[author’s note: With all of these “Age of Ashes” posts, check out this blurb to explain what I’m doing. This is a quick scene showing Yoonla, our goblin bard who took a vow silence when her wife died prior to the campaign. Nehi was an adventurer, while Yoonla stayed at home. Here we see one of Nehi’s adventuring partners sharing the tough news with her, right before the players meet the Bloody Blades, the mercenary group who killed Nehi. It played out really well in game.]
Fade to black.
When we fade in, the scene has no sound.
Yoonla the goblin sat on a chair in her living room. Bowls of all sizes scattered around her, and she kicked them to an unheard beat. She plucked away at her banjo and sang, energetically and with a smile on her face.
She paused and set her banjo aside. Standing, the goblin practically skipped to the front door and threw it open with a shout.
Yoonla’s face transformed from exuberant delight to pleasant confusion as she found a male dwarf in battered armor at her doorstep, ornate axe slung across his back. The dwarf, though clearly a warrior, looked uncomfortable and unsure of himself… he shuffled his feet and looked at the floor instead of Yoonla’s face when he spoke. She stepped aside and let him in.
The two of them sat. Yoonla offered him something and he, still refusing to meet her eyes, shook his head. She reached out and placed a small hand on his, asking a question.
Red-faced, the dwarf began to speak. As he did, Yoonla’s eyes went wide, then filled with tears.
Then she screamed.
Even without sound the scream was primal and raw. The goblin pulled at her ears, kicked her feet against the floor, and rocked back and forth. When her lungs had emptied, she sucked in a ragged breath and screamed again. The dwarf was looking at her now, sorrow in his deeply wrinkled eyes.
Yoonla rolled onto the floor of her living room, curled into a ball, her face a mess of snot and tears as she cried. Her small body shuddered and heaved.
The dwarf gently knelt and gathered Yoonla in his arms, carrying her to the red loveseat in the room. He placed her and pat her shoulder awkwardly.
As he stood to leave, Yoonla’s skinny arm shot out to grab the dwarf’s wrist. Her tear-streaked face looked up imploringly, and even though no words came out, the dwarf knew her question.
The dwarf frowned and dug into a pouch at his belt. He pulled out a cloth patch that had been crudely ripped from wherever it was sewn. He unfolded it and showed to Yoonla the image of a red sword.
The image fills the screen, and then we zoom out, seeing that same image of the emblem reflected in Yoonla’s wide eye here, now. We pan out and around to see the crude, red sword, the image clear on a flapping banner atop the lead watchtower in Guardian’s Way.