Bonus Spin Offs, Mir’s Autumn Part A

Bonus Spin Offs, Mir’s Autumn Part A

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The rest of the summer had passed all too quickly. Mir and Gweth had spent most of the season away from Lekas, travelling the back country with the Omdin twins, taking messages to the dispersed communities and homesteads. As well, performing reconnaissance around Aramy and the lands towards Sharlok’s Hold.

The situation in Aramy only appeared to be getting worse. Travelling folk were not passing through the crossroads, even the trade caravans had not moved on. Instead, the commons had rows of wagons and a large corral for the horses that had pulled those wagons. Gibler’s wood kilns had been repurposed and were now being used to lodge many of the new residents. Wood of all sorts was piled on the commons or left in the wagons.

Town Hall was constantly busy and people had set up tents and shelters wherever they pleased.

More startling had been the hanging tree, there were five corpses well picked over by the crows and there were three people imprisoned in the punishment cages. Sadly Mir had been unable to help them. The Omdin twins had been adamant that they were only there to gather information. No heroics, no attempts to kill the witch. As per Andisal’s instructions, they took a look around and then made an attempt to contact Mir’s uncle.

When they made their way around to the old homestead they were extra careful about how they approached, taking the time to move well away from the village before circling to the north. Then they waited until it was nearly sunset. They found Mir’s uncle and three of the local lads, just a bit older than she, at the homestead. There had been no sign that anything was amiss so Mir had approached, sneaking all the way to the nearer wall and then taking the time to listen.

Her uncle, sounding surprisingly sober for the time of day, and the young men were just sitting down to eat. Their conversation was sparse, two of the young men intended to go hunting the next day and take food to the old mine. The youngest of the three men, Ajax, was worried about his sister who was expecting. He wanted to go to Willik’s Hold and find a midwife, but her uncle was in disagreement and the two of them were on the verge of an argument. She approached the door. She had not done so quietly, in hopes that she would not startle them. Still, when she stepped through the door they were on their feet, all brandishing weapons as if they expected an attack.


“Hi, uncle. Just me. Sorry if I put a scare into you all.”

“That’s Mir?” said Erpi, the oldest of the lads.

“Yup,” she smiled, “Just me.”

Her uncle put his knife on the table and came around to give her a powerful embrace. She noted that much of his gut was gone and he looked better than he had in years.

Drave smiled and gave a shy wave as her uncle continued to crush her. Drave had been one of the young men most interested in Mir over the last year or so and he seemed very happy to see her. Her uncle finally released her from the hug, held her shoulders at arms length and looked her over.

“You’re looking fit.”

“You too.”

He smiled and hugged her again, “I’m so happy you’re alright.”

Ajax sheathed his short sword and said, “Nice armour. Wish we had something like that.”

“Friends of mine showed me how to make it. If there’s time and any hide available I imagine we could show you how it’s done.”

Her uncle asked, “We?”

“I came with Gweth, the girl I left with and a couple of friends from Lekas. We’re doing a reconnaissance before heading back. I wanted to see if you were still here.”

“Still kicking, surprisingly. Things are bad in the village. Though besides these three, I’ve been able to get another dozen out and they’re sheltering in the old mine for now. I did get your message. Grange came by.”

Mir saw a discomfort in her uncle’s eyes. She wondered what that was about but decided not to ask in front of the others. “How are you set up for the winter?”

“Not well. Unless we get more food and clothing, I’m guessing the older folk and the babes are at serious risk.”

“We could take them to Lekas. Though we’re expecting an attack from Sharlok after the winter passes. It might be better to see if Lord Willik would take them in.”

Ajax piped up, “That’s what I’ve been saying! If we wait much longer my sister won’t be able to travel.”

Mir was about to respond when she heard the nearby call of a wren, “Give me a moment, I need to let my friends know all is well.” She stepped out and signalled that all was clear. Her companions moved out of hiding and joined her in front of the house.

Thern asked, “What’s the situation?”

“My uncle and three others here, another dozen about a yat to the northeast. Not enough food and clothing for the winter though…”

“What do you want us to do?”

Her uncle stepped into the doorway, “Hello friends.” The others crowded behind him trying to see who had arrived.

