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The Adventures of Skrim – An Everdell Spirecrest Story

This was originally written on 1/27/22 as a part of a Solo Games on Your Table Geeklist on BGG.com.  I wanted to take real cards and events that happened during a solo play-through and put them into a prose style writing.

He woke with a start, disoriented by the loud noise. The sudden silence disoriented him even more. As the sleep and fogginess cleared from his brain, the hare realized the sound echoing in his ears was the creaking and breaking of ice-heavy branches nearby. The hare pulled his cloak tighter around his body and peered out the hole in the tree that he had called home the night before.

              The same view that had met Skrim Hare’s eyes for months, was present once again. A never-ending canvas of snow and ice covered the sharp land ahead of him. This was not a gentle snow that the children would have enjoyed playing in at home. No, this was a violent Deep Freeze that enveloped everything it touched.

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              As Skrim gathered his few belongings into his sack, and crawled out of the tree, he saw the broken branch that had woken him. The pieces of the shattered tree reminded him of Renard, the Barge Toad, who would sail his Twig Barge up and down the river back home. Renard worked tirelessly, ensuring that the inhabitants of Everdell always had the wood they needed, whether it be to aid construction or to heat their fires. “I could really use a fire right now,” thought Skrim to himself, as he carefully unrolled the piece of parchment he had pulled from his sack.

              The fire would come soon enough because Skrim was getting closer to his destination, or at least he thought he was. Fort Faraway was said to be nestled on top of one of the mountainous peaks that made up the region known as Spirecrest. The paper contained some crude directions and drawings, that supposedly pointed to the location of the fort, though Skrim was starting to question its accuracy. He did not know exactly who, or what, he would find there but the place had been a haven for wanderers and adventurers alike in the past. If anyone could help Skrim along his journey, he was hoping they could be found at the fort.

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              Skrim rolled up the small map, tucked it into his sack, and struck out over the icy landscape. He fantasized about the heat of a fire, some warm food, the companionship that he hoped would soon greet him at the fort. That is, if he did not freeze to death first. Suddenly, a flash of red caught Skrim’s eye. It was so out of place in the unending white that Skrim had grown accustomed to, that at first, he did not believe it was real. Then again, he saw a quick flap of red in the snow-covered trees ahead of him, and he knew his eyes were not playing tricks on him. Skrim dashed forward through the broken, scraggly trees, intent on discovering the source of the bright color.

              He hopped over snow covered logs, slid across icy patches, ever keeping his eye on the red movements in front of him. Suddenly, he felt his body fall, as the snow gave way underneath him. There must have been an old hole here, dug out by a creature long ago, that had been covered by the snowfall. Skrim did not fall into the snow far and though he recovered quick enough, he had lost sight of the bright red fluttering he had been trailing. He scanned the landscape, trying to discern any movement but it was gone.

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              “Why are you following me?”  The voice was so close to Skrim, he very nearly dove back into the snow for fright. He turned his eyes upwards and saw the source of the bright red hue he had been following. Perched on one of the many snowy branches above him was a beautiful cardinal, adorned with a warm vest and matching beret.

              “I didn’t mean to be following you, per se. I’m a little lost out here, and when I saw anything that wasn’t white, I thought best to find out what it was,” said Skrim.

              The cardinal looked at him quizzically, turning his beaked head to the side. “One doesn’t typically get just ‘a little lost’ out here.”

              Skrim began to feel foolish. He had set out on this adventure, against the wishes of everyone he talked to in Everdell, thinking he could be a hero. There was an illness starting to take hold back in his village, and nothing anyone had tried worked. Maybe there was some sort of cure, or at least the knowledge of a cure, in the mountains that flanked Everdell on the east. The hare did not know what made him think that he was the right person for this quest, but something in his soul stirred when he thought about helping the people in his village that he loved. Standing here lost in the mountains, being looked at by this strange bird, made Skrim think that he had made a horrible mistake coming out here.  Maybe he had not made the right decision? Maybe he should have stayed home and let one of the wiser, or braver, animals take up this task.

