In the season finale of ⚡️THUNDERFANG, within the Ironlands, all eyes fall on Ira and Locke.

⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #26: Whispers and Stares

Whispers and Stares

Season 2, Chapter 26

// Sojourn

+1 (heart) + 1 Ira => 8 vs 4, 4.


Heal: +3 [3]

Repair: 5 repair points. 3 for Watt, 2 for the Scarlet Adler.

Also, I just realized: I was supposed to be adding Momentum every time Ira aided me on a roll.

I'll keep a note of that for next season.

Now, what do I do about this Match?

Ira's trial was broadcast across the entirety of the Ironlands. From the whispers and stares we got traveling through Mainland a few days later, everyone saw it. The four of us—Jane, John, Ira, and myself—did our best to lay low. Just because Ira won didn't mean he "won."

However, to get to literally any other section of the Ironlands, you had to pass through Mainland first. I saw a glimpse when we were headed to Barrierland for the trial, but now that there was no time constraint pressing in on us I could finally take it in.

Mainland was the largest of the ships within the Ironlands. It looked similar to Barrierland in that it was visibly the interior of a ship. Metal walls surrounded us, though they were distant enough that I had forgotten they were there.

But it was nothing like Barrierland.

Where Barrierland was devoid of life, Mainland felt like an amusement park. I remember seeing a few in the Salvi Sigil, though I'd never gotten to experience one myself. Businesses of all kinds covered the area in endless columns and rows. Signs pointed the way to the various other areas, and motorized walkways and shuttle buses helped make the trip easier.

As far as the eye could see, there were people, moving about. Buying, selling, hanging out, playing.

A ball bounced in our path and a child ran past us. She took one look at us and froze.

We froze, too. Adults were one thing. They gossiped in the shadows mostly. Children? Brutally cutthroat and honest.

The girl stepped toward us, her ball forgotten. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw other kids around her age—couldn't be more than eleven or twelve years old—whispering and staring.

"Are you Ira Adler?"

Ira nodded. Now the adults were staring.

"You failed your Coming of Age Trial, right?"

Cutthroat. Ira didn't flinch, though. He simply nodded and said, "Yes."

I thought the trial would bring some kind of change. Why was a single event at such a young age so pivotal in how they were perceived?

"Me, too."


That was...unexpected.

The girl continued. "I hated the way everyone made me feel. I just got lost in Hinterland! But...then I saw your trial. It made me feel like things will get better." She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed.

Ira hesitated for a moment then returned the gesture. She broke away after a few moments with the brightest smile on her face, then resumed playing with her friends.

Ira smiled and Slyly wiped away a tear.

Diogenes sat in one of the many coffee shops in Mainland. The sight of her sitting in a public space was jarring. I'd only ever seen her within the confines of the Interpreter.

Like us, she stood out. The Ironlander's fashion wasn't exactly my taste, but then again, they were comprised of ten different generation ships, each with their own fashion sense. Most of the colors were muted and dull. Diogenes stuck out, wearing a pitch-black pantsuit speckled with the glow of a million stars. She sat at a table, all eyes on her, as she sipped something over ice.

// Fulfill Your Vow

Only 4 progress, but let's see how this goes...

4 vs...

"Jane. It's wonderful to see you, my dear."

"You said my family was safe," Jane said quickly. Diogenes didn't flinch as Jane slammed both hands down on her table, eliciting a few additional whispers and stares. "Where are they? Are they here?"

Diogenes sipped her drink. "As I said, they are safe and sound. Tucked away where no harm can come to them. You have my word." Jane sighed heavily, as if she hadn't believed Diogenes before.

"Come," Diogenes said. "I shall take you to them."


// Fulfill Your Vow result

4 vs 6, 8. Miss

This caused a shift in Diogenes. She raised a brow.

Here goes Jane again. What demand does she want now? It was impossible to keep her happy.

"I want to stay with Locke."


"Huh?" I spun her around to face me, utterly confused. "Since when?!"

