eyes narrow, suspiciously.

"I hear you're good with herbs, thought maybe I could learn something from you." Chava shrugs.

"I see." Angharad relents, "When can we leave?"

"How about Monday?" Chava asks, considering the Monk won't want to travel on Sunday. 

Angharad looks displeased, but answers, "Very well."

At that moment, Branwyn falls through the door, and smiles up at the other women, "Uh, hello?"

Angharad gives Branwyn a penetrating look, and then says to Chava, "Monday." She turns to leave, but Branwyn calls after her.

"Do you recognize me?  Or this?" Branwyn holds out her scroll, "I don't remember anything."

Angharad places a hand on Branwyn's forehead, and says, cryptically, "No, no you don't." She holds out a hand peremptorially for the scroll, and Branwyn hands it over, stipulating that it's not to be opened.

"Do you know that sigil?" Branwyn asks, hopefully.

"Yes."

"What is it?"

"It is the mark of an Order of Druids."

"Are you part of the Order?  Is that for you?"

Angharad looks at Chava and Branwyn, and makes up her mind about something, "I cannot say.  I will ask for this again, and when I do, I expect to be permitted to open it." 

Then Angharad turns back to the window, and melts into the shadows.  Branwyn looks after her, impressed, "Wow, that's a neat trick."

The two women discuss the situation.

 

Downstairs, Murphy tells the story of his crossing the Irish sea, accompanied by music from Owain, and Owain tells some stories as well, in particular, declaring his own bravery in protecting Murphy from the bandits to Myrtle and Brinna. 

Kai is a little nervous that Branwyn hasn't come back, and ventures upstairs to make sure they're both all right.  He's a little appalled that Chava agreed to help the 'evil green lady', but is glad to see the girls are both pretty safe.  They kick him out shortly so that they can go to sleep.

Eventually everyone heads off to sleep, and Myrtle and Brinna argue with each other about which of them the handsome, charming, Owain likes best. 

 

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