              “My name is Skrim Hare of Everdell. I am searching for Fort Faraway, hoping that I might find travelers or knowledge there to help my people. Many of the animals are getting sick at home, and nobody knows why. Please, if you know anything about the fort, I beg of you to help me.”

              At the sound of the word “Everdell,” the cardinal’s countenance shifted. He flapped his wings lightly, removing the snow that had landed there, before responding to Skrim. “I know of your village well. I have passed through it multiple times, and have always been met with kindness, be it over a moving service at the Chapel or a show at the Theatre. It would be my pleasure to help you find your way, little hare, and as luck would have it, I know the exact location of the fort.”

              Skrim’s ears perked up and a smile danced across his face. “Thank you, thank you… Mister…?”  The hare trailed off as he realized that the cardinal had not introduced himself yet.

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              “My name is Thibault Boone, and it looks like I’ll be your Trail Guide, of sorts. The fort is close to here, let us get a move on. Standing still in this weather is not kind to ones’ bones. You won’t be much help to your village if you end up as frozen as one of these trees.”  Thibault adjusted his beret, and then took flight from the branch. “Keep up little hare!” he called as he glided off into the snowy sky. Skrim picked up his sack, shook the snow off his long ears, and hopped after the cardinal, hoping he knew what he was doing.


              “Mail call!” the Postal Pigeon squawked as she flew towards the fort. Skrim raced out the front portico of the structure to greet the white bird. The pigeon landed lightly on the ground, her goggles fogging slightly from her heavy breathing. She rustled around in her messenger bag for a minute, and then grabbed a slightly crumpled envelope with her beak. She handed it over to Skrim, adjusted her goggles dutifully and was back in the air in a flash.

              The Postal Pigeon’s name was Jules and she had arrived at the fort in the second, or third week, that Skrim had been a visitor there. She had stayed a few nights to rest up, and offered to take a letter back to Everdell, so that Skrim could update his family and friends on his travels. It had been weeks since she had returned and Skrim had started to fear the worst. He looked down at the letter in his hand, wondering what was inside, and rushed back into the fort.

              Since being there, Skrim had learned the history of the fort from its Architect, an elderly beaver named Crastern. The hare had learned that the beaver was originally part of an expedition whose goal was to map out the Spirecrest Mountains. In doing so, the expedition built sparse outposts throughout the mountains, but most had fallen into disrepair as the expedition broke apart. Crastern did not divulge details on the fate of the expedition but told Skrim that he decided to keep the fort functioning to help wary travelers.

Through the many years, the beaver had collected reams and reams of stories, fables, and tales told by the visitors, scrawling them all down and sorting them in one of the small rooms of the fort. This is where Skrim took his letter from home, eager to learn about his village. He gently piled up the parchments he had been reviewing into a neat stack on the corner of the large table, and then carefully opened the envelope.

Skrim quickly scanned the letter once, then twice, feeling both elated and fearful. He recognized his brother’s neat handwriting at once. His brother, Silas, operated a small Farm in Everdell. He was a simple hare, who enjoyed his work outdoors, and was a wonderful Husband to his Wife, Leah. Silas’ letter detailed many things, but two of them stood out to Skrim immediately.

First, the status of the illness in town had steadily progressed since Skrim had left his home. While there had been no fatal cases yet, the townspeople feared that the local Undertaker might soon be given plenty of work. The sickness seemingly affected animals at random. Some young, some old. Some males, some female. The townspeople had taken to calling the illness “The Croak Wart” as it stole the voices of those it afflicted. The animals were left drowsy, voiceless and violently coughing at all hours of the day.

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The second harrowing detail that Silas wrote about was the Tornado that had recently ripped through the meadow of Everdell. It had come without warning, destroying a few homes and structures on the edge of town, most notably the Storehouse. The town was trying its best to help each other re-build after the disaster, but with so many inhabitants sick from “The Croak Wart,” the construction was slow and felt like it would never be completed.

