Fragment 35 – The Cave of Zorak Zoran

Diaries The Saga Of Berra — Fragment 35

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Walking as Humakt in darkness and Darkness
Berra alone in the wilderness quested
Seeking for Orlanth to remonstrate coldly
Death for the Sun had caused Death to be broken

In the Great Darkness bold Humakt knew torments
Hunted by sharp-tooths and haunted by dead things
Laid to rest each by the sword he bore with him
Found out the lair of the Death Lord in seeking

Zorak Zoran struck at Humakt in laughter
Death Lord smote Berra and took her as hostage1No such word exists in the Uz language, although ‘snack worth many bolgs’ is a single, well-known compound.
Back to the lair of the dead and the broken
Breaking each limb as the hating-fit took him2Presumably not entirely, as Berra survived this initial assault.

Berra cried out as the mace screamed Disorder
Drazn’k laughed loud at the sound of bones breaking
Healed her with hatred to keep her from dying
Bent lead around her to keep her from fleeing

Berra woke not on the trip to his feasthall
Opened her eyes in the Darkness he sat in
Heard how he laughed as he told her his planning
She would self-heal or his mark be upon her

Healing in hatred left dark marks upon her
Berra to Drazn’k was no threat he thought then
Berra knew better than Death Lords of Humakt
Gifted by him in the strength of her magic3Gift of Humakt: recover Magic Points at twice usual speed.

Lying in pain with her arms bent behind her
Berra on Humakt her mind fixed in calmness
Lessons she knew from the Sword of the Duck-folk4Perhaps a reason for Berra’s avowed love-hate relationship with meditation.
Kept herself still in the Darkness and rested

Friends she had left came to seek for their Humakt
All of her band knowing Berra faced danger
Drazn’k the Dark took his hostage out with him
Sent out his dead to be vanguard before him

Trusting in friends to break through to her feud-foe
Berra put trust in her god and her magic
Casting aside her pretence of long-sleeping
Called on the Truth to put shielding around her

Drazn’k threw down the Humakti in anger
Stamped on her hard but her shield held above her
Javelins flew at the Uzko who mocked them
Laughed to hear Nala cry out in his language

Swiftly the Hater stepped into the shadows
Smashing his mace down on Berra with joy-cries
Waited for friends to come running towards her
Humakt was with her and turned blows aside then

Berra had arranged with Varanis to meet at Wilmskirk, but elected to go out as Humakt and meet Orlanth in the wilderness, and tell him to undo the harm he had done. That is, she would meet Varanis on the road and challenge her to do this, beginning their Heroquest. Unfortunately, ill luck or a successful Hero Quest into the Great Darkness attracted the attention of an Uzko Death Lord who had a reason to keep her alive, and took a Humakti with him on his journey. He damaged her continually, offering her the choice of healing herself (and running out of magic) or being healed by his Hatred magic. She chose the former. He broke her limbs and bound them with lead bars to keep her from being dangerous, and did not bother gagging her, because if she had had Sever Spirit she would have already tried to use it.

Unknown to the Death Lord Draznk, Berra’s gift from Humakt was the ability to recover Magic Points at twice the normal speed. She was therefore conscious much of the time while he thought she was not, and while she could not move, she could watch his preparations, which she did behind a mask of blood. While he was asleep she also did her best to meditate, desperately reaching out to Humakt.

By the time her friends arrived she was still badly hurt, but had much more magic than Draznk accounted for, and was conscious while pretending she was not. As soon as he appeared her friends attacked him, with Serala lighting up the cave. Berra cast a hefty shield spell, which was lucky, as he dropped her and ducked behind a rock, from which he started bashing at her with his massive mace. Dormal, riding an invisibility spell hard, grabbed her and put the field of it over her as well. Then he dragged her away. She was able to stop him from going into a trapped area but that did mean he was very close when Varanis used the Leap spell to clear Draznk and get behind him. Varanis hit Dormal.

The session ended on a cliff-hanger as Draznk cast Berserk, getting serious about this Disorder business.

“Where’th Berra?” – D’Val

“What did the duck do?” – Irillo
“Was he with us?” – Varanis
“He’s still catching up.” – Co-GM
“On foot.” – Varanis

“Berra opens her eyes, where the Troll cannot see her, and looks around. Then she calls on her shield spell.” – Berra

“Varanis calls out, ‘Berra!'” – Varanis

“Berra is trying to inspire herself with movement to get out of the way.” – Berra

nothing

peace

almost sun-up and not a question about breakfast from Berra

past sun-up and no interjection she obviously has not thought through yet

Yelm is climbing and nobody has borrowed D’Val’s sharpening stone

as it reaches noon there is a lack of naive but entirely valid question that should be considered deeply

with the sun overhead Berra is not fidgeting while asking questions about meditation and relaxation

as Yelm slips downwards and the Duck climbs higher, nobody struggles not to ask the obvious question about whether the stomach of the thunder lizard he killed was the only part he could reach

pausing for a water break, no-one with a longer reach shares the high-ripening thornberries with an attention to equality that includes tearing one of them in half

“Awwww.” – GM