Arbogast takes what joy he may in the simple pleasure of renewed familial bonds, and marks the changes in his kinfolk since his last return to Mountain Hall. Theodwin's beard is longer, and greyer, and Sunne's body now shows the marks of motherhood. But their talk turns, as he supposes it must, to their children.
"My sister," Sunne says to Lindwine, "I must know, had some ill fortune befallen you? For you and my brother watch over your daughters like a miser over his treasures."
Arbogast opens his mouth to speak, but finds that heis overwhelmed by the enormity of telling the tale to one who does not already know it. Instead, it is Lindwine who quietly answers. "Our youngest was cruelly taken from us as the winter began." Sunne and Theodwin share a look, and what began as an exchange of harmless gossip becomes a sharing of sorrows, as must surely be occurring in many places and in many ways about the Field of Heroes.
"The cold of the winter made for many hard days in the foothills," Theodwin relates. "The harvest was cut short, and it will be years before the herds recover, so many were the beasts that had to be slaughtered lest they starve, let alone the clans who tend them. We were among those lucky enough to escape the worst of the hunger, but even so, what we thought may have been the coming of a second child amounted to nothing in the end." He and Sunne tell of hunters lost in blizzards and miners in a tunnel collapse.
"None, it seems, escaped misfortune..." the Fire-watcher begins, when his dark thought is interrupted by a crow that flies close enough to buffet Theodwin's falcon, roosting hooded and patient upon a makeshift perch and drawing an ear-piercing shriek from the startled bird. To this is added the beating of great drums, announcing the arrival of the Beornings. And sure enough, Arbogast sees the bear standard borne aloft in the distance.
"Come," he says, "no shadow lies yet upon this day. Let us put aside our cares for an hour. There are come men I would have you meet."
The great festival had come, and to the Woodmen the Beornings arrived like great barbarians of the river and plains. They were all on average taller than the Woodmen, and their styles of dress and appearance set them apart. Each small band of them marched into the camp with zoomorphic designs of totem animals. In the past there had always been a few outliers who had attended the largely Woodmen games. This year however, Beorn encouraged the participation of his people and the standing and participation of Grimbeorn combined to multiple the attendants.
The Black Ravens made perhaps the greatest disturbance as they paraded. Each of their members bore a great large bird upon their shoulder. As one they released the birds into the air and to the consternation of the assembled folks they flew among the crowd and the camp snatching and grabbing bits of ribbon and shiny baubles.
Most were baubbles of no consequence, but should an item of import find it's way to one of the raven clan it was returned in good faith. Hroc, their chief wished no ill will between the peoples and made sure no real feelings were hurt.
Also came the boar folk. Their helms were decorated with long bristles, and their jowls with beards the men had grown on their own resembling tusks. These man carried big bass drums that thundered when they pounded, the noise carried far and wide.
Lastly, and though with no fanfare, he was the most praised came Grimbeorn. He came with a small company of men. Beside him flew the great standard of the Bear held aloft by Hathcyn Longspear. They paraded to the field with little pomp, but in doing so made a bigger entrance than the other groups. Behind them came a cart burdened greatly with the mead barrels of Beorn. There were many there that hoped to taste that renowned beverage!
Along with the excitement of the upcoming events came the happiness of meetings!
Arbogast and Lindwine were surprised when a young boy approached their camp - he was but a toddler. The two wondered to whom he belonged, but then the Fire-watcher smiled as he saw his sister, Sunne, approaching with a large grin of her own - beside her walked her husband, Theodwin.
"Hello Brother," she said as the boy walked to see what Arbogast's own daughters were up to. The man quickly embraced his sister and she said, "I'd like to introduce you to Theon, son of Theodwin."
And with that there was much merriment as the two families caught up and became familiar with both spouse and children. As they talked, the three cousins made their way to the field where long trunks of trees were being stripped of all bark. These would be used for the totems that each clan would carve and paint and leave posted on the Field of Heroes for the next seven years, until the next event - each representing the people and their customs.
Men smiled at the children as they watched and inquired as to what was being done. One large man, shirtless and sweaty, gave a toothless grin, "Child, we shall be starting to carve these either later today or tomorrow once they are stripped, so come back then. That is when the real work begins!"
With a nod, he bent back to his work of notching off the bark with his wide-bladed axe.
Here are all of our thoughts so far - anything else before I start adding narrative about the commencement of events? I just need more contestants from Mountain Hall, Black Tarn, Rhosgobel, and other...
[EDIT] I am also going to include some kind of clan totem carving contest.
So start adding your narrative/dialogue for your PC's as they walk around the events. I am probably going to start with the next thread as Event/Game Day 1 and we can post based on the events going on that day.
So you guys helping me organized that stuff and who the contestants are would be REALLY cool, and it will make the world of the clans more your creations than mine.
So in this thread give me narrative on your arrivals, what you see, what you do, and if you look for one another among the many clans-folk.
They were early - well before the games would start and even for the field to take form.
Arbogast and Lindwine separated from the merchant's, whom with they had traveled, and found a place to set their own tent. It was well outside the designated areas of the upcoming festival, but close enough that they girls would be able to see all the excitement as it would build. Already the twins were struggling with sleep and overwhelming their parents with questions of when and how.
But the days passed and slowly things evolved.
First, men from the wood started arriving with long lengths of wood. Trees had been felled and stripped for various purposes. Next came the colorful carts with large drapes and tents. With oohs and ahs, the girls watched and clapped as a large tent - the Feast Hall - was raised in the center of the grounds. Ropes were staked and the three central beams were pushed up and the canopy took shape.
Next came the split logs for seats, as well as actual chairs and tables for those lords of men that would attend. On the field, archery targets were set and foot race paths were measured. Areas were designated for the brawlers and wrestlers, wood splitting and tree throwing, along with other trials in which the folks would compete.
Merchants began to arrive over the week and they, too, set up their pavilions so to sell their wares. In this group also came the bakers, brewers and gardeners who brought their dishes, ale and spring yields to be judged and shared. Finally, the animals began to be corralled for their judging and selling.
But what most excited Cyffa and Lafwyne was watching the fairway being set. A carousel was hung on a large central pole, suspended by ropes that would spin them at dizzying speeds. Large swings carved from tree trunks in the shapes of winged dragons and charging steeds were also hung, and the girls called out which they wished to ride on first. Finally, the pony round was set and soon small ponies would make continuous laps for their small riders to cry in glee.
Arbogast and Lindwine were filled with happiness that bubbled forth from their daughters and they, too, began to wait with anticipation.
With all of the activity came responsibility, though, and Arbogast saw to duties for which he was needed. There were times he was away in Rhosgobel for counsel with the elders and Radagast. He met with others from the Black Tarn - those that came to compete - to help set their competitor pavilions and mend any equipment that might be used. Lindwine and the children aided in cooking for the camps and the washing that was needed at times. Being an experienced fisher-woman, Lindwine would sit by the lake and bring in food for the people to eat.
It was an event that all actively participated and the field began to fill with people from near and far - the Men of Mountain Hall came only to be followed by those of Woodland Hall and Woodmen-town. Soon came the Beornings - tall and fierce in their regalia. Dwarves appeared and set their own camp near the men, but not quite amongst them. Though they would not have any direct participation in the events - as the Field of Heroes was a tradition of the Men of the Vale - still they brought their wares. Finally, though Lindwine and the girls only heard of their presence, having not seen them, Elves of Thranduil's Hall were said to be among the Free-folk.
The month-long competition was almost set and the games would soon start. May was almost over and June would see the festival of the clans - it would be splendid. I have attached a map of the Field of Heroes.