There was nothing Skrim could do about the Tornado, he knew, but turning his thoughts back to the illness, his spirit lifted slightly. Last night, he might have finally stumbled upon a few much-needed clues. As he did most evenings, the hare sifted through the many papers that Crastern had handwritten over decades at the fort. Like countless nights before, Skrim read tall tales, amazing anecdotes, and exciting excursions, full of wonder and magic but nothing that would help him and his townspeople. Skrim was just getting ready to turn in for the night when the last few sentences he read rattled familiar in his mind. He slid his candle closer to the parchments, careful not to spill hot wax on the delicate pages, studying the passage intently.

Crastern’s scrawl described a visitor from many years ago, only referred to as The Ranger, who seemingly lived solely for adventuring. He described passing through Serpent’s Pass, battling gigantic pythons and cobras. On other pages, the wily fox told stories about traversing the Spirecrest Mountains in a Heat Wave that practically evaporated entire mountain streams. As entertaining as these stories were, Skrim’s heart had skipped a beat when he read that once The Ranger had gone months, becoming sicker and sicker as he travelled. He quickly became mute, the untold illness afflicting his vocal cords. But somehow the fox had recovered. There were no details on exactly how he stumbled upon this knowledge, but he had described the concoction he had created to relieve his malady. Crastern’s neat print had the names of two places: The Ancient Orchard and Brightcoat Bloom.

Skrim tucked his brother’s letter back into the envelope and placed it with his other belongings. Tomorrow he would set off on the next leg of his trek, searching for the same answers that it seems The Ranger had found so long ago. As he drifted off to sleep, beautiful images of Everdell danced around his mind and brought a smile, albeit small, to his face.


He could see water spraying into the sky in the distance. He must be close to the falls and if that were true, he would be close to The Ancient Orchard. It had been weeks since he had bid Crastern farewell and left the fort, though not before seeing a familiar face once more. Thibault Boone, who originally led him to the fort, had returned to check on the little hare. Skrim had informed him of the clues he had found and pleaded for him to accompany him on the journey, but the cardinal could not. He had other matters to attend to, but he could do one more favor for Skrim.

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Thibault had heard of a magical orchard hidden behind the falls at Mistfire Falls but being a practical animal, he never put much stock into stories of magic and intrigue. But even so, he did have an idea of how the hare could get to the falls and if Skrim wanted to waste away precious time, chasing fantastical stories, then that was his choice. The cardinal had called out rudimentary directions as the hare wrote every word down. The two animals wished each other good luck and departed from the fort.

Now, Skrim had finally arrived and was eager to see if the legends Thibault had passed on were true. He stood on the edge of a small crater, now filled with water from the waterfall housed opposite him. The waterfall was large but with no discernible origin, except a large crevice broken into the rock face that reached upward into the sky.

As the rabbit made his way around the liquid filled crater, he was starting to doubt the veracity of the cardinal’s claims. Skrim did not want to admit it, but he was tired. He was tired of being away from home. He was tired of these inhospitable mountains, ever ceasing to give him what he needed. Most of all, he was tired of feeling like a failure. For all the distance he had travelled, what did he have to show for it that would tangibly help his family, his friends, and his home? And now he stood in front of a rushing torrent of water, surrounded by rock, with no orchard in sight.

But the truth was, he had come this far against huge odds, why give up now? Skrim thought of his brother and sister-in-law back home, wondering if they had escaped the illness thus far. If he did not push himself to see this to a conclusion, and his family got sick, how could he live with himself? With the last reserve of strength, he pulled his cloak around him and dove through the barrage of water.

Skrim braced to hit a moist and moldy stone wall but instead, felt himself tumbling head-over-heels down a sharp decline. With no light to illuminate the fall, Skrim could not exactly be sure which way he was facing at any given time, only that the floor and walls of the tunnel were worn and smooth. Suddenly a small drop of light appeared before him, that grew bigger and bigger with every second. Skrim forcefully tumbled out of the tunnel and landed with a damp thud on a grassy patch. The hare did not know how long he lay there but it was long enough to get his breath back and to stop his head from spinning. He finally struggled onto his knees, stood up and opened his eyes. What greeted his eyes, he could simply not believe.

