The Common Folk (Open, Expos-ish)*

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    West Schliemann
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    NOVEMBER 19th, 2018, FREEHOLD NOVEMBER 19th, 2018, FREEHOLD

    “Romulus, get some sleep,” Ser Iris urged.  “We can keep the momentum going from here.”

    The Pendrakken Hand shook his head.  “Spoken like you weren’t at this for just as long,” he remarked, taking a hit from a flask.  “Caffeinate.  We have a long night ahead.”  He offered her the flask – she begrudgingly accepted a gulp.

    Splitting the work with four House Pendrakken knights and Freehold volunteers, he tirelessly warned hapless farmers of the Obliterating Silence – guiding as many Hinterlanders as he could to the Ark-Stone’s protection.

    Returning to town brought little physical comfort, but the crowd at his rendezvous point warmed him.  Sixty was more than he’d expected- it was time to check auras.

    Channeling silver energy to peer into a young girl’s soul, he grimaced.  Her mother’s eyes whitened with terror at Romulus’s distress.  The seconds passed more slowly than eons until until he conjured the strength to talk.  “…She has eleven days.  You’ll need a Pure ASAP.”  The living picture of a highborn statesman telling a commoner to find six hundred gold made him cringe.

    “W-we don’t have  that!”  The pain in her voice thrashed him – trading it for Lector’s blade would’ve been a mercy.

    “…I’ll transmute for you for free,” he said, “that should cut your costs, but that’s all I’ve got.”  His eyes hit the dirt.  “Find work.  I’ll pitch in if I can.”  She stymied her distress long enough to nod.

    When Romulus reconvened with his men, they shared their counts.  “So, thirty-one had the silence,” Ser Garland concluded.  “Just one more than half.”

    “Just one more than half,” Romulus repeated.  He picked up his flask, and – as his men flinched – threw it at a nearby cabin for a loud thunk.  “The gods fucking mock us.”

    The gods are dead, Rom!”  Ser Iris snapped.  “We can’t afford to break down like this.”

    “Fucking-”  the Hand took a breath.  “…You’re right.”

    Ser Garland took the opportunity to cool them down with direction.  “Most of the clean souls were due east of the Bastion of Hope,” he started.  “Perhaps that area hasn’t been hit.  We should double down out there.”

    Shambling over and picking up the flask, Romulus drearily raised it to his knight’s suggestion.  “We ride in fifteen.  Round up whoever still has the guts to follow.”

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