Locke—the Bleeding Heart, the Hero, the Ironsworn—finally admits to himself why he's doing all of this.

⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #13: This
Locke’s taunting inner voice returns as everything crumbles around him. And suddenly, all eyes are on him.


Season 2, Chapteer 13

// Mechanics

Health: 4/5
Integrity: 5/5
John: 4/4
Lightning: 3/5
Momentum: 5/10
Spirit: 1/5
Supply: 1/5
Watt: 0/4

I’m going to start this session by making a 6-segment tension clock. I’ll use it to handle some PtP. I don’t have the Fugitive asset (yet, hinthint), but I still want to emulate that feeling that someone is closing in.

I collapsed onto the floor of the Scarlet Adler in a heap. The world blurred. Time and matter ceased to exist.

I wished I did, too.

How...did they know?






My secret was out. How was this possible? No one would be able to depend on me now. Lives would be lost. Crimes would go unsolved. I would be shunned. I'd have to go into hiding. Even being with Ira wouldn't be safe—nor John or anyone else I cared about.

"Ira, we're in trouble." Ira's name coming from John's mouth pierced through the din of my thoughts. It pulled me out of...whatever state of being this was called, at least a little. Still, only bits and pieces of what John was saying made sense at the moment. Something about Jack Moriarty and Lestrade. Something about Branding. Something about Jane.

"I have to save Jane," I managed to say. I hadn't spoken on purpose. It was instinctual. I was the good guy still...I hoped. "I swore."

"Baby," Ira said. I felt John do his best to lift me, presumably to carry me into focus. "You can't. I just checked: you're wanted all over the Salvi Pass right now. You need to Forsake that vow and hide out for a bit."

"I CAN'T!" I didn't mean to yell at him. Why was I yelling? I was a good guy. I didn't yell at my boyfriend. Good guys didn't do that. Good guys helped people. I had to help her. I could still see her face as I left her there crying! "I swore."

"Fuck that! Diogenes will understand if you have to break a vow to save your own life!" Ira shouted. I made him angry. I didn't mean to. I hoped he would forgive me.

"I'm Ironsworn, Ira. I have dedicated my life to this."

“As someone who literally grew up with them, I know firsthand that half of them don’t even keep their promises. And the ones that do are kinda crazy. Locke, you can Forsake it. You need to get to safety! That's the number one—”



And for the first time, I could see again. My heart calmed just a bit. The inner voice quieted, though I could tell it was laughing at my current circumstances, amused by all of this: the chaos of my life in shambles.

I pulled the black iron coin from its pocket on the sleeve of the Mimic suit and turned it over endlessly in my hands. I brushed my fingers over the rose indentation on it as I tried to gather my thoughts. They were a jumbled mess. I wasn't sure what I was saying, but before I knew it, I was spilling my guts.

"You...you called me a Hero. A Bleeding Heart. You said I was Ironsworn, the example, how all Ironsworn should be. You said my words meant something. You named me THUNDERFANG. I...I want to be that, all of those things."

He recoiled in shock, taken aback by my words. "Is that what this is about? The names I've given you?"

I had known deep down that that was what it was all of this was about, but I hadn't really understood until that moment.

I didn't think I was worthy.

I wanted to impress him, to live up to the names he associated with me. Names I knew I did not deserve.

Those names were the entire reason I had volunteered to leave his side on New Bohemia and help Legacy. Those names were why I felt so bad when I thought I had killed an innocent boy, only to do my best to save him when I realized he had escaped. Those names were the entire reason I followed up with the Akim Salvi conspiracy. Those names were why I even dedicated my life to helping people.

I thrust myself into danger, practically killing myself each time, just to live up to the names that he set for me. Names I wanted to be true. They had given me so much hope. Before him, those names didn't fit me. But I wanted them to. I wanted to be the man that he thought I was.

And I would do anything to make that happen.

"Locke," Ira said, "you are all of those things: Ironsworn, a hero, a Bleeding Heart, THUNDERFANG, the love of my life. You have earned every name, title, moniker—all of it! One thing against that does not change who you are. It does not change the way I see you or feel about you. I know who you truly are, deep down."

I heard what he said. It made sense. And I knew he meant it. He loved me for me.

But I couldn't believe that. Not right now. I did not love me for me. I had selfishly run out of that warehouse and abandoned the woman I Swore I would protect. What kind of hero leaves the innocent like that?