Rows and rows of towering trees stood before him. Sunlight broke through their branches, casting a beautiful mosaic across the grassy floor. Every tree in sight was dotted with a rainbow of fruits, colors that Skrim had never even imagined. He reached up and plucked one of the fruits from its branch, studying it. This had to be one of the ingredients that The Ranger had written about. This had to be The Ancient Orchard.


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The sack jostled on Skrim’s back, heavy with fruit from the orchard. As sure footed as he tended to be, he had to make sure every step was precise. The trail he was on had been marked with a crude sign, made long ago, that read Gatherwind Trail. The trail ran along the top of a jagged peak, sheer drop-offs on either side. To make matters worse, the Hail had started recently, pelting the poor hare as he tried to keep moving.

Finding the trail had been much easier than the rest of his quest, by far. After picking the fruits he needed from the orchard, Skrim had noticed a break in the rows of trees, situated on the far side of the orchard. It looked as if one tree at the end of the row had been removed. Skrim followed the rocky wall that surrounded the orchard until he came to the clearing. At that exact spot, a small break had been made in the rock wall. Skrim looked at it carefully, gauging if he would fit. Finally, he decided he would be able to, pushed his sack through the small crevice and then climbed forward. After much squeezing, the hare finally popped out the other side.

This is where the Gatherwind Trail marker sat, beckoning Skrim to continue. He had thought back to the stories written down by Crastern and while there had not been any mention of this trail, he remembered The Ranger describing both the orchard and Brightcoat Bloom being remarkably close to each other. Certainly, this trail would lead him to, or at least close to, his last destination.

The trail had started innocently enough, winding through terrain that Skrim had grown accustomed to in his many months of travels. Eventually though, the path started to ascend, wrapping its way around one of the mountainous crags. Someone long in the past, had tied red flags on branches, and secured them between boulders to mark the trail for others. In the wind and Hail, the flags fluttered violently, threatening to tear away and flee quickly into the night sky. Skrim wondered if this had been the work of one of the visitors who eventually found their way to the fort, maybe even The Ranger himself.

If Skrim had been anymore lost in thought, he surely would have missed the slight glimmer to his right. The clouds had broken for just a moment, allowing the moonlight to hit something shiny that caught his eye. Whatever it was, it was positioned down the sharp cliff on the right side of the trail. Skrim knelt to inspect the cliff wall and noticed something else surprising. A series of small steps had been built into the wall, leading towards the shiny object but it was hard to make anything out with the frozen rain obstructing his view. The hare’s intuition told him that this was important, so he crawled over the side of the cliff, and gingerly secured his paw onto the first step.

He did not know how long the descent took, but it felt like hours. Every step had to be carefully planned to not slip on the wet stone and fall from the cliff wall. As he got closer to the shiny object, some of the details of his surroundings came into focus. He originally thought he was climbing down into a pitch-black hole with the shiny object sitting somewhere in the bottom but now that his viewpoint had changed, he could see that his eyes had deceived him. The object was perched atop a pedestal of sorts, rising out of the blackness below. Skrim could not tell if the pedestal were of natural origin or if it were animal-made but he could tell that the object had been placed there on purpose.

A bigger problem arose when Skrim realized the only way to get from the cliff wall he was currently perched on out to the monstrous column was by way of a single rope that had been anchored into the rock wall. The other side stretched across the chasm and was anchored into the pedestal. Thoughts of falling off the rope and smashing into the slabs of stone below invaded Skrim’s thoughts. Unlike back at the waterfall though, the fear no longer paralyzed him. He had come further than anyone, especially himself, could have believed. His travels, and the help from the creatures he had come across, would not be in vain. This might be the last few minutes of his life, before he accidentally slipped from the rope, but he had to try.

