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At first wary, some of the visitors have now begun to help the Exiles construct some firmer lean tos and help guide the few cattle and sheep off to their pastures. Unwilling to reveal much in the presence of their leader Hahlgrim, they are more talkative when out of his earshot. It soon becomes apparent that the Ochre Fallow is made up of the original immigrants from Tarsh and a ragbag of former refugees from Prax, the Far Place tribes, and elsewhere in Sartar. Bizarrely, they insist on calling their leader Hahlgrim Thane and his uncle, Umathkar Chief. Although unwilling to talk much of their leaders, it does transpire that they had known of the Exiles for a number of days and Hahlgrim sought to issue a challenge as soon as he could muster the fyrd. He led them beyond the normally recognized limits of their tula. Indeed, they frequently make warding signs, especially when they see either of the strange boys Odi or Angor.

Hahlgrim seems cowed by his defeat and by his humiliation in front of the fyrd. He silently accepts some bandaging around his apparently shattered ribs but seems anxious to be off as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, our heroes, once they see that all is well, drift off to catch up on their sleep, after Vizz has comprehensively explained to them how he saw off the challenge from Hahlgrim.

When they awake one by one in the afternoon, they see Wilma encouraging Odi and Angor to play together without punching or kicking and the Ochre Fallow readying themselves to leave, Hahlgrim strapped to a litter.


Silverquill has been awake for a while (durulz can get by on brief naps when needed to - other times they can snooze for ages, especially when moulting) and he has been talking to the Ochre Fallow fyrd. At first not sure what to make of the diminutive duck, they soon warm to Silverquill (not at least thanks to his 'Make Fwiends with Stwangers' feat). He is especially interested in Umathkar and why they are so nervous.

He is starting to build up a mental picture of the immediate area and sketches a crude map. Asking for input from the Ochre Fellows, he adds major landmarks and other features. He makes a mental note to ask Garnatha for her opinion when she wakes up.

With Garnatha's assistance, Silverquill learns that the Ochre Fallow had not been this way before. Hahlgrim is keen to leave and is if anything irritated by any attention from Garnatha, but they do learn from the others that he at least did come this way some two years ago, apparently to perform a rite with several of the clan thanes. Only Hahlgrim and his elder brother Gordangorl Peg-Pole returned, Hahlgrim speaking of betrayal and Gordangorl remaining silent. Otherwise, they remain unwilling to discuss much their leadership, apart from the usual grumbling and the odd "Hahlgrim Thane bested by a Bully", accompanied by a smirk.


As with the rest of the Exiles, Hahlgrim is far from willing to talk to Vizz. He does, however, appear to be paying the gaudy fellow some attention, whether due to the sagacity of his words or the attire, and eventually agrees, with the bearest nod, to Vizz accompanying his band back to the Ochre Fallow tula.

Others agree to "lend" him their followers.

"Allwight, Vizz. You can bowwow Skullcleaver - just wemember to give him lots of beer. And if he starts to chew on his shield, wun away weally fast!"

Otto, too, is present, having turned up to get more details regarding the infestation near Clearwine. Entislar agrees to speak to him.

"Otto my friend, do you mind doing me a great favour and accompanying Vizz on this embassy and assist him to obtain the best possible terms to enable us to settle here. I am aware that you are undoubtedly the best man to send on such an important mission."

Otto, a stout bearded man with dark greying hair, nods his head and replies, "Very well Entislar, I'll accompany Vizz on his embassy to chief Umathkar of the Ochre Fallow but when I get back I will want to interview everyone who went with you to Clearwine. I will also want to study what is happening here, a tribe shattering and possibly the birth of a new one. Possibly Silverquill will allow me to look over his notes. I foresee some informative conversations in the future."


Wiping sleep from his eyes, Vizz approaches Hahlgrim, groaning as he is strapped to his litter.

"Hahlgrim Thane, it grieves me that we have met in such unfortunate circumstances. As I think I mentioned, those of us in our slightly dishevelled band are made of the stuff of heroes and, as such, indeed it is true that we suffer from what some might call heroic flaws. In some, an extraordinarily bad temper while in other, such as myself, only a inordinate love of treasure of all sorts, and both the giving and recieving of such stuff that makes all men rich. For further examples I could cite some of the excesses of my illustrious ancestors and their famous last words - Varanor who proclaimed 'I'm going to jump on his head, holding my sword in both hands like this!', and Vinin Thundergodi who was mistaken when he advised: 'After my careful exploration I can confidently say: follow me no trolls here!'. And everyone has heard of Kentvent who took in his arms and kissed one person too many."

"I digress. In short, we are keen to meet with your uncle, the chief of your clan and lay before him our blanket of peace in order to profit both our peoples. The story of Issaries and the long noses and the big teeth tells us in the words of the gods, how all can profit, and how through talking we can repair trade routes and wounds."

"I propose to go to your chief's hall and, following the customs of our people, copy the methods of our gods. I shall bring with me a Storm Bull, as Issaries did, and a Law speaker, as Issaries also did. This shall please the gods, I can feel their presence in my words, as it shall please both our clans as we reap the rewards of trade and friendship."