Introductions were made and with the last light of the day fading they all entered the old homestead and crowded around the table. They ate a bit and had some water while they discussed their options. Thern offered to run to Willik’s Hold and make a request for shelter on their behalf. The other three would stay, see what could be done about food and other supplies and Alfi promised to show them how to make leather armour.

It was an unanticipated delay, but would take less time than trying to return to Lekas with three elderly and one very pregnant young woman. Less risk for them as well. Thern mentioned that the trip to Willik’s Hold might be doubly useful, he would inform his Lordship of Sharlok’s planned attack and appeal for aid on behalf of Lekas.

The next morning they all went to the old mine. Everyone seemed well enough, all things considered and they were happy to see Mir. More happy with the news that they were there to help. Thern left his armour and most of his other gear with his sister and then started off towards Willik’s Hold at an easy jog. He only took his knife, a small piece of flint, his bow and three arrows, he figured he could make it there and back in a little over an eight-day if all went well.

One thing the Aramy refugees did have was a large number of hides and pelts as they had mostly been eating meat, as well, what seasonable forage they could gather from the rough land near the mines. Alfi put most of them to work cutting the leather and by day’s end they had crafted simple armour for Ajax and Erpi. They had enough for a couple more sets, but that was a task for another day.

That night, Mir and her two companions took the time to sneak back to the village. Under the cover of darkness they were able to sneak up to one of the outer boundary walls and observe the goings on. The sounds coming from Town Hall were raucous, there were fistfights and Mir saw many of the locals were staggering drunk, beyond reason. Certainly more drunk than she had ever seen most of them. Despite Mir’s wish to see if her family was alright, Alfi suggested it would be better to observe for a night or two. They took turns on watch while two of them tried to get a bit of sleep.

It was late into the night before the village settled down. Mir was up, doing her second shift observing the village. The moons were hidden behind heavy cloud cover and she thought she might not get a better chance to sneak over to her family’s house. Almost without realizing it, she started moving along the wall with the intent of approaching her home from the east. She had not gone far though before a hand on her shoulder nearly caused her to cry out. Startled she turned, reaching for her knife. Alfi was too quick for her however and she ended up on the ground with her companion sitting on her chest.

In a low voice Alfi reminded her, “We agreed. We’re just observing for the first night or so. Am I wrong?”

Abashed and glad of the darkness that hid her embarrassment Mir replied in an equally low voice, “No. We agreed.”

Alfi continued to sit on her, pinning her arms. Her face was just a pale blur above Mir, she could not read the woman’s expression. She leaned in close, their cheeks touched, Mir’s breath quickened, her heart beat fast. Alfi sniffed at her neck then pulled back, letting go of Mir’s arms, “You smell good.”

She left Mir laying on the ground and went to wake Gweth. Mir lay there for a couple of moments until her emotions settled a bit. Together the three of them returned to the mine.

The next day the women were up by mid morning, they pitched in and helped make a couple of more sets of armour, using up more of the remaining hides. One set for Drave, who insisted on working with Mir that day, much to her annoyance he tried flirting with her and asked too many leading questions. She did her best to be politely oblivious, but as sunset neared she felt more like throttling him than helping him into his armour.

The other set of armour went to a young woman who had been travelling with her kin, up from the Madden Hills with timber to trade. She was a burly, rude girl, but the locals had taken to her and she was most often the one who kept guard around the mine.

That night Alfi and Gweth left her behind when they went to continue their observation of the village. Sullen and tired, Mir returned to the old homestead with her uncle.

Before Thern had returned they were able to help with the hunting, specifically the three of them ranged onto the plains, hunting animals that would provide more leather. Mir was permanently exiled from the nightly reconnaissance of the village, Alfi refused to take her with them, even when they were sneaking into the village to gather more clothing and supplies. Mir was angry, but mostly with herself for having lost Alfi’s trust.

Thern returned towards the end of the tenth day after his departure, he had mixed news from Lord Willik. Sadly there would be no military support for Lekas, but those that could escape from Aramy would be welcome in his holding.

They left early the next morning. She had a tearful goodbye with her uncle. He intended to take this group to Willik’s Hold. He promised Mir he would try to get the rest of the family to safety.

Mir was withdrawn and moody for much of the return trip to Lekas. Her companions seemed to understand and gave her the space she needed.


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