Jane blushed and avoided looking at me. "Look...It hit me hard, what you said during the trial. You never gave up on me, despite everything. You just kept going, making sure I was safe even when I was actively trying to stop you. I was afraid to admit it at first but...I like being in your company. I haven't seen you fight yet, but if your bite is as good as your bark, then...Well, I want to help you take down Jack. He shouldn't be able to threaten anyone else like he did me or the others ever again."

I'm not going to lie: I was fully expecting this "crew" to disband at any moment. I expected Yelena, Kaisa, and Fletcher to get another ship and head off to live their lives. I expected to travel with Blackstone just long enough to help her out. I was damn sure Jane was going to leave with Diogenes.

Did I legitimately have a crew?

"Of course you can stay," I said eventually. I swear I saw Diogenes crack a smile but when I looked closer it was gone.

"You'll need to train her," Diogenes said, standing up. She gathered a tablet off the table and held it under her arms. "Her ability is sought after. If she falls into the wrong hands, she'll be a dangerous weapon."

"At this point, we all are." I pulled out the black iron coin, rubbing my thumb briefly over the rose side. "I swear, I'll train her. She's going to be better than ever and a vital part of this crew."

// Recommit

So, let's roll both challenge dice and take the lower.

3, so I'll be removing all but 1 box.

Shit, now this is Extreme?

Also, mark progress on Diogenes background vow.

I think I saw Jane smile—really smile—for the first time.

Watt whipped and whirred around the interior of the Scarlet Adler, which was also sporting her own set of repairs done by Yelena.

John and Jane caught Watt up on all that he'd missed since he was out of commission. Though, Watt was never truly out. He played back a few audio clips he'd heard from within the Scarlet Adler. Watt also blushed whenever Yelena was around.

Kasia and Fletcher had acquired various local alcoholic beverages and brought them back inside to share. Blackstone easily beat them in a drinking contest—Fletcher had to rush to find a bucket midway through.

I settled in with Ira, watching our crew enjoy themselves. We sat on the floor, backs against the wall, drinks in hand. I wrapped my arm around Ira's shoulders and pulled him in close.

Something felt off. "Are you okay?"

His expression told me he thought he was doing a better job of being Sly than he actually was. Ira sighed. "You have to promise me you won't Swear if I tell you."

"...Sorry. Did you miss the great speech I gave earlier? I may have a hard time doing that." I smiled weakly, hoping my answer would suffice. I didn't want to lie to him.

He rolled his eyes and leaned back as far as he could. He stared at the ceiling, focused. "Yup. Bleeding Heart. Fine, I can't think of anyone I'd rather help me out anyway. I...I can't find Irén."

I straightened completely. "What? Since when? What—"

"I don't know. I asked around a bit and...no one's seen here since..." He hesitated, his eyes falling to meet mine. "No one's really seen her since I left, Locke. She's been gone almost as long as I have. That's why she wasn't at the trial."

I pulled the coin out and absently thumbed it as I Swore, "We will find her."

// Swear an Iron Vow

+1 (heart) + 2 Ira => 7 vs 1, 5. Strong Hit!

+2 momentum [9]

This will be a Dangerous Mystery.

I pulled him in closer and held him tight. "I promise."

The next day, I snuck away early in the morning with Watt.

I had things to do.

The first was to check out where Irén used to live. She had stayed in Tempestland, the section of the Ironlands that focused primarily on science, tech, medicine, and education.

After leaving the hotel in Deepland, I traveled a short distance to Mainland before catching a shuttle to the opposite side. From there, I transferred to another shuttle that brought me to Tempestland. A relatively short trip, despite the size of the settlements. It took about an hour and a half overall. Not too bad.

It didn't take much longer after that to find her old residence.

// Gather Information via Sleuth

+2 (wits) => 4 vs 5, 6, 7. No matter how I spin that, it's a Miss.

BUUUTTTTT... Let's mark a segment on my Fugitive clock and get this bad boy to a Strong Hit!

+2 momentum [10, at max]

What did we discover?

Story clue, 67: Involves something rare, precious, expensive

I thiiiiiink I can use this?