I could save her, I knew it.

Then maybe I would believe all of this.

"I can't leave her."

Ira groaned and paced around our bedroom. "You are frustratingly Ironsworn. Instead of breaking every vow, you're adhering so close to them you're ignoring all the red flags."

John finally chimed in. "Something tells me if we tell him he can't do it, he'll find a way to do it anyway."

I nodded.

John rolled his eyes and massaged his temples. "Fine. I'll go with you to save her, because you'll just end up dropping me off on some planet and coming back to save her alone. We're just getting Jane and coming back on board. That's it. Don't swear a vow to anyone else."

"Call me the moment you're safe and sound again. And be careful!"

I wiped away tears—I didn't even realize I was crying—and smiled. "I love you. And...I'm sorry"

"I love you, too." He was annoyed, but he smiled. "I swear, if you die from this, I'm going to take you to Shiningstar, infect your body with those vines, puppet you, and kill you again."

I stifled a laugh as best I could.

I had all the motivation I needed to try again.

// Progress

+1 with Ira! [4/10]

// Face Danger

Was gonna roll on the oracle for it, but lets Face Danger to see if landing in Portent is a bad idea or not.

+2 (shadow) ⇒ 3 vs 1, 8. Weak hit.

We’ll take it. Let’s hit momentum

-1 momentum [4]

We quickly decided that landing back in our normal spot in Baker's Shipyard was a bad idea, so we parked elsewhere and hoped that the entire planet wasn't on high alert for me just yet.

Visors obscuring our faces, we exited the Scarlet Adler in our Mimic suits and made a mad dash back to the warehouse.

// Set a Course

On a Strong Hit, she’s there, ready to be saved. On a Weak hit, there will be an exchange of fire as we see Jane being moved from one location to another. On a miss, she’s already gone.

+1 (supply) ⇒ 7 ...

Saffron's moon seemed frozen in place high within the sky. We were running with all our might, ducking behind buildings and cars to stay concealed. Despite the chilly night air, I was sweating. The anxiety and fear and adrenaline created a chaotic mixture of emotions within me.

I had to save Jane.

Portent was quiet. Too quiet. My skin was buzzing. Unlike a year ago—had it been that long already?—I knew exactly what was going on, what secrets were lurking within the silence of this typically noisy settlement.

There was a conspiracy brewing, and I seemed to be at the center of it all.

When the warehouse came into view, John and I stopped in our tracks.

Jane seemed to sense our presence and looked at us, eyes widened with fear. Her captors were yelling at her, urging her into an unmarked vehicle.

"JANE!" Why would I hide now? John and I rushed forth as the captors finally noticed our presence. They cursed and hopped into the vehicle.

Not without shooting at us first, though.

// Set a Course Result

7 vs 6, 9. Weak Hit. That was super close, actually. a 6 on the action die lol

Anyways, SHOOT OUT!

Endure Harm

-1 [3]

+3 => 5 vs 6, 7. Miss. Lose an additional -1 Health [2]

Aaaand... Companion Takes a Hit

-1 [3]

+3 ⇒ 4 vs 5, 8. Miss. Damn, these bullets hurt.

Let’s do -2 momentum for John's Pay the Price [2]

John and I both grunted as the bullets hit our suits. I heard John groan in pain, but he was holding his composure well.

The vehicle Jane was in revved up and began speeding away. We would need a way to catch up with them. The Scarlet Adler was too far for us to run back to. We would need something right here.

I had an idea.

I mean, I was already a criminal.

What was a little grand larceny?

I rushed to a nearby vehicle. It was locked, but I expected that. And while my abilities weren't meant for something like this, it was still within its wheelhouse.

I smashed the window and slid into the driver's seat and placed both hands on the dashboard.

// Secure an Advantage

I think this is… wits? Yeah +4 (wits+⚡) ⇒ 10 vs 1,4. Strong hit!

-1 lightning [2]

+2 momentum [4]

+1 forward

The vehicle revved up and John slipped into the passenger seat. I gripped the steering wheel and sot him a glance.

"Let's go be heroes."

⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #14: The Solution to the Trolley Problem
Locke has made peace with what has happened and it will NOT stop him. Why? Because he’s a FUCKING hero.

The next chapter

This work is based on Ironsworn: Starforged (found at www.ironswornrpg.com), created by Shawn Tomkin,
and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Want to own Starforged for yourself? Grab it on DriveThruRPG!
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