It would be good, Hahlgrim thane, if you would assist your chief in this matter by informing him of our noble intent and brave history. We are poor now but will retain our former glory and wealth and will share that well for what is wealth if it cannot be shared?"

"Of course, you shall receive reward from me, Vizz Thane, personally."


Leaving Hahlrgrim to Vizz, Silverquill waddles over to the remains of the old hill fort, to determine approximately how old it is and who the former inhabitants were. Maybe they are youfish ruins? Using his knowledge of exploration, he checks for hidden entrances, trapdoors and other interesting features.

Silverquill's exploration of the remains elicits odd looks from the Ochre Fallow and it eventually dawns on him that they have no idea that there are ruins here, due largely to the hawthorn cover! He does start to get a feel for the layout and has a feeling he knows where the second fort would be, if it were indeed built upon Youfish ruins, but he would have to approach this systematically.

Meanwhile, as Vurth tends to his wounds, he notices a couple of the Ochre Fallow eyeing him up as if a piece of meat and laughing to one another. As he stumps over to them, they disperse and he only catches the word Batbroo before they show their reluctance to converse with the warrior.

Gyffun is very curious about the strange child, but like Silverquill he is even more interested in their surroundings. Leaving the durulz to investigate the ruined fort, he sets off into the dense undergrowth to see what else he can find. Didn't Garnatha mention some other remains?

Gyffun follows the remains of the trail which Garnatha found. Scrabbling through brambles and nettles, he loses the trail but follows what he thinks would be a suitable path. After ten minutes or so of hard work, he finds a low stone which just about has the remnants of a carved face. Plainly, this ancient trail had an importance once upon a time.

Intrigued, Gyffun returns to the now-bustling camp to get some provisions, determined to follow this strange path and find out where it leads. Perhaps he should mention the stone face to Garnatha while he's at it, and see if she wants to come along. Assuming she's awake now, that is...


She's awake. Just being distracted by two small girls who're fighting, and a third who's having problems tying a belt.

Yes, of course she's coming! This is her path. She suggests that they check out the section from fort to river first, then see if it goes the other way as well. Perhaps they should look for a possible former bridge or ford over the river?

As they expore the old path down to the river, Garnatha finds another stone head thing and notices that the carving had a couple of feet above the head, as if the figure was very cramped.

They return to the stead that night eager to explore the path further, though Garnatha still feels exploring the local area for dangers to the new stead will have to take priority.


Many members of the group remain acutely interested in Odi. Is he, for instance, Chaotic?

Vurth and Skullcleaver look at one another in puzzlement for neither can sense anything wrong with this boy. Wilma is also puzzled and, noticing the Uroxi's interest, looks at them and queries them, "No? I thought not, but there's definitely something else about him." When Vurth tries to scare the small boy, he manages very well, but soon the boy has recovered and seems once again unperturbed by the large warriors.

Wilma is certainly keeping a close eye on Odi as he plays with Angor. In fact, many of the Exiles are sneaking a peek whenever they can for this boy is truly, almost painfully, beautiful. Entirely naked, he seems not to feel the cold. His hunger has been sated by some of the precious grains which were yet to go in the ground, attracting disparaging remarks from Morith and some of the other Exiles. This boy seems uninterested in any other food.

Wilma is trying to get him off solids with marginal success (pap).

The Ochre Fallow eye the boy more warily, and neither they nor the Exiles have forgotten the circumstances in which he appeared. For now though, he seems to be a very happy child, and seems to have lost all resentment for Skullcleaver or the funny little boy with the beak and the feathers. A further oddity, though, is that he seems not to feel pain, which has greatly excited Angor's curiosity, for he is seeing how far he can twist the smaller boy's ear around before he screams, which he doesn't.

Angor, as is normal for a small child, hates him and loves him by turns. Wilma says they're about the same age.

Odi's favourite word is Hungy. This sounds very much like a three-year old's version of a word you might know. Other words he uses definitely seem to be of the same root as yours but are often quite different. He doesn't seem to be too fond of speech and the shortish sentences he does use are by now sounding suspiciously like what Angor might say. He says "MAMMA" every now and again, looking quizzically at anyone bigger than Silverquill.

Odi does not get cuts and bruises during play, unlike Angor who is normally always picking at scabs and such.

He does not look like anyone in the clan, or anyone we've ever met.

His growth rate, despite suspicions, appears normal.

And his appearance out of the mists, on a drizzly and foggy day, precludes tracking. Vizz asks Garnatha to try anyway, but her pessimism proves to be well-founded.

This is not Vizz's specialty. He keeps clear of the child, disliking it and finding it distasteful for a reason he cannot quite put his finger on.

"He, not it, and he's a child ! How can you possibly dislike him?" Then again, Garnatha left him to Wilma as fast as she could - the lady doth protest too much, methinks?

Vurth, having checked the child for signs of Chaos and having thoroughly scared it once expresses no further interest in the strange child. He has more important things to do than worry about odd strays from the forest. He does mention seeming to recall some legends related to the Wild Lady but doesn’t remember any specifics.