"Irén? Yeah, I 'member her," the older woman who was living there said. She wore shades of gray and had a pleasant smile on her face. "She left a bunch of her things here. Never found the time to get rid of them, actually."

After being force-fed pastries and coffee, Opal—with her graying hair—handed me a dusty box. I took a moment to look through its contents.

There were tons of black iron coins—all with roses and thorns on them. I smiled, a small weight off my shoulders. I felt lucky. It meant I didn't have to—

I squinted and pulled out a torn sheet of paper. It had coordinates on it. Watt scanned them and showed a map of where it was in relation to the Ironlands. It was right outside Wolfe Hollow. A deep space settlement known as Obon.

I loved a good lead.

// Progress

Progress on Irén vow. 2/10

"Where have you been all day? Everyone's left me," Ira asked after I returned that evening. Watt stopped at the entrance to our room, then floated off, leaving the two of us alone.

"I didn't want to annoy you by trying to drag you all around the Ironlands," I said Slyly. "I know you have your feelings about this place, but it's so new to me. I wanted to take it all in."

He squinted his eyes at me.

"Can we take a walk to the park?" I asked.

Ira did his best to read my thoughts; I was lucky he was not Hivebranded.

Hesitantly, he agreed and we began a stroll toward the park as the ship slowly crept into nighttime. Above us, a projection of the stars helped simulate the feeling of being planetside.

"You're hiding something from me," Ira said. I held back a smile.

"What makes you think that?"

"You're being extremely Sly right now. You left without saying anything this morning and left me by myself all day."

"I'm sorry about that. I really am. Will you forgive me?"

"Depends on what you're hiding...Wait, why is everyone in the park?"

Ira stopped in his tracks, an eyebrow raised. Watt, John, Jane, Blackstone, Yelena, Kaisa, and Fletcher stood side by side in the distance. As we approached, they cut their whispering short, eyes focused on the two of us. John did his best to hold back a huge smile; Blackstone did not make the same effort. It was plastered on her face for the world to see. Each of them had their hands behind their back.

"What's going on?"

I inhaled deeply and stepped forward, then spun around to face Ira. I held his eyes for a moment, taking him in.

"Ira Adler. From the moment you fell out of the sky, I have loved you. You saved me on Avam and gave me a purpose. You taught me how to follow my Heart, even if I swear it's not that high. I am who I am today because of you.

"After Avam, I thought you'd be better off without me. I was certain I didn't deserve you. Or, perhaps, you didn't want me—I mean, come on. I was nothing then.

"But when I saw you on New Bohemia—after realizing you weren't a mirage or a vision—I broke down. I realized that, over the years, I had been missing you every single day. I couldn't believe it was you. How was I that lucky?

"I thought leaving you on New Bohemia wouldn't hurt as much as it did, but it nearly killed me. Every second apart was agonizing. I meant everything I said during the trial. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me.

"I never want to be away from you again. And, if we do, I want both of us to know that we will always find ourselves in each other's arms eventually. Nothing can keep me from you."

Ira tilted his head to the side. I put my hands behind my back and made a quick gesture.

John held up an A.

Jane held up an R.

One by one, everyone held up a crudely painted sign with a letter on it. Just in time, I snuck a peek behind me and masked a few words to Watt, who displayed an M on his screen—he was first in line, after all.

"Ira Adler...Will you marry me?"

I dug into my pocket, brushing past the black iron coin, and pulled out something else.

A pair of black iron rings.

Ira's eyes widened and he gasped.

Silence filled the space for what felt like etern—

Jane yelled out, "SAY YES ALREADY!"

Ira scooped me in his arms and chanted, "YES!"

I spun him around and slipped a ring on him. There was apparently more of a crowd than I'd thought because everyone was whispering and staring now.

I didn't care.

I kissed my fiancé.

// Develop Your Relationship

+3 (Ira, Formidable) => 7 vs 2, 5. Strong. Fucking. Hit!

2 ticks on Bonds legacy track.

Buying the Bonded deed.


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!
(Affilate link)