Skrim grabbed onto the rope and carefully hung from it. He reached up with his back legs and wrapped his large feet around the rope, now dangling upside down from it. Slowly, he started to inch his body out over the chasm, towards the pedestal. Ever so slightly, he moved forward, clinging to the rope.

Suddenly, a large jolt rattled the hare and before he could realize what was happening, he was swinging through the air. He slammed into something hard, and it knocked the breath out of him. His head spun and his chest ached, but he was relieved to find himself hanging from the rope, not falling into nothingness. As his head cleared and he finally opened his eyes, he saw that the anchor on the cliff side of the rope had broken out of the stone. Thankfully, the anchor in the pedestal had stayed put, causing him to swing across the chasm on the rope, much like the children back home would swing into the river on sweltering summer days.

Skrim hoisted himself up the length of the rope and drug himself over the edge of the pedestal, gasping for breath. As he lay on his back, staring into the night sky, he realized that the downpour had finally stopped. The sky was clear, and the moon shone brightly above him. He stumbled to his knees, ready to investigate the object that had inspired him to leave the trail above behind, and risk certain death. With the moonlight even greater now, he saw that he had not been looking at just one shiny object, but hundreds of tiny flowers that dotted the surface of the pedestal. Skrim gently touched one of the flowers’ petals and watched it shimmer. It was as if the flower was not simply reflecting the light of the moon, but somehow had light inside of its very blooms. “Blooms…” he whispered to himself.

What if Crastern’s notes had been wrong the whole time? What if Skrim had been looking for a place called Brightcloak Bloom but that it was actually a thing? Could these flowers be the ingredient that he so desperately needed to finally create the Croak Wart Cure? There was only one way to find out. He gently plucked some of the flowers from the ground and placed them in his sack with the fruits from the orchard. A wave of jubilation ran through his body. He had finally done what he had set out to do. There was only one thing wrong, how was he going to get back home?


Another successful meeting of the Bed & Breakfast Guild was adjourned. Skrim waved goodbye as the other members left and turned to clean up the meal he had served. He opened the window so that he could hear the village. Everdell was bustling with activity this beautiful spring morning. Sounds of all kinds floated through the window, but the ones that Skrim loved the most were the voices of his fellow villagers.

It had been over a year since he had set off into the Spirecrest Mountains to search for a cure. The trek home was long and arduous but thinking of his family and friends kept him going. Once he made it back to the village, he immediately went to the University to show them his findings. Skrim had no knowledge of elixirs or potions, nor did he want to. He just wanted to turn over the fruit and the flowers to people smarter than he, and hope for the best. An antidote was quickly created and dispersed amongst the sick. Skrim was hailed as a hero, and everyone wanted to know what his next adventure would be. But Skrim had had enough adventuring for a lifetime. He just wanted to settle back into his quiet life of operating the Inn and serving the animals of Everdell. But first, he would take a long, long nap in his warm, comfortable bed.

Kristofer Solomon

Hey, everyone! I’m Kristofer Solomon and the creator of Board Game Breakdown. I’ve been playing board games since I was little, typically spending days on top of days playing Risk with kids from my neighborhood. As I moved into college, I started playing Magic: the Gathering with a group of guys and my love for board games slid to the wayside as I progressed into gulp adulthood (not to mention a long obsession with World of Warcraft.) Eventually, I fell back into the hobby in its current state when my wife (then girlfriend) bought me a copy of Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition for my birthday in 2008. This simple to grasp, but strategic train game blew me away. I didn’t realize at the time that board games could be much more than your average game of Sorry or Trouble. We eventually got Catan, Small World, and other well-known titles and the rest is history.

I’m hopeful that the content of this website and its associated YouTube and Instagram channels can be informative to those who are either on the fence about getting a game, or maybe just looking for something new. About 50% of my gaming time is spent solo gaming so I enjoy touching on that subject when I discuss games as this is an area that is typically not focused on.

Thanks to all who spent even a minute perusing this site, it means a lot to me. Happy gaming!

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