Fragment 2.20 – The First Death

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 2 20

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Then to the desert rode Berra in searching
Seeking a foe for the sword of her master
Following friends as they rode in the dryness
Keeping protection arrayed alongside them

There with the straw-weaver clan of the Bisons
Berra was feasted as Rajar’s companion
Thus with the shaman Erhehta the bone-man
So they set forth for the Ancestor River

Seeing with sharp eyes the motions of chaos
Berra cried out to warn leaping Varanis
Loosed three good arrows1three: the triskele of movement
good: the Truth rune
arrows: a form of Death not forbidden to Berra
These well represent the Humakti’s known Runes.
and ran up to Orlanth
Drawing two swords2Death and the Truth Sword she brought Death3And finally one Rune only, that of Humakt to the shell-men

Berra escorted Varanis to the Temple of Orlanth, but the signs were wrong for Divination, so they went back towards the Temple of Zola Fel. On the way they encountered Rajar, who had met one of his clansfolk. After a quick misunderstanding about the phrase ‘armed bastards’ they all agreed to go back with Rajar to his nearby clan, who had the advantage of being a massive troop of armed bastards. There, they had a feast and offered to help a Shaman with something that could not be done by those of his clan, escorting him to a holy place. On the way, Berra worshipped with her iron sword for the first time.

As it turned out, a village just before the holy place was full of scorpion men, which became apparent about the time that Varanis was down in a ravine trying to fix up a rope to the bridge that was broken down there. Several of the party had seen movement in the village, so they were wary. Berra yelled a warning, and forgot to yell to Varanis to use magic to leap out. Varanis prepared to fight down below. Berra and Xenofos used missile weapons – a bow and a javelin respectively – to hit some chitin-clad bipedal things coming down the ravine. Berra was more successful than Xenofos. Then Rajar, Berra and Xenofos went down the walls, with Rajar finding a good route, Berra finding an OK route then jumping and trusting to her shield spell, and Xenofos being briefly flummoxed at the top then following Rajar’s way down. Rajar’s clanswoman and the shaman stayed at the top, where the clanswoman, Davama, began to summon an earth elemental.

Everyone at the bottom piled into the fight, with Berra wielding her new iron sword in her right hand, and Wind Tooth in the left, as a secondary weapon. The scorpionids had arrived first, and they were quickly killed, and then the scorpion men put up little resistance, although they did show marked lack of understanding, by both going for Xenofos with their initial attacks.

After they were dead, the bridge was repaired and Berra abandoned her arrows rather than get them back from chaotic bodies. They decided to check out the village, and Berra could sense that nothing there directly meant harm to them, but also could spot places where they should explore – some of the carved-out rock houses had nasty stains outside them. The largest of them had an easily-spotted trap inside it – they went inside, and from there Berra could sense two things that meant them harm.

They piled into the next room, where the queen’s scream failed to deafen Berra. She finally got a confirmed kill with her iron sword on a scorpion man, and got very lucky when failing to parry a stinger strike that hit her armour, hard.

Meanwhile Varanis and Xenofos had seen to the Scorpion Queen who was in the room, and all of her eggs began hatching and there were little horror scorpion babies. They were killed with some cries of ‘yuk’, and after that, there were no more enemies.

They took Erhehta the Shaman on to the holy place after that, and he freed himself from a curse he had not mentioned he was under, and then they all went home. On the way back Berra marked Humakt’s seasonal Holy Day, with an overnight worship ceremony. Then there was another party.

“We do need somewhere to hide out…” – Rajar
“Not so much hide out as surround ourselves with heavily armed bastards.” – Berra

“ALL OF OUR STORM KHANS ARE MARRIED TO EARTH PRIESTESSES.” – Davama
“Good?” – Berra
“None of the Clan is irregularly conceived!” – Davama
“Um, Xenofos, what does irregularly conceived mean?” – Berra

“Rajar, how do you say ‘heavily armed bastards’ in Praxian?” Berra
“Oh… family!” – Rajar

“Rajar’s always a lot calmer than you think, he’s just very loud about being calm.” – Berra

“Two things within the next room mean us harm.” – Berra

“Never bring a Humakti along to a knife fight.” – GM

“The thing’s body seems to split apart around the sword.” – GM