1627, Fire Season
After a Heroquest, it is required to ensure a Hero is not a danger to the temple, and to learn from them any secrets or mysteries that have been hitherto unrevealed. Jarangsdottir, having not reported in a timely fashion to the Temple of Battalion is invited to give her examination in Boldhome, and has accepted that invitation. There is no indication of wrongdoing in this inability.
A transcript of examination. Questioned is Berra Jarangsdottir, Initiate of Humakt, Warrior of the Battalion of Nochet. Present: Eril, High Sword of Humakt. Athanu, allied spirit of Eril, and Cult initiate of high standing. Scribe is Athanu; noteless record-keeping is deemed sufficient as Jarangsdottir deems there have been no out of the ordinary results. Eril leads questioning.
Uncertain. Out of ordinary method. Query: does this require expert examination?
We may judge on results here. I am the only person who needs to know.
I now have understanding.
~ Alright. Then from the very beginning, as I know it. Varanis found out that her sister was either married, or getting married. Kalis, beloved of Ernalda, sent her to Stone Over Souls, as the place concerned with her family. On the way we encountered a Yelmalian Aldryami who accompanied us as there was a woman who might be in trouble, and some Yelmite grazelanders who were passing. Neither seemed like any problem. At the Oslir, Varanis fell in. I think she’s being called to rivers right now. When she does that, tiny crocodiles appear. This time, though, they dissolved into red. Xenofos saw it.
~ Go on.
~ We approached Stone Over Souls and the dragonewts took us in by their road. It was fun.
~ Stick to the Quest parts, Initiate – and those things which support it.
~ I apologise. In the city, we found a weird thing. I need to tell you about it, because it’s going to come up later.
~ Then tell.
Questioned signals for time, thinks. ~ There’s a room in the city that shows the room, like you’re looking into it, and then there’s a plaza with a model of the whole city. I asked about it, and as far as I can tell it’s the city. It’s just a view of it. I poked myself and although I didn’t see anything I got pushed and fell over.
Questioned rubs arm, flexes hand.
Yes, of course she would.
~ We met with Mirava Saiciae and Fazzur Wideread, when Varanis asked to be taken to her sister. Fazzur called us into their room. I think it was the Inuman King’s throne room. They were on chairs at the bottom. He stood, to greet us, and she put a hand on his arm and he sat down again. Then she stood. She said she was married already, and she asked him to leave and to send in a guard so they could talk. Varanis said we have to stay with her. But Fazzur sent out a guard, and she was a Yanafil Tarnils cultist. Rune Lord, from how she dressed. Varanis and her sister got into an argument. I did a bit as well. Varanis needed protecting, so I did. Then Varanis got fed up enough to storm out, and I followed her. Xenofos also managed. A few people got lost. Suuraki went to the model city to look at it again, and saw that where Varanis was heading to looked like a dead plain. On top of a zigu…
~ I thank my Lord. On top of a ziggurat. So he jumped into the model, and into the way. And around that time, Rajar was on top of a different ziggurat and he also got into a Heroquest, but it’s not part of the setting. Just a thing. Suuraki told Varanis that the place looked like it was in a drought. I found out later she recognised the Aroka quest. I didn’t know at the time. I just knew that she went up and so I followed. And I found myself to be Humakt.
~ Where were you?
~ Kero Fin, I think. The top, or the side, of a mountain. It was hazy, like I was remembering it a bit from the vision I had back then.
~ Not much. It was light. Not dark. But it was also deep in the darkness. I was facing Eurmal, and I took a thing from him, although I didn’t know what it was. I just knew I had to protect it. He wasn’t trustworthy.
~ Did you succeed?
~ Yeah. He faded. I was somewhere else. On a plain. I’ve never seen it before. There were mountains off in the far distance. A battle around me, but all the people were tiny, and they flowed through me and I through them. But I was also a person – a big person – like as much of the god as they could bring – on the field. But I was mostly the force of war and Death, and the person was… was what I was hanging onto.
~ You were the god, Heroformed for this battle.
~ Oh. Well, I saw a challenger. They had Death, but it was wrong. Only there were two of them. A big man, I think he was Yanafil Tarnils, and a smaller woman. She was Yanafil Tarnils as well. I didn’t know which of them to strike, so I struck between, trying to Separate them.
Eril coughs, requires water. Questioned waits with appropriate patience.
Redact that, Athanu.
Query: still not out of ordinary?
Results are not. This is simply failure on the part of the Initiate.
~ That didn’t work. She blocked me. My blow bent her sword. Then there was only one, and she was both of them. It was the guard from before. She was good.
~ She was both of them? Expand.
~ Uh… I think how it happened was that she took on his power, once he reckoned she was worthy. I think. She fought, and got stronger, and he faded. So maybe she took it. I can’t say and I’m not going to guess.
~ Your decision is correct. Continue.
~ We both used magic – we were fast and strong and good, and she beat me. But she had help. She called on the moon to help, when I thought I had her beaten. And she couldn’t win but she beat me. I mean, made me wrestle to try to get that weird sword back, because I couldn’t kill her. And I couldn’t get it. So she got away. I think she could have killed me instead, but that wasn’t her aim.
~ Did you both fight with honour?
~ Yes? But… I don’t know how I should feel about her being helped. I guess it… it felt unfair,
but also like it was a thing that was part of him. Her. So he… the god… the Hero… called on a power he was part of, or that was part of him. I can’t fault him for that part, only she shouldn’t have had the power. Because she shouldn’t have made that bargain. But there wasn’t a thing *wrong* with it. I can’t explain better, Lord. The fault is in me.
~ Mm. And then?
~ I was back on the plain. The dragonewt one. The ziggurat. And I was spoiling for a fight. REALLY wanting one. She was there, but we didn’t fight. Nobody took up my challenge.
~ She told me ‘no offense’ which frankly offended the fu… which wasn’t how I’d have put it. Like, did she really have to talk then?
Redact Lord Eril's subvocalisation?
~ Anything further?
~ No, Lord. Just to remind you that the landscape seemed a bit off. Like it wasn’t quite there, where normally it’s a big part of the Heroquest setting.
So that would be a yes.
~ And the others of Thane Vareena’s band?
~ They had their own quests too, Lord. Which were theirs, not mine.
~ You may consider yourself finished.
Questioned bows to High Sword.
Further